Pin-spired to Cook

I’ve been in a cooking mood lately.  For a while I was definitely not, it was easy meals that could be tossed together with little to no prep work or thought.  And when P was out of town, it was kale chips and froyo for dinner.  But lately, not only have I been in the mood to cook but I’ve been inspired to try new recipes.  I love Pinterest for their recipes.  I will pin a recipe but it mostly just provides inspiration, then I will Google a few recipes with that description and find one that matches the ingredients I have on hand, prep/cook time, and level of ease.  Most of the time I end up pulling things together from a few different recipes and create my own.  (Of course this is not a cooking blog so I have no pictures of the food I made.  It may not have been pretty but it tasted great.)

My first foray into something different was when I bought chicken drumsticks instead of breasts from the grocery one day.  They were cheaper and I was challenged to cook something I never have before.  I researched some recipes for cooking times but basically just marinated them in some BBQ sauce and Dadil Pepper sauce (pepper and sauce is only found in St. Augustine, FL and I got some in my guest bag from a wedding I was in last month – it is SO good) for around 48 hours.  Then I just cooked them in the oven for about an hour… they were so good and I’m looking forward to the other half of the package that is in the freezer.

Last weekend we went over to some friends’ house for dinner.  They grilled the most delicious steaks they found at a local butcher shop (must go there!) and we brought dessert.  I basically used a box mix, dark chocolate, and substituted the water for soy milk but that wasn’t a big deal.  It was the fresh strawberries (thank you Publix 3 for $5) that I mixed into the mix before baking.  This was a really, really easy addition to a box mix that took the brownies up a notch.  We didn’t cook them the total time so they were still warm and gooey when we ate them.  They were topped with sliced strawberries and whipped cream.

Then last Sunday, we had P’s brother and one of my BFF’s over for dinner.  I had the time and just wanted to cook.  My original inspiration was a recipe I saw on Pinterest was spaghetti squash au gratin.

http://dandydishes.blogspot.com/2011/10/spaghetti-squash-au-gratin.html

I went to the store and that is all I knew for sure I wanted on the menu, subbing Greek yogurt for sour cream.  Of course, BI-LO did not have any spaghetti squash (or kale! grrrrr) so I decided to go with a more traditional au gratin using red potatoes.  I did not go to the grocery store with a list of ingredients, I knew the basics and had most at home already.  I then decided to go with a meatloaf for the main dish.  I had thought about pork chops but really love meatloaf.  I’ve been making it since I was a kid and have perfected my just-toss-stuff-in-the-bowl-and-mix recipe.  But, again Pinterest inspired me to do meatloaf balls instead of a loaf.  I think both of these came out really well and everyone else seemed to agree.  For my meatloaf I basically toss a bunch of BBQ sauce, ketchup, onions, garlic, breadcrumbs, an egg or two, and whatever other spices speak to me in with ground turkey.  No measuring, no method.  It was also really easy to just put them in a muffin tin and let them cook until done.  I paired them with roasted veggies – squash, zucchini, broccoli, and onions.  I actually have leftovers for lunch today, yum.

http://www.tastebook.com/recipes/1902168-MEATLOAF-BALLS

Then, last night we had some friends over for dinner again.  We have been planning on this dinner for weeks in advance and had to reschedule three times so I was happy we finally got together!  Once again, I was inspired by a recipe for chicken enchiladas on Pinterest but I researched another recipe that used avocados and Greek yogurt for the sauce instead of the traditional red sauce.  This is the recipe I found, http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/chicken-avocado-enchiladas/, and for once I pretty much followed it.  ”Pretty much” meaning I didn’t measure any of the spices and I also added collard greens (because for the 2nd time BI-LO was out of kale!  grrrr) and a Mexican corn mix to each tortilla.  There were no vegetables in the recipe and I always try to bulk things up with extra green stuff.  Again, I think this recipe was a winner.

FamilyFoodFinds.com

This weekend we our going out of town for our niece’s 1st birthday(!) and have leftovers enough to keep us from going hungry but I’m hoping to continue cooking one new recipe a week.  We will see if that happens!

Here is my Pinterest food board – which recipe should I try next??  http://pinterest.com/sydneyw5/bite-me/

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