TICAL, vol. 2

Last month, I introduced a new type of post I’d like to publish here periodically, “things I cooked and liked” (TICAL). I’d like to continue with volume 2 today, which mostly consists of dishes I made during the last week or two of my maternity leave–I wanted to make the most of having so much time to spend on cooking! Here are a few highlights:

Mongolian Beef + Vegetables

Recently I found some organic, grass-fed stew beef for a great price at Aldi. I wanted to put it to good use, but I wasn’t in the mood for stew. I decided to try to make a stir-fry-ish meal, but I knew that the beef would be too tough if I tried to stir-fry it. So, I used approximately these ingredients, and cooked it on low in the slow cooker (sans broccoli); I added a bag of frozen stir-fry vegetables toward the end of cooking. Overall, it turned out tasty, but next time I’ll use fresh vegetables, as this version was just a little mushy.

BBQ Turkey Sloppy Joes

I’ve made this recipe from The Real Food RDs a few times now, and it’s been a big hit in our house every time (translation: no leftovers)! The only difference in my version is that I use Stubb’s original barbecue sauce, just because that’s what we keep on hand (FYI: it’s not Paleo or Whole30 compliant). On this particular occasion, I just served my portion up with some sauteed kale, but I’ve also served the turkey on top of toasted Ezekiel bread or baked sweet potatoes.

Baked Salmon w. Dill + Lemon

I serve salmon pretty much every week, so I’m always searching for new ways to prepare it. The thing is, usually the simplest preparation methods are the best. I really like the combination featured in this recipe: butter, olive oil, dill, and lemon. That’s it. I’ve also made it with other fresh herbs with great results.

Slow Cooker Chicken Stock

For as long as I’ve been cooking (and watching Ina Garten do it), I’ve never actually taken the time to make my own stock. I finally decided to put all my veggie scraps to good use along with a rotisserie chicken carcass and made some chicken stock in the ol’ Crock Pot. I used this recipe as a guide, although my mix of vegetables was a bit different. The end result was pretty fantastic, if I do say so myself. I actually made it right around the same time I felt a cold coming on (#thanksdaycare), and it was so soothing to drink a cup of this at night instead of my usual tea. Definitely doing this again!

Creamy Balsamic Dressing

I mentioned in my recent food prep post that I try to make some sort of salad dressing each week, and a few weeks ago I found a real winner: creamy balsamic dressing. I’ve made it with and without the honey, and honestly I don’t think the honey is necessary because the balsamic vinegar is already so sweet.

Beet Pesto

Another dish I tend to serve almost weekly is zoodles, but lately I’ve grown tired of the usual marinara for the sauce element. So I’ve been experimenting with different types of pesto, and found this pin for inspiration. I followed the beet pesto recipe pretty closely, just substituting Pecorino-Romano for the Parmesan cheese. The end result was really good…and really beet-y. Seth and I happen to love beets, but others who don’t love them as much as we do might not be as crazy about the flavor.

What have you been cooking lately?

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