After I had James a friend brought me some turkey chili that was the bomb. I asked her for the recipe and she sent me a link to a site called Skinnytaste. As a rule of thumb I stay away from things that have the word "Skinny" in the title because they are usually written by somebody too cutesy by half or they taste like chemicals (ahem, Skinnygirl margarita.) However, I couldn't deny that this chili actually tasted like real chili (although I was suspicious of the fact that my friend said she added garlic and cumin to the recipe--what kind of self-respecting chili recipe didn't already have garlic and chili in it?)
Then, Gina Homolka, the lady behind Skinnytaste, came out with a cookbook whose premise was pretty much exactly what fits my cooking life most of the time. I want to try to cook but I can't deal with something that involves keeping various balls in the air. I can't do a meat, and a side, and another side. That's too much. At best you will get a main dish and some bagged salad from me most of the time. Skinnytaste Fast and Slow has recipes that are either in the crock pot or take a half hour to pull together.
I still resisted. That name! It reminded me of Hungry Girl, a newsletter I used to subscribe to until I couldn't take its fake ingredients anymore--shirataki "noodles" here, three packs of Splenda there. But enough people whose schedules and palates I trusted were recommending the cookbook that I finally caved, and I have to say it's like someone designed a cookbook for me. The recipes all fall somewhere on the spectrum between "sad light salad" and "pasta with bacon and brie" -- IE I feel sated but that I'm also not killing my family slowly. It actually lets me use the slow cooker in a way that I always wanted, that is, without tons of do-ahead prep work. And, amazingly, my picky husband likes the recipes so far as well.
So far the biggest hits have been:
- Chicken taco chili
- Banh mi rice bowls
- Italian turkey-zucchini meatballs
- Salsa verde chicken taquitos
- Korean-inspired chicken lettuce wraps
- Indian chicken and peas
Of course there is still some "skinny" stuff in there I side-eye, like the "zoodles" which are just vegetables cut funny that I will not dignify by associating them with actual pasta. And also, these are very weeknight family type meals--not exactly dinner party show-off recipes I'd make to passive aggressively show off to some friends. But turns out I don't need a lot of those recipes--I need these types of recipes.