Curry Rice and Miso Udon.

When it comes to having food for the house, Kyle and I tend to be bad at managing it. Whether our fridge is on the verge of being bare empty or we overstock so much that we lose money from expiration dates, there is never an equal balance. The one thing I do like about closely expired foods is that I can experiment with recipes. The menu two nights ago happened to be curry over rice with miso udon.
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National Homemade Soup/Stuffed Mushroom Day.

The one thing I incorporated into my Passion Planner this year are fun little national holidays. In this case, food holidays. Yesterday happened to be both National Homemade Soup Day and National Stuffed Mushroom Day. Definitely couldn’t pass it up.
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Easter 2016.

Welcome to Lexi’s Easter Brunch, part two – were I make a meal for one day and probably bought too much food to cook in time before it goes bad.

It was also a chance to use an app I downloaded recently for once.

This year’s menu consists of:

1. Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins.
Kyle likes to buy bananas to eat in the mornings, but never eats them. So they just sit on the counter and rot. A waste of money. I thought I could help with that problem by making some banana bread… until I realized that I don’t have a bread pan, so the next best idea was to make muffins. Then I also remembered that we have chocolate chips in our freezer. This was also a recipe made from scratch, so I started on making these first. Super moist and you can taste all the flavorings of the banana and chocolate. Score.

2. Bacon Wrapped Mushrooms.
For a side, I wanted again to make something rather than just bacon. I had also bought a pack of mushrooms because I love mushrooms, and it gave me an idea. Looked up a simple recipe and completed all three steps. The problem I had was that I only have one oven and it’s baking my muffins at this point, so I had to use my toaster oven to bake it off. I was worried about the bacon not being cooked, but my side mushrooms burning. Kyle tells me that I could’ve cooked them a little longer, but it was still good nonetheless.

3. Asparagus and Spinach Fritatta.
I asked Kyle what he would want for the main dish and he said for me to make a fritatta… which was upsetting since I made one last year. I settled with it and then asked what he would like in it. He’s been on a spinach and asparagus kick lately, so that was a stupid question on my part. I chopped up the asparagus, sauteed them with some baby spinach, and then poured my egg mixture over. Cooked on the stove, then oven, and then broiled for 3 minutes, topping it off with some shredded cheddar. This one was easier to make because I used my dad’s cast iron rather than just a pan.

The menu wasn’t as big as last years, but it was definitely better now that I’ve been cooking meals and getting better at time management.

Plate and serve and enjoy.

(For my vegetarian ass haha)

Panko Crusted Baked Salmon.

I had bought a box of panko some day ago because it was really cheap and I’ve been meaning to make something with it. The other day, my grocery store had 6 oz salmon fillets for $6. I thought it would be perfect.

I looked up a recipe earlier because I never cooked salmon before and came across this one from Simply Recipes.

First get your ingredients. I had to buy the paprika and honey mustard. It also called for salt, pepper, thyme, olive oil, and parsley, but I eliminated parsley.

Lay out your salmon on an aluminum foiled baking sheet.

Prep your mixes together.
For the mustard mix, mix 2 tablespoons of honey mustard with a teaspoon of thyme.
For the panko mix, mix 2/3 cups of panko, 1 teaspoon thyme, and 4 teaspoons of everything else.

Begin coating your salmon by using a spoon to add the layer of the mustard mix and then an even coat of the panko mix on top.

Pop in the oven preheated at 400 and let cook for 13 minutes.

In the end, it should look something like this,

Serve with some rice and your favorite veggies and dinner is served.

Sun Dried Tomato Pizza Bread.

We have a new seasonal bread at work: our Sun Dried Tomato Bread. The smell is the aroma of grilled tomatoes and the taste is of that of pizza. When my coworker cut the loaf up a certain way, I knew exactly what I wanted to make out of it.

First, take your Sun Dried Tomato loaf and cut it open to where it flares out. Make sure you don’t cut it all the way.

Next, insert your favorite cheese. I used the rest of my shredded colby jack.

Add in other toppings as you please. I put pepperonis and deli turkey for half of the loaf. I’m not the only on eating this, after all.

Baking became a trial and error for me. What I did was place the whole loaf on a baking sheet and put it in the oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. What I think I should do next time was wrap the bottom of the loaf with some aluminum foil and let it sit in the oven for 20 minutes. My first attempt, the cheese didn’t melt all the way.

(The saddest moment when you lose your toppings to the oven..)

At the end of it all, your loaf should look something like that. Toppings all melted in, the bread fresh and warm with a slight crunch crust. The absolute pizza loaf.

Jalapeno Cheddar Crisps.

Because I work at a bread place, only natural to have this abundance of bread that you don’t know what to do with it all. Rather than just making the usual sandwiches, I’ve been kicking my skills up a notch with other ways to enjoy bread. I’ve been making bread crisps with our baguettes for a while (forgot to post that moment, oops) and decided to give this a change. Tonight, I made some jalapeno cheddar crisps.

What you’ll need:
~ Your choice of jalapeno cheddar bread.
Unfortunately I’m using my last loaf from work until next year. Damn seasonal breads..
~ Shredded cheese.
I used Colby Jack and some old Parmesan that I need to finish up.
~ Diced tomatoes.
~ Bacon bits.
Note, bacon bits are completely veggie friendly as they are made with soy.
~ Thyme.

– Makes 10 crisps –

1. First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s about 180 degrees if you’re using Celsius.
2. Then, you want to start prepping some things. Cut your loaf to a reasonable thickness. I usually just eyeball what I want. You could do the same, but keep in mind that these are supposed to be crisps..
3. If you haven’t already had diced up tomatoes beforehand like I did, now would be an excellent time to do so. You may only need just half of the tomato, if not less.
4. Get your favorite baking sheet and place aluminum foil inside. Begin placing your bread on top of the sheet.
5. Place your shredded cheese on top of the bread and then your diced tomatoes on top of the cheese. I thought the tomatoes would give the bruschetta effect without all the extra work.
4. Add bacon bits for some protein (okay, mainly just because they’re bacon bits. I mean, why not?) and thyme on top of it all for additional flavoring.
5. Pop those suckers into your preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, depending on your oven.
6. ?
7. Profit.

After your long, enduring wait, about a minute of cooling should suffice.

If you’re looking for just a simple snack or something to munch down within a time limit, you can’t go wrong with stuff on bread. Give this a try or come up with some ingredients of your own. Possibilities are endless.

Honey Walnut Shrimp Stir Fry.

Out of all food questions, Kyle asks if I know how to make a stir fry. Choice of veggies and a frying pan. How hard can it be? Of course he mentioned a craving for it and naturally I took it as a sign that I had to make it, no questions asked. The next day at work, I began to mentally prep an idea of what to make. Stir fry was already a given, but I also had the idea to make some honey walnut shrimp on the side. After looking up a few recipes, I found one that would be simple to make. That also meant I had to pick up even more ingredients for this two person meal.

Recipe for the shrimp here if you’d like to give it a try yourself.

First thing’s first, preparation. Making sure I have everything before I continue on. I was about to have a lot going on within this dish, timing was everything.

I started mixing my veggies first before anything. I used carrots, broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, and mushrooms. I chopped them as best as I could and threw them all in a big mixing bowl. Just place the bowl in the fridge, we’ll get back to these later.

Next comes prepping the walnuts. Can’t have honey walnut shrimp without them. They’re in the name of course! The recipe says to boil water and sugar together and then to toss the walnuts in along. Let it sit for some minutes and drain out to dry. The nuts should be of sugary coat.

(Was in a rush to take this photo, oops.)

I’ve also included some soba noodles with the fry. I just let these simmer for the entirety since noodles don’t take long.

Prepping the shrimp was the worst idea to do last since everything was already on its way, especially when they were frozen. I had Kyle help me de-shell/de-tail them. After minutes of frozen cold fingers, I threw these in the batter.

Instructions for the batter in the recipe link.
Fry these for a few minutes or until golden brown.

While frying up the shrimp, I also started frying the veggies with a little bit of teriyaki sauce. I forgot to put the soba noodles in with it, oops.

After finishing the shrimp, start mixing the honey coat. Instructions in the recipe link. After creating the glop of sugar, pour the walnuts and the shrimp into and coat thoroughly. The recipe calls for the walnuts to be as a garnish, but since I’m making it, so I went with my idea.

Once everything is done, start plating. I had rice already premade, so I started with that, then the soba noodles, the veggies, and the shrimp on the side. You should get something like this:

… never again will I make this all at once.

Kicked Up Mac and Cheese.

Living with my dad, he would always make his own mac and cheese from scratch with flair. I also have this coworker that loves to tell me all these dinners she and her husband make from time to time. I decided to use both my dad’s cooking skills and my coworker’s taste in food to take it upon myself and create some of my own mac and cheese recipe for a change.

Of course with every mac and cheese dish, it always has the same base: the pasta. I would’ve went with a different noodle, but considering we have like ten of these boxes in the cupboard because of a story Kyle told me months ago, might as well finish this batch up. Another problem that I always come across when cooking is not enough pot space to do anything. Thinking that putting two boxes in two different 10 quart pots would be the best idea, later on became the worst idea. I need to invest in a bigger pot. Anyway, back to the recipe. Boil and sit for however long you like. When it comes to pasta, I believe that it’s all based on preference, so I never have a set cook time. I usually just go with what feels right with me.

Meanwhile when the noodles are cooking, I cooked up some veggie bacon. Feel free to use real bacon or any meat of preference. I just happen to want bacon. After cooked to crunch, I broke pieces to mix in with the batch later on.

After your pasta is to perfection and drained, the fun begins. My dilemma starts when I don’t have room to mix, thus having to separate the noodles a bit at a time to mix everything it. A splash of milk and your cheese of interest. I found it best to use shredded cheese because it melts faster (logic 101). I also keep the stove top at medium heat when mixing so that the cheese does melt, of course. Mix thoroughly to a creamy, cheesy consistency. Don’t forget your bacon bits.

This is where my coworker came into this meal. She tells me of this pasta dish she made a few days ago with pesto in it. Me, being the pesto lover I am, decided to use a little it in just for added flavor. Just a couple spoonfuls will do. You don’t want to overpower the dish. Also make sure to not add too much of the oils.

At the end of slaving away in a 90 degree kitchen in a 80 degree house, you’ll end up with a gigantic bowl of never ending cheesy noodle supply. Dilemma two, I didn’t have a big enough bowl to hold two pounds of pasta until I ate a good sum of it.

I hope Kyle’s hungry by the time he’s off of work. We’ve got food to last us a week now..

Spaghetti Night.

Post 20|30
Juan decided to stay one more night, so I thought I would whip up a nice meal of endless pasta.. or what it seemed to be after the fact. More on that later.

We got the noodles and the can of sauce at the store the other day, but I had to get a couple more items to make it more complete.

I cut up some mushrooms to add to the mushroom sauce. Makes sense, right? This was for my dish. I had another plan in mind for the guys.

Being guys, of course they need meat in everything. I bought a little thing of ground beef, pulled it apart, and quickly fried it.

After things got a little cooked, I added the sauce and let that heat up for some time. A little salt and pepper, and everything was ready.
… I am also to remind myself next time that when I decide to cook pasta, buy a bigger pot to use.

Back to the noodle problem, I asked Kyle how much I should use. I started off with half the package, but he told me to make it all. We now have noodles we have to finish withing the next week.

I lightly toasted a piece of bread, added a little butter, and final product. Be jealous.

The guys liked it and we were all full. A nice chill night is what we needed after last night’s mini party.

Now someone come over and help us finish the rest of the pasta.