when you don’t have the ingredients, or even the tools…make it anyway

I woke up earlier than usual for a Saturday morning due to the fact I needed to pee.

Instead of returning to bed, I decided to take breakfast duties upon myself (usually my hubs makes pancakes or waffles on weekends – yes, he’s a good one) and change things up a bit today.

I’ve had Pioneer Woman’s Sunday Fritatta recipe pinned in my Pinterest for years and thought today was the day I was finally going to make it. I quickly looked through the recipe and figured although I was missing many of the ingredients and I didn’t have an oven safe skillet – I was still going to make this because I had what I deemed were the essentials, and I was determined to have fritatta for breakfast.

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Today I actually COOKED Lunch

lunch in 20(ish)min

Today I prepped and cooked lunch – yes COOKED – during my workday (which was very busy) in between meetings in about 20-25 minutes and amazed myself.

I thought up the idea this morning as my husband complained of how small the salmon portions are from Amazon Fresh – so I thought to myself: He has a point – maybe they’d be better as lunch instead of dinner. I also perhaps felt guilty about the indulgent massive burger and onion rings I had last night from Bareburger simply because I gave into my craving after taking a walk outdoors and breathing in a whiff of someone’s grilling.

In any case, my own success with this lunch has now inspired me to perhaps make this less of an anomaly and to share how it can be done! Here’s how I did it:

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Change the Cheese, Add some Meat – It’s Yours

Ever make the same dish in a span of two weeks because it was that damn good? Well, I generally don’t as I’m usually a stickler for variety and avoiding recent repetition, but this dish was THAT DAMN GOOD.

Featured here is my rendition of Bon Appetit’s Spicy Baked Pasta with Cheddar and Broccoli Rabe. I am 150% sure that if you do follow the recipe step by step, you won’t be any less pleased than I was with my version. But you know me, I don’t like following rules in the kitchen 😬 Also, when I first browsed the recipe, my immediate reaction was “But where’s the meat?” And nothing was going to stop me from adding The Meat (except perhaps coronavirus which thankfully has not yet affected my meat intake).

So here’s what I followed and here’s what I changed.

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Making Real Simple’s Pistachio Pesto Risotto My Own

Many friends have been asking good questions during this time of global pandemic such as “What can I be doing right now?” despite the restrictions before them. I reflected on my not-so-recent-anymore goal (see my last post July 2019) of committing to making something new once a week and realized I had basically achieved that goal only once since then. (Judge me – but I’ve already confessed I’m horrible with these “commitments”) So what better time than now to reawaken that goal?

One new and fun thing I’ve been doing since this crisis hit is reading and flipping through magazines – physical ones. Previously I had several ones I’d subscribed to digitally but right before the virus hit, I had received a gift of 4 print magazine subscriptions for a year and I thought “why not?” I have been especially thankful for them these days because it’s allowed me to enjoy images of delicious drool-worthy food without being on an electronic device.

Well, eventually the images look delicious enough to tempt one to attempt making them. And so I decided to try. Both risotto and pesto were things I’d always wondered how on earth one makes, and this was my chance to make both in one shot! And boy was it so much easier than I ever could have imagined!

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Make Something Great Out of….Not Much

The above featured photo is what I affectionately refer to as “The Africa Dish.” Africa, you say? Yes, Africa, not because it’s African, but because the idea of it was born in Africa – South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, to be specific. And the reason I’m sharing this particular dish’s story is because it has shown me 1) how to make something damn delicious with pretty simple and limited ingredients, and 2) how to fancify (like my made up words?) that same dish when ingredients are not limited.

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Take an Old Recipe…


Yep, what it says. This particular photo will serve as my example of how to make a recipe your own. You should take this anecdote and be able to apply it to your general approach toward cooking any recipe.

Here you are looking at my most delicious Coconut Curry Chicken Stew yet – I add the word “yet”because this dish has gotten better and better with changes I’ve incorporated each time I’ve made it. I’ll walk you step-by-step through what I mean exactly.

I first tasted this goodness as a kid. My dad is a phenomenal cook and I was blessed enough to have mouth-watering dinners served on a daily basis.

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