Remember how I said I was super busy at work, but I had some breathing room? Yeah, work got super busy again.
Day 36 (Thursday): I had this warm cauliflower salad on my to-make list for a while. And now I always have Tahini stocked so it felt like a good time to make it. I was a little concerned this wasn't going to be enough food for dinner, but we paired it with that pork loin we made the other day.
Yeah, that really dry pork loin. You can even see how dry it is in the picture!
But the salad was delicious. Warm salads are great.
Day 37 (Friday): One of the things I've had sitting in my pantry for waaay too long are canned bamboo shoots. I don't really like bamboo, but my sister really likes it and I don't mind it so much in curry. I had some other veggies that would go well in curry (frozen green beans, carrots) so we decided to make some.
Unfortunately, Aldi was out of chicken thighs when we went, but that's alright. This was still delicious with chicken breast. This was super easy to make and very flavorful, so I'd definitely make it again. And adding limes made it even better!
Day 38 (Saturday): Somehow with all the stay-at-home orders, I still managed to have jam-packed weekends. I had a virtual hangout with my friends during the day, and a virtual hangout with my cousins at night. So I wanted to make something easy for dinner.
I've made this beef and cabbage stir fry a few times in the past, and it's easy and tastes good enough, but I feel like it was lacking something. Maybe it needed more fish sauce and sugar. The sriracha helps though.
Day 30 (Friday): I don't know what it is, but work is starting to exhaust me. I'm trying to find more easy meals to make. So I decide on some Sesame Chicken.
The original recipe doesn't call for broccoli, but I figured we should have some vegetables. And contrary to the comments on Budget Bytes for this, I think there is plenty of sauce. Maybe even too much sauce. We boiled the broccoli for a few minutes before mixing it in with the chicken, but now I'm wondering if it would have been better if we roasted the broccoli first. I'll try that next time. Overall, this still tasted good.
Day 31 (Saturday): I had a virtual game night on Saturday, so I wanted to do something easy. We've had dumplings in the freezer, so this seemed like a good time to cook some of those. We also had some iceberg lettuce in the fridge, along with other various veggies, so it seemed like a good idea to make some salad. When I think of how to use iceberg, my mind immediately jumps to those salads you get at Hibachi restaurants.
Yes, we had dumplings from two different batches. Look at that color contrast.
Day 32 (Sunday): Another thought about using up lettuce is to put it in soup. So we figured, let's make some noodle soup! We were thinking we might want to make Pho since we're stuck at home all day, but that requires way too many herbs and spices that I don't currently have, so we're making Teochew Noodle Soup 粿条汤 instead.
This made me realize I don't have those large Asian bowls. We still made it work with smaller ones.
We actually never ended up putting lettuce in this. But it doesn't matter, noodle soup is always a good idea.
So I've been verybusy at work lately, which is why I haven't posted an update in a while. When I start working on a project at work my mind is just in this "I NEED TO FINISH THIS" mode and I can't work on other things. Anyway, I've found a stopping point, so it's time to catch up on blog posts.
Day 24 (Saturday): I have decided to take inventory of all my food. That's right. Everything in my kitchen.
I had already been doing this, but I finally took inventory of my herbs, spices, sauces, etc. Yes, this is what I stare at every day when I decide what to cook and what leftover to eat for breakfast or lunch.
Before I get to the dinner portion of this, check out this super aesthetic coffee my sister made.
So tonight's dinner was Nam Sod (Thai pork salad). I had about a pound of ground pork sitting in the freezer, but what I really needed to use up were some super sad looking limes.
We ate it both with rice and in lettuce wraps. I thought it was great, though my sister prefers something sweeter. Adding some Thai basil would have made this even better though!
Day 25 (Sunday): We decide to go grocery shopping. On a Sunday. But we didn't think about what Sunday it is. EASTER. That's right, all the stores are closed except Whole Foods. And Whole Foods has a line that wraps around the building. We decide to head back home. We'll survive.
Since we have about half a head of cabbage in the fridge, we decide to make Okonomiyaki. It was delicious. We also had some green beans that seemed like they were going to go bad soon, so we fried those up as well. Of course at this point we're starting to struggle a little with what ingredients we had left. We used up the rest of our eggs for this meal!
Day 26 (Monday): We also wanted to go grocery shopping this day, but for some reason my stomach wasn't feeling so great, so we stayed home again. It's okay. We had some salmon in the freezer and some broccoli in the fridge so we made a quick meal out of that.
Unfortunately I didn't let the salmon thaw all the way before putting it under the broiler so that was a bit of a struggle to get it cooked completely. I'm still learning how to use that broiler properly. But the rub we added to the salmon was great, and the meal overall was delicious.
At this point, we were out of garlic, soy sauce, milk, fruit...we absolutely needed a grocery trip.
This past weekend was Labor Day which meant three day weekend, which meant four day workweek, and you'd think that it would be easy to get through, but I feel like I need to catch up on sleep again. I was so busy during the week that I didn't wash dishes for a whole three days, and you can imagine how gross that got.
I also somehow ended up with so much food in my fridge, so I've really been trying to eat all my leftovers. But, on to what I cooked this week.
Remember how I made kale salad last week? Well I still had half that bag of kale left. So, I needed to do something with it, and I wanted to actually cook the kale this time. I don't know what it is, but I still haven't quite mastered the art of making salad. I think salads that I've gotten from restaurants are delicious, but my homemade salads are never quite fulfilling enough.
So, I made this kale skillet. It was alright, certainly better than the salad. The recipe said to saute the kale for 3-5 minutes which I think is way too long. Just a minute should be good enough. I really am sick of eating kale at this point though. I added some shrimp to this for one of my meals, which made it a lot more satisfying.
I might be bad at making salad, but I think I've got burgers down pretty well. I love burgers, but I'm almost always disappointed when I order one from a restaurant. They never have enough flavor. It's just cooked ground beef, and I'd like that beef to be transformed more.
I've had burgers on my to-make list for a while, and I figured it was appropriate to make them on Labor Day. This Drunken Aussie burger recipe had a lot of great reviews, so I figured I'd try it. And like every burger I've ever made, it was delicious. But I actually think that was mainly because of all the other toppings, and not the burger patty itself, which was a little on the bland side. Adding the beer helped, but it still felt like it was missing something. I think adding an egg in the ground beef mixture would have made it easier for the patty to stick together.
The recipe also said to use two different pans, which seemed excessive to me. I cooked all of it in the same pan in this order: bacon, onion, (wipe pan), egg, burgers. I'm happy with how it all turned out, but I don't think I'll be using this recipe again.
But hey, check out this salad that I added on the side! Since the burger called for arugula, I bought a (way too large) box of it, and I used it in a side salad as well. And I know I said I'm bad at making salads, but my "Arugula Strawberry Sun-Dried Tomato Salad with Balsamic Dressing" was decent.
Finally, I'm gonna end with this Cajun Shrimp Toast, which is another recipe that was on my to-make list for a while. This was also delicious, and I'm definitely making this again. I think it would be great as an appetizer during Christmas or some sports watching party. I don't remember exactly how many pieces of toast this yielded, but I ate more than half of them in one sitting.
Summer is exhausting. Kids are out of school and everyone's on vacation, and sometimes you just need a vacation after your vacation. I'm slowly getting back to having a normal routine though.
You might be wondering, "Hey! What happened to your $30 a week thing? You only lasted two weeks!" Yeah, it might be a while until I try that challenge again. I'm trying to focus on just eating and exercising well, and I don't want to have to think about saving every penny I can.
But I told myself I'd get back to the blog, so here are three things I made this week:
I've made this yellow rice so many times, but it was always with chicken. The chicken was always my least favorite part of the dish, so it just made sense to only make the rice part. And then I can pair it with other things, like a fried egg! This rice tastes even better if you stir-fry it the day after.
Man, they really make dishes sound fancier when they put so many ingredients in the name of the dish. This was really easy to make, and the flavor was really good, but I don't know how to get my salmon to have that nice color on it. Maybe mine was so pale because I only cooked it for 15 minutes. But it's salmon! I can't have overcooked salmon! I might try roasting it for say, 8 minutes, and then broiling for 5 more minutes next time.
That salmon recipe called for the zest of two whole lemons. You know what that left me? Two naked lemons. And I totally forgot about them when making this salad, so I still have two naked lemons. Anyway, I don't really love kale or salmon in my salads, so I'm not sure why I decided to make this. I did like the dressing though. I used whatever kale came in the bag I got from Aldi, but I think this would have been better with lacinato kale.