I’ll be honest. Until this past summer, I didn’t cook.
My life has taken such a huge turn in the last several months. I went from working long shifts as a full time nurse to a SAHM after we moved. We still aren’t sure how long we will be able to keep me at home, but our hope is to make it last as long as possible. In the meantime, it only makes sense that I finally give my husband the chef a break, and learn how to cook.
So in October, after we moved to Coastal Georgia, I started finding recipes to try. I needed a lot, since my cooking repertoire was drastically small. I did it on my own for a while, but I quickly got into a rut…it started feeling like we were eating the same things over and over, and I don’t do so great at the side dishes.
I have been using E-Mealz since November. I kept seeing Kim mention it, and finally gave it a try. I highly recommend it! This usually kills two birds with one stone: it gives me a week’s worth of menus, as well as gives me a shopping list for the local grocery store. Both are chores that I’d gladly pay someone to do for me! I’ll admit, I am a notoriously picky eater…so some weeks, I’ll read through the list and immediately cross some things off. But at least now, I have a cookbook full of recipes that we have tried and loved to fall back on.
One gauge I employ when deciding which recipes make the cut: my five year old daughter. My picky eating habits are NOTHING compared to hers. I mean, the child hates pizza and hamburgers. She would eat PB&J every meal of every single day if we’d let her. When she eats something I’ve cooked, I know I’ve done well 😉
And without further ado, this is what was for dinner this past week! (After the jump!) All recipes used this week were from E-Mealz.
Monday: Homemade Pepperoni Pizza! This one was actually made by my husband. I had gone into the bedroom to read and fell asleep…I suspect he didn’t wake me up because he misses cooking 😉 This is actually similar to a homemade pizza recipe that my mom makes…just no meat. Basically, pizza sauce, pepperoni, cheese, and some spices. It was very good, I just prefer a little ground beef on my pizza. And yes, my daughter had a PB&J sammich. I do not understand that kid.
Tuesday: Swedish Meatballs over noodles, French green beans! This is the recipe that had me cringing to begin with. It involved me putting my hands into raw meat, eggs, milk, bread crumbs, and making meatballs out of it. Y’all, I’m sorry but I have issues! I did it, but that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t also saying “Eww, this is so disgusting!” while I was doing it! So this was two firsts for me: making meatballs and making gravy. I was pleasantly surprised at both, it was delicious! (And tasted great when I had the leftovers for lunch too.) My green beans are always a little different: a little bit of EVOO, a spoonful of sugar, a pat of butter, a pinch of salt, and a bit of pepper. Sounds a little off, but it’s really good and it’s the only way I can talk my kids into eating green beans! Throw in some buttermilk biscuits (Kroger brand, y’all didn’t think I made them from scratch, did you??) and we were all stuffed silly.
- Wednesday: French Toast, Hot Cinnamon Apples, Bacon! I worried about this one, because it called for 6 eggs. If you know me, you know that I have oddly developed this weird allergy to eggs in my adult years, at least in substantial quantities. Maybe it was a sign that I was only able to use 4 eggs, because the last two were cracked in the carton. So I finished up using Egg Beaters. The first four pieces of bread that I used turned out great. Pieces number 5 and 6, however, were falling apart before I could even get them out of the egg batter…they ended up being mini pieces for our daughter 😉 I’ve made the apples before, it’s something easy to do, but dang I hate peeling stuff! My son loves those things. My daughter loves apples, but somehow putting sugar and cinnamon on them makes it “Eww yucky!” for her. She’d rather eat every piece of bacon there is. I literally had to stop her from eating more bacon! What can I say, she’s definitely my child with that one. This was a really good, fairly easy breakfast for supper meal. Everybody loved it; my stomach was hurting a little a couple hours later, but that was it. I can do 4 eggs…lol
Thursday: Dinner by KFC/Taco Bell. We had a hard afternoon, y’all. Cooking dinner just wasn’t in the cards for that night!
Friday: Sausage Fajitas, Saffron Rice! I’ll admit, I’ve never really been much of a fan of sausage. So I was hesitant to try this one, but I figured I’d give it a shot anyway. Plus, we already had the tortillas in the pantry, and I needed to use them up 🙂 Basically, it was kielbasa sausage, onion, and bell pepper, all mixed together, all wrapped up fajita style. Another first for me…I have never cooked anything with bell pepper in it, and actually had to look up how I was supposed to slice it! Sad, I know. I have since found The Kitchn, and lots of little tidbits like that…I need all the help I can get! The saffron rice was a snap, I don’t know why but that’s always been my favorite rice. Even sadder is that I never knew it was called saffron…I’ve just called it yellow rice since I was a kid. Anyway…the fajitas were a success, everybody loved them. Miss Picky only ate the sausage out of it, and she liked the rice…which is more or less what I expected!
- Saturday: Pasta and Meatballs (extra from Tuesday)! This one was super easy, partly because if there’s one thing I have always been able to do, it’s pasta and sauce…and well, the meatballs were already made from earlier in the week 😉 Add a salad, and some garlic breadsticks to it, and it’s something everybody in the family loves.
- Sunday: Garlic Tilapia over Angel Hair Pasta! This is an E-Mealz recipe from recent weeks that we all loved. Miss Picky calls it chicken, and we don’t usually correct her until she’s eaten it all 😉 This stuff is amazingly good! This is the second time we’ve made this recipe, and it’s been a hit both times. We do actually cut down on how much butter it calls for, and we ended up adding a little more parmesan cheese to the pasta.