Monday, May 14, 2007

Out of my rut and into my kitchen...

In my perusal of The Nest's bulletin boards this morning, I came across the "What's for Dinner?" board and was immediately drawn in. I generally struggle about what to make for dinner and often opt for the old protein-starch-veggie combo, which gets old after a while. We eat a lot of chicken. Mostly, it is marinated and baked or grilled. Sometimes, it's thrown into a casserole or a one-pot meal. Someday soon, we may start to cluck.

I have admiration for my friend Amy who is not afraid to try new recipes and who actually cooks for her husband almost every night. When I got married in October, I thought I would try to do the same thing. Now, almost seven months later, and I can say that I have not yet gotten in the groove of that. I am working night shift, and I did experiment a bit with my slow cooker to make easy meals during the day while I was asleep, but it has been a while, and I am back in my rut.

This past weekend, my sister and her boyfriend were here for a party, and they were talking about some of the stuff they cook together. They definitely are not afraid to try out new things, and they come up with some great food! I found myself thinking that it would be fun to be a little more daring with my cooking in order to jazz it up a bit and make it seem like less of a chore.

I headed to the Internet, where I found this recipe for stuffed yellow peppers. They are stuffed with a spicier, more Mexican-style meat mixture, instead of the usual Italian-style beef and rice. They also have a black bean recipe to accompany them. I will be making these two items for dinner tonight. I headed to Wegman's to get the ingredients (because I don't imagine that a spicy chicken sausage is something that can be found at my local Mr. Z's), and I also picked up a couple of magazines for inspiration. The biggest challenge for me is that I want to make these yummy and adventurous foods fit into my Weight Watchers lifestyle. Therefore, some of the heavier and more decadent ingredients have to go. Luckily, there are plenty of recipes out there on the Internet that incorporate healthier ingredients, and with the recipe builder on the WW website, I can figure out the Points values for the things I am cooking.

Wish me luck...tonight's the first night of my culinary adventure!



My trip to Wegman's netted me some smoked chicken chorizo, but no fresh spicy chicken sausage. Therefore, instead of crumbling and browning the sausage, I cut the sausage I bought into chunks and cooked it with the other ingredients. I also added a can of diced green chilis that I had on hand in my pantry.

Below, the fruit of my labors:

I know the beans don't look pretty, but they were so, so good. And the change in sausage made for a good dish, although I can't compare it to the original since I haven't had the original. All in all, I would say it was a hit with me, and I am sure that my husband will enjoy it too.

Experiment #1 was a success!


Kat said...

That looks so yummy! The best tasting food is usually not the prettiest - especially if it's homemade.

If you didn't like the texture of the chunks of sausage, sometimes you can cut the casing and brown the meat like regular sausage.

Elly said...

I am glad you liked them! I think the chorizo would be great..I loooove chorizo. I know, the beans don't look pretty, do they? Mine didn't either, lol. But they taste good :)