Adventures in Cooking

med grilled greek chicken with yogurt dill sauce

The last time I got an opportunity to cook for a family, I had only been out of college about 3 or 4 years. I was in my late 20s, newly married, hosting exchange students from all over the world, and my idea of cooking was heating up canned veggies and frozen meals. I guess I was doing the best I could with what I knew how.

My mother tried to encourage me, since she discovered my love of entertaining. She would buy journals and copy my favorite recipes from childhood into them. I would later recreate these recipes (never as good as she could,) and serve them with pride to my little tribe at home.

Then I got divorced.

Later, I remarried, and this time I was a little wiser (mid 30s) and I made a heck of a lot more money. However, I married an Egyptian and this made my adventures in cooking take a different turn. I struggled to understand how to cook the meals my then-husband wanted. He craved all types of exotic and delicious meals, and though I was never really able to perfect his mom’s favorite recipes, I got closer to understanding how to cook again.

Then I got divorced.

Now, after being single for almost 3 years I find myself with a fantastic and supportive man who lets me cook anything my heart desires. This is good.

Then Pinterest came along.

Suddenly, my eyes and mouth are watering over so many delicious recipes. I got this idea in my head that I, Nicole, will cook these glorious dishes and serve them to my new and improved family.

How hard can it be? All you have to do is follow the directions.

And here is where the trouble begins.

Each Sunday morning I make my list. All I have to do is cook 3 dinners a week. (On Sundays we eat “in town,” I cook Mon & Tues just for the two of us, Wed we eat with his mother & the girls, Thurs I cook for him & the girls, Friday we all go out with the family, and Saturday it is a toss up.) Three meals- that’s all. I typically select the recipes from my various Pinterest boards:

Carnivore, Rabbit Food, and Sassy Sides. Systematically, I have gone through each board and attempted a new recipe, rarely the same one twice. I cook it, we eat it, and we decide if we want to try it again. I’ve mainly had success, with a few flops (never try to turn sliced eggplant into a “chip” substitute, no matter what Pinterest says.)

And this, my friends, has become the highlight of my week.

Seriously. Cooking for the family.

What is hilarious is the fact that I work a very high pressure/high-profile government job. I work long hours and I come home and then attempt to cook: GOURMET.

Yeah. I could not figure out why the recipes I selected had so many steps and took so damn long. Um.. soo… I guess over achiever is my middle name.

No surprise there.

However, with all of that being said – I’m having the time of my life. I’m creating healthy, low carb, (mainly Mediterranean) recipes for my family. We are eating delicious, flavorful meals and I’m having a blast learning a new skill.

I thought, and here is a crazy idea, that I would maybe document and share some of my recipes with you from time to time. (As time permits… because sometimes, I am just too tired and hungry to care to snap a pic!)

Ah! And I forgot the most important thing: We have a grocery budget we try to stick to. (Which includes everything else (plastic stuff, laundry detergent, toiletries, kitty/dog stuff.) We budget $200 a week and we usually come in below. With that being said, if you would like to give it a try, I welcome you to make your grocery list based on my “recipes of the week.”

This week, for my three meals, I am attempting:

Slow Cooker Coconut Basil Chicken in a Coconut Curry Sauce

Moroccan Chicken

Lamb Korma 

If these do not suit you, here are my tried and true (means I did it and we loved it) recent adventures:

Bell Pepper Tacos

Balsamic & Honey Pot Roast

Greek Lemon Chicken Skewers with Tzatziki Sauce

Mediterranean Grilled Chicken with Dill Greek Sauce

Spinach & Feta Stuffed Chicken Breast (warning.. don’t buy HUGE chicken breasts. Trust me!)

Cilantro Lime Chicken (The kids went crazy over this one!)

Chicken with Bacon Mustard Sauce (Tim liked it, I thought it was okay)

5 Spice Cream Cheese Chicken (This was an absolute FAVORITE of every one)

One Pot Cheesy Taco Skillet

Pork Carnitas (Another Favorite of the Kids)

Paprika Chicken with Spinach & White Wine Sauce (My personal Fave)

Cilantro Lime Chicken Thighs

DJAJ BIL-BAHAR IL-ASFAR (IRAQI Yellow Spice Rubbed Chicken)

 

And the list goes on. As you can tell, these are very much summer time recipes, and that’s what we are looking for. Cooking seasonal, cooking clean, using more spices & fresh herbs from our garden, and going as low carb as possible.

For great side dishes, visit my Rabbit Food board (you will find it above.) (Typically I keep sliced onions & cucumbers, mixed with oil, water, vinegar and spices in a bowl in my frig.)

Feel free to share with me some delicious recipes to try! Maybe I’ll share how it worked out one day with you!

PS – I haven’t forgotten the writing prompts. I am going to use that for inspiration when I am not feeling so inspired.)

Have a GREAT week!

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