Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘tacos are my favorite food’

This week may be a little ambitious, food-wise. I am trying… ALL new recipes this week. Because I am a glutton for punishment, I think? Well, and a glutton for flavor. There’s that, too. Plus, my husband and I just started the new season of Great British Baking Show, which always makes me itchy to get into the kitchen. Since my pants won’t let me exercise my creativity with Genoese sponge and various breads, I am turning, instead, to New Ways to Liven Up Chicken & Pork. And there’s some seafood in there, too, for good measure.

You’d think that I would have remembered, whilst planning, crucial-to-my-cooking-ability items like Carla’s Multiple After-School Activities. And my general pattern of Diminishing Desire to Cook as the Week Wears On. And our somewhat-new, not-always-achieved tradition of Movie Night on Fridays, which requires easy things like pizza that we can all eat together. You’d THINK I would take these important things into consideration, but you’d be wrong, because only just now am I thinking of those things and I have already done all the shopping.

WE SHALL PRESS EVER FORWARD.

Dinners for the Week of September 10-16

Note: I mean, this is just a salad, with chicken, and a lemon vinaigrette/marinade. So it’s not WILD in terms of newness or difficulty. Don’t worry. It gets progressively worse.

Note: Why can’t I be happy with plain salmon and mango salsa? I LIKE plain salmon. But nooooooo. I have to dress it up with this BBQ sauce because apparently I can’t be happy without making extra work for myself.

Follow Up: This was… decent. The “BBQ sauce/rub” was tasty, but it didn’t caramelize at all and ended up being sort of gritty. The mango salsa was delicious, as it always is, and the meal was simple enough to prepare. So I might try it again in the future, with some alterations to the cooking time/temperature to ensure that the sauce has a better consistency.

Note: Pork tenderloins were on sale (so were pork chops – bad week for piggies I guess) so I scooped some up. This marinade sounds yummy.

Note: My family is still kind of tired of tacos (WHY????), so I am switching things up with this shrimpy version. I have never met a shrimp taco I enjoyed – shrimp does not stay inside the taco shell very well, in my experience – but the slaw sounds yummy and I will accept any opportunity to slather avocado on a tortilla, so we’ll see how this goes!

Follow Up: This was fine, but a lot of work for what it was. The rub for the shrimp was good — I ended up broiling the shrimp, and that worked great. The dressing for the slaw was tasty, but — after making it as directed and tasting it — I ended up adding a little honey to help balance out the flavor. And then I added half again as much cilantro, because it just tasted less cilantro-y than I would hope for from a cilantro lime slaw. Also, the slaw was very bitter because of the cabbage. I don’t really like cabbage, as it is, and the dressing wasn’t enough to cover up its flavor. My husband suggested that I need to cut it much thinner, and that would help. Well, I cut it as thin as I could, so maybe I have to buy the pre-shredded stuff at the grocery store for an arm and a leg. Also, even though I cut the slaw recipe in half, we ended up with approximately ten tons of slaw. Which we didn’t like enough to keep, so I ended up throwing it away which is SO WASTEFUL and I hate it. I made some guacamole to go inside the tacos with the shrimp and the slaw, and that was good. All in all, it was nice to try something new, but I don’t know if this was worth the effort.

Note: This can’t really taste like tandoori chicken, can it? Well, we’re going to find out! I went to the Asian grocery store and got some Kashmiri chilli powder and I am COMMITTED. Not quite sure what I will do with the rice and peas, though. Maybe I will experiment with infusing the rice with saffron? Or this turmeric recipe sounds interesting, maybe? Or I could keep them separate and sauté the peas with shallots? I have no idea. I guess it will be a game-time decision. 

Follow Up: THIS WAS SO DISAPPOINTING. My husband liked it, or at least he claimed he liked it, so maybe it’s just me. The marinade was fairly easy to make, but it was… more tangy than I was anticipating. Maybe I was expecting something like a tikka masala sauce, and so it’s my own fault, but this was NOTHING like tikka masala. It was tangy and not at all spicy. (The owner of the Asian grocery store told me that the kashmiri chili powder was used in Asian cooking mainly for color, and I read elsewhere that it’s comparable to paprika, so maybe I was secretly hoping for more spice and that’s where the disappointment came from.) Also, this took FOREVER to cook. The recipe says 40 minutes, but it took over an hour to get it up to temperature. And, because of the skin-on chicken I think, the marinade never really penetrated the chicken itself, but just layered on top of the skin (which I didn’t eat). As a sauce lover, this was super disappointing. I think if I were to try it again, I might use boneless skinless chicken breasts and cook them IN the marinade, rather than basting them. And I would try to increase the spice level of the marinade, and maybe think of a way to tone down the tang. I don’t know. It was a big letdown. I ended up sautéing the peas with shallots — sweating the shallots first in a little butter, and then adding a few tablespoons of chicken stock to the peas — and those were good.

Note: And the pièce de résistance is this slow-roasted chicken. I honestly have no idea what Gochujang tastes like, so it could be a Very Bad Plan. But it sounds lovely and flavorful and different. My idea is to cook it on Sunday while we’re watching football and have a Nice Family Dinner together. (Not that Carla will eat anything with flavor. But she’ll eat the components. Well. Maybe not the potatoes.)

  • Out or Leftovers

 

Let’s keep in mind that any or all of this could fall apart at any moment.

What’s on your meal plan for the week?

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

There’s a lot going on these days, Internet. I feel burnt out.

Then, NGS made a comment on my last dinner post that stuck with me: “You’re so much more ambitious in food planning than I ever could be. We seriously only have about six meals in rotation.” That struck me as SO LOVELY. Six meals? No fussing around with food blogs and magazines and a big pile of recipes I’ve emailed myself? Clean, simple, tada. GENIUS.

And then I thought of Nicole, who serves the same five categories of food each week, Monday through Friday. When she posted about her weekly meal plan, it was a revelation. I could make tacos every Tuesday?! And sometimes they could be fish tacos or carnitas or black bean tacos, but it didn’t matter what spin I put them, Tuesday would always be taco day! What a delightful fantasy!

These two wonderful bloggers (and I’m just assuming they are excellent home cooks, as well) got me thinking… and I think I’m making things too complicated.

It seems that I have made an overcorrection in my meal planning navigation. I find that it is so easy to get into a meal rut, when you feel like you’re eating tacos and spaghetti and grilled chicken ad nauseum and so cooking feels boring and eating feels boring and you just hate life. This is just me, of course. But I course corrected so far in the other direction – trying to find New! and Interesting! and Different! meal options – that now I feel like variation is my GOAL. (This is not to say that I don’t end up eating the same things over and over, I’m looking at you, delicious spinach and arugula salad.) And also, it’s become somewhat of a chore. I’ve been looking through my bookmarked meals, searching for something new or different… and nothing seems new enough or different enough. I start looking at super elaborate options that just aren’t practical for a regular Tuesday, and then I get discouraged and BAM!, I’m right back where I was when I started this whole meal planning journey.

So there’s that. But also… sometimes you just want to throw a couple of chicken breasts on the grill and call it a day!

This week, I am doing Tried and True, Easy Does It meals. And it feels super! I love it! I should do this more often. Or, maybe, I should come up with a list of Favorites that I can choose from again and again, things that can be Go-To meals alongside tacos and spaghetti and grilled chicken.

Anyway, here’s the dinner plan for this week.

Dinners for the Week of July 16-July 22

  • Tacos

Note: Taco Tuesday, baby!

  • BBQ Pork Tenderloin with Baked Potato (for me) and Coleslaw(for my husband)

Note: We are supposed to have storms, and it feels like we haven’t eaten this easy crockpot meal in a long while.

  • Grilled Chicken with Quinoa Salad

Note: I will marinate the chicken in Wegman’s Korean barbecue marinade. I also have this idea that I will make a quinoa salad with bell peppers, bean sprouts, maybe some edamame, and scallions, and then dress it with Nagi’s Sesame Peanut Dressing. (When I went to a writer’s conference a couple of years ago, one of the meals was this AMAZING quinoa salad with pad-Thai-style flavors. I have been chasing that flavor ever since, and this sounds like it might get me pretty close.)

Note: I have tried many (MANY) a recipe for homemade pizza dough. But I haven’t found a single one that holds a candle to the Papa Sal’s dough I can get at the supermarket.

  • Grilled Pork Chops or Steak with Roasted Green Beans

Note: I found a couple of filets in the freezer; I think I intended them for Carla (they were DEEPLY on sale), but perhaps I will commandeer them for myself and my husband.

  • Grilled Chicken with Side Salad

Note: Chicken marinated in Wegman’s marinade, salad dressed with leftover French vinaigrette.

  • Out

And you, Internet? What are you eating this week?

Read Full Post »

Well, now that the World Series is over, I can refocus all of my Sports Stress on the election. It’s like a stress sandwich, with nothing delicious in the middle. So yay. Here are some random things, from my tired brain:

  • I went to Target the other day, and the cashier totally Kristen Wiiged me during check-out. “What’s ‘Thai sweet chili sauce’? Is it spicy?” and then, “Well, I KNOW sriracha is spicy!” and, “Looks like someone is going to be a princess for Halloween!” and, “Love that color nail polish!” and, “Oooh, what’s this? A top coat? And you have coupons for both!” I don’t have a problem chit chatting with the cashier, and I am sure it is DELIGHTFUL to see the variety of things that strangers buy each day, but it was mildly uncomfortable to have her COMMENT on it.
screen-shot-2016-11-03-at-8-39-28-am

Screen shot from nbc.com

  • One thing the Target Lady did NOT comment on? My taco shells. I bought two boxes and all but SEVEN SHELLS were broken.
taco-shells

WTF? Did someone at the store shake the box as hard as possible?

Carla actually EATS tacos, so we have them at least once a week. And I have never — NEVER — seen such a thing. I mean, in the one box, not a SINGLE SHELL was whole.

Well, I can bright-side my way to nachos for lunch, at least.

  • Halloween was SO FUN this year. Carla is at the perfect age, I think. She got really excited about dressing up (so much so that the hours between the end of her school day and six o’clock when trick-or-treating began took forever) and she was really pumped up by the idea of candy. She understood the concept of going up to people’s doors and holding out her little pumpkin. She didn’t really succeed in saying “trick or treat,” but she DID say “thank you,” so there’s that.

One thing I loved was that she would rummage around in people’s candy dishes, searching for the Perfect Candy. And some of them would helpfully choose something for her, and she would shake her head and say, “No, I have that already.” It was kind of adorable. Also a little bit embarrassing, but I’m choosing to believe that people felt more charmed than annoyed.

We made it all the way down one side of our block before she decided that she needed candy NOW. Instead of going up to the door, she sat down smack in the middle of one our neighbors’ driveway and started searching through her pumpkin to find something. To prod her along, I pulled out a bag of M&Ms and fed her one at a time after each house, kind of like training a puppy to heel. So she would dutifully march up to the door, collect her candy, and then turn around and open her mouth like a baby bird eager for a worm. We went through a bag of M&Ms and one roll of Smarties.

Our neighbors were so kind and generous. We have a great block, and most of the homes had full-size candies. And one of our neighbors was HIDING the good candy for the kids she recognized from our block, so when Carla finally made it to her house, she invited us in and gave Carla three full-size items. It was just so sweet. It made me feel giddy with the goodness of human kind.

  • The one negative moment this Halloween was a comment that I got about Carla’s costume, from someone who knows us well. Carla was a princess this year; last year she was a superhero. She chose both costumes, without input from me or my husband. Just, last year she was really into the superhero, so she wanted to dress up like that particular superhero, and this year she really wanted to be the princess.

Anyway, when Carla told this person what she was going as for Halloween, the person turned to me and said, “It’s nice that she’s interested in more feminine things.”

I mean.

First of all, gross. Second of all, what? Thirdly, REALLY?! Fourthly, why is anyone evaluating anything about the costume choices of a three-year-old? Fifthly, it makes me mad because – for a minute – it made me want to rip the princess costume off of Carla and dress her up like a lumberjack complete with beard and muscles (ALTHOUGH A LUMBERJACK COULD BE A PERFECLTY FEMININE PERSON TOO OMG) just for spite, and then THAT makes me mad because why? Why shouldn’t I just be delighted by whatever Carla wants to pretend to be, whether it’s a firefighter or a dragonfly or a ballerina or a freaking bowling ball.  Why should some stupid comment make me want her to be or feel or do anything other than what she wants? WAY TO RUIN HALLOWEEN, PERSON.

I don’t even care to unpack all that upsets me about that comment, or why it’s so gross and demeaning, or how it’s a symptom of a larger, more insidious problem in society, or how sad it makes me feel that Carla is going to have to face crap like this her whole life.

So I’m going to write it down here and be done with it and move on.

DEEP CLEANSING BREATHS.

  • My husband carved a cat pumpkin this year. That was fun. When it was dark outside, and the cat silhouette was back lit by the little flameless candles I put inside, it garnered a lot of compliments from trick or treaters. Carla and I did the messy part, taking the top off and scooping out all the guts and seeds. Then I roasted the seeds. Carla did not care for the seeds. My husband was eating some later in the week, and I overheard Carla say, “WHY do you like those Daddy?”

Pumpkin cat.JPG

  • Now that Halloween is over, I suppose I have to put away my Halloween decorations. I am not particularly good at decorating for holidays, but I really come through for Halloween and Christmas. I have some cats on pumpkins that I love, and a cool ghost, and a little ghost family for the bathroom. And this year I also found (at Target) a bunch of inexpensive multi-colored pumpkins with glitter stripes and polka dots. There are other things, too. I don’t really feel ready to put all the stuff away yet. Maybe this weekend.
  • I love how so many people go All Out with their Halloween decorations: zombies and ghosts and witches hanging out in their yards, pumpkin path lights, spiderwebs overtaking their shrubbery, graveyards sprouting from their lawns. I love it. Carla and I went for a walk a couple of weeks back and found a street where nearly every house had Halloween decorations, and it was so fun to point them out and discuss them together. I think it also went a long way toward making the holiday fun for Carla rather than scary. She seemed delighted by one neighbor’s human-size trio of glow-eyed witches and by another’s mechanized skull hanging from a tree. I’m glad it doesn’t freak her out.
  • I suppose now that I have to get rid of Halloween decorations, I can concentrate on Thanksgiving décor… But I don’t really HAVE any Thanksgiving stuff, aside from a fall-themed runner and maybe a non-jack-o-lantern pumpkin that I can keep using. I’m not sure what I WANT, in terms of Thanksgiving décor. But I really WANT it. Do you have any Thanksgiving or fall-type décor that you just love? Why can’t I stop typing décor?
  • And that makes me feel all giddy about Thanksgiving! I love this holiday! I can’t wait to pull out my Detailed Thanksgiving Timeline and start preparing for the meal. My parents are coming out for Thanksgiving this year, which should be super fun. I wonder if Carla will eat ANYTHING?
  • Of course, thinking about Thanksgiving gets me all excited about Christmas and Hanukkah, which I bet are going to be FANTASTIC, Carla-wise, this year. She is really going to “get” the whole idea of Santa Claus and I know she loved lighting the menorah last year, so it will be even more interesting this year. I think she’ll be able to look forward to things in a way she hasn’t before. SO FUN. I have some tentative gifts picked out for a few people, but now I can start gift-hunting in earnest. I also really want to get a tiny tree and some Christmas window clings for Carla’s room – she loved having her own Halloween decorations, so I think she’ll really enjoy Christmas ones, too. I have already put on the calendar our local Christmas tree lighting and food bank donation day, as well as our local menorah lighting. Maybe we will try to do a Santa Claus visit this year, too, if Carla is up for it. So those are fun things to look forward to.
  • Speaking of gifts (which I was, a while ago), my father-in-law AND father both have Major Birthdays this year. My father-in-law is first. And I am wondering, what the hell do you get to commemorate a major birthday for men who have EVERYTHING? Everything I think of seems either lame or completely out of the realm of possibility. Ideas? Anyone?
  • It’s a little hard to imagine Christmas with the unseasonably warm weather we’ve been having. I mean, we’ve been sleeping with the windows open and it’s NOVEMBER. On the one hand, this is awesome and I don’t want to waste it. On the other hand, I really want to wear the new vest and boots I bought, and I have a bunch of cute sweaters that aren’t being worn. So get with it, Actual Fall. At least the trees are super beautiful.
  • It’s so hard to believe that this nice weather is actually happening that I haven’t really been taking FULL advantage of the warmth. When it’s not raining, that is. I feel like I should be going for long walks outside with Carla. We have gone to the playground, a LOT, so that’s good. And she’s been playing in the back yard a bit, which is great. Okay, I suppose we also decorated pumpkins outside, and we’ve done chalk drawings on the driveway, and we did our Halloween Decoration Tour. So we’re not completely failing. But I kind of feel like I should go full on It’s Still Summertime, and put the patio cushions back out and fire up the grill more often. My parents got me a meat grinder for last Christmas, and so far I’ve only been using it to make ground beef for tacos and chili.

Freshly ground meat is SO GOOD. But the clean up is a little gross.

When really the BEST use would be for hamburgers. I think what’s holding me back is that it’s usually so dark by the time my husband gets home, that grilling isn’t particularly pleasant. We have a light on the grill, but it’s not particularly useful. Hmmm. Perhaps a really powerful, useful grill light would be a good candidate for a Christmas present??

All right, Internet. That’s all I have for today. What’s going on with you?

Read Full Post »