Recent Pinterest Wins & Losses {Recipe Edition}

5/07/2015

Recent Pinterest Wins & Losses {Recipe Edition} — a Modern Mrs.
Two posts in one week? Whaaat? That's right! In trying to remember what life was like when I could do things... I have been trying to get back in the kitchen trying out new recipes. Believe me when I say we are all tired of eating the same stuff around here. Some recipes were discovered with the ability to go to the store for ingredients I didn't have, and others were found with the mission of making do with what we had on hand.

Well, I'm not quite back to being able to whip out the camera and take photos of my creations, so I thought I'd just share what recipes I've tried and give you my thoughts. Better than nothing, right? And hey.... my food photography skills are definitely subpar, so you're really not missing out on anything. /wink. Let's get to it!

The Wins

I can't say I loved one recipe over the other, as they were both supremely delicious. However, if I were forced to choose a top winner, with the fate of the world at stake, while being threatened with torture or maiming, I suppose under those circumstances I would choose the Porcupines in a Skillet recipe from Thirty Handmade Days.

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It's a really simple recipe, bursting with flavor, and offers more nutrition than your standard casserole. It's also very, very affordable, so if you're on a tight food budget, you won't feel like you're settling or going without.

Porcupines in a Skillet uses ground beef {use ground chicken or turkey if you'd prefer}, dry onion soup mix, uncooked rice {I used Jasmine}, a can of tomatoes, shredded cheese, and a small can of mushrooms. Feel free to leave the mushrooms out if you prefer, but I have to say, I'm not a fan of mushrooms and I hardly noticed them!

After draining your beef, you toss everything into the pan and simmer till the rice is ready. It's that easy! I love one pot meals - they're quick and fuss-free, and offer easy cleanup! L really loved this recipe, and the leftovers are pretty phenomenal too. You could probably toss some corn or black beans into this if you wanted to, but it's a well-rounded, delicious meal as-is.

The other winner of my recent recipe adventures is a Korean Beef recipe from Love Bakes Good Cupcakes. Yes, there's a bit of a theme with two rice dishes... The last time I went grocery shopping I wanted to get some Jasmine rice. My neighbors use it in their dishes, and whenever we are over for dinner, I always get seconds. I love it! {I rarely ever buy rice, aside from the brown rice J uses in his lunches.} Well, it just so happened at that time my grocery store didn't have any other Jasmine rice aside from this gigantic bag, and I really wanted some Jasmine rice, so I bought it. Remember when I said I rarely buy rice? That's because we rarely eat it. So, we have had this gigantic bag of Jasmine rice sitting around, and I'm kind of tired of it taking up prized real estate in my pantry. And so, two rice dishes.

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Anyway, Korean Beef. I didn't follow this recipe exactly because I wanted another one pot meal, and didn't want to make the rice separately. I followed Love Bakes Good Cupcakes' directions up until after I added the soy sauce mixture. At that point I threw in about a 1/2 cup of rice and some water, and simmered while the rice cooked. There was a point where my water cooked out, and the rice wasn't quite ready, so I added a bit more water and simmered a few more minutes. Once the water evaporated again, the rice was tender, so I gave it a stir and served.

I kind of wish I had made this recipe before, as it was intended, so that I could compare the two. I'm almost certain my way would've been better, because the soy sauce mixture wasn't as heavy. It offered just enough flavor, with a hint of sweetness. I think if I had made the rice separate, and there wasn't any water to cut the soy sauce mixture, it would've been too much for my liking. That said, it's still a flavorful, easy recipe that is fairly quick to make, and if you go my route with adding the rice into the same pan, it's also easy cleanup! This too is pretty awesome leftover, and that's saying a lot because I don't usually eat leftovers. {I know... I know. Shame on me.}

The Losses

They can't all be winners, right? First up is Army SOS Creamed Ground Beef, a.k.a. Beef Stroganoff. I can count on one hand how many times I've eaten Beef Stroganoff. However, we are a paycheck-to-paycheck family, and we are low on groceries with pay day {as of today} still a day away. I had to make due with what we had, which wasn't very much, and so.... Beef Stroganoff.

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Let's be honest here... this is by far the most visually unappealing recipe on the planet, right? I mean, this photo was the best one of the bunch! {They don't call it sh** on a shingle for nothing!} Looks aside, it was just okay. Granted, the recipe called for beef bouillon, and I didn't have any, so we substituted with seasoned salt. {J's idea.} Seasoned salt does not a beef bouillon substitute make. Had I used beef bouillon, I might say it was more flavorful, but it would still be a "just okay" dish to me.

L ate it, but didn't seem excited, and the same for J. You were definitely satisfied when you were finished, but the phrase "meh" was the overall consensus here. Maybe if you really enjoy Beef Stroganoff, you'll better enjoy this recipe, but I'm not exactly out to get this recipe. If it had more flavor, I may have sung a different tune, but alas.... there was not.

Lastly, Turkey Veggie Meatloaf Cups. I was the most disappointed with this recipe. I was really looking forward to them, and had high hopes! I followed this recipe to a tee {except for one substition}, and they still were disappointing.

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These meatloaf cups had all the right moves with two kinds of vegetables, Dijon mustard and barbecue sauce, and quinoa instead of couscous, because that's what I had on hand. I was expecting bite-sized, tender, flavorful deliciousness. What we got were bite-sized, fairly mushy, bland meh-ness. I suppose using frozen zucchini instead of fresh may have attributed to the mushiness, but again, what I had on hand. That said, there is no reason why these meatloaf cups were lacking flavor. Queue sad trombone. I'm still stumped.

I may give this recipe a try again using fresh zucchini, but I'm not exactly hopeful. I love the idea of a veggie meatloaf, because I'm not a fan of traditional meatloaf, but maybe this particular recipe isn't the one.

If you have a tried-and-true veggie meatloaf recipe you'd like to share, please do so in the comments! Will you be trying either of the winning recipes for your family? 
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