Feb 4, 2012

Week 4: Halfway!

Well, here I am, halfway through the Experiment! Four more weeks to go and they are going to be good ones (I really don't know if they are or not, since I have no idea what I'm going to make next week let alone four weeks down the road . . . ). I've actually really enjoyed making dinner, some nights more than others. It's a time to unwind, listen to my music, sing out loud, and dance, all while feeding "my man" (ie, Dad). I think the key to enjoying this is just deciding that it's going to be enjoyable. Probably my least favorite thing is coming up with the weekly menus.

Sunday dinner probably used the most pots, pans, and dishes than any other meal I have made so far! We had a pot roast made in the crock pot with a packet of dry onion soup on top. Mashed potatoes and gravy (Dad's the gravy champ), steamed carrots, and a spinach salad. This spinach salad is one of my favorites: toasted slivered almonds (I forgot I was toasting the first batch and had to start over again. oops!), craisins (dried cranberries), red onion, and light raspberry vinaigrette. Yum!

I found Monday's recipe this last summer as I was trying to think of ways to use up zucchini from our garden. This tortellini and zucchini soup is pretty hearty--lots of veggies, and the yummy tortellini. It's even better if you sprinkle some shredded parmesan cheese on top. When I came home today I had the start of one of my stress headaches, but I put on some music, and in the process of chopping up veggies, the headache started going away (rare for this to happen). This is something that I've liked about cooking meals: most of the time it's a more productive way to wind down after the work day; just me in the kitchen making a meal. Anyway, to complete the meal we had strawberries and blueberries (I love it when berries are on sale during the winter!).

Tin Foil Dinners was the menu for Tuesday (when I was a kid we called them "hobo dinners," but maybe that's not considered PC?)! Anyway, really easy, fast clean-up. Put a hamburger patty, sliced carrots and potatoes, with some onion on tin foil (make them individual sized). Wrap the tin foil up. Stick it in the oven at 350 for about an hour (this is the only hard part about this--waiting an hour for them to cook). Pull out of the oven, dump on a plate or leave in the tin foil, and smother with ketchup (I love ketchup--just not this much)! Yum! To make a full meal we had orange slices with it.

We had breakfast for dinner on Wednesday. The great thing about this is that in a couple of weeks, we could have breakfast for dinner again and it won't be a repeat because there are so many different things you can make! For this breakfast we had bacon, hashbrowns (the shredded kind, they're my favorite), scrambled eggs (part egg substitute to watch out for that high cholesterol!), and a fresh pineapple.

Since this was Groundhog's Day we bought a pizza, and as per tradition, we got sausage on it. What does sausage have to do with Groundhog's Day? Well, what's another name for a pig? Hog. What is sausage? Ground up pig. Therefore: ground hog. And now you know how twisted my family's sense of humor is. This actually worked out perfect for me because I had a department meeting at work on Thursday that went late, so I got home, we put the pizza in the oven (Papa Murphey's Cowboy pizza), and I put together a quick salad.

We did something on Friday that we call at my house "Good Sport's": if there is something edible in the refrigerator, it's fair game. Basically, it's leftover night. Now this is not breaking the rules because . . . well because I say so and I made the rules, so I can do that. But I can't do another "Good Sport's" for the rest of the Experiment. This actually worked out pretty well because I spent most of my time at work today standing in on spot, resulting in an aching back and sore legs (it kind of took my back to my days at the CONE . . .) and the idea of having to stand to chop, mix, and cook something would probably have had me dissolve into tears. The clean up is pretty easy too. I guess this week of cooking has been pretty easy.

I tried my hand at Greek food today--not one but TWO new recipes! The first was chicken for Greek pitas made in the crock pot. They probably didn't need to cook for as long as the recipe said, and I added a bit of fresh lemon juice at the end. I also brushed the pitas with a light coating of olive oil and heated them in a pan before we ate them. The second new recipe was Lemon Rice Pilaf. I had to cook this for about 15 minutes longer than the recipe says and the last 5 minutes I did it without the lid on. I think I would have about 1 cup less liquid in it. We finished off the meal with artichokes.

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