But I decided a couple of years ago that I needed to start challenging myself to broaden my repertoire, and I started by mastering some classic Italian dishes that I love. One of them was risotto, and I quickly learned that I could be creative within the boundaries of a structured basic recipe. I can make risotto with whatever we have on hand, and it always turns out well. I need to find another basic recipe like that. (I'm open to suggestions!)
Another thing we did about a year ago to try to eat healthier was subscribe to Greenling, a service that delivers fresh produce from local farms (among other things). We get a "local box" every week of whatever is in season. It's been interesting to see what we get every week, and to challenge ourselves to cook with what we get.
It's zucchini season now, and we got two huge zucchinis in our box on Friday. I shredded both of them and used them to make two loaves of zucchini bread (I use Paula Deen's recipe, yum!), a batch of salmon-zucchini fritters for dinner (I combined a can of salmon and about a cup of shredded zucchini with bread crumbs and an egg, then formed patties and fried them), which were surprising good.
That still left me a cup of shredded zucchini, so this morning we had a zucchini frittata for breakfast. Frittatas are basically thick omelets, and you make them out of leftovers, traditionally. You saute your ingredients (in this case onions, zucchini, and some bits of deli sliced chicken I found in the fridge), then add 3 or 4 beaten eggs, let it cook until those are almost set, then top with some shredded cheese and pop the whole thing into a 425 degree oven for 5-10 minutes until it's done and the cheese is bubbly.
Carter LOVED the frittata, and gobbled up a lot of it. He wasn't as impressed with the zucchini bread, though. He tasted a bit, but it went on the floor fairly quickly.
I've also started making jello from fruit juice, which I feel better about giving him than the regular stuff. I heat 1 cup of fruit juice to boiling, then add one packet of plain Knox gelatin and stir until dissolved. Then I add one cup of cold fruit juice, and pour it in little cups like usual. It's a lot less sweet than regular jello, and doesn't have the other added artificial stuff. Carter seems to like it just as well! We've tried apple and grape juice so far, and both turned out well. I've had wine jello at a restaurant before, so now I'm thinking that would be a fun thing to try. Of course, that would be for me and Doug, hee. :-D