flailing in my kitchen 2.1

How can I be sad when I have breakfast, lunch, and dinner?
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Showing all posts filed under: go-tos

New Year Tacos

February 4, 2022 10:19 PM

As part of my newly established Lunar New Year tradition, I made fish tacos! I have no idea how long I've been keeping these tilapia fillets in the freezer, but I'm really trying to actually clear out the food in my kitchen. I've made these spiced catfish tacos so many times, and it's become one of my go-to recipes.

Overhead shot of all the components of our fish tacos
I even made a recipe card for it! And then I forgot to take a picture with it.

I am frying up some spiced tilapia
My tiny kitchen space does not make it easy to get a picture from this angle

In the past, I've sliced up the sweet potatoes in thin quarter circle shapes, but this time I went with dicing, and I think that makes their flavor stand out more in the taco. And in my continued effort to not accumulate more food in my kitchen, I bought a bag of "RAINBOW VEGGIE SLAW" instead of buying a head of cabbage. Plus it's easier since I don't have to cut up any cabbage.

Closeup of a fish taco
And look at all the color it adds!

I cooked five tilapia fillets and we just about finished all of it. That mayonnaise + lime + sugar dressing makes it so good. We just had a single half of a fillet left, which I ate the next day (as well as a pork taco using leftover pulled pork from another meal).

One pork taco and one fish taco
Yes, it is always worth it to spend the ten minutes assembling tacos for lunch


Pasta with a friend

April 29, 2021 8:02 PM

When I was in college, well before I knew how to cook, I went on a spring break trip to Chicago with my two best friends. This was sponsored by the school and we stayed at a hostel. For some crazy reason my one friend really wanted to cook during this trip. I definitely did not, seeing as I didn't know the first thing about cooking, and even with the amount of cooking experience I have now, I still wouldn't want to cook during a vacation.

But that's what we did. We went to the grocery store, and my friend asked me "What do you want to make?" I didn't know, and she probably made several suggestions, and I probably seemed less than interested in every single one of them, which was just the first of many times one of us got annoyed at the others during this trip.

Anyway, we settled on pasta. A really simple spaghetti + pasta sauce + ground beef pasta. Of course at the time, I could barely boil water, so it still seemed really intimidating to me. But we managed. It tasted fine. And we did not cook again during that trip (thankfully). And that was the only time I had ever cooked pasta with my friend(s).

...until last week! I invited one of my friends over for an "easy" pasta meal, and since my initial pasta-with-friends session, I guess my idea of an easy meal has changed a lot. It ended up being more than he expected, heh.

But it was delicious and it is so worth it to make your own pasta sauce.

Pasta
This is the nicest Creamy Tomato and Spinach pasta photo I have and it's probably because I didn't take the picture.

I'll definitely make more pasta meals with friends in the future (:


Easy rice meals

April 25, 2021 11:28 AM

Summer is fast approaching. Summer has my favorite kind of weather, yet it's my least favorite season. Summer means that my family plans all these vacations, and I get really overwhelmed and stressed out. Summer is when so much of my mental energy is taken up by other things, that my side projects take a back seat.

All that to say, things are slowing way down for the food blog. I won't say I'm taking a break, but I'm tending towards making easier meals and spending less effort on creating aesthetically pleasing photos.


I really really like making this chicken and rice dish, but most of the time when I make it, I use boneless, skinless chicken thighs. It's just easier. But this time, when I went to the store for chicken, the family pack of bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs were 50% off, so I had to get that instead.

Chicken rice skillet

And really, the dish is so much better this way. What's nice about having the skin is that it gets nice and crispy when you intially cook it. But the problem with this dish is that you later nestle the chicken in while the rest of the rice is cooking, and the skin gets all soggy again. And I think the skin still tastes good that way, but it's just not the same.

So what did I do? I ate a whole bunch of crispy chicken skin right after cooking the chicken. So no, I don't have a full picture of the finished skillet because it's a bunch of naked chicken pieces and it's weird looking.

This dish actually makes a lot of rice, much more than what's needed for four chicken thighs, so I later cooked some more asparagus and salmon to also eat with it.

Asparagus and salmon

I know, I have a salmon and asparagus meal just three posts below this one! And I took a picture at exactly the same angle! Well, asparagus is in season, and I still have a ton of impulsively bought salmon, and this is just all my brain can handle right now.

(Okay...that salmon above? That's not even from the same shopping trip where I bought 2.5 lbs of salmon. This post's salmon was bought two weeks ago, and it was also an impulse buy. I had to! It was also 50% off!)

Asparagus, salmon, and rice

This was all already delicious right after I cooked it, but reheating the leftover rice in a skillet is 👌.


Salmon and asparagus

April 6, 2021 6:16 PM

On my grocery shopping trip a week and a half ago, I impulsively bought some asparagus because it was only $0.99/lb! I figured this would go well with some salmon I impulsively bought last month.

Salmon is one of the easiest things to cook, but it is a little pricey, which is why I feel the need to impulsively buy it a lot. I love salmon, but I never order it from restaurants. I find that they never cook it right. It's always overcooked and dry and lacking flavor. But when I make it myself, it's always delicious.

My quick, go-to salmon dish is this Salmon with Dill. I first made it for a guy I was dating several years ago, and I remember it absolutely blew his mind at how good it tasted. I don't know. I didn't even measure anything. I did, however, cut the cooking time down to 10 minutes. 20-25 minutes for salmon is way way way too long. My other trick to cooking salmon is that if I don't want the skin, I just cook it in a crappy baking pan and I let the skin stick to the bottom of it.

Salmon and asparagus

Salmon, asparagus, and hummus

I was going to also include potatoes, but then I forgot to buy some. I still needed a starch, so I made more hummus. It worked.


Shrimp Scampi Florentine

January 23, 2021 2:01 PM

Remember when I made spring rolls and basil chicken and bought so much mint that I didn't know what to do with it? Well, I looked up things to do with excess mint, and I came across mint pesto. The recipe actually calls for mint and parsley, but parsley is kinda gross, so I went all in on mint.

Pesto

So, this mint pesto has been sitting in my freezer since Thanksgiving, and I finally have a use for it! My initial thought was to make some sort of pesto pasta, but since I had some leftover spinach and frozen shrimp available, I decided to make one of my go-to's, Shrimp Scampi Florentine.

Shrimp Scampi Florentine

If I have the time, you might have noticed that I like to write the recipe down in advance. If you're wondering, it's not a recipe book. It's just a journal. But since it's a lazy Saturday, I had even more time, so I went and reorganized my journal to make it easier to find the pages that have recipes. And by that I mean I numbered every page and made a table of contents at the end of the book.

Journal

And then I realized I already wrote this recipe down! And then I had another thought. Maybe I should just write down the recipes for all my go-to's. But on index cards because I have a lot of those and they work well for recipes. So I went and marked those recipes with a blue asterisk. There are more, but I'll get to those when I get to those.

Scampi and recipe

I recently gave a lightning talk at work about my meal planning process, and now my coworkers are going to see this and think I'm even more insane than they already thought.

Anyway, I don't really love the mint pesto, but I still love this dish. Shrimp, tomatoes, spinach, pesto, and pasta. What a well balanced meal.


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