#8: Cook 25 New Meals (August)

August, especially the last week and a half, was a busy month for trying new recipes, thanks in great part to some awesome recipes in my magazines for this month!  I added  7 more new meals to the tally, bringing the total to 12!

New Meal #6Date: August 20, 2010
Recipe Title: Asian Pork Tenderloin (Chops) and Snap Peas with Bacon and Almonds
Where It’s From: Healthy Cooking magazine, August/September 2010 issue (Pork); Everyday Food magazine, September 2010 issue
My Thoughts:  I am normally not a big fan of Asian flavors, but this was SUCH a good dinner! My favorite part, though, had to be the snap peas. I have no idea how they got so yummy tasting (probably the bacon, everything is better with bacon), but they were to die for! I could eat an entire plate of just the peas. Yep, they were that good!

New Meal #7Date: August 22, 2010
Recipe Title: Sausage and Clams with Polenta
Where It’s From: Food Network magazine, September 2010 issue
My Thoughts:  We splurged a little for this one since clams aren’t exactly the cheapest thing to buy, but it really made this dish. It was my first time cooking any type of shelled seafood and I’ll be honest, both my sister and I were pretty fascinated by watching the clams open as they cook. Yes, we’re easily entertained. I have heard of polenta many, many times on a number of the cooking shows I watch, and always thought it was this extravagant dish that was super sophisticated. Nope. Be fooled no longer. It’s simply a glorified word for corn meal mush. It’s super easy to make (corn meal, water, salt) and it completely and totally bland and blah on its own. It’s when you mix in a sauce or broth or something else that really makes it come to life (and this sauce did just that!).

New Meal #8Date: August 23, 2010
Recipe Title: Corn-Tortilla Roasted Chicken Tenders and Rice-Pasta Pilaf
Where It’s From: Everyday Food magazine, September 2010 issue (Chicken); Food Network magazine, September 2010 issue (Pilaf)
My Thoughts:  This was one of the first dinners that I scored a miss on. The chicken was really good and crunchy and something I’d probably make again, but the rice-pasta pilaf…epic fail. I’m not sure if it was the recipe or my execution of it (I’m guess the later), but it just was a mess. It seemed soggy and not very flavorful. It could also have been that I am used to eating sodium-packed Rice-a-Roni Rice Pilaf and it fell well short of that, flavor wise. I love salty foods, so I’m guessing that played a factor too.

New Meal #9Date: August 25, 2010
Recipe Title: Pepper Jack Chicken with Succotash
Where It’s From: Food Network magazine, September 2010 issue
My Thoughts:  The chicken was okay. For me, the best part was this succotash. It includes two veggies I had never really had, and thought I didn’t like: lima beans and summer squash. This succotash was so good! Next time, I’d skip the chicken and just make some of the succotash. Not only is it pretty and colorful, but oh so yummy!

New Meal #10Date: August 27, 2010
Recipe Title: Corn Mushroom Risotto
Where It’s From: Food Network magazine, September 2010 issue (noticing a trend yet…awesome issue!)
My Thoughts:  A definite keeper, though it needs a few tweaks. It was a little on the sweet side (even for the hubby). Next time, I’d just use chicken broth instead of the corn broth (yes, I made corn broth) and more bacon. Did I mention you can never go wrong with bacon?

New Meal #11Date: August 29, 2010
Recipe Title: Bacon Tomato Capellini (Spaghetti)
Where It’s From: Tasty Kitchen Blog
My Thoughts:  I have to be honest here. This recipe didn’t live up to the hype of the blog post description. It could have been because I used dried basil instead of fresh (I really need to get working on that herb garden!) or that I used spaghetti instead of “capellini” aka angel hair pasta. I’m not sure. Don’t get me wrong, it was good, but not the “wow, amazing, blow my mind” recipe I was expecting. Oh, and just a warning. You use half a cup of bacon grease for the sauce. My husband’s arteries clogged and he gained 5 pounds just watching me pour it in to the pot. I was worried it would taste greasy and yucky, but I didn’t really notice that at all. Was it still in there? Yep, and it probably makes it taste better, but it’s definitely not going to be helping your waistline! Just a fair warning!

New Meal #12Date: August 30, 2010
Recipe Title: Tilapia with Hash Browns
Where It’s From: Food Network magazine, September 2010 issue
My Thoughts:  The fish was really good. The potatoes/hash browns, not so much. My mom bought my sister a cast iron skillet, in part, so I could try this meal out (you need a pan that is oven friendly). I really struggled with flipping the hash brown “potato cake.” Maybe my pan wasn’t hot enough or maybe I had too much in the pan, but it just didn’t want to work correctly. Also, the hash browns seemed really heavy for a fish dish. I’d definitely make the fish again, but not with the hash browns.

That’s it for this month!  I’ve already got a couple of recipes done for September, and I’m eagerly awaiting my new magazines to see what yummy fall recipes fill the pages!


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