30 Before 30: #27 -Try out 30 new recipes

This has been a truly rewarding adventure. Stephen and my bellies have been pleasantly surprised by some of these dishes and I hope to be able to take the techniques learned to enhance my own cooking repertoire. I’m going to link to each of the recipes that I can with a little information about each dish in case you have an interest in trying them.

1. Tomatillo Salsa – 7/4/12:  I started my experiments with salsa-making using this recipe as a base. After a few tries (and one REALLY hot batch of salsa), I finally came to a happy heat and consistency. The adventure for this recipe can be found here.

Salsa-y goodness

Salsa-y goodness

2. Spaghetti with Sautéed Chicken and Grape Tomatoes – 7/5/12: Okay, this is seriously amazing. I do love me some tomatoes and the sauce that is made while they sauté and release their juice is really, really good. This is definitely something that I would make again. In fact, looking at the picture makes me want to make it. Right now. I should note that I always add extra garlic, so generally I multiply the requested garlic clove amount by at least 1.5.

3. Santa Fe Chicken – 7/15/12: I do like anything that can be done in the crock pot. I also like things that involve Mexican flavors. Quick, easy and satisfying.

4. Grilled Potatoes – 8/29/12: I feel like this one is pretty self explanatory. But let’s be honest. Potatoes are one of God’s great gifts to humanity. I don’t have a fancy crinkle cutter, so mine were just cut straight but it was my first ever adventure on our grill. And they were so good. Potatoes don’t need much to be complete perfection.

5. Garlic Butter Pasta with Peas – 9/3/12: I made this one up. I used some of the technique from recipe #2 on this one. First, I cut two chicken breasts into cubes and cooked them in a little butter in a pan until browned. Then I sautéed sliced garlic (many cloves- to taste) low and slow in a little butter to really infuse the garlic flavor. Meanwhile, I had cooked some pasta and threw in the frozen peas for the last few minutes of the boil to cook at once. Then, after draining, I added them to the garlic butter and tossed. A little Parmesan on top and salt and pepper to taste.

6. Taco Cupcakes – 9/5/12: Seriously good. We made these for a football related gathering and they went pretty quick. Some Cholula, tomatoes and shredded lettuce on top and you’ve really got something there. I do like finger foods and something that I can eat while entertaining and cooking and these really fit the bill. Easy to make, too.

7. Cheesy Chicken and Rice Bake – 10/21/12: I definitely took the advice and used Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice to make this an easier after work recipe. Tasty.

8.Beef Stew – 10/25/12: A perfect recipe for a cold, snowy fall day. I was able to prep my veggies the night before (and a good thing too! I’m always running behind) . I even had enough leftovers to take some to a sick co-worker the next day to help her back to health.

Comfort food classic

Comfort food classic

9. Roasted Vegetables -11/13/12: Inspired by my sweet friend Kelsey, I roasted vegetables for the first time. Olive oil, salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme. 400 degrees, flip once. And then I became obsessed. We’ve roasted butternut squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, potatoes, garlic…

10. Omelet with cheddar, tomato and spinach – 11/17/12: I decided around this time that I needed to start eating things that are good for me, whether I enjoy them or not. That means eggs. So I thought the best way to start would be to do an omelet so that I could put in things that I like to try and outweigh the things that I don’t like. I used the general technique from this recipe to learn to make an omelet and have since tried other combinations. I think my favorite is 2 eggs, spinach, cherry tomatoes, bacon and mozzarella cheese.

11. Healing Garlic Tomato Soup – 11/17/12: Another recipe that I got from Kelsey. I didn’t own a blender at the time so I had to use my tiny food processor, making it a little chunky, but it was tasty. I added extra garlic, of course, and paired it with Three-Cheese Grilled Cheese with Bacon and Tomatoes on Garlic Rubbed Italian Bread. Great combo.

Excellent pairing

Excellent pairing

12. Pepperoni Pizza Quesadillas – 11/24/12: These were quick and delicious. It seems like such an obvious thing to make that I don’t know why I haven’t had them sooner. I used a three-cheese blend (cheddar, mozzarella & parmesan). I forgot to buy pizza sauce so we didn’t have anything to dip them in but they were tasty as was.

13. Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops – 12/15/12: “Life-Changing Pork Chop” recipe from my sister Nikki. These were truly tasty. We don’t eat a lot of pork, so to have something this delicious and using a meat we don’t often use was a definite treat.

14. Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Lemon Garlic Sauce – 12/15/12: Our first foray into the world of Brussels Sprouts. Knowing that my sister loves Brussels Sprouts, I knew who to go to in the instance of needing a recipe. This was a pleasant surprise. Tasty and garlicky.

Brussels Sprouts

15. Cinnamon Quinoa Breakfast Bake - 12/16/12: I had high hopes for these. I like most anything cinnamon, so I thought I would really enjoy these and they would be super healthy. Taste-wise they were okay but the texture of the quinoa was hard to get over. I like quinoa in savory dishes but I’m not sold on sweet(ish) preparations yet.

16. Crispy Southwest Chicken Wraps – 12/17/12: These were tasty. I had a bit of trouble with the tortillas cracking when I folded them so I should have heated them through longer but otherwise a good recipe.

17. Roasted Vegetable Orzo - 12/27/12: No pine nuts or feta for us but crazy good. I used carrots, butternut squash, yellow squash and zucchini. And garlic of course. It was tasty fresh out of the oven and tasty as leftovers.

Orzo

18. Kale Chips – 1/19/13: Crunchy, light and addictive. I used Kelsey’s basic preparation, but instead of BBQ, I dressed them simply with salt, pepper and little seasoned salt. I could seriously eat the whole bowl. And really good for us to boot.

Kale Chips

19. Rosemary Pork Chops – 1/21/13: Another tasty pork chop recipe. It also involves garlic :)

20. Pork Chops with Golden Onions and Wilted Tomatoes – 1/29/13: The title does not mention the tasty balsamic vinegar. The tomatoes and balsamic pair very nicely into a tangy and sweet salsa-esque topping. Very good.

21. Homemade Protein Bars – 2/19/13: Now that Stephen is working out like a madman (p90x), he wanted some protein bars that were made with whey protein. Since I love him so much, I found this recipe and made them. A little dense due to a lack of milk or eggs, but not bad tasting.

22. Chicken Ranch Mac & Cheese - 2/24/13: Comfort food for a crazy snowy night watching the Oscars with friends. The ranch adds just a little bit of tang to a recipe that just makes you feel happy. First time trying it and it seemed to be liked overall.

23. Spaghetti Squash – 3/5/13: In an effort to be more health conscious and p90x carb-reduced diet friendly, I tried to substitute spaghetti squash for spaghetti. I followed Martha’s recipe but the squash was still a little crunchy. This made it not very appetizing. Maybe if I cooked it longer I would have liked it more.

24. Roots & Fruits Juice – 4/12/13: Since I lived on nothing but freshly made juice for 10 days, I’m going to include a juice recipe in this list. I actually tried MANY new juice recipes but since my mean friends don’t think they count, I’m only including one. This one was one of my absolute favorites. Anything with pineapple is legit, let’s face it. It’s full of Vitamin C, Beta-Carotene and Bromelain, on top of being delicious.

25. Quinoa with Black Beans and Corn- 5/18/13: I didn’t do bell peppers cause I don’t care for them too much. I used an extra tomato cause I love them and added a half can of diced green chiles. So good. This is my favorite quinoa recipe so far. Mexican flavors are the best flavors, am I right? Eat as a dip with tortilla chips? Amazing.

26. Vegetable Tian- 5/19/13: OMG. I literally ate half of the pan by myself. Beautiful to look at, delicious beyond belief. I didn’t have dried thyme so I just used some Italian Seasoning. I felt crazy fancy making this and it was almost too pretty to eat. But clearly that didn’t stop me. Roasted veggies topped with parmesan… be still my heart. I’m also currently obsessed with this website and can’t wait to make more recipes.

IMG_5429

27. French Bread Pizza – 8/19/13: Super easy. Cheap. Filling.

28. Fettuccine Alfredo – 8/27/13: Pretty tasty and perfect for a hard day. Nothing says “I love you” like 2000 calories per serving. Easy preparation, which you have to love, but I’d definitely add some garlic.

29. Roasted Corn and Chicken Chowder- 10/6/13: For my birthday the last two years, Stephen has taken me to Elway’s, the restaurant owned by former Broncos QB and terrifying horse-man, John Elway. Though they specialize in steaks and seafood, one of my favorite things there is their Roasted Corn & Chicken Chowder. So, I scoured the internet for a recipe that sounded most similar and came across this one. It’s pretty easy to make, which I love, and delicious. I didn’t use roasted red peppers, I used roasted green chiles as they are not only superior in every way, but also what they have at Elway’s. I probably put in more potatoes than I was supposed to. I’m sure this surprises all of you. I think the only thing Elway’s has that this doesn’t is crispy bacon on top. Next time I’m adding bacon but I was pleased with how this turned out. (Note: It says to use a 3qt. saucepan for everything but I’m not sure it would have fit in one. I used my 5qt. stock pot.)

30. Cheesy Enchilada Stack – 10/17/13: Today I got home from the store and said “hope you’re in the mood for Mexican,” and then paused. Stephen, being the Mexican-lover that he is, looked excited and I finished my sentence with “cause your wife is home.” Oh I’m so funny. But in all seriousness, we LOVE Mexican food. So it seemed fitting to end the 30 new recipes with something Mexican. Fairly easy to assemble, this stack looks pretty as well. It should be easily customizable (chicken or even just cheese instead). Pretty tasty, though I’m definitely going to recommend cutting it into 6 wedges. We did 4 cause it was easier and I couldn’t finish mine I got so full!

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