I miss cooking.
I know those of you that push yourself through the meal prep process week in and week out have no sympathy for me. I admittedly have not purchased groceries, much less cooked an entire meal, since...June. I think. My travel schedule makes it a wee bit difficult for me to make it to the store or to cook just enough food that I won't leave a budding, moldy science experiment behind for my roommate to stare at for two weeks.
When I do cook, it's not always glorious, but is always a welcome distraction. Cooking requires your full attention. If you fail to give it that, food will burn. So, I've always enjoyed throwing on a playlist, pulling up a recipe (or not - usually not, because I think I'm an extra on Chopped), and zoning out for an hour or two.
Here are a few Pinterest recipes I've tried, personal recipes I've winged, and Pinterest recipes I'd like to try my hand at soon if I ever find myself in my apartment for a time period longer than 48 hours without hours of work or GMAT studying to get through.
1) Korean BBQ Burrito
I stumbled across this recipe while doing a Pinterest search for "Healthy Food That Isn't A Salad," or something to that effect. As you can see, this burrito is certainly not the healthiest lunch or dinner alternative, but given the right substitutes, it could certainly tip toward that end of the scale. I am almost always cold, so I personally avoid salads more often than not. Why would I eat cold food when I, myself, am already freezing? So, any comfort food alternative that still contains leafy greens is usually right up my alley.
I'm a huge Korean BBQ fan generally, so, this one was a win for me. I will say, looking for specific grocery items in New York city can be a huge pain. After three different store stops, I finally found the Sriracha Mayo of my dreams in Target. The kimchi, the fresh basil, and the shaved beef I got from H-Mart, my haven for all things Asian meal ingredient. And the brown rice and tortillas I got from none other than TJ's. I can say with confidence that Trader Joe's flour tortillas are a best-kept secret. So soft, so fresh, so good.
2) Honey Sriracha Shrimp Zoodles
Colorful, if nothing else. This is probably one of the quickest meals that one could prepare. H-Mart sells zoodles pre-packaged (for those who don't feel like using their own zoodler), so I spent a few minutes whipping those into warm, but not soggy, shape. According to the Pinterest recipe I used, you have to be careful with zoodles. They go from "good" to "ugh" real quick if you leave them in heat for too long.
Similarly, I love seafood because it cooks so quickly. Tossed some shrimp in a pan, poured in a bit of honey and enough sriracha to coat, tossed the mixture around until warm and cooked through, and topped the zoodles with the outcome. This meal is great if you're looking for something light with a bit of spice. Also note that the recipe linked above actually calls for chicken. I'm not a huge chicken person (read: I don't like forgetting to thaw chicken and I could honestly be a pescatarian, if cheeseburgers did not exist), so feel free to sub whatever meat or veggie substitute you prefer.
3) Teriyaki Glazed Mahi Mahi
This one is a chopped exclusive, no recipe. I almost always have the following at home, just in case: sweet potatoes, spinach, and mushrooms. With these dynamic components, I can do no wrong in the kitchen. Mahi mahi is definitely a hit or miss fish for me. It coats very nicely, but because of the thickness of most mahi filets, it can be challenging to get the flavors to seep all the way through. This is where a nice glaze can assist, especially if you're looking for something quick. Strong, sweet flavors like teriyaki take over as soon as you take your first bite and pull through the rest of your chewing experience. I also decided to top this filet with Parmesan crumbles and pop it in the broiler to crust, why? For no reason other than the fact that I needed to get rid of some cheese. No regrets.
As far as the sides, the spinach and mushroom were a quick and simple sauté. The sweet potato I cooked like I would a baked potato: send it through the microwave two times, pierced on all sides, and flip it over before the second spin. Twice cooked baked potatoes will forever be my preference.
4) Lamb Ragu on Pappardelle
This dish makes my soul happy. It's so warm. So soothing. So rich. And so good. Another Pinterest find that is relatively time-consuming to whip together. Simmering down the sauce and the lamb for this one took the most time. And by lamb, I mean similar cut of beef because I could not find lamb in Trader Joe's for the life of me and I wasn't having one of those days where I felt like trekking to 10 other grocery stores in search of that one ingredient.
Sauce aside, the parpadelle noodles are relatively easy to cook. Gotta love pasta. For this dish, I used Trader Joe's Lemon Pepper Pappardelle pasta. Lastly, the shaved parmesan looks like a garnish, but the cheese really ends up tying the dish together. I love to microwave my bowl after photographing it in all of it's beauty to melt the cheese down some. If you're looking for a good comfort meal, pair this with a big ole glass of red and thank me later.
5) Sweet Potato Sausage Breakfast Hash
This meal is technically Paleo (dietary plan based on foods similar to what might have been eaten during the Paleolithic era, aimed at health optimization through simple eating). It is also technically quick to make and delicious. This is my go-to breakfast (and sometimes lunch) when I want something slightly sweet, but savory. Warm up your pan with a bit of coconut oil for the sweet potato. Sometimes I use olive oil instead when I'm not looking for the slightly sweet aftertaste that the coconut oil leaves behind. Once the sweet potatoes are cooked through, i toss in the spinach, wilt it just a tad, and add the sausage. I've recently taken to using Trader Joe's meatless sausage patties instead of pork or beef sausage because they actually do taste just like sausage in this context.
Last, but not least, you toss in your egg. If you're not a sunny-side up fan, you might consider cooking the egg separately and tossing it in afterward. I love the yolk mixing with the sweet potatoes and the spinach, so I usually cook it this way.
Smoothie sold separately.
6) Apple Roses
The back story on these: I went to an apple orchard with my linesister, Meg, and realized upon arriving home that I would need to find a way to transform the full bag of apples I picked into cooked dishes. Why?
I'm slightly allergic to raw apples. Judge not, I am who I am.
One of my attempts at cooking the apples so that I could consume them sans itchy throat aftermath was the apple rose. Another Pinterest recipe and defintiely one of the more challenging of those that I've tried to-date. Trader Joe's sells both the puff pastry I needed to roll the roses and the apricot preserves I needed to line the puff pastry. Powdered sugar not necessary, just cute. This one is a bit involved, so I'll let you walk through the recipe above if you're interested. I can say they were yummy! And a great dessert to make if you're hosting a small party.
7) Recipes I'd Like to Try
As you can see, Pinterest is my lifeblood. If you're looking for more recipe inspiration, head over to my All Things Yummy and Not Kanye's Workout Plan boards. Share your recipe wins and experiments with me on Instagram!