I love to cook, but have only shared a few cooking projects with you, so thought you might like a glimpse into what we are eating and where to get the recipes. 😊 Almost every week starts with some sort of meal planning. We have limited space in our refrigerator, freezer and pantry, so cannot be too spontaneous about what we purchase…if we are, then it needs to get incorporated into meal planning because I hate wasting food. 😂
Matt gave me the Half Baked Harvest Super Simple cookbook by Tieghan Gerard for Christmas a while back, and though I have often made slight modifications to each recipe, the ideas are great and the food has been quite delicious…enough for me to bring the cookbook with me on the road. I’m just now discovering that the author has loads more recipes on her site. 😮 I’ll now be going back to her site to find even more ideas! Here are two recipes I’ve made recently:
We love this recipe, especially to use up some older, crusty bread and enjoy our veggies with eggs and caesar-like dressing. Yum! I have made a few modifications to the recipe…the author suggests you toast the bread and serve the eggs and salad on top, but this is way too messy for us, so I slice the bread into crouton-sized pieces to make it easier to eat and then store any leftover bread separately from the veg so it doesn’t get soggy. For leftovers, the bread may need to be crisped up in the oven or in a skillet for the right texture. Furthermore, I didn’t want to buy an entire tub of tahini and have it take up precious space in our refrigerator, so I found some 2-tablespoon packets of sunflower seed butter and cashew butter and decided these would make good substitutes for tahini in the author’s dressing recipe. Overall, it makes for a lighter meal option for dinner or perhaps a substantial breakfast. You pick your mealtime, and I’m sure it won’t disappoint. 🥦
Curried Thai Spring Roll Lettuce Wraps:
We had lettuce that needed to be used up, so this made for another lighter option for dinner. There is a recipe for peanut sauce included, which I pared down to 1/4 the size for this recipe to avoid having extra left over. Also, I usually make the Thai sweet chili sauce, but opted for the bottle you get in the grocery store this time so I didn’t have such a huge mess to clean up. The only other adjustment I made was not doing lettuce wraps and instead cutting up the lettuce to make it easier to eat. If you like Thai peanut sauce to dress your veggies, this is a great recipe, especially on a hot summer night. 🥜🥬
Langostino Mac and Cheese:
While in Columbia Falls, MT, we discovered a great seafood market that also sells eggs, meat, and a few miscellaneous products. One of the items we bought was a package of langoustine (spelling varies). I thought I had a recipe for a lobster mac and cheese and figured this would make a great substitute, but alas I was imagining things. So, I sought out a recipe online and this mac and cheese recipe is what I found, which turned out to be sooo delicious! 😋
The only modification I made was reserving half of the bacon to sprinkle on top instead of putting it all in the sauce with the macaroni and langoustine. That made for a crispy contrasting texture, which was a great addition to this dish. I also made my own breadcrumbs out of frozen bread, olive oil and spices instead of using panko bread crumbs. If you get your hands on some langoustine, lobster or possibly even shrimp and want to indulge a little, you might enjoy this recipe. 🍤🧀
Spaghetti and meatballs:
One of the first dishes Matt made for me when we started dating was spaghetti and meatballs. I realized I had never made any for him, so when I saw his eyes light up at the mention of it, I knew I was in for a long cooking project. 😆 That same seafood market in Columbia Falls also sold Montana raised wagyu ground beef, which was the start of this idea. Having a sense of what I was looking for, I found this meatball recipe and made just one small adjustment. We didn’t have Worcestershire sauce, so I used 1 teaspoon of soy sauce and 1 teaspoon of finely chopped anchovy as a substitute. After forming the meatballs, I chilled the ones we were going to bake in the oven and froze the rest for later…they make for a great meatball sandwich as well.
Another cookbook I love and have enjoyed for quite a few years is The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen. Considering I have made at least 1/3 of the recipes in this 500+ recipe cookbook, I’d say I’ve gotten my money’s worth out of it! 🤣 Of all those recipes, there are only a handful that I haven’t enjoyed, so it is very consistent and worth getting. From this book I utilized their Classic Marinara Sauce, incorporating all varieties of herbs I had on hand: basil, chives, oregano, and thyme.
It took about four hours, but in that time I formed and baked the meatballs, cooked the sauce, boiled the spaghetti noodles and added a generous sprinkling of shaved parmesan on top. This has been one of our favorite meals on the road so far, making our mouths happy and bellies full. The extra time spent cooking was totally worth it! 🍝
Grilled chicken salad:
There really isn’t a specific recipe for this, but it’s one of our stand-by dinner options. Matt cooks up chicken breasts on the grill, generously seasoning them with salt, pepper, and olive oil and cuts them up to put on salads once they have rested. I find whatever veggies and fruits look fresh at the grocery store or local farmer’s market, and we add in any accoutrement that we desire…nuts, cheese, herbs, and our individual choices for favorite dressing. The salads are different every time…it really depends on what is in season, what goes well together and what we feel like pulling together. If you’re looking for ideas to use up veggies sitting in your crisper drawer, this is always a great way to do so and not have a super heavy meal weighing you down afterward. 🥗
I hope these recipes, cookbooks and salads I have shared inspire some of your own ideas, and I will try to add in some more cooking projects later on. Happy cooking everyone! 😃