Dinner rut

We’re in a food rut at our house. We make the same dinners, on the same day, just about every week. The worst part is, we’re starting to avoid cooking because we’re tired of what we’re cooking. So we’re branching out to find new and exciting (and easy!) recipes to put together during the week.

I love cooking, but – you know – on the weekends when I have plenty of time and when putting together a meal doesn’t mean I have to race in the door and immediately start dinner prep. On the weekends I’ll happily put together braised short ribs or multi-step casseroles. Weeknight dinners, on the other hand, get relegated to easy, boring meals that I know will come together quickly and painlessly. Especially because I teach an exercise class after work two or three nights a week, meaning that I don’t get home until late.

Anyway, one of my latest hits was a stew that I actually used to make all the time like two years ago (or was it three??? man I’m getting old). It’s a slow cooker recipe, so of course it’s insanely easy. Chop. Dump. Pour. Set and leave. Done. Plus, it makes enough to give us four meals worth of food. WIN!! As with most slow cooker recipes, the results aren’t that appetizing (why must the slow cooker sap all of the color out of food?) but they are very tasty, so that makes up for it. I don’t even actually have a recipe for it, but I toss in black beans, tomatoes, chopped kale, an onion, garlic, plenty of peppers, and chicken. Top with a can of Rotel and let it cook on low for a while. Then I shred the chicken and stir in some low-fat cream cheese. Serve it with a little extra cream cheese dollop on top cause that’s the good stuff. Call it a meal.

But then, Luffy and I got real crazy last night. Our typical dinners usually involve a protein (salmon or sausage or chicken) and a veggie, so last night’s meal of cod and quinoa was way out in left field for us. I found this recipe a few weeks ago. We finally got around to making it and it was so delicious! And super easy. It took us probably about 45 minutes to put together, but I imagine that time will decrease once we make it a couple more times. Our only critique was that, though it’s billed as “spicy,” it wasn’t actually that spicy at all. (Hey – we’re from Texas – if it doesn’t burn our tongues, it’s not spicy enough!) Next time, we’ll up the level of cayenne and I’m also thinking of adding a jalapeno to the sauce. Still though, it was a delicious, healthy, and fairly quick dinner that I think we’ll add to our regular rotation.

Other surprise additions to our weekly rotation include the mythical unicorn dinner and pizza at a Neapolitan pizza place that we loved when we lived downtown and then we moved and were sad but then they opened a location in the burbs!! And yeah, that doesn’t really count as a dinner that we make but it’s real good and makes me happy.