Thursday Night Dinners

I may have mentioned this in previous posts, but I have started having Thursday night dinners. What does that mean? It means that I choose a dish I have never made before, tell my friends in North County what I’m making, invite them to bring a dish that compliments it and join me. It’s fun for me because it forces me to make things I’ve never tried before and see if I like them.  It also teaches me new cooking terms and techniques, like zesting lemons or mincing garlic.  I’m having to find new stores for unique ingredients like andouille sausage or ground lamb (I have a meat market nearby that is amazing!).

It’s also really nice to be able to cook for more than one person, so I don’t have tons of leftovers and I don’t have to eat it alone.  It gives me motivation to spend time in my kitchen and build my cooking resume.  One of my 2013 resolutions is to cook two new dishes a week, and Thursday dinner ensures I get at least one.  We also end up hanging out after eating, usually playing a game or Wii, which just adds to the fun of Thursday nights.

Jambalaya early in the cooking process

Jambalaya early in the cooking process

So what have I been making lately?  Well, a few weeks ago I bought a crock pot because everyone raves about these things and it seems like a good way to make dinner without being rushed because you can do it in the morning and it’s ready when you get home. I decided to tackle jambalaya for my first crock pot dish.  I love Cajun seasonings and sausage and shrimp and chicken, so it seemed like a good plan.  I found a recipe on Pinterest, deleted the tomatoes/sauce and doubled the chicken stock (I don’t do tomatoes).  It cooked on low for eight hours, which made the house smell great! I think it was a success, and coupled with the cornbread, veggies, and dessert that others brought, it was a perfect dinner.

Lamb meatballs rolled and ready to cook

Lamb meatballs rolled and ready to cook

This week I decided to go Greek themed because I’ve really been on a Greek kick lately.  So I offered to make lamb meatballs from scratch, while others brought pita/hummus, a Mediterranean rice, grape leaves, apples with Greek yogurt, and mochi (not so Greek, but SO good).  It was fun to hand mix all the seasonings into the meat and then roll it into balls for baking.  I have collected quite a seasoning/spice rack through these meals, which makes every week a little cheaper because I already have some of the ingredients.

I also successfully made my first batch of pumpkin bread ever! Those of you who know me know that I love it, SO much, but I’ve never actually tried to make it myself.  I just rely on friends or family to make it for me.  But my first attempt went really well and I had six mini loaves to share for dessert one week, with hopefully more on the way.  And I have been making batches of healthy chicken salad for lunches, which my roommate and I consume faster than we should… I am starting to enjoy cooking and I can’t wait to continue after my next big trip (more on that soon)!

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  1. Trackback: Rays of Funshine

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