I promised I would share a few of my favorite recipes that I discovered during my 30-day cooking challenge in April, and I'm ready to spill the beans on what I now love to make.
The biggest revelation for me was overnight oatmeal, which I mentioned last week. Although I had tried overnight oatmeal in the past, I couldn't find the right recipe to really enjoy it.
That changed with one small investment: 8-ounce Mason container jars.
They're the perfect size for overnight oatmeal. They're easy to clean, and the container can be microwaved, without the lid, of course. That made the thought of overnight oatmeal so much more accessible.
As a bonus, it was easy to mix because I could shake up all the ingredients in the jar.
Recipe: Overnight oatmeal
• 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (I use Bob's Red Mill Extra Thick Rolled • Oats -- do not use instant oatmeal!)
• 1/2 cup milk (I use skim or 2%)
• 1 tsp. granulated sugar or maple syrup
• A few dashes of cinnamon
• Extra mix-ins such as diced apple, peanut butter, cocoa powder or any other topping you like in your oatmeal
Instructions: The night before you want to enjoy your oatmeal, put all ingredients in the Mason jar. Twist the lid on tight and shake to mix the ingredients. Put in the fridge overnight. You can eat the oats cold or heat them up in the microwave (which I always do for about a minute).
Another meal I didn't discuss much in my weekly posts —but it was a favorite before the cooking challenge started and is even more of a favorite now — is enchilada pie.
This meal is hearty, and I never got sick of eating leftovers (which is saying something because typically, after two or three servings of leftovers, I'm done). In fact, I'd say I was even disappointed when I was completely done eating all the leftovers.
For me, this meal hits a lot of great points when I look for a meal to cook: It has lots of veggies, lots of protein and a lot of different textures.
Recipe: Enchilada pie
• 2 sweet potato, diced
• 2 bell peppers, diced
• 1/2 head of cauliflower, diced
• 1 zucchini, sliced and quartered
• 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
• 1/2 teaspoon cumin
• Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
• 4 corn tortillas
• 1 can vegetarian refried black beans
• 1 can red enchilada sauce
• 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
• Salt and pepper
• Olive oil
• Toppings (optional): Sour cream, guacamole or avocado, hot sauce
Instructions: Put diced veggies on a sheet pan and stir with olive oil, chili powder, cumin and cayenne pepper (if using). Roast diced veggies at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes, tossing the veggies after 10 minutes. Because you're going to be cooking the veggies again once the enchilada pie is assembled, everything does not need to be completely cooked through. Once the veggies are roasted, you'll layer all your items in a circular dish that is wide enough to fit a corn tortilla inside. A round Pyrex dish works great. Stack the layers like this: a few spoonfuls of enchilada sauce on the bottom, then a corn tortilla, then refried black beans, then a scoop of roasted veggies and then cheese. Repeat the layering from enchilada sauce to cheese until you hit the top of the container -- ending with the last of your enchilada sauce and cheese. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted on top. Let the dish sit for 10 minutes before cutting into it.
CRUNCHY ICEBERG SALAD with BLUE CHEESE
I know I already dedicated a post about the following recipe, but I can't get over how simple and delicious it was. I knew I should be making more salads from home, but I felt like it never compared to the salads I could get from Panera Bread or at a salad bar. But that changed when I found the blue-cheese wedge salad by Ina Garten.
Recipe: Crunchy iceberg salad with blue cheese
• 1 large head of iceberg lettuce
• 4 oz. blue-cheese crumbles
• 6 radishes, cut into thin slices
• 4 celery stalks, trimmed and cut into thin slices
• 4 scallions, trimmed and cut into thin slices
• Salt and pepper
• Blue-cheese dressing
Instructions: Cut the iceberg lettuce into wedges (or sliced into 1-inch-thick slices across). Top each wedge with a sprinkle of blue-cheese crumbles, radish slices, celery slices, scallions and salt and pepper. Drizzle blue-cheese dressing over each salad wedge and serve.
I hope I inspired you to cook a meal or two from home during my cooking challenge.
What I have up my sleeve next is a different type of challenge but one that still will include cooking the majority of my meals from home.
I can say I definitely appreciate home cooking in many more ways than I had before -- from a health and financial perspective.
Page designer Abby Armbruster can be reached at email@example.com. Find her latest photos and recipes on www.TinyMessyKitchen.com or http://Facebook.com/TinyMessyKitchen.