Loaded Philly Cheesesteak Baked Potato

I’m not going to lie, Tuesday and Wednesday weren’t the best days of my pregnant life.  Week 24 seems to have brought a weird stomachache along with some heartburn and a lack the desire to really eat anything.  Me not wanting to eat is REALLY weird – I always like food – happy, sad, stressed…I eat.  Basically I just don’t feel like myself and while I want to complain and play the pregnancy card, I’ve tried to rally and be thankful for how healthy I have felt the entire time.  I’m hoping that this is a short phase and that I’ll be back to “normal” in no time.

But you’re here for food…so here’s a peak at dinner this past Monday.  It was a good one.

A meat and potatoes dinner that isn’t a steak and roasted potatoes.  Instead, the famous cheesesteak sandwich is turned into a stuffed baked potato for a nutritious, filling and delicious feeling that your whole family will love.

You can either cook your potatoes in the microwave or in the oven (I prefer the oven if I have the time, I think the skin is so much better).  Thinly sliced steak is seared after being seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic powder.  The steak needs less than two minutes to cook – so watch it.  Remove the beef and add in your peppers, onions and mushrooms and sauté until softened.  Season with salt and pepper.

Cut the potatoes in half and top with the veggies plus the beef and then a generous amount of cheeeeeeese.  Broil until the cheese is melted and then dig in.

cheesesteakpotato

I loved this spin on a classic and found that while it was meaty and cheesy, it wasn’t heavy.

Oh, and our garden is still producing lots of bell peppers which is one benefit of still having warm weather.

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Pumpkin Pasta with Balsamic Sage Brown Butter Sauce

Despite the summer-like weather on Sunday, we had the most fall-filled day.  After Big Guy being away all week and then me being away all weekend we felt quite like ships passing in the dark.  Thankfully we were able to spend quality time on Sunday afternoon together.  Not only did we visit the pumpkin patch and put together our “fall” display in the front yard, but we made a fall-inspired dinner of pumpkin pasta.  

The pasta requires only two ingredients.  That’s right, two.  In a food processor, pulse together one can of pumpkin puree with flour until it forms a dough ball.  From there, the pasta noodles come together quite easily if you have the pasta attachment for your Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer.

The sauce is made by browning butter with whole garlic cloves and fresh sage leaves.  Once brown, remove the sage and garlic, and add in white wine and balsamic vinegar.  Allow the sauce to simmer before adding in your cooked pasta.  Toss and then serve with roasted pumpkin seeds, manchego cheese and fresh nutmeg (my special addition).

pumpkinpasta

This dinner hit the spot.  Not only did it feel my belly but it was nice to enjoy a stress-free (well, mostly stress free…the pasta water pot overflowed and let’s just say it wasn’t pretty) meal together after a long week away from Big Guy.

Pumpkin in food – like it, love it or hate it?  

I’m all about REAL pumpkin being in food but I find that some of the “pumpkin spice” items are taking things a little far…like been jerky.  Just no.

BBQ Meatloaf and Grilled Fontina Cornbread Stack

If I’m not going to have pizza on Sunday, then please let me have bbq meatloaf with grilled fontina cornbread.  It’s the ultimate comfort food and the perfect ending to any weekend.  And please, grill the cornbread in your cast iron skillet.  It’s the Southern thing to do.

I prepped the cornbread in advance because you want it to be able to cool before you slice and grill.  The cornbread is FULL of fontina cheese.  This is not a sweet cornbread and I think that a little bit of diced jalapeño would be incredible in this loaf.

For the meatloaf, which by the way is a horrible name for food, we decided to live on the wild side and used a blend of ground veal and ground lamb.  But you could totally use ground beef like the recipe calls for or you could even use ground turkey.  To the meat you add sautéed onions and garlic along with breadcrumbs, worcestershire sauce, tomato sauce, BBQ sauce, S&P plus an egg.  Don’t over mix!  Form the meatloaf into sliders in the size of your choice.  The meatloaf is baked and then topped with a BBQ-tomato sauce mixture and then baked a little more.  I broiled for a minute before removing from the oven.

Slice the cornbread and melt some butter in your cast-iron skillet before grilling the cornbread to perfection.  We tried the cornbread once it was cooled and while it’s delicious there’s nothing quite like cornbread cooked in butter.  Just sayin’.

fontinacornbreadmeatloaf

On the side, simple roasted brussels that are seasoned with salt and pepper plus some chopped pecans for nuttiness and crunch.

I mean, I can’t even deal.  This is not “your mama’s” meatloaf.

Sweet Potato and Red Lentil Curry

I never regret letting the crock-pot handle dinner. This crock-pot recipe requires no pre-cooking and you simply dump the ingredients in the slow cooker and let it do it’s thing.

And just because it’s “meatless” doesn’t mean it’s flavorless.  In fact, this curry is packed with flavor thanks to Thai red curry paste, garam masala, fresh ginger and turmeric.  By the way, turmeric is FULL of health benefits and we all should be eating more of it.  The creaminess comes from coconut milk that is added after the curry is finished cooking.  I’ve never cooked with red lentils before (gasp!) but I found that they almost “melted” into the curry and they weren’t detectable at all.

The curry is served over rice along with quick pickled red onions and cilantro for freshness.  Don’t leave the toppings off – they add life to a meal that’s literally cooked all day long.

curry

And you’ll have lots and lots of leftovers.  The recipe serves 8, so either invite some friends over or plan to eat delicious curry for lunch throughout the week.

Now if only we could teach the crock-pot to clean up the kitchen…

 

Sweet-and-Sour Sesame Bok Choy with Pork

This is an example of a recipe that I picked simply to use up ingredients in the kitchen but in the end turned out to be so incredibly delicious that I plan on saving the recipe for another day.  The recipe is a great use for leftover ground pork from the meatballs that I made a few weeks ago.

The only ingredients I didn’t have on hand was bok choy and carrots (I bought shredded carrots to make the dinner come together even faster).  I also didn’t have any “Chinese hot mustard” but it turns out to be incredibly simple to make at home.  Simply whisk together 1/4 cup dry mustard, 3 tablespoons water and 1/8 teaspoon white pepper.  Who knew?!?

Be sure to prep all your ingredients in advance.  Because once you start cooking, dinner will be ready in under 10 minutes.  This is seriously a 20 minute dinner.

bokchoypork

I loved the sweetness and subtle spiciness of this dish.  I seriously can’t believe this was a “I guess I’ll make this” decision.  It’s so good!

And be sure to add chopsticks for good measure – they make any meal more fun.

Stacked Chicken Enchiladas

Good morning!  Hopefully y’all had the best weekend and feel refreshed for the first full week of fall.  #canwegetsomefallweather

 

Last week I was flying solo while Big Guy traveled for work.  Even when I’m eating alone during the week, I try to cook at least once or twice.  I do adore my cheese and cracker plates but that can get old after awhile.  (I can’t believe I just said that.)  In an attempt to use a protein from the freezer, I made stacked chicken enchiladas, saving the remaining chicken thighs in the package for our dinner on Friday.   Since I was cooking for one, I decided to halve the recipe and cook them in separate dishes.  However, if I could do it again, I would have doubled the recipe and actually frozen one of the casseroles.  You live and you learn.

The idea behind this recipe is instead of rolling your enchiladas (and making an absolute mess) you simply stack all the ingredients in layers.  Chicken thighs are cooked on the stovetop (or you could save even more time and use a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store) and then shredded before mixing with 2% Greek yogurt and green onions.  The enchilada sauce is made by blending together charred red onions, jalapeño, garlic, fire roasted diced tomatoes, chicken stock, cumin and a little salt.  Grate your cheese and you’re ready to start stacking.

Corn tortillas, the enchilada sauce, chicken and cheese are layered (ending with cheese) and then baked.

enchiladas

Making your enchilada sauce is a game changer, in my opinion – there is SO much more flavor.  The heat was minimal but you could totally leave out the jalapeño if you’re feeding little mouths.  Leftovers are perfect for freezing (or for eating the next night, like I did).

I hope you’re having a great start to your week and I’ll see you tomorrow for more tasty eats.

Five-Spice Chicken Breasts with Sesame-Orange Beans

I almost forgot to share this delicious yet easy chicken dinner with you!  This recipe requires less than 10 ingredients (for the main dish AND a side) and I promise you’ll have at least half of them on hand.  Chinese Five-Spice is an incredibly flavorful spice combination of cinnamon, cloves, fennel seeds, star anise and szechuan peppercorns that brings so much flavor to any dish.  In fact, this spice is packed with so much flavor it’s the only seasoning (other than salt) in this chicken recipe.

Once seasoned, the chicken is cooked in a little canola oil until cooked through (about 5-8 minutes each side).  Allow the chicken to rest while you prepare the beans.

Red onion is sautéed in a little more oil and then seasoned with orange zest (so much flavor!) and thinly sliced garlic.  Allow that to cook for 30 seconds and then add in the haricots verts and cook for 4 minutes.  To finish off the beans, add in soy sauce and then top with orange segments and a small drizzle of sesame oil for a POP of flavor.

chinesefivespice

Despite being an incredibly easy dinner, this meal hit the spot.  It was PACKED with flavor and I loved the brightness from the fresh oranges and the nuttiness from the sesame oil.  Don’t be afraid to use those “strange” spices hiding in your pantry – they add flavor without a lot of fuss OR calories.