Making the Best of a Bad Situation

I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather for the last few days, and although this has meant being absent from work and school, I took advantage of this time for a few self-improvement projects.

My primary initiative was getting back in the habit of cooking. After my traditional St. Patrick’s Day dinner, I haven’t really stepped into the kitchen much except to pour a bowl of cereal or nuke a corn dog. I’ve been eating a lot of fast food. And although some of has been reasonably healthy and fresh (e.g. sandwiches from Raleys), the majority has been anything but. So on Wednesday I set about improving myself by finding a recipe and preparing it myself.

Since it was Cinco de Mayo, I settled on these Lime Chicken Soft Tacos from They were good, but I’m definitely planning to revisit the dish with some modifications. For example, I think I might use more lime (possibly marinating the chicken in lime juice beforehand) and replace the garlic and onions with Ortega chilies. I’ve been recording these ideas in my Google Docs recipe book, which is working out great. I can easily highlight additions and notes while graying out subtractions, and the core recipe remains recorded until I decide on a final version. I’m definitely happy that I converted all my recipes last weekend.

The other meal I prepared was Oven-Fried Panko Chicken (which I served with a nice Katsu sauce) and white rice. I’m actually really satisfied with how it turned out, and I was very thankful to have my friend Cindy – whose a more experienced cook that I – there to assist me. I can’t wait to make this for my girlfriend. She’s a wonderful chef and the person who introduced me to Panko bread crumbs. All I need is to find a good vegetable to complement this pseudo-Japanese meal.

Although I often feel like a complete moron when it comes to cooking (I had to look up what “sauté” meant), I really do want to get better in the kitchen. A man cannot survive on fast food alone, nor can he solely rely on his girlfriend or mother to prepare all his meals.