Now that we're one month in, how is everyone's 2014 going so far? We rang in the new year needing a new furnace on the first day of the year. I'll admit that shook me. Aside from it costing a fortune who wants to start their new year off on such a crummy note? Luckily the month improved from there! However January has been horrifically cold. Between the Polar Vortex (a "new" term that we all know well now!) and lots of snow it's been a bit frigid. Due to this we ate in a lot more than usual but this month I really made a lot of new meals and meals I don't blog (pasta with jarred sauce, frozen Trader Joe's stuff... you get the picture...). Like always there were some favorites remade, so let's get to it.
I started the month off with this cheesy baked onion dip. If I'm being honest this was technically made on December 31 but I had already posted my recap so it got bumped to January. I made this for a few friends that came over for NYE and it was delicious. I'm very sensitive to onions and still cry every time I chop them so it was cute to hear Landon asking, "Mommy, you sad? Why cry? You hurt?" I love that bugger. And cheesy onion dip. Yup.. I love both.
Every January at my school we do a cultural fair project where each grade level studies a continent. Fifth grade works on Asia and my class specifically focuses on Thailand. I decided to make a rendition of this pineapple fried rice. There were several changes (no chicken, added raisins, added curry powder, teriyaki sauce, and sriracha sauce) but I used this as my inspiration and base. My kids loved it... and let me tell you, those kids can pound sriracha! I used so little but they all wanted more and more to the point where their food was red! My tongue was burning just looking at their plates.
Chicken parmesan pasta continues to be one of my favorite go-to meals when I don't feel like cooking. I often sit at my laptop with one hand on my phone to call for take out and one hand looking through my blog for an easy meal, and without fail I fall to this. I always have the ingredients and it's always a meal that all three of us like!
It wouldn't be a monthly recap without pizza... you know we love our pizza in this house. This month I remade John's absolute favorite- buffalo chicken pizza. I don't love buffalo chicken pizza at restaurants because it's normally so gloppy, covered in fried chicken, and just usually makes me sick after eating it. I love this version though with grilled chicken and a lighter sauce (and less of it).
I haven't made baked garlic rice pilaf in so long and it was time to bring it back! This recipe takes a good deal of time but it is so delicious and truly the oven does all the work. I needed a side dish to serve with my chicken florentine puffs that wouldn't steal the show but would compliment the dish and this rice was perfect. Truth be told I could eat a bowl of this with a salad and call it dinner.
Remember that snow I mentioned earlier in the post? Recently we had a huge snow storm and I was home early from work and REALLY wanted a casserole. Like the "bad" kind full of creamy soups and cheese. I don't buy creamed canned soups often so I decided to make my condensed cream of chicken soup to use. Honestly why don't I make this more often?! It's so easy. Landon helped me stir it and helped me pour the flour mixture in... even with his "help" this still came together so quickly and it's much better for you than the canned stuff.
On Tuesday I posted about how I stink at following my meal plans and this dinner was another result of such a night where I just didn't feel like making what I planned. It's all good though because I ended up making this crispy cashew chicken stir fry which I had basically forgotten about. Man is this stuff good! I used a short cut and used a frozen teriyaki veggie mix for the veggies this time and I thought they worked perfectly. The sauce on them blended well with this sauce and it was all so very good. Even the leftovers were fabulous.
Landon has been picky (surprise...) with his meals lately so I bought some sliced American cheese from the deli for nights where he really won't eat. On those nights I throw him a slice of cheese, a banana, and a smoothie and call it a day. I had some cheese left and used it for these cheesy garlic shells and they were just as good as the first time. Total comfort food.
I was really craving pizza one night but wasn't in the mood for my typical favorites so I decided to bring back bruschetta pizza. It's just so good... it's so fresh tasting which is a nice contrast from the typical heavy flavors of winter. John and I loved it, as usual, and Landon refused to try it, as usual. However I anticipated this and made a section of the pie plain with just tomato sauce and cheese... and sure enough he ate that with no issue!
I cooked with my class this month and they wanted to make a "fancy dessert" in their words. So here we go! We made a trifle using cookies on the base (recipe below), a pudding mousse on top, and covered it all with this warm strawberry sauce. My kids were amazed that it is made from simply just strawberries.
Lastly I made these soft eggless cookies because I have a child with an egg allergy and didn't want to leave him out. They LOVED them. I used chocolate chips instead of M&Ms because I have several nut allergies in my class, but otherwise they were the same.