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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
My mind has been so distracted about work that I haven't been able to really give this blog much thought. I'm even eating out more, and my body is not happy with that. Anyway, I am still cooking regularly, so I feel like I should at least update this with pictures every so often.
I really like getting bagels from Giant Eagle, which means I also end up buying cream cheese, but one block of cream cheese is just so much cream cheese that I end up with lots of leftover cream cheese. So then I look up recipes with cream cheese, and for some reason, it's always just a bunch of pasta. This was good though. I'd make it again, but I probably won't put it in my "go-to recipes".
I also bought a bag of Poblano peppers from Giant Eagle because I needed one for that enchilada recipe I made a few weeks ago. What was annoying was that I only needed one pepper and I had to buy five because Giant Eagle only sells these in bags, and I did not want to take the extra ten minutes to trek to Whole Foods. So I looked up Poblano recipes and I came across hummus. I love hummus (as I love chickpeas), but store-bought hummus is usually so bad. The problem with making hummus though, is that I have to take out my food processor, which is a pain in the butt because it's annoying to wash, and it takes me forever to figure out how to put it back in the box. But hey, I have it, so I really should make use of it more often.
This hummus was delicious, but it really could have used a second Poblano pepper. I'll have to make hummus more often, as it's a great healthy snack that I can bring to work. Plus, what else am I gonna use my jar of tahini for?
Sometimes I eat so much pasta and tacos that it makes me really miss Asian food. I also feel like I need more vegetables in my system, and this is one of my favorite dishes to order at the local Chinese restaurant. We actually made this once when my sister was here! I figured I'd try this out on my own, and it turned out to be a super oil-splatter-y mess, but it did taste good! Next time I need to be better about really drying the green beans before throwing them into the pan. I also really should have used a larger pan. This is going to go into my "things I want to cook for my mom or dad when they visit" list.
More Asian food! I was just browsing recipes and I stumbled across this, and the picture looked really good, so I wanted to make it myself. Of course, when I made it, it didn't look nearly as good as the original recipe's picture. The marinade was delicious, but I still haven't quite gotten the hang of using my cast iron skillet. I was supposed to let the beef really brown, but it wasn't quite doing that. There was also so much marinade, and I probably could have cut it in half. I also should have cut the pieces of beef much much thinner. I'll have to try this again sometime.
Now this is one of my go-to recipes. Of course I still haven't taken a decent picture of it yet. What's nice about this dish is that I can pair it with whatever starch I want. Rice, pasta, or bread all work really well. And I just happened to have a whole take-and-bake baguette sitting in my freezer.
With Aldi now stocking pizza dough for less than $1, making pizza is really convenient. Especially because whenever I buy shredded cheese, it comes in these giant bags and I never know what to do with all of it, so I snack on it. I'd definitely rather be cooking with the cheese instead. Tomatoes are also one of my favorite pizza toppings (tomatoes, not tomato sauce). I should have put more green onions on this, but I totally forgot about them until the last minute so I awkwardly placed them in-between tomatoes at the end.
I should really buy a round pizza dish so I can actually make it circular next time. Oh, and maybe a pizza cutter.
I meant to write this blog post over two weeks ago. Then I got really busy, and I went on vacation, and now I don't really remember what I wanted to write about. But I have all these pictures so I should at least show them to you, and maybe looking through them will help jog my memory.
Remember how I subscribed to Misfits Market to get veggies delivered regularly? Well, I canceled it a while ago, but they did send me an email asking me to use their service again AND they gave me a complimentary box. I kind of feel bad because half of this box went to waste. It wasn't my fault though. The produce was sitting in transit for way too long and by the time it was delivered, the ice packs were completely melted, and the spring mix looked really sad. So, yeah, this free box didn't convince me to sign up again.
But, I did get an eggplant that I could use. I really like stir fried eggplant so I made Chinese Eggplant with Garlic Sauce. I know I didn't have any spicy bean paste or ground pork at the time, but it still tasted good without those ingredients.
And to go along with the Asian theme, I made some Sesame Chicken. This is a pretty old Budget Bytes recipe, and it was recently updated to double the sauce. I don't think it needs nearly that much sauce, so I would actually cut it in half now. So easy to make though, and very delicious.
It's really hard to tell from the picture of produce, but I did get some zucchini in a bag (why some things get put in bags, and others don't, I have no idea). Zucchini is not my favorite vegetable, as it reminds me too much of college cafeteria food, but turning it into Zucchini Fritters makes them a little better.
While I'm not a huge fan of zucchini, I really don't like butternut squash. It just tastes like a cross between a sweet potato and a pumpkin, but somehow much worse than either of those. I also don't know what I'm supposed to do with it except roast it or turn it into soup. They also take forever to cut up, which makes them not worth it to cook at all. But hey, this was free and I didn't want to waste it.
I do love salmon, though! This recipe came from a book, so I can't exactly provide a link. I still haven't quite mastered the art of baking salmon. I think I may have put it in the oven at 350 or 400 degrees for 10 minutes, and then broiled it for 5. This was waaay overcooked, but at least the rub was really tasty.
Also mango salsa to go on top of the fish! Because I had mangoes in the box!
For some reason I thought the mango salsa would go with the sesame chicken. I don't think I'd pair the two again.
Oh yeah, I also made collard greens (because it was in the box!), but I neglected to take a picture of the collard greens by itself.
Not box related at all, but I also cooked Shrimp Scampi Florentine, with some pasta added. This dish is always delicious.
I had a dinner with friends where we all made pizza. Anytime I get to choose my own pizza toppings, I will always choose BBQ chicken. For some reason every time my family orders pizza, they ask me what pizza topping I want, I tell them barbecue chicken, and they give me a look and proceed to not get any barbecue chicken. It's okay. I can just make my own.
And finally, here's one last picture of that chicken rice skillet. Because I must have had leftovers from the week before and this picture looks nice.
And that concludes this long, not-very-cohesive post. Honestly, it'll probably be a while until my next post because my schedule is crazy and I'm not going to have too much time to cook. Maybe once the summer is over!
Because not every meal has a story. At least not one I can remember.
Can't remember all the things I changed in this recipe, but I know I used cilantro instead of parsley.
The shrimp in the pan wasn't as aesthetically pleasing, so we only took one type of photo. This is probably my favorite recipe from All Recipes, so I might make a full post about it in the future.
We made this the other day since my sister mentioned really wanting some Spanish rice. As you can see in the photos, I replaced the artichokes with green bell peppers because that's what I had on hand. And I used chicken broth instead of vegetable.
And yes, everything in this post is garnished with cilantro.