Saturday, September 28, 2013

Take a Good Dish and Make it Scary

I love Pasta Roni's Shells and White Cheddar.  So much.  It borders on unhealthy.  My college buddy and I used to split a box for "second dinner" after working in the dining hall.  Those nights were magical.  Those shells are magical.  I love them.

Joey loves tuna.  Tuna is securely on the "Do Not Eat" list.  But my beloved shells suggest adding tuna to make a complete meal.  So following the advice of Joey and Pasta Roni, we added tuna to the shells.

Can you see it there?  Those camouflaged chunks of gross tainting my beautiful shells?

I ate almost my whole plate.  Very much like an adult!  But to be completely honest, it was pretty gross.  By the end (and this is where the "almost" happened), I starting piling my tuna off to the side.

I know what the problem is, though.  And I have a whole new appreciation for Jessica Simpson.  Tuna's texture is similar to chicken.  The taste is a couple steps down from chicken (ironically, I think tuna tastes earthier).  It's a little bit grittier than chicken.  But tuna is very much the chicken of the sea.  And I can understand Jessica's confusion.

I think next time, I'll stick with regular Shells and White Cheddar.  Why ruin the extremely tasty pasta?

Friday, September 20, 2013

Fancy People Food

Joey and I are trying to eat a little healthier.  This can make adventures even scarier.  Turkey is healthier (but grosser) than beef.  Tomatoes are disgusting but healthy because of lycopene.  Lycopene prevents prostate cancer, but apparently not having a prostate does not exempt me eating tomatoes.

Tonight we made these stuffed shells.  Miriah said that she would try them, but she didn't sound super enthusiastic.  I was also concerned because, as I mentioned before, turkey and tomatoes are gross.  Joey, on the other hand, was pumped.

As we all know, when one food is stuffed into another, it automatically becomes fancy.  (Unless it is turducken.)  Spinach Stuffed Shells with Meat Sauce even sounds fancy!  (Turducken does not.)  So kudos to Joey on finding a recipe that is both fancy and healthy.

These little shells are the most labor intensive (a big component to fanciness) meal we've made on this adventure.  But they are among the most delicious.  Miriah and Joey both agree.  These shells are ultra tasty.  I even like the ground turkey!  (Though I'm still not in the tomato club yet....)  Lucky thing the recipe makes 9 servings!  We're going to freeze them and eat them for days.

27 delicious shells.  And a bit too much lycopene for my taste.

I was surprised that the ground turkey tasted so much like ground beef.  I was not surprised by the tomatoes.  I managed to eat some of the sauce, but I mostly just picked the turkey out of it and left all the tomato-y bits on my plate.

And the recipe actually yielded a bit extra stuffing.  So Joey made a delicious suggestion for an appetizer.

This does knock down the health factor a bit....

Absolutely delicious.  Definitely making this again.  But I'll let Joey have most of the sauce.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Tastes Like Chicken

In an attempt to make chicken tasty, Joey and I made Chicken Breast with Orange Glaze.  I'm also not a big fan of orange marmalade, so the recipe definitely counted as an adventure.  Not something I would ever make for myself if I wasn't making a conscious effort to eat foods I normally wouldn't.

Joey cooked the meat while I made the glaze.  The smell of meat cooking in butter is hard to rival.  Aside from a little snag where I misread "tablespoons" as "teaspoons," the glaze turned out really well, too.  Even though, it did look pretty disgusting before I thickened it.

The least appetizing soup in the world or a pretty tasty glaze.  You be the judge.

The chicken cooked and the glaze thickened, we put together our plates.  I was a little concerned about the glaze running over onto the rest of my food (I'm picky like that).  But it wasn't too out of control.  I tried to put the carrots in between the glaze and the mashed potatoes to save them.

My carrot levee.

I've decided that I just don't care for chicken.  I don't hate it anymore, but it will never be as tasty as pork or beef.  I think it's the way chicken cooks.  When you cut into beef or pork, it doesn't come off in strips the way chicken does.  I don't like those little strips.

Other than my new-found ambivalence toward chicken, the meal was delicious.  Joey cooked the chicken perfectly.  I think the glaze would definitely benefit from some brown sugar.  However, it was pretty tasty without any sugar.  It was a little heavy on the citrus flavor.

In summary: chicken=meh, carrots=border, sauce=overly citrus-y, brown sugar=the best.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

My First Adventure into the Sometimes Scary World of Leftovers

This meal actually occurred on Thursday, but I somehow became quite busy this past weekend.  So I will post about it now.

As many unemployed 20-somethings, I live with my parents.  I don't usually eat meals with them anymore because our schedules don't always match up.  (Also to ensure that, when I have a job and move out some magical day, I know how to prepare meals myself.)  Since I am possibly the pickiest eater in my family, this frees my mother up to create all kinds of chicken and curry and sometimes curry chicken dinners.

On Thursday, I sampled the leftovers of such a meal.

In this microwave-safe container lies the potential for great yucky-ness... or great yummy-ness.

My parents and sister had a dish called Singapore Noodles last week.  I can't find my mom's exact recipe, but it calls for chicken (gross), peanut butter (yum), pea pods (yum), noodles (yum), chili powder (scary), and curry powder (also scary).

But I love pea pods so much.  I had to try it.  I put a couple heaping spoonfuls on a plate and nuked it.  A minute-thirty later, I sat down to eat.  It was yummy!  The peanut butter covered the taste of the chicken very well.  The pea pods were oh-so crunchy and delicious.  The noodles and carrots provided a good texture contrast to the pea pods.  It wasn't even that spicy!  I had finally triumphed over chili powder and curry powder!  Indian restaurants here I come!

I told my sister, with great pride, how I had enjoyed my plate of Singapore Noodles.  My pride disappeared when Miriah said, "Probably because Mom forgot to add the curry."

Thanks.  I thought this would be the first curry dish to cross over.  Guess I was wrong.  My mother promised to make Singapore Noodles "right" (or, as I call it, "scary") next time so I can try the dish with curry powder in it.  Hopefully the peanut butter and pea pods will save me....

But at least I learned that chili powder isn't so scary after all.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Giving It Another Go

So after my thoroughly unappetizing encounter with tilapia (though most of the blame was probably on us), I decided to give fish another go.  Joey was on board.  This is important because he'll eat almost anything, so I might need him to finish my dinner if turns out to be more yuck than yum.

There I am looking on the Internet for fish recipes, when lo and behold! a recipe for red snapper with the very words "this one's for the haters" in the title!  How absolutely fortuitous!  Joey looks over the recipe and thinks it looks yummy.  Cue shopping for fish and subbing catfish for red snapper.

After an extremely short prep time (probably the fastest recipe we've made so far), the fillets are ready to go in the oven.

Turns out we didn't have cayenne pepper.  Mine (left) has paprika.  Joey's (right) has red pepper flakes.

After an even shorter time under the broiler, they are ready to eat.  All told, 15 minutes from stepping into the kitchen to walking to the dining room with our prepared meal.

Paired with American chips.  I figured fish, salt and vinegar chips, how could I go wrong?

Preparing to be disgusted, I bite into the fish.  Still a gross texture, but fairly palatable taste.  The fishy taste, as always, is complemented nicely by the lemon in the sauce.  The barbeque sauce has been tempered by the mayonnaise.  The crunchy carrots and chips help balance the squishy-ness of the fish.  This is a meal that I would eat again.  "For the haters," indeed.

I think I'm rather slowly getting used to the texture of fish.  It doesn't make my stomach turn as much as it did a month ago.  However, I still don't think I would ever order it at a restaurant.

Green peppers on the other hand....