One of my goals for 2017 is to try at least two new recipes each week and to consistently prepare nutritious, lower fat dinners for our family. I've fallen into a rut over the past year or two as I'm driving children around every afternoon and evening where I rely on tried and true quick meals that I could make on autopilot. If I haven't planned ahead to thaw some meat or start something in the crockpot in time, I dash into the supermarket near one of the schools after parent pickup and spend more money than necessary for convenience sake. Even though my family is content with those meals since they're usually favorites of our children, my husband and I get bored with the same 20-30 dinners that get rotated throughout the months. And they're not always the healthiest.
So this year, I've decided that since I have this beautiful new kitchen, it's a good time for a culinary change.
I pored over the many food magazines before settling on this Special Edition of Cooking Light: Top-Rated Recipes. It contains several months' worth of dinner recipes that are quick to make, use ingredients I typically have stocked on our pantry shelves, and are not so exotic that my little ones will turn up their noses and complain. The dishes that claim to only take 20 minutes of prep time really do only take 20 minutes, which is a huge selling point for us busy moms of school-aged children. I tried two recipes last week, and we're giving them star ratings of 1-5 with 5 being the absolute best and I must make them again. The Lemon-Garlic Broccoli Bulgur Bowls that I made with quinoa instead (because I couldn't find bulgur in the local grocery store) received 4 stars. I was informed by my teenagers that it would have been 5 if I had left out the broccoli.
I made the Speedy Shepherd's Pie above on the right later in the week, and it was a unanimous 5 star recipe, even with the instant mashed potatoes on top. My family wants this as a weekly dish, surprisingly enough. I doubled the recipes both nights, so there was enough for 8 servings. This usually means no leftovers in our house, but in both cases, everyone was so full that we had extra for lunches the next day. That's almost unheard of in my house. Better yet, both of those recipes were only around 400 calories/serving, so they were lo-cal meals that were quite healthy and filling.
This week we're trying the Chicken-Poblano Tortilla Soup one night and Sausage & Spinach Spaghetti Pie another evening. Hopefully they'll also receive rave reviews from my personal picky in-house food critics.