DH and I are collaborators, co-conspirators in the kitchen, our meals becoming more imaginative, more exploratory than I could have imagined just a few short years ago. When we first got married, brats and mashed potatoes were a weekly fixture on our menu, not because I didn't know how to cook, but I was afraid to experiment, didn't think I could afford better, and I hadn't started couponing yet. When I started couponing - everything changed. Suddenly there was money to buy not-completely-necessary ingredients, and I could try my hand at something different. It's opened a whole new, tasty world! Like this past weekend....

Last Friday, I invited DaMama over for dinner, I was making stuffed mushrooms, a swiss and mushroom frittata with English muffins, and for dessert - 30-Minute Tiramisu. While DaMama and I chatted, I chopped mushrooms, whisked eggs, minced red bell pepper, and folded Cool Whip into the light cream cheese pudding mixture that would be our filling for the tiramisu. While the mushrooms - stuffed with gooey, cheesey goodness, baked - we chatted, getting caught up on how things were going for my sister, my mom's latest adventure, and me - mostly whining about work and chatting about the next big coupon deal.

Often when I invite my mother over for dinner, I'm asking her to take a culinary leap of faith and trust me. This was her first frittata, but it certainly won't be her last - and she was delighted...and a surprise bonus: another use for a pie plate. With each dish I create, with each trip I make to the grocery store, I slowly challenge myself to try (and like) another new ingredient. A few years ago, I never would have had cremini mushrooms on hand for a dish like this, my only use for them was sauteed over a large piece of meat. And as for bell peppers, I wouldn't have eaten them, let alone bought them.

For my next creation, I turned to a crockpot cookbook DaMama gave me several months ago. While I'm eager to make the Dijon Chicken, as I don't have Dijon on hand, I was scanning through to see what I could make without hitting the store this week - and have decided on a combination of 2 recipes, Indonesian Chicken (which is delish) and Tropical Pork Tenderloin. I've got loads of chicken in my freezer, but no fresh ginger. I've got the canned pineapple and garlic, but no pork tenderloin at the moment. So it looks like I'll be making a Tropical Chicken with a sweet tangy glaze. When in doubt, go to the crockpot....

For DH, he has a different philosophy. He'll take ingredients he know he likes and combine them in ways typically seen in restaurants. His last creation, inspired predominantly by Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives: Bacon-Wrapped Hotdogs. Not the healthiest meal, but it had amazing flavor. I did serve a salad with it, but even I know - this is a meal you shouldn't include in the meal plan on any kind of regular basis. Though with the SuperBowl coming up - this is a quick, cheap crowd pleaser - sure to make the guys happy on game day.

This week, our exploration takes us to the tropical side of the chicken - which is only natural, as there is still snow on the ground, and if I can't fly to someplace tropical, than I want to feel like I'm eating there - at least that I can still afford to do! Maybe I'll even ask DH to make me a margarita or pina colada to enjoy while watching a movie - something to do with warmer climates than the one we now live in....nothing like an early escape in the week!

It feels like cabin fever, but it certainly doesn't taste like it:

Bacon-Wrapped Hotdogs

Tropical Chicken

30-Minute Tiramisu

Meal Plan:

Monday: Ground turkey tacos, Spanish Rice, beans, all the fixin's for tacos
Tuesday: Tropical Chicken, fried rice, salad
Wednesday: Meatball sammies, salad, chips
Thursday: Dinner at DaMamas
Friday: Spaghetti with Italian sausage, salad, garlic bread
Saturday: Chicken and provolone sausage, potatoes julienne, corn
Sunday: Homemade pizza, salad, garlic bread

Breakfast of the week: cheddar and mushroom frittata, banana bread, cereal, yogurt, bananas

Dessert of the week: White Chocolate Pumpkin Cookies, almond cookies
0 Responses

Post a Comment

Swidget 1.0 2