Cooking, cooking, and more cooking
Aside from the occasional take out pizza, all of our meals for the last 7 weeks have been cooked at home, by me. I'm not complaining. Luckily, I love to cook. What I hate is doing dishes. Cooking at home creates a LOT of dishes. I try to clean as I go but ultimately I wind up with a sink full of pots and pans. If I am being honest here, sometimes I leave them overnight and clean them the next day. J. will often wash them up in the morning if they've been left overnight so that's not a bad deal.
I've been menu planning more than I ever have. It helps me organize a shopping list and truly allows me only to grocery shop once a week or even once every 8 or 9 days. J. teases me all the time that I like to fancy myself a french woman who rides her bike to the market every day and never buys anything in bulk. Aside from not necessarily fancying myself being French, there is a lot of truth in that statement. I think I will try to keep up with the meal planning habit, though, even when we are done with stay at home orders. While I can't promise to only go to the grocery store once a week, I've been enjoying knowing what we will have for dinner each night. It takes one more stressor out of an already stressful time.
Like many of you, I have been trying to rely more on pantry staples during this time of limited shopping. I generally will cook pasta once a week but I have been trying to be creative with the things that are more readily accessible at the grocery store; think, canned tomatoes, chickpeas, chicken stock, lentils, rice, and beans. Yes, I've even made my own bread and you can find the recipe in one of my previous blog posts. However, I failed miserably at making a sourdough starter. I have no idea why it didn't work, but I am going to try again.
One of my favorite things I've made recently is this Greek Style Skillet Roast Chicken with Crispy Potatoes from Olive & Mango. It is heavenly and really quite easy to do. Eek! I just went through my photos and realize I do not have one of this exquisite meal! Sorry about that-will try and do better. Please go check out Olive & Mango's website. Their picture is way better than anything I would have shown here anyway.
I served this delicious side dish with the Greek chicken, and it is called Gigantes Plaki also from Olive and Mango! While this recipe does call for some fresh ingredients like carrots, celery, and fresh herbs, I feel like many of us already have these things in our fridge. If you don't have the fresh herbs, I'm sure you could make this work with dried versions of them. Canned beans and canned tomatoes round things out. Oh my holy baklava, is this outstanding! I would happily eat this as a main dish. I ate it leftover the next day with a fried egg on top. To die for good! Thank you Olive and Mango!
With the amount of gardening I've been doing recently, I find myself needing a little pick me up mid afternoon. I am a coffee lover and I decided to try Dalgona coffee. Haven't heard of it? Neither had I, but I also live under a rock so there's that. Dalgona coffee is all the rage right now, apparently. It's a fluffy mixture of instant coffee, sugar and boiling water that is mixed until it becomes very voluminous. It is served with the milk of your choice, over ice, and then topped with the billowy coffee goodness. I made mine with instant espresso and coconut milk since it was what I had on hand and it worked out just perfectly. You can find the recipe here.
Downshiftology came to the rescue again with Shepherd's Pie! I absolutely love Lisa's recipes-they are on heavy rotation lately in my house. I think I've made this pie about four times already since February. It is easy, tasty, and so so good for the soul. I know the warmer weather is here or coming to many of you so if you are inclined to make it, I would make it soon.
I've saved the best for last. I've made this twice in the last two weeks because it is really just that amazing. It requires five egg yolks and heavy cream. If you are having difficulty getting eggs at your market, I apologize. Luckily, here in New Jersey I have not had any problem purchasing them at the grocery store but I understand in other parts of the country they are more difficult to come by. This is a recipe for Espresso Ice Cream. It is so fantastic and I would love for you to try it. If you don't have an ice cream maker, put it on your Christmas list this year. Borrow one from a friend or neighbor. It is worth the ask. I will also come right out and fess up I put even more espresso powder than called for into this recipe. Don't come for me-I will tell you why. 1. I didn't have any coffee flavored liquor in the house. 2. I absolutely love espresso/coffee/anything to do with those two items and more is always better in my book. I used about 5 generous tablespoons of espresso powder. Suit yourself and use what you like.
I hope these recipes inspired you! I know we can often feel in a rut about the meals we make each week and month. Try something new and enjoy. I would also love to hear what you have been cooking too! I need new ideas as much as the next gal.
Keep cooking. Feed your body, feed your soul, and just keep going.