Meals, meals, and more meals

Although I’m lumping these several recipes together in this post, I didn’t actually make them together. I just realized that I hadn’t blogged about any recipes since last weekend, and I want to get a couple more out there while I’m thinking about it.

I hadn’t planned to let so much time lapse between blog posts. I’ve still been cooking at home – quite a bit, actually – and I’ve made several new recipes. I just haven’t written about them.

Frankly, I know that a lot of the things I made last year weren’t that exciting. Some were variations on other dishes I’d made. Some I made primarily just so that I’d have a source to site on this blog. I’m still looking through blogs and cooking websites and magazines and finding recipes to make – it’s a habit I can’t (and don’t necessarily need to) break. I don’t necessarily feel the need to recommend everything I make, but I do feel like it’s worth having feedback out there on recipes if someone wants to look for it. That said, I’m trying to resist the urge to write about the recipes unless there’s something really worth saying about them.

So, I made 3 recipes this past week (4 weeknights). I made a few recipes the week before that as well. So here’s a dinner round-up!

*****

I made Pork and Wild Rice Soup a little while ago. Since Alex isn’t eating many carbs, this was my own exclusive meal. I cooked my beans for the soup in the crockpot rather than use canned; and I soaked regular brown and wild rice since that’s what I had, and I knew they wouldn’t cook in 15 minutes otherwise. The result of these changes? My beans disintegrated (after they cooked a little too long in an untimed slow cooker), yielding a murky broth instead of the original clear; and I still had to cook the soup longer, by 15-20 minutes or more, to get the rice to be done, even though I’d soaked it.

The flavor of this soup was pretty good, and it went well with chips. The rices really didn’t do much for me, though, and I was suffering from soup burnout after eating (the similarly-themed) Mexican Chicken-Hominy Soup for a few days before making this.

*****

I didn’t realize this until I looked it up just now, but Salisbury steak was actually invented by an American; I always assumed it was British and named after a place, not a person. Now and then when I was growing up, we would have Salisbury steak for dinner. This was always a convenient, frozen entree that would serve the entire family. I don’t remember ever liking this. This makes sense, when you know my tastes. Salisbury steak is basically just seasoned hamburger patties in gravy, and while I like hamburgers just fine, I find gravy to be relatively boring. The texture of the meat in lots of frozen entrees can be a little off, as well, and I also am very picky about texture (a major reason why I don’t eat eggs, even when they’re delicious like in flan).

The December issue of Cooking Light had a Salisbury Steak recipe, and I decided to try it for two reasons. First, it sounded likeable (quick sauce/gravy made with wine; just onion and seasoning in the hamburgers), and second, it didn’t have many carbs so Alex would be able to eat it, especially if I ended up not liking it. This was simple and quick. After cooking the hamburgers and removing from the pan, I sauteed mushrooms and made the quick sauce. I substituted .25 cups water for the same amount of broth since I was using bouillon cubes, but this didn’t hurt the flavor at all.

Salisbury Steak

I should have made the patties smaller and more steak-shaped, but that’s mostly an aesthetic issue. This tasted good. If Salisbury steak had tasted this good when I was a kid, I would have enjoyed it. Of course, the delicious part of this was the gravy. The hamburger itself was fine, but nothing particularly special. I wouldn’t make this often, but it’s nice to know there’s a version of the dish out there that I liked.

*****

Alex may be eating a lot of meat, but I still enjoy my vegetables and having vegetarian meals. I kept the ingredients to make Chickpeas and Spinach with Smoky Paprika on hand. Spinach was the trickiest, but I decided that I would use frozen spinach in place of the fresh. I made a few other substitutions to the recipe in addition, so it may not be the most faithful representation of the original recipe. I did buy fire-roasted tomatoes, which had a nice flavor. I thought that 4 cups of onion was excessive, so I used 2. I used water in place of vegetable broth. I used frozen spinach, and added red wine vinegar instead of sherry vinegar. This recipe was originally called an appetizer, but I thought it sounded like it would make a nice meal. I ate it for 3 meals, each one with a toasted ciabatta roll.

Chickpeas and Spinach with Smoky Paprika

This was pretty good. Since I used frozen spinach, it ended up being more of a chickpea and tomato dish than a chickpea and spinach dish. I’m very glad I used only half of the onions it called for. It did go well with toasted bread, but it was pretty good on its own too. The smoked paprika smelled so good as it went in, and gave the dish a nice flavor; it’s definitely worth spending money on to use in vegetarian dishes. I might make this again sometime.

*****

Tonight I made Sizzled Shrimp for dinner. Yes, it’s another appetizer that I decided to have for dinner. I wanted to make something low-carb, since shrimp is pretty good for Alex’s diet. Otherwise, though, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do with the shrimp; I’d originally thought I’d try a healthy shrimp scampi. But, I came across this recipe, and decided I wanted to eat garlic bread with it rather than pasta. Shrimp is really fast to cook. This couldn’t have taken more than 15 minutes. Honestly, I think it only took 7 – the exact amount of time it takes for me to make garlic bread the way I like it in the toaster oven.

Sizzled Shrimp

These were also pretty good. The classic combination of garlic, pepper, lemon, and white wine goes well with many things, and shrimp is definitely among them. I was a little surprised that there was so much liquid with the shrimp – I guess I expected a little more of it to cook off than it did. It would have been good with a single serving of pasta. This was tasty and easy, though, and I might make it again.

*****

I think that pretty much wraps up everything I’ve eaten in the past week or two. Nothing particularly exciting, but I think it was all healthy and relatively tasty!

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