I tried to eat a little bit healthier during my second week of meal prepping. That meant less meat and more veggies. First, I decided to make Mediterranean hummus bowls. I already had feta and olives from a meal last week. I also had a bunch of cilantro, and I thought that would go well in the hummus. Cilantro jalapeno hummus is one of my favorites (: And I also made pickled onions! I didn't realize how easy it was to make pickled onions. I should have been doing this years ago. I heard celery seed goes well in pickled things, so it was a good way to use up more of that.
We really like how healthy and fresh it is, and it's become one of my go-to meals to make.
I only used a small amount of ground beef in the hummus bowls, and I used the rest of it to make a couple of stir fry dishes. I bought a pound of green beans and I added just a little bit of the ground beef to make some stir fry.
I really like ordering green beans from Szechuan restaurants, but it costs like $15, and I can easily make this myself. Pretty sure it's healthier this way too.
With the last half-ish pound of ground beef, I did another stir fry. One of my co-workers said she likes to stir fry beef with coriander and some other spices, and I have a really old container of coriander, so I tried it out. It was alright. I'm really not good at just throwing things together without a recipe.
The next meal I made was loaded chipotle sweet potatoes. I had a little bit of sour cream leftover from last week, and also a little bit of chipotle powder that I wanted to use up. It didn't look very pretty, but it still tasted pretty good!
Finally, I'm ending on these udon noodles again. I made a little bit more sauce this time, and it was even better than the last time.
...and again and again and again. I think I made these noodles at least 7 times.
So the first time I made this, I referenced recipes from Binging with Babish and J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, but as I was scrolling through food things (like I always do), I stumbled across another scallion oil noodle recipe, this time from i am a food blog. And it made me realize something. I can just make one serving of this at a time. And then if I wanted to tweak the recipe, I could just make it again the next day! (and the next day, and the next day, and the next day...)
This is what I've settled as my preferred way of preparing these noodles:
Am I even making scallion oil noodles at this point? Or am I just making some noodles with crispy scallions on top? I don't know, but whatever it is, it's delicious. I thoroughly enjoyed every one of these meals I made. But I think now it's time to take a break from this, so I can make other foods.
Guys, I'm making such good progress on my quest to get rid of everything in my pantry, and I think I'll actually be able to get through everything by July! I've gotten through various ingredients with long shelf lives, and now I pretty much only have sauces and vinegars left.
And I have a lot of Asian sauces, so it's time to make some Asian food.
Last entry I mentioned that I have a bottle of Chinese black vinegar that's been expired for a while. I've been looking up recipes to use up that vinegar, and I came across these glass noodles with cabbage. I love glass noodles. I've made a different cabbage and glass noodle recipe from Woks of Life before, and that was delicious, so I figured this one would be too.
And it was! But it was also a little too spicy, and I really should have known better than to put four dried chiles in this because this is exactly what happened last time I made glass noodles.
I also figured that this Chinese black vinegar would go well with some dumplings, so I bought some frozen dumplings (I know I usually make them myself, but I was lazy). I mixed it into a dipping sauce along with golden mountain seasoning sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and some water, which tasted great with dumplings.
I had saved this hot and sour dumpling soup recipe from Woks of Life because it looked really good, and this was the perfect opportunity to make it.
My first attempt wasn't that great, and the soup looked really dark. I guess I didn't have the chili oil that I needed to give the soup a red color like in the recipe. But it was also too oily, too salty, and too sesame seed-y. The fact that I only have black sesame seeds didn't help the color balance either.
But I tried it again a few days later, and I adjusted the amounts of each sauce. I also fried the garlic for a little to bring out the flavor more. It was definitely better, but I think it could still use more tweaking. I'm all out of dumplings for now, though I might buy more because those dumplings were really good.
And just yesterday, I made some fried rice! I had leftover Chinese sausage from another meal, and this was a good way to use that up. Because I basically just use Woks of Life for finding Asian recipes, I also used their Chinese sausage fried rice recipe.
I realized this isn't shown in the picture, but I have a bottle of rice cooking wine that's been sitting in my pantry for who knows how long, so I used that instead of Shaoxing wine. I only used a dash of it, so I have no idea if it really made a difference in flavor. I also added waaay more soy sauce than the recipe called for. (The recipe calls for 1 teaspoon! That's nothing!) (Wait, I said this last time I made it)
This was really good! I still have two links of the sausage so I think I'll make some more this week. I need to get better at just pouring soy sauce and salt and sugar by feel instead of always measuring.
Finally, I made some beef and cabbage stir fry! I don't quite remember why I decided to make this, but I think it's because I knew my boyfriend was coming over, and he really likes this dish.
Look at those carrot slices! My sister bought a mandoline, and kept it at my place, and it's been sitting in a drawer for years, and I finally used it to slice up my carrot. Thanks sister!
This past week has been a busy week, but today is a lazy Saturday, so I was able to cook and take my time. Plus it was a very nice and sunny morning (as opposed to the wind and rain that's happening right now) and I had to take advantage of that natural lighting. I saw some youtube videos on scallion oil noodles, and they looked really good so I wanted to make some for myself.
I used both Binging with Babish and J. Kenji Lopez Alt for inspiration. I only had 5 scallions, so I cut most of them into these little strips, and also diced some little circles for garnish at the end. Cutting them like this takes way more time, but it's a lazy Saturday, so I don't care.
I wish I had more scallions though. I think this could have used three times as much.
See that last photo? That was perfect. I should have taken the pan off the heat before it got to that point, so the residual heat would actually cook it to that point, which is exactly what the youtube videos told me to do, but I didn't listen. So I may have overcooked my scallions a little, but that's okay. They were still tasty.
I tossed my noodles in the scallion oil as well as some sugar, light and dark soy sauce, and some Chinese black vinegar (which has been sitting in my pantry for waaay too long--that's gonna take a while to use up). The flavor was good!
The noodles themselves were a bit sticky, and that might have been because I bought the noodles from an American grocery store instead of an Asian one. I also used a little too much of the oil. But I've got more scallion oil and more noodles and waaay more sauce, so I'll be making this a few more times this week, and I'll keep tweaking it to my tastes.
Still on my quest to clear out everything in my kitchen! I'm making progress!
I have finally used up all of the two curry packets that my aunt gave me several months ago. I think I used 1/3 of a single packet each time I cooked some curry, and one dish would last me four meals. Kenji's kare raisu recipe has been my go-to way of preparing curry, even when my curry powder is Malaysian and not Japanese.
When I made spring rolls a couple of months ago, I had some leftover vermicelli (because I always have leftover noodles), so I made some Singapore noodles with them. I sort of referenced this recipe on Budget Bytes, but I didn't measure anything, so I'm sure I used more curry powder and soy sauce than what it called for. Noodles were a little soggier than I'd like, but that was to be expected, and it was still delicious.
Something else that I had leftover from the spring rolls was toasted rice. I was looking up other ways to use toasted rice, and I saw that it's used in larb! I've never made larb before, but my aunt makes it (and hers is delicious), so I wanted to give it a try. The Woks of Life recipe said that you can serve it with some sticky rice, and I just happened to have a bag of in my pantry. This was tasty, but not nearly as good as my aunt's.
Finally, I had a little bit of cornmeal still sitting in my pantry, so I decided to use it all up and make some cornbread. I just followed the recipe that was listed on the container, and I had exactly the amount of cornmeal that it called for! I also figured this was a good reason to use my square muffin pan. The cornbread was easy to make, but it did have some weird volcano-like action going on while it was baking, and each piece had a little point at the top which was not what I expected.
Oh, I impulsively bought some "Mediterranean spiced salmon" from Aldi because it was half off, even though I'm pretty sure I've had more than one person tell me that the pre-marinated pieces of fish at grocery stores are terrible. Well, I had never tried one myself, but uh, I have to agree. It was really bad. It would have tasted better if I had just baked a piece of plain salmon.
I also had spinach leftover from that sad chicken alfredo pasta, so I decided to go full-on Boston Market and make some creamed spinach. This was pretty bad. I should have just made a salad and eaten the spinach raw.
But look at the bright side. I'm getting closer to having empty kitchen cabinets 🤩