Pinterest Projects is an ongoing series wherein I attempt to justify hours
wasted spent on Pinterest by making projects from some of the inspiration I find there.
When I was in college, I never cooked. Like, ever. The extent of my culinary prowess was boiling water for pasta, which I would then top with canned tomato sauce or pesto. My roommate didn’t cook that much either, but she did used to make quesadillas all the time. It was a bit of a running joke: she would make them, and then my other roommate and I would constantly bother her to give us some. Anything for a home cooked meal, you know?
Flash forward to today, a few years later: now I cook for myself all the time, and making quesadillas doesn’t seem quite so impressive. In fact, they’ve become a go-to dish for me, usually when I’m not sure what else to make: all you have to do is throw together whatever vegetables, cheese, and meat you find in your refrigerator.
Of course, sometimes I go with more gourmet, non-improvised versions of quesadillas, like these spinach feta ones. I found the recipe on Pinterest (pin here; original recipe from Closet Cooking) and followed it with just a few small variations – I used a bit less mozzarella cheese (about 3/4 cup) and didn’t add the herbs (because I didn’t have them on hand and was too cheap to buy them). Sometimes I’ll also add a bit of shredded chicken. Whichever variation you choose, you really can’t go wrong with spinach and feta (am I right or am I right?). Here’s my process:
Pretty simple, right? What’s your go-to dish when cooking?
I will be honest: I did not do much real work this summer. I quit my job in May, traveled around Europe for 5 weeks, and then pretty much chilled in Michigan for almost 2 months until I moved to Ann Arbor for law school.
Knowing this would be a low-key summer, I set a goal in advance to tackle some projects and to avoid just sitting around on the couch all the time. One of those projects? Cook, and cook a lot.
In this regard, I think I succeeded. Now, this is not to say all my cooking endeavors themselves were successful – I did a fair amount of messing up recipes and making silly mistakes. I’m still new at this cooking game, and I have a TON to learn.
I’ve been blogging lots of my cooking attempts, but there were a few that didn’t quite make the cut, for whatever reason. So, here’s a look at what else I cooked this summer:
Greek Salad with Chicken and Feta Croquettes
- Source: Weight Watchers
- Notes: This was probably my least favorite meal of the summer. I think it was the turkey bacon – not a fan. Also, I’m not sure if I didn’t cook it properly, but the top was pretty flavorful, while the bottom was basically a lump of flavorless noodles.
Greek Chicken with Orzo
- Source: Weight Watchers cookbook (I couldn’t find a link online)
- Notes: This was pretty tasty, but my orzo was way overdone. Which leads me to the question – how exactly do you know when orzo is done? It’s beyond me.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes
- Source: Weight Watchers Best-Ever Desserts
- Notes: I thought these were really tasty, but the recipes for the frosting leaves you with a very chunky, very hard to spread concoction. We had to add some skim milk.
Chicken in Ginger Broth
- Source: Also from a WW cookbook – I can’t find a link to it online.
- Notes: This was good, but rather bland. Definitely needed more salt/pepper/seasoning than the recipe originally called for.
Italian Beef Pasta Bake
- Source: Weight Watchers
- Notes: This turned out a lot like Hamburger Helper. Probably good, if you like Hamburger Helper. But, I don’t, so that should tell you all you need to know regarding how I felt about this recipe.
And, here’s a recap of the ones I already posted about:
All in all, I’m sort of amazed by how much I actually cooked this summer. For someone who didn’t really cook anything, ever, until I graduated 3 years ago, and who has only cooked sporadically since, I think I covered a lot of ground. I’m a little sad that I don’t have my own kitchen this school year – but I’m certain I’ll be revisiting this whole cooking thing in the future as soon as I can.
Ever since I went to Greece 3 years ago, I’ve been obsessed with 2 things: feta cheese and tzatziki. Since that trip, both my mom and I have started cooking Greek food a lot more and thinking back nostalgically on the food we ate while there. Sadly, nothing quite compares to the quality of the feta and tzatziki in Greece, but this recipe, which includes both (the yogurt mixture is tzatziki-esque, if not outright tzatsiki) is pretty good.
The recipe is from the August 2010 issue of Martha Stewart Living. The only thing I add to it is some pan-fried chicken to make it a bit more substantial. And also, I highly recommend doing as the recipe says and wrapping parchment paper around your wraps – it definitely makes them much less messy to eat.
Here are all the components:
And here’s the completed wrap:
I still wish I could have a nice, fresh chunk of Greek feta, but since I can’t – this will have to do in the meanwhile. Enjoy!