This week started out pretty healthy and ended pretty indulgently. But what else are weekends for, really? I got to try out two recipes I've been interested in for a long time: eggplant parmesan and fried egg rolls. Check out more below to see how they went!
TUESDAY: SWEET CHILI PINEAPPLE CHICKEN
I've really been in the mood to make some kind of chicken dish with pineapple. It's summer, so pineapple is a must for me. Plus, it just gives chicken a really nice, sweet flavour. So I found this recipe that seemed to give me a chance to also use a lot of veggies. In the end, I had mixed feelings on this dish. On the one hand, it was super duper easy to make and had a good flavour. On the other, due to the time in the crockpot, you can't really cube the chicken, it just shreds. Really all you do is throw in a can of pineapple and a bottle of sweet chili sauce, then let it cook in the crockpot a while before adding the veggies. It's pretty sugary, so not the healthiest ultimately. I'd like to try one that lets the fruit carry the sugar without a sugary sauce. It was pretty plain. So good, yes. Impressive, no. The search continues!
WEDNESDAY: EGGPLANT PARMESAN
I've actually never tried eggplant parmesan before. I see recipes for different versions all over the place. The dishes always look so tasty! Plus, if you've been keeping up with my recipe posts, you'll have seen the one a couple of weeks ago when I tried an eggplant burger to feed my new eggplant obsession. This week, I found a recipe labelled as a "healthier version" of a tradition eggplant parm. Sold! Lucky me, it turned out just as good as it looked! I'll (sheepishly) admit that I used a canned sauce to make it quicker and easier. So it didn't reach its full fresh/healthy potential. But it was a lot quicker and easier than I'd anticipated. I'd like to try one with the traditional breading next, but use ground almonds instead.
THURSDAY: PAD THAI
Okay okay, so I usually shy away from Thai food. I'm a wimp when it comes to spiciness. But how delectable does the picture above look?! Plus, I'm usually a fan of the Pinch of Yum recipes. So I was suckered into trying this rainbow vegetarian pad thai. This was a big win for me. And actually, I'll have to admit that I've had it for lunch a couple of days now and I think I prefer it re-heated! The noodles get a slight crispiness on the edges from the microwave that makes it just that much better. I was in love with the flavour but what really did it for me was the texture of the noodles. I'm slightly tempted to make it with zoodles instead (which are already in the recipe) but I'm not sure if it would be as good as spaghetti with zoodles. What do you think? Is it worth a shot? One last note on this recipe- I cannot find chili. So instead, I let some chili flakes soak in the sauce before adding to the noodles. It had a bit of a bite to it, but nothing that I couldn't handle. Perfection.
FRIDAY: BANH MI CHICKEN TACOS & SMASHED SWEET POTATOES
My aunt once told me that she wanted to get more colourful dishes so that her dinners were brighter. At first I thought this was a nice idea. But then, an even better idea crossed my mind: I would rather eat colourfully and have a white plate that the colours really stand out against! And this dish certainly fulfills that. Sadly, I couldn't find purple cabbage here. But I did use some gem lettuce, which was the only lettuce I could find with some semblance of structure. And it worked fine! They just weren't as big so I made several small ones to make up for it. Oh. My. GOODNESS this chicken was perfection. We were picking at the chicken alone before and after we ate our actual tacos! On the side I made these savoury smashed potatoes. I don't think I made them as well as I could've. In the future, I would do these again but cut them in thicker slices, cook for a little less time, and mash them a little less thoroughly so that they keep their structure a bit better. But the flavour of both the sweet potatoes and the aioli were great so I'll be giving this another go in the future.
SATURDAY: AVOCADO EGG ROLLS
I have never been to the Cheesecake Factory, but this recipe claims to be a copycat recipe from the restaurant. I've made fresh spring rolls a few times before, and really enjoy both the process and the end result. So I was intrigued with the idea of trying fried egg rolls. I never make fried food, so this would definitely be a treat. Sadly, this one did not work for me. I used the oil I had on hand, which was sunflower, not vegetable. Other than that, I didn't change anything. Does anyone know if this could've affected my meal? The wrappers never really fried. They just dried out and cracked in the oil over time so that the fillings spilled out. I really wanted this one to work! So I'd love to try it again. But I'm not sure how to fix the absolute disaster I made of it this time around. Please let me know if you have any suggestions!
SUNDAY: MEXICAN PIZZAS
Another recipe I've been interested in for years now is Mexican pizzas. In high school I had a friend who was obsessed with them. But I had my faves that I stuck to at Mexican restaurants so I never tried them. Better late than never! Especially with this dish because oh my gosh it was good. The only change I would make would be to use small tortillas or cut one big pizza in half to share between two people because it was a whole lot of food. But if you use jarred refried beans, enchilada sauce, and salsa, this is a super quick and easy weeknight meal that's also incredibly filling. 10/10.