In the past I may have presented myself as more of a chef than I actually am. Let me be clear: I am an excellent food assembler, but a chef I am not. I am excellent at opening bags of delicious items from Trader Joe’s and combining them to make different delicious things. But I do not come up with new ideas for food on my own. I do not taste something and say, “Hmmmm this needs tarragon.” I might be able to identify if something needs salt, but I might also have to consult one of my more kitchen savvy pals. When I try a new recipe there are frequent trips back and forth across my kitchen between the recipe and the cutting board to double and triple check the amount whatever I’m supposed to be adding. I get very flustered when trying to “cook” so trying a new recipe can get, well, a bit messy.
And this past week it did get messy as I tried several new recipes. But it also got delicious. Very very delicious. More delicious than usual. So delicious that I just had to share. Here are the newby recipes that will for sure become staples in my repertoire and get me one step closer to actually calling myself a chef. Well, maybe a cook. Like a cook with chefiness. Anyway, in no particular order….
#1. Spaghetti Squash & Cheese by Jo & Sue
This is for when you’re craving an old skool college years, pj’s in front of a movie mac ‘n’ chee night. But I can’t eat like I did in college anymore. Let’s face it. I couldn’t eat like I did in college when I was in college. But that didn’t stop me from eating an entire box of Kraft Cheese & Macaroni by myself whenever I wanted to. Nowadays I have a little more restraint. I have long been a fan of spaghetti squash with meaty bolognese sauce. Why it never occurred to me to make it into mac ‘n’ cheese I don’t know. But the next time I want to eat an obscene amount of something gooey, I will turn to this recipe. ***Special note: When I read this recipe I was like, “Whaaa?!” because it involves making a roux of flour and milk and then adding cheese which makes a literal cheezy goo which I was skeptical would work. But trust the recipe gods because it does work. You may have to adjust the amount of cheese rue sauce that you make depending on how big your spaghetti squash is. Just go with it. Trust the cheezy goo.
When all was said and eaten, my ginormous portion came out to 5 WW points.
#2. Garlic Shrimp by skinnytaste.com
This recipe was both stupid good and stupid easy. I am a fan of garlic. I don’t believe there is such a thing as too much garlic. I always double the garlic in a recipe. So this recipe was right up my alley for 2 reasons. One – there were big slices of garlic, yum! And two – all I had to do was thinly slice the garlic as opposed to mincing or chopping it. Much easier. Score. This shrimp tasted sinful with all the garlic and spices – paprika & fresh cilantro – but was still light and easy. Make it. You’ll love it. I promise.
5 WW points per serving
#3. Scallion Cilantro Rice by skinnytaste.com
This was a serving suggestion to go with the Garlic Shrimp, but it was its own superstar dish. I’ve made it twice this week with different things. It calls for a habanero pepper but I couldn’t find one so I used serrano peppers instead which are a little milder and easier to find. Totally worked. Basically, this recipe is like making regular rice except that you start with a minced pepper in the pot before you cook the rice, and then you add cilantro, scallions & lime juice at the end. Soooooo yummy. Big hit with the husby.
5 WW points per serving
I. Have. No. Words. Ok, yes I do. My friend Anjali is an amazing food blogger who always has interesting, simple and healthy recipes on her blog. I’ve talked about her before and I’m sure I will talk about her again. But enough about Anjali. She’s amazing blah blah blah. Let’s talk about her veggies. You guys. These veggies are so so so good that I wish I were eating them right now. When I was eating them I kept saying, “Oh my god. Oh my god!” and looking around the room to verify their deliciousness. I served them over the Scallion Cilantro Rice from above with roasted marinated tofu (you can purchase this from TJ’s as a quick cheat). But I would eat these veggies by themselves. I would eat them hot or cold. I would eat them on a boat. I would eat them on a goat. With a goat? Hell, I would eat them on a goat, because they are that good. The secret is in the dressing that you toss them in at the end – with miso, walnut oil & lime juice. I did lighten this recipe up a bit by cutting back on the oil (I used PAM to roast the veggies instead of vegetable oil and I cut back on the walnut oil a bit in the dressing). I also changed up the veggies – Anjali calls for brussels sprouts, cauliflower & sweet potatoes; I used brussels sprouts, cauliflower, BUTTERNUT SQUASH & I added mushrooms which my husband proclaimed as his favorite part. I could go on talking about these veggies but I’m afraid I will get up and pull the leftovers out of the fridge and eat them all before I remember that they are supposed to be for lunch tomorrow. AAAAAAAAHHHHHH I LOVE THESE VEGGIES!
After cutting the oil back and swapping out the pointsy sweet potatoes, I counted this as 2 WW points. Yeah. Enjoy.
Well there you have it. The best of the last week. I ate well this week and it has truly inspired me to continue the trend. I must give a shout-out to all the bloggers out there who’s recipes I pulled, made and stole for this blog entry. You are all food goddesses and I bow down to your chefiness. More please!