I love to try new stuff.  sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t.  here are my five favorites that worked, courtesy the triple dubs.

1.  avocado chicken via martha

this is a crowd-pleaser.  and it is SO. freakin. easy.  it has like 4 ingredients.  okay, seven, but why count all the spices.  caveat:  it doesn’t keep very well.  have company over; you won’t need to.  this is such a good meal…especially in the summer.  the buttery avocado is a good balance with the cayenne pepper on the chicken.  avocados are the best thing ever.  If they were smaller or more portable I would seriously eat one every day at lunch.  I always, always serve couscous with this meal.  couscous is one of my most favorite foods.  it is like candy.  this kind is my favorite.  so, so, very good. I could eat it all day long.

2.  sloppy joes via ellie krieger

I LOVE sloppy joes.  like a whole lot.  they are so delicious.  and they make EXCELLENT leftovers.  I will usually put a serving in one of these little guys, the perfect size, and take it to school for lunch with a bun.  and this recipe can handle a wimpy little whole wheat bun, healthy and cheap.  it heats up really well as leftovers, and makes an excellent alternative to lean cuisine or cafeteria pizza.  this recipe is a really healthy one too, and I love that it includes beans.  I love beans.  they are one of my favorite foods (along with couscous, obv.)  I do make a few adjustments…I don’t include the bell pepper (yuck) but instead replace it with celery and/or carrots.  I have to chop the carrots real small because I don’t like them when they’re cooked (if they’re really tiny I don’t notice them).  I do think that having one of these guys helps it to seem less like chili and more like sloppy joes.  this is just a great recipe overall.  love it. and it’s a good way to get some hidden vegetables in.

3. tuna noodle casserole via eating well (sorry, no picture)

tuna.  also one of my favorite foods.  I apparently have a lot of those.  I love tuna so many ways.  including in a dragon roll!  I should re-post that one from a long long time ago.  but this is a good way to eat it too.  I will say, this recipe is TOTALLY WEIRD.  I really, really like it, but I don’t know if everyone else would.  so try it at your own risk.  I like a traditional tnc too (let’s be honest, I really like tuna helper as well), but this recipe is definitely something different (hee hee, did you see that picture lindsey?)  this one uses sun-dried tomatoes (which, in general, I always think are weird, but don’t really have anything against) and pine nuts (which I am, in general, a huge fan of).  as per usual (you’ll see this again) I get rid of the peppers.  one time I tried using banana peppers.  that was ineffective, don’t do it.  successfully, however, I pretty much always add frozen peas.  I love frozen peas in tnc.  it is hard for me to eat tnc without them, in general.  I also sometimes use other cheeses, whatever I have on hand.  but let me tell you again, THIS RECIPE IS WEIRD.  but my taste in many things is questionable, so I like it.

4.  cheese grits via paula deen

I LOVE GRITS!!!!!  they are one of my favorite foods.  are you tired of hearing that yet?  I mean seriously, grits are so awesome.  I could eat them all day long.  I like them so many different ways.  I love them just with a little milk and honey, or with salt and butter, or cheesy like these, or cheesy with shrimp.  did you know how delicious shrimp grits are?  I mean seriously.  grits are so great.  I didn’t even know about how great they were til like a year ago.  I took them unrequested to our big family thanksgiving, and turns out EVERYONE loves grits and just didn’t know it til then.  it really had a positive effect on my family popularity.  I think I probably powered past like two of my cousins.  I am serious, if you don’t know yet how much you love grits, give me a call and I will make you some.  you need to know grits.  they will change your life.  in the possibly related category, grits and couscous.  also:  cream of wheat, oatmeal (steel cut or otherwise), malt-o-meal.  It might be best to say that I just love grains.  note:  I DO NOT love quinoa.  you’d think I would!  sadly, I do not.  it is so gross. I also love wild rice, and especially short grain brown rice.  but I love so many grains, and also legumes.  as previously noted, beans, but also: lentils.  I love lentils.  one of my favorite recipes is not from the webs, it’s from a cookbook, and it involves lentils.  I’ll share it sometime.  now I will stop talking about grains and legumes.  but not before I say again GRITS ARE THE BOMB.

5.  chinese lettuce wraps via eating well

this is probably my current favorite recipe.  it involves a lot of prep in terms of dealing with the fresh herbs and the lettuce, but it is so worth it.  and from a dietary standpoint it’s pretty rock solid, it has a good balance of a lot of stuff you need, and is really filling for as few calories as it has.  I usually end up making three or four wraps for myself each time I eat it, and it’s still only one serving.  it feels like you’re eating a TON of food for not a lot of damage.  and thus far these have also been a crowd pleaser.  my friend chad was so afraid of them the first time I made them before survivor that he had a pre-dinner dinner just in case, but I think it is safe to say now that he is a fan.  carrie loves them too, and she is a very picky eater.  this meal falls into the category of “I don’t like most of the things in here but I love them all together” for me.  (also in this category:  reuben sandwiches.  I do not like one single ingredient on a reuben sandwich, but all together, I love them.  thanks van zile).  these lettuce wraps have several things I don’t care that much for:  ground turkey, water chestnuts, and five spice.  I’m not in love with ground turkey, but it really, really works in this recipe, and I’m learning that it’s not so bad if you use it in certain places in certain ways.  chinese food is one of those places, I think that chinese food is teaching me to like ground turkey (and for me, ground turkey is SO MUCH easier to cook than most of the meat you’d normally use in chinese food).  I don’t love water chestnuts, and I really don’t like anise (one of the stronger flavors in five spice), but again, they really work in this recipe.  I do leave out the peppers (again) but I usually replace them with celery.  note:  it really does help if you can find boston lettuce as the recipe suggests.  or something with pretty big leaves. also, the fresh herbs make a big difference.  I usually go with basil and italian parsley since those are the two I typically have on hand, but mint is really great if you can get your hands on some.  I also advise buying shredded carrots!  it’s nice when you’re done chopping everything else to not have to worry about the carrots (and I HATE chopping carrots).   and these are pretty messy to eat, but I don’t care, they are so delicious.

there you go.  if you have any recommendations, hit me up.  today in my classes we shared three things we are good at, and three things we are bad at, and one of my things I said I was good at was trying new things in cooking.  and as per my goals, I need 5 new staple recipes!  happy weekend friends.  and happy mother’s day too.  I owe some of my adventurous cooking inclinations to my mom, even though I did not always appreciate it when she was feeling adventurous in the kitchen (sorry mom.)