A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a recipe for spicy chipotle honey salmon bowls and it looked really good. It claims to be a good "weeknight dinner", but I found it to be way too much work, and it had too many components, so I don't think I'll ever make it again. I didn't even take a picture.
One of the ingredients that the recipe calls for is chipotles in adobo sauce, so I bought a little can of it. I tried a little, and it was so much spicier than I expected, so I didn't use nearly as much as the recipe said to. This meant that I had almost a full can of these chipotles left and no idea what to do with them.
But I thought, "I can improvise! I'll make some fajitas!" So I bought a pack of shrimp and some bell peppers and tortillas, and I tried to throw something together.
It was not good. Honestly. I know they look good in the photo, but tacos always look good. The shrimp just tasted weird. Maybe I marinated it and cooked it for too long. And the marinade I made was also bad.
Okay, so I had to try something simpler. I figured since these were so spicy that I could throw a couple of peppers into hummus and blend it up.
Well, it wasn't really hummus. I only had half a lemon and I didn't have as much tahini as I needed for a single can of chickpeas. And then when I was at Aldi, I couldn't find any pita bread, so I bought naan instead. But it tasted great when I dipped a warm piece of naan in it, and now I think I'll always get naan for hummus.
Finally, I threw some of the chipotles into a large batch of pulled pork for some tacos. This time I actually used a recipe that I know works well, and I just added the chipotles to it. (And sugar! I always add sugar)
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find a small piece of pork butt, so I bought a pork loin instead, and man was it dry. But that's okay, it wasn't terrible, so I just decided to buy lots of toppings to put on top.
It also made for some good breakfast bowls.
Last week, as I was browsing through food blogs at night, I stumbled across a stir fry noodle recipe that looked interesting. The pictures looked really good, but the comments were pretty mixed. Quite a few people said it was too salty, but some people really loved it. I'm never sure about Asian inspired recipes from non-Asian food bloggers, but I gave it a shot.
I already had a bell pepper and some scallions. I figured I would just omit the hot peppers, zucchini, and carrots. I did want some basil, but my local non-Asian grocery store only had really expensive Italian basil. So I bought a tiny container of expensive Italian basil. The store does have an Asian section, so I was able to get an 8oz pack of rice noodles. I also bought a single shallot and a single piece of chicken breast. I was running low on soy sauce, but I did have a lot of Golden Mountain Seasoning Sauce, so I figured that was close enough.
The recipe claims that it takes 15 minutes of prep time and 15 minutes of cook time. I decided to time myself. It took me 52 minutes, 44 seconds to make the dish, prep and cook. That's actually faster than I expected!
Heeey that looks pretty good! Unfortunately it was way too salty, just like all of those commenters said it would be. I didn't even put as much soy sauce as it called for! I also don't think the Italian basil made sense, and the noodles from the non-Asian grocery store were...not great.
The peanuts were a nice touch though.
It wasn't so bad that I didn't finish it all. But whenever I'm trying out a new recipe, the cogs in my brain immediately start turning and thinking about how I'd modify it.
So, noodles take 2!
This second attempt was much better! And it was slightly easier for me to put together. I think it took me about 48 minutes, start to finish. If I made this a third time, I'd probably increase the amount of fish sauce a little, add a little bit of dark soy sauce, and decrease the oyster sauce. But I think I'm good on stir fried noodles for a while.
I'd say that the best part about making these noodles was that I got to share it with two of my friends, who both enjoyed eating it (:
...is unfortunately not as successful as part 1.
Last Christmas my aunt made these shrimp avocado cucumber bites, and it was probably the most Californian thing I've ever seen. And I was convinced I needed to make these myself. I googled "shrimp guacamole cucumber" and grabbed the first recipe I saw: Avocado Cucumber Shrimp Appetizers from Natasha's Kitchen. Now it probably would have made sense to actually buy some shrimp for this, but I had half a bag of seafood blend that I needed to use up.
I also had guacamole that we had made earlier in the week using Skinnytaste's Best Guacamole Recipe. So really all I took from that other recipe is the Cajun shrimp part. It wasn't so bad, but next time we'll just use shrimp, and actually use freshly made guacamole. Or be lazy and buy it from the store.
We actually had leftover pieces of seafood, and my sister remarked that we could throw some pasta in it. I checked my cabinets and I found a box of that Banza chickpea pasta...that expired last year. Hey, it's a box of pasta! It should be fine!
Second note to self: Do not eat expired chickpea pasta. In fact do not even buy chickpea pasta at all. It is way more expensive than regular pasta and doesn't taste as good.