Verdict: Win

I can tell that this dish is great, but I botched it up due to my cooking skills:
1. The chicken needed to be marinated for longer than 20 minutes, even though that's what the recipe called for (next time I'll marinate overnight).
2. I didn't properly brown all of the skin before I put the chicken in the oven.
3. I didn't separate the thighs from the legs from the chicken leg quarters I bought, so they needed nearly twice the time in the oven to cook through (roughly an hour).

The chicken was fine, but the flavors never melded through so I had to dip the chicken in the marinade to get the proper flavor (which was actually great!).

Below is the original recipe. I'll play with it more later before I adjust it.

Verdict: Win

This is my kind of comfort food. I love the way the soft sticky rice cakes (nian gao) pair up with the Napa cabbage and chicken, all smothered in that velvety sauce. I'm sold.

Changes: Remove chicken after cooking to make room for more food as well as to avoid over cooking the chicken. Add sauce to taste, as I felt like the dish was salty enough with only half of the sauce. Substituted the yellow onion for the white parts of green onions. Also omitted the red pepper.

The original recipe is below without my changes.

Spaghetti al Limone from Food Network

Verdict: Meh

I was so excited to use this recipe after seeing it in Giada's cookbook. Unfortunately, the lemon sauce that coated the pasta just wasn't my thing. The parmesan made the pasta sort of grainy. DY said it was fine. I probably won't make this again.

Just goes to show you can throw any leftovers into fried rice.

again, blame the blurriness on DY

Verdict: Win

Easy and tasty! Caution with the salt, as all of the salt ends up on the almonds and it's easy to oversalt the dish.

blame the blurriness on DY

Verdict: Win

Perfect and easy as is, except I used pork tenderloin instead of pork loin. This recipe calls for a total of 45 minutes in the oven, but really it only needs about 15 minutes for a tenderloin. Too bad I didn't know this ahead of time, as my pork turned out a kind of dry :( Still tasty, though!

Verdict: Win

Sigh, I really wanted this to turn out perfectly with that crackling crispy skin on top. Unfortunately, I'm not as familiar with my oven as I could be, so I didn't get the crispy skin. it still tasted great, but how can pork belly (aka what bacon's made of) not taste great? Next time I'll set the broil setting on low and adjust the rack higher.

Verdict: Win!

I just so happened to have a lot of yogurt and a lot of lemons, so this was a perfect way to use them up. I love how this cake uses yogurt instead of any butter. I omitted the glaze because I thought the cake was sweet enough without it. The sugar-lemon mixture that is poured over the cake is what makes this cake.

Neely's Wet BBQ Ribs from Food Network

Verdict: Win

Ugh. DY and I are both suffering from an upset stomach, probably from all of the greasy St. Patty's Day food (and Jake's hot dogs...) from yesterday. So while I call this a win, my upset stomach prevented me from properly enjoying these ribs.

Changes: For 4 lbs of ribs, I halved the sauce, substituted molasses for light corn syrup, substituted Dijon mustard for dry mustard powder, and added red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper. I also baked the ribs in the oven at 300 degrees F for 2 hours covered with foil, then half an hour uncovered. I did not care for the dry rub mix, so next time I'll probably just make these oven-baked spare ribs again. It's also so much easier.

Verdict: Win!

Bi bim bap is basically a deconstructed fried rice. The first time I ordered bi bim bap, I didn't know how to enjoy this dish. I made some of the greatest faux pas - I didn't mix in the bi bim bap sauce (gochuchang/gochujang/etc sauce, an amazing sweet and spicy sauce) nor enjoy the runny egg yolk from the over easy egg that tops this delicious dish. My favorite way to eat this dish is as "dolsot bi bim bap," which is just bi bim bap served in a hot stone pot. It doesn't sound special, but in a hot stone pot the rice on the bottom crisps up and is absolutely divine. I've ordered bi bim bap twice this past month (first @Kibu Cafe and second @Maru Sushi, which was the best...and now they also deliver!)

Alton Brown's recipe for bi bim bap satisfied my craving for this dish. I made some considerable changes, though. For the bulgogi I substituted 2 kiwis for the Asian pear, used ancho chile powder for the red pepper powder, used closer to 10 oz of 7-Up, and marinated the meat for about 20 hours since I used a cheaper cut of beef (angus chuck roast). For the actual construction of the bi bim bap, I didn't dizzle/sprinkle any soy sauce, sesame oil, or sesame seeds on the rice. Next time, I'll make sure to blanch the bean sprouts and add spinach and shiitake mushrooms. The julienned carrots were great raw, and do NOT omit the over-easy egg. For the gochuchang sauce, I only omitted the sesame seeds.

Verdict: Win

I helped Kevin finish off the rest of his deli turkey (how did you end up with 2 or 3 boxes of it again??) by making this coconut fried rice. I winged this recipe and it didn't turn out too bad. I didn't think that eggs would pair well with coconut, but the coconut was subtle and fragrant that it actually paired up with the rest of the hodge podge of ingredients rather well. Below is my very rough recipe, just so I can remember some things that I did. Basically, you can add whatever you want to fried rice.

Indian Chicken Curry from Allrecipes

Verdict: Meh?

I'm not sure how Indian this is, but if there is one thing I've learned from this recipe it's that cooking curry is an art. I felt like this curry turned out rather grainy, but when paired with the rice noodles some of the graininess was hidden (which was a good thing). The curry powder I used was super hot, so if I do make this again, I'd use less curry powder to reduce the heat and graininess.

Verdict: Win

I love pumpkin muffins. I've used this recipe countless times, yet this time I tried to cut back on the sugar and up the spices. Bad idea. Well, not that bad. I cut the sugar to 2 cups (vs 3 cups) and the pumpkins muffins had a nice taste and a lingering sweetness that is more pronounced once the muffins have cooled. I may try to make this with apple sauce instead of oil some time. The actual recipe is for pumpkin bread, so I've adapted the recipe to make pumpkin muffins below.

Verdict: Win

Super fast, super tasty. This was basically a hodge podge of whatever I had in the fridge (I think celery would be a nice addition too). I loved the slight heat from the cayenne. One thing I learned was to either slowly cook a whole chicken on low, or if using chicken breasts, to add them at the end so they aren't overcooked. Otherwise, you'll end up picking out the chicken pieces to salvage them like I did :(

Verdict: Win

I needed a low maintenance meal while I studied biochemistry. I decided on this recipe as I barely had to do anything and only had to buy a package of country style ribs, 1 18 oz bottle of sweet baby ray's bbq sauce (sweet and spicy flavor), and OJ. I didn't use all of the bbq sauce and used less OJ, but the sauce still turned out a little watery in the end (but it was perfect to use as a dressing on my spinach). Two hours in the oven was sufficient to get nice, tender ribs.

Aroy-D Green Curry Chicken

Verdict: Win

Aroy-D is a brand of curry paste. I picked it up because it was a cheap way to get all the spices required of green curry. All the dish calls for is to fry the paste, add coconut milk, then boil cubed chicken breast in the curry until done. It takes less than 10 minutes for the chicken to cook all the way, and the chicken was very tender. The taste of the green curry was pretty good, though a little spicier than I expected. Next time I do want to try the Mae Ploy brand, as I've heard really good things about it. I'm also going to make sure I get a hold of some more Thai chili bird peppers and Thai basil. I couldn't find kaffir lime leaves anywhere, though.

Verdict: Win

This was so tasty! Especially with the crusty french bread. DY says that this is his favorite tilapia recipe to date. I cut the recipe in half and made a few changes. My adapted version is below.

Verdict: Win

Again, I didn't have the time to do this Vietnamese dish the "right" way, so I opted for a quick version by using store-bought beef broth. I had to make all sorts of improvisations (my real onions sprouted, so I had to use pearl onions, I bought cheap beef versus flank or sirloin, cinnamon powder over a cinnamon stick, etc etc) to suit my budget and what I already had. Below is my quick recipe.

I didn't have a cute bowl to put this in :(

Verdict: Win

Normally, I don't like recipes that don't do it the "right" way and are instead quick short cut versions of the original. Call me a snob, but I like food done right.

Well, today I don't quite have that luxury. No one wanted to go get ice cream/red mango with me and with an immunology exam looming, I had to whip up something quick to relieve this huge sugar craving (how do I not have any desserts in my house right now???). I don't even have milk, so I subbed with "milk" made from nonfat instant dry milk powder and a dash of heavy cream. It turned out pretty well and it isn't sickening sweet, which is nice. I had a taste of it and it was good, but what's killing me is that I have to wait for it to cool before I can gobble the rest of it down...

...Just had another bite out of the fridge. It's good. Why do I not have my camera right now?? Got it :)

Verdict: Win!

So easy and so good. It says "oven-roasted" kale, but really they turn out to be kale chips. They were as satisfying as regular potato chips, but felt like a nice, healthy vegetable side dish to accompany the lamb shank and rice I had tonight. Surprisingly, this needs less oil and salt than one would think, so don't go overboard like I did! My first batch was a little limp from too much oil, as well as a tad too salty. The second batch was divine :)