Food for Thought (Recipes Included!)

Hello Friends!

Today, we are going to focus on food-related obsessions. I love food. I’m very good at following directions, but I wouldn’t go to say that I’m good at making up recipes—they’re usually a rendition of something I’ve tried. I just enjoy eating. Who doesn’t?!

My mom is the Queen of cooking Asian cuisine (I mean, who wouldn’t say that about their mother?). When I moved out of the house, I would constantly ask her how to recreate her dishes. She would always respond to me with “a little bit of this and a little bit of that.” Being a person who usually follows a recipe to the tee (although as I got older, I became less adamant about having and using 100% of what’s called for in a recipe), I always respond back with “how much is a little bit?” However, as I was sitting down to share with you some of my favorite go-to recipes I’ve created over the years, I realized I do the exact same thing. I now completely understand why she does it! When it’s your recipe, or your rendition of a published recipe, you make it your own! A lot of it is by intuition. Like “Oh, that would go great with this” or “I wonder how it would taste with this.”

So hear me out, the measurements I provide are honestly more like guesstimates. So when it comes to things like salt, I’d go with what feels right to you. I’m also terrible at portioning. The serving sizes are sometimes questionable in our household, but hey, we are growing adults. Sometimes I indulge in a plate of pasta that serves two and sometimes I eat like I’ve barely touched my plate.

One of my 2020 New Year Resolutions included eat more greens. I try to add spring mix to anything I can. I change recipes into “bowl” versions so I can throw more veggies in. I’ve been obsessed with broccoli the past few weeks too. The best greens I make.


Some key items I always have on hand, in general:

In the Fridge:

  • Eggs, oat milk, homemade almond/walnut milk, spring mix, yellow onions, garlic (already peeled thanks to @unclejohnsdtla who sells them to the public during this pandemic), bell peppers, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, sourdough bread, GF bread (our favorite brands are Schär and Canyon Bakehouse), sliced cheese, shredded Mexican cheese, lemons, limes, wedge of Parmesan.
  • Cilantro — I used to hate cilantro as a child. My mom would make a cilantro soup and I’d barely drink it growing up. It’s an acquired taste. The older I get, the more my taste buds adjust. I now try to put it in almost everything.
  • Parsley — Because after watching the movie Chef and The Chef Show on Netflix, I’ve been making the pasta Chef Casper (Jon Favreau) uses to seduce Molly (Scarlett Johansson, also known as Pasta Aglio e Olio, once a week. We nicknamed this dish “Scarlett’s Pasta”. Please also do yourself a favor and watch the movie and the show, especially if you are a foodie at heart!

In the Freezer:

  • Ground beef, chicken breasts, chicken thighs, bacon, hash browns, frozen California blend vegetables, frozen peas/carrots/corn vegetable blend, frozen green beans.

Cook with Me!

One Pot Chicken and Rice

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see step-by-step photos of this dish in my 👩‍🍳 highlights. This is a super easy dish to make and it’s delicious!

Time: ~ 40-60 minutes
Serves: 4-5

Oil your pan. I use a Lodge 3.6qt. Enamel Cast Iron Casserole Dish. Season your chicken thighs with the Black Garlic Salt and lay it on the pan. Sear until it’s golden and then flip. After a few minutes, before it starts to brown, you’ll pour in the rice, water, and minced garlic. Cover and cook on low heat until the rice is done, usually about 30-40 minutes.

Once you’ve dished it up from the pan, you’ll notice that there’s quite a bit of rice stuck to the pan (sometimes even pieces of chicken). I like to add about 1-1 1/2 cups of hot water into the pan and put the lid back on—make sure the stove is off. Let it soak for 10-15 minutes while you are enjoying your meal. Remove the lid and scrape up the rice that was once stuck and serve it in a bowl. Usually there is enough for about 2 servings. This is a highlight for me on this dish. Brings back memories of clay pot rice dishes from Chinese restaurants. This also makes it super easy to clean up you pan afterwards! What a bonus!

Taco Bowl Nights

This has been a staple to our weekly dinners even prior to Safer at Home.

Time: ~20 minutes
Serves: 4

  • 1 lb. Ground Beef, you can sub for ground turkey or ground chicken as well
  • 1 Packet of Taco Seasoning. Depending on what brand I have on hand it varies between Siete, Flavor God, Thrive Market, or Trader Joe’s.
  • 1 cup Brown Rice, cooked
  • Spring Mix
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Salsa
  • Avocado, optional
  • 1/2 Diced Onion, 1 Bunch Chopped Cilantro, 1/2 Lime Juice mixed together

Cook the meat with the taco seasoning while the rice is cooking. I use a rice cooker. It just makes life easier. It’s a cheap one too…maybe $25 and it’s lasted me years.

In the meantime, dice up your onion and chop up some cilantro and mix it all with some lime juice in a separate bowl. You will top off your bowls with this.

Once meat and rice are finished cooking, serve it over the Spring Mix. Top with shredded cheese, salsa, onion cilantro mix, and avocado if you’d like.

Did you know that you can preserve your avocados in the fridge? I seriously just discovered that in the past month. Where have I been?! They ripe faster than I can consume them 99% of the time. Just stick them in the fridge right when they are getting ripe. It’ll extend their shelf life for a couple weeks and it makes it super easy to peel the skin off!

Broiled Salmon

I stayed away from cooking salmon for a while because we live in a small carpeted apartment. Pan-searing salmon leaves an odor that just doesn’t go away for a few hours. I’ve always enjoyed eating salmon so I tried broiling it. Sure enough, it doesn’t have a lingering smell afterwards and it cooks just as fast!

  • 1 lb. Boneless, Skinless Salmon (I prefer it skinless, but you don’t have to)
  • Seasonings: Trader Joe’s Lemon Pepper, Garlic Powder, Tony Chachere’s Seasoning (no salt version because the lemon pepper seasoning already has sea salt in the grinder), Smoked Paprika
  • 1/2 of a Lemon, juiced
  • Olive Oil

Wash and dry the salmon. Drizzle olive oil and then season on both sides. Squeeze lemon juice over the top. Place in your pan and broil at 450ºF for 20-25 minutes depending on the thickness of the salmon. Cook until it falls apart when you stick a fork in it.

Sometimes, I’d chop up some garlic and mix it with some unsalted butter and sub that for the olive oil. Delicious if you are garlic lover.

Many different ways you can serve this. My go-to’s are lemony broccoli and rice. Yesterday, I served it with my short-cut rendition of “twice baked” potatoes. If you serve this with lemony broccoli, you can cook it all on the same pan. I used a sheet pan because of the depth. If you serve it with potatoes, you can microwave the potatoes first and then throw it on the sheet pan all together! Make sure to drizzle some olive oil on the potatoes so they don’t dry out the skin completely.

Super Easy Rendition of “Twice Baked” Potatoes

This is my cheater way of making this. You can change up the ingredients however you’d like.

  • 2 Russet Potatoes
  • ~ 3 tbsp Heavy Cream, you can use sour cream or milk to make it creamy
  • 1-2 tbsp Butter, melted
  • ~ 1/4 cup Shredded Mexican Cheese, you can sub for any type of shredded cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

The cheat method is to wash your potatoes and put them into a bowl and microwave them. My microwave’s setting is approximately 8 minutes, but I think I could’ve gotten away with 7 minutes.

Once they are cooked, cut them in half and scrape out the potatoes. Don’t go all the way to the skin because it may fall apart. Throw in the heavy cream, butter, shredded cheese, salt and pepper and mash. Once everything is mixed and the potatoes are creamy, scoop them back into the skin and bake. I broiled at 450ºF for about 20-25 minutes, or until the tops start to brown.

Lemony Broccoli

I have definitely been making this once a week. Sometimes two times!

Time: 15-20 minutes
Serves: 2-3

  • 1 12oz Bag of Organic Broccoli. I used to buy heads of broccoli, but pre-cut broccoli have saved me so much time!
  • 1/2 of a Lemon, juiced
  • 1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese

Toss it all in a bowl and pour it over a baking sheet or sheet pan. I usually use parchment paper to line it. Freshly grate some Parmesan cheese on top of each piece. Broil at 450ºF for 15-20 minutes.


More recipes to come in future posts! In the meantime, happy cooking!

XOXO
Karmen

Author: Darling My Dearest

I dabble in many things from crafting to cooking to CrossFit to traveling (because of work). I’ve created this space to share with you my experiences and current/past projects. I hope you find inspiration in what I share (or just make fun of it on your time, but do keep your mean comments to yourself)!

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