SEASON TO TASTE
Original recipes derived from my everyday cravings
Some of you may recall my consistent promises over the past 4 years for a cookbook. Well as it turns out, those are very difficult to write while working full-plus time in a kitchen! Rest assured, I did jot plenty of recipes down in those 4 years...
Please note that I am neither a professional writer nor a patient recipe tester, so some tweaking may happen along the way. If you've ever seen me cook, it's mostly just me throwing unmeasured amounts of ingredients together and calling it good. Anyway, I hope you enjoy these concoctions and try them out yourselves!
During my second week in quarantine, I decided to do a fun little game with my Instagram followers and cook a dish with random ingredients that they submitted. The first challenge was to cook with eggplant, cinnamon, anchovies, couscous, and buttermilk, yikes... but somehow I managed to create a delicious Eggplant Parmesan out of that! I had so much fun with the challenge that I continued to do it for the next 12 weeks after that.
If you're interested in checking out the challenges, the first 7 are found on my personal Instagram under the highlight "Quarantine Kitch". The remaining 5 are on the JenicaEats Instagram account under the IGTV and Reels tabs, as well as on YouTube, both links are found below:
Watch me spin a globe and choose a random country to get inspired from! My goal with making these videos is to grow my own knowledge of other cuisines while sharing my cooking skills with viewers along the way. I choose dishes that I have very little experience with, so it forces me to go outside of my comfort zone while still doing what I love. Watch the videos on Instagram, under the IGTV tab.
How to stress over what you're going to eat just one day a week
There was a while where even after working a 13-hour shift I wouldn’t mind coming home and spending an hour cooking my dinner. Then, I moved to L.A. and the thought of cooking after working two jobs, sitting in traffic, finding a parking spot, walking the dog,... well, it didn’t sound nice. I’ve always enjoyed meal prepping for other people but now that I do it for myself it has made me get into it even more.
I like to think meal prepping can happen in three different ways. One, simply grocery shopping for everything once every week or two, maybe even starting the prep for things like cutting vegetables. The second way is to make your meals for a few days or the week, but don’t cook anything. This usually consists of chopping fruits and vegetables, marinating meats, and portioning foods out to make the task of cooking much easier when it happens. This way makes it so your meals are always fresh and made to order, but you still take some time to prepare them. The final style of meal prepping and the way I do it for most people is to cook everything ahead of time, portion it out, and have it ready to just grab and pop it into the microwave, pan, or the oven. It makes for one crazy day of cooking, but minimal effort the rest of the week.
Whatever way you choose, I recommend meal planning become a part of your routine because it saves time, money, and makes it much easier to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I attached here a meal chart that I created that can be a helpful tool when planning out your week. Not only does it help plan meals, but it also has a grocery list built in to make things extra efficient. One pdf is an example of how to fill it out, and the other is blank so you can print out (maybe put on your fridge), or just use electronically and type things on it. There is also a third file on there with some of my healthy dinner ideas if you get stumped. I hope this helps!
Culinary Arts & Baking
I have been in the kitchen since I was a toddler, but didn't start professionally cooking untiI was 20. While I love to talk about my experience, at the end of the day a few years really isn't that much time and I still have loads to learn. I love hearing everyone's varying opinions on certain dishes and techniques because everyone does things their own way. I have been fortunate enough to have had some amazing mentors in the kitchen and I look forward to meeting so many other food professionals like these!