Happy Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day! We are celebrating tonight with homemade (heart shaped) pizzas and bittersweet chocolate-dipped coconut macaroons. We’ll also break protocol and watch Frozen or Moana during dinner. I can’t wait.

Unfortunately, I don’t have much of a menu to share from last week. There was only notable meal, which I have shared below. I am still crazy busy with work and thus plan to take a brief hiatus from blogging until I’m caught up. I hope to be back soon.

The Menu


Stacked Beef Enchiladas (AKA Mexican Lasagna) (recipe from Once Upon a Chef)

This enchilada casserole is so so good. I have searched high and low for a Mexican lasagna recipe that doesn’t use jarred enchilada sauce and this is it. Simply roast a sheet pan of tomatoes, onions, garlic, and spices in the oven and whirl the softened vegetables in a food processor. Fry the hamburger, grate the cheese, and layer the whole casserole together. Slide the pan into a hot oven and set the table. This recipe is easy and delicious.

Sides: Sautéed cabbage finished with red wine vinegar, butter, salt and pepper

(February 4th, 2017 – February 10th, 2018)

A New Soundtrack

Last week was all about our newest family member. Baby Grand. Joel’s been keeping an eye out for a good deal and we finally found one. I don’t play, but Joel does and we’re hoping to get Bear started with lessons as soon as she’s ready. I foresee many piano concerts in my future.

In other news, I celebrated too early. Work has picked up again and I’m swamped. I will just keep my mouth shut the next time I think I’ve caught up. So, here we go again. Another quick recap of last week and, hopefully, a few new dinner ideas/recipes for all of you out there.

The Menu


Sesame Noodles with Swiss Chard and Chicken (recipe from Alexandra Stafford @ Food52)

This recipe is an adaptation of a recipe from Chrissy Teigen’s cookbook Cravings and it is one of our favorites. We ate it all summer long. It’s quick to make, as both the chicken and the noodles cook in one pot, and the sauce is a delicious combination of peanut oil, tahini, and garlic.

Sides: Basic Roasted Beets (recipe from Martha Stewart)

Dessert: Caribbean Creams (recipe from Nigella Lawson)

Bear and I made a batch of Caribbean Creams Sunday morning and they were ready in time for dinner. We used Siggi’s coconut flavored yogurt, although it appears the recipe calls for coconut milk yogurt. In either case, the coconut flavored yogurt worked great and we ate every spoonful. Quick, healthy desserts are the best!


Old-Time Beef Stew (recipe from Paula Deen)

Ok, this is seriously my favorite stew recipe and it couldn’t be easier. Dump everything in one pot and let is simmer. I’ve already written about this stew (and biscuits), so I’ll just link back to my original post.

Quick & Easy Drop Biscuits (recipe from Marissa Sertich Velie @ Serious Eats)

Tender, flaky, salty. Oh, how I love these biscuits.

Sides: Raw veggie sticks


Greek Turkey and Rice Skillet (recipe from Budget Bytes)

I was incredibly excited about this recipe. It took care of my protein/starch requirement all in one pot. It also threw in a healthy dose of folate rich spinach and lots of yummy flavorings… Kalamata olives, sundried tomatoes, and feta cheese. Overall it was pretty good. It was easy on the wallet and simple to prepare. Yet, as I ate the leftovers for lunch throughout the week, I couldn’t help but wonder if I might like it more with ground chicken instead of ground turkey. The turkey was a little obtrusive and certainly competed with the other ingredients.

Side: Roasted Cauliflower (recipe from Elise Bauer @ Simply Recipes)


Broccoli Parmesan Fritters (recipe from Smitten Kitchen)

These little fritters are a wonder. First, in the sense that I couldn’t believe how much broccoli I was able to pack in to them. Second, in the sense that they hardly taste like broccoli. Eating these fritters conjured up memories of the State Fair and deep fried batter. When Joel walked in and saw what lay before him at the dinner table he gave me the, “Are you kidding me look.” Oh, but then he took one bite and declared them surprisingly delicious. I was glad I doubled the recipe.

I made the suggested yogurt sauce to go with the fritters, but I subbed a few dashes of garlic powder for the raw garlic.

Side: Carrot and sweet potatoes spears rubbed with a bit of olive oil and salt, and roasted at 425 degrees until tender.




Pizza, wine (TGIF), and salad with friends


Asian Chicken Slaw (recipe from What’s Gaby Cooking)

This salad rocked my week. It’s fresh, vibrant, and so darn delicious I could eat it for days on end. The dressing is addicting in all of the right ways. Sweet, salty, creamy, and tangy. I followed the recipe as written, with the exception of subbing green leaf lettuce for the Nappa cabbage. Also, I forgot the avocado and added it after the picture was taken. As for the chicken, I followed my mother-in-law’s method (Hi, Teresa). Simply place whole chicken breasts in a baking dish and season them generously with salt and pepper. Pour in 1-2 inches of chicken stock and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Once cooled, shred the chicken by hand.

Sides: Roasted sweet potatoes and plain pasta with butter (for the little one who doesn’t eat lettuce)

(Jan 28th, 2017 – Feb 3rd, 2018)

Countdown to Valentine’s Day

Bear is super serious about her Valentine’s this year. She doesn’t quite get the concept of writing special messages, but she does understand stickers. The more the better.

The Menu


I can’t for the life of me remember what I cooked for dinner on Sunday. Sheesh. I’m only 33 years old. There is no picture evidence, unfortunately, so it is quite a mystery as to what we were up to…?


Monday brought snow. Lots of snow. We were pretty proud of this guy.

Sheet Pan Chicken and Brussels Sprouts with Reduced Balsamic (recipe from Alexandra Stafford @ Food52)

This recipe gets me every time. I always look at the ingredients sitting in my fridge and think, “meh, why did I plan that?” Oh, but when we sit down to eat it’s always so good. Crispy, tender chicken. Sweet, caramelized Bussels sprouts. It works. It’s also super easy.

Roasted Kabocha Squash (recipe from In Sonnet’s Kitchen)

Just a reminder, sliced kabocha squash takes only 30-35 minutes to roast and the skin is edible.

Sides: Toasted ciabatta with butter


Roast Pork with Farro Salad (recipe from Food Network Kitchen @ Food Network)

I love the flavors in this dish. Dijon mustard, mint, lemon, and parmesan cheese. The only change I make is to cook the tenderloin twice as long. Even though the FDA changed the guidelines on cooking pork roasts, I still like to cook mine longer. 145 degrees F just looks too rare to me.

Side: Sauteed Swiss chard finished with a pat of butter and 1-2 tablespoons red wine vinegar


Broccoli Cheddar Soup (recipe from Smitten Kitchen)

What’s more comforting on a weekday night than broccoli cheddar soup? Better than that, what’s quicker to pull together? This is a delicious recipe chock full of broccoli.

Sides: Arugula with cherry tomatoes + vinaigrette & toast with butter


Naan Wraps with Homemade Cucumber Raita (recipe from Sarah E. Crowder @ The Kitchn)

Cumin scented beef or lamb wrapped in soft naan and topped with creamy cucumber raita. If you’re looking for a flavorful dinner that takes no more than twenty minutes to pull together, this is it!

Want to add extra flavor? Quick pickle red onion slices before you get started. Simply, slice one red onion (thinly) and submerge in red wine vinegar.

Sides: Roasted Green Beans and Cherry Tomatoes (recipe from Rachael Ray @ Food Network)


Adult night out with Joel’s family. We escaped a submarine and dined at Dark Horse Bar & Eatery. Both were awesome.


Adult night out with my family. Mini Golf at Can Can Wonderland and dinner at Stewart’s. So fun and so delicious.

(Jan 21st, 2018 – Jan 27th, 2018)