Whenever I need Thai basil for a dish, I always end up having some left over, so I end up making a stir fry dish using the rest of it. That was my plan with pho. But we actually went through so much basil while we were eating noodles, that I didn't have enough left for a stir fry!
Thai basil also goes bad really really fast, so by the time I wanted to make stir fry, I felt like it was already rotting. But I was committed to making this dish, so I had to buy another bag. I actually went to one of the nearby Asian grocery stores, and when I asked the person working there, they told me they didn't sell Thai basil and to "check Giant Eagle". What?! I know the local Giant Eagle doesn't stock Thai basil, and if they did, they would charge me an arm and a leg.
So I drove to the better Asian grocery store the next day. Okay. I finally had everything I needed.
This tasted pretty good, but it just seemed like way too much effort for the amount of food it produced. Pulling apart basil and mint leaves is SO tedious. It's worse than chopping!
And the worst part of it all was that I used a really hot red pepper. I think it was a red jalapeno! I didn't realize those could be red! I just thought, oh, this will add some nice color. Nope. Should have gone with a bell pepper. I deseeded the pepper with my bare hands, and then I popped a piece of beef jerky that I was snacking on into my mouth, and it started to BURN. I was still feeling the sting days later. I went to wash my face in the morning, and then my eyes felt it. I could even feel it burning my fingernails as I was trying to pluck my armpit hairs!
ANYWAY, back on to the topic of cooking. I was feeling way too lazy, so I only ended up using half of both bags of leaves. That meant I had enough to make the dish again!
Hey, I learned my lesson about the peppers. I had to make some adjustments:
Okay, this definitely could have used more basil/mint, but I wasn't about to go to the Asian store a fourth time. I liked that I made a larger amount of food this time. I might have added a little too much water, so I think the right amount would be just a single teaspoon added to the sauce mixture.
It was a very, very good meal.
The other day, I had a sudden craving for some spring rolls.
Okay, those pictures are from July. But that's the last time I made spring rolls for myself! I was totally due for another spring roll meal. I know, it's getting colder out, and spring rolls are totally a summer thing. (Or a...spring...thing I guess)
Anyway, here's the spring roll spread I had a week ago.
Honestly, the ones I made back in July were a lot better. A few things about these spring rolls that I recently made:
I was feeling so exhausted just from being in two grocery stores that I decided to head home, BUT I STILL NEEDED MY BASIL. I drove to the Asian store again the next day just to get it. And with my large amounts of basil and mint, I made some stir fry.
So good. So worth the many trips to the grocery store.
Day 12(Monday): We still have a decent amount of Thai basil leftover, and I figured it's due time for some stir fry. Plus I don't think it's going to last another day. I'm scrolling through recipes from The Woks of Life and I come across one that looks good. It also looks familiar. I made it last year! So I check my old posts, and it says to double the amount of basil. Well, that's not happening. Doesn't matter. This was still delicious.
We also realize that even though we bought a ridiculous amount of groceries the week before, that we were running out of fruit! So we go back to the grocery store an pick up more stuff. Hey, we lasted one extra day this time!
Day 13 (Tuesday): I have a friend of a friend that apparently works at a local restaurant, and they've got a ton of food (ingredients) that they're telling their employees to take home. So what does that mean for me? I get a surprise box of produce! It's like Misfits Markets again!
I mean, really all I specifically asked for was avocados, but she asked me if I was also willing to take limes, and so I said, I'll take anything! But these avocados are super ripe, so they need to be used today.
And what else can we do with avocado? Put them on some BBQ chicken pizza!
We half the dough recipe this time since we had super thick pizza two days ago. But this turns out super thin. Next time we'll go with 3/4 the amount of dough. And maybe one day I'll actually buy a circular pizza pan so we can have proper circular pizzas.
Day 14 (Wednesday): Yesterday we had chips and guac. Today we decide to have chips and queso!
But what about dinner? We have so much food. Why did we buy so much food? What do we have that looks like it's going bad? The green beans are looking a little sad. Let's make green bean casserole! I have this can of Cream of Chicken that has been sitting in my cabinet for who knows how long. It looks like it expired last year. But it's canned, so I assume it's fine.
In making the pizza and the cheesy bread a few nights ago, my sister learned that I have a large amount of cornmeal just sitting in my pantry, so this inspires her to make some cornbread.
Now all we need is some protein in this meal. I did buy a family pack of chicken breast from the store on Monday. So I look for some chicken breast recipes, and found this super basic one from Budget Bytes. Chicken breast is kind of boring, but as long as we absolutely do not overcook it, it will be delicious. The recipe says to cook for 20 minutes. I think we cooked it for less than 15. Perfectly cooked chicken breast.
Lately my meals have been inspired by random foods that are on sale at the grocery store. I decided to get some extra chicken breast (in case I needed a little more for that pizza), and it was on sale for $1.48/lb which I figured was a decent price. I also saw these 1lb bags of green beans for $1 each, and I impulse bought two of them.
I used two Woks of Life recipes. With the green beans, I decided to make Sichuan Dry Fried String Beans. I ordered this at a local Chinese restaurant once and they were delicious. They were also like $10, so when I saw that Woks of Life had a recipe for it, I had to try it.
Originally, I had intended to use both bag of green beans, but we ended up saving the second one for a different recipe. But that's why there's so much pork. I think I'll use a lot less pork next time, or even omit it completely.
We also made Thai Chicken Stir-fry with Basil and Mint. Except we didn't use mint. This had a very strong fish sauce smell, which is great, since I love fish sauce. I probably should have doubled the basil since I didn't use mint.
So delicious and way cheaper than takeout