The Stolen Chicken Sandwich

IMG_2206The Stolen Chicken Sandwich

Prep-time: 5 minutes, after making sure there’s no one looking
Calories: Probably close to 500, on account of the fried chicken.
Healthy (+): It tastes good!
Healthy (-): It tastes good. 😦
Cost: Free! Mwuahaha!
Feeds: One. Don’t tell anybody.

Delicious scale: 4 stars (loses a point for the bitter taste of guilt)

Living with another human being necessitates the sharing of some household items: the TV remote, the hot water in the bathroom, the blankets on the bed, and the refrigerator. If you’re like me, a voracious consumer of all things edible, then the latter can be a particularly difficult problem when food items which are not your own appear in the icebox.

Now, The Partner has the self control of a Roman statue (and consequently the body to match) and often leaves portions of her meal in the fridge… which she then forgets about. Myself, having the self control of a bear in autumn, then find these extra morsels waiting patiently on the shelf for a hungry mouth. Often, I confess, the temptation is too much and I succumb to my dark desires.

The cheesecake will be mine.

Or in this case, the fried chicken. Oh, reader, it was good, I can say that much. Laid out on a bed of lettuce, surrounded by crunchy croutons, who could ever resist? Naturally, consumed by guilt I confessed my sin to The Partner when she got home. Of course she’d forgotten all about the chicken, and showing great mercy, forgave me for my transgression. Ah, the love of my life.

Ingredients

– 3 pc leftover fried chicken
– 1 bag of green things
– 1 avocado
– 1/2 red pepper
– croutons to taste
– Buttermilk ranch dressing

How to Prepare

1) Open fridge for the usual salad suspects
2) Spot container of chicken.
3) Bite lip and close fridge. That’s The Partner’s chicken.
4) Chop red pepper and cube avocado. Add to green things.
5) That chicken sure looked good, huh?
6) Add croutons to distract from tempting food items.
7) Three pieces of chicken though. I mean, what is she saving it for?
8) Liberally pump out the ranch dressing. Must not steal The Partner’s food.
9) Consider salad. It is definitely missing something.
10) Steal chicken. It’s ok.
11) It’s totally not ok, but damnit, it’s delicious!
12) Feel immediate guilt upon finishing salad.
13) Cry.

How You’re Supposed to Make It

Fried Chicken Salad

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Full Fungus Salad

IMG_2207Full Fungus Salad

Prep-time: 3 minutes (or however long it takes you to chop)
Calories: Few. Mushrooms are surprisingly low cal.
Healthy (+): Lots and lots of green.
Healthy (-): Cheeeeese
Cost: about $8
Feeds: One lonely diner

Delicious scale: 4 stars

Ingredients

– 6 white cap mushrooms
– 1/4 a head of romaine lettuce
– 5 cherry tomatoes
– finely grated mozzarella cheese
– basil cheese dressing

Preparation

1) Chop chop
2) Choppity-chop-chop
3) ???
4) Profit
(seriously, it’s all chopping)

Sometimes when I’m caught up in life (read: napping, studying, napping, writing, napping, reviewing etc) I forget to take the time out of my busy napping day to go out to the grocery store and buy nice, whole foods that aren’t going to kill me in a race between diabetes and cancer. That leaves me at the mercy of whatever I have in my fridge to make something healthy to eat when I have that “Oh, Shit, I actually have to eat.” moment. Fortunately, The Partner usually picks up green things when she comes home from work. She claims she has a vested interest in my health. I think she likes to see me suffer.

Today I happened to have romaine at my disposal, as well as my salad staples, cherry tomatoes and cheese, and some mushrooms. I’m going to be honest, as much as I love mushrooms, white caps are the only ones I’ll eat raw. I don’t know why. Conditioning, I suppose. White caps were all we ever had when I was growing up. Japan has so many varieties of mushrooms that I feel a little overwhelmed when shopping for them, so I tend to stick to my old favorite.

Admittedly, I’m not a huge fan of romaine. I think it comes from once having found a dead moth in my caesar salad. Something like that tends to put you off of a food. I don’t care much for its fibrous texture and oddly enough, I don’t find it as flavorful as iceberg, which has been proven to be nothing but a bunch of water molecules trapped in the tightest bear hug ever. Anyway, romaine makes a good salad filler. At least as good as cabbage on the best of days. I’ll always prefer it paired with barbeque, but it makes a good bed for mushrooms and cheese in a pinch.

Speaking of which, mushrooms and cheese has to be one of the best food pairings I’ve ever had. I’ll make stuffed mushroom caps entirely with cheddar cheese and be a happy woman.

How You’re Supposed To Make It

Asparagus & Mushroom Salad

Popeye’s Italian Odyssey

*POP* That’s the sound of me racing back to this blog, approaching the speed of light. I have kept the rabbits waiting. Terribly sorry for that. No more delays. Let’s get into it:

Popeye’s Italian OdysseyIMG_2564

Prep-time: 6 minutes
Calories: Probably not more than a couple hundred.
Healthy (+): So much spinach
Healthy (-): Go easy on the cheese
Cost: about $5
Feeds: 1 woman in desperate need of dark green, leafy vegetables.
Delicious scale:3-stars-out-of-5
Ingredients

– one bag of spinach leaves
– one whole tomato
– half a cucumber
– half a red pepper
– Whatever is left in the bottom of the thousand island salad dressing bottle
– Croutons
– Shredded cheese

First of all, this salad was born out of the hasty need to put green things in my body. With the World Kendo Championships just around the corner, people from all over the globe are coming to visit our humble club which means these past and coming weeks are an orgy of fried food and beer. What, you didn’t know that kendo is half intense, screaming stick fighting and half getting roaring drunk and hoping sensei pays? The more you know. Obviously a stiff salad is needed.

I know this salad is healthy because I dumped an entire bag of spinach into it. I chose spinach because it was what was in the fridge, and also because on the scale of dark, green leafy vegetables, spinach is like, the darkest, greenest and leafiest of them all, or else cartoons have lied to me. It also tastes like ass, so I had to defuse it with other, yummier things, like tomatoes, cucumber, red peppers and croutons. The result was… meh. Probably because I didn’t have enough salad dressing, but also because I forgot to account for the water content in whole tomatoes. No, I don’t cut the middles out of my tomatoes because shut up. The cucumber and croutons gave this salad some much needed crunch, but the whole thing ended up as a soggy, bland mess regardless. But it was healthy!

How I Made It

1) Dump an entire package of spinach into a spare Tupperware because your Perfect Salad Bowl (TM) has gone missing.
2) Cut a half a cucumber carefully in hand. Add to bowl.
3) Make a mental note to wash the cutting board along with the rest of the dishes after dinner.
4) Repeat step two with a tomato and red pepper.
5) Shake out the dregs of salad dressing from the bottle.
6) Realize that your salad looks pitifully unappetizing and add croutons and cheese.
7) Add more cheese, because cheese.
8) Enjoy.
9) Forget to wash the dishes.

How You’re Supposed to Make It

Spinach and mushroom salad (with bacon)

The Laziest Fruit Salad

The Laziest Fruit Salad, EverIMG_2175

Prep-time: 5 minutes (including the walk)
Calories: It’s fruit, so I’m pretty sure calories don’t matter.
Healthy (+): Loads of citrus means loads of cold fighting Vitamin C
Healthy (-): Pineapple makes my tongue burn.
Cost: about $4
Feeds: one person, though it comes with two forks, so I guess two people who don’t mind sharing.
Delicious scale:4 stars

I had a bit of a rough weekend battling with a cold virus, and as tends to happen when germs lay a person down, the work started to pile up. So, while I’ve been sticking to my salad a day diet, I haven’t really had the time to blog about it. UNTIL NOW. I have a bit of a salad back-log going though, so let’s start with something easy.

Ingredients

– pineapple
– pink grapefruit
– navel orange
– kiwi

Instructions

1) Walk to supermarket and buy a fruit salad.
2) Put salad in bowl.
3) Pretend you actually made the salad yourself.

Honestly, I didn’t even walk down to the store. The partner was good enough to brave the elements for me and pick me up a vitamin C injection. It seems to have worked. The cold is mostly just hanging on by a few sticky threads in my lungs, but other than that I’m feeling most of my energy returned to me and none of the aches and fever I had on Saturday. I chalk up the speedy recovery to the addition of a salad a day into my diet. It really works people!

The Leftover

The Leftover SaladIMG_2160

Prep-time: 5 minutes
Calories: Less than lots
Healthy (+): Veggies galore!
Healthy (-): Cheese, tortilla chips, sodium
Cost: about $0
Feeds: 4 people at sensible portions. 2 ravenously hungry women.
Delicious scale:4 stars

I don’t know why cooking for two is so damn hard. Cooking for one is relatively easy, if your eyes aren’t monstrously bigger than your stomach. Cooking for three or more also isn’t all that difficult because odds are someone in the group is going to eat like a mouse while someone else has bottomless stomach/high metabolism so that any extra food is pretty much guaranteed to be licked out of the bowl. But for some reason, cooking for two always results in either not enough food, or too much food, so someone has to wake up extra early so that they can make off with the leftovers like some sort of midnight snack elf. Fortunately the partner made herself pasta for lunch today, and even if she hadn’t, she was significantly put off by the onions in the taco salad to stay far, far away from it. The point is, I had left over green stuff today. No more beef though. Beef doesn’t tend to be a leftover in Japan.

How I made it:

Ingredients

– One bowl of leftover green things.
– 1/4 bag of shredded mozzarella cheese.
– Remains of corn chip crumbs.
– The smears remaining at the bottom of a thousand island dressing bottle.

Instructions

1) Scoop out leftover green things into salad bowl.
2) Sprinkle on cheese.
3) Sprinkle on chip crumbs.
4) Shake out last few pitiful drops of dressing onto salad.
5) Eat super easy salad.

Quick, easy, no cost. What’s not to love about this salad? Honestly, I don’t know why I can’t have leftover salad every night.

Late Coming Taco

Late Coming Taco SaladIMG_0002

Prep-time: 40 minutes
Calories: Lots
Healthy (+): Umm… some vegetables
Healthy (-): Beef, cheese, tortilla chips, sodium
Cost: about $20
Feeds: 4 people at sensible portions. 2 ravenously hungry women.
Delicious scale:4 stars

I worked hard yesterday. I sweated. I saved my calories. I deserved meat! After powering a super walk up the mountain and pushing myself through an hour and a half of kendo, my muscles were crying for protein. Alex put the idea of taco salad into my head yesterday at work, and there it bloomed, a delicious promise to myself if I could just get through the rest of my day. Sadly, kendo went overtime and by the time I got home, all the supermarkets were closed (cry). So there was no yummy taco salad yesterday. Today, though, by God I was going to have a taco salad and nothing was going to stand in my way.

How I made it:

IngredientsIMG_0001

– 1 head of iceberg lettuce
– 1 white onion
– 1 red pepper
– 4 firm tomatoes
– 6 sprigs of Italian parsley (cilantro can go to the devil)
– 1 bag of avocado cream cheese corn chips
– 1 lb of ground beef
– shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions

1) Slice iceberg lettuce into thin strips. Or to specific taste. I prefer thin strips. Add to large bowl.
2) Cut onion in half. Ponder the strange green spots inside onion. Consult partner about said spots. Cut and throw out spots from onion, and chop the rest* finely and add to bowl.
3) Dice the parsley into unidentifiable flakes of green goo. Ponder how herb chopping skills could correlate with body hiding skills. Add goo to bowl.
4) Chop tomatoes into fine cubes. There are lots of blogs out there that will tell you how to cube a tomato. This is not one of them. Add goo to bowl.
5) Hollow, slice and dice red pepper. Add to bowl. It should look like Christmas. If not, you’ve done something wrong.
6) Rescue taco seasoning from a year-out-of-date box of Old El Paso hard taco shells.
7) Ponder the viability of probably expired taco sauce. Consult partner about said taco sauce. Ultimately throw out taco sauce, but use seasoning.
8) Follow directions on Old El Paso box:

  • Brown beef in a skillet.
  • Drain beef.
  • Add one cup of water and taco seasoning to beef.
  • Let simmer for 7-8 minutes or until most of liquid has boiled off, stirring often.

9) Beat the bag of corn chips like it owes you money.
10) Portion out salad into individual bowls.
11) Sprinkle corn chip crumbs onto salad.
12) When done, add beef to top of salad, to taste.
13) Sprinkle on cheese quickly. QUICKER! It won’t melt, otherwise!
14) Gorge.

This was a bit of an experimental salad. I mean, I know intuitively (and from experience) what a taco salad is supposed to be, and what it’s supposed to taste like, but not how to make one. There isn’t any place to buy real tacos or corn chips around here either, except for the expensive foreign foods store that only sells them in big bags. That’s dangerous. So, like most instances involving me cooking, this was improvised. It turned out pretty damn good, all things considered.

* It is the opinion of the partner, and my indigestive stomach, that half an onion is the optimal amount of onion for this salad. We’re going to be sleeping facing away from each other for a few nights.

How it’s supposed to be made.