March 14, 2011

Garlic Herb Chicken and Asparagus Dinner

Yeah, nothing really new, but I bought a new McCormick spice which we tried out for the first time, and it was delicious! We made our asparagus again; we're definitely making it a weekly thing, it's just too easy, tasty, and healthy not to make.

DISH garlic and herb chicken with a side of asparagus


     We made our usual chicken, but the pre-made spices we bought was a great touch to it; it added much more flavor and I cooked it just enough to make it juicy. The asparagus was great as always.
     Keiko got the asparagus from Food For Less and they were huge!! They were still tasty but not as tasty as the ones from Albertsons. The chicken was good too; juicy and tender with lots of flavor from the seasoning.

March 13, 2011

Trader Joe's Chicken Fried Rice

So for you college students out there, I know you know that sometimes there's no time to cook so you have to rely on frozen or easy made food. Well, today is one of those instances. We'll have the occasional non-homemade product review replacing our should be 'homemade dank' recipes.

DISH Trader Joe's Frozen Chicken Fried Rice


     It was surprisingly really, really good. Easy to make, just simply heat it up in a skillet. They suggest making stir fry by adding in some butter and oil, but we wanted to keep it healthy (which it somewhat is; 200 calories per cup of rice); definitely on the healthier side compared to most fried rice. The sad part was that they barely put in chicken, even though it's called CHICKEN fried rice. But the taste was sweeter than I expected, and the rice was sort of chewy, which I actually liked. We probably would add more of our own vegetables next time, like onions, mushrooms, and such. But overall, pretty satisfying. 
      It was very easy to eat, but I think that the rice could have been softer, and I would have liked more chicken. The vegetables in it gave it a nice crunch.

March 6, 2011

Black Bean Burger

We're running very low on food supplies, so once again I used what I had lying around in the fridge to cook tonight's meal. I sort of kind of followed a recipe, but had to work around the things we didn't and did have.

DISH Vegetarian Black Bean Burger

2 cups black beans
1 cut up tomato
1 teaspoon garlic powder
chopped onions
1 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup parsley
2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
mozzarella cheese
vodka sauce
light sour cream
burger buns
any desired burger condiments

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2) In a bowl, mix together chopped up carrots, tomato, and onion. Add in beans, garlic powder, parsley, oats, salt and oregano. Mix well. (the original recipe called for a food processor, which we do not have)
3) Form into patties and place on baking sheet. Sprinkle cheese on top, along with some sour cream and vodka sauce.
4) Bake for 10 minutes; serve on buns and top with ketchup, mustard, etc.


     Meh, I wasn't the biggest fan of how they turned out. There's just so many things I could have done to make it better: sauteed the onions before putting it the mixture, add less parsley. I felt it lacked that explosive delicious flavor; I did just whip up/experiment with what I had, but something was missing. Or maybe it was the overwhelming taste of the onions I didn't pre-cook. It was still tasteful and was a decent meal, but I wanted something more. Sadly we didn't have burger buns in the house so we toasted some whole wheat bread and put the burgers in them and ate it like a sandwich. All in all, an alright dish.
     Keiko made these out of the remnants of food that she had, so my expectations were slightly lowered, but this dish actually came out pretty good. They were good by themselves with a fork and even better in between bread. They had good texture, moist and soft with carrots and onions for crunch. The sour cream was a nice addition that really helped the taste and you couldn't even tell that there was oats in it! Healthy, tasty.

March 1, 2011

Tofu Mushroom Alfredo Pasta

So today we decided to kind of whip up whatever I had in my fridge. I had some tofu I hadn't used, so I looked up how to cook tofu, and I never knew you just really need olive oil and a pan to cook it. And here's the turnout:

The yellow parts aren't oil; it's melted mozzarella cheese!
DISH tofu mushroom alfredo pasta

olive oil
mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper
oregano leaves
garlic powder
whole wheat penne
light sour cream

1) Cut up tofu in cubes and mushrooms into slices and place onto olive oiled pan. Let that cook under medium heat for about 15 minutes, turning every once in a while. Sprinkle garlic powder, salt, pepper, oregano, and mozzarella cheese; Mix.
2) In another pan, saute some chopped onions in olive oil and then add in some light sour cream.
3) Boil some pasta until tender, drain, and then put back into pot.
4) Put alfredo sauce into the pot with pasta and add some oregano and salt onto penne.
5) Place pasta on top of some lettuce leaves. Top pasta with tofu and mushroom mixture along with the sour creamed onions.


     It turned out pretty good. The tofu, cheese, and mushroom was very flavorful on top of the alfredo penne. The onion and sour cream mixture turned out just the way I wanted it; sweet with a nice sour creamy touch to it. I just love the oregano spice, so it really complimented this dish well. I'm thinking of cooking the tofu in bread crumbs next time to add a nice crunchy texture to it, but I love tofu in any form, even plain.
     I am not the biggest tofu fan; I just don't like the mushy consistency and the blandness of it but having it with alfredo pasta and caramelized onions was a great way to mask them, and who doesn't love alfredo...ahh it's the best. But you end up paying up for it in calories, but who cares. The onions were not completely caramelized so they still had a little crunch to them which made them a little easier to eat. I think that we put caramelized onions on everything now and for a good reason...they are delicious!    

February 28, 2011

Simple Smoked Salmon Sandwich

As I stated in a previous post, we always turn to these pressed sandwiches for dinner because they're easy to make and I always have the ingredients for them. I have two main variations of these pressed sandwiches, the first being the previous mushroom and onion sandwich I posted, and the second one being the smoked salmon one:

DISH smoked salmon sandwich

Nova smoked salmon
whole wheat bread

1) On a slice of bread, layer on cheese (I used mozzarella cheese cause it was the only cheese I had at the time), slices of tomato, slices of avocado, and the smoked salmon.
2) In a pan, saute some chopped onion and mushrooms and sprinkle some salt, pepper, and basil on top.
3) Add the onion and mushrooms onto sandwich and top with some lettuce.
4) Cover top with a slice of bread and put into sandwich presser.


     I always have to have smoked salmon in my fridge because I have the occasional fish craving and it also satisfies my occasional salt craving (which I get often). So smoked salmon in my sandwiches are a big plus. When I have smoked gouda in my fridge, my sandwich usually consists of: smoked gouda, tomatoes, smoked salmon, avocado, and lettuce. Simple but the ingredients go so well together. I'm a huge fan of pressed sandwiches, well actually sandwiches in general. They're easy to make and almost always turn out delicious.
     I love these sandwiches; they have a good texture, the onions and lettuce give it a nice crunch, and the smoked salmon has great flavor. It's paired well with a nice slice of gouda, but we had to substitute mozzarella, and it tasted great anyways. A great item to have a few times a week.

February 27, 2011


So we went back and changed all our dish ratings; we went too easy on some. Also, Brian added all his comments on each dish, his are italicized, so go back and read them! I added a new banner and all the previous posts have a somewhat new layout to them.
Thank you to anyone who is following us!

February 26, 2011

Asparagus and Cheese Stuffed Chicken Dinner with Sour Cream Banana Bread Dessert

So today we decided to pick another homemade recipe from Pillsbury: The Best Of Classic Cookbooks, and we picked out a delicious sounding dinner: herb cheese-stuffed chicken breasts. But we didn't have all the ingredients, which called for a trip to the grocery store. While in the vegetable aisle of Albertson's, Brian spotted some asparagus, something we both love but have never made ourselves, so we decided to buy some and try to take that on. I mean, we really had no idea how to prepare it, so after a quick call to Kirk Plummer (Brian's chef brother who cooks the dankest food), we got tips and an idea on how to best cook the asparagus. After paying for our goods, we left the grocery store with our bags...and the grocery cart. Hey, we're college kids with no cars, and there's no way we're walking home holding many heavy bags without some help; so we took the cart home with us. Not saying that I wasn't against this idea to begin with (happy Brian?)

We got some stares along the way home, but I guess we fit in with SLO's homeless 
community who drag along carts with them all the time.

DISH lightly seasoned asparagus

fresh asparagus
olive oil
salt and pepper
chili powder

1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2) Cut off bottoms of fresh asparagus
3) Lay asparagus on baking sheet. Coat with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a little bit of chili powder.
4) Cook until soft or semi-hard, however you prefer.

     Such an easy dish, but it comes out as such an amazingly delicious and flavorful side dish, all while using minimal ingredients. And you don't feel bad overeating these, which you will, because it's healthy and light. The texture was so good; slightly soft, slightly crunchy near the ends. Definitely will be making these again. Most props to Brian for making these and a big thanks to Kirk for telling us how to prepare this.
     The aspar-gas came out great, with a big thanks to my brother. When I made them, I used way too much olive oil and had to drain some out in the middle of the cooking process because you could hear it sizzling. Regardless, they were absolutely full of flavor and tender. Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables and I had the urge to buy them and make them. My brother recommended that I use chili flakes, but we didn't have any so I used chili powder instead.


DISH herb cheese-stuffed chicken breasts

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 oz. feta cheese, crumbled (1/2 a cup)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano or 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
2 (14.5 oz.) cans Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained (we actually just used 2 medium tomatoes and diced them up and added some salt, pepper, and herbs)
1/4 cup sliced ripe olives (we used mushrooms instead)
4 teaspoons corn starch

1) Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Using a sharp knife, cut a 3-inch slit in meaty side of each chicken breast to form pocket.
3) In medium bowl, combine feta cheese, parsley, oregano, and oil; mix well.
4) Gently spoon half of filling into each pocket. Place chicken in ungreased 13x9 baking dish.
5) In another medium bowl, combine tomatoes, olives (mushrooms in our case), and cornstarch; mix well. Pour over chicken.
6) Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until chicken in fork-tender and juices run clear.


     The idea of stuffing chicken was what made this recipe so initially appealing, and it turned out to be much easier than I thought it'd be. My one regret about this dish was not seasoning the chicken before placing the tomato/mushroom mixture on top: what was I thinking? But the feta cheese was delicious (my first time trying feta cheese by the way) along with the fresh parsley. The highlight was definitely the stuffing. It's a fairly easy dish to make and opens up ideas for making our own stuffing next time. It's also a pretty satisfying, healthy dish.
     It was aight; I think that it got better overnight. I love chicken, I love cheese, and I love tomatoes, but for some reason it was just mediocre to me. A little season or marinade on the chicken would have changed things. On the positive side, I do like the idea of stuffing chicken and baking it; usually I just saute or grill my chicken, so it was a nice change. 


We kind of forked the hell out of our bread everytime we went to check if it was done...whoops.
DISH banana sour cream bread

1 tablespoon white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 1/2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cups white sugar
1 egg
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 of 16 oz. container sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1) Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grease 7x3 inch loaf pans.
2) In a small bow, stir together 1 tablespoon white sugar and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Dust pan lightly with cinnamon and sugar mixture.
3) In a large bowl, cream butter and 3/4 cups white sugar. Mix in egg, mashed bananas, sour cream, vanilla extract, and cinnamon. Mix in salt, baking soda, and flour. Stir in nuts. (at this point, I also added a good amount of cinnamon to the mixture)
4) Pour mixture into pan, bake for an hour or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.


     Very easy to make and it turned out to be one of the best banana breads I've had (and I've had plenty in my life). The sour cream gives it an interesting kick; definitely makes it more dense and thicker. After a while searching for the perfect banana bread recipe on, I found this one, which seemed to get great ratings. Of course people recommended changing the portions of ingredients around, which I did. We ended up baking it for more than an hour. The taste was perfect; the addition of ground cinnamon into the mixture went perfectly with the portion of bananas called for. The texture was just the best; a bit mushy, dense, and thick.
     The banana bread came out so dank; I could eat that every day of my life. It had nice bits of banana and the texture was just perfect. I liked it warm out of the oven and cold out of the fridge equally. Great recipe. Can't wait to make it again.

February 25, 2011

Taj Palace

So after passing this Indian restaurant numerous of times and having the scent of curry go up our noses every time, we finally got around to going! So let's get to the food...
(side note: the pictures didn't come out so great due to the very dim lighting in the restaurant)

DISH Garlic Naan; leavened bread lightly sprinkled with fresh garlic - $2.95
     So cheap and such a good appetizer. Tasted like garlic bread but much better because of the different type of bread they used. It was seasoned perfectly, it was nice and warm, and its spices were just great. I loved the texture; it was light and thin but packed with so much flavor. It was like lightly oiled, garlic-ed up, spiced up pita bread. 
     They had a really nice doughy texture that added to the nice oily garlicness of the bread. It came with 4 pieces so we had 2 pieces each and didn't have to fuss over the last piece like usual. I thought it was a good appetizer.

DISH Lamb curry; lamb cooked in a mildly spiced gravy - $9.95
     The curry was delicious, as expected. We had a hard time choosing between the chicken and lamb curry, but I personally wanted to try to lamb because I don't have it often and it's different. The curry was tasty, with many spices infused in it; it wasn't so spicy which I liked. I wasn't the biggest fan of the slight cilantro taste, but it was very minimal so it didn't bother me much. The lamb was very tender and cooked pretty much to perfection; I wished they added more pieces of lamb though.
     The lamb was nice and tender, but the curry wasn't very spicy at all and was more sweet than anything. I wasn't really sure how to eat it because it is very soup like and they gave us plates to eat it. I haven't had lamb in a really long time so that was a nice change. A little skimpy on the portion, but it was a good.

DISH Chicken Biriyani; basmatic rice cooked with chicken - $10.95
     I really appreciated the portion that they gave us. We ended up dominating it all, but still wished for more. The rice had a mild curry taste to it, and it was just packed with flavor. The chicken pieces tasted and felt like they were slow cooked for hours; it was cooked so tenderly and each bite was just a burst of curry, Indian flavor. 
     This dish is right up my alley; rice and chicken. The chicken was cooked perfectly and was probably cooked for several hours to get the juicyness of it. Very easy to eat and I wish I was able to eat this plate to myself, but I guess i'll just do that next time. 

DISH rice pudding - $no idea
     So we asked our server what their desserts were, and she replied in a very quiet, hard to understand voice with rice pudding and cheeseballs. We decided to keep it safe and go with rice pudding, though I kind of wished we tried the cheeseballs now. The rice pudding, which I thought would be like tapioca, had a subtle taste to it. Actually, it really had very minimal taste at all. I mean, it was sweet and sugary and all, but just didn't have a strong pudding taste which I was looking for. 
     I asked the lady what desserts they had, and when she was naming them off, I couldn't really understand her because of her accent, but I was able to pick up rice pudding so I ordered it. It was more of a traditional rice pudding I guess because it wasn't very sweet and had a strange underlying flavor that I couldn't put my finger on. But overall I think I would have preferred to end my meal without this. It left a bad taste in my mouth and kind of upset my stomach. Would not order again. 

     So our waitress comes back with our check and brought this with it, to which Brian asked, "What's this?!" She told us, once again in a very soft tone, that it was candy; it must be some sort of Indian candy. Brian went to try it, but I wasn't really feeling it. He said it was hard and crunchy and that it was just basically sugar. Ehh, not for me.
     So this came with the check after we started to eat the rice pudding. So I asked the lady what it was and she mumbled something and all i could pick up was candy. By no means was this candy. It felt like I was going to chip a tooth and it left a gross taste in your mouth I didn't eat too many. If you know what this is, please let us know. A very odd way to end a meal.

As you can imagine, if we smelled the curry from outside the restaurant, then it must have been extremely potent inside. So when we walked out of the restaurant, we reaked of curry, which I guess is slightly good and bad.

Taj Palace
795 E Foothill Blvd.
San Luis Obispo, CA 93410

Gooey Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

What's the best thing to do on a rainy class-less Friday? Bake cookies. This happens to be the second time I've made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies using this recipe. I got the recipe online from, and after reading a bunch of reviews for it, different people recommended different portions of certain ingredients, so I took bits of every advice and also changed around the recipe. It's the best recipe I've found yet.

DISH soft oatmeal chocolate chip cookies
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 tablespoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup chopped walnuts (I used chopped almonds instead)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
(ground cinnamon is not included in the recipe, but adds a great flavor to the cookies)

1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2) In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth.
3) Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla.
4) Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt (and ground cinnamon if desired) and stir into the creamed mixture until just blended.
5) Mix in the quick oats, walnuts (or whatever nuts you're using), and chocolate chips.
6) Place spoonfuls of dough mixture onto ungreased baking sheets
7) Bake for 12 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on sheet for 5 minutes after cooking.
Bakes about 30-36 cookies


     The best part about these cookies are that they stay chewy and soft after cooling down, even days after. These cookies are one of the more healthier ones I've found, considering it only uses 1/2 a cup of butter and minimal amount of salt, but the sugar I guess not so much. They're a lot more thick and oat-ey compared to other oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, if you're into that. Warning: they're addictive - that slight cinnamon oat chewy texture mixed with the sweet indulgent taste of melty chocolate chips and crunchy nuts.
     I didn't have the privilege  of eating it fresh from the oven, but they were still nice and chewy and I'm actually eating one right now... hehehe. You don't feel like a complete fat ass eating them either cause there are lots of oats in them. It also gives you a reason to devour a whole plate of them. Like I've always thought...cookies are the most evil of all desserts.