I like to cook, I probably like to eat more and I'd rather eat food I don't have to cook but as it is not part of my budget to eat food I haven't had to cook on a regular basis, I cook, and for the most part I really don't mind doing it. Since about the middle of last year when my cyst began to grow I lost my cooking mojo, Eric and I would have people over for dinner almost every Sunday but as I started to feel worse and worse we had people over less often, when we did have people over I would pop an ibuprofen and do the best I could, I don't think my food was tasting very good though, I remember making orange chicken and I think my chicken had been in the freezer too long, it wasn't very good, I'm kind of embarrassed people came over and ate, oh well! Good news is since we moved and I had my surgery I feel like I've got my cooking mojo back, I'm enjoying being in the kitchen again and making food, only problem now is we don't have any friends to invite over and cook for, such is life. So for those of you I would like to invite over here are some recipes I probably would have served you, I'm a big fan of the Mels Kitchen Cafe blog and have been trying a lot of her recipes lately, here are some faves:Breakfast: Kate likes pancakes, I usually make the recipe from the better homes and gardens cookbook with buttermilk but in an attempt to be a little healthier I think this Oatmeal Pancake Mix is really good, Sara won't eat pancakes but has found a favourite in these Welsh Breakfast Cakes, make them all on one day and the leftovers go in the toaster on the lowest setting for a very quick breakfast, I also tried these Refrigerator Bran Muffins, I really liked them but I think I was the only one who did.
For Sunday this Hearty Beef Stew was delicious, I try to keep beef just for Sundays if I cook it, also for Sundays is dessert, this was divine with the suggested frosting, these pumpkin bars were also amazing, one thing I found was it made a LOT so I sliced up the whole pan and froze the bars, we ate them all week, I would pull out 4 about an hour or so before we were going to eat and they were delicious, I want to make them again but I know how many I would be tempted to eat! This BLT pasta has also been making a regular appearance, what I love about this is I bought a larger bag of spinach than the recipe calls for so when I re-heated it for lunch I added extra of the fresh spinach and tomatoes and it was just as good as when it was made the first day. I also invested in a pizza stone and have been trying homemade pizza, the sauce is amazing, it seems to go over pretty well except Eric says "it has a distinct wheatiness to it" , he's one of those guys who can detect even the smallest trace of you trying to make things a tad healthier and kind of rolls his nose, but hey, I like the pizza and as I do most of the cooking (and shopping) the dough is here to stay.
I've also taken Mels tip on menu planning, I haven't always been good at menu planning as sometimes it gets to the day and I don't feel like making what I have planned but for some reason its working for me at the moment, hopefully I'm saving a little money too because I'm mostly buying just what I need and I think we are eating a little healthier too.
Oh! and I have been asked to cook the dinner for my ward for the RS birthday, yikes! I tried this recipe out on my family, baked manicotti, I didn't do the lasagna roll as I had lots of manicotti in my pantry (who knows why, I've never made manicotti before) so I was trying to use that up. It was fairly tasty and I think with a yummy salad and garlic bread it could make for a good dinner, if there are any other suggestions on a crowd pleaser for 50 please let me know.