Last year I came up with an idea to cook through an entire cookbook over the course of the year. Unfortunately, I never came up with a plan to tackle this big goal, nor was I inspired at all to use any particular cookbook to make it happen. This year I shared that I wanted to try to accomplish this feat again in 2022 and one of my friends chimed in that she would like to join me. I looked through the shelf full of cookbooks in my kitchen and picked out a few that seemed to have a variety of recipes that we would both like. We chose Hungry Girl’s Fast & Easy: All-Natural Recipes in 30 Minutes or Less.
We got together one weekend in the beginning of January and started perusing the pages of the cookbook together. So many recipes sounded delicious, so we enlisted her kids to help us pick what recipe we would make together that weekend. One of her kids is very adventurous when it comes to food, her other kid not so much. We finally picked a recipe and headed to the store to get the ingredients.
I had this grand idea that I was going to take great pictures, cute videos, and make TikTok’s of our adventures in the kitchen. I did take some pictures and there are video clips ready to go but I haven’t gotten the creative spark to throw together something I deem social media worthy. Here I am, over a month later, finally getting around to sharing about that fun day in the kitchen.
146 Recipes in 365 Days – Recipe #1: Chicken Caprese
I love that the recipes in this cookbook are pretty simple. I also love that most of the ingredients are ones I recognize and may even have on hand. If I don’t have them on hand, I know that there are other recipes in the book that I can use them in. The first recipe we tried had minimal ingredients and seemed super easy to make. It called for chicken breast cutlets, cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, chopped garlic, Italian seasoning and shredded mozzarella cheese. Since 1/2 the recipe only provides 272 calories, we decided to add pasta to our meal to round it out.
We didn’t have luck finding fresh basil at the store, so we opted for pesto instead. While the chicken was baking, we tossed the tomatoes with vinegar, oil, garlic, Italian seasoning and pesto. When it was time to flip the chicken, we added the tomato mixture to the baking sheet. Meanwhile, we cooked some angel hair spaghetti on the stovetop. When the pasta was cooked, we tossed that with more olive oil, garlic and pesto.
With two minutes cooking time left, we measured out our mozzarella cheese with our hearts, not our measuring cup, sprinkled it on top of the chicken and then popped the sheet pan back in the oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese.
As promised by the title of the cookbook, the whole cooking process took less than 30 minutes. We all scooped some pasta on our plates with the chicken and tomatoes and dug in. 4 out of 5 humans approved the recipe – the one disapproval came from the picky kid who doesn’t like much of anything besides Ramen noodles. I think that the recipe tasted even better using pesto instead of the fresh basil, and the addition of the pasta with just light flavor added to it from the oil, garlic and pesto was perfect. It was such a satisfying meal, not to mention delicious and healthy! We used pasta with added fiber, the tomatoes were bursting with vitamins and minerals, and the chicken and cheese were packed with protein. We didn’t even miss having pasta sauce with all of the seasonings and flavors this recipe provided!
We had so much fun picking out the recipe, shopping and cooking together, and we can’t wait to do it again! In the meantime, both of us have made several other recipes from the book that I’ll share in another post. I will be looking to social media in the future to help me pick out recipes to try and of course will share the good, the bad, and the ugly. Spoiler alert – most of the recipes so far have turned out awesome, there’s only been a couple that were kinda “meh”. I hope you enjoy hearing about my cooking adventures throughout this year!