Meal #43: Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus with Corn

We’ve been hitting the bottom of the barrel in our cookbook – the remaining recipes are all pretty generic and boring, so we’re branching out to create our own dishes. Our first freestyle dish is simple but filling – combining veggies and meat in a tasty, lightweight plate.


For these freestyle dishes, we’ll usually be eyeballing the ingredient amounts – so just do what feels right when combining these. That’s a good philosophy in general.

  • Olive oil
  • Pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Bacon
  • Corn
  • Asparagus

Finished Product

With a little flair of sriracha and seasoned salt, these were ready to eat. They’re light enough for lunch but could be a dinner plate too depending on portion size. One of our first custom dishes on the blog, and it turned out pretty well.

Meal #42: Mediterranean Style Fish Stew

We don’t want to get too used to any one type of dish, so it’s time for some more fish food.

Ingredient List

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 ounces chorizo sausage
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 bulb fennel
    • We’ve managed not to buy this yet so we didn’t include it here
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
    • We had all the other ingredients so making a separate trip to get this wasn’t worth it
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 8 oz clam juice
  • 12 ounces cod fillets
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Finished Product

This was probably the best stew we’ve made so far – the fish was tender and flaky and the spice profile was perfect. Combining the sausage in with the fish made for a very interesting dish.

Meal #41: Cubed Steaks with Garlic Butter

It’s time for another steak recipe – this time with a side of vegetables and a nice creamy butter topping.


  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 12 ounces beef cubed steaks
    • We just bought normal steaks and cut them up
  • 2 teaspoons parsley
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Finished Product

This looked pretty good in the end, but there were some struggles along the way – I added the flour in too early and that threw off the balance of the rest of the ingredients. The liquid was also supposed to be more like gravy. On the bright side, the butter and asparagus turned out great. We might do this one again, but I’ll have to be sure to follow the recipe properly.

Meal #39: Chicken and Chorizo Paella

Seems like we’re shifting to meaty dishes now – here’s a double-whammy with sausage and chicken.


  • 1/2 cup rice
    • Unbelievable, the recipe book actually listed rice as an ingredient instead of leaving it up to us – this might be the first time we’ve seen that
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 4 ounces chorizo sausage
  • 1 chicken breast
    • Tenderloins or bust
  • 1 onion
  • 3/4 cup diced tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon saffron threads
    • No one can afford these and it’s unlikely they make a huge difference in taste
  • 1/4 cup green olives
    • Also known as “the rest of the leftover olives that have been in the fridge for a while”
  • 1/4 cup frozen peas
    • No peas in this house, just edamame

Finished Product

This looked too good in the pan to wait until plating to take a picture. Super tasty, and we used it to feed a special guest – it made well over 5 individual servings, so we had no shortage of tasty paella.

Meal #38: Vegetable Curry with Sweet Potato and Eggplant

Ok, last eggplant dish for a few days, I promise.


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons ginger
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 eggplant
  • 1/2 sweet potato
  • 3 ounces green beans
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
    • Chicken broth, since we just can’t get enough of it
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro

Finished Product

The veggies softened up perfectly and this was a tasty cleanse meal. Another recipe where serving on rice made all the difference in the world.

Meal #37: Classic Beef Chili

Taking a break from eggplant – but not for long – by using up the rest of our ground beef.


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 red pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon coriander
    • Didn’t think we’d use this anywhere else so it got skipped
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • We used at least 4 times as much
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 12 ounces ground beef
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 3/4 cup kidney beans
    • We’re not big fans of beans and we were pretty sure this would turn out fine without them

Finished Product

This was the kind of dish that really retained its heat even after sitting for a while – we made it a little fancier with a dab of sour cream and had plenty left over.

Creme Brulee

To help celebrate our anniversary, we made our favorite dessert at home for the first time – Creme Brulee. It was one of the longest recipes we’ve made with lots of waiting, but we stuck it out and finalized our creation by 1am. It was totally worth it and we might wind up making these pretty often now that we have the power.

Using our new cooking torch we gave the top a crispy layer of caramelized sugar, which is the signature aspect of a creme brulee. We could have gone crispier here, but that just means we’ll need to make some more.

Meal #36: New York Strip Steak with Potatoes and Parsley Sauce

This was a special meal to celebrate our three-year anniversary! Steaks are quite the delicacy, so they were perfect for the occasion.


Parsley Sauce

  • 1/2 cup parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red onion
    • Went with onion powder again here, since we weren’t going to cook the sauce
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    • Getting closer – we’re using red cooking wine this time
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • You know we added more than this

Steak and Potatoes

  • 12 ounces red potatoes
    • Had to estimate, 4 potatoes seemed like the right amount
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 boneless strip steaks

Finished Product

We’ve gotten pretty good at cooking steaks – we deviated from the recipe quite a bit in order to sear the meat our own way, and it paid off. These were juicy and delicious.

Meal #35: Baked Snapper with Roasted Ratatouille

One last eggplant dish to round out the week. I forgot to include the fish in the ingredients picture, but if you imagine the most exquisite snapper you’ve ever seen, that’s what it looked like.


  • 1 can diced tomatoes
    • Our first can of diced tomatoes was twice as large as the standard can, so we re-used the other half from the previous recipe
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1/2 eggplant
    • We might’ve bought a lot of eggplant this week, so increasing to 1 whole eggplant made sense
  • 2 shallots
    • Replacing these with regular onions seemed too aggressive, so we used a bunch of onion powder
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
    • We had some powdered lemon seasoning that we used instead – our bakes commonly have too much liquid to them (probably due to the frozen fish) so adding more lemon juice was something we wanted to avoid here
  • 2 snapper fillets
    • The store had no snapper, so we went with cod
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
    • Apple cider vinegar strikes again
  • Lemon wedges
    • We’re not that fancy

Finished Product

This turned out real good. Unfortunately we only had one frozen cod left from previous seafood dishes, so that’s all we got here – but we’re good at sharing.