I've had a mediocre culinary week in my home kitchen. After staring at 2 pounds of ground chuck for several hours on Monday, I was determined to allow it to reach a greater potential than my traditional standby of tacos. No casserole sounded remotely interesting, I didn't have the ingredients or time to make a fresh marinara and my mom's ultra famous secret meatball recipe, and burgers on a cold monday night that would force my husband to freeze to death while grilling on the deck wasn't an option either. No, this called for reinforcements.
Scanning the web was going to be quicker than madly paging through my vast cookbook library. I settled on a Honey-Garlic Glazed Meatball recipe that received rave reviews and 4.5 stars from AllRecipes.com. I fixed these cute little meatballs and while making the sauce - that consists of ketchup, honey, garlic and soy sauce, I got lost in conversation and added way too much honey. Overcompensating, I added more of the other ingredients to correct the ratios and thankfully it turned out ok. Served with a vegetable rice pilaf and a corn pudding recipe that has been passed all over my church and inevitably shows up at every potluck, the meal was a success. Award winning? Not to me, but delicious enough for hubby to request it again.
Tuesday I had the brilliant idea of making buffalo chicken wings in a healthy way! Is this possible? No, it really isn't, but I awarded myself a gold star for efforts. I took 3 chicken breasts, cut them into lovely nugget sized pieces and tossed them in a casserole dish with a mixture of Texas Pete, Tabasco and melted butter that was then baked not fried. I served this buffalo concoction over cooked barley (Ooo! Barley - a new fav I recently became addicted too) and sprinkled gorgonzola over the top with a side salad that would knock your socks off. It was good - put gorzonzola on just about anything and I'm a fan. Healthy? Somewhat. (Hey - it's better than the bones and fat and skin on the wings, right?). I still think I like the traditional wings better.
Wednesday night was choir practice so I pulled some frozen bbq out of the freezer that I bought from the Boy Scouts. It truly is the best bbq in the galaxy - just like they market it. Eastern Style, the tangy heat of a vinegar base. A meal of champions. I also found a green bean casserole from (dare I say...) last JULY in the deep freezer that I unthawed. Mistake. Friends, don't keep a green bean casserole that your mother in law made you in the deep freeze for 7 months and try to feed your family with it. It's just wrong.
Thursday I was determined to pull myself out of my slump of mediocrity by making a Sage, Apricot and Dried Plum roasted chicken straight from the pages of the Food Network cookbook I received for Christmas. I was definitely concerned about the side affect of the dried plums as they are HELLO PRUNES! But we're fine and found them to be quite tasty in the chicken glaze. No one in my family went madly running to the restroom mid-meal (except for my 3 year old who does this every time we sit down for dinner). I again fixed a side salad that should be showcased in a salad expo, if they even have those sort of things. I personally wasn't wowed by the chicken, but it was good enough for the wonderful hubby to request it again too.
I guess I was hoping for something extraordinary - when suddenly, every bite of each meal was better than the last and my family was licking their plates and clamboring for one more morsel like Oliver Twist begging for more gruel (wait, maybe that isn't the best analogy as Oliver drew straws to ask for the nasty stuff, hmmmm). It was good food, undeniably. But it wasn't spectacular - and THAT is what has me continually inspired to try new things. I want spectacular and sometimes you have to have a freezer burned green bean casserole to remind you of that.
I'm off to make some mouth watering lemon bars for a funeral. Enjoy your weekend!