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.
I've been so busy at work that it's consumed my brain, and I haven't had a lot of mental capacity left over for really giving my cooking as much thought as I'd like. Which means I end up forgetting to take pictures of things. But, I looked at my phone, and it turns out I have enough pictures to write a post on some random things that I made over the past two weeks.
I had gone home to visit family for a week, in which I accompanied my mom in grocery shopping. She bought a ridiculous amount of vegetables that she wasn't going to be able to finish, so she gave me a whole bunch of stuff to take back to my place. Part of that was a lot of onions and bell peppers, so naturally, I had to make some fajitas. I've made these fajitas so many times, and they're always delicious.
Speaking of things wrapped in tortillas, I also made these pulled pork tacos. I don't have a picture of the initial batch of pulled pork, but I actually made it in non-taco form for my mom and her friend when they visited me. I also made cilantro lime rice (which you can kind of see in the tacos) and brussels sprouts and broccoli. Yes, there was a lot of flailing that day as I kept going back and forth between working and cooking.
I see cilantro and lime together, and I'm like "YES. I WANT THAT." So what happens is I buy those things for tacos, and then I just end up making more Mexican food because Mexican food uses a lot of cilantro and lime. (At least the kind I like does) These chicken thighs were really good, though I think using the cast iron pan was more trouble than it was worth for this. Next time, I'll just stick to one of my normal pans.
Oh, and obviously, I need to have some sides too, so I cooked some sweet potatoes and veggies. I didn't really use a recipe for them. I just cut them up, drizzled olive oil, and sprinkled various spices on them.
Yeah! Even more stuff that I wrapped in a tortilla! I just really like tortillas, okay? But, the heading for this is totally a lie, because when I went to the store they were completely out of chorizo, so I had to settle for just "sausage" instead. To be honest, I'm not a huge fan of enchiladas, but I had sweet potatoes, and I had been just roasting them so I wanted to do something different. This was good, but I think I just need to take a break from the Mexican food now.
Yeah I know, this is totally random and why this post is only mostly Mexican. Hey, I had some pizza dough and pizza sauce in the freezer, so why not. I had cheddar, mozzarella, and parmesan, so that's why it's three-cheese. This wasn't bad, but I'm going to have to improve on my pizza-making game. I definitely put too much sauce compared to cheese.