I remember when The Pioneer Woman (aka Ree Drummond) came on the scene years ago. She was one of the first bloggers that turned into a pretty big food deal on the internet. I could not get enough of her recipes. I was tired of my regular menu ideas and wanted to try new things. Fast forward to 2021 and there are so many great people creating dishes that inspire the rest of us to cook. I love spending time looking on social media for something new to try!
One account that has consistently pulled me to try new recipes is Half Baked Harvest, created by Tieghan Gerard. At first, I spent time just looking at her gorgeous food photography because it’s a meal for my eyes. Eventually, I decided to try some of her recipes after finally landing on a few that fit the dietary restrictions for my family… no dairy or peanuts. (A little side note on dairy: sometimes I have a good substitute for a dairy item so I’ll just follow the recipe, make my sub and it works well! Don’t skip over a recipe with an ‘off limits’ ingredient because somethings a substitute can work and you can still enjoy the dish!)
All I can say is WOW about everything we have tried so far. Every recipe I’ve made has not only been delicious but the flavor composition has been rich and complex. But not so much so that my kids haven’t enjoyed it as well. I thought I’d share with you the recipes I’ve tried in the past 4 weeks so if you’re looking for some ideas to get out of your regular meal box, you can try something new with a recommendation!
** recipe photos used with permission from Half Baked Harvest. The recipes are linked in the photos.
Saucy Garlic Butter Shrimp with Coconut Milk & Rice Noodles
This recipe was incredible. At first glance, I wasn’t sure this was a weeknight meal based off the photo. (To me, that means I’m not spending a ton of time cooking and when my brain is tired, not too much thinking either.) When I clicked on the link it had a total cook time of 30 minutes so I tried it out! The broth was so perfectly balanced and there were so many flavors coming together in every bite! The bonus was the noodles that helped my pickiest eater try this out. A definite win!
I’m trying to add more meatless recipes to our rotation these days so these looked like something I wanted to try. I made the exact recipe for everyone except my son with a dairy allergy and a separate pan with 2 tacos made with a vegan shredded cheese. This was more labor intensive than the noodle bowl but I think it would get easier if I tried it a couple more times. I did not miss a meat protein in the tacos and 3 out of 4 of us liked this one. Considering that’s normal for our family and 2 out of 2 adults voted a huge yes, it’s a win and I highly recommend trying these! The avocado crema was delicious.
I have to confess that I didn’t have any coconut oil so I just used olive oil as a substitute. This bread used a whole wheat pastry flour instead of white all purpose flour. Sometimes adding a whole wheat flour means my kids don’t love it as much but they could not tell. This bread was my best banana bread on record. I’ve made a couple double batches since then and I freeze the extra loaf. I’m not the best baker but this turned out like I’m a rockstar so if you want to feel that awesome, try it.
30 Minute Coconut Braised Chicken with Sweet Potatoes & Rice
This recipe had me at 30 minutes. I’ll make the time consuming meal sometimes but if it can taste delicious and be quick, I’m in! I also made some homemade dairy free naan bread as an afternoon project with my boys becauce Covid (all this time together… we’re trying all the things) but if you truly want to feel the ease of this meal, just buy some! I cannot say enough how delicious this was. The only change I made was to double the chicken in the recipe but kept the broth the same. I’m always looking for good lunch leftovers so sometimes I add a little extra to make the meal go farther. It’s really good as leftovers too.
Those are the recipes I’ve tried this month from Half Baked Harvest. I hope you feel inspired to try something new this week. Trying new foods can make the everyday chore of cooking feel fun again! Tieghan, if you’re reading this, I will happily volunteer to come to your house so you have someone to test recipes on. I am not joking. I could even help you chop and wash dishes. This is a formal offer.