Weeknight Dinners: Attempting New Recipes

For about two years now, I have set up blog accounts and then never blogged. I absolutely love reading other people’s blogs. I have about 40 in my Feedly reader that I check every single day. What can I say? I’m nosey. I like seeing what other people are wearing, finding recipes and generally stalking people I find interesting. But I can never think of anything to write about when it comes to my own blog. The other day, my sister (we call her Gritz) requested that I finally start posting so she can keep up with my life. So here goes. It will probably be awesomely boring, but if nothing else, I know Gritz will be my loyal (and only) reader. But fair warning: I’m not a photographer, and I’m certainly not a chef.

Deciding what to have for dinner is the bane of my existence. By the time I get home from work, I’m starving, and I just want a plate of food to appear in front of me. But in the interesting of saving money (and calories), I’m trying to be better about meal planning and cooking at home, at least on the weeknights.

I’m constantly searching for quick and easy recipes that I can make with my limited cooking skills. I have a bad habit of tackling recipes way outside of my abilities and then having what my husband lovingly calls a “rage quit.” It’s a term people use when playing video games, when you get so frustrated you just freak out and quit in a fit of rage. These cooking rage quits have happened on multiple occasions. (The “Christmas crack” with saltines, chocolate and caramel that stuck to the parchment paper … the Paula Deen empanadas that took 10 years off my life and tasted terrible.) The list goes on and on.

In an effort to help other time and talent challenged “chefs” like myself, I’ll try to share a few recipes here that work (and maybe a few that didn’t so you can save yourself from a rage quit of your own). Here are two new recipes I tackled over the last week:

Greek Chicken and Crispy Pita with Garlic Yogurt Sauce

Greek Chicken and Crunchy Pita with Garlic Yogurt Sauce

(The credit goes to my mom on this one. Not sure where she got it, but it’s one of her signature dishes.)

Time: 30 minutes (Note: 30 actual minutes … not 30 “Rachel Ray minutes,” aka 2 hours)
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
1 ½ lbs. beef tenderloin, or chicken, or marinated pork tenderloin, cut into bite size pieces
Diced tomatoes, fresh or canned
3 oz. butter or margarine
½ tsp. oregano
2 tsp. chopped fresh dill

1 pint plain yogurt
1 tsp. garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

4 small pita bread loaves cut into bite size chunks

– Heat skilled with ½ the butter and lightly toss pita bread chunks until crips. Keep warm in 200 degree oven. Prepare yogurt sauce by stirring in garlic powder, salt and pepper.
– Heat remaining butter in skilled. Add meat and sauté until well browned.
– Add diced tomatoes, oregano, and chopped fresh dill and continue to sauté until tomatoes are well cooked.
– Put the pita bread on a big serving dish. Cover with yogurt sauce. Spoon meat mixture over yogurt sauce.

Verdict: A perfect weeknight meal. This is easy to make with a short ingredient list, which is good for the grocery budget. The fresh dill really makes it, so don’t skip that. Plus, pita tossed in butter until it’s crunchy? Yum. Even my husband, who is not a big yogurt fan, liked the garlic sauce over the top. Plus, I used whole wheat pita, so if you ignore the butter, it’s healthy, right?

Turkey and Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Turkey and Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

I used the recipe found on this site and followed it exactly.

Verdict: Too time consuming for a weeknight. This is one of those recipes you find on Pinterest, where you know it’s healthy, but you’re hoping it somehow magically tastes like cheesy, fatty, deliciousness. It definitely tastes healthy. I kind of wished I mixed more cheese throughout the whole thing, because cheese makes everything better. I probably won’t make it again. It’s not the recipe’s fault. It’s my fault for loving unhealthy things. Let’s be honest: I brought the leftovers for lunch today, and I want to throw them away and get Taco Bell.

Update: I actually ate the leftovers, and I think I liked it better the second day. Although, I acted like a child and only ate the insides and not the peppers.

What are your favorite weeknight meals?

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