Category Archives: Dinner

Prosciutto, Peach & Mozzarella Salad

ProsciuttoPeachSalad

Just because fall is here doesn’t mean we have to stop making huge fresh salads. I don’t have any complicated secret recipe to share today, just an idea for a killer salad that is super easy and totally dinner party worthy. We had a get-together a few weeks ago with 4 sets of twins, yes FOUR. It was pure chaos and there was pretty much a steady stream of babies screaming the entire time but it was still fun to get together with other parents who totally get it, no judgement whatsoever. I made this salad and served it with a balsamic vinaigrette and it was delicious!

Prosciutto, Peach & Mozarella Salad

I started with a bed of fresh arugula and topped it with ribbons of zucchini (made with the vegetable peeler), juicy peach slices, small mozzarella balls and small pieces of thinly sliced prosciutto.

Prosciutto, Peach & Mozarella Salad

Lately I’ve been serving salads spread out on wide serving platters rather than piling it in a deep bowl. I think you can show of the ingredients better this way and you don’t loose all of the good stuff on the bottom. If you have a serving platter, give it a try next time, it works much better.

Meanwhile, these little boys are getting SO big, I can’t even believe it…

Boys1

They both have their own amazing personalities. Camden is observant and calm but loves a good belly laugh and is OB-SESSED with bouncing. Jax is the happiest little baby I’ve ever seen, his smile lights up the room, his giggle is contagious and he’s ready to start climbing walls soon, this kid is going to get into everything.

Boys2

Boys3

They are totally starting to interact and it’s a blast to watch. They are obsessed with each other’s eye balls and pretty much spend the entire day trying to steal each others toys. It’s so cool to think that they will have a best friend to grow up with and will share such a special bond.

WHAT MAKES ME HAPPY:

Warm evening walks with the boys.

StrollerRunsThere aren’t many of them left but I’ve been trying to soak in the few nice summer-like evenings we have left.  I’m going to miss my long stroller walks.

Summer

This was an incredible summer, I love fall but I am going to miss the flip-flop weather, long days and warm breezes. Until next year! Bring on the apples, sweatshirts and pumpkin spice!

 

10 Steps to make a Kick-A$@ Pulled Pork on the Smoker

Step-By-Step Instructions on making Pulled Pork on the Smoker

I realize that it’s August 31st, I understand that kids are going back to school and September is literally a day away but I am NOT ready to say goodbye to summer. I’m not ready to say goodbye to beaches and evening walks and Sunday jazz nights and the sound of the ocean breeze blowing the green leaves on the trees.  I’m in denial that Autumn is on it’s way so I figured I would focus on some BBQ today so we can spend a little more time soaking in the joys of summer.

Our friend Blake is the master of all masters at smoking meat and since he’s the expert, I reached out to him to see if he would walk me through his process so I could see how he makes these glorious creations AND so I could share it with all of you. They currently live over an hour away but they’re moving to the next town over in just a month so I’m going to make him smoke meat for us ALL THE TIME now, Blake, you better get your wood pile stocked up!

Seriously though, this is some of the best pulled pork I’ve had, I’ve been to all sorts of fancy bbq places throughout the country and I realize people are very protective an specific about their bbq but Blake makes some killer BBQ.

So today, we’re going to take you through step-by-step foolproof instructions on making a kick a$# pulled pork on a smoker in 10 EASY STEPS. I supplied the Stubbs BBQ and Blake did all the hard work. Here we go!…

Step-By-Step Instructions on making Pulled Pork on the Smoker

STEP 1 – we’re going to start the day before we smoke it with a nice 8lb bone-in pork butt.  You can see it has nice marbling and fat throughout to keep it moist & juicy.

Step-By-Step Instructions on making Pulled Pork on the Smoker

STEP 2 – Inject a marinade into the pork butt.  We used Stubbs Chipotle Butter, if you don’t have that, you can use a mixture of Apple Juice, Apple Cider Vinegar & Salt.

Step-By-Step Instructions on making Pulled Pork on the Smoker

STEP 3 – After you have injected it, cover it with foil and put it into the fridge to sit overnight.

Step-By-Step Instructions on making Pulled Pork on the Smoker

STEP 4 – The day of smoking: Take the pork butt out of the fridge, drain the marinade that is sitting in the container and apply the rub.  Let is settle in (sweat) for about 30 minutes. You can use Stubbs BBQ rub which I love or you can use your favorite mixture of sweet & savory spices.

Step-By-Step Instructions on making Pulled Pork on the Smoker

STEP 5 – Early in the morning, fire up some charcoal. Blake started his around 7AM.

Step-By-Step Instructions on making Pulled Pork on the Smoker

This is the beauteous smoker that Blake uses for his meat.

Step-By-Step Instructions on making Pulled Pork on the Smoker

STEP 6 – Place the charcoal & wood in the smoker along with the pork butt. Blake used Hickory, Apple & Cherry Wood and smoked it for about 6 hours.

Step-By-Step Instructions on making Pulled Pork on the Smoker

This is what the meat will look like after about 4 hours on the smoker. Continue to spritz with apple juice throughout the process for moisture.

Step-By-Step Instructions on making Pulled Pork on the Smoker

STEP 7 – After about 6 hours on the pit, apply the 2nd injection to provide flavor and moisture.

Step-By-Step Instructions on making Pulled Pork on the Smoker

STEP 8 – After you have injected the pork, wrap it in foil and place in the oven at 225 F for about 2 hours.

Step-By-Step Instructions on making Pulled Pork on the Smoker

STEP 9 – Now it’s time to pull the pork! Using forks or prongs or a knife, pull pork apart until shredded and in smaller pieces.

Step-By-Step Instructions on making Pulled Pork on the Smoker

Step-By-Step Instructions on making Pulled Pork on the Smoker

Step-By-Step Instructions on making Pulled Pork on the Smoker

STEP 10 – Pour on the BBQ Sauce! We used Stubbs Sticky Sweet.

STEP 10.1 – Invite all your friends over and watch them devour every last piece.

Thank you Pitmaster Blake for sharing your secrets with us and to Stubbs for providing the delicious sauces, rubs & marinades.

If you need me, I’ll be on the beach eating bbq, I don’t care what you say, it’s still summer…

 

Cashew Crusted Chicken with Creamy BBQ Sauce

Cashew Crusted Chicken w/Creamy BBQ Sauce

Hey there! Look! It’s some food! Yes, I’m still eating over here. Actually we’re eating quite well since we are no longer able to go out to restaurants every weekend.  We’re doing a lot of cooking at home lately but I usually have about a 10-15 minute window when the boys aren’t crying or needing attention so things have gotten a little simpler these days.  A lot of salads and potato sides with a simple grilled meat is what we’re cooking up these days.  I’ve been eyeing all of the delicious Stubbs BBQ sauces I have in the pantry and was excited to do something a little more creative, maybe something that I could share with you guys.

SO, here it is! We don’t have picky kid eaters yet but I bet this might even be kid approved.  You could make them as chicken fingers and serve the sauce as a dipping sauce on the side instead if your heart so desires. What kid doesn’t love dipping stuff? Oh man, I’ve officially become a mommy blogger haven’t I? Oh well, embrace it! Don’t worry, I’ll post some pics of the kiddos at the end too 🙂

Cashew Crusted Chicken w/Creamy BBQ Sauce

I started by ever so quietly (since the babies were sleeping), smashing cashews. I’ll let you guess how that one ended up.  Just throw them in a bag and smash the crap out of them with a mallet until they’re in tiny pieces. I suggest you do this on a weeknight so you can take out some of that workday stress on the nuts.

Cashew Crusted Chicken w/Creamy BBQ Sauce

Then I set up a little assembly line for the breading.  I think I’ve gotten a pretty good process down for this that doesn’t dirty 25 million dishes and make a mess everywhere.  I fill one freezer bag with flour, then I filled another freezer bag with the breading (in this case crushed cashews and breadcrumbs.) Then I whisked up some eggs with a little cashew milk, honey, dijon mustard and seasoned it with salt and pepper.

Cashew Crusted Chicken w/Creamy BBQ Sauce

I used chicken tenders but you could use breasts cut into strips as well.  First, add a piece of chicken to the flour bag and toss gently to coat. Then dip it in the egg mixture and move it to the cashew breading bag and toss it around until coated on all sides. Repeat with the remaining pieces of chicken.

Cashew Crusted Chicken w/Creamy BBQ Sauce

Then you sauté them up using a little olive oil until they’re nicely browned and cooked through.  I usually turn the oven on and hold the chicken there while I cook a few batches.  You can also finish cooking them in the oven if you find they’re browning before they’re fully cooked through.

Cashew Crusted Chicken w/Creamy BBQ Sauce

It’s funny that there is a spoon in the sauce because I could probably have eaten it with a spoon. I may have judged myself but it was certainly not out of the realm’s of possibilities.  This delicious little concoction was simply a mixture of plain greek yogurt, a little mayonnaise and Stubb’s Hickory Bourbon BBQ sauce.  I have yet to find a flavor of their’s that I didn’t like so you’ll be in good shape whichever one you choose.

Cashew Crusted Chicken with Creamy BBQ Sauce

This was seriously so delicious, I can’t wait to make it again. I’ll also be whipping up this sauce for more meals this summer, maybe to dip some grilled vegetables in or as a sweet potato fry dipping sauce, mmmm…

WHAT’S MAKING ME HAPPY THESE DAYS:

nahant

The beautiful place that we call home.  Summer has arrived and the beach days are here! Every afternoon when I go out for a walk I’m reminded of the beauty that surrounds us.  A few nights ago right as I was putting the boys to bed, it’s as if the whole world was glowing and calling me outside.  It was 8:30 and everything was this deep yellow shade, like some sort of dream world.  I ran down to the end of the street and snapped some photos. It was unreal!

kitchen

The pendant lights that just went up in our new kitchen. I’m in love. I’m not ashamed to say that I pull up pictures of the new house on my phone multiple times a day and just stare at them. Only a few more weeks until moving time! eek! Guess we should probably pack huh?

boys

These guys. Of course. I’m treasuring every moment.  They obviously know the other one exists but they don’t spend a ton of time interacting yet. BUT, there was this rare moment last weekend when I was visiting my parents, I laid them both down on the blanket to change their diapers and went to go grab the diapers and wipes. When I came back they were laying staring at each other and then Camden reached over and touched his cheek and babbled a few sounds and Jax responded with a coo. OMG, melt my heart!

boys2

boys3

 

And a few more, just for cuteness overload 🙂

Enjoy the chicken and the babies! Hope all is well with you guys!

Cashew Crusted Chicken w/ Creamy BBQ Sauce

Allergy Egg, Milk, Tree Nuts, Wheat
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Child Friendly

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup lightly salted cashews
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 Large egg
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used cashew milk)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon stone ground mustard
  • 1lb chicken tenders or breasts

sauce

  • 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Stubbs BBQ Sauce

Directions

1. Whisk the egg, milk, honey and mustard in a shallow bowl and season with salt & pepper.
2. Place cashews in a plastic bag and break into small pieces using a mallet or meat tenderizer. Add bread crumbs to the bag and toss to combine.
3. Pour flour into another bag. Dredge chicken by first tossing in the flour bag, then dipping in the egg mixture and finally tossing in the cashew bread crumb bag until coated. Continue process until all of the chicken has been breaded.
4. Heat oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add chicken and cook until nicely browned on both sides and cooked through. You may finish them up in a 350 oven once they have been browned if you are working with thicker pieces of chicken.
5. Stir together yogurt, mayonnaise and BBQ sauce and serve chicken drizzled with sauce. It never hurts to have more on the side for dipping! 🙂

Vans Creamy Garlic Pasta with Sausage & Spinach

Vans Creamy Spinach Pasta

HELLO THERE! My forgotten blog child!  Rather than jumping right into the stress that is my life these days, I’d rather talk about food for a little bit.  I’ll give you an update on the boys after we dive into some pasta heaven.

SO, as we all know, I may be SLIGHTLY busy these days and my time in the kitchen has been pretty limited.  It’s not to say that I wouldn’t love to be laboring over the stove on these snowy winter days cooking up all sorts of yummy goodness to share with you, it’s just that I don’t have the time to, period. And if I do happen to have the time to make something, I don’t have the time to photograph it before we’re shoving it into our face in the 2 seconds we have before the baby starts screaming.  I HAVE made some pretty delicious things that I would love to share the recipes for but I don’t have good photos for them, I may just share them anyways and use the crappy cell phone pics that I took. You don’t care right? Oh good, thanks.

Vans Creamy Garlic Pasta with Sausage & Spinach

So the other day I got a delightful little package on my doorstep from Van’s Foods.  I stood there opening the box at 4:00 in the afternoon, in my sweats, baby spit up all over me, starving because I hadn’t had a chance to eat any lunch.  First I saw their soft baked granola and literally started plowing through it before I could even see what was in the rest of the box. It may be the sleep deprived hungry fog that I was in but that stuff is NO joke! It literally tastes like you’re eating oatmeal cookie dough. I’ve been trying to save a few morsels so I can take a pic for you so if I get a chance, I’ll post about it later.

The next things I came across were their new pasta sides.  A few hours later I would be cooking up that deliciousness for a quick and easy dinner.

Van's Creamy Pasta with Spinach & Sausage

The pasta is gluten free and is made from whole grains & lentils, it really fills you up a lot faster than regular pasta.  You can serve it as a side but I decided to make it a main meal by adding some spinach feta chicken sausage, wilted spinach and good “sprinkle” of parmesan cheese on top.

Van's Creamy Pasta with Spinach & Sausage

It was so fast to make, I even had time to snap a few photos for you. Say thank you Van’s! I’m looking forward to trying the other varieties, Rotini & Red Sauce and Ultimate Cheddar Penne.  My ultimate review? Delicious as always.  Fast, easy & full of good stuff. What more can you ask for?

Ok, pasta. Thank you for helping me through this tough time. Your time is done, let’s talk about the cutest babies that ever existed.

Camden

Jax

A lot has happened since my “Life in the NICU” post.  Camden came home on January 8th and has been such a joy. He is seriously such a happy and lovely baby, we’re having so much fun with him.  Jax was probably about a week behind him when he came down with RSV in the hospital. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a really nasty respiratory infection and for a little 6 lb baby, it kicked his little bum.  They transferred him to the pediatric ICU since the NICU no longer wanted him there with a contagious infection.  He spent a little over a week sedated and on a ventilator while he pushed through it. It was really hard to see him like that, he went from a bright eyed little boy to being completely OUT for an entire week.  We weren’t able to bring Camden into the hospital so Tom & I took turns driving into the city to see him. We felt guilty not being able to spend much time there but when we were there, there wasn’t anything we could do besides watch him and talk to the doctors. It was a tough few weeks but he has finally come out of it. He’s had to basically relearn feeding and everything he was doing before the illness.  They wouldn’t take him back in the NICU so he spent a week on the general pediatric floor which was totally not the place for him. The poor little guy was laying in a normal hospital room in the middle of this huge bed by himself with nurses that only stopped in every few hours.  We got pretty upset about the situation and ended up transferring him to the Special Care nursery at a more local hospital. He is now completely over the RSV and doing SO well, we’re hoping he’ll be home soon.  He’s had quite the journey but he’s a strong little dude and we can’t wait for him to come home and be with his brother.

On top of all of that, we lost my wonderful grandfather who had been sick recently.  We were really hoping to make it down to see him with the boys but unfortunately we weren’t able to.  We did get to do a little video chat with him a few weeks ago so I’m glad he at least got to see them.  He will be sorely missed.  Needless to say, it’s been a rather rough winter.

Snow

Oh yah and then this. Snow. Snow. And. More. Snow. I don’t even know what to say other than I’m OVER IT. Spring please! Bring me sunshine and warm breezes and long days where I can take the dog & the boys out for long walks in the stroller. At this rate, we’ll have snow into August. BTW – how hilarious is it that this guy was actually driving his car like this? F for effort.

Ok, that’s all for now. Hope to be back soon! Thank you for not leaving me 🙂

Oh, and Happy Birthday Dad! I love you!!!

Stubbs Pumpkin Slow Cooker Chili

Stubbs Pumpkin Slow Cooker Chili

Hey look! I have a recipe for you! Actually it’s more like I have a dinner idea that includes using Stubbs new Chili Cookin’ Sauce and a bunch of yummy add-ons.  I was excited to get my recent Stubbs package and see that it included some of their new products including this “Chili Fixins” kit.  I’m so into chili right now that the weather is cold.  Just throw a whole bunch of stuff in the slow cooker and a few hours later your house smells all spicy and cozy and you have a big bowl of healthy goodness to dive into at dinner time.  I’m sure this probably would have been good as is but in true food blogger fashion, I had to doctor it up with some extra goodies.

Stubbs Pumpkin Slow Cooker Chili

I’ve been loving pumpkin purée lately so I’ve been throwing it in everything.  I’ve read its nutritious for the babies and of course its delicious and its fall and we have to make pumpkin everything all the time.  SO, of course I threw the pumpkin in here as well.  It doesn’t give it a super strong pumpkin flavor but I think it adds a little complexity to the flavor and richness in texture.  My other favorite way to enjoy pumpkin lately is to mix it up with plain greek yogurt, a little maple syrup, pumpkin pie spice and top it with some crunchy granola, yum!

Stubbs Pumpkin Slow Cooker Chili

The Stubbs Cookin’ Sauce bag comes with a packet of sauce and a spice pack.  Just mix it up with meat in the slow cooker, turn it on and forget about it.  I wanted a little more texture and chunkiness in mine so this is what I added:

1 lb ground beef

1 small can diced green chiles

1 can organic pumpkin

1 can organic black beans

1 can organic kidney beans

1 tablespoon cocoa powder (not pictured)

I used a little over half of the spice pack and it was HOT! Like holy moly spicy! It was good but it may have been too hot for many peoples taste since I like stuff pretty hot.  I would suggest using only half of the packet and then taste it before you serve it, you can always add more then if you prefer more heat.  It’s a lot easier to add spice and flavor than to mellow it out if you make it too hot.

Stubbs Pumpkin Slow Cooker Chili

This was SO good, I didn’t mind having it for leftovers 3 days in a row.  I served it with some shredded cheese and a dollop of plain greek yogurt.

Stubbs Pumpkin Slow Cooker Chili

If you see these at your store, I recommend picking up a few bags, it makes an easy dinner even easier! Perfect meal for a big crowd!

WHAT MAKES ME HAPPY:

My baby shower 🙂

BabyShower

I had my baby shower last weekend and it was so much fun.  It made me realize how lucky I am to have so many amazing friends and family members in my life, I was so overwhelmed by all of their love and support! It’s always fun to have events like this that bring together friends you’ve made during all different parts of your life; childhood, college and beyond! Thank you to everyone who came to celebrate with us and to all those who couldn’t make it for sending your love and thoughts, these are going to be two lucky boys!

P.S. The nursery is almost done! I’ll check back in soon with some photos since I don’t have much food stuff to share these days 🙂

 

 

 

 

Butternut Squash Ravioli topped with Sweet Sausage

ButternutSquashRavioli1

HEY!!! Sorry I’ve been MIA lately!  I’ve reached the point in my pregnancy where I’m starting to learn the limits of my body and I’ve had to take a huge step back from living my normal active life.  I’ve slowed it down to a snail’s pace and had to spend more time resting which as a result means a lot less time laboring over the stove in the kitchen, and as you can guess, not a lot of recipes to share with you (sorry!!).  I hope you’ll forgive me during this hiatus but I need to do everything I can to keep these little guys baking in there as long as possible 🙂  I’ll still be stopping in here and there to say hi and share anything I have but it just may not be as frequent as usual.

Anywho, despite my lack of recipe creation lately, I do have one killer recipe to share with you.  I make these ravioli every fall without fail.  The second I see those first few butternut squash showing up at the market, I start dreaming of making these.  It takes a little assembly time but they are pretty foolproof.

Butternut Squash Ravioli topped with Sweet Sausage

Want to know the secret trick?  Instead of trying to make my own pasta dough, which I WILL try some day, I use these wonton wrappers you can buy in the store.  Just fill them up, fold them over and then boil them for a few minutes and you’ve got yourself a pretty killer ravioli.  You can play around with the fillings if you want to get creative but I usually stick to this butternut squash because it’s just so good.  The wontons create a really nice delicate ravioli, they aren’t quite as heavy as your normal pasta ravioli.

Butternut Squash Ravioli topped with Sweet Sausage

Make sure you don’t overfill them or else it will all start gushing out the side and it will turn into a mess that you’ll want to throw on the floor.  Full disclosure: after I took this photo I realized I had overfilled them so I had to take a little off each one.  See that one ravioli that’s one row down, three from the left? That’s about how full they should be.

Butternut Squash Ravioli topped with Sweet Sausage

Simply brush 2 edges of the wonton wrapper with some egg, fold over and pinch the sides together.  After they are all assembled you just drop them into boiling water for a few minutes and they’re ready to be demolished (by your mouth).

Butternut Squash Ravioli topped with Sweet Sausage

I’ve played around with different sauces for these and I usually just end up making a little browned butter with sage and topping with parmesan cheese.  This time I sautéed up some sweet italian sausage and then made a sauce using that and the remaining squash mixture from the ravioli.  It was super quick and added great flavor & texture.

Butternut Squash Ravioli topped with Sweet Sausage

You’ll want to plan on eating these pretty soon after you make them, if they sit too long they start to stick to each other.  I ate the leftover as one giant mass.  It was still just as delicious but the presentation isn’t quite as nice.

Hope you are all having an amazing fall!

 

WHAT MAKES ME HAPPY:

Fuzzy winter baby clothing.

BabyOutfit

 

One of the most exciting things about planning for the arrival of babies is all the cute little clothing.  Especially these fuzzy winter outfits, AHHH, I can’t even handle the cuteness.  I just imagine them all bundled up on a cold winter day with their cute little faces poking out of this baby snowsuit.  Why don’t they make these for adults? I’d totally rock one of these!

Butternut Squash Ravioli topped with Sweet Sausage

Allergy Egg, Milk
Misc Serve Hot

Ingredients

Ravioli

  • 12oz wonton wrappers (1 package)
  • 1 Large egg (beaten)

Ravioli Filling

  • 1 Medium butternut squash
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt & pepper to taste

Sauce

  • 1lb uncooked sweet italian sausage
  • 3/4 cups milk

Directions

1. Cook the butternut squash until soft & tender. You can either cook in the slow cooker with a little water, boil in water or roast until tender.
2. Scoop the flesh from the squash into a bowl and mash together with the remainder of the filling ingredients.
3. Whisk the egg in a small bowl and set up an assembling station with the wonton wrappers, egg wash & ravioli filling. Assemble each ravioli by placing a small dollop of filling in the center, then brush two sides of the wrapper with egg wash. Fold the ravioli in half and pinch to close. Set aside on a plate while assembling the remaining ravioli. You should have plenty of butternut squash mixture left over for the sauce.
4. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Cut the casings from the sausage and add the sausage meat to the pan, crumbling as you go. Cook until nicely browned and completely cooked through.
5. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the ravioli and boil for 3-5 minutes until translucent. Depending on how many you make, you may have to boil in batches. Remove the ravioli from the water using a slotted spoon and carefully lay in a single layer on a plate lightly sprayed with oil. They will stick together easily if you stack them in layers.
6. When sausage is done cooking, add the milk and the remainder of the squash mixture and stir well. Cook until heated through. You can add more squash or milk to reach your desired consistency. Serve ravioli topped with squash and sausage mixture. Garnish with parmesan cheese and toasted sunflower seeds (optional).

Spaghetti Squash Carbonara

Spaghetti Squash Carbonara

Ok, so here’s the deal folks.  Its Thursday night, I’m exhausted, this week has completely kicked my ass.  I’ve been completely bombarded with work to the point where I literally (without hurting myself of course), banged my head on the desk a few times out of frustration. Don’t these people know I’m pregnant and these hormones can’t deal with the stress right NOW?? Anywho, I’m ready to go relax and enjoy a fun long weekend with friends, BUT, I feel like I’ve been thoroughly neglecting you guys and need to share some new recipes with you.

Spaghetti Squash Carbonara

SO, I’m stopping in briefly to share this one with you.  The only wrinkle is that I didn’t copy my steps down carefully enough to write down an actual step-by-step recipe so I’m hoping you guys can take this as inspiration and go navigate your way through it and create a bowl of creamy squashy bacony goodness on your own.

Spaghetti Squash Carbonara

I decided to try making the spaghetti squash in the slow cooker which totally worked apart from the fact that it was a little more mushy and less stringy.  So, it tasted delicious but didn’t have that same spaghetti-like texture I’m used to.  If you’re ok with the mush, make it in the slow cooker, if not – make it in the oven like normal.

SquashCarbonara4

So in nutshell, this is how I made this:

I cooked about 5 slices of bacon in a pan, then removed it to drain on some paper towels.  Then I added diced onion to the bacon juices, cooked until soft and then added 1 1/2 cups frozen (thawed) peas.  When those were heated through I added 1 cup milk, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, some salt, pepper & nutmeg and simmered it briefly.  Then I stirred in the cooked spaghetti squash, chopped bacon and topped it off with some more parmesan cheese & bacon bits.  It was yum-o-yummy!

Spaghetti Squash Carbonara

Hope you all enjoy a beautiful long weekend!! Love to you all!

 

Mexican Sweet Potato Puff Pie

Mexican Sweet Potato Puff Pie

Ok guys, I hope you’re ready for this one, it’s a keeper!  This is somewhere in-between two previous recipes I’ve posted: my Shredded Chicken Mexican Pie & my Mexican Sweet Potato Shepherds Pie.  The thing I love about these is that you get all of those awesome Mexican flavors in a dish but you can skip the whole tortilla thing to hold it all together.  The tortilla is just a vessel for the goodness and this time we’re just throwing all of the goodness right into a pie dish.

Mexican Sweet Potato Puff Pie

As we were eating it, Tom asked me what made me think of doing this.  I admitted that I was actually going to make the same Mexican Sweet Potato Shepherds Pie I’d made in the past but when I was at the grocery store shopping, I had made it all the way past the produce aisle without getting sweet potatoes and really didn’t feel like walking back to get them.  Then I looked in the freezer case and remembered my awesome friends at Alexia had these sweet potato puffs that I could use as a substitute.

Mexican Sweet Potato Puff Pie

If you haven’t tried them before, you seriously need to get on it and throw some Alexia items next time you’re at the store.  They’ve been a design client of mine for over 5 years now and they are some of the best people to work with.  They put a lot of care into the products they create AND they’re working on getting a lot of their products Non-GMO Project Verified which is pretty awesome as well.

I was so excited when they came out with these sweet potato puffs, nothing is better than a good potato puff and to fill it with the healthier sweet potato? Sign me up!  I actually get a little nostalgic when I think of potato puffs, they bring me back to my college years. Saturday mornings at the dining hall, you would see all these zombie’s walking around with trays full of 10 glasses of water and a HEAPING pile of tater tots.  I’m surprised our bodies survived those days, talk about resiliency!

Mexican Sweet Potato Puff Pie

Ok, this is how freaking easy this is.  First, cook the potato puffs according to the package directions.  Then sauté some peppers & onions until soft and season with a little taco seasoning.

Mexican Sweet Potato Puff Pie

Then you sauté some ground beef with the remaining taco seasoning and salsa and add in a layer on top of the peppers & onions.

Mexican Sweet Potato Puff Pie

Then you pile all those crispy sweet potato puffs on top of the ground beef.

Mexican Sweet Potato Puff Pie

Then you make a layer of shredded cheese on top, throw it in the oven for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted & bam! You’ve got dinner on the table!

Mexican Sweet Potato Puff Pie

I really wanted to top this with some chopped scallions but I didn’t have any on hand so I clipped some chives and threw those on top for a little greenness.  Just serve this with a simple salad and the family will be oh so happy!

Mexican Sweet Potato Puff Pie

Leftovers of this were pretty delicious as well even though the potato puffs weren’t that crispy any more, the flavors were all still there.  Hope you guys love this as much as we did, this one will be going into the make-again category!

 

WHAT MAKES ME HAPPY:

Eating on the water.

LunchLast weekend I popped over to Marblehead with some friends and we ate lunch at a restaurant with a deck right on the water.  It’s so nice to soak up the sun while watching the boats go by in the harbor.  I had a huge spinach salad with lobster on top and it was summer perfection.  I’ll be holding on to that simple summer memory as the snow drifts and wind move in this winter.

Mexican Sweet Potato Puff Pie

Serves 4-6
Allergy Milk
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Serve Hot

Ingredients

  • 1 bag Alexia Sweet Potato Puffs
  • 1 Medium Onion (sliced)
  • 1 Medium red pepper (sliced into strips)
  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • shredded mexican cheese

Directions

1. Bake the Alexia Sweet Potato puffs according to the package instructions. Keep oven on at 400 F after they are done cooking.
2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat. Add peppers & onions and sauté for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until soft & lightly browned. Season with 2 teaspoons of taco seasoning. Transfer the mixture to the pie dish.
3. Add the ground beef to the pan with the remaining taco seasoning.
4. Cook until nicely browned and cooked through. Then stir in the salsa. Add the meat mixture to the pie dish on top of the peppers & onions.
5. Create a layer of sweet potato puffs on top of the ground beef and top off with a sprinkling of shredded cheese.
6. Transfer the pie dish to the oven and cook until the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes.
7. Serve topped with diced chives or green onions (optional).

 

 

Salmon with Creamy Mustard Dill Sauce

Salmon with Creamy Mustard Dill Sauce

I’d say I’ve been on a bit of a salmon kick lately but I guess I’m always on a salmon kick.  If the wild salmon is on sale, I’m buying it.  It makes the easiest, quickest healthiest dinner I can think of.  I made this for dinner the other night when Tom was out of town and it was SO good (sorry you missed it babe).  The salmon was so fresh and had such a great color to it, I knew it was probably going to be good because they hadn’t even had time to put a price sign on it yet.

Salmon with Creamy Mustard Dill Sauce

When I think of fast dinners, I tend to immediately think of things I can prepare in advance and then throw together at the last minute like slow cooker meals.  But fish really is the ultimate fast dinner.  It takes only about 5-10 minutes to prepare everything, 5 minutes for cooking and then you’re ready to nosh!

Salmon with Creamy Mustard Dill Sauce

I saw a bottle of dill marinade next to the fish counter at Whole Foods so I decided I was going to put together a nice dill sauce.  Can someone tell me why they package dill in such large bunches?  Has anyone ever used that much dill in one meal?  If you know of one, let me know because I have an entire produce drawer full of it still.

Salmon with Creamy Mustard Dill SauceI am just including the recipe for the sauce here since I’m assuming you already have your own favorite way for cooking salmon, whether its on the grill, in the broiler or on a sauté pan.  I personally prefer that latter (sauté pan) because it allows you to get a really nice crispy crust while not overcooking it.  For this one I used a blackening seasoning but I usually just season with salt & pepper and then toss in a little flour to give it that crispy coating.

Hope you enjoy this sauce as much as I did! It would probably make an awesome salad dressing as well, I had a salad on the side and the sauce was great on it.

 

WHAT MAKES ME HAPPY:

This little dude.

OtoBDAY

Yesterday was his 5th birthday!  5 years! Holy crap! I still think of him as a puppy and probably always will.  I still remember that first day that we brought him home in a little fuzzy blue blanket and he was nuzzling into my arms.  It was pretty much love at first sight 🙂 He adds so much fun into every day, I always look forward to seeing him when I come home and he makes coming back from trips so much easier.  Happy birthday little guy!

Creamy Mustard Dill Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions

1. Mix all of the ingredients together until combined well. Taste and season with salt & pepper as needed. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

 

Pork Tenderloin w/ Fresh Fig Balsamic Sauce

Pork Tenderloin with Fresh Fig Balsamic Sauce

Oh man, you really need to make this.  Like seriously.  I got some fresh figs at the store about a week ago and I wasn’t sure what to do with them so I decided to make up a sauce to adorn some pork tenderloin.  If you look up fig sauce recipes, most of them use dried figs but if you can get your hands on some fresh ones, take advantage of it and make. this. sauce.

While we were in Burlington, I went by my favorite olive oil/vinegar store and picked up some amazing balsamic vinegars.  I made this sauce with a mixture of blueberry & maple balsamic vinegar. O.M.G.  I know this would be really good with regular balsamic as well but if you happen to have anything else on hand, give it a try!

Pork Tenderloin w/ Fresh Fig Balsamic Sauce

You could serve it over steak or chicken, or turkey or anything your heart desires!!  I cooked up a pork tenderloin on the grill that had been marinated in a mustard sauce.  The saltiness of the meat was perfect with the sweet sauce.

Pork Tenderloin w/ Fresh Fig Balsamic Sauce

Can we just take a moment to talk about how gorgeous and delicious figs are?  I love fig spread with my cheese, I love fresh figs on my yogurt, we even gave away a merlot fig spread as our wedding favors.  Tom & I enjoyed an AH-MAZING dinner last night at No. 9 Park in Boston and one of the courses was seared foie gras on a mini english muffin with seared fig, a hazelnut purée and a fig jam on top.  The server described it as the most incredible PB&J you’ll ever taste in your life.  Strangely enough, it really did taste like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but in the best possible way.

Pork Tenderloin w/ Fresh Fig Balsamic Sauce

Ahywho.  This made the perfect weeknight meal but it would also be one that is company-worthy.  You could make the sauce ahead of time and then just heat up before serving.  I served it alongside some mashed cauliflower and grilled zucchini.

Enjoy! Hope you all have a great weekend!

 

WHAT MAKES ME HAPPY:

Chippis!

Chippi

There is a little coffee shop down where I went to college that serves these supercharged crack delicious iced coffees called Chippi’s.  They make them in these white gallon containers and no one knows what goes in them, but it is something serious because not only are they delicious but they’ll make you feel like you drank an entire pot of coffee after just a few sips.  I went down to visit a friend last week so I had to stop by and pick up a gallon to bring home for Tom.

I don’t know how they haven’t capitalized on this thing and started licensing out the brand to sell elsewhere, they are sitting on a gold mine there!

Fresh Fig Balsamic Sauce

Ingredients

  • 8 Medium fresh figs (diced)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon butter

Directions

1. Heat the figs and balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium low heat and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Add the water and butter and continue cooking for another 10-15 minutes until reduced. Stir mashing figs with the back of a spoon.
3. Spoon over pork tenderloin (or other dish of choice) and enjoy!