Thursday, November 1, 2012

Three Things Thursday: Dinner remix

At my gorgefest on Friday, my friend Heather and I were talking about dinner. Not the meals we were eating, mind you, but the meals we had prepared for our families. Boring, uninspired meals.

We had both fallen into a cooking rut and despite our best efforts to climb out (read: our addiction to SkinnyMs), we weren't winning any blue ribbons. Heck, we weren't even winning smiles from our husbands.  The dishes that we had high hopes for flopped, and we were relying on basic, easy to prepare foods to simply satiate our bellies.

Not good. Not good at all.

Heather and I decided that we needed to put on some carabiners and get some spikes and climb the hell out of that ravine as fast as we could. And then report back to each other with the results. Of course. Because we're friends (and mothers desperate to talk about something other than how a certain toddler pooped himself awake at 5 a.m.).

It hasn't even been a week since our challenge, and I'm happy to share that this week in cooking has been far better received than the few that preceded it.

1. Autumn = soups and once the leaves start to turn, I try to make one pot a week. It's great for leftovers, and it's a dish that lends itself well to the slow cooker. My recipe of the  week didn't use my favorite appliance but it was just as easy to prepare. I made the Creamless Creamy Tomato Soup from Smells Like Home, paired with BLTs, and I'm happy to say that it really is creamy. And delicious.

2. Mark would probably make me sleep on the couch if I didn't make pasta once a week. I'm serious: I have to consciously plan a pasta night. It's usually Sunday but this week, I tried Mel's Kitchen Cafe's Spaghetti Pie. I prepped it before work Wednesday, and Mark popped it in the oven he got home. It's not overly saucy, making it perfect for Miles, and offered the opportunity to lighten it up. I made it with low-fat cottage cheese, low-fat cream cheese and ground sirloin. I bet you can guess who's eating dairy again.

3. I tried something different on Monday: Thai Chicken Tacos. While this didn't work out quite the way I had hoped - Mark didn't eat the slaw, I skipped the tortilla and Miles seemingly skipped it all - Mark and I both agreed that the chicken had a lot of flavor. Good flavor. We also liked that it was something different, and I appreciated the opportunity to make a burrito bowl with Asian flair.

Have you had a winning dinner lately? I'm planning next week's menu and would love some ideas.


  1. Those all sound delish! My family shuns change like you wouldn't believe. I swear we eat the same 5-6 things every week. BORING.

  2. I made an amazing acorn squash soup from scratch with bacon in it. Seriously AMAZING!!! I can't wait to make it again :)

  3. is one of our favorites and it uses your favorite appliance :)

    And if you like lasagna, here's the Italian mashup.

  4. I had this spaghetti dish and it was good -

    Also, I'm definitely trying the spaghetti pie next week :)

  5. My new favorite made-up recipe: Taco salad, paleo style: For each person, cook 1/6 to 1/4 pound ground beef (or pork, or chicken, or turkey) till brown, and season with cumin, red pepper, paprika, oregano and salt till it tastes good. Then make guacamole with 1/2-1 avocado per person, lime, jalapeno, and maybe a little minced onion and ripe tomato if you have it.

    For each serving, start with a really big bowl of spinach. Put the meat on top, then the guacamole. I eat it just like that (the guac acts like dressing), or you can add ranch/your favorite dressing, salsa, crumbly cheese, black beans, or whatever else sounds good.

  6. I made an amazing kale salad last night. Finely slice (1/4" or thinner ribbons) 1 bunch dinosaur kale. Toss with juice of 1 lemon, a little salt, 1/4+ c Parmesan cheese, 1/4+ c sliced almonds (or roasted pine nuts), 1/4 c raisins. If you have a ripe avocado, you can mush that into the kale with your hands before adding the cheese, nuts and raisins. The kale gets more tender as it stands. It's tart and salty and crunchy and I could eat the entire bowl of it.