week 2 and going strong

I’m getting a little more adventurous in the kitchen these days and having fun! Much of my time is spent sprucing up my word doc of which recipes I want to try next.  I create a “dinner menu” by Friday of each week, create my grocery list and send it to M-Money (Matt) for approval.

Before I get into my kitchen d’s – let me tell you about one major discovery: CUSTOMERS AT THE MAINLINE TRADER JOES (TJs) ARE A-HOLES.  Yup, that’s right…they are rude and pushy (with the exception of the Grandma who thought Braedan was the cutest thing on the planet, whom I have to agree with).

On to the kitchen!!

Thursday night I was in desperate need to use up our baby spinach before it went bad and before I got a lecture from Mr. Lets Not Waste (aka my husband) so I figured I would toss up spinach salads.  Basically they entailed (all organic) baby spinach, tomatoes, pear, dried cranberries and goat cheese.  To add some extra pizzazz and warmth I caramelized some onions and walnut pieces (Matt also added chicken on the side).

An hour or so later, I was still hungry so I dashed up some organic homemade baked sweet potato fries!  By my gf’s recommendation – I microwaved them for 2 minutes before baking them. Once they were pre-heated, I cut them into wedges, tossed them in a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper and then spread them on a baking sheet.  Cooked them at 425 for about 20 minutes or so and for the last 3 minutes put them on broil.  Tasty!

Sunday night Matt and I were both salivating and ready to chew our arms off.  I had just gotten home from Trader Joes (battling the isles and people there would stimulate even the tiniest appetite) – so I figured we would make a homemade pizza with the honey wheat dough I just bought at TJs.  The pizza was topped with olive oil, chopped fresh garlic, fresh spinach, crushed fresh tomatoes and goat cheese (some caramelized onions would have been fab on top, too)!  Let’s just say, while the toppings were creative, the pizza dough was a major FLOP!  Matt’s remarks, “we don’t eat whole wheat dough at restaurants – why would we eat it at home?”  “Are you sure this is cooked all the way (10 x’s)?”  Maybe I was supposed to pre-cook the crust then add the toppings?  But hey, practice makes perfect!

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Finally, on Sunday night I also was in the mood to try a “chip” recipe.  While I have heard the baked kale chips are better – organic spinach is super easy to find so I normally have at least 2 bags in the house weekly.  So Spinach Chips it was!  They turned out great – super crisp and practically melted in my mouth.  The recipe creator mentioned that a little oil goes a long way which is a super important thing to remember, even though I only used a little oil – I still think I could have used less!

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And on to this week – I was super busy in the kitchen last night!  Matt now calls cooking my new hobby.  I had been eyeing up a Butternut Squash Risotto recipe for 2 weeks and finally I conquered it.  It was surprisingly easy but definitely a recipe that calls for your full attention since you are pretty much stirring the risotto for 25 minutes as it absorbs the broth.  Matt called it, “a nice change of pace” while quoting Seinfeld one too many times (I get it, he likes Seinfeld).  Matt refused to give the risotto a more complimentary quote but Braedan complimented it by “requesting” more…

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Butternut Squash Risotto

I had some left over squash and spinach I needed to use (I prepped our Spinach Gnocchi dinner for Wednesday so I can’t write about that recipe until it’s 100% complete) so I decided to follow a recipe for Butternut Squash Kale Quesadillas.  I replaced the kale with spinach since they are pretty similar and since I didn’t have Monterrey Jack cheese, I used extra sharp cheddar and mild cheddar (made from cows that aren’t fed antibiotics – thanks TJs). The recipe was super easy and I was tempted to eat the spinach/squash mixture with out even putting it in the tortilla because the added flavor salt, pepper and chilli powder gave was ah-mazing.  Finally, since we have an abundance of Butternut Squash Risotto leftovers to eat for lunch this week – I decided to freeze the quesadillas so I can have a fast and easy go-to lunch option for weeks to come.  I am looking forward to “Grabbing and Go-ing” with one of these bad boys!

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Butternut Squash Spinach Quesadillas

Thanks fore reading!

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