cleaning it up
the more recipes i come across that are super delicious, the easier i'm finding it to eat "clean." or, at least, "clean-ish." and if a meal can be done in the crock pot, even better. like this lemon garlic chicken we tried last week which i served with some sautéed asparagus and mushroom quinoa:
i know, i know - i said i didn't like quinoa before. and i really didn't, that time. but it actually turned out pretty delicious, and i was able to work through the texture issues i had the first time i tried the stuff. i'm gonna say that adding two of my favorite veggies to it helped a lot. in any case, it was a hit and it'll go into the rotation for future meals.
my next experiment found me breaking out the yeast again, for the first time in a long time.
i followed this recipe for whole wheat pizza dough, and although i had my doubts as i mixed it up, it turned out pretty well. i threw together the ingredients for a quick pizza sauce, and with the bean supervising, i got to work.
MIL and i shared this one, topped with uncured canadian bacon, mushrooms and asparagus. the bean enjoyed her own pizza with slices of prosciutto on top. i served it up with a warm brussels sprouts salad with uncured bacon, and everyone was happy.
with a package of ground turkey just chilling in the fridge, i decided to tackle a recipe for mozzarella-stuffed meatballs. these came together pretty easily, which was good considering i didn't even start cooking till our usual dinnertime.
i made one change while following the recipe - instead of frying them in a pan, i baked them at 350 for about 25 minutes. while they were baking, i boiled some water and cooked up a bag of brown rice fusilli and warmed up a jar of organic marinara sauce from trader joe's. after assembling a bowl of warm, tomatoey goodness, i cut into the first meatball and it was absolutely perfect.
so you're well aware of how much we all love tater tot casserole around here. except that the main ingredient - cream of mushroom soup - is definitely a big fat NO for this challenge. i knew that others had done it with a homemade substitution, though, and so after finding an easy recipe, i decided to give it a shot. as i made the cream, the teen worked on browning another package of ground turkey. we mixed it all together, topped with some cheddar, peeled and shredded a russet potato for the top, and voila:
still looks like dog food no matter what you do with it, huh? i don't care. it was really good! the bean loved it, and didn't even notice a difference. while it's still not the healthiest thing in the world, it's not loaded with processed crap and frozen potatoes. i'm gonna call this one a win.
now, i wouldn't be me if i didn't try a new recipe for a treat. and when someone posted this recipe for homemade nut butter cups (heh heh, nut butter. never stops being amusing), i knew i had to try it. reese's are the teen's most favorite thing in the world, and i wanted to surprise her with something i made with her in mind.
it was pretty easy to make, and i used a mix of cashews and peanuts for the butter. i'm really starting to like making this stuff, and that cashew butter i made last week is all but gone. mixed with some raw honey, coconut oil and vanilla extract, it went into a mini muffin tin and then to the freezer to solidify. i wanted the cups to have chocolate on both the bottom and tops, so after about an hour or so, i popped them out to do just that.
this was kind of a bitch. next time, i'm going to use mini paper liners and save the pan from getting even more scratched up. but i didn't have any, and so i just worked on pouring some of the chocolate mixture into the bottoms of the cups, replacing the nutty layers, and topping them with more chocolate.
since i had to use a butter knife to pry them all out when they were done, they all have little dents on one edge. so while they aren't exactly pretty, i can tell you that they sure are tasty.
despite her disdain for the taste of coconut, the teen gave these two thumbs up. i'm calling that a big win.