Packed Lunches, February 2020

Things I made for work lunches in February.

Week of 2/3/20:

Spinach-Feta Orzo

Spinach-Feta Orzo with Miso-Mustard Beets

This pasta dish is heavily modified from a recipe that a friend recommended last year. I've never made the recipe as written, because dirtying up three pots for what's supposed to be an easy 30-minute pasta dish offends me, but I like my tweaked version. I use a lot of garlic and onion, skip the browned butter altogether because two fats is enough, and add black pepper, red pepper flakes, and paprika; this time I tried it with feta instead of chèvre. The beets on the side were tossed in a combination of olive oil, akamiso, homemade whole-grain mustard, and salt & pepper, and then roasted until done.

Chicken Yassa

Chicken Yassa with Jasmine Rice and Grated Carrot Salad

My recipe is based on this version of Chicken Yassa; I haven't altered it much, but I use 2 or 3 habaneros (because I like it spicy), and I pull the chicken bones out of the pot once the meat starts falling off of them (because I'm a lazy eater). I forgot to put the olives on top!! This is another dish that I like with a grated carrot salad on the side (with toasted pepitas, dried apricot, honey, lemon, coriander, cumin, basil salt, and black pepper).

This week's snack: a back-of-the-box Hershey's Chocolate Sheet Cake with a Peanut Butter Buttercream, made by my partner.

Week of 2/10/20:

Digaag Qumbe

Digaag Qumbe

I'd never tried Somali food before, but this looked similar to curries I made and seemed fairly easy. As per the suggestions in the comments and in the accompanying video, I used Fresno chiles instead of jalapeños, increased all the spices, more than doubled the amounts of vegetables, and served it with fresh spinach, rice, and banana. I really liked the flavor profile!

Peanut Noodles

Peanut Noodles

My usual peanut sauce is based on one in the Sunset Oriental Cookbook; it has peanut butter, water, garlic, ginger, citrus juice, soy sauce, chile paste, and brown sugar. To make noodles like this I usually get water for the noodles going, get the peanut sauce going, and then thinly slice some cabbage and grate some carrots and place them in a large bowl. When the noodles are done I drain them, quickly transfer them to the large bowl before all of the cooking water has dripped/steamed off, and then stir them together with the vegetables (the heat very barely cooks the veggies). When the peanut sauce has thickened enough I dump it into the bowl, too, and mix. My toppings this week were sliced cucumber, pickled ginger, sesame seeds, cilantro, and a delicious failure of a sauce that would have worked perfectly if I'd had a blender instead of a food processor.

Snack: Another cake like above, because we wanted more!

Week of 2/18/20:

Suugo Suqaar

Suugo Suqaar

Another Somali dish from the same chef. I made this almost exactly as the video described, and served it with a roasted sweet potato and a banana on the side.

Green Curry

Green Curry with Jasmine Rice

Green curry again! My partner made it this week. It has chicken thighs, carrots, rainbow peppers, and frozen peas, with a ton of cilantro on top.

Snack: Cardamom Mocha Mochi Cake, adding salt, espresso powder, and cardamom to this recipe.

Week of 2/24/20:

Pork & Green Chile Stew with Roasted Broccoli

A simple stew my mom makes. I pulled the bone half of a pork shoulder from my freezer, cooked it with onion, garlic, black pepper, cumin, oregano, and mayacoba beans, shredded the meat when it was done, and added roasted Hatch chiles back with the meat. It's lighter on heat and chiles than I like this time, because the Hatch chiles from my grocery store have tended to be so spicy that I actually had this stew turn out inedible once... The ones I happened to take from the freezer this time had no heat. Side: Broccoli roasted with 21 Seasoning Salute.


Mujaddara with Roasted Beets

Mujaddara from World Vegetarian again. I've been very in the mood for roasted beets lately, and I also served this with the usual caramelized onions and plain yogurt.

Snack: Pepita-Chocolate Chip Cookies, adapted from Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies in The Best Recipe.