Quite the long recipe titles, eh?
These were the two “appetizers” I prepared for us on Saturday while we watched football. I got my date night out on the town Friday, Big Guy got a night full of football and football food on Saturday.
It’s all about balance, folks.
Baked Apple Butter Brown Sugar Wings
If you want a non-traditional wing, this is the recipe for you. Sweet and savory and totally “fall” inspired. I bought apple butter from a fun store in Durham called Parker and Otis. The apple butter was delicious – 3 ingredients – no funky additives. And for the dipping sauce, I used Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. I would add more Sriracha next time for a little more heat.
Crispy Brussel Sprouts with Garlic Aioli
I still can’t believe so many people don’t like (or think they don’t like) brussel sprouts. They are seriously one of our favorite vegetables. I think people just don’t know how to cook them. We eat lots of brussels in our house but these was a “new” way – appetizer style with toothpicks and a dipping aioli. You could serve them family style, however, and serve a drizzle of the aioli on top. They would taste just the same. This recipe used canola oil instead of olive oil (what I usually used). The canola oil made them a little crispier and let the brussel taste “shine” a little more. Loved the aioli sauce. So simple – mayo, garlic (lots of garlic), lemon juice, parsley and salt. Totally addictive.
Hey, I’ll watch football any Saturday if the eats are this good.
And it includes going out Friday night.
Happy Monday! Here’s a recap of our weekend. I’ll be back tomorrow with a delicious recipe or two.
Date night! Big Guy took me “out on the town” on Friday night. We started the night with cocktails at Revolution. I will be recreating the nina simone cocktail very soon. The ingredients are simple: Grand Marnier, pomegranate and sparkling wine. We went from Revolution to Piedmont where we dined on fantastic food. To start we shared pan-seared scallops, Alease William’s crispy pig ears, roasted cauliflower, squid ink, Four Leaf Farm’s baby fennel vinaigrette and a Southern Cheese Duo.
For my entree, I ordered the pan-seared Carolina flounder, blue crab, smoked white lima beans, Root Down Farm’s roasted cauliflower, apricot beurre blanc.
And Big Guy went with the crispy duck leg confit, ricotta gnocchi, Blue Sky Farms’ collards, .braised cippolini, roasted hakurei turnips.
The duck leg was the most flavorful and delicious duck I’ve ever tasted. Amazing.
On the way back home on Saturday, we stopped by an ABC store to grab some necessary items for a fun cocktail I wanted to make. I ran across Glazed Donut vodka. What in the world will they think of next?
We also stopped by a spice shop on Saturday. At home, we made some dill pickles using homegrown cucumbers. I can’t wait to open a jar and try one.
And can you believe that yesterday marked being married for 6 months? Time is flying, y’all!
Fall is here. Football season is here. And my first batch of chili is here.
All-American Chili can be made in advance (I made mine the night before) and then reheated before eating. It’s meaty and not overly spicy. I actually would add some red pepper flakes if I made this chili again.
Changes to the recipe I made: I wasn’t able to find spicy turkey Italian sausage so we used the traditional Italian sausage (hence why I needed some added heat) and instead of sirloin, I used ground bison.
Alongside the chili, Spicy Jalapeno Corn Bread. This cornbread is loaded with texture and flavor. I cooked the cornbread in a cast-iron skillet which preheated in the oven while I mixed up the batter. Because the batter is poured into a screaming-hot skillet, a fantastic crust is formed around the edges. By far, the best part was the crusty edges. Buttermilk kept the cornbread moist without needing much added-fat. In fact, there is only 2 tablespoon of butter in this recipe. Honey lends a smidge of sweetness to the bread that pairs wonderfully with the spicy pickled jalapenos. Seriously, one of the best corn bread recipes to date.
If this isn’t the perfect dinner for watching college football, I don’t know what is.
Whether we go out to dinner or stay at home, date nights are the best. Especially after a long, stressful week.
On Friday night, I spent some time in the kitchen prepping food for Saturday. But in between that, I put some love into our dinner. Chicken Cacciatore has been on my “want to cook” list for a while now. Warm, comforting and hearty. It’s really the perfect fall dinner.
I don’t cook (and we don’t eat) a lot of Italian but this dish wasn’t “heavy” like a lot of pasta dishes you traditionally think of when you hear “Italian food.” After a little Google search, I learned that “cacciatore” means “hunter” in Italian. ”Hunter-style” refers to a dish that’s prepared with tomatoes, onions, herbs and bell peppers. All of which were in this particular dish.
The chicken is browned on the stove-top and then transferred to the oven on top of the tomato “sauce” where it is cooked through. (The only change I made to the recipe was using boneless chicken thighs instead of bone-in.)
Perhaps not the prettiest dinner but the sauce was so flavorful. It tasted as though it had been cooking all day long. Tender vegetables and fork-tender chicken. All served with a glass of red wine. Which I’m still trying to like (hence my small pour). Big Guy joked he could have just eaten the sauce – it was that good.
Top the chicken cacciatore with shaved Parmesan for a rich, salty addition to the dish.
Plan a date night at home soon. And it wouldn’t hurt to make Chicken Cacciatore, either.
Let me be honest, I was hesitant to post today because the pictures are just very unflattering of these delicious pork wraps.
But they’re delicious. And I want to share the recipe link. They’re also really simple and really cheap.
I left out the hoisin sauce (not gluten-free and I didn’t have any at home) but I added some sriracha for a little heat. Mu shu means stir-fried so I pulled out the wok and got to cooking.
Prep all your ingredients beforehand to make your life easier. Stir-fry cooking happens fast so you don’t want to be left without an ingredient prepped.
Once again, I am so sorry this is such an ugly picture of food. I promise it tastes WAY better than it looks.
Salty, tangy, crunchy – all the flavors you want in mu shu. I think.
My newest Trader Joe’s obsession. It smells and tastes like fall.
Baby Little girl Haines turned 2 last week and we got to celebrate with this crazy kid. She is all over the place and I’m certain her favorite word is “mine.”
Despite it being fall and the mall in Raleigh being decorated for Christmas (disgusting), our garden thinks it’s summer. Lots of produce still coming off the plants. And I love it.
To make use of the fantastic basil that won’t last through the winter, I made an edamame and basil “pesto” that I served over spaghetti squash with a sprinkling of parmesan gouda.
(the original recipe called for cilantro – but why buy herbs when you have some in your garden?)
I also made a batch of Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal Squares as a quick and easy breakfast option.
Changes I made to the recipe, I omitted the raisins and pecans, I only used 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and I used 2 honeycrisp apples.
You can get anywhere from 6 to 12 squares. If you eat 1/12th of the baked oatmeal, you’re looking at about 100 calories. I paired a little piece with some Greek yogurt and almond butter.
But this morning, I ate a larger square (1/6th) with a good smear of peanut butter. Delicious. And easy!
Last night I met up with a couple of my girlfriends for a glass of bubbles and dinner to celebrate our dear friend Claire’s birthday. It was just what I needed in the middle of an insane week.
We caught up and laughed about some of the best times of our lives. It was good for the soul.
As the days get shorter and the air gets crisp, slow-cooked dinners are what I crave. Despite craving comfort food, I still want it to be healthy. Chipotle pork is the epitome of healthy comfort food.
I served this dinner after spending a Saturday afternoon watching football. Simply prepare the marinade and let the Boston butt marinate for an hour or more. Sear the meat in a large Dutch oven and then let the oven do the rest.
The pork is cooked until it’s so tender it falls off the bone. I shredded our pork and served it over rice so that none of the flavor was lost. To the rice, I added some parsley for freshness. I find that any slow-cooked dinner needs to be brightened in some way. And for some green, a side salad. Romaine lettuce tossed with orange segments and avocado.
The chipotles add smoky heat (not spicy heat) that is mellowed out by the lime juice and cinnamon. The smell of this pork cooking will have you watching the timer waiting for it to hit 00:00.
Comfort food at it’s best.
We all know I love to sip champagne but I’ve never added champagne to my chicken. Until now. And the results are simply divine.
The preparation is a bit time consuming but the result is an incredible dinner that will impress any dinner guests. The chicken tastes as though you’ve been cooking away all day long.
This chicken dish is so intensely flavored. I attribute that to the bacon drippings, the use of dark meat chicken and lots of fresh herbs. After the chicken cooks in a Dutch-oven with potatoes, mushrooms and brandy a delicious sauce is made with champagne and butter that makes ever bite feel like your eating with royalty.
Along with the hearty chicken, I served a side of brussels because the parsley wasn’t enough green for me.
A dinner fit for
a king my parents arrival.
**changes I made: instead of flour, I used cornstarch throughout the recipe. i also left out the carrots because my momma is allergic.**
Last week I had half a head of cauliflower hanging out in the fridge that I needed to re-purpose. (The other half was used for a delicious appetizer.) It was a single-girl kind of dinner since Big Guy was away for business all week. It didn’t take me long to realize that the cauliflower should be used to make “bread sticks.” The healthiest bread sticks you’ll ever meet. The recipe is so simple and I will be making more very, very soon.
I peaked the interest of my Instagram followers last week with my bread sticks.
No words. That entire serving of “bread sticks” with marinara is under 180 calories (the bread sticks have about 120 calories for that portion size).
The ingredients: cauliflower, an egg, mozzarella, garlic, salt, pepper and herbs.
The cauliflower is placed in a food processor and pulsed until little “crumbs” formed. Place the cauliflower in a bowl and microwave for 8 minutes. Stir in mozzarella cheese and the egg plus seasonings. Spread out on a piece of parchment paper and bake for about 30 minutes. Flip. Sprinkle with a little more cheese and bake for 10 more minutes followed by a quick 2 minute broil. I couldn’t wait to dig in (though if you let the bread sticks rest for 10 minutes they’re a little more sturdy).
It may be October but I still have bell peppers growing in full force in the garden. What better way to use up bell peppers than to stuff ‘em with all kinds of good stuff? Plus, I got to use a jalapeno from the garden and the last of the tomatoes that we grew. I used this recipe but obviously didn’t have everything on hand – so I used what I had and enjoyed every bite. Also, my bell peppers are smaller than the ones you might find at the grocery store so I just chopped off the top of the peppers and stuffed them whole instead of halving each pepper. I still had more than plenty stuffing and I didn’t even add the sweet potato!
The pictures are horrific and I know it. I just wasn’t in the mood to find the “right”angle on Sunday.
But despite their looks, they’re delicious.
What is it with me and ugly food these days?
The changes I made to the recipe: I used red onion instead of yellow onion; I used chicken broth instead of vegetable broth; I left out the sweet potato; I used diced grape tomatoes instead of Roma’s; I left out the cilantro; and I used cheddar cheese on top instead of colby jack.
And I’ve been eating them all week long for lunch.