June 23, 2012 – Beef Burgers!

Finally tried my hand at some beef! Bought a box of frozen hamburger patties. First though, an attempt at various fried potatoes. I started off with “chips,” using oil and slicing up thin pieces of potato. Though given the limited size of my pot, I decided to not complete that, and ended up using chunk/wedges of potato. Everything went well, except the oversight of using a plastic utensil in hot oil. Added some salt and pepper to the potatoes, and let them cook until brown. Wasn’t too bad, though 1 or 2 pieces were slightly underdone, but cooked enough to eat.

Potato wedges cooking in oil

Fried potatoes!

After that was the hamburger itself. Just added some garlic powder to it, and proceeded to cook the patties (though I had to cook them 1 at a time). Forgot to bring down my onion and tomato, but I did have lettuce. I had a salad while I was waiting for it to cook.

1 hamburger at a time…

I bought some ciabatta rolls and provolone cheese earlier in the week, and used those to help build the burger, along with some of the lettuce. End result – a satisfying burger and fries! Though next time, I think I’ll bring the onion and tomato for additional flavor.

Finished meal!

Burger all put together

June 22, 2012 – Lemon Chicken

Friday night, I wanted to use up some of the onion that I had bought, and the rest of my lemon. The first thing I did was chop up and onion, and throw that into water so I wouldn’t cry!

Carrots boiling

I bought some baby carrots at Target, and put those into a pot to boil away. While that was going, I prepared the chicken. Would have used some flour on it, but I didn’t want to buy that much, so I used bread crumbs again, after baking a piece of bread to dry it out. Into the breadcrumbs,  I added pepper, salt, and garlic powder.

Chicken, lemon, onions

After the carrots were done, I covered the chicken in the spices, and put them into the pot with some oil. I also had some onions and lemon in there to add flavor. However, the thickness of the chicken breasts took quite a while to cook. While that was going, I made instant mashed potatoes.

onions browning

Chickens out of the pan; mashed potatoes settling

Dinner!

Wasn’t too hard of a dinner, though I think flour would have worked better on the chicken. Or I should have gone full dredge with breadcrumbs and egg. Should have put more garlic in there as well. But the lemon flavor was good in the chicken!

Oven Lemon Tilapia

Yesterday morning, I went out in the morning to Whole Foods and bought some food to prepare for dinner last night – a zucchini, a lemon, and tilapia fillets. Though we ended up going to the zoo, and I didn’t feel like cooking after a long day walking (and ended up having a roll and bowl of soup).

Zucchini

Frozen fish

So today, I did the fancy cooking. I started off with the zucchini, which I just sliced and put into a pot of boiling water, along with a little salt. I also put in a couple pieces of onion to cook a little bit and add flavor, but I took them out partway through.

While the zucchini was cooking, I prepped the fish. The first thing I did was defrost the fish (with cold water, like Food Network told me) – I couldn’t put the package in the pot, and I didn’t have my bowl. I stuck the pack of fish into a plastic leftover container, but only half the fillet would fit at a time. But I put in under the sink and let the water just barely drip (to let it circulate, as Alton Brown said in defrosting a turkey, I believe), flipping the fish package over every few minutes.

When the fish was defrosted, I covered the two fillets with some salt, garlic powder, and black pepper. I also put in the pieces of onion that were partly cooked, and a slice of lemon. I wrapped both of them in foil.

Lemon station! And you can see the piece of onion…

Then I had to get the zucchini out, and start on my Rice-a-Roni rice pilaf. Just followed the directions on the box – adding water and butter. I also put my fish in the 350 degree oven. Then I had to wait about 20 minutes. Lucky for me, there were some other people down in the kitchen eating, and so I had some good company to talk to. Covering topics from lettuce to France to the Euro to the housing bubble to college tuition. And everything in between.

Eventually everything was done, and I took at the fish and took the rice off the stove. I suppose I could have browned the rice earlier, or could have left the rice in a little longer to brown. But I took it off, and reheated the zucchini (using…erm…a microwave..), and then did my plating – and done! Fish!

Fish out of the oven

Dinner! Nice color to the meal

It was quite good. The fish was juicy and tender, and the rice had a nice butter flavor to it that tasted good, but was not overpowering. Though I probably could have used more garlic on the fish; I couldn’t really taste it – but the salt and pepper and lemon still tasted great!

Another view of the final plate

Pasta with Vegetable Medley

Last night, I wanted to finish up my open box of pasta, but didn’t want red sauce again; so I thought I’d try a sauceless pasta. I still had chicken sausage in the freezer from last week.

At the market, I bought an onion, yellow squash, and tomato. I got some of the onion (tears and all), and threw that in with some cut up sausage to add some flavor and caramelize.

Sausage and onions

Cooked sausage

While that was cooking, I chopped up my squash and tomatoes, and then put some water on to boil after the sausage was done (again, one pot). While all that was going on, I finished up a bag of salad I bought the other day. When the water boiled, I poured in the pasta and added in the squash, tomatoes, raw onion, and a few pieces of lettuce and greens (for added color!).

Cut up vegetables

Salad

I ended up scooping out the vegetables early – I should have probably waited to put them in. After draining the pasta, I just added some butter into it, and mixed it in, letting it melt (I suppose if I had some, I might have done olive oil instead). Then, I re-added the vegetables and meat, and had my meal! I also added a little of the vinaigrette dressing (warm pasta salad?) for some additional flavor!

Finished! Has nice color

Finished product!

June 13, 2012 – Chicken Alfredo

Today was a longer day at work, so I came back and figured I’d use a chicken/hamburger/tuna/other meat helper (courtesy of a supply pack from home) for dinner tonight. Wasn’t sure which one I’d do, but I went to Whole Foods and picked up some boneless chicken breast meat, frozen peas, and milk.

Chicken Helper

Coming back to the dorm, I decided I’d use an Alfredo Chicken Helper for tonight. So no, I didn’t make my own sauce tonight…but it was quick and easy. First however, I was going to dice the chicken up. And then I realized, all I had was my dinner/butter knife. So I then proceeded to cut/rip/tear/hack at my chicken into decently sized chunks. It might not have looked pretty or uniform, but I suppose it had character!

Torn chicken with character!

So from there, it was basically following directions on the box.  Though I had to improvise a bit when it said to add ½ a cup of water and 2 cups of milk. Lucky for me, it looked like there were 1 cup lines on my plastic leftover containers! So measuring cup!

In the pot!

A little while later I added in the peas, noodles, and sauce packet, and let it all cook! In the end, it was a bit soupy (though I guess some people like a lot of sauce!). Guess I might have used a bit much liquid – even after it sat and thickened for a bit. Oh well though, added a little pepper, and it was good to go! Plus enough leftovers for at least 1 if not 1.5 or 2 meals!

Finished product! A bit soupy, but it tasted great!