Food and Stuff

Once, long ago, I shared a recipe for enchilada casserole with you, as learned from my momma. and I said that I was interested in blogging more about my cooking adventures.

and then you never heard about it again except for the occasional mention of excitement over freshly baked brownies or cookies.

Because, let’s be real, those are the most fun things to make AND to eat.

But I’ve tried several new things in the kitchen recently! I had been sticking to a pretty regular rotation of easy dinners that I’ve been making for a couple years now, but I got a little bored, and was also hoping to find some options to add into the rotation to spice things up, and in some cases, give us some healthier choices.

Fortunately I follow several food blogs and have a Zip List account as well as Pinterest, so it’s super easy to find new things to try! Pictures will all be borrowed from the blogs since I’m almost always too hungry to pause and take a picture of our dinners. ;)

First up is “Sweet & Spicy Pork Lettuce Wraps” from Wenderly.

I believe this one was highlighted in one of my weekly Zip List emails, as I don’t regularly follow Wenderly, but both Aaron and I liked this one! Even with the pork, it’s a lot lighter than most of the things we tend to eat.

Things I changed:

  • I used regular onion instead of the shallot; while shallots are smaller so I probably wouldn’t have ended up with any extra, I just buy onion much more often, and I’m stuck in my ways. :)
  • I skipped the sesame seed oil, because I don’t currently use that in any other recipes, so a bottle of that would sit on my shelf Ditto for the rice wine vinegar.
  • My grocery store for some reason did not have red bell pepper on the day I went… not sure what that was about. But, really, to me, all bell peppers taste the same, so substituting orange bell pepper was no big.
  • I used not-fresh ginger, because I has a lazy.
  • I did not use the fresh squeezed orange juice, because I honestly just forgot to get an orange at the store.

Due to that last one, we didn’t have as much of the sweet flavor, more just the spicy, which is really more suited to our tastes anyway. :) I may try it next time though and see how different it is! I also tossed some sunflower seed kernels on top of the wraps – I’m weird… I put those on a lot of things for no real reason. I just like them, and I’m pretty sure they’re good for you… I also fixed a small amount of rice for an optional side.

Next up, “30-Minute Buffalo Chicken French Bread” from How Sweet Eats – easily one of my favorite food bloggers.

This was just a new one, not really of the lighter or healthier variety. ;) In fact, it’s heavier than it looks – SO MUCH CHEESE. Beware, my friends.

Speaking of, this recipe and one other that I’ll share involved purchasing “new” cheese types for me! I’m boring, I tend to use only the most common cheeses – cheddar, parmesan, mozzarella…not much else going on. But for this one I got gorgonzola AND fontina cheese, and for another recipe I had to get ricotta cheese. WHOA. Weirdly thrilling.

Another one where I forgot something at the store – forgot the green onions that go on top!! I was very upset, as that would have made them so much prettier, and really, I buy green onion ALL’A TIME, so I have no idea how I managed to overlook them.

I think this one would make good Game Day food… cut it up into several pieces, it’s like, buffalo wings + pizza, in one!

Then we have “Healthy Fetticine Alfredo” from Pinch of Yum.

I know – HEALTHY alfredo? What the?

If you’ve been on Pinterest or reading food blogs in the past couple years, no doubt you’ve stumbled across having mashed “potatoes” that are actually made out of cauliflower… that’s what this sauce is! The base is made of cauliflower instead of a crap ton of butter and milk!

Things I did differently:

  • I don’t know how many people this blogger was cooking for, but the measurements would have yielded FAR more than Aaron and I would have needed! I used only one head of cauliflower, half some of the other ingredients, and just kind of played with the rest. Note: mine barely fit into my blender, so if you follow her quantities, you’ll DEFINITELY have to do it in batches as she suggests!
  • Rather than boil my cauliflower in the veggie broth, I actually steamed mine, and then when I put the rest of the sauce together I used a bit of the broth there.
  • I was also bad and pretended to not to remember that this was supposed to be healthier – I added a bit more cream than called for, at least, considering that I used less of all the other ingredients!, and I added a couple tablespoons of grated parmesan. I apologize. It just didn’t feel like alfredo without SOME cheese! But I tasted it before I added that, and really, it was just fine without it!

Obviously, this sauce is slightly thicker and less smoother, and not quite as rich, but I thought it was REALLY good (even before I added the cheese ;D) and is a great alternative! I served ours with ham and green peas.

And lastly, “Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells with Sage Browned Butter” from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe – she’s another favorite – I’ve probably made more of her recipes than any other food blogger.

(No picture, ‘cause she protects hers from the easy save and download, and I’m too lazy to do the long way with print screen and such. blah blah. Just go look! Give all these bloggers some page hits anyway! :D)

I followed this recipe pretty much to the letter except that I added Italian sausage into the mixture. I did this for my husband’s sake, because I just… I know him.

He asked what I was making and I showed him the recipe and he paused… and I said “I’m adding sausage” and he goes “OH! Okay! I was about to say, I don’t see any meat! That looks really good then!” 

Men. It’s not dinner for them if there’s not meat.

Oh, I also had to roast my squash longer to get them soft. Dunno what that was about, if my oven temp is even more off than I’m aware of (I always have to compensate by about 25 degrees) or I didn’t put enough olive oil or what. But other than that, everything else went pretty smoothly!

They’re very filling – I barely finished three! That just means we have plenty for leftovers for work lunches. :)


I vote that all of these were kitchen successes, and would recommend them to all you guys. :)


What are some of your favorite dinners?

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