I'm often asked what I like to cook the most, and frankly I do not have an answer because I do not like repeating recipes that much. In fact it used to drive Jim crazy that I always wanted to try something new instead of recreating a successful dinner that he loved.
I think it was partly due to the fact I FELL so hard and so fast IN LOVE with cooking. Like anything obsessive, you can imagine my craving for knowledge was so great that I was ravenously consuming recipe books and food blogs for new cooking techniques and new ingredients to try.
Then [insert life] Jim and I made two beautiful babies and we work full time - life gets full and while I would love to spend lots and lots of time scouring books and the web for something new, I don't have that luxury in this life stage. With a four year old and a two year old who have picky pallets I'm already making two meals on most nights. The things they eat without protest are what I call "boring" meals that do not excite me at all. Coupled with the fact they eat at 6 PM and we walk in the back door around 5:30 PM gives me little to no time to put anything special together for them. I KNOW this is just a stage in life and this too will pass but I'm having a little pitty-party about it right now.
Luckily, I can fall back on the lessons I leisurely learned in the kitchen those 4 years I spent cooking before kiddos. Now, most of my recipe choices center around how fast I can prep and cook a meal. There are a few solid recipes I put on repeat in our house which I want to share with you below. Some of these my kids will eat too, saving me the hassle of cooking two dinners. Some of these are just so darn tasty that I have repeated them enough that I learned where to cut corners, making convenient substitutions that allow me to make them on a Monday through Thursday.
I really love many of Ina Garten's recipes because they all seem to come out great. Her Pot Roast (while only a special occasionmeal for me), and the Shrimp and Feta are two of my favorites and the Beatty's Chocolate Cake is my go to Birthday Cake recipe. You know what else is a huge hit at our house? Ina's White Pizza. Ya'll, this pizza is so good that I was making it every other week for a while... then Jim and I started to eat a little healthier and now I make it about once a month. My shortcut is to used store bought pizza dough from the freezer section. Shrimp and Feta and White Pizza are the two I have on repeat in my house.
I've mentioned several times on the blog that Jim and I eat Salmon every Monday night. I like that at the end of a long Monday there are no decisions that need to be made. At the very least I can put the salmon in the oven for 15 minutes and I can call that dinner. Most weeks I try a new spin on this fish and March of 2015 I hit the jackpot with this recipe from Giada: Salmon in Lemon Brodetto with Pea Puree. I posted about the recipe which you can read if you follow the link. In summary, I made the recipe easier by cooking the salmon in the oven. The pea and mint puree with parmesan and olive oil does mean you will dirty the bowl of your food processor but this elegant dinner is so worth it. I have it on repeat in my house.
Packaged gnocchi is an item I always have in my pantry. You can read about how I made it from scratch, and I sincerely hope you try this sometime... but the packaged stuff is pretty darn good and has saved dinner on more than one occasion. One recipe I've made a dozen times is Gnocchi with Squash and Kale from Food Network. We love this dinner and it's easy to pull together.
After I started experimenting with the pressure cooker I began repeating one recipe - these Chicken Enchiladas from Serious Eats. It may not be a Monday through Thursday meal because I don't take any shortcuts, but the sauce in this recipe is so darn good I think it trumps any other red sauce I've ever made.
Speaking of chicken, Bobby Flay's Chicken Tacos are up there on my list of all time favorites. These are no ordinary chicken tacos and they too take some time to prep. I have made these at least a dozen times and usually cut some corners when it comes to the homemade guacamole otherwise I made it as printed.
By far the most repeated chicken taco dinner in my house is the easy-peasy crockpot recipe where you take frozen chicken breasts and top with a jar of salsa and sprinkle with a packet of taco seasoning and set to low heat all day. When we get home, I easily shred the chicken with two forks and either make quesadillas for us and the kids with some cheddar cheese or we wrap a warm flour tortilla around the shredded meat and eat along side some black beans. Voila, dinner!
A few years ago I subscribed to Plated, a grocery delivery service which sent recipes and the exact ingredients needed to make a meal. I loved this avenue for experimenting with new ingredients and techniques. There are a couple recipes that I continue to make on repeat in my home. The Shepherds Pie makes a comeback quite often because it is quick and easy to pull together and everyone in the family loves it.
Other Plated meal that make a comeback in our kitchen is the Garlic Shrimp with White Beans served with Toast, and the Skirt Steak with Chimichurri and Carrot-Citrus Hash (don't let the long fancy name deter you from trying this amazing dinner.) I just realized I don't have the Shrimp meal on my blog anywhere. I will make that again soon and post about it, promise.