A New Year, New Recipes: 1-4

In November and December, I dined out entirely too much. I worked out less than I should have. Choosing a restaurant became a chore, rather than a treat. I remember a time when I used to make lots of new and exciting foods, but while I still go around collecting recipes, I find myself still gravitating towards the same ones again and again, or just throwing meals together. I still enjoy cooking, but I don’t like making food just because I have to.

At some point late last year I subscribed to a couple of cooking magazines, one of which arrived right in time for our drive to my in-laws. While Alex drove, I read the January-February issue of Eating Well to him (and I’m sure he was *thrilled*). Everything looked pretty easy to make, and I liked the idea of maybe losing a little weight while cooking more often.

Although I always had goals or plans for myself, I’d long since given up making New Year’s resolutions because I know how hard they can be to keep up with if you don’t have concrete plans. I didn’t want “cook more” to be a resolution. It’s entirely subjective, and there’s no way to measure it. I already cook a lot by some standards. I cook more difficult things than people who’ve cooked a lot longer than I have, as well. But “cook a recipe for each day of the year,” that’s quantifiable – and I think it’s obtainable too.

I’m not sure that all I’ll make is new recipes – I still like the old recipes I refer back to – but I’m going to try. I won’t count repeats, though. That would be like cheating.

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I started off the first work-week right. I started off by making (#1) Quick Pork and Chile Stew on Monday. It was pretty good, but you definitely needed the corn tortillas to go along with it since it was thin. I don’t cook with peppers too often, but I enjoyed using the poblanos.

Quick Pork and Chile Stew

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On Tuesday I made (#2) Fish Sticks. These were great. I liked these much better than normal frozen fish sticks. Processed fish stick are by no means healthy, and by making them at home I know what’s going in them – that’s one of the big reasons I like cooking from scratch. Tilapia, which is what this recipe calls for, is pretty cheap, so I’ve bought it often enough that I’ve gotten bored with it. This is potentially the tastiest recipe I’ve used tilapia in. I’ll definitely make these again, and what I’d really like to do is figure out a way to freeze them so that they’re as easy to have for dinner as boxed fish sticks are. The only bad part about making these was having to go through the whole “batter” process – it takes a while to go through the rigmarole of dipping the fish in the flour, egg, and crumbs.

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On Wednesday I made (#3) Mango Dal and broiled some chicken breasts coated in curry powder. This recipe was another success. Lentils (and beans in general) are always surprisingly satisfying, and the chicken made a nice accompaniment.  Alex liked it because it was sweet. This made great leftovers. I wish I could make this again and have it count toward my recipe count.

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Recipe #4 was Cucumber Vinaigrette. Meh. I think I altered this too much to do it justice, and I simply don’t care that much for salad dressing. It called for horseradish and dijon mustard, both of which I don’t like and therefore left out. Alex didn’t mind how it turned out, but I didn’t want to eat the leftover dressing. I’d rather just have a dash of salt, a little pepper, and some olive oil on my salads.

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