I keep seeing posts on Facebook and Twitter where people are begging for dinner ideas. I usually end up stalking these posts and find a couple of things I can add to my list. This summer I’ve been trying to make at least one new dish a week with the goal being I can find at least a few dishes to add into our regular rotation. I’ve even made a Pinterest board where I’m giving feedback on dishes/crafts I’ve tried that I’ve found from the site. So here’s a list of some of the new dishes that have made their way into our rotation:
We ALWAYS have chicken thighs in our house. I’ve learned over the years to prefer them to chicken breasts because they are a lot more forgiving when you are experimenting. They don’t dry out like chicken breasts and they have more flavor even with just a simple marinade. I picked this recipe because it’s all stuff I have in my cabinet – which is very important when I’m struggling to figure out what I’m going to cook. These thighs were great! Joel and Josh both ate them up and asked to have them in a regular rotation. My only edit I would make is to use a little less honey than the recipe calls for. I thought that the honey was SO liquidly (nope, that’s not a word and I don’t care) that with a little less, it would hopefully not be a mess all over my pan. I had just picked up the honey that weekend from the farmer’s market so it was REALLY fresh. I don’t know if that matters.
When corn is fresh and in season, I do whatever I can to find great recipes with corn. This came recommended from a friend on one of those Facebook posts. One of the reasons I decided to make this particular dish is because I was running into Big Lots to grab some 4th of July decor and I noticed they have a grocery section! They had some fancy brand of couscous (Red Mill, I believe) for a couple of dollars and I decided to go ahead and get it. This was a quick and easy dinner that uses all fresh ingredients. I didn’t add the jalapeno in the dish but I did cut some up and put it in a bowl for Joel and Josh. Lila didn’t really care for the couscous but I think that’s a texture thing for her. The avocado was the perfect touch! My only complaint is that I felt like I had to eat a TON to feel full. Joel and Josh both agreed that this would be better if it was a side to some actual meat. So I’m going to try it again as a side dish to some grilled chicken (thighs!).
Rice, Beans, and Okra
So I don’t know the exact name of this recipe. It all started from something my MIL made when she came to stay at our house when I was in the last few weeks (after my due date) of my pregnancy. This was kinda just a throw in of anything she could find. My MIL is really creative when it comes to stuff like this and now after tweaking this a bit, it’s become one of our favorite recipes. It’s also a vegetarian dish but it needs nothing else to accompany it. Find a large bowl and start layering:
- White rice (we use a rice cooker because it turns out that it makes rice one billion times better than I can on the stove. Considering how much we eat rice, we get our money’s worth. We just bought this one because our cheap one from Walgreens finally died after 5 years.)
- Black beans – I add some (about half ) diced onion to a pot with some canola oil. As they cook down, I add in cumin and curry spices and then I dump the entire can of black beans (with the juices) in the pot and let it simmer.
- Slimey Okra – I know this sounds gross, but it is my absolute favorite. It’s more like a healthier version of bhindi (which is basically the Indian non-breaded version of fried okra). I slice onion (usually a whole one and then I slice up the other half from the beans) and start sauteing it in a pan with a lid with some canola oil. The goal of this dish is to steam the veggies. The trick to getting your okra nice and slimy is to cut it and let it dry for a few hours before you start cooking. I usually slice it up during nap time and then just let it dry out on a cookie sheet with some paper towels underneath it. Once you get the onions going, add the okra and put the top on. You want to cook this on a low simmer because you don’t want to actually fry the okra. As it cooks down, you’ll start to see the okra stick together and then you know it’s getting perfect. Add salt at the end to taste.
- Shredded SHARP cheddar cheese – I find some sharp white cheddar in the deli area (although we’ve used the regular yellow sharp cheese in the dairy aisle and it works fine). When my MIL first made this dish for us, I happened to have some fancy white sharp cheddar cheese from Earth Fare and it was the star of the dish. So I try adding new fancy cheeses (as long as they are on sale and I remember to buy some).
- Diced tomatoes
Pile all of this on top of each other and you have a delicious dinner. This is SO filling for not only me but for Joel’s siblings. They eat like horses and this fills everyone up and gives us leftovers for lunch the next day.
I know that I love reading about what you are cooking/eating – because honestly, cooking has become kinda fun for me so I’m always attempting to try new recipes (at least one a week) so I’m not just cooking the same 5 things over and over again. So, now that I’m going to try posting our dinners, you should too!