2016 APQ UFO Challenge List

Saturday, August 10, 2013

July Cookbook Challenge

I dragged my heel a little on picking a cookbook at the beginning of July since I had such a bad cookbook challenge month in June (plus, I also had a really bad case of poison ivy and no interest in doing anything). After a little reviewing, I settled on The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook by Cherie Mercer Twohy.  I got this cookbook from my aunt for Christmas and it is the one which sparked the whole challenge, as I could hardly make room when I stuffed it in the cupboard where I keep my cookbooks. 

I made a trip to Trader Joe's early in the month to pick up several items that I didn't think I could find at the regular grocery store and had luck with all but one item (the checker told me that it isn't an official TJ's cookbook since they rotate their stock and can't guarantee that they will have the ingredients). I also flagged the book with post-its so I would remember what recipes I wanted to make throughout the month, and it worked great! 

We had another high month - we made 11 recipes! Here they are: 
Corn and Basil Rice - with basil from our garden - this was so yummy we fought over the leftovers.
Glamour Salmon - we always cook salmon the same way so I was a little nervous about this, but we all loved it and Jack declared it the best salmon he's ever eaten! 
Maple Mustard Chicken - this was a little out of the box for me since I don't like mustard and I wasn't crazy about it for that reason, but everyone else liked it, so it will become a good meal to make when I am not home for dinner :)
Margarita Shrimp - Mmmmmmmm is the best thing to say about this recipe. The kids weren't crazy about it but Mike and I loved it! 
Maxi Mini Peanut Butter Cup Cookies - those aren't chocolate chips you see, they are tiny little peanut butter cups. You use them and peanut butter in these cookies and they are really yummy! The best part is that it didn't use the whole package of mini peanut butter cups, so there were extras left for snacking! 
Chicken Pesto Salad - with homemade walnut pesto. The flavors in this were a little strong - between the walnut pesto and the red wine vinegar, it was a little too much. I think I'd try this again with a more mild pesto. 
Pesto Pork - this was the rockstar recipe for the month! This was also made with homemade pesto, almond this time and it was really, really good. I don't know that we'll eat pork tenderloin any other way from now on! 
General Tsao Pork with Rice Sticks - We made this a few nights before the pesto pork and it was okay. The kids didn't like it and I wasn't crazy about the green beans in it. We might try it again when it is cooler out and a soupy dinner sounds more appealing (and we'll skip the green beans next time!). 
Quick Black Beans and Rice (Sausage added by us) - We make this dish all the time as it is one of the favorites in our house - but we mixed it up a little by following the cookbook recipe for the black beans and rice part. It was much tastier than what we usually make and will go into the normal rotation. 
Roasted Potatoes, Shrimp, and Pancetta - My only regret about this recipe is that there wasn't enough for leftovers - it was also one of the highlights of the month and everyone liked it (even Jack who swears he doesn't like potatoes!). 
Carne Asada Salad - I made this dish for my parents one night when we ate there. The beef was a little spicy (it was a prepackaged Carne Asada steak from TJ's) and given the spice, I didn't even offer it to the kids. My mom and I liked it and my dad was lukewarm. 
So, that's the report - we found a couple great new recipes and, like many of the cookbooks before, there are still more I want to make! I am really glad to have explored this book - it is one of the best of the year so far! 

1 comment:

Darling Jill Quilts said...

Dang! Now, I'm hungry! I think that black beans and rice and sausage look the best... I wonder what is in my pantry... :)