Thursday, September 19, 2013

What We're Eating: My Return to the Kitchen

Call it a case of nesting or simply the change in seasons, but I've had an itch to get back into the kitchen lately. Fall's crisp, cool weather makes me crave pumpkin muffins, hot apple cider and slow-cooker meals. (Except, just say no to those pumpkin spice coffee and espressos everyone raves about because they actually taste like poop). I think it's safe to say everyone in our house is enjoying the return of weekly meal plans and new recipes on the menu. (Relish the times, Husband! For in 8 short weeks, our world will be turned upside down with a new baby and my time in the kitchen will be non-existent).

Here's a round-up of a few recipes I made last week:

Crock Pot Balsamic Honey Pulled Pork
Rating: B
Blame it on pregnancy... I've had a serious craving for balsamic vinegar recipes lately. Like, we polished off a bottle of balsamic in the last month. Seriously! I saw this recipe for slow-cooker pulled pork sandwiches with a balsamic drizzle and I thought it sounded amazing. It was a super easy recipe to toss together (my favorite kind). Unfortunately that evening, Andi and I planned to eat dinner after Tory's bedtime and she choose to have a huge meltdown. By 8:45pm and after dealing with toddler sleep drama for over an hour, the last thing I felt like doing was eating dinner. Hence, the "B rating." The dinner itself was tasty; I just wasn't in the mood anymore.

Loaded Twice Baked Potato Casserole
Rating: A
I could spend hours in the kitchen whipping up the fanciest meal and I'm sure Andi would appreciate it. But I've come to realize, all I really need to do is make the man a comfort foods meal and he's SO HAPPY. He loved this meal. I liked it, too, though I think it may have been more of a "side" than an "entree." Think of as an entire dish full of loaded baked potatoes. That's exactly what this was, and it didn't disappoint. Tory and I ate leftovers for lunch the next day, too.

Crock Pot Corn Chowder
Rating: A
This recipe was a surprise winner. I had lots of red potatoes to use up so I thought a soup might be the way to do it. I made this recipe last Friday and toted the soup to the cabin with us so we'd have something to eat after we arrived. Side note: Have I mentioned how car sick I've been during this pregnancy? Bringing a smelly slow-cooker full of soup into an enclosed car for 1 1/2 hour was not my brightest moment. I gagged with my nose stuck out a cracked window the entire drive there. After we arrived at the lake, we went on a boat ride while the soup finished cooking in the slow-cooker. Hours later when I wasn't so nauseous, we ate the soup and it was surprisingly delicious. The next day during the Husker football game, we ate soup leftovers and it was even better the next day.

*Note: I didn't have half and half as called for, so I used a mixture of heavy cream and 1% milk instead.

Garden Alfredo with Chicken
Rating: A
This was one of those recipes that wasn't complicated to make, but dirtied 17 different pans during preparation. (Confession time: those recipes are not my favorite). As a mom to a toddler, it's a challenge to make step-intensive meals with a little person underfoot. I can't concentrate. I lose my place. There's hot pans and a stove involved and, yeah, it just doesn't work well. That said, this recipe was delicious. I've never heard Andi compliment a meal of mine more than this one. I think he told me four separate times how much he loved it.

*Note: I left out the garlic and parsley and used egg noodles in place of pappardelle because I couldn't find them at my store.

Next on my recipe to-do list: slow-cooker chili and pumpkin muffins. Anyone have a good recipe to share?


  1. I have a really good chili recipe, but it's a little different. We don't eat beans, so it doesn't have any beans in it, but twice the amount of meat. I guess we like meaty chili at our house :) I can give you the recipe if you want! Also, I don't have a recipe for pumpkin muffins, but I do have an amazing recipe for pumpkin chocolate chip bread that could easily be made into muffins, let me know if you want it!

  2. I don't get the pumpkin latte craze at all. Blegh!

    Thanks for the recipe suggestions. I'm not quite up to cooking yet but hopefully soon!

  3. Totally heading to pinterest and pinning all of these. (Except the multiple pan pasta one, I agree, those recipes are just too much for me to throw together with children under foot, I just end up stressed and cranky.) Thank you!

  4. I love your recipe posts! Thanks for sharing. I want to give the garden alfredo a try! Yumm!

  5. And as the babysitter, I have to say the garden alfredo chicken was yummy as leftovers. Thanks for dinner! :)

  6. I love love LOVE cooking and baking in the fall! Love me some comfort food. I also love pumpkin spice lattes but I am not obsessive about them ;) To each their own!

  7. I made both of these last week when I realized I hoarded all of my pumpkin from last year :)