Everything I cooked in February 2017

It’s the first Friday of the month. That means I get to show off my cooking skills.

Let’s do this!

The Home Chef Recipes

Korean Pork Tacos
with Sriracha-mayo and slaw

Korean Tacos

I kicked the month off with awesome Korean Pork Tacos (which I made on Taco Tuesday!)

These were fantastic and easy to make, leading me to think I might need to spend more time exploring the world of alternative tacos.

Steak Wellington
with roasted carrots and mushroom demi-glace

Steak Wellington

Steak… You have failed me for the last time!

I wanted to make steak wellington because it’s the thing everyone is always screwing up on Hell’s Kitchen. I am now convinced it is impossible to make it right because it isn’t a great recipe. Really, England, you need to realize meat does not belong in a pie.

Unless it is a pot pie… But a pot pie is just a soup bowl.

You know what I’m saying.

I’m not saying it wasn’t okay, but there was nothing special about it, either. Other than being a pain in the ass to cook, and I was using pre-sized puff pastries.

Crispy Dijon Chicken
with Parmesan cauliflower mash and roasted green beans

Crispy Dijon Chicken

I like to think of myself as a fried chicken afficionado. I can tell you every place in a city to get fried chicken and rank them… (Note to self: Rank the top 9 places to get fried chicken in Helena…)

Before beginning my cooking journey back in October, I only knew one way to make fried chicken. I quickly learned four more.

Now I have five.

The new technique here was using Dijon mustard as the glue to stick the panko crumbs on.

One day, I will have all the chicken frying secrets.

Also, I’m getting used to smashing non-potato veggies these days. So far, carrots are the best. Cauliflower isn’t even a contender. Leave it raw and eat it with ranch dressing or steam it with some squash. It doesn’t need to be smashed.

Italian Sausage Stromboli
with spinach-mozzarella filling and marinara dipping sauce

Beef Stromboli

Stromboli is like a pizzone, but instead of folding a pizza in half to eat like a hot pocket, you slice the sides and braid it together over the top.

Then you eat it like a hot pocket.

Basically, this was a giant sausage pizza roll.

I’ve made my pizza roll feelings clear.

Roasted Salmon with Ginger-Scallion Sauce
and charred green beans

Roasted Salmon

I like the fishes ’cause their soooo delicious—gotta go fishin’!

The roasted salmon was the thing I cooked this month most likely to be served in a restaurant. It was good and looked pretty, even with my piss-poor plating skills.

Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwich
with brioche, Swiss cheese, and rach sweet potatoes

Pulled Chicken

Okay, HomeChef. I’m from Kansas City. You’re gonna need a lot more than shredded chicken coated in Sweet Baby Ray’s for me to indorse your “barbecue.”

Cool Ranch Doritos Sweet Potatoes were a nice touch, though.

My barbecue standards are high. All other barbecues are mere shadows compared to the true barbecue. If you are from a lesser sauced meat city—or god forbid a dry rub city—you will enjoy this recipe.

It is only a reminder of what I left behind.

I miss you KC barbecue…

Baja-Style Chili-Lime Fish Cakes
with tomato, arugula, and pepitas salad

Fish Cakes

Dry. Crumbly. Tasty, but not awesome.

I’m sure I smashed my cakes too tightly. It was okay, but there are better ways to cook fish, even talapia.

Mushroom and Swiss Beef Burger
with truffle mayo and steak fries

Mushroom and Swiss Burger

This burger was awesome. I think I used more truffle oil than I should have for my preferences, but still a great burger.

I don’t know how much else I can say about a good hamburger without appearing a food snob.

A good burger is a good burger. Hits all the right spots.

Shrimp Scampi
with cheddar buttermilk biscuits

Shrimp Scampi

I’ve cooked a lot of pasta in my life. Grow up in a big family and pasta is basically how you keep everyone from starving to death.

Shrimp scampi was a new pasta dish, but still just a pasta dish.

I like pasta. I like shrimp. I like buttermilk biscuits.

This is a meal best served with a house full of friends and a bottle of good wine.

Mardi Gras Shrimp Po’Boy

Mardi Gras Shrimp Po’Boy

Laissez les bon temps roulez!

It’s a shrimp Po’Boy. It was great. It was Mardi Gras week.

I always forget how much I enjoy cajun food. When I was a mere fat kid, not yet grown into a fat guy, my dad got really into cajun food for a bit. I learned how to toss everything in a pot with some beans, rice, and cajun seasoning, then boil until it was gumbo. I sucked the juices out of crawdads. I loved it.

This Po’Boy was a brief throwback to those days.

I wonder if I can get crawdads at the grocery store here in Montana.

Skinny Chicken Mozzarella
with marinara and garlicky greens

Mozzarella Chicken

I’ve learned something. Mozzarella is the blandest cheese. It only works on pizza because everything else on pizza is filled with awesome.

Also, kale gets a bad wrap because it is salty and bitter. I like salty and I don’t mind bitter. Mixed in with the spinach, it was great.

You know, when you expand your leafy greens beyond iceberg lettuce, it gets a lot easier to enjoy a salad.

Who knew? Who knew, America? Who freakin’ knew?

Turkey & Butternut Squash Chili
with cheddar, sour cream, and onions

Turkey & Squash Chili

There are two types of people in the world. People who put beans in their chili and people who are wrong.

Sorry, Texas. It might seem like I’m picking on you today, but only because you do everything so back-asswards. So, really, it’s your fault I keep hurting you.

Chili is awesome. It’s hearty and delicious. It warms you up inside. You barely have to do work to cook it.


As someone who has to wash dishes by hand, the fewer the pans the better.

There’s a life lesson there.

Other than the lack of beans, this chili was top notch. Almost on par with the chili my mom makes. This chili might have gotten there if I’d let it simmer on the stove for a few more hours.

And added beans.

Other stuff I cooked

Not much. I’ve been trying to use up my giant stockpile of chicken breasts. I’ve been cooking it with salt, pepper, and whichever spice I use from my stockpile of dollar tree spices I never get to use.

Author’s Note

I also got a new smartphone, so I can take better pictures. Did you see how nice that chili shot was?

But, that means I can put things on Instagram again. If you want to see sneak previews of my kitchen skills or anything else I think looks interesting, you can follow me on Instagram.

2 thoughts on “Everything I cooked in February 2017

  1. Judy Hudgins says:

    Love your ‘progress’. Can’t wait to see what you have on your plate for March.

    1. Thank you. The biggest change this month is using a better camera and a tripod for the last meal there.

      I might have to shake up the recipes in March and go looking for something different.

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