I tried to eat a little bit healthier during my second week of meal prepping. That meant less meat and more veggies. First, I decided to make Mediterranean hummus bowls. I already had feta and olives from a meal last week. I also had a bunch of cilantro, and I thought that would go well in the hummus. Cilantro jalapeno hummus is one of my favorites (: And I also made pickled onions! I didn't realize how easy it was to make pickled onions. I should have been doing this years ago. I heard celery seed goes well in pickled things, so it was a good way to use up more of that.
We really like how healthy and fresh it is, and it's become one of my go-to meals to make.
I only used a small amount of ground beef in the hummus bowls, and I used the rest of it to make a couple of stir fry dishes. I bought a pound of green beans and I added just a little bit of the ground beef to make some stir fry.
I really like ordering green beans from Szechuan restaurants, but it costs like $15, and I can easily make this myself. Pretty sure it's healthier this way too.
With the last half-ish pound of ground beef, I did another stir fry. One of my co-workers said she likes to stir fry beef with coriander and some other spices, and I have a really old container of coriander, so I tried it out. It was alright. I'm really not good at just throwing things together without a recipe.
The next meal I made was loaded chipotle sweet potatoes. I had a little bit of sour cream leftover from last week, and also a little bit of chipotle powder that I wanted to use up. It didn't look very pretty, but it still tasted pretty good!
Finally, I'm ending on these udon noodles again. I made a little bit more sauce this time, and it was even better than the last time.
About a month ago, I thought to myself, "Man, I'm spending way too much money eating out. I need to cook more of my meals." And then I went on a little vacation, and I ate out for every single meal of the day because I'm not cooking on vacation.
But vacation is over. Time to cook. I'm know I'm really slow at making things, so I decided that I was going to try meal prepping. I'm not making three different dishes in one day--that's too much--but I wanted to see if I could do more prep in advance: cutting up vegetables, mixing together sauces and spice mixtures. So I came up with a bunch of different meals for the week, and I wrote down all the groceries I would need for those meals, and I spent over two hours on prep work
last last last Saturday.
I was exhausted. But, it really did make the cooking for the rest of the week a lot easier.
So the first thing I decided to make after all that prep work was leftovers. I was way too tired to cook a whole meal. But after I ate that meal, I guess I felt like I had enough energy to make some real dessert. That's right, I didn't just microwave something in a mug, I made a whole batch of snickerdoodles.
I have this little container of cream of tartar sitting in my pantry, and apparently that's what you use to make snickerdoodles. For most of my life, I thought snickerdoodles were just sugar cookies with extra cinnamon on them. Turns out they're sugar cookies with cinnamon and cream of tartar.
When I made my first batch a month ago, it was way more work than I expected. Mostly because I don't own a stand mixer. And it also took me forever. This time it was juuust a little bit easier and went juuust a little bit more quickly. I still somehow seem to mess up at least one batch in the oven, but I'm getting the hang of this.
On Sunday morning, I made some Greek Turkey Rice. (Actually I used chicken, because for some reason turkey is sold in 19.2 oz packages rather than 1 lb, and I already think 1 lb is way more meat that I need for this.)
I've had a bunch of pasta dishes lately, so I wanted to switch it up with some rice. I had some leftover spinach from last week, and I didn't mind buying feta, olives, and sun-dried tomatoes since I can just snack on those.
Very good, very easy meal. Also very easy to pack and heat up leftovers, which is what I needed after getting nothing but take out at work for the past few months.
Later on Sunday, I made some Cajun shrimp toast. I've already made up my mind that I want to make these as a Christmas appetizer when I visit family, but I wanted to try it a couple of times before then.
This stuff is so good. I went over to a friend's house on Sunday night to watch a movie, and I brought the shrimp toast. It was a big hit.
So the week before this, I ordered a HelloFresh box, and one of the meals was Cajun chicken sandwich. It was pretty tasty. I wasn't originally planning on making more chicken sandwiches, but then I thought about my container of celery seed that expired in 2017 that I'm trying to use up. I can make coleslaw with that. Coleslaw goes well enough with chicken sandwiches, right?
Right. I thought the coleslaw was great. I had only intended on making four sandwiches, but I had a little bit of chicken left over, so I fried up some nuggets and ate them with a pack of McDonald's BBQ sauce. That was also great.
I also really wanted to make some mac n cheese because I had some breadcrumbs, and because my boyfriend has mentioned that he likes baked mac n cheese, with the crispy breadcrumbs on top. The last time I made mac n cheese, it was just okay and it was way way way too much food.
Okay, so this time I tried a different recipe. And I only cooked half a pound of pasta, which is a much more reasonable amoumnt of pasta for one or two pasta. This was pretty easy to make since I could use pre-shredded cheese. I ended up using the rest of all the random bags of cheese that I had: pepperjack, mozzarella, and Mexican blend (four different cheeses!). And then I topped it with some parmesan! It's six cheese macaroni!
Honestly, after I put it in the oven, I was a little worried about all the different cheeses that I added. Maybe it was too much. But it ended up tasting pretty good! I think I made it a tad too salty, but we had no trouble eating all of it within a few days.
Finally, the last meal I cooked was some almost vegetarian shoyu butter udon noodles. Why is it almost vegetarian? Because I used butter. And oyster sauce. But I wasn't going to buy vegan products when I had perfectly good non-vegan substitutes.
Anyway, this was really easy and the mushrooms were delicious. I'm gonna make it again this week (I still have more noodles and edamame!)
And finally finally, I decided to make some carrot cake to use up the rest of a block of cream cheese I had sitting in the fridge. I followed this carrot cake for two recipe, but I doubled it, and then I also used my square muffin tins which are very large, so it ended up making three very large muffins. And it was kind of a struggle to get these cakes out of the muffin tin.
I also only ended up icing a single muffin so I have lots of cream cheese frosting left over. More muffins this week! I'll be sure to make them smaller and use cupcake liners so it's easier.
Okay, done writing for now. I know it's been a while, but thanks for reading my rambly food thoughts!
Lazy Sunday cooking is one of my favorite things. Lazy Sunday cooking doesn't mean it's a quick meal, just an easy one. I don't have anywhere to be, so I want to take my time and go slow. I don't have work during the day, so I can take as long as I need to make my lunch, and then when I take photos I have plenty of natural light!
So this week's Sunday meal was lettuce wraps. This is one of the first things I wrote about in this blog way back in 2019. I decided on lettuce wraps when I concluded that the green leaf lettuce was just not going to work in a salad. This also allowed me to use up more of my hoisin sauce, which, hmm, is that expired?
FEB 19, 2023
Okay, so it's only a little expired. Honestly, it's probably still good for another year. I also got to use up more of my rice cooking wine which has probably been sitting in my pantry for much longer...
Best Before: 04012019
😬 Uhhh, I think it's still fine.
The recipe only calls for half a pound of meat, but I doubled it (except for the dipping sauce--there's more than plenty of that). I really like the ground meat mixture, and I know in my old post I said that I can use whatever mushrooms I have available, but I did use shiitake in this, and I thought shiitake was great in it.
The whole process of actually putting the meat in some lettuce, and then attempting to wrap that up? Yeah, that's still completely impractical. It just breaks and food falls out and your hands are a mess. I don't care what kind of lettuce you use. Lettuce is not a good wrap.
Next time, I'm chopping up the lettuce into bite size pieces and just making it a bowl meal.
In spite of the mess, this was delicious, and perfect for a lazy Sunday. I'd definitely make it again.
I'm cooking a lot. Sometimes my aunt will call me and ask me if I've gone grocery shopping that day, and my answer is always yes. I think I go to the grocery store an average of at least once a day. I mean, it's so convenient. I have at least 5 stores within walking distance.
So, here are just a few more things that I've cooked this week.
I bought a whole head of green leaf lettuce when I made the guac burgers, and I only ended up using two leaves total! That's half a leaf per burger! So, I figured I could make some salad with the rest of it. I keep buying caesar salad bag mixes from Aldi, and I could save so much money by just buying the ingredients separately.
But man, having to wash and dry lettuce is such a pain. I don't mind chopping things, but drying things is the worst. I still don't know how people do it. You never see people drying veggies in recipe videos. Green leaf lettuce is also not a great choice for caesar salad. It was just way too leafy and soft. I needed some extra crunch.
I still have some green leaf lettuce left, but I decided to buy a bag of some romaine and...some type of red crunchy leaf for the next batch of salad. And it was pre-washed so I didn't have to wash it! (But I still ended up cutting it into smaller pieces because the pieces are too large)
The other thing you can see in the photo is some mashed potatoes. I made slow cooker mashed potatoes to use up half a block of cream cheese (and some of my milk). It wasn't bad, but I really should have cooked it for an extra hour. I don't have a potato masher, so I was using other various cooking utensils to mash the potatoes: a wooden spoon, a slotted spatula, a ladle, a fork. I really should have just used a hand mixer like it said to do in the recipe, because I actually have one of those!
Oh, I've made these mashed potatoes before, and I said it needed more, well, everything. I still agree with that. Maybe future me will actually remember next time.
To use up the other half of the cream cheese, I made this tortellini pasta. I figured it would be good because I really like the creamy tomato spinach pasta from Budget Bytes. She said this would be even easier (and it was!) but I think I prefer the other pasta. I don't think this one had enough sauce for how much pasta was in it.
This recipe called for 19 oz of pasta, and I should have known that that would be WAY too much pasta, especially given the fact that the tortellini package was labeled "Family pack". You know how I feel about leftover pasta. I also dislike leftover spinach. But it's okay, my boyfriend told me he will eat the rest 😁
Remember my cookie in a mug post that I made a couple of months ago? Well, I still had some milk left over from another recipe, and even though this cookie requires no milk, it's pretty tasty to eat it with a glass of milk.
The last time I made this, I concluded that the wider the mug, the better. So I took out my huge Borgata mug, and I made the cookie in it. I cooked it for just 40 seconds, and then I even took it out and put it on a plate so it wouldn't keep cooking inside of the warm mug.
It was really good! I feel like this recipe is a winner! The bottom of the cookie was actually a tad undercooked, so I don't think I needed to take it out of the mug, but slightly undercooked cookies are pretty tasty in my opinion. I even made it two more times this past week!
When I went to make the cookie a second time this week, I realized that I had left my container of sugar at my boyfriend's place, so I ended up making this with brown sugar and powdered sugar. It wasn't bad, but I think white sugar is better here. I knew I could get by without the white sugar, but you know what, it's okay to have extra sugar. I know I'll use up the sugar eventually. It's not like it's expired chocolate syrup that's been sitting in my fridge for over 5 years.
So...I bought more sugar. And then I thought, let me switch things up and make a cake in a mug instead. Using the powdered sugar reminded me of the cinnamon swirl mug cake that I've made in the past, and I had a tiny bit of milk left, which is perfect for a little mug cake.
I just bought one of those bags of sugar from Aldi, which seemed perfectly fine, but later that day I noticed that there were grains of...something on my living room floor, and when I went to inspect it I realized it was the sugar. Huh. I went to pour the sugar from the paper bag into my sugar container and then I saw it. There was a hole in the bottom. 😱
It's fine though, I just had a bunch of sweeping to do, and I should probably do another sweep later.
Also, I started making the mug cake, and I realized it doesn't even call for white sugar! 🙃 It's just brown sugar and powdered sugar. Why did I buy extra sugar?!
...to make the cookie a third time. That's why. I'll never get tired of desserts in mugs.