Last week, we celebrated. My best friend got married and my niece rang in her sixth birthday. I ate my share of party food, posed for pictures, and cried tears of happiness. Joel, Bear, and I ended the weekend at Aamodts Apple Farm in Stillwater with apple cider doughnuts. Not too shabby.

The Menu


Salmon with Mustard-Dill Sauce (recipe from Marth Stewart)

Warm Couscous Salad with Apricot Vinaigrette (recipe from Once Upon a Chef)

Both recipes were fine for a quick dinner, but I wouldn’t recommend pairing them together. The combination was too sweet. If anything, I would repeat the salmon and pair it with crispy oven-roasted potatoes to drag through the extra mustard-dill sauce.

Sides: Sautéed green cabbage finished with a splash of white wine vinegar and butter


Baked Penne with Butternut-Sage Sauce  (recipe from Alexandra Stafford via Food 52)

A delicious pan of hot gooey pasta for a cool night. Scented with butternut squash, sage, and butter, this is fancy fare. Bear was disgruntled by the fact that it looked like macaroni and cheese but did not, in fact, taste like macaroni and cheese. Joel and I, on the other hand, helped ourselves to seconds and thirds respectively.

Sides: Salad with vinaigrette & steamed broccoli


Halal Cart-Style Chicken and Rice with White Sauce (recipe from Serious Eats)

Chicken and rice, chicken and rice!!! It’s impossible to go wrong with a steaming plate of fragrant rice, spiced chicken, and cool yogurt sauce. Spike it with your favorite hot sauce and dig in. This recipe exceeded our expectations and is headed straight for the lamination pile. We gobbled up the entire pot in one sitting.

Sides: Oven roasted zucchini, sliced cherry tomatoes, and shredded lettuce (to eat with the rice)


Coconut Red Lentil Peanut Soup (recipe from The Endless Meal)

I’ve made many African peanut stew recipes over the years. It’s the perfect one-pot meal for those nights I know I’ve overindulged and need to reign it in. There are many vegan/vegetarian variations on this recipe, but it’s usually packed with sweet potatoes, red lentils, and peanut butter. This recipe suited my needs, but I did find the addition of red pepper and carrots to be a tad bitter. Instead, I might double up on the sweet potato.

Sides: Fresh baguette & sliced cucumber

Bear was feeling all chef-y while I was cooking tonight and matter-of-factly stated that she would handle dessert. She got out her kitchen knife, asked me to peel a banana and got to work on her creation, aptly called “Banana Sweets.” The dish is composed of sliced bananas, a sprinkle of cinnamon, a smattering of brown sugar, and a drizzle of leftover fudge sauce (my idea). Not bad for a three-year-old!


Dinner Out – Chart House (Groom’s Dinner)


Dinner Out – The Wedding!


Dinner Out – Niece’s Birthday

(Sep 16th, 2018 – Sep 22, 2018)

Back at It

Hello friends. Remember that brief hiatus I was going to take until the end of tax season? Welllll, here I am seven months later. Whoa! Where did the time go!? I found out I was expecting baby #2 the day after tax season ended. Fatigue and complete aversion to food (specifically all things green) set in immediately. Of course I had no issue consuming Dove ice cream bars at all times of the day. Then Minnesota brought on the heat for what I am sure must have been the hottest summer ever. I could barely lift a frying pan. Ooh, but now we’re getting in to the best part of the year. Fall! Cooler temps, pumpkin patches, and apple orchards. Bear headed off to preschool last week (I cried every time I dropped her off) and our family seems to be settling in again. We’re all ready for routine and I’m ready to get back in the kitchen.

The Menu


Creamy Dijon Chicken (recipe from Simply Delicious)

This recipe was everything I wanted in a meal. Flavorful, easy, and family pleasing. I subbed chicken legs for the thighs. Be sure to serve crusty bread on the side to mop up the extra sauce.

Sides: Buttered brown rice & steamed broccoli


Copycat Olive Garden Minestrone Soup (recipe from Todd Wilbur at Genius Kitchen)

This recipe, at least with my additions, is a dead ringer for Olive Garden’s famed minestrone. It’s bold, zesty, and brimming with beans and vegetables. My modifications begin with cutting the amount of beans in half (1 can red kidney beans & 1 can great Northern beans), as I can’t imagine dumping four whole cans of beans in to this soup. Also, I like to deglaze the pan with a splash of red wine, about 1/4 cup, after sautéing the onion, celery, etc. Finally, I strongly suggest that you squeeze half a lemon into the pot before serving.

Sides: Sliced muenster cheese & crackers


Crispy Skillet Turkey Burgers (recipe from Cook’s Country ) & Broccoli Rubble Farro Salad  (recipe from Smitten Kitchen)

Crispy, juicy turkey patties and a hearty farro salad brimming with broccoli and lemon zest. Dinner served. Unfortunately, you will need a subscription to Cook’s Country to download the turkey burger recipe. Yes, that makes me crabby too.

Sides: Salad




Simple Beef Pot Roast (recipe from Chef John via allrecipes)

Here we are a year later and this is still my favorite recipe for pot roast. Be sure to shred the meat in the pot so it mingles with the cooking juices and braised carrots and celery. Also, I like to use 1 teaspoon of salt per pound of meat.

Sides: Mashed potatoes and green beans


Leftovers again! Try serving your leftover pot roast on soft white slider buns with melted provolone. Also, oven roasted sweet potato fries and green beans make excellent (easy) sides. We ate our sandwiches while watching Sing.

It’s the weekend, so how about a little dessert? This week it’s Hot Fudge Sauce via The Pioneer Woman. This fudge tastes like molten brownie batter and it’s a cinch to make. We poured our warm fudge over cold vanilla ice cream and topped it with salted peanuts.