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Cowboy Chicken Fajitas w/ Mango Salsa, Ma Po Tofu variation, Pumpkin & Lentil Mulligatawny

I am so hungry. Every now and then – two or three times a year, I’ll be at a point where it feels like I can eat infinite quantities of food and still be hungry (or at least able to eat more). It’s a bit weird since just last week, I was getting full at the drop of a hat (or fork, as the case might have been), but I can roll with it.

I have fun food things going on.

I made an amazing dinner last night.

It started off with the acquisition of a mango.

So I looked through my spice rack (which is painfully small due to the amount of space int he apartment) and came up with one of the odd spice blends I have adopted due to my mother’s neglect. Cowboy Barbecue Rub. Who can resist that name? Its ingredients are: chile powder, garlic, onion, black pepper, cilantro, cumin, oregano, basil, cinnamon, clove, cayenne – and it always smells like it has dry mustard in it, but apparently it doesn’t.

So I pulled out one of the packages in my freezer with two chicken breasts and dumped a lot of the seasoning in there – and then left it to thaw/marinate in the fridge for a couple days.

Last night, I started off making a mango salsa by slicing purple onion very thinly, cooking it until caramelized, adding a little bit of the seasoning, and then adding the diced mango to the pan just briefly. Then I poured it into a container and added red wine vinegar (less than a teaspoon, I think) – popped that in the fridge.

Then I cooked the marinated chicken on slow heat because I was worried about the whole breasts cooking through – I put some aluminum foil loosely over the pan to keep some of the moisture in.

I assembled all the other ingredients I had to make the meal – red oak leaf lettuce, sharp cheddar cheese, tortillas, sour cream, and an avocado – and then I had an anguishing decision (and called both my mother and Meghan for advice): do I serve it as a plated meal, a quesadilla/fajita kinda of thing, or as a salad?

Oh, yeah – there was also a random sweet potato that I cut up and turned into french fries while I was making the meal.

Both my advisers agreed that it should be fajita night. Oh, man – great decision! MMmmmm!

There’s some salsa and a breast and a half of chicken left over, so I put them together to co-mingle until I turn them into another meal.


So tonight, I am thinking of putting together ground beef, mustard greens, and possibly an eggplant. To me, this says spicy chinese food. None of my chinese cookbooks agree with me. I think I just don’t have the right cookbook.

So plan is – clean as much of the greens as I can be bothered to do. Pickle them (cook briefly in boiling brown sugar and rice vinegar). Then brown and drain the beef. Add onion, garlic, and eggplant. Add some five spice powder. Perhaps mix some spicy stir fry sauce with some oyster sauce so that it doesn’t blow my head off. Add greens.

I have a feeling that this will taste more like an experiment than something good, but we’ll see.


When I start cooking tonight, I shall also be putting a pumpkin in to roast and lentils to soak because I’ll be setting up the soup that [redacted] suggested in the comments to the last entry. I don’t have lemongrass, but other than that, I’m good – limes are even on sale this week.

It sounds like I won’t actually be using a whole can of coconut milk (it’s just a small pumpkin) – so either the rest will go with the chicken and mango somehow (Oooooo) or I can make sweet coconut rice.

Okay, so I need to do a quick inventory of which perishables will not be used up in this clever plan.

1 zucchini
3 apples
2 (peeled!) sweet potatoes (yeah, so either I vastly underestimated the size of a cut up sweet potato or overestimated my capacity – basically I had three potatoes, so that’s how many I peeled) – they might end up wasted… or maybe I’ll make some random mashed potatoes.
probably some of the mustard greens will be left over
1/2 head red lettuce
scallions (can totally go in the chinese food)

1 cup beef stew
duck stock! (duh! So freeze half in the beef stew container once you empty it, and use the rest to make the pumpkin lentil soup)
lots of meat is on sale this week. I need none of it.

breadcrumbs – so these aren’t really perishable, but I have leftover bread I dried to turn into bread crumbs, but my container is all full.

2% milk
light cream
greek yogurt (which I bought without a plan because it was there!)
sour cream
cream cheese
italian seasoned cheddar (open!)