flailing in my kitchen 2.1

How can I be sad when I have breakfast, lunch, and dinner?
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Shrimp Scampi Florentine

January 23, 2021 2:01 PM

Remember when I made spring rolls and basil chicken and bought so much mint that I didn't know what to do with it? Well, I looked up things to do with excess mint, and I came across mint pesto. The recipe actually calls for mint and parsley, but parsley is kinda gross, so I went all in on mint.

Pesto

So, this mint pesto has been sitting in my freezer since Thanksgiving, and I finally have a use for it! My initial thought was to make some sort of pesto pasta, but since I had some leftover spinach and frozen shrimp available, I decided to make one of my go-to's, Shrimp Scampi Florentine.

Shrimp Scampi Florentine

If I have the time, you might have noticed that I like to write the recipe down in advance. If you're wondering, it's not a recipe book. It's just a journal. But since it's a lazy Saturday, I had even more time, so I went and reorganized my journal to make it easier to find the pages that have recipes. And by that I mean I numbered every page and made a table of contents at the end of the book.

Journal

And then I realized I already wrote this recipe down! And then I had another thought. Maybe I should just write down the recipes for all my go-to's. But on index cards because I have a lot of those and they work well for recipes. So I went and marked those recipes with a blue asterisk. There are more, but I'll get to those when I get to those.

Scampi and recipe

I recently gave a lightning talk at work about my meal planning process, and now my coworkers are going to see this and think I'm even more insane than they already thought.

Anyway, I don't really love the mint pesto, but I still love this dish. Shrimp, tomatoes, spinach, pesto, and pasta. What a well balanced meal.


Meal Plan: 1/18 - 1/22

January 22, 2021 9:24 PM

It's my first week back in my apartment since before the holidays, and any time I come back from a long vacation my plan is to always make something simple. My go-to simple meal is always Creamy Tomato and Spinach Pasta because it's vegetarian, and I know I can make it in less than 30 minutes. The only downside is that I have to buy cream cheese, but whatever, I'll get bagels for next week.

Pasta

I also decided to make noodle soup because it had been on my to-make list for a while. Since I had shoved a bunch of leftovers in the freezer before going to see my family, I figured I could eat those too. So, two dishes is plenty.

Groceries

Pretty sure I spent less than $10 on all of this. I just got what I needed for the two dishes plus some fruit and yogurt for snacks. I'm really trying to make sure I have healthy snacks.

Also, it's a shortened week since I got back on Monday.

Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Monday Egg rolls Pasta
Tuesday Egg rolls Noodle soup
Wednesday Pasta Sticky rice Noodle soup
Thursday Sesame Ball Pasta Noodle soup
Friday Pasta Pad kra pao Noodle soup

Yeah, the week started out kind of rough and I don't think I was eating enough, but I got back on track towards the end. And I'm gonna show you another portion of my noodle soup to show you that I also made ramen eggs!

More noodles

I tried a different method of soft boiling the eggs, and it worked out really well. The recipe says to boil water, then add the egg, but I find that one of my eggs always cracks when I do this, so I just put the egg in the cold water and let it come to a boil, then turn the heat off, cover it, and let it sit for about 4 minutes. I was worried I might overcook it, but it came out perfectly.

Next week, I'll get back to my usual consulting of my whiteboard.


Cooking is a lot of work

December 5, 2020 8:01 PM

I feel like I cooked so much this week, and yet didn't cook enough at the same time. This must have been why I took a break from the blog for so many months.

Mushroom Pasta

So, the good thing about this Creamy Mushroom Herb Pasta was that it was easy to make and tasted good. The bad thing is that it's pasta, and pasta leftovers are not great. 5/5 right after I finished cooking, 2/5 the next day. It definitely had a different texture after reheating. Less creamy, more...sticky? It also kind of lost some flavor, so I was sprinkling some garlic salt on it when I ate the leftovers.

Mushroom Pasta in a dish

I had actually bought those mushrooms to put in a green bean casserole, but you know I got sick of Thanksgiving food, so I never ended up getting to it. However, the sauce for this basically tasted like a more refined cream of mushroom. So it was like I ate green bean casserole without green beans. Which is...a little disappointing when you think of it that way.

I also totally forgot that I had thyme in my freezer, and I used dried thyme instead. Missed opportunity there. Will I make this again? Maybe. Maybe if I just happen to have all the ingredients for it, which is what happened this time.

Okonomiyaki

I think this okonomiyaki turned out a little better than the pasta though. I actually think the pasta tastes better right after cooking, but these pancakes held up better as leftovers. But maybe that's just because I reheated it in the pan. I didn't give the pasta the same treatment.

My sister made okonomiyaki earlier this year, but she used a much more authentic recipe than the Budget Bytes one. I am not at her level, so making a Japanese dish from an American blogger is more at the level I can handle. I did make the okonomiyaki sauce from Just One Cookbook though. I also put shrimp in these! (I know you can't tell from the pictures)

A different angle

Pancakes from a box are already a lot of work, so making these cabbage pancakes was a little draining. It's just so time consuming when you have to cook them one at a time. I don't think I quite got the hang of it. Why do pancakes always look nice on one side but bad on the other? I think I was hoping it would turn out a little crisipier, but it still ended up tasting good.

Also, I still have more cabbage!

Candied Bacon

Finally, I made some candied bacon. I've done this once before, and I think it turned out better the last time. I think I need to make sure I'm really applying pressure on the bacon while it's cooking. I also used thick cut this time and that probably added to the cooking time.

But candied bacon is always delicious, whether that's right out of the oven, or eaten the next day.


Cooking for myself again

September 22, 2020 8:41 PM

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.

Creamy Tomato and Spinach Pasta

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.

Shrimp Scampi Florentine

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.

Posole

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.


Social Distancing: Days 52 - 56

May 17, 2020 11:32 AM

Day 52 (Saturday): It's the weekend! Which means no work! Which means I actually had time to cook!

Chili Lime Shrimp Bowls (Budget Bytes)
Chili Lime Shrimp Bowls (Budget Bytes)

Yeah, that's right. I did the cooking. I really wanted to make some shrimp bowls. Of course, it ended up taking me forever, and it really felt like I made four different things: shrimp, rice, pineapple salsa, and black beans.

My sister plated this

But whatever. It was worth it. Absolutely delicious.


Day 53 (Sunday): My sister was feeling lazy (and I've been feeling lazy for the past three weeks), so we just ate leftovers. We had too many leftovers sitting in the fridge anyway.


Day 54 (Monday): We bought this big thing of pork butt in our last grocery shopping trip and I think it may have been sitting in the fridge for just a little too long. So we decided to cook it.

Pork Loin Roast (Cafedelites)
Pork Loin Roast (Cafedelites)

I really wanted to try another pork loin recipe (but using a pork butt), and this honey garlic pork loin sounded really good. Using pork butt for this was definitely a good idea. We also needed a veg and some starch, so we roasted some brussels sprouts and potatoes as well. Overall, it was a good meal.


Day 55 (Tuesday): My sister made 韭菜粿 and I think it's worthy of its own post. So you'll see it in the next one.


Day 56 (Wednesday): When we went grocery shopping earlier this week, we stopped in the Italian grocery store, and decided to look all the different fancy pastas they had. Both my sister and I really like wide noodles, and I normally find fettuccine not wide enough.

Red Pepper Fettuccine with Shrimp (Pinch of Yum) ... except I didn't have shrimp.
Red Pepper Fettuccine with Shrimp (Pinch of Yum) ... except I didn't have shrimp.

But the Italian grocery store had some really nice fettuccine. The one we bought was completely in Italian! It was also a whole $2! I think paying that extra dollar was worth it though. The recipe we used was a bit weird, but it still tasted good.


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