Budget Challenge Update #5 Groceries

receiptLast night while I was doing my grocery and meal planning I had a huge craving for roast chicken (I’ve been eyeing the Zuni chicken recipe), and at $10.46, this 3.9 pound bird swallowed up nearly half of my budget. The previous week was mostly vegetarian. The total of this week’s grocery bill is $21.21.

I rationalized the meat purchase because of all those “one chicken, five dinners” blog posts. Though, I might have changed my mind if I googled a little more extensively. The meat only lasts two or three meals, and they use stock to make soup or risotto for the rest, which I think is sorta cheating. But a month or so ago, my roommate bought a rotisserie chicken and after picking the carcass clean, she froze the nuggets of meat in Ziploc baggies to add to soups and quesadillas and all sorts of convenient deliciousness. Continue reading

Budget Challenge Update #4

zucchini gratinDuring the weekend I succumbed to boxed macaroni and cheese. I was feeling incredibly lazy and I need to pack something for lunch on Monday. I also finally threw out the dreaded slime meatballs but I kept the tomato sauce. It actually has a really nice meat-y flavor. I had it with pasta for dinner on Monday and lunch on Tuesday with a bit left over for today. Continue reading

Top 5 Savory Toaster Oven Recipes

For about four years, I cooked with a toaster oven that you couldn’t even fit a shoe box into. I consider it one of my greatest skills and I continued to hone my technique when I moved back to the states. A few months ago, the toaster oven caught fire and hasn’t been the same since. But sometimes I still think of the glory days! Here is a compilation of my favorite savory toaster oven recipes. To my friends back in Taiwan and China, I’m missing all those good times. Continue reading

Budget Challenge Update #3 Groceries


The weather has warmed up again so it looks like fruit smoothies will make up the bulk of my breakfast this week. I can also mix things up with avocados and eggs for breakfast or as part of dinner. I wanted to focus on getting more veggies this week, and use my stores of quinoa, farro, and rice. Miso glazed egg plant, stir fried zucchini, etc. Continue reading

Budget Challenge Update #2

After a rough start, the first week of the budget challenge did not go too poorly. I had oatmeal for breakfast most days and mixed things up this morning with an almond berry smoothie. In addition to making the meatball disaster, this is what I made this week:

Continue reading

Update: Printable Recipes!

I’ve been wanting to make my recipes more easily accessible. Personally, I like to print out new recipes so I don’t get flour and eggs all over my laptop and I can also jot down adjustments quickly in the margins. While many websites use plugins, it’s not an option for WordPress.com blogs.

I stumbled upon this old blog post which lays out five options for making it easier for readers to print recipes, lists, tutorials, etc. Of the five options, I ended up using a free service called Print Friendly. You can find it at the bottom of each post. I have labeled it with a handy dandy red arrow. Just click on it, and you’ll be able to print out the blog post without weird spacing and links. Continue reading

Spaghetti Squash Spinach Fritters with Feta and Bacon

spaghetti squash fritters

When I was in high school, I read a poem about frittata recipe which used leftover spaghetti. It sounded fun and whimsical. I carried that belief that frittatas where a spaghetti egg dish with cheese into college where I was bluntly corrected by a man who scoffed through his mustache. Naturally, it was a short story class. Continue reading

Budget Challenge Update #1

The September challenge is going swimmingly. If you want God to laugh, tell him your plans.

The meatballs turned into a pink slime disaster. Anyone with half a brain should know not to try to chop up sausage meat with a food processor. Even a pulse or two is a very bad idea. It is the stupidest cooking mistake I’ve ever made. The meatballs didn’t look bad, especially since the majority of the meat was not pink slime. But the texture was awful.

My hand is still bruised by trying to hack at the spaghetti squash with a dull chef’s knife. I roasted it for fifty minutes and it was alternatively slimy and crunchy. I think reheated and smothered with sauce, it may have some redeeming value. But it was quite a sad dinner.

The next morning, the frittata didn’t turn out much better. Cooking in the pan, it smell and looked great. It had a base of leftover home fries with plenty of spinach, mushrooms, roasted red peppers, and feta cheese. There were six eggs beaten with a few tablespoons of milk. It looked cooked and even a tad overdone, puffed and golden, but when I flipped it onto the cutting board, it bled yellow over the counter and onto the floor.

I bought a green curry for lunch. I know it is shameful and weak-willed, but I do allot myself to eat out once a week. I had a leftover piece of foccacia (pizza dough drizzled with olive oil, salt, and rosemary) and a pluot for dinner.

I am writing this down in hopes that it provides comedic value to someone. The weekend was not one of my culinary achievements.