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.
A few weeks ago, I was getting lunch with my friend from one of my favorite restaurants: Taco Town. This place is right next to the office that I work in, but because I've been working at home for the past year, I haven't been able to eat here. So we were very fortunate that we happened to order food here on the last day they were open before taking a two month break.
On the other hand, they were out of carnitas that day. How can they run out of carnitas?! It's the best thing on their menu! Taco Town used to be a solid 5/5 stars for me, but recently I've had to dock them a star.
But whatever. If I can't buy carnitas I'll just make them. Except carnitas are a little more work than I like sometimes, so instead I ended up making some chili rubbed pulled pork.
Obviously these are pictures of the prep work, and I actually don't have pictures of the finished product. I invited a friend over for tacos that night, and sometimes you're just having too much fun to take pictures. I can assure you it was delicious though.
The green beans weren't bad, but I don't think I'd make that recipe again.
I also made some guac to eat with this pulled pork. Guacamole is one of the few things I can make without a recipe.
Typically when I make guac, it starts to brown after sitting in the fridge for a day. But this time was different. I had that guac in the fridge for 5 days, and it was still completely green! It was insane! Like I did some sort of magic on it!
I wanted to make the guac to put it in tacos or burrito bowls, but I knew I wouldn't need a whole avocado's worth of guac just for that. I went to the grocery store to buy some chips, and I came across guacamole-flavored tortilla chips, which made me feel kind of nostalgic. I used to hate guacamole, but when I was in high school, I loved guac-flavored chips. I guess that makes sense because guac-flavored chips taste absolutely nothing like guac. Eventually, well after graduating college, I started liking guac, but I still hated avocados. And just two years ago, my sister showed me just how delicious avocados are, and here I am now, loving all forms of avocado.
So many great uses for pulled pork. All were delicious.
(No, I haven't forgotten about carnitas. I'm absolutely going to make that at some point.)
This past week was weird. It's the first time in my life that I'm not home with family on Thanksgiving. To make it feel more "Thanksgiving-y", I decided to cook a bunch of Thanksgiving food this past week! And by that I mean I cooked a bunch of American food, and after about two days of it I remembered something: I don't really like Thanksgiving food that much.
Anyway, I started off with some pulled pork because turkey is too much work, and it doesn't taste as good. And the pulled pork was delicious.
And then later that day I made some mac n cheese. I've had mac n cheese on my "to make" list for a while, and I've also had a pound of elbow pasta sitting in my pantry for who knows how long. I've always been a fan of baked mac n cheese, but after I cooked it, I totally regretted cooking a whole pound. Also, I'm definitely making a stovetop version next time.
Yeah, that was a lot. It's still a lot. The recipe said this was more like a casserole, and she wasn't kidding. Once you put it in the fridge, it just hardens and I feel like I have to microwave it for two minutes just to make it not shaped like a block. I've eaten about a quarter of it by now, and I don't think I can eat any more, so I cut it all up and threw it in the freezer. I'll figure out how to repurpose it.
I also made some collard greens. When I was talking to my aunt on the phone, she suggested it and I thought it was a great idea. The recipe I used wasn't bad, but I made a few tweaks. I cut the bacon before cooking it. I also added about a tablespoon of brown sugar to the recipe, which made it much better.
And finally, I made some sweet potatoes. I went with this cumin lime recipe because I have a bunch of lines in the fridge, but I also thought it was kind of weird to have a lime-y dish in my Thanksgiving meals. Oh well.
Yeah, I'm totally sick of Thanksgiving food now.
So, my sister's school got canceled for who knows how long, which means she's back with me! And since she's back, you know what that means. We make lots of food and take lots of pictures.
So, when we got home we went grocery shopping, and my mom told us to buy two week's worth of groceries. So we bought a lot of food. But, there is zero chance that we managed to get enough for two weeks. I don't even think we bought enough food for one week. We went through a whole pound of broccoli in one meal!
We're trying really hard to not go grocery shopping again until all our veggies are used up. I think we can last a couple more days. Maybe. But I will not sacrifice healthy, well-balanced meals for this. I know eating veggies with dip might seem like a weird thing to have for lunch, but look at the different flavors! I have all the food groups represented. And I can use up my whole thing of celery, which is great because I don't really like celery.
And we bought so much fruit! Which is crazy for me, since I don't really like fruit that much. But my sister can turn that fruit into delicious smoothies, and I love smoothies.
Of course this means we have to be a little creative. Out of limes? Let's use lemons instead. Out of cilantro? What else do I have that's green? Have the wrong kind of cheese? Doesn't matter, I'll just use what I have.
Yes, I made tacos and replaced limes with lemons, green onion with cilantro, and queso fresco with feta. And it was better than any other taco from a hipster restaurant that I've ever had.
Yeah, we're now officially out of fresh green things to use as garnish. Lesson learned? Buy way way way more vegetables next time.
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.