flailing in my kitchen 2.1

How can I be sad when I have breakfast, lunch, and dinner?
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My pasta keeps falling apart

September 11, 2022 10:26 PM

Yup, my brain is super focused on the Teochew site, and even though I'm not working, I still don't have enough time to do everything that I want to do! But, I've got time for some easy meals. I made Tomato Basil Pasta because I wanted to use up the rest of my ricotta.

So I buy some pasta, two pints of tomatoes, and some incredibly overpriced basil. My boyfriend noticed that there were 3(!!) boxes of pasta in my "pantry" (it's a container that sits on my counter) and he wondered why I needed so much pasta.

Well, we were very low on rotini, and we had a full box of ditalini, but ditalini is so tiny! I wanted bigger pasta pieces! So I bought a box of penne.

Cooking this was pretty easy. Just cut up the tomatoes, basil, and garlic and throw it all in the pan. But as I was boiling the pasta, I noticed that it was...weird looking. Kind of grainy. The rotini was fine, but the penne was not looking good. It was completely falling apart. I didn't even cook it for that long! It was probably around 8 minutes total, and the box says to cook it for 11-13 minutes. If I did that, it would be mush!

Tomato basil pasta
I should have just used the ditalini

I must have gotten a really bad batch of pasta. It was from Aldi, so it's not the highest quality stuff, but I've bought penne from Aldi plenty of times in the past and I've never had pasta fall apart like that.

But, I guess it tasted good enough. I also still had half a box of it leftover, and I barely made a dent in my container of ricotta so I made the dish again. This time I decided to grocery shop at Trader Joe's, which was a good idea in theory, but it was a Sunday afternoon and it was packed, and as I stood in the store I wondered why I had done this because this is exactly what I've been trying to avoid during my sabbatical.

Never, never, NEVER, go to Trader Joe's on a Sunday. Same goes for Whole Foods.

On the bright side, basil from Trader Joe's was both a larger amount AND cheaper! So I should absolutely go to Trader Joe's for Italian basil in the future. (in the middle of the workday)

Aaaand, they had pumpkin mini cones! I had been so excited to try these last fall, and I never saw them, so this was a pleasant surprise.

Pumpkin mini cones box from Trader Joe's
This post is not sponsored by Trader Joe's. I'm just a sucker for their ice cream

Tomato basil pasta, take 2
The extra basil does make the photo look better

Yeah, my pasta fell apart again. That's okay. I expected it. I'll still give Aldi penne another chance.


Pasta alfredo

August 10, 2022 9:51 PM

What? Three pasta entries in a row? Is this all I eat now?

No. I swear I eat other things. I was totally going to make some fajitas tonight, but it's been three really busy days at work and I wanted some easy comfort food, so I switched things up last minute.

I mentioned two entries ago that I wanted to try the alfredo recipe from Sip and Taste. I tend to like white sauce more than red sauce for pasta, and I appreciate that the video uses my favorite type of pasta, pappardelle. I just really like wide noodles.

Pappardelle pasta with alfredo, next to my handwritten notes on how to make the recipe
The recipe calls for parsley. But you know me.

I know I complained about youtube recipes in general, but this video doesn't even have a text recipe in the description! I actually watched the video and furiously wrote down notes at the same time.

But my notes must have been good enough because this was really easy to make and I was very happy with it! The original recipe calls for chicken, but when I was at the grocery store last night I saw shrimp on sale for $5.99/lb and I had to get it.

Shrimp is probably my favorite seafood, but I find that if it's not cooked right it tastes really bad. So I kept this simple. I sprinkled a little bit of cajun seasoning on the shrimp and cooked it on the pan for a few minutes and it was perfect. High quality shrimp already has such good flavor that I like eating it even without anything added to it.

Alfredo pasta next to a plate of some cooked shrimp

My cooking experiences aren't complete without some sort of flailing, and I may have dropped some pasta on the stove while I was taking it out of the boiling water and into the sauce. I liked not having to use a colander, but once I had gotten all the long noodles out, I knew there were still short pieces of pasta still left in the water and I was kind of struggling to fish it all out.

But other than that, it was smooth sailing. I think I'd make this again! Not anytime soon though. I think I should take a break from pasta.

Close up of the alfredo pasta


Baked ziti

August 9, 2022 9:49 PM

I don't think of my mom as a pasta person, but the one pasta dish she would always come back to is baked ziti. It's kind of heavy, which is probably why she never makes it anymore, so I need to make it myself if I ever want to have some.

I've made this just a few times before, but it's not really a dish I come back to because I've found it to be a lot of work. I use the baked ziti recipe from Budget Bytes. In the past, I would halve the recipe, but this time I cooked the whole pound of pasta, and I actually found it to be a lot easier this way.

Baked ziti

While it does taste best right after it's been cooked and taken out of the oven, leftover baked ziti isn't half bad. And we had a lot of leftovers. This might even be something I could cook for my family! (if they weren't all on a diet)

Two plates of baked ziti

I really don't have much to say about the recipe. It does have a lot of steps, but it's pretty easy, and the end result is very satisfying and tasty.

Filed under: baked ziti pasta

Creamy mushroom pasta

August 8, 2022 10:41 PM

So for the most part, my youtube feed has consisted of music performances, updates on celebrities that I've followed, clips of funny shows, and rhythm game videos. But one day, youtube decided to recommend me a cooking video. I watched it, and now half my feed is recipes.

That first recipe video I watched came from a channel called Sip and Feast which just has lots and lots of pasta recipes. They all look really good and the comments also rave about the pastas, so I had to try one of them. I settled on making spicy creamy mushroom pasta, or as it's titled on the youtube channel, "Quite Possibly The Best Cream Sauce Ever!" -_-

The annoying thing about recipes on youtube is that they always just put the actual recipe text in the description and there's no nice "printer friendly" version of the recipe that I can look at without being blasted by ads. So you know what I do? I write it down.

Pasta recipe written down in a journal, with a stain on it
I spilled chili garlic sauce on the side

I kind of hate the taste of wine, but I felt like I needed it for this recipe, so I went to the local Fine Wine and Good Spirits and bought the tiniest, cheapest box of white wine I could find. It was $3. I also replaced Calibrian chili paste with chili garlic sauce because that's what I already had.

Mushroom pasta with cream sauce
Don't look too closely or else you'll notice that this basil is starting to go bad

I think best ever was a bit of an exaggeration, but it was pretty good! I really liked the flavor of the sauce. And I know I have this weird aversion to leftover pasta, so I only boiled enough pasta for one meal, and I mixed in just enough sauce with that. It took about 40 minutes to make, which wasn't too bad for my first time. I think I'll try more pasta dishes from this channel. Maybe an alfredo next time.


Pasta aglio e olio

March 2, 2022 9:33 PM

Whenever I go over to my friends' places and they cook for me, I find it so inspiring. Homemade food is always so good, and usually so simple. I go to restaurants and I eat take out, and I'm pretty much never impressed, but there is something about a homemade dish that is incredibly satisfying. Everything that my friends make, I want to make too.

A few weeks ago, one of my friends showed me this spaghetti aglio e olio recipe that she had been making a lot of. (It took me a few times of saying that dish out loud before I could remember it) It was pretty good, but my friend loves spicy foods and doesn't like things too salty, so she doubled the red pepper and added way less salt than the recipe called for, and well, it tasted very pepper-y to me. So I wanted to try making this myself.

Also, the recipe says Don't serve cheese with this and I know I'm basically asking to be told what to do when making a dish, but I don't appreciate recipes telling me not to add cheese to my pasta. So I searched for another recipe, and I was feeling Love & Lemons take on it more.

Homemade bucatini aglio e olio
And after taking this photo and taking a few bites I added more parmesan

I was feeling fancy so I used bucatini instead of spaghetti, and I wanted some vegetable in this so I added some grape tomatoes. Cooked tomatoes are delicious and this dish was delicious and the noodles were so fun to eat 😊


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