flailing in my kitchen (v2!)

...and everywhere else in my life
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Breakfast of Champions

February 26, 2021 9:51 AM

A few weeks ago, I was talking to my aunt and she recalled a time (well before I knew how to cook) where I made home fries for my little cousins to eat. And she kept saying how all I did was cook a single potato and it took me forever to cut and cook it, but my little cousin ended up loving it. And something about the way she described this story just cracked. me. up.

I was also inspired. I needed to make these home fries again. (Which is why I bought that 5 lb bag of potatoes) I had two sad looking potatoes left, so I figured, it's now or never.

Home fries

I see why this took me forever. Cutting up potatoes is a lot of work. But I'm on PTO today, so it's chill and I can take my time to make myself a proper breakfast, and a proper breakfast means I need to also cook eggs.

Eggs

Fried eggs are probably my favorite breakfast item. Turn up the heat to HIGH, throw in some veggie oil, crack a couple of eggs in the pan and watch it sizzle. It needs to sizzle and bubble up. If it doesn't sizzle it's not hot enough. This is exactly the type of thing that caused me to burn my leg in high school, but don't worry! I wore long pants. I was prepared this time.

I did, however, accidentally break the yolk as I was scooping the eggs out of the pan, causing me to let out some profanities. But that's okay. That happens. This is me flailing in my kitchen after all.

I even threw cilantro on top of my food because I was being fancy weird and wanted to give myself the illusion of a well-balanced meal. But also because I like to throw cilantro on anything and everything savory.

Breakfast

Home fries. Eggs. A piece of beef jerky. That's what I call a Breakfast of Champions.

Filed under: breakfast i love cilantro

Pasta, Pizza, and Dumplings

September 15, 2019 12:27 PM

I don't have anything exciting to say in my opening sentence of this post, but hey, look at my fancy breakfast I made last Sunday! My arugula salad was really good.

I actually ate 4 pieces of toast, but they didn't all fit on the plate nicely.

I went to a diner for lunch that day, and I ate pancakes, so I really had breakfast twice in one day, which is way too much breakfast for one day.


One Pot Roasted Red Pepper Pasta - Budget Bytes

I had so much arugula left that I threw some in all my pasta meals.

So I had some cream cheese that was sitting in the fridge for who knows how long, and when I went to use it, I saw a piece of mold! But there was still a lot of cream cheese in that block, and I really didn't want to throw it all away (plus I was going to eat a bagel), so I did some googling to see if I could salvage the cream cheese, and I got...mostly bad news. But this one random person said it would be fine if I just cut off the chunk around the mold, so that's what I did! And that was two weeks ago, so I think it was fine.

Anyway, I bring that up because I felt like I really needed to use up all my cream cheese quickly after that. And this pasta optionally takes cream cheese. Turns out I used almost all the cream cheese on my bagels, so I barely had any left for this pasta. But that's okay, it still turned out really well. I cut the recipe in half (except for the diced tomatoes, because half a can of diced tomatoes is kind of useless), and it made enough for five meals. I usually hate leftover pasta, but this time the leftovers actually tasted decent.


Bacon and Caramelized Pineapple Pizza - Budget Bytes

The lighting was all wonky on this picture, and I couldn't even edit it to make it better.

I had the most random things in my fridge: canned pineapple, bacon, arugula, jarred red peppers, shredded cheese, green onions. After thinking about what else I can do with my much too large supply of arugula, I figured pizza would be good. All I needed to buy was pizza dough!

But wait, that pizza doesn't have arugula. Yeah, so I was looking up pizza recipes mostly because I wanted some inspiration, and I saw this recipe for bacon and pineapple pizza. And I had bacon and pineapple, so I thought this was perfect. It tasted really good, but I need to get better at dealing with pizza dough. I don't think I quite understand how to form it in that nice circle shape.

Oh, don't worry, I used the arugula in my own Tomato, Red Pepper, and Arugula White Pizza.

I don't know how I managed to make this so oddly shaped.


Sweet Chili Charred Brussels Sprouts - Love & Lemons Cookbook

I don't have a link to this recipe since I got it from a cookbook. The recipe was actually for broccolini, but brussels sprouts were on sale at Aldi. I really like the taste of the sauce that was used, which consisted of some tamari, rice vinegar, srirachi, garlic, and sugar. I accidentally overcooked it a bit though, by leaving it in the oven for 20 minutes. I might use the sauce in a stir-fry later.


Pan Fried Dumplings - Damn Delicious

I was down to my last two bags of emergency dumplings, so I wanted to make some more. I normally just throw whatever I feel like in my dumplings, but I figured I'd try a recipe this time. This was a pretty typical dumpling recipe, but I really didn't want to buy zucchini or carrot, so I only used cabbage and green onion. Tasted decent enough, but I don't think I'll use it again. I thought the texture was a little weird.

But hey, I have ten freezer dumpling meals now!


$30 a week: Part 2

July 21, 2019 2:44 PM

This week I spent $17.12 on groceries, which was pretty amazing. I also spent $15 on a meal out, which brings my total to above $30, but if this were an allowance that could roll over week to week, then I'm totally still within my budget!

Sometimes I try to get some reading in while I'm eating. It makes me feel more productive.

I often will plan for making slightly more food than I need each week (better to have too much food than not enough), so I still had some stuff left over to make one more shrimp burrito bowl. I don't actually think I like lettuce in my burrito bowls, but it makes me think I'm eating healthier when I add it.

I was too lazy to clean up the edges of the pan.

A few weeks ago I visited my family, and my dad gave a whole box of Champagne mangoes. Mangoes are my favorite fruit, but I still had way too many mangoes to eat in one week. I had save this Cashew Shrimp and Mango Stir Fry recipe from How Sweet Eats a while ago, and I figured this was the perfect opportunity to make it, especially because I also had a bag of cashews that I didn't know what to do with.

I was also too lazy to clean up the edges of this plate.

I'll admit that this dish seemed a bit strange while I was making it, but it turned out to be delicious. I'm not a huge fan of nuts in my stir fry, but the cashews really worked. (It also helps that I really like cashews) The recipe only called for one mango, but I used two since Champagne mangoes are a bit small.

I need to figure out how to make the sides of these pans not look so tall.

The other main dish I had for this week was Creamy Tomato and Spinach Pasta from Budget Bytes. This is my #1 go-to recipe for something quick to make when I'm completely unprepared to make anything. I had leftover cream cheese, since I bought it to eat with bagels a few weeks ago, and the only thing I know to use cream cheese in are bagels and this pasta.

I didn't know how to arrange the dumplings in the middle.

And finally, I really wanted to have some dumplings on hand, so I made a batch of those. I love chives, and I've been wanting to make pork and chive dumplings for a while. But less pork and more chive. I went to two different Asian grocery stores and waited in line at the meat place forever just so I could get the best prices on these ingredients.

So green.

I like having dumplings in my freezer because I think they make a really good breakfast. You know what else is a great breakfast? Eggs.

With seasoning sauce, of course.

Spoiler alert for next week, but I've already gone over budget. I don't actually need to buy too many things for my meals, but seafood is on sale, and you know how I am about seafood...


Cooking for one

May 19, 2019 7:44 AM
What I made this week:

When my sister was living with me, I was cooking almost every day. We kept cooking and cooking, and it seemed like we had so much food, but whenever I took a break from cooking for one day, it's like all the food disappeared. Well, I had this crazy realization this week that when I'm by myself I could cook three dishes during the weekend and then not have to cook at all during the week.

I know, that's what meal prepping is. But when people say they meal prep, I always envision them cooking two dishes on Sunday and then dividing everything up into individual portions in tupperware containers. Which sounds boring. I like to make every meal feel like a special accomplishment.

And you know what I accomplished this week? I only spent $16 on groceries! On the flip side, I also ate out four times, but one of those meals was on my company's dime.

Yeah, this looked a lot nicer when I made the same dish earlier this year.

I'm trying to make sure I include some low effort meals that will last me a while. This chicken rice dish requires very little chopping, and I can make it last six meals. With pasta, I try to not make it last so many meals because I get sick of it easily, but this rice dish still tastes great on the sixth day in a row.

But I can throw cilantro on top and it looks amazing again.

What's nice about this dish is that I can split up the rice and chicken, and then use those individual parts for other meals. I saw asparagus on sale at Aldi for $1.49/lb, which usually isn't that great because Aldi tends to stock suuuper skinny asparagus sticks, and who wants that? But this time the asparagus actually looked decently sized!

I actually made this same asparagus recipe about a month ago when my mom visited, but it didn't quite turn out so well since I was flailing in my kitchen trying to cook three things at once. This time I could just focus on asparagus. The recipe calls for shallots, which I replaced with onions because no one on a budget should ever buy shallots. The recipe also said to cook these for 20-25 minutes. That is way way way too long. I had these in the oven for about 12 minutes and I still think they were in there for a tad too long.

Introducing a new gray tablecloth!

I was very satisfied with the way the asparagus turned out though. The combination of bacon, onion, and parmesan made it very flavorful.

I normally don't cook sunny side up eggs. That was all for the picture.

My final dish of the week is Huevos Rancheros, which I was happy to stumble upon a recipe for it since it's probably my favorite brunch dish. Now I personally hate the idea of brunch. You take two perfectly good meals and squash them into one meal, and then get charged way more than you should be charged for either meal. Why would I ever choose to eat one meal over two meals? I've been to a lot of hipster brunch places, and they all feel exactly the same. They serve pancakes, chicken and waffles, and a bunch of random things with an egg on top. And then they try to get you to buy alcohol to make the meal even more extravagant.

But having brunch at home? That's a much better idea. Of course, I didn't make these for brunch. I ate these for breakfast and still had lunch later.

I couldn't decide on a favorite picture so I have two of these.

These Huevos Rancheros were okay, but I think the recipe could use a lot of tweaks. The salsa has way too much water, so I would cut that in half. It could also use some more salt and maybe some other spices. I just found it lacking. I also think two eggs is too much. There are plenty of days where I only eat two eggs for breakfast, so having that plus a bunch of other stuff is overkill. The recipe just says to arrange two tortillas on a plate, but I think it's better to first make sure the tortilla is toasted and crispy, and then break it up into nacho sized pieces.

I also substituted the refried beans for some pulled pork that had been sitting in my freezer for a while. Having to use three pans to cook breakfast is a bit much so I wanted to take whatever shortcuts I could. But...I guess this is supposed to be a brunch recipe. And brunch is fancy.

Cilantro + Queso Fresco is a wonderful combination.

Oh, also I just really wanted to post a picture of more fajitas since I had this two more times this past week. This time I toasted the tortillas on the pan and threw some cheese on top which made them even better.


Odds 'n Ends

March 11, 2019 12:30 PM

We just forget to take multiple pictures of the meals we make. Or I'm stuck by myself and have to take a picture with my phone.

Root Vegetable Hash Egg Skillet from Naturally Ella

I didn't know how to make 4 holes for the eggs, so I made an X.

I totally forgot about this in my last Odds 'n Ends post! I had a turnip and I had no idea how to use it, but I saw an egg hash recipe, and I love egg hash. We added bacon and crumbled feta cheese on top which added some extra flavor. All of the turnip recipes I looked at used it like a potato, but I must say, it tastes nothing like a potato.


Lemon Garlic Asparagus Pasta from Budget Bytes

Yeah, I really should have made the asparagus more visible in this.

We needed a really quick meal for a Friday night since we had plans to play a game with our cousins. I almost said that we should just get food from a local restaurant, but making pasta is cheaper and faster. I had these really dinky looking asparagus from Aldi, so I didn't even bother steaming them, and I just sauteed them for a couple of minutes. I also added mushrooms, which you really can't see in the picture either.


Yellow Rice Chicken Skillet from Budget Bytes

I attempted to take this picture with my phone, in front of the window.

This might actually be the very first recipe I ever tried from Budget Bytes. It was delicious the first time I made it, and it's become one of my really simple go to meals. This is the first time I made it with bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, though. I normally buy boneless, skinless because I'm lazy, but I'm trying to save money so I'm buying whatever meat is on sale. These chicken thighs were only $0.69/lb!


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