It was pantry, freezer & fridge clean out week. We did pretty well, and even tried a lot of new recipes. We didn't have to buy too much beyond the typical perishables, and we had fun trying new things. We did begin to observe Lent so we had two meatless meals that were not new for us, but we still had plenty of other opportunities to give some recipes a chance.
As always, there were some keeper recipes this week, and some that hit the recycling bin! On Sunday we had high hopes for a new chicken dish, but all the browned chicken coating stuck to the pan! Ugh! Needless to say - that did not earn keeper status. But the new salad that we had with it that evening was a keeper! Ever since we tried and loved the superb springtime spinach salad I have been wanting to try more new salads. This one looked pretty interesting, and we really enjoyed it! I had all the ingredients on hand for both the chicken and salad, so it fit the week's criteria.
Actually, for all the keeper recipes this week, I only had to buy leeks and walnuts (which I needed for 2 recipes). I don't have too many recipes that call for leeks, but I had everything else, and shrimp in the freezer, so I decided it was worth picking up the leeks to give it a shot. Wow! Am I glad I did! Owen, Ryan and I loved this! Hannah even tried it and said it was pretty good. And a healthy meal to boot! I didn't think you needed to have it over the rice, since the leeks and red pepper still had a bit of crunch to them, but Ryan and Owen did, and they enjoyed it that way. We did cook up a piece of chicken for Hannah and Liam to share, since I knew they would be less than thrilled with the main dinner. And I added the little bit of leftover chicken to the leeks stir fry (all the shrimp were eaten) and enjoyed it the next day.
We did a little baking this week - I was organizing my spice cabinet and saw I had poppy seeds, so we tried a lemon poppy seed muffin recipe. These were fabulous right out of the oven, and still good the next couple of days, just not as good as they were when they were warm. And I had 2 zucchini that I was not going to get to make zoodles with, so we made zucchini bread - YUM! This was just as great the next day as fresh. I cut the recipe ingredient amounts to just make one loaf, so what I present here is easily doubled to make two loaves.
My kids love mac & cheese, and Ryan and I went out for a date one night. They wanted mac & cheese, but I didn't have any on hand. However, I did have a block of cheese, small shell pasta, evaporated milk...so we made stove-top mac & cheese. What a hit! The kids loved it. And rounding out the keeper meals was chunky potato soup. Owen picked this recipe out when we were meal planning, and I was a bit skeptical, but we all loved it. The flavor profile was similar to hurry up ham, a perennial favorite at our dinner table.
Wow! 6 new recipes! Clearly you can still be creative and have fun in the kitchen during a week where you try to primarily use what you've got on hand.
Stir-fried leeks with salt & pepper shrimp
Chunky potato soup
Lemon poppy seed muffins
Stove top mac & cheese
Spinach, arugula & apple salad