I'm going to end up having three weeks on my own before I head back home to visit family again. And you know what I've realized? I don't actually need to cook all that much. I've also started timing myself to see how fast I can cook. Spoiler: I don't cook that fast, but I actually can cook faster than I thought.
I made this pasta since it's one of my go-to meals when I don't know what to cook. I've made it so many times that I'm actually able to beat the estimated time on Budget Bytes! It took me 24 minutes and the recipe says 25 minutes! Look at me shaving off one minute.
I used some of a tub of chive and onion cream cheese in this, which turned out fine, but this is way better when you just have a block of plain cream cheese. The spreadable tubs just don't give that nice creamy consistency that you want.
Shortly after that, I made this Shrimp Scampi Florentine which is another go-to. When I was visiting family, we noticed that shrimp was on sale for $5/lb. What a steal! They're never that cheap in the grocery stores I live near! Not even at Aldi!
I made it with rice since I didn't want to go overboard and eat pasta twice in one day (even though I have no problem eating rice three times a day), but I had some later meals with pasta, and I think this works much better with pasta than rice.
This also took me about 40 minutes to make, which is exactly how long the recipe said it would take. I don't know. I was going kind of slow and listening to a podcast at the same time. Feels like it should actually only take 30 minutes.
And finally, I made some Posole today. Back when my sister was still here, we tried a stove top carnitas recipe which was...lackluster. Anyway, I threw it in the freezer, and I figured this was a good use for some of it.
I don't know what it was, but I had a super potent onion, and I was crying just from chopping it up. My eyes were hurting so badly that they kept hurting for over an hour after I was done cooking. It took me just over 30 minutes to prep and cook, so I guess the name of the recipe was right.
What I'd really like to do is buy some more bowls. These Corelle bowls are just not suitable for picture taking.
Yeah, I'm still catching up. But I apparently didn't cook much between Thanksgiving and New Years. Or at least I didn't take pictures of what I cooked.
Yeah, I make this a lot. It's still my go-to for an easy meal when I don't want to put a lot of effort into cooking.
Yup, that taco is completely vegetarian. I don't know, I wanted to try jackfruit-pretending-to-be-meat, since I know it's commonly used as a vegetarian substitute for pulled pork. It tastes and feels nothing like pork. So it was alright, I guess.
I don't remember why, but I think I really wanted some stir fried eggplant, so I looked up recipes for it, and this looked easy enough. I also impulsively bought a family pack of chicken breast. (5 pounds!) I don't remember how much it cost, but I assume it was cheap since I impulse bought it. I do remember this tasting good, but pretty much all stir fry recipes I try are good.
So when I went home for Thanksgiving, my cousins were kind of obsessed with Popeye's new chicken sandwiches. And apparently the rest of the world was too, because Popeye's kept running out of chicken sandwiches, and the first few that I checked didn't even have any! And when I don't get to eat a food that I expect to, I want it even more.
So after unsuccessfully trying to buy a Popeye's chicken sandwich I said, screw it, I'm making this myself. Well, not the way Popeye's does, but I can look up chicken sandwich recipes and follow them. I had this recipe saved for a while, and I figured it was finally time to make it. This took me like an hour to make because I'm really slow, but hey, it was worth it.
My mind has been so distracted about work that I haven't been able to really give this blog much thought. I'm even eating out more, and my body is not happy with that. Anyway, I am still cooking regularly, so I feel like I should at least update this with pictures every so often.
I really like getting bagels from Giant Eagle, which means I also end up buying cream cheese, but one block of cream cheese is just so much cream cheese that I end up with lots of leftover cream cheese. So then I look up recipes with cream cheese, and for some reason, it's always just a bunch of pasta. This was good though. I'd make it again, but I probably won't put it in my "go-to recipes".
I also bought a bag of Poblano peppers from Giant Eagle because I needed one for that enchilada recipe I made a few weeks ago. What was annoying was that I only needed one pepper and I had to buy five because Giant Eagle only sells these in bags, and I did not want to take the extra ten minutes to trek to Whole Foods. So I looked up Poblano recipes and I came across hummus. I love hummus (as I love chickpeas), but store-bought hummus is usually so bad. The problem with making hummus though, is that I have to take out my food processor, which is a pain in the butt because it's annoying to wash, and it takes me forever to figure out how to put it back in the box. But hey, I have it, so I really should make use of it more often.
This hummus was delicious, but it really could have used a second Poblano pepper. I'll have to make hummus more often, as it's a great healthy snack that I can bring to work. Plus, what else am I gonna use my jar of tahini for?
Sometimes I eat so much pasta and tacos that it makes me really miss Asian food. I also feel like I need more vegetables in my system, and this is one of my favorite dishes to order at the local Chinese restaurant. We actually made this once when my sister was here! I figured I'd try this out on my own, and it turned out to be a super oil-splatter-y mess, but it did taste good! Next time I need to be better about really drying the green beans before throwing them into the pan. I also really should have used a larger pan. This is going to go into my "things I want to cook for my mom or dad when they visit" list.
More Asian food! I was just browsing recipes and I stumbled across this, and the picture looked really good, so I wanted to make it myself. Of course, when I made it, it didn't look nearly as good as the original recipe's picture. The marinade was delicious, but I still haven't quite gotten the hang of using my cast iron skillet. I was supposed to let the beef really brown, but it wasn't quite doing that. There was also so much marinade, and I probably could have cut it in half. I also should have cut the pieces of beef much much thinner. I'll have to try this again sometime.
Now this is one of my go-to recipes. Of course I still haven't taken a decent picture of it yet. What's nice about this dish is that I can pair it with whatever starch I want. Rice, pasta, or bread all work really well. And I just happened to have a whole take-and-bake baguette sitting in my freezer.
With Aldi now stocking pizza dough for less than $1, making pizza is really convenient. Especially because whenever I buy shredded cheese, it comes in these giant bags and I never know what to do with all of it, so I snack on it. I'd definitely rather be cooking with the cheese instead. Tomatoes are also one of my favorite pizza toppings (tomatoes, not tomato sauce). I should have put more green onions on this, but I totally forgot about them until the last minute so I awkwardly placed them in-between tomatoes at the end.
I should really buy a round pizza dish so I can actually make it circular next time. Oh, and maybe a pizza cutter.
Summer is exhausting. Kids are out of school and everyone's on vacation, and sometimes you just need a vacation after your vacation. I'm slowly getting back to having a normal routine though.
You might be wondering, "Hey! What happened to your $30 a week thing? You only lasted two weeks!" Yeah, it might be a while until I try that challenge again. I'm trying to focus on just eating and exercising well, and I don't want to have to think about saving every penny I can.
But I told myself I'd get back to the blog, so here are three things I made this week:
I've made this yellow rice so many times, but it was always with chicken. The chicken was always my least favorite part of the dish, so it just made sense to only make the rice part. And then I can pair it with other things, like a fried egg! This rice tastes even better if you stir-fry it the day after.
Man, they really make dishes sound fancier when they put so many ingredients in the name of the dish. This was really easy to make, and the flavor was really good, but I don't know how to get my salmon to have that nice color on it. Maybe mine was so pale because I only cooked it for 15 minutes. But it's salmon! I can't have overcooked salmon! I might try roasting it for say, 8 minutes, and then broiling for 5 more minutes next time.
That salmon recipe called for the zest of two whole lemons. You know what that left me? Two naked lemons. And I totally forgot about them when making this salad, so I still have two naked lemons. Anyway, I don't really love kale or salmon in my salads, so I'm not sure why I decided to make this. I did like the dressing though. I used whatever kale came in the bag I got from Aldi, but I think this would have been better with lacinato kale.
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!
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.
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'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.
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.
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.
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.
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...