July 27, 2012: Steak Round 2, Time Battle!

So Friday night was another one pot wonder night – a whole dinner using my one pot; only this time I was up against the clock! I had been planning to cook the last 1/2 of my steak, from a few weeks ago, sometime during the week, but didn’t have a chance to do so until Friday. Friday, of course being the night of the Opening Ceremonies for the London Summer Olympics. I came back later than I had expected from the internship, and by the time I had gotten ingredients and gotten into the kitchen, the NBC coverage at 7:30 was only 40 minutes away, and by my count, I needed 45-50 minutes to cook the whole thing.


So the first thing to do was cut the steak up into about three portions, because based on the first half, it should last for about three meals. And so I threw in some oil into the pot while I started cutting up the steak. The oil heated up quickly, perhaps more quickly than I could cut up the meat, but I threw in the meat as soon as I cut it – realizing then I had forgotten to add any spices! So quickly, I threw in some salt and pepper into the pot, trying to coat the meat. Not sure how effective that was though.

Cooking the steak

Anyways, I then had the different pieces of steak going. Everything up until then was quick – a little time for a break. But it was like a competition show! In fact, I’d like to see some of those shows give their chefs only one pot – it’d sure test their ingenuity! (And I’m sure they have a heck of a lot more than me!)

So the main challenge here was keeping the heat high enough to cook the meat fast, without burning – a task made harder when the sides of the pot also give off a lot of heat (though it can help the cooking too!) While the steak was going along, I washed some spinach.

It took a while for the steak to cook, because of its thickness. I ended up cutting some of the pieces; I know I lost some juice, but it was a faster cook time.

(Mostly) cooked beef

I took the steak out with the spatula, and then threw in the spinach right away (no need to rinse the pot for this, it’s a timed cooking session after all! I added some water, and covered it, letting it boil and steam, along with the beef juice, allowing it to shrink.


I poured that out into a bowl, and threw in the butter into the hot pot for the Rice a Roni. To my dismay, they use MSG in their spices (perhaps I’d be better off at a cheap Chinese restaurant that says “No MSG”!). Anyways, I got that going, and by the end of its simmering, I had to run back and forth to see the start of the Olympics coverage  (granted it was directly around the corner; and there were other people, so no threat of buring down the place!). Luckily, the actual ceremony was about 20 minutes in, so I was safe. But I had it simmering, so I could run away for about 30 seconds. With about 5-10 minutes left of cooking time, I threw in my leftover rice to cook, and I was done!

One Pot Meal!

Truth be told, this picture was taken before the rice was cooked – I wanted a nice picture, so I took this one with the leftover rice while the new rice was cooking. Then after everything was done, I washed the plate and dishes, and ended up eating from plastic leftover containers so I could go to the TV room and watch the opening ceremony with everyone!


July 22: Broccoli Cheese Chili Potato

Another day where I wanted a simple meal – so I figured I’d just do a chili potato again. Started off by throwing a couple of russet potatoes into the microwave. I didn’t want to have it exactly the same as last time, so this time, I bought some broccoli and cheddar cheese.

Broccoli and a potato

I cooked the broccoli first in the pot, then I cooked the chili, with added corn in the pot. After the chili was done, and the potatoes were done, I put it all together, and added some cheddar on top to melt. Broccoli cheese chili potato!

Done! Just waiting for the cheese to melt…

July 20, 2012: Dinner in a Box

Tuna Helper

Partly trying to use up some of my boxed food supplies, and partly from being quite tired, I ended up making a box of tuna helper last night. Nothing big. Added extra pasta, my cans of tuna, some canned string beans, and followed the directions on the box. Pictures below.


cooking away




July 16, 2012: Hamburger Helper Mac and Cheese

I wanted to use another box of Hamburger Helper, and I ended up using a cheese flavored one – so quite literally, a fancied up macaroni and cheese.

Ground beef

So I only had 1 hamburger patty left, and didn’t feel like that was enough, so I went to Whole Foods and picked up some ground beef to add. After browning the meat, I drained it, and added the water, milk, sauce mix, and pasta – I added some extra pasta shells to the elbow macaroni in the package so there’d be enough for a couple servings of leftovers. I also added some frozen peas for added color and veggie goodness!

Boiling the pasta in the cheese sauce

I think I finally found a good mixture in regards to the amount of water, milk, and extra food added – there was enough sauce to cover everything, but not too much that it felt like soup! At the end, I added a slice of provolone to melt on top to add to the flavor, along with some extra ground black pepper. In the end – a quick and easy meal with enough leftovers for a couple meals!

Macaroni and cheese

July 15, 2012: The Wharf

While I didn’t cook today, I did have a food experience worth writing about! So today I’m going back to the blog’s roots in writing about restaurants and other eateries.

Today, my roommate and I decided to take a trip down to Alexandria in Virginia, and explore the Old Town district along King Street. After a few interruptions and bus trip caused by Metro weekend work, we finally got there! I had a bit of craving for seafood, so we ended up going to a restaurant called The Wharf.

The Wharf

The restaurant had a nice atmosphere, a bit dark at first, but once my eyes adjusted to it, it looked nice, there was dark wood paneling, each table with its own hanging lamp. I ordered East Coast Cioppino – “shrimp, scallops, mussels & Boston scrod in a rich tomato stew & topped with fried calamari.” (And I think I said it correctly when I ordered it too!)


We were served bread at the beginning, which had a nice flavor to it as well. Soon, the salads came, what seemed like romaine lettuce, topped with some cucumbers, cherry tomato slices, radishes and carrots and a Caesar dressing. Tasty salad, with enough crunch from the cucumbers, and while I might have used less dressing if I made it myself, it was still tasty and made for a good starter.

“East Coast Cioppino”

Then came the cioppino. The tomato broth was amazing – it had a tomato flavor, but not overly strong, there was a great blend of spices, and it had just enough spiciness (hot spicy) to give it a kick, but not too much. The calamari was fried to perfection, and was great with the broth. The fish had good flavor and wasn’t overly fishy, and was soft to the touch. The scallops were soft and tender, and had a slight sweetness to them – absolutely wonderful. The mussels’ meat were smaller than ones you might see in a buffet, but the intensity of the flavor more than made up for it! The shrimp were tasty, and it seemed like there were some clam necks in the broth, which had great flavor as well!

All in all, a very filling and satisfying lunch!


PS: (And we got back somewhat late, and I was still full by dinner, so tonight’s dinner was a rather simple spinach salad with tuna and a balsamic vinaigrette).