It took about 6 years, but last week I finally got tired of eating in restaurants. I think mostly I was just tired of eating in the same 5 or 6 restaurants all the time. We’re not the most adventurous of people and mostly eat at places where we know there are menu items we like, but even good food can become less appetizing if you eat it over and over again. And honestly, just the thought of having to do the “Where to you want to eat?” “I don’t know, where to you want to eat?” dance we go through every. single. day. was the biggest deterrent.
So I went through one of the many cookbooks I’ve bought (and rarely opened) and picked out two or three weeks worth of recipes that looked good and that seemed simple enough to make. I’m not the best cook ever, but I can follow a recipe, my only requirement is that it not have a million ingredients (especially things I’ve never heard of) or take hours to make. I just don’t have the time or patience to cook like that.
I’ve never spent so much at the grocery store in one go in my life. $225! On food. I don’t even spend that much money in Target (and Target takes a good portion of my income). The majority of that was meat, fruits, and vegetables, so that has helped me to follow through with making the meals or else waste a crap ton of money. So far I’ve done pretty good. I made dinner for 4 nights straight last week. That has probably never happened before. Old habits die hard, though. We went out on Monday and I had a recipe lined up for last night, but wasn’t in the mood for cooking so we went out again (but we ate at a deli and had salad and sandwiches, so I don’t really feel bad about that).
My plan is to limit eating out to twice a week (hopefully we can widdle it down to one, eventually), have one day of fending for ourselves (cereal!) and then cook the rest of the week. 4 days isn’t terribly intimidating top me, especially if I can space them out. Brandon’s been really good about helping out, so I don’t feel like it’s all on me. I get him to do all my vegetable chopping (I HATE onions) and can opening. He’s a good assistant.
The really weird thing is that I’m actually starting to enjoy cooking. And almost all the meals I’ve made have been good (and healthy!). I’ll definitely be making most of them again (everything except this chicken/onion/pasta casserole thing, which was pretty blah). It makes me want to start a food/recipe blog. I’m not sure I’d update it regularly if it was just me, though. Might be a fun a multi-author blog if anyone is interested in recipe sharing, though (let me know!).
Here’s my favorite recipe so far. It’s easy to make, healthy (it’s from the Weight Watchers cookbook) and really flavorful. We made it with rice.
Garlicky Red Beans and Pork
- 4 tsp. olive oil
- 10 oz. lean boneless pork link, cut into 1.5 in. cubes
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 can diced tomatoes with chiles, mostly drained (or you can use 2 chopped tomatoes, and 1/4 cup chopped chiles)
- 2 cans kidney beans, drained (original recipe only uses 1, but I like a lot of beans)
- 1/2 tsp. cumin (reduce to 1/4 tsp. if you don’t like overly spicy food)
- 1/2 cup of water
In a large saucepan, hear the oil.
Add the pork and pepper; cook stirring as needed, until the pork is cooked through and lightly browned, 5-10 minutes.
Add the onions and garlic; cook, stirring as needed, until the onions are tender, 5-8 minutes.
Stir in the tomatoes, beans, cumin and water; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmmer, covered, until the beans are tender, 15-20 minutes.
Makes 4 servings
Tonight is Southern Oven “Fried” Chicken. Not so sure about the Weight Watchers version of “fried” chicken (notice the quotation marks), but most of the other recipes from that book have been surprisingly good.