One of the things that keeps me motivated not only when trying to lose weight, but in the kitchen in general, is new foods and new recipes. It's so easy to get bogged down eating the same foods week after week and when food boredome sets in, that's never good. Ask my family how many times we had Slow Cooker Chicken last winter - it's a tasty, easy and healthy recipe, but it got to be a bit much and I think we ate out several times rather than face it again.
I've always been intrigued by cookbooks and recipes. One of my favorite hobbies since I was a child has been digging through my Mom's orange recipe box, finding recipes hand-written by my grandmother or great-grandmother. There's a small bookshelf in my parent's dining room with everything from the Betty Crocker classic and How to Cook His Goose (a wild game cookbook) to cookbooks that belonged to my Mom as a girl and a Merced High School band boosters cookbook from 1981 that we make exactly two recipes out of.
I now have my own collection of cookbooks, not to mention the magazines I tend to bring home with me, but my favorite resource is the internet. I can type in an ingredient and come up with thousands of recipes. I love trying something new, even when it doesn't work out. There was that muffalata style sandwich when Tom and Iwere first married...the split pea soup that was just plain scary...a cobbler that just didn't work this summer...coconut flour brownies last week that somehow separated into layers. I'm okay with flops. I generally learn something, whether it's about the food I'm working with or a new technique that I can take with me to the next meal.
I thought this week, I'd share a few of my favorite new and healthy recipes and pass along the inspiration.
Lemon-Orzo Salad with Chicken and Veggies (made with brown rice instead of orzo)
I've actually made this twice in the last two weeks, once for dinner serving it on top of salad greens and a few days later substituting the chicken for Great White Northern beans for lunches. The dressing is great on anything. Here's another brown rice salad I'm pretty partial to.
I don't have pictures to share of some of our other recent favorites - Tom and the kids attacked them so quickly, I didn't have a chance and I think that's the highest praise I can get as a mom and cook.
Spinach and Feta Pasta - Our Best Bites is a wonderful food blog I discovered recently thanks to a cousin. I'm finding I do have to do a bit of adapting to make their recipes gluten-free for me, but they've all been completely worth it. This is a delicious, quick pasta dish.
Greek Style Pita Sandwiches - another Our Best Bites recipe, this is another quick one that was a huge hit with everyone in our house.
Wannabe PF Chang's Lettuce Wraps - absolutely mouth-watering! Served with an easy vegetable fried brown rice, there were absolutely no left-overs.
California Grilled Veggie Sandwich - my sister and brother-in-law made these for lunch when we visited one day this summer, and I just about cried they were so good! They added grilled chicken sausages, but they are equally good as a vegetarian meal. I've got to learn how to make gluten-free bread just so I can still eat these!
Orange Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry - a favorite that even my pickiest eater loves. I cut the meat when I get it home from the grocery store before freezing it, so it takes less than half an hour from start to table. Add a little brown rice to complete the meal.
What recipes are inspiring you in the kitchen this week? Are there any foods in particular you're wanting to learn more about (that would be fennel for me!)?
And now that one full month of the Meltdown has passed, how you feeling about where you are? Do you need to do any re-evaluating of your goals or plans?