So I Decided to Start Cooking...

You may recall that one of my New Year's resolutions was to cook more often. I think we all know how that went.

There are lots of reasons why I don't cook much - Ryan's almost never home for dinner, I'm a little intimidated by cooking, I'm lazy about food prep (that's 95% of it right there), the list goes on.

Lately we've been spending way too much on take out and restaurants and it's motivated me to get back into cooking more often, and trying to stick to restaurants on weekends.


So on Sunday I hit Pinterest with a fervor I haven't had since I first learned about Pinterest and found some recipes that I thought would work for us. My requirements:

- Easy to make. I'm not using some fancy tool I'd have to go buy, I'm not mincing anything, and I'm not going to spend an hour wandering the grocery store for some obscure ingredient. At least not until I successfully execute the new plan for a few weeks and build up my confidence.

- Can be made in advance and warmed up later.

- Toddler friendly

- Can be made in small batches. We're two and a half people - if it serves 8-10 it's too much, even if I eat leftovers for lunch (which are actually a favorite of mine).


So here's what I made this week:

Monday: Baked Spaghetti with the recipe from The Gunny Sack. Served this with mixed veggies on the side (Frozen Foursome from Trader Joe's)

Tuesday: Stuffed Peppers. I didn't follow a specific recipe for this, but the inspiration came from A Beautiful Mess. I used marinara sauce, ground turkey, quinoa, shredded mozzarella, and leftover Frozen Foursome veggies.

Wednesday: Skinny Chicken Fried Rice from Skinny Mom.

Thursday: Honey Mustard Chicken from Simply Recipes with Garlic Ranch Roasted Potatoes (from Damn Delicious) and Salad. I'm really enjoying the Zoe's Kitchen dressing for salads - simple and delish.

I was able to prep part if not all of these around 10 in the morning while Liv was watching The Little Mermaid (every. single. day.) and then Ryan would text me when he left work and I'd get things finished up. He did his part by really making an effort to leave work earlier and I did the menu planning aspect. It worked really well and for four meals it cost $50, an amount we'd easily spend on two takeout dinners ( or one even), which gets a little crazy.

So now you need to tell me, what are some of your favorite (and easy!) recipes to make for your family?

14 comments:

  1. I love me a good Pinterest recipe. It is fun to try to mix things up in the kitchen with step by step by step by picture directions. Happy cooking :)

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  2. I have about 10 meals I rotate around with- then every once in a while when I'm feeling adventurous I turn to Pinterest! I'm totally bad on portion sizes and almost always make too much. I'm really trying to make more of an effort to actually eat the leftovers, it's sad when it gets wasted.

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  3. Two words: Taco Tuesday. Every Tuesday in our house is taco Tuesday. It's super easy. Toddler friendly. And only requires minimal thinking. What's not to love?! Sometimes I grab the pre-cooked and sliced Tyson's chicken to make it even easier.

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  4. So did you like all these meals? I'm always looking for new ones. When you decide mincing isn't bad I have a chicken, rice and veggie meal you will love. Besides mincing some veggies it's super easy! We also like doing fajitas and tacos over here. Often on a Sunday we will get a rotisserie at the grocery store and then use leftovers to make chicken quesadillas or chicken salad sandwiches.

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  5. I agree with the tacos! I make those all of the time using a rotisserie chicken and black beans and Knorr Spanish rice. Some of my other go-to recipes include shrimp quinoa from This Gal, and pretty much any Damn Delicious or Skinny Taste dish. One of my favorite things to do when I was starting to cook was to watch The Food Network, especially The Pioneer Woman, and just write down recipes as I watched the show. Now that it is getting warmer, we are able to grill out a ton and always add extra chicken, shrimp or any other meat to the grill to add on top of salads for upcoming meals. Hope this helps!

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  6. We have a standard (short) list of dinners we make in repeat. One of my favourites is butter chicken. Some rice, a couple chicken breasts and a butter chicken sauce found at just about any grocery store or Costco! Super easy. We also buy frozen pierogi and fry up some onions and bacon and serve with sour cream. Good luck with the cooking! Keep us posted on how it goes!

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  7. Oooooh, we might have to try that baked spaghetti tonight! I am allllllllll about the easy dinners. I hate prep, and I hate raw meat. Add me to the list of people that have tacos as a go to! One of my other favorites is the loaded baked sweet potato recipe from Skinnytaste. SO good! My toddler usually eats hers deconstructed, but we all love them!

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  8. Easy to assemble and small batches are the guidelines I cook by! I think some of these recipes need to be added to my pin board :)

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  9. Check out Mix and Match Mama. Easy recipes, few ingredients, yummy food.

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  10. A really easy and tasty basic meal--a small pork loin roast (do NOT get the flavored ones!), and whole baked sweet potatoes. Wash the potatoes and put them on a pan in 375 degree oven for about 90 minutes till totally soft. You can't really overcook them. Depending on the size of your roast, season it, and put it in the oven with potatoes for about 30 min. per pound--don't overcook it. Serve potatoes with butter if preferred, and add a salad or green vegetable. Just takes a few minutes prep and a couple of hours oven cooking.

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  11. Pioneer woman's Baked Mac & cheese. Not good for your thighs (or ass) but it's finger licking good.

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  12. Sometimes I Google "whats for dinner?" It steers me in a direction I may not have considered! Please oh please can someone explain what is kosher salt besides being kosher I mean. I see it in American recipes all the time, we have rock salt, Maldon salt crystal, Murray River Pink but what the heck is kosher and how does it differ?

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  13. Easy Dry rub ribs recipe- great for the BBQ
    http://fromsonuptilsondown.com/2014/09/dry-rub-ribs/

    Honey Mustard Fried onion Pork Chops
    http://fromsonuptilsondown.com/2014/08/honey-mustard-fried-onion-pork-chops/

    Awesome Cheddar potato soup- ridiculously easy
    http://fromsonuptilsondown.com/2012/09/cheddar-potato-soup-2/

    And my favorite desert
    http://fromsonuptilsondown.com/2014/01/reeces-cake/

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  14. These recipes sound great! Just pinned them so we can try them later. Thanks for sharing! :)

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