For the past month, I've been cooking three recipes that I've never tried before each week. The recipes all came from cookbooks I already had in my kitchen. Now that February is over, I'm reflecting on the challenge and my takeaways from the venture.
What was my favorite dish? Hands down, my favorite was the asparagus "risotto" from my "Fun Food Fast!" cookbook. It's the one thing I've made again just a few weeks after trying it, and it was so easy! I couldn't get over how easy the dish was. Just a few ingredients, and you don't need to be an expert in cooking to make this delicious dish.
What was my least favorite dish? I would say the worst dish was the fettuccine with asparagus and lemon from the "College Vegetarian Cooking" cookbook. The concept of the recipe wasn't terrible, but instead of making a cream sauce, you mix milk, eggs, lemon and Parmesan together to create a light sauce. I would prefer a traditional cream or cheese sauce when making pasta instead. If you want to see how I made this dish, I did a Facebook LIVE video at Facebook.com/TinyMessyKitchen. You'll see what ingredients I used, how it all came together, and how it tasted.
Am I happy I did the cooking challenge? Yes! I have found so many delicious dishes that I can make quickly on a weeknight that it was totally worth the challenge. And it gave me a twist on normal dishes I already made, such as polenta. Instead of pairing polenta with black beans or roasted red peppers, I now know I can make it with sautéed mushrooms and it is SO good! In addition, the flautas that I made in week one or two of the challenge were a spin on baked enchiladas or burritos that I've made before, but so much simpler yet just as yummy.
What was the hardest part about the cooking challenge? Although I had the cookbooks to build meals off of, I am not the best meal planner. So if I hadn't planned ahead to get ingredients on my way home from work, it was impossible to look up the recipe and see if I had all I needed. In some cases, the recipes were listed online (on blogs or professional cooks' websites), but for the most part, I was out of luck until I got home to look at the recipe in-person.
What's next? I'll be writing a few travel blog posts in the near future. To find out where I'll be heading, and what restaurants I tried in different cities, stay tuned!