Thursday, October 18, 2007

My Dinner Salvation

"Oh, chicken casserole again, my favorite!" My husband's smile doesn't quite reach his eyes. I listlessly move the cream-of-soup concoction around my plate. Dinner has gotten so boring. I have nine or ten people to feed every night, and as you can imagine, my grocery bill kept going up. I would pull out all of my penny-pinching stops with menu planning. It wasn't working, and I was getting SO sick of all my super-cheap dinners. Just the thought of cheesy potatoes leaves me nauseous. When my friend Cindy told me how she tries 100 new recipes a year, I perked right up. I went home and dug out a cookbook I'd bought at Costco a while ago. I figured if I'm using all new recipes, they'd better all be from the same book so I wouldn't have to hunt all over before dinner. I decided to just forget about my budget and make whatever looked interesting. It has been interesting indeed!
We've discovered orzo, pesto, mango chutney, curries, cous cous, paella and nut-encrusted fish.
My husband comes home every night to play food critic. Each recipe gets a 1-10 rating, and I've been hitting them out of the park. Here are a few of our favorites so far:
Chicken and Apples with Dijon Cream
Curried Chicken with Spinach and Tomatoes
Pleasing Paella
Spinach Pesto Pasta with Chicken
Greek Chicken over Orzo
Sausage and Pepper Pasta
Herschel's Spanish Fish
The funny thing is, my grocery bill went way down! I never set out to do it, I just picked recipes that sounded good, or like nothing I've ever made. Shockingly enough, cooking is FUN again, and the recipes are really healthy. We're eating way less meat, and what we do eat is white meat and fish. I didn't plan to do that either, but it's nice.