Thursday, 29 September 2011

breaking out of a food rut

Lately I've been feeling stuck in a rut in terms of the food I've been cooking every evening. We've settled in to a comfortable routine of rotating almost the same dinners every week which makes it easy to do the weekly shop in double quick time, but soon becomes incredibly boring. Last week I decided to mix things up a bit and set aside an evening to look through my underused cook books and collection of recipes ripped from various magazines or printed off the web which are haphazardly shoved in an empty notebook. What I really need is a stack of these and something like this to organize the chaos.

I selected seven 'new' (i.e. not already on our usual rota) meal ideas and hit the supermarket armed with my corresponding ingredient list. The criteria was that they had to be healthy, would also accommodate a 3 year old- or could be easily adapted to become child friendly, didn't require any obscure ingredients which would be obscenely expensive in New Zealand. I'm still reeling about the fact that sometimes a red pepper, or capsicum as they are called here, is $5 which is aprox £2.50. Shocking! Oh, and also most of them had to include some kind of meat or seafood as my husband is of the opinion a dish lacking in meat is not a proper meal.

Here's what I chose...

day one- Grilled chicken and courgette burgers with a yoghurt and mint dip served with rocket in wholemeal pittas

day two- Caramelized red onion and goats cheese pizzas on thin base Turkish bread

day three- Sirloin steak with chunky garlic potato wedges and grilled tomatoes

day four- Grilled pesto beef burgers with mushroom and spinach couscous

day five- Red onion, sweet potato and sausage frittata with a green salad

day six- Mexican chilli bean wrap with avo, salsa, sour cream and melted cheese

day seven- Prawn and lemon risotto was the plan but I was exhausted so I bailed out and threw together butter beans, a tin of chopped tomatoes, black olives and salami on toast.

I also made homemade basil pesto which I used in the beef burger recipe and incorporated the remainder of it into some lunches for Lila and I. It was super quick and easy to make and actually way better than the shop bought alternative.

So I'm happy to report that the experiment was a success. The total weekly food bill worked out to be $20 more than usual but it was definitely worth it for the break from monotony. The two vegetarian meals also went down well with Curt though I'll admit that I did grossly over cook the pizzas as I may have got a bit distacted on the iPad (a nice crispy base is always good but almost snapping your teeth off is another matter entirely). Lila was not a fan of the frittata, but seeing as she has never been keen on eggs that's probably fair enough. My personal favorite was the chicken and courgette burgers which were really more-ish and felt virtuous too. If anyone else is feeling uninspired when it comes to the evening meal I'd definitely recommend giving this a try.

Image of chicken and courgette burgers found here.
Image of red onion and goats cheese pizza found here

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