I had COVID a little over a month ago, and I was mostly confined to my aunt's guest room for five days. I ended up staying at my aunt's house for a week longer than I anticipated, so once I got back to Pittsburgh I was itching to cook again. I actually only had a week before having to go back to my aunt's house again, but now, NOW, I'm back in my apartment, and I am doing lots of cooking.
I'm trying to remember why I decided to make enchiladas, because I'm not the biggest fan of them. I think I had tortillas in the fridge from a while ago. I also had some of that dry pulled pork that came from a pork loin. Yup, that's why. I wanted to use the rest of that.
I decided to try this vegan black bean and avocado enchilada recipe from Budget Bytes, but of course I substituted the corn for pork in it which made it very much not vegan anymore.
But who cares! I wasn't looking for a vegan recipe. I was looking for an enchilada recipe. And I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by how this turned out. After I had prepared the filling, I took a bite and I thought "Wow, this is pretty good". The fact that I could munch on the filling before I baked it in the oven was great, because man, this recipe took a really long time to make and I was getting hungry.
I ended up having a lot of leftover enchilada sauce, so once I got back to my apartment the second time, I decided to make more enchiladas. But I didn't really want to make pulled pork again (and I guess I could have actually gone the vegan route, but uh...I didn't) so I tried a different type of Mexican meat and I made chicken tinga.
Yeah, this was...okay. The recipe listed several methods of cooking the chicken, and I opted for just throwing some raw chicken into the tinga sauce and letting it cook on the pan and then shredding it. I think I should have slow cooked it for a few hours instead. I probably cooked the chicken for too long and it was kind of tough, so shredding it was a pain.
I also had to buy another can of chipotles in adobo sauce, and now I need to figure out what to do with the rest of the can again.
But I was still able to make tasty tacos! Even if the meat is not the best, I can just throw it on a corn tortilla with some onions and lime and cilantro and it's a beautiful meal.
Enchiladas ended up being easier the second time around since I didn't have to make the sauce from scratch. I mixed some of the chicken tinga sauce into my remaining enchilada sauce from before and I think I like that it made it a little lighter.
Overall, I'm happy with it! I actually still have leftover enchilada sauce, but I think I'm all enchilada'd out for a while now.
Two weeks ago, I made Chimichurri Chicken Kebabs (except not in kebab form) and I also cooked some tilapia.
I first had chimichurri when I was at a restaurant called Gaucho. It's a super popular place in the area and they used to not take reservations, so if you went at noon on a Saturday you'd have to wait in line for like an hour. Was it worth it? Only if you went at 11am when they opened and could beat the rush.
What I liked best about this place was their sauces. I basically think of chimichurri as cilantro sauce. And you know I love cilantro. I buy cilantro almost every week, but sometimes I'm not able to use up all of it. So what do I do when I have sad looking herbs? Blend them up.
Chimichurri is delicious.
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.
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.
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.
Home fries. Eggs. A piece of beef jerky. That's what I call a Breakfast of Champions.
First of all, I'm going to lessen the frequency of these blog posts. I'm trying to take it easy and also free up my time for other things. But I'll still be cooking, and I'll try to post at least once a week.
After impulsively buying tilapia a few weeks ago, I decided to finally make some tacos with it. Blue Apron has a catfish taco recipe that's been one of my go-to's, and I thought that if they have one good fish taco recipe, they must have others. So I went and searched for "fish tacos" and these are the top results:
Wait wait wait, these aren't fish taco recipes, these are fish OR taco recipes. Blue Apron, you gotta work on your search code. What is it with recipe sites and terrible search algorithms?
So after scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling I finally stumbled upon Baja-Style Tilapia Tacos.
These tacos were easy to make, and they tasted pretty good too. But they're fish tacos. Of course they taste good. I don't know if I love the combination of avocado and orange, but it seemed to work well enough. The only problem with this recipe is that it doesn't work well for leftovers. The avocadoes end up browning.
I followed the recipe pretty closely, but I used green cabbage instead of red because it was cheaper. I also used corn instead of flour tortillas because that's just what I had already. As much as I think grocery store brand corn tortillas are awful, Aldi corn tortillas are actually pretty great once you toast them in the pan. And finally I added cilantro because of course I added cilantro.
Oh, so, I also went grocery shopping today, and as much as I told myself I wasn't going to buy any more meat/seafood, I ended up impulsively buying another bag of tilapia. It was $5! That's even cheaper than when impulsively bought it last month!
I'm going to try something new, and show you more of my thought process in how I meal plan. This is inspired by the Weekly Recap posts that Beth used to make on Budget Bytes.
First of all, I cannot be spontaneous with food. If I'm cooking, I need to plan every meal, and I am constantly thinking about my next meal. So, as long as work hasn't totally exhausted me, I'll take some time every Friday night or Saturday morning to come up with the next few dishes to cook. And I start that by staring at my whiteboard.
Yes, this is an actual snippet of what was on my whiteboard a week ago. There's actually A LOT more on the whiteboard, but I just cropped this. Each date lists what I bought that day. I know, you're seeing that I've had half and half for almost two months. The internet tells me I should only keep half and half a week after opening. But it still smells and tastes fine. /shrug
But you know what, it's a whole quart of half and half so I should really find another use for it besides going in my morning coffees. I searched for recipes that use half and half on Budget Bytes, and I see that she has a mushroom pasta recipe, which works well, since I also have mushrooms that I don't know what to do with. It's perfect! All I have to buy for this is pasta!
So I also have this huge head of cabbage that I bought for my dumplings. My dumplings only took like a quarter of this head, so I need something that uses a lot of cabbage. My go-to cabbage meals are stir fry or some sort of sausage skillet, but I figured I'd try something different and make okonomiyaki. And it also works because I can use up the rest of my green onions as well!
Finally, you see that Mac n Cheese in the Already Cooked section? Yeah, I needed to do something with that. I decided to try and make fried mac n cheese balls, except it's going to end up being fried mac n cheese rectangular prisms since that's easier to cut. I wanted to make some dipping sauce for this, and of course I looked on Budget Bytes for one.
And that's already plenty of food, especially when you consider all those Thanksgiving leftovers I had. So I barely had to buy anything from the store!
...of course I ended up buying twice as many things as I had on my list. But I ended up spending a whopping $10.52, so I think it's okay. Random grocery store thoughts:
As I was checking out, I thought, "Huh. I don't have any veggies." I probably should have bought something green. I don't know why I didn't restock on cilantro. I mean, I had it on the whiteboard, but I was low on cilantro, and why would I ever be worried about having too much cilantro? Plus it's only like $0.75! That was a mistake. Definitely getting cilantro next time.
Anyway, here's every breakfast, lunch, and dinner that I ate. I also had a lot of snacks, but I'm not going to type those out, because that's just way too much to type.
|Saturday||Rice w/ fried eggs||Thanksgiving leftovers||Pulled pork tacos|
|Sunday||Mushroom pasta||Gumbo @ my friend's|
|Monday||Roll||Thanksgiving leftovers||Thanksgiving leftovers|
|Tuesday||Musroom pasta||Pulled pork tacos|
|Wednesday||Rice w/ fried egg||Pulled pork tacos||Okonomiyaki|
|Thursday||Crescent rolls||Mushroom pasta||Okonomiyaki|
|Friday||Crescent rolls||Mushroom pasta||Dumplings|
Stay tuned, and I'll actually show you how all the cooking went. In the meantime, here's some tacos using the last bit of cilantro I had.