Swedish Meatballs

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A couple weeks ago my family and I took a pilgrimage to IKEA to search for a “big girl” bed for my 3-year old. About 2½ hours into what was supposed to be a quick trip, we all started to show signs of hunger-induced crankiness (hangriness), so we stopped for lunch at the little bistro conveniently located in the center of the store. My husband and daughter split an order of chicken tenders (yawn), while I chose to splurge on a ginormous pile of meatballs (hey, when in Sweeden…). Just as I was tucking into my lunch, my daughter asked for a bite and before I knew it, she had finished the entire plate. Irritated but inspired, I decided that I would make my own meatballs for dinner later that week. Continue reading

Healthy Greek Pasta

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Halloween is only two days away which means I still have time to sneak in another healthy recipe before for the proverbial candy hits the fan. This Greek inspired dish is fiber rich which will sustain you through hours of trick-or-treating, flavor packed to help you avoid dipping your hand into the candy bowl, and takes less than 15-mintues to make allowing you to focus your time and energy on dressing your little ghosts and goblins! Continue reading

Buffalo Chicken Wings

I’m sure many of you already know (or can at least deduce from the name) that these red-hot chicken wings originated in the great state of New York, city of Buffalo (my dad’s hometown). When my husband and I first married, we took a trip back east to spend Thanksgiving with my dad’s family. My husband, being a connoisseur of bar food, was determined to order Buffalo chicken wings in Buffalo, so my dad took us to one of his favorite local joints. We grabbed a pitcher of Genesee from the bar, and when the waiter came to take our order, my husband asked for a dozen wings. He, like me, can tolerate some pretty spicy food, but since we were in the birthplace of the hot wing, he decided to play it safe and order the medium spiciness. The waiter nodded for a second, then said in his thick New York accent, “I can tell you’re not from around here, so I’m gonna bring you a plate of mild wings, and if they’re not hot enough, just send them back and I’ll getcha the spicier ones.” Looking slightly offended, my husband agreed. Continue reading

Caramelized Onion and Gruyère Flatbread

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Some weeks I head to the grocery store with a solid plan of what I want to make. I have a detailed list and a mission. I walk in, get what I need, and leave. And then there are those weeks when I have no idea what I want, and I cross through the sliding glass doors feeling completely purposeless. I spend more time than I’d like aimlessly meander through the aisles looking for inspiration, hoping that something spectacular will jump out and grab me. Last week was just such a week. Continue reading

Artichoke Stuffed Chicken

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What do you call a chicken that crossed the road?

Poultry in motion.

Ahhahhaa! (Just so you know, I can hear you all groaning right now.) Okay, I apologize for the dumb joke, but it’s Monday and I have writer’s block. I’ve been sitting here for what feels like an eternity trying to figure out what I wanted to tell you about this chicken recipe and I just keep coming back to this joke. So that’s my excuse.

Alright, enough of that nonsense, here’s what I really want to tell you about this chicken: it’s delicious! And although it looks fancy, it’s much easier to make than it would appear. Continue reading

Five Cheese Macaroni

Okay class, pull out your pencils and write down this date: September 23rd. That, my friends, is the official start of autumn (or the Autumnal Equinox, if you want to be specific). What does this mean? Well, it means that we have T-minus 6 days to start dusting off our casserole dishes and crockpots, and rummage through our cookbooks to find our favorite comfort food recipes. Yep, it’s the dawn of sweater season once again, which give us permission to start eating hearty pastas, starchy potatoes, and meats smothered in gravy. And what better way to kick off this fatty food frenzy than with a good, old fashioned mac & cheese. But please, I beg you, put down the blue box with the atomic orange powder, in fact, just throw it away. You don’t want that. Trust me, you want this; this macaroni with not one, not two, but five cheeses. FIVE. Um, preach! Continue reading

Rosemary & Garlic Brined Pork Chops

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Brining, for those of you who have never heard this term before, is the process of steeping food in a saltwater solution, thereby locking in moisture and a crazy amount of flavor. You see, meat typically loses about 30% of water when it’s cooked, but when it’s soaked in a brining solution for the better part of the day, it’s able to absorb extra water into the muscle fibers, building up a reserve that is retained during cooking. Now, when you add seasonal aromatics (rosemary, garlic, and peppercorns) to the mix, you’re simply ensuring that those flavors will be imparted into the meat as well. Brilliant, right? So how do you get such wonderfully juicy and flavorful pork chops, you ask? Simple! Just follow this 4-step cooking process thought up by the brilliant minds over at Bon Appétit. Seriously, these pork chops are no joke, people! Yes, it does take 4-steps (only three of which are actual cooking though) to achieve this juicy goodness, but I guarantee that this will be the most delicious meal you’ve made in forever! And I promise that if you take the time that this hands-on method requires , I’ll reward you with super easy, super fast recipes for the rest of the week. Deal? Continue reading

Blueberry Port Wine Sauce

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Now that September is here and all the kids are back in school, I’m starting to notice a shocking amount of fall items popping up all over the place. You know what I’m talking about: pumpkin spice lattes, autumn-inspired wreaths, and Halloween costumes on every store shelf. Although autumn is my favorite time of year, it’s hard for me to think about fall when we’re still experiencing 100° temperatures here in Texas. Now, with that being said, I’m fully aware that many parts of the world (like my drizzly home state of Washington) are already feeling the change in seasons, so I’m willing to strike a compromise, ya’ll. But, instead of going full bore with the cinnamon & nutmeg and carving out a big, fat, orange pumpkin, I’ve decided to take a summer fruit (blueberries) and combine it with subtle, warming flavors like cloves, coriander, and port wine to create a sauce that you can serve hot or cold – making it perfect for any climate! Continue reading

Fireside Mussels

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Almost two years ago my parents decided to add a deck onto the back of their kitchen, and somehow in the planning process, my dad miraculously talked my mom in to allowing him to build a brick pizza oven along with it. I don’t know how he managed to convince her, but I’m pretty sure a bottle of Merlot was involved. Regardless, I was delighted. By association, I became the proud owner of a beautiful cooking device that I use almost of every time I’m home. In addition to crafting homemade pizzas (of which we’ve made dozens), we use it to cook calzones, empanadas, and, just recently, mussels. Now, I realize that a brick oven isn’t something you can just go out and buy, like a waffle iron or a ice cream maker, so I’ve also included cooking instructions for these Fireside Mussels using a regular outdoor grill (which is how I cook them whenever I’m not visiting my parents). No matter what vessel you use to bake these succulent bivalves, they’re going to taste amazing! Just promise me you’ll serve them with plenty of crusty bread to soak up the extra cooking liquid – believe me, you’ll thank me for it! Continue reading

Shrimp Ceviche

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Ceviche is a traditional Peruvian dish made of chopped seafood (usually shrimp, scallops, or geoduck), citrus juice, and a few other salsa-like ingredients. It’s delicious, it’s refreshing, and it’s really easy to make. So easy, in fact, that it cooks itself! You see, by combining citric acid with raw seafood, you’re able to cure the shellfish in a flavorful lemon/lime bath and essentially “cook” it without actually using heat, making it the perfect summer snack food during these hot August days. Now, I’m not sure what it is in the acid that causes the little fishy proteins to magically change, but it’s pretty cool to watch the uncooked shrimp slowly turn pink before your very eyes. I considered doing some extensive online research on this cooking method and then blowing you away with my vast knowledge on the subject, but that sounded exhausting. Instead, I’m including a link for some extra credit reading for those of you really interested in learning something new today. Continue reading