Teriyaki Salmon with Sriracha Mayo (I actually combined tips from here: http://budgetbytes.blogspot.com/2011/09/teriyaki-salmon-w-sriracha-mayo-1394.html and here: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2011/07/pams-day-of-deliciousness/)
Let me just say: A-MAZE-ING! This salmon was awesome. I loved the teriyaki salmon and the spicy mayo was a great touch. But if you don't want the extra calorie count from the mayo, the salmon is still great without it. After I took the salmon out of the oven, I broke off a piece to make sure it was done and gave it a quick taste. And then I had another quick taste, because the first taste was SO good. I think I ate about a quarter of my salmon before I managed to get everything plated and ready to "officially" eat. I think I served it with rice, but I don't really remember - the side dish was pretty forgettable. But the salmon was delicious and - even better - super easy. I mixed up a quick marinade in a gallon ziploc bag, dropped the fillets in with the marinade and put the bag in the fridge for about an hour. Then I used the tip from the 2nd link above about how to cook a perfect salmon fillet. Fish is something I always seem to have trouble cooking to the right level of doneness. But this method (put salmon in cold oven, turn oven on to 400 degrees, leave it alone for 25 minutes) is my kind of cooking! And... perfect. The salmon was just right. This is a recipe you've got to try!
Baked Fontina (http://smells-like-home.com/2011/11/baked-fontina/)
This recipe also turned out well. It was easy and fast - two of my requirements for a truly successful recipe. And Aaron, the kids, and I all liked it. I don't have a cast-iron pan like the recipe calls for, so I cooked it in a stoneware baking dish and that worked just fine. I think pyrex or any other casserole dish would work, too. I had to cook mine under the broiler for longer than the recipe called for, but that's probably because I was too lazy to move the rack closer to the broiler. It only took a few minutes longer - not a big deal. We ate the melted cheese with chunks of homemade bread and it was yummy!One thing I will say is that this recipe makes a lot. Even with four kids and two adults eating it as a meal, (yes, I know that's not the most nutritious meal - next time I'll plan ahead and have some veggies or something to dip as well as the bread) we couldn't quite finish. So you might want to cut down the recipe some. Also, the cheese starts to firm up again pretty quick. By the end, we were basically just cutting off hunks of warm - but no longer melty - cheese and placing it on a piece of bread. Maybe if you had something like a tiny crockpot (d'oh! I HAVE one of those! I didn't think about using it until just this minute) or a fondue set to keep the cheese warm and gooey it would be better. But even when it set up a little, it was still very tasty.
Crockpot Lasagna (http://www.creatingthroughlife.com/2011/10/crock-pot-lasagna.html)
This makes some pretty decent lasagna! I really love lasagna, but it's a lot of work to make it. This recipe definitely cuts down on the effort required. I'm not a fan of having to brown the ground beef before adding it to the crockpot... this is because I am lazy when it comes to crockpot cooking. I really prefer to just throw everything in as-is and let it go. So from that point of view, the recipe takes a bit more effort than your standard crockpot meal. You have to layer the beef and sauce and noodles and cheeses. But then you do get to walk away and leave it to cook on its own. Of course, you get to walk away and leave it alone in the oven when you make it the traditional way, too. So really, the main difference is that you don't have to cook the lasagna noodles ahead of time. And let's face it, that's the part that is the biggest pain when it comes to making lasagna. Cooking the noodles... and just the right amount so that they're completely cooked in the final dish, but not too much so that they've turned to mush when you serve the lasagna. And then keeping the cooked noodles from all sticking together as you're getting ready to layer them in your casserole dish is always a pain for me. And I generally either don't cook enough noodles so I have to stop halfway through my layers to cook more or overcompensate and cook too many noodles... and I don't really have a good recipe for leftover lasagna noodles. So the crockpot version eliminates those noodle headaches - though maybe I'm the only one who gets so worked up over lasagna noodles. And the final product tastes pretty good, too. Though it is lacking the slightly crisped texture of the cheese on the top of the casserole that you get when it cooks in the oven. That's a matter of taste, though. I like it, Aaron doesn't. So he was fine with the crockpot version. I'll probably make this again... but if you want a really great lasagna-type recipe, come back for the next part of Pinterest recaps so I can direct you to an incredible lasagna soup recipe!