Bah, not my best photo. I made poor lighting choices. But it was delicious.

Verdict: Win!

I'm officially a chicken thighs convert. They are so much juicier and tastier than chicken breasts as well as much more forgiving if you accidentally overcook them. This chicken dish satisfied my craving for perfectly crispy chicken you basically fry the chicken skin in its own rendered fat. The best part is that it only takes about 35 minutes. Quick (kind of) fried chicken dinner? Yes, please!

The only problem I ran into was with my new cast iron skillet, which, ironically, trying out the new skillet was the reason why I chose this recipe in the first place. First, the 12-inch cast iron skillet is a little big and therefore a bit heavy for me to lift with one hand. Second, I forgot it was cast iron and went to touch the handle...and now my right hand hurts from a slight burn :(

Verdict: Win

Definitely bought too many groceries this week as I was left with a surplus of ripe/edging-on-too-ripe bananas. Looks like I'm still adjusting to cooking for myself this semester, but at least it led to some more opportunities to bake. I wanted to go for a traditional banana bread, but this recipe had me hooked at the nontraditional addition of crystallized ginger. On a whim I bought an ounce of crystallized ginger from The Spice House in Evanston a few weeks ago, and it was just enough for this recipe. I didn't have yogurt on hand, so I subbed in 2% milk plus a little extra butter and it turned out just fine. The bread was perfectly moist and just sweet enough to serve for dessert or breakfast. The best part was that each bite had morsels of smooth chocolate that melt on my tongue and a spicy little kick from the ginger.

I bought >12 bananas today...partially because they were on sale for $0.39/lb, and partially to accidentally end up with too many overripe bananas and thus "forced" to make more banana bread.

Verdict: Win

I've described these cookies to my friends as soft and chewy gingerbread cookies. There's something so magical about the combination of ginger, allspice, cloves, and molasses. In baked goods, they transform each bite into warm memories. You know, all of that spicy, homey, Thanksgiving-ish goodness? I was just in that mood. I can't wait for Thanksgiving.

Verdict: Win

I love all of the recipe writers on Serious Eats, but one of my favorite SE writers is Kerry Saretsky of French Revolution Food. She writes a column for SE where she takes pre-made spreads or sauces and "repurposes them as cooking agents." I love it. I love that my dinner can be quick and classy (aka with a French flair).

The only problem I ran into was that the skin didn't crisp up as much as I had hoped for. Next time I'll play with the broiled settings at the end. I also need to try using my oven thermometer and roasting thermometer. I think my oven doesn't get as hot as it says it does, as the chicken took a little longer than 25 minutes to fully cook.

Verdict: Win

First real solid food (okay, maybe I nibbled on some donuts earlier) after getting my wisdom teeth out was mac and cheese. It was actually more like chopped up lasagna and cheese (hence no picture because it wasn't the prettiest), but it did the job. I like this simple recipe because it only has 4 ingredients, but it's so tasty. I love the combination of the tangy greek yogurt and sharp Parmesan. Make sure to grate your own block of Parmesan, because that Kraft stuff isn't going to cut it.

Verdict: Win

This is the third time I've made flourless peanut butter cookies this summer, and I think that these will be the biggest hit at work. The first time, I made plain cookies. I found them rather boring, but I've never been a big peanut butter cookie fan myself. The second time, I thought it'd be brilliant if I stuffed caramels in cookie for a ooey gooey center, but of course the gooeyness didn't last once the cookies cooled. This time I went for a "payday" cookie, dipping the cookies in a makeshift caramel sauce and pressing nuts into the caramel. The resulting cookie was dense and crumbly with a crunchy caramelly top. I'm pleased.

Another thing that I do like about this recipe is that it is simple and versatile. The ingredients and quantities are easy to remember, and the sugar content can be tweaked to one's preference.