HH6 September Challenge, Part 2

As I mentioned a few posts ago, this month's challenge was to prepare a meal using only what you had on hand in your pantry, fridge, and freezer. I posted pictures of  my pantry and freezers, and now it's time to impress you all with what I managed to throw together. (Not really, just giving myself a pep talk...)

After raiding the fridge and pantry, these are the ingredients I came up with: chicken tenderloins, boil-in-a-bag brown rice, frozen broccoli, sugar snap peas, red and green bell peppers, and Philly Cooking Cream. I decided to cook everything but the rice together kind of like a stir fry and serve it with the rice. I really wanted to cook it with pasta and toss it all together, but I only had about a third of a box of spaghetti, and that wasn't nearly enough to feed all of us. 

I cooked it all up and even had enough fruit in the fridge to make a fruit salad. Not the best one ever, but not bad at all for using what I had left from the last grocery run!

I thought it all came together really well, and was really tasty. My mother-in-law said it was missing some spice or something, but I liked it pretty well the way it was. I do wish I could've had pasta, I think that would've been better, but oh well! Maybe I'll buy some of the cooking cream again sometime and do it right.

9/14- Ginger Lime Swordfish.. er.... Tilapia

Yeah, I'm not springing for Swordfish when I've got Tilapia in the freezer! I'm sure it makes a difference, but it seemed this recipe was more about the sauce than the fish so I decided to risk the substitution. I think it was well worth it. The fish was very light, and the sauce was very flavorful. It was delicious served with brown rice, especially when the sauce mixed in with the rice too. My son said it was a bit spicy at first, but then he got used to it and ate it, especially after I squirted some honey on his plate for him to dip the fish in. (He is his father's son.... Joe puts honey on some of the strangest things!) The spiciness was probably my fault since I didn't exactly measure the ginger, I just guesstimated. I thought it was fine, and Joe said it was very good, so clearly guesstimating isn't that bad!


9/13- Baked Sesame Chicken Noodles

Here I go again with the Asian foods! After the Szechuan Steak turned out so good, I figured I actually CAN cook Asian food, so I figured I'd add another one to my repertoire. This one is another fairly easy one, although it does require some prep in the form of chopping veggies and cooking pasta. Once you start the stir-fry, though, it all goes very quickly. Since it bakes, you can cook it a little before dinnertime and then play with the kids while it bakes. :)

Speaking of baking it- let me just say that it was tasty, but I think I would like it better if I skipped that part. Maybe I did something wrong, but baking it seemed to really dry it out for me. When it was fresh off the stove, it was piping hot and deliciously moist. Out of the oven it was of course hot, but it was a bit more dry and sticky looking. I had some leftovers for lunch the next day, and putting soy sauce on it helped considerably, but I still think I'd like it better if I skipped baking it and just served it fresh out of the pot. 

HH6 September Challenge- part one

I'm late posting this, but I took the pictures on the 5th. This month we're challenged to prepare a meal using only what we have on hand. We were to take a picture of our pantry, fridge, and freezer to document what "on hand" meant, and then post the pictures so everyone could see. So, here are the pictures. 


chest freezer

regular freezer

8/31- Grilled Salmon Salad

Cooking Light strikes again! This salad was really delicious, and the dressing was so light and refreshing. The recipe calls for "gourmet salad greens." Um, the Food Lion here doesn't exactly cater to "gourmet", and my grocery budget can't handle it anyway, so I stuck with boring old lettuce. I did, at least, use a mixture of Green Leaf and Ice Berg lettuces. Gourmet enough for me! It also calls for basil to be mixed in, so I picked some from the herb garden and tossed it in. It makes such a big difference! The perfect bite has a piece of salmon, lettuce, some basil, and a bit of mango. Combined with the dressing it's just delicious!


8/26- Rigatoni with No-Cook Tomato Sauce

Last summer, my mother-in-law made this sauce for us one night and served it with shrimp. It was delicious, and I decided then that I wanted to try it with pasta, it just took me a year to do it. It's really insanely easy! I was a little nervous that it wouldn't taste right since it wasn't heated, but when you mix it with freshly cooked pasta it heats it up just enough to be awesome. What made it even better was the fact that pretty much the entire sauce came out of my garden! Well, not the olive oil, I didn't bother with an olive grove this year. The tomatoes, parsley, basil, and thyme were all freshly picked right before I made the sauce. Can't get better than that!

No-Cook Tomato Sauce

1 lb ripe tomatoes (3 large or 4 medium), cored and cut into 1/2 inch dice (about 4 cups) *
1/2 c good quality extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 c roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or basil or both
1 T coarsely chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp minced garlic (1 medium clove)
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper; more to taste
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Combine all of the ingredients in a non-reactive bowl large enough to hold the tomatoes and the cooked pasta; mix well. Let the sauce sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 hours.

Toss the sauce with just-cooked pasta. Adjust the seasoning to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately

*I used cherry tomatoes since that's what I had in my garden. Loved it!

8/25- Stir Fried Szechuan Steak on Rice

Well, since I tried making a Chinese dish recently (Shrimp Fried Rice) and didn't exactly hit it out of the park, I decided to try again. This time I went for Szechuan Steak, and it was awesome! It was really amazingly easy, and was done super fast. It's also a Cooking Light recipe. Surprise! :)

I did make a substitution or two, but they didn't really affect the overall dish. I didn't have dark sesame oil, so I just used the regular stuff. No difference. I didn't read the recipe clearly, and used vegetable oil to cook the veggies in instead of the sesame oil- I put the sesame oil in the sauce. Since it all gets mixed together eventually anyway, it tasted just fine. Next time I make it though, I'll be sure to turn my brain on before I start cooking.