It’s Still Happening …

My husband is seriously on a roll with this cooking business. I am thrilled but almost afraid to be too excited in case it ever ends!

I’ve always loved eating out and it’s been hard for me to get excited about the seeming monotony of eating at home pretty much every night as an adult. I love to cook for guests and parties but as much as I hate to admit it I have never been great at coming up with an exciting week of menus for the home. I tend to get stuck on making the same things over and over which is funny because I crave variety in food to the point that a bowl of pasta gets boring and mundane to me before I reach the bottom. Give me a little of this and a little of that, a buffet, small bites that add up to an colorful and delicious plate. This however is a whole new world, the opposite of boring.

It reminds me of living with my Dad when I was growing up. He is a fantastic cook and was always coming up with something delicious and interesting … Oysters Rockefeller, Linguine with Clam Sauce, German night with Sausage and Sauerkraut, Mexican night, grill outs, Sunday suppers with chicken slow roasted in a clay pot. Whether he was cooking or teaching me to love raw oysters on the half shell at 8 or 9 years old food was never boring growing up with him. Not to mention I grew up in the South where food is almost a religion.

So I thought I’d share a little of what this has been looking like in our house. Just so you know we are most definitely on a tight budget and also trying to use up some things in the cabinet and make the most of leftovers. Here’s what we are having this week:

Monday – Mini pizzas, half with pesto and mozzarella and half with pizza sauce, red pepper flakes, pepperoni and a mix of mozzarella and provolone.

Tuesday – Marinated Grilled Chicken with garlic and herbs, Grilled Corn on the Cob & a Italian Salad

Wednesday – Homemade Fried Rice with Chicken

Thursday – Colombian BBQ Flank Steak Tacos with Aji and Guacamole

Friday – Mexican Taco Night with a friend coming over for dinner! (Utilizing the rest of the corn tortillas (which we always fry in oil and salt) but this time doing one of our old stand bys … typical Tex-Mex style tacos with seasoned ground beef, sour cream, cheddar cheese, tomatos, lettuce, olives and green peppers for extra flavor and crunch. You can never go wrong with Taco Night.)

Saturday – Watermelon, Feta, Steak and Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad with Arugula (utilizing leftover Steak from Thursday night)

Nathan made this Colombian Beer-Marinated Flank Steak with Aji and Guacamole with a Watermelon & Feta salad (pictured above with a Lime Spritzer I love to make … so easy just lime juice and seltzer water) on the side a couple weeks ago and it was seriously one the best meals I have ever had. We loved it so much he is incorporating and varying it in some other dishes this week. So this is how we are doing it. I don’t even miss eating out. I also love that fact that my little Byrdie just eats whatever we eat and is learning to love a variety of spices, flavors and textures! We are saving money, discovering new things, my husband is turning into an amazing cook and we are having fun in the process!

The Man Can Cook

Today I’d like you to meet someone very special. My husband, the infamous Nathan Smart. He may be better known for his music or his comedy but there’s more to him than meets the eye. He’s handsome, he’s smart, he makes me laugh harder than anyone, he’s an absolutely wonderful Father and folks let me tell you … this man can cook.

It wasn’t always that way. We were friends for a long time before we ever dated. Back in the day when were just a bunch of twentysomethings doing music and hanging out full time it was rumored that Nathan lived off Pop Tarts and Grape Juice (He may deny this but I have it on very good report). He was notorious for being a picky eater. Very little passed his discriminating palate. He was skinny as a rail and lived off the finest soda pop, fast food and sweets he could find. The years went on and his love of junk food didn’t change but his palate has broadened enormously. In the old days black beans and rice were about as exotic as his food selections got and cooking was just not something he was interested in. A trip to Japan helped change all that along with a healthy dose of my slight addiction to the Food Network. Fast forward to today and you have a man that loves to cook and does it quite well and not just for someone who just started. He’s good.

So this week he decided he would take over the kitchen until further notice. Planning, shopping and cooking dinner every night. I love to cook too but with an 11 month old crawling around getting in to everything I have not been very inspired to say the least. Did I mention that my brother is living with us? Well Josh just moved here from Georgia. So in all of us my husband has a very receptive audience as he attempts to teach himself to really cook.

Last night he made a Summer Flatbread. That’s what I’m calling it since it was a modified version of this recipe. Asparagus, arugula pesto, fresh mozzarella, fresh sliced corn from the cob, peas, fingerling potatoes all on a crispy homemade flat bread and topped off with arugula, Parmesan cheese and a fried egg over easy. It was an explosion of fresh summer flavors. Light and filling all at the same time. Perfect for a July dinner.

I hope this continues …