I suppose everyone has an off night when it comes to cooking - a night where just nothing comes out the way you wanted or expected it to, whether it be a new recipe that didn't turn out right, or a quick and easy meal you thought you'd try to save some time. I've fallen into the latter category this week!
This has been around in my family for quite some time. I can't tell you how many times my mom and I have been asked to write out the recipe on the spot after someone tried it!
I made this for my best friend's baby shower (doubled it even) and it disappeared, I did the same thing for a casual potluck wedding party and even though I ran out of crackers, people were scooping it up on to veggies, chips, and whatever else they could find. And just recently I made it for Girls Night In with the neighbors!
Around my house, this was classic Christmas Eve fare. I grew up having a love hate/relationship with it because while it tastes unbelievable, I have a strong aversion to crunching into onions. So, I used to sit there and pick all the onions out of it and then spread it on my crackers. Now, I just throw my onion in the food processor and turn it super mushy, problem solved!!
This week isn't going to be very interesting in the cooking department. Hubby is headed off for a conference on the other side of the continent and with him gone, frozen pizzas/meals will come into play! Especially with my night classes, it is just a bit easier to throw on a pizza instead of expecting the 13 year old of the house to operate the crockpot and remember to turn it off, and so on and so on... Excuses, excuses. Frozen pizzas were on sale this week anyway, and there were tons of coupons, so without further ado, my menu for the week:
You can't go wrong with these nachos!! My family and I used to eat at this tiny little Mexican restaurant on the corner, we started going right when they opened, they served everything on paper plates and had plastic silverware, but the food.... oh my! I've never been able to find anything like it again.
Before they closed down, my mom begged the owner to tell her how to make the shredded beef he used in his Nachos, Chimichangas, and Burritos. He laughed and told her, "just throw it in a slow cooker with some salsa and jalapeños all day, it'll fall apart!"
And so she did. And now I do too! And soon, I bet you will as well.
I'd really like to enjoy meatloaf. Really, I would. I just don't. When my mom used to make meatloaf as a child, I would have hot dogs or a frozen dinner instead, I hated it and refused to eat it. (And I was an incredibly spoiled only child).
So, I haven't tried a bite of meatloaf since I was probably 8 or 9 years old. My old college roommates loved it, and on nights when they cooked it, they reinforced my spoiled nature by making me a chicken breast instead. But, I ate meatloaf last night.
So, have I mentioned we love Asian food at our house?? Funny thing is, I used to hate trying new things, the only thing I would get from a chinese take out was those fried up little chicken pieces with sweet n sour. And now I eat something different every week - heck I even MAKE it!
With a little help though! Thanks to the packets I've found (and will be telling you more about soon) I'm able to cook up some seriously delicious food that gets raved about. Last night my boys (hubby and stepson) were actually dancing around the house singing "we're having cashew chicken!!" (over and over and over again). The dog joined in on the singing. It was insane. It was hilarious. It is definitely a good life!
This is the third Wanchai Ferry kit we've tried, and while all of them have been good, this one takes the cake, not only for taste but because it is seriously easy and gets to the table faster than I can load a dishwasher (maybe I'm a little slow in that area..)
I just recently discovered Crockpot Wednesday's over at Dining with Debbie! I love to use my Crock Pot and since I have class at night on Mon and Wed it is pretty much the only way my family gets a home cooked dinner. Yesterday I made this delicious meal and you can read how to make it for yourself below or you can click here to skip my rambling and go to the printable version.
This meal does not use a packet, but it does use cans! Cans are kind of similar to packets right? Just open them, dump them in, and toss them (into your recycling bin - unless you are trying to hide the cream of mushroom evidence from a very picky 13 year old who HATES mushrooms, in which case you wrap it in dirty paper towels and put it at the bottom of the trash can - the Earth will forgive me).
I read so many great recipes and menu plans from the links I find on the Menu Plan Monday blog!! I have been lurking for the past few months, but I'm ready to join in the fun, finally. I normally plan my menus out for a month, some people call me crazy but it takes less work to sit down for an hour once a month and hash it all out then to stress about it every week. But for this blog I'll tone it down and just go week by week.
I'll be the first to admit that I don't always stick to this plan, but I do try!
NOPE! I don't. Not a penny. It's shameful really (j/k). I usually use what my mom uses and she uses what my grandma uses... this goes all the way back to prehistoric times. If you like another brand name, by all means, use it! It won't affect the recipe. If another brand is on sale - DEFINITELY buy it, there is no shame in saving money, and even I will vary on brands from time to time if I get a good deal.
Don't a lot of these packets have recipes already on them? Or even on the brand website?
They sure do. Most packets contain a recipe on the back and you can also visit their website for even more variations. If you want to use those, feel free, but I typically always tweak and add in order to please myself and my family.
Do you really think it is easy, or even cost-efficient, to use packets instead of using your own mix of seasonings?
Easy? Yes, very easy. Think of the time you spend looking through your spice drawer/cabinet/rack, then digging around looking for your measuring spoons, dirtying them up and then putting everything away, when instead you could just rip open a packet and throw it away. Of course, if you are a super organized person this may not be an issue for you, but we can't all be perfect.
As for cost-efficient? I'm going to go with probably not. But we aren't talking millions of dollars here - packets cost anywhere from 50 cents to 2 dollars and if you stock up when they are on sale you really aren't losing that much. Plus some recipes call for some crazy spice you only need once and then you have more clutter you don't need!
One final note on this issue - I used to always buy taco packets. BUT, I just recently got my hands on an excellent recipe for taco seasoning that is almost identical to the packet. So now I mix up a big batch of that, seal it in Tupperware and store it in my pantry, taking out what I need as I go through the month. I will post this recipe eventually, when I run out of the massive supply I currently have.
Will you only post recipes that use packets?
Originally I had planned to do only recipes that involved packets, but then I wouldn't be able to keep this blog going for very long. So instead, I decided that really when people think of cooking with packets they think of easy meals they can throw together quick, sticking with that I will post recipes along those lines. Word of warning though, sometimes I might feel dangerous and throw in something complicated, but only if it is REALLY worth the time and trouble.
Has anyone ever told you that your pictures need a little work?
Shockingly enough, I am not a photographer, if the pictures hurt your eyes, scroll down and just read the recipe!