I’ll be honest, when it came time to go grocery shopping this week, I had absolutely zero interest in formulating any sort of meal plan. But I cracked open my recipe binder and started looking for recipes that we had never touched. What’s the point in saving them if you’re never going to make them?
Even though I do print off the odd-dud here and there, I like to think that I know what future me will want to eat for dinner.
I usually end up being right about that.
Sunday – Indonesian Fried Rice with Trader Joe’s Chicken Cilantro Mini-Wontons
Warning: When you attempt to action a fried-rice arrangement that is meant to serve six, it will really feed 12 extremely hungry people.
The recipe called for lots of shrimp-type things that we didn’t do. And then we added egg, mini-corn, broccoli, peas and edamame to the already necessary mushrooms and onions. We doubled the ketjap manis.
Was I perplexed when it instructed me to cover the rice and place it into the oven while I stir fried the remaining toppings? Yes. But the end result was far less messier than other Wok-capades I’ve had in the past year. I would use that technique again in a heartbeat for other stir-fries.
PSA: If you’re a pot sticker lover, but you’re trying to live healthfully, check out the Trader Joe’s Chicken Cilantro Mini Wontons. I was turned onto these by my cousin probably three years ago and they’re to die for. So flavorful and confusingly low-calorie. To the point where I’m not even sure how they could possibly be legal. What I do know? That we always have a bag of them in our freezer.
Monday – Melissa D’Arabian’s Sesame Chicken, leftover fried rice
Truth: I LOVE Melissa D’Arabian. She’s never given me a “dud” recipe, the ingredients she uses are totally reasonable and the techniques she employs are realistic for someone who just wants to get dinner on the table.
So I stirred up my marinade, dumped the chicken in and let it do its thing in the fridge for a half-hour or so while I tried to wrap my mind around how I could possibly come up with anything that even remotely tasted like chinese food.
And when it was time to get cooking and I still didn’t have an answer, I tossed the chicken in the flour/sesame seed mixture, laid it out on the pan, drizzled it with butter and just Trusted In The Process.
The end result was crispy, moist, chunks of chicken.
Your point, Melissa.
Portion-wise, we used three smaller pieces of chicken and ended up with enough food for dinner and lunch for both of us.
Our modification: We took the marinade, added another 2 T of soy sauce and mirin and boiled it for about 10-12 minutes to reduce it down and create a syrup-y sauce. When the chicken came out of the oven for the second time, we drizzled the sauce over it, tossed it up and served.
Tuesday – Roasted Sirloin Tip, Hash browns, Green Beans
Thank God for Rainbow – that place practically gives away their meat. Yes, I’m sure that it’s meant to be a loss-leader to draw people into the store. But in my case, I really only go into the store to buy…beef.
This was our first attempt at a beef roast-style arrangement. I was shooting for greatness, but since Marcus and I are not beef-cooking experts yet (I know, right?) I was bracing myself for an epic display of mediocrity.
Theme of the week: Trust In The Process.
We let it sit at room temperature (obviously), seasoned it up with some salt and pepper and about a teaspoonful or so of Penzey’s English Prime Rib Rub and once we put it in the oven (which was cranked up to 500 degrees and then immediately brought down to 350), we shut the door and tried to channel some patience. And a little bit of prayerfulness.
40 minutes later, our faith in the unknownable was rewarded.
Yes, I realize the way that I chopped it up isn’t the proper presentation for a roast. But because we got the weird end bit that couldn’t stand up in order to be cut, it just made more sense to do some wedges and perform all of our butchery on the plate.
Wednesday – Vegetarian Taco Hash, Guacamole
As a direct result of my freestyle grocery trip at the beginning of the week, Wednesday left me a little bit puzzled when I was faced with two avocados, two limes, a jalapeno and a three-pack of green bell peppers. Apparently the whole color thing was a little bit thematic.
But tonight would be a perfect example of why it’s good to know what you have in your cookbooks. Because sometimes you’ll intentionally go out to buy all of the ingredients for a meal, and other times the meal will just happen.
Example: Bri gave me a recipe for her Beef Taco Hash about a year ago. Tonight I had basically all of the ingredients, but they in different incarnations (example: I had bell peppers, hash browns and onions instead of the fiesta-mix hash browns).
So I cracked open a can of refried black beans, stirred in some taco seasoning and got hustlin’.
The end result is what could be best (and only) described as a Man Meal. A pile of ingredients with lots of flavor but no aesthetic. Delicious. Easy. Filling. Wonderful reincarnated as breakfast (how disappointed am I that I can’t see that one through this weekend?).
A complete meal to bring to work.
I’ll post the recipe for what I actually made later this in the next week or so.
Are you a proficient cooker of meat or do you end up over-cooking it?
Do you read through your cookbooks?