The Start of Something {somewhat} New

I moved out of my parents house a little more than three years ago.  Ready for a confession?  In the last three years, I’ve only cooked a handful of times.  I used to think that eating out would never get old.  “I live in Houston, there are so many restaurants to choose from! I can have a different type of cuisine every day of the week!”  Yeah, it got old.  It took a while, but I’m over it {for now}.

Enter: meal planning.  Until last week, I’d make a general grocery list of what I thought to be staples and would just figure out something along the way.  That only led to opening the fridge/freezer/pantry, decide that nothing sounded appetizing and hopped in the car to dine out.  Meal planning has always looked soooo intimidating!  How was I supposed to stay organized and narrow down a week’s worth of meals when I see at least five different recipes every single day?!  One step at a time, that’s how.  Last weekend, I decided to tackle meal planning and started with two recipes that I had bookmarked weeks {if not months} ago.  Truth be told, I had most of the ingredients due to a meal plan attempt a while back.

First meal was Thai Peanut Noodles from Iowa Girl Eats.  These suckers were GOOD.  If you’re into Asian food, this is definitely a must try!  This time around I used rice noodles and left out some veggies but I’m definitely going to throw them in next time.  Since the noodles didn’t hold up too well {next time might try pasta or try to find a more substantial form of rice noodles as these tended to be a little mushy}, the crunch from fresh vegetables was definitely missing.  Over all, this was an amazing first meal to really get me motivated 🙂

Next up, Slow Cooker Pulled Pork.  This dish was equally delicious and ridiculously simple!  How can you go wrong with a three ingredient recipe?!  Along with our sandwiches, I opened a bag of pre-shredded coleslaw and threw on some pickles to round out this Southern meal.  I’m really looking forward to enjoying this again.

This week, I upped the ante and threw three {!!!} meals into the mix.  When I first bought my iPad, the Cooking Light app was one of the first I purchased.  I immediately browsed the recipes and “favorite’d” a few.  Among those was Cooking Light’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich.  We ended up not making sandwiches but after marinating all day, the chicken was incredibly tender and delicious.  The only modification I might make is to add more hot sauce.  The spicier the better!

I’m not sure I’ll be able to ever top last night’s meal.  Lee thoroughly enjoyed the Chicken Tamale Casserole {another Cooking Light recipe} and requested that this be added into the dinner rotation.  Success!  I might have used extra chicken but I’m not completely sure because I didn’t measure {who doesn’t like extra chicken?} and I opted to use regular kerneled corn instead of creamed corn due to personal preference.  Next time, I’ll probably add enchilada sauce to the cornbread mixture just to give it a more cohesive flavor.  My picture does not do this meal any justice but trust, it was yummy!

Chicken Tamale Casserole

Tonight, I was a little more adventurous and attempted to cook shrimp for the first time.  It doesn’t sound too difficult but you would have thought that I’d never seen a thoroughly cooked shrimp before!  I needed a second opinion every time I thought they were done.  Once this Crispy Shrimp Pasta was plated, it proved to be a rich and decadent treat that I definitely needed to indulge in.  Again, not the most aesthetically pleasing picture, but delicious nonetheless.

Crispy Shrimp Pasta

After these two weeks of cooking, I’m actually looking forward to planning next week’s menu.  I’m on a hunt to find meals that top this weeks hits!

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One thought on “The Start of Something {somewhat} New

  1. If you need any more meal ideas, let me know. James and Lee eat a lot of the same food, and I actually have a folder in my email where I’ve saved the tweaked version of my/our favorites.

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