2020 New Foods

I made a resolution to try at least one new recipe or restaurant every week of 2020. This was easier some weeks (e.g. travel weeks) than others (e.g. deep in burnout, months into quarantine weeks) so there were a handful of weeks where I either only ordered from restaurants I’ve eaten from before or only cooked familiar old recipes.

This was a good exercise for me, as keeping this goal in mind did push me to try to order from new restaurants, at the very least, and to find new recipes to cook. But it did feel like a lot of pressure to try new things when I really wanted the comfort of familiarity during this difficult year. (For example, I would have liked to support restaurants more regularly, even though I don’t regret supporting different restaurants week to week.)

Here’s how I did, by week number of the year:

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Pizza + Quesadilla = Pizzadilla [recipe]

Did you hear chain emails are coming back into vogue? I got sent one the other day, but the intent was more wholesome than I remember them being when I was 11. It was a recipe exchange, and here’s the simple but satisfying one I sent as my contribution.

Pizzadilla! (Pizza + Quesadilla)

Pizza Quesadilla ‚Äď Quick & Easy 4-Ingredient Recipe
Photo: Parade

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 tortillas
  • Sauce
    • I usually have some kind of pizza sauce just for this occasion, but you can use anything depending on the kind of pizza flavors you’re going for
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Toppings of choice
    • Pepperoni and spinach are usually on mine
  • Oil (if frying)
  • OPTIONAL: Flavor garnishes of choice
    • I like red pepper flakes and roasted garlic/garlic powder
  • OPTIONAL: Something to dip the whole shebang in
    • Can be extra pizza sauce, can be ranch, go wild

Steps:

These depend a lot on how you prefer to make quesadillas. You can either do two tortillas stacked on each other OR fold over one quesadilla. I like doing the first way, so I’ll be focusing on that method, but you can more easily seal up the second way and I do like doing that for when I want a smaller portion. I’ll put those instructions in (parentheses)Read More »

Quarantine Cooking (1)

Many of us have been cooking a lot more since we started sheltering-in-place, and I’m certainly no exception. Here is a quick roundup of a few of the meals I’ve made, some of which are new to me and some that aren’t.

I’ve very slowly gathered the ingredients needed for pasta carbonara, and with a recent lucky break allowing us to find a time slot for grocery delivery (it’s not easy), and for us to find eggs in stock at the time, I decided now was the time, before I ran out of one of my other ingredients. I like to use the method featured in this Bon Appetit video, because the sauce is cooked through completely off the heat by the residual heat from the pasta, so I am always confident that I won’t scramble my eggs. Read More »

3-Ingredient Protein Pancakes

After many, many years on the internet, I have become the kind of person who regards “life hacks” and Pinterest/Instagram foods with suspicion. Sometimes, I just outright dismiss a lot of them.¬†Make ice cream by blending frozen banana? That’s not ice cream, it’s just frozen banana?¬†And yet there I was, very happily enjoying the soft-serve-esque texture of a blitzed-up frozen banana, begrudgingly admitting that the curated photos on social media didn’t lie this one time.

A similar recipe that I had many doubts about were the paleo-friendly 2-or-3 ingredient pancakes. In its simplest iteration, you mash up a banana with a beaten egg and fry up pancakes with the mixture ‚ÄĒ¬†without it tasting like scrambled eggs with banana. I believe I attempted this once several years ago by beating an egg with a fork in a bowl and then mashing a banana into the egg with that fork. It was… meh.

But I kept seeing this recipe get touted over and over again, and other people’s photos of these pancakes looked a lot more like pancakes than my initial attempt. ¬†Maybe I did something wrong? This recipe came back into my life as I started to remember why I am not the kind of person who is able to skip breakfast. These days, I am trying to be better about making sure I have a protein-filled breakfast so that I have fuel for when I do actually go work out in the mornings, since I have been feeling myself struggle a lot physically when I try to exercise on an empty stomach. I also feel myself thinking about lunch at about 10:30, which is pretty early to have your mind on lunch, if we’re all being honest here! While these pancakes are not allowed on Whole30, they are paleo, and¬†I’ve found 2 added components have improved the entire process enough to make this a new breakfast staple for me:

  1. A blender (I use this super cheap personal blender)
  2. Protein powder 

The blender makes mixing it a much easier and smoother process, so I’m not left with a scrambly-egg + mushy-banana consistency. The protein powder makes it more like a pancake and less like banana-y eggs. I’ve also been adding¬†spinach¬†to the whole thing for a bit more nutrition. Occasionally I also add a bit of¬†cinnamon¬†to see if I can get any of its purported health benefits. I fry them up in some¬†coconut oil (who am I…) and I have some healthy green protein-packed pancakes for breakfast so that I have some fuel in the morning!

Here’s the recipe, adapted from PaleOMG:

  • 1 ripe banana –¬†the¬†browner and riper, the sweeter!
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-2 scoops of vanilla/chocolate protein powder
  • Coconut oil (or oil/fat of your choosing)
  • Optional: handful of spinach
  • Optional: pinch of cinnamon
  • Optional: pinch of baking soda

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  1. In a blender, pulse your eggs and banana until you have a smooth, consistent mixture.
  2. Add in your protein powder, starting with 1 scoop and adding 2 if the consistency is too liquid, depending on the size of your banana and eggs. (You want the batter to be a bit viscous.)
  3. If the mixture is still fairly runny with the added protein powder, add a bit of baking soda to help add fluffiness and rise to your pancakes.
  4. Add spinach and/or cinnamon if you’d like green pancakes or a teeny bit of warmth.
  5. In a non-stick pan, heat a small amount of coconut oil.
  6. When the oil is hot, pour small dollops of the pancake into the pan to form 3- or 4-inch wide pancakes. Since they will be runnier than your traditional pancake batter, keeping them small helps them cook through a bit faster and makes them easier to flip.
  7. After about a minute, flip the pancake to the other side; you’ll know it’s ready to flip when the edges are browning and the batter on top is becoming a bit less funny.
  8. Cook on the other side for 30-45 seconds, remove from the pan, and place on some paper towel to get rid of any excess oil.
  9. Serve plain or with syrup, jam, whatever pancake accoutrements your heart desires.

Enjoy

greenpacakes2
Clean eating green pancakes, a similar recipe from Emily at LouisianaBrideBlog


Have you ever tried a recipe you saw online and didn’t think would work only to be pleasantly surprised?
Are there any super popular internet recipes you think I should try? I haven’t tried very many of them but after some recent successes, I’m trying to have an open mind! Trying to get back into cooking more for myself, and prepping breakfasts and lunches in advance, so any recipe suggestions would be so appreciated!

A lot of things have been happening in the news that are difficult to ignore. I try to keep the tone on this blog positive and upbeat, not only for you, my handful of readers, but so that I have something positive to reflect on myself. Please know that I am staying informed, staying vigilant, and staying active in supporting a world that is good for more people than it was before. 

Pre-Anniversary Dinner [recipes]

Today is not only Veteran’s Day, as it is also my anniversary, celebrating my¬†not messing up my first relationship for three whole years.

All jokes aside, today is all about gratitude. I’m grateful to those who fought for us and I’m grateful to my boyfriend for sticking with me all this time.

Since we are going to one of our favorite places for dinner tonight, I thought I’d make us some dinner last night. I couldn’t decide which meal¬†I wanted so I made both¬†baked tilapia¬†and¬†linguine with shrimp scampi at my boyfriend’s place. He didn’t have¬†every ingredient I wanted, but considering he usually tries to keep his kitchen more low-maintenance, I was really excited at what I did have on hand.¬†I guess I was actually REALLY excited because I wanted to throw together a post based on our meal, but just please remember how my recipe posts go.

First, since it sits in an oven for a while:

Baked Tilapia

(Similar recipe used as reference)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tilapia fillets (thawed from frozen)
  • Butter
  • Seasoning
    • I used garlic powder, onion powder, and a dash of salt & pepper. At home, I’d also use some Old Bay, but you can use whatever you’d like.
  • 4 slices of lemon
  • Frozen veggies
    • I used a mix that contained cauliflower, broccoli, & carrots, but feel free to use any veggies that you like to enjoy with fish. I would recommend a hardier veggie like broccoli versus something really small like peas, due to cooking time.

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375¬įF.
  2. Line your baking dish/pan with aluminum foil and cover with butter/oil/cooking spray.
    • This ensures that you can remove your fish for serving.
    • I used sesame oil because I was feeling cheeky and I love sesame oil.
  3. Place tilapia fillets on the foil and season.
  4. Put little bits of butter on the tops of the fillets.
    • Then they melt and ooze flavor and it’ll be good stuff, really.
  5. Place 2 lemon slices evenly-spaced on each fillet.
  6. Put frozen veggies on tray around the fish and lightly season.
    • Optional: Drizzle a teeny amount of oil/put teensy bits of butter on veggies. They won’t really need the extra fats but it’s up to you.
  7. Cover the dish/pan with foil and bake for 25-30 minutes in the oven.

I served this with Trader Joe’s Chimichurri Rice (very yummy!) and kept my seasonings and buttering of the fish very light so that it wouldn’t be too heavy with the seasoned rice.

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How it looked before I put it in the oven

While you wait for the fish to finish cook in the oven, you can work on:

Linguine with Shrimp Scampi

(Adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe)

Ingredients:

A lot of these ingredients

  • Linguine
  • Shrimp, peeled & deveined
  • Butter
  • Olive oil
  • Minced garlic
  • Lemon zest
    • HACKS: If you don’t have a zester or microplane like me, try using a vegetable peeler to get the zest off and then mince it up.
  • Lemon juice
    • And yeah, you could probably throw lemon slices in there like Ina did
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic powder
    • I’m going to be really honest with you guys, I almost never cook without garlic powder
  • Red pepper flakes
    • My boyfriend doesn’t have these but I do and wished I was weird enough to bring them with me for this recipe.
    • Plus, that chimichurri rice is really flavorful, so it’s okay if this isn’t too heavily seasoned

Directions:

  1. Boil your linguine according to the instructions (boil a pot of salted water, put your pasta in, cook until a bit more than al dente because you’ll be cooking it a tiny bit more soon.)
  2. While your pasta is boiling, melt your butter in a pan with olive oil over a medium-low heat.
  3. Add minced garlic and sauté.
    • Don’t burn your garlic! Minced garlic burns especially easily because it’s so small.
  4. Add your shrimp to sauté until they just turn pink while adding in your dry seasoning.
  5. Remove from heat and add lemon zest, lemon juice, (lemon slices,) and any other yummies you may have, e.g. red pepper flakes, parsley.
  6. Drain your cooked linguine and put it back in the pot with your shrimp and other goodness.
  7. Toss everything well and enjoy!

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Happy Veteran’s Day and happy anniversary to my better half.

2014-11-10 18.26.22

Share a recipe that you got really excited to cook lately, please?¬†I’m really in the mood to cook as the weather gets cooler, so I’m super excited to make my kitchen¬†werk.