January #PROJECTRECIPE Update

Just because you weren’t seeing any PROJECT RECIPE posts this month does mean I wasn’t making some absurdly good dishes in my efforts to control the growing pile of recipes in my binder.

I hit some homeruns in the last couple weeks. My inability to get the pics uploaded in Blogger thwarted my progress of blogging about five recipes in a month, though. I thought I’d just do a wrap up showing you what I’d made so far.

IMG_2809 I’ve always been kinda partial to Hamburger Helper since it’s an easy way to use all that ground venison in our freezer. But, ugh! That sodium content! And the neon orange cheese powder! Not the healthiest thing to eat. I was stoked when I ran across a recipe for Homemade Hamburger Helper on the Farmgirl Gourmet. It was just as easy as the original boxed version, and it tasted even better. Making it yourself allows you to play around with the spices and cheese. For instance, I added some smoked paprika to jazz it up a little, and I left out the sugar. You could even swap out cheeses to play up the flavor. I think it would be great to sub out some of the sharp cheddar for some monterey jack.

PROJECT RECIPE verdict: This one is definitely a keeper! No more boxed stuff for me!

IMG_2808

This was one of those dinners on one of those evenings when it is so tempting to go out to eat. I was tired and it was late when I started cooking. I needed something easy and fast. And healthy since it’s New Year’s Resolution Diet time. This was even a PROJECT RECIPE “two-fer”! Bonus points! It’s not the greatest picture, but on the right is Parmesean and Wasa Crusted Tilapia, and on the left is some simple spaghetti with arugula pesto.

When I attended Mixed Con, I met lots of fabulous peeps and took home lots of bangin’ swag. One of the things handed to me on my way out the door was a package of Wasa crackers. I had heard of these, but never eaten them before. I will say, they are not great just plain. But, low and behold, a few days later, one of the new blogs I “found” at Mixed, Baked Bree, featured a Wasa recipe for how she was using her free package of Wasa crackers: Parmesean and Wasa Crusted Tilapia. I didn’t have tilapia, but I did have cod, so no problemo. The cod might have actually worked better since the filets were a little bit heftier. I imagine it might be difficult to bread delicate tilapia filets with this breading since it is pretty coarse. The Hubs and I both agreed the breading tasted like that stuff you used to be able to get (and I assume you still can) at Long John Silvers–the “crunchies” or whatever they call those bits of fried batter you can get on the side. In the interest of health, I used olive oil instead of butter, and reduced the amount by half. When I make these again, I might use a little bit more olive oil since the breading didn’t bind together that great–I suspect that was why. But it was still delicious!

PROJECT RECIPE verdict: It’s a keeper. I do still have 3/4 of a pack of wasa crackers left, after all. We loved it!

When I plan dinners, I always try to have either a vegetable or a carb with the main dish, and as I was thinking about this dinner, I was racking my brain of what we could have with it based on what I had in the fridge. We’re a bit tired of rice and roasted potatoes. I sometimes forget how wonderfully simple pasta and little pesto can be. Back the week before Christmas, I had ordered arugula from the Monroe Farm Market that was on “special” because the pests had gotten to it, leaving little pin holes in some of the leaves. And then I never used it. After the holidays, in an effort to try to eat healthy, I got it out to mix it in some salad greens, and realized it was a bit past it’s prime. Not like black and slimy or anything, but kinda wilted. And I knew if I didn’t use it soon, it was going in the trash–which I loathe! At that point, about all you could do with it would be to wilt it (further) or make pesto. I got the idea to substitue basil in the traditional version of pesto with arugula from the Table for Two blog, and a recent entry for bow-tie pasta with arugula pesto and goat cheese. I LOVE arugula, so I was sold on that alone when I saw the recipe, besides traditional pesto gets a little boring sometimes. It’s nice to change it up a bit. I had a box of Dreamfields spaghetti, also swag from Mixed Con, and the pesto came together in the time it took to boil it. Side dish in minutes!

PROJECT RECIPE verdict: I only used the pesto part of this recipe, and I’m not going to call this one a “keeper,” but let me qualify that. Pesto is ridiculously easy. I’m not going to write down this recipe because I know how to make pesto without looking at a recipe. I would definitely make this again, but I’ll just keep in the back of my mind that next time I have some arugula that’s about to be thrown in the trash, this is a good way to use it up.

Three PROJECT RECIPE recipes down, two more to go this month.

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