Blog, Fat Guy Friday

Everything I Cooked in June

I hear you out there. You’re all shouting, “Matt! You’ve been gone for most of the month and you come back with Everything I Cooked? No explanation? No apology?”

That’s for tomorrow.

I’ve been putting out an Everything I Cooked on the last Friday of the month and this one was already scheduled and mostly written. I try to put at least the picture and link in on the same night I cook. Sometimes I even have the gumption to get the review of the recipe that night.

So, I had it done and didn’t want to sit on it.

I’ll explain more tomorrow. Things are changing in my brain and you’ll just need to come back and trust me on it.

Now, set your mouth to watering. It’s time to see my tasty meals.

The Home Chef Meals

Baja Fish Tacos with Sriracha slaw and pickled onion

Baja Fish Tacos with Sriracha slaw and pickled onion

You know what tilapia fried in tempura tastes like? Fish Sticks.

But, you don’t eat fish tacos for the fish alone. You eat fish tacos for all the other stuff in the taco. In this case the lime-pickled onions and spicy slaw.

It’s been a long time since I’ve eaten fish tacos and this scratched an itch. I would’ve liked a tangy sauce to go with them, but that’s just my favorite way to eat fish tacos.

Swiss Fondue Burger with onion jam and parsley fries

Swiss Fondue Burger with onion jam and parsley fries

Sometimes you need a good burger. This was a good burger. I’m not sure what else to add.

BBQ-Rubbed Crispy Chicken with Parmesan spoon bread and braised kale

BBQ-Rubbed Crispy Chicken with Parmesan spoon bread and braised kale

Do people who hate kale also hate spinach? Why is everyone always complaining about the leafy greens. They are tasty and full of iron. That’s how you prevent anemia.

The chicken breast isn’t much. You brown a chicken breast in a skillet, bake it, then slather it with Sweet Baby Ray’s. (Or, better, Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que sauce. You can order it online.)

I’ve displayed my barbecue snobbery enough, so I’ll just leave it at that.

The real surprise in this meal was the spoon bread. I’m not normally a fan of corn or corn bread, but adding the Parmesan flavor was pretty much perfect. Once I added the butter, I was basically ready to die and go to heaven.

Crispy Honey-Soy Barramundi with ginger roasted radishes, chayote, and Swiss chard

I really like fish, guys. I should eat it more often. The problem is most fish available in stores around here is actually fish slurry pressed into fish shapes.

That’s a lot of fish in one sentence.

This was the first time I’ve had barramundi. It falls somewhere between tuna and salmon on the fishy scale. Which is awesome in my book.

Piedmont Chicken Breast with fresh mozzarella, pesto, and balsamic reduction caprese salad

I need more practice with reductions. Mine end up as either school glue or in need of some serious vitamin K. I don’t know if it changes the taste but it makes my food less photogenic.

And isn’t Instagram-fame the entire reason for cooking in the first place?

Broccoli Parmesan Risotto with roasted red onion

I’m getting good at risotto. Soon the imaginary Gordan Ramsey that lives in my freezer will stop throwing things at me and calling me a donkey.

Also, this near weekly vegetarian thing isn’t so bad. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll only give up eating me in the After-Times. Even then, when I’m travelling the country as a living history book, I will regale the children with tales of meaty wonder from the Before-Times.

Al Pastor Pork Tacos with pineapples and chipotle pepper

These tacos needed more pineapple.  And mayonnaise sauce.

If you make this recipe, you must double the suggested pineapple and mayonnaise.

Then share the resulting super-tacos with me. Mmmm… Super tacos…

Chicken Kiev with parsley-garlic butter and green beans

Russian fried chicken? Russian fried chicken.

Isn’t it awesome how every culture discovered its own unique spin on the universe’s greatest food?

Fiesta Chicken with fresh salsa, roasted chayote squash, and queso fresco

What makes it mojito lime seasoning? I don’t know but it tastes like happy.

Also, look at that sexy reduced tomato salsa I made. Doesn’t it look like those tomatoes should be more smashed?

I won’t have that problem now that I own a metal zig-zag masher. No more dollar tree plastic failure masher.

#KitchenUpgrades

Buffalo Turkey Meatball Salad with celery and blue cheese

Turned out pretty good. Next time, I’ll make it with ground chicken instead.

It was almost like eating buffalo wings. Maybe getting healthy won’t be the most horrible thing in the world.

Chayote Squash Enchiladas Verdes with poblano pepper and Chihuahua cheese

Have I mentioned my strange Chihuahua cheese love? It is a great cheese and every time I cook with it, I imagine someone in Mexico milking tiny dogs.

Excellent enchiladas.

Also, I now know how to pronounce chayote. Then I learned they are more commonly called “choko” anyway.

Life is sad sometimes.

Healthy Takeout Mongolian Beef with roasted Chinese broccoli

My only complaint is Home Chef’s weird naming convention here. This is not takeout. I cooked it. Me. I did. IT WAS MINE! MINE! MINE! MINE!

Okay… I’m back.

I want to cook this again soon, possibly over an open flame. I think it would look great in my wooden feast bowl a LARP event.

Some life decisions are all about who you can make jealous, am I right?

Chicken Risotto Casserole with cremini mushrooms, Parmesan, and Swiss

Look! I got a teal plate at Big Lots! It matches the rest of my kitchen stuff.

Also, did I mention how good I’m getting at risotto?

I learned something important from this recipe:

Crunchy Onions are the fancy version of smashed saltine crackers on a casserole.

Mind. Blown.

Garlic-Studded Pork Tenderloin with asparagus and mustard-cream bearnaise sauce

Nailed it!

I had to slice garlic. My knife is not good enough for thinly slicing garlic. I am lucky to still have finger pads.

I’m going to need to upgrade my knife or learn to live with slightly thicker slices of garlic. I’m a cheap bastard, so thick garlic is going to win.

Basil-Pecorino Campanelle with roasted broccolini, red bell pepper, and red onion

The last meal I cooked in June.

It was delicious and filling. Actually, more than filling. I’m only supposed to have 2 servings worth of food from each of my Home Chef meals, but I turned this one in to three because I was full.

Also, when I’m not using my new teal plate, I’ve switched to using the tiny plates from my burgundy kitchen set. It’s true, my brain does thing I’m eating more.

The Other Things I Cooked

Pork Chops with Cranberry-Apple Salad inspired by this recipe from Taste of Home

Pork Chops with Cranberry-Apple Salad

Pork chops were on sale during the Memorial Day meat sale, so I picked some up. Then, I went looking for new ways of cooking them. That’s how I ended up coming across this Cinnamon-Apple Pork Chops recipe from Taste of Home.

The original recipe is basically pork chops and fried apples, which was a rare treat growing up.

I wanted something tart to balance out the sweetness of the apples, so I went with dried cranberries. It worked.

I’m adding this to my personal recipe book with a few notes. I chopped the apples instead of slicing them and slicing would probably come out better. I’d also use sweeter, juicier apples next time.

I think I’d also use boneless pork chops and cook them in apple butter. Because, YUM!

I mentioned my plan to cook this to my dad during our Great Falls adventure. He, in turn, mentioned it to my mom. Which is how I ended up heading over to their house to cook it for them.

It was the first time I cooked a full meal for anyone beside myself without most of it coming from a box and it went over well.

Bonus: I sneaked out without doing the dishes.

Pork Chops with Mushroom Gravy and Fried Potatoes

Pork Chops with Mushroom Gravy and Fried Potatoes

Another family recipe. We ate this more times than I can count growing up. The last time I made it, I accidently used sweetened condensed milk instead of evaporated milk in the mushroom gravy and it came out weird.

This time, it came out perfect.

I would share the recipe, but it’s a family secret… but, if you followed this recipe from Centsless Meals, you wouldn’t be far off.

This is the meal I cook when I need to fry potatoes in my cast iron skillet. My mom always says frying potatoes is the best way to keep a good seasoning on your skillet.

Who am I to argue? I’ve had a cast iron skillet for two years and she’s got one older than I am. I’m going to defer to her expertise.

Besides, it’s a good excuse to eat fried potatoes on a semi-regular basis.

Chicken Alfredo with Garlic Bread

Chicken Alfredo with Garlic Bread

I like pasta. It is easy to cook and easier to clean up after. I cooked this pasta with two pans, one for the noodles and sauce, one for the chicken.

It helps this is one of the three things I was taught to cook growing up.

Fruity-Pebble Pork Chops & Eggplant Fries

I will never again make the mistake of eggplant fries. They have no flavor. At all.

This recipe came about because I was cooking the barramundi and realized it was breaded with rice krispies. Fruity pebbles are just fruit(ish)-flavored rice krispies. My brain immediately need to fry something using this magic formula.

I have several pork chop and fruit recipes, so I knew pork chops were probably the best meat to start combing with random children’s cereal.

I was right.

If you like fruity pebbles, this is a recipe you should try. You just use fruity pebbles as an outer breading on a pork chop after putting it through an egg wash. From there, you bake it like you would shake-and-bake.

You can thank me later.

Next Month’s Change Up

I suspended my Home Chef account today. Not because I don’t love the service or even think it’s too expensive.

I want to give myself a chance to do some of these things on my own. To see if I can learn to buy groceries and cook meals without someone hand-picking the ingredients for me.

Check back in tomorrow for a bigger update on how I’m going to ruin my life.

Yes, it’s a Saturday, but it is also the first of the month and things are afoot.

I’ll see you tomorrow.

Published by M.A. Brotherton

M.A. Brotherton is a writer, blogger, artist, and fat-kid from the suburbs of Kansas City, Missouri. He’s tasted a little bit of everything the Midwest has to offer, ranging from meth-tweaking rednecks in massive underground cave complexes to those legendary amber waves of grain. When he’s not writing, he spends most of his time screwing around on the internet.

One thought on “Everything I Cooked in June”

  1. thebackyardpoet says:

    Loved the pics. You are becoming quite handy in the kitchen. Can hardly wait to see what exciting things are afoot. One thing we know about you, whatever it is, you will either be in or all out.

Comments are closed.