Mushroom Lasagna

As I mentioned yesterday, on Sunday I was able to spend some time in the kitchen preparing a delicious Sunday supper.  I have had a craving for lasagna for weeks (perhaps months) and I figured this weekend was as good as any to whip up a dish of hearty layers which the weather is still a little chilly.  I reached for one of my cookbooks that I don’t use enough by Rachael Ray and found a recipe for mushroom lasagna that sounded incredible.  Here is a recipe I found on her website for a different mushroom lasagna.

mealprep

I was really excited about mushroom lasagna because it gave me an excuse to open up one of my favorite wines – Iron Horse Pinot Noir.  With a glass in hand, I began prepping all the layers.  I made a white sauce, sautéed the mushrooms, mixed up the ricotta layer and tossed together the three cheeses.  Then it was time to start layering.  No-boil noodles were used and it’s such a time saver!  The Barilla brand is my (and Rachael’s) favorite.

We strayed a little from the recipe adding spinach to the ricotta mixture and adding in some homemade Italian sausage.  I highly recommend adding in the sausage – it was the perfect compliment to the mushrooms.

mushroomlasagna

I was drooling when this bad boy came out of the oven.  How pretty is that dish of lasagna?

Big Guy and I LOVED this dinner and surprisingly, Big Guy claimed he liked this better than ANY pizza we’ve ever made.  I’m not sure I would go that far but it was a killer dinner.

And everyone knows that the best part of lasagna is the leftovers.

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Sun Basket {a review}

Good morning, friends!  How was your weekend?  Ours was absolutely wonderful and I we had the best Sunday that has left me feeling ready to tackle the {short} week ahead.  On Saturday, Big Guy’s parents came into town and we were able to have our first real date night.  We had such a great time and it was truly rejuvenating.  A BIG “thank you” to Sweetie and Grandaddy for letting us have an evening out.  And on Sunday it was all about spending time as a family.  We had a delicious brunch and I got to spend some time in the kitchen cooking a comforting dinner.  And don’t worry – I got plenty of baby snuggles which really warms the heart.  I went to bed last night looking forward to the week ahead – such a great feeling.

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Anyways, last week we tried something new, Sun Basket, a meal kit delivery.  I’ve always been skeptical but after having a baby and not having the time to go to multiple grocery stores, I wanted to give it a try.  I chose Sun Basket over all the other delivery companies (Hello Fresh, Plated, etc.) because honestly I thought their meals sounded more like what Big Guy and I like – not too simple.  I didn’t try Sun Basket because I don’t like to cook, I tried Sun Basket because I LOVE to cook and I just don’t have the time to gather high quality ingredients anymore.  With Sun Basket, you can chose a 2 meal or a 3 meal weekly plan with the option to skip weeks anytime.  In fact, we skipped this week because I knew we would have leftovers and someone is bringing us dinner tomorrow night.  You also can choose the menu that suits your diet – gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian, etc.  I went with “chef’s selection” because we don’t have any dietary restrictions and I felt like it gave me the best selection to choose from.  Each week you browse through over 15 meals and you pick what YOU want.

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Last week, three meal kits were delivered on Tuesday:

  • salmon in parchment with mushrooms and a mango-cucumber salad
  • shaking beef
  • shanghai wings

sunbasketsalmon

I picked the salmon dish because Big Guy was going to be out of town and salmon isn’t his favorite.  Fish is one of the main reasons I wanted to try Sun Basket – it’s really hard to find good seafood in our town and I rarely cook seafood but yet I love it.  My only complaint about this meal was the parchment paper they provided was low-quality and the fish ended up sticking.  But the fact that they provided parchment paper is amazing because I’m sure there are a lot of people that don’t have parchment paper in their kitchen.  My favorite part of this meal was the salad – the mango was perfectly ripe and it’s not something I typically cook with.

sunbasketbeef

On Thursday we enjoyed the shaking beef dinner.  This was my favorite meal of the three (though all of them were delicious).  The portion sizes were huge for each meal.  The flavors were outstanding in this dinner and both of us were incredibly satisfied.  The watercress was better quality than any watercress I’ve ever been able to find here.

sunbasketwings

And our final meal was shanghai wings.  Another cool option about Sun Basket is that you have the option to upgrade your meats.  For example, I could have requested organic chicken wings for a little extra or in our beef dinner I could have upgraded to tenderloin.  I didn’t upgrade for either of our meals but I think it’s a great option and would totally take advantage of it in the future.  The slaw and the wings were a big hit and once again we were impressed with the portion size.

Overall we were extremely happy with our experience with Sun Basket.  I don’t think I’ll order every single week because I still enjoy picking out recipes and going to the grocery store but I think it’s something we’ll do a couple weeks a month.

So there you have it – my thoughts on Sun Basket. If you want to try it for yourself, here’s a link for $40 off.  

Almond-Coconut Chicken Satay

Over the past six weeks I haven’t been cooking as much, especially during the week.  But on the weekends I’ve been trying to cook when possible because I truly love being in the kitchen.  The key these days is meals that I can prep in advance during a nap and then are easily thrown together once the little one is down for the night.

Last Friday we thoroughly enjoyed almond-coconut chicken satay with a glass of wine before tucking ourselves into bed before 9pm.  Throughout the day I prepped here and there – cutting the chicken into chunks, slicing the veggies, and mixing together the marinade.  I marinated the chicken a little longer than the recipe instructed – probably a few hours – and I highly recommend doing that, if possible.  The marinade is where all the flavor is:  almond butter, coconut milk, lime juice and red curry paste (a current obsession of mine).  Some of the marinade is reserved for serving with the grilled chicken.

The one thing I didn’t do until the last minute was dress the cucumber salad because I didn’t want it to become soggy.  I like crisp cucumbers.  The cucumbers and bell peppers are dressed with lime juice, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes.

Once the chicken is grilled, serve along side the cucumbers and bell peppers and a sprinkle of chopped almonds.

chickensatay

And while I miss being in the kitchen during the week, I wouldn’t trade baby snuggles for anything in the world because I know one day she won’t want to snuggle with me.

 

Family-Style Meatball “Fondue”

Is anyone else dragging this AM?  I’m not sure if the time change is to blame or having a 6-week baby…  Either way, I’m ready for bed and it’s not even lunch time.  Despite the sleepy eyes over here, I’m determined to have a great week.

But rewind – how was your weekend?  Ours didn’t go quite as we anticipated but we had a wonderful weekend as a family of three.  We had a low-key evening in on Friday night and then on Saturday we had a family day-date!  Tacos and an adult beverage for the win.  I think BG is starting to change her schedule on me but I’m okay with it if that means more sleep at night.  I’m trying not to stress myself out over a “schedule” but it’s hard because I thrive on schedules.  And on Sunday we had the laziest of days and instead of pizza we switched it up with family-style meatball “fondue.”  I keep wanting to type “fundue” – which is appropriate because it was a FUN way to eat.

The meatballs are made with lean ground beef (the recipe called for turkey but we switched it up), grated zucchini, chopped onion, oregano, salt, pepper and an egg.  There’s no breadcrumbs so it will seem a little “loose” but I promise they firm up in the oven.  The meatballs are baked until cooked through.

While the meatballs are cooking, it’s time to make the sauce.  Sauté the mushrooms and garlic in a little olive oil and then add in marinara (Newman’s Own is my favorite) and a little water.  Simmer about 5 minutes and then add in the meatballs once they are done cooking.  Gently mix to coat the meatballs and then top with mozzarella.

Finally, broil the whole skillet to melt the cheese and serve with toasted baguette on the side.

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Such a delicious dinner.  And while I missed our tradition of pizza (we’re already planning this Sunday’s pizza) I can’t say I didn’t love these saucy meatballs.  And the mushrooms were fantastic on a piece of baguette.

I hope you all have a great week!

 

Spicy Thai Red Curry Beef

Yesterday was a doozy – so I apologize for being MIA…

But today I bring to you one of my top five recipes from Cooking Light.  I’m tempted to give it the #1 spot but I’ve cooked so many things from Cooking Light that I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to aware any recipe the coveted top prize.

I know, it’s a bold statement but I hope that it encourages you to make this recipe.  It’s easy enough for a week night but impressive enough for a date night.  I actually paired a glass of wine with this dish – on a Thursday.  We’re living the wild life around here lately.

And did I mention it’s one-skillet?  Therefore, clean-up is a breeze.  So get all your ingredients assembled and get cooking.

The top layer of coconut cream (from a can of light coconut milk – don’t shake!) is brought to a boil along with the red curry paste in a skillet.  The rest of the coconut milk is added along with a little brown sugar, fish sauce (SO much flavor – don’t skip!), and red pepper flakes.  Bring that to a boil and cook for two minutes.  Add in your veggies – bell pepper and onion and simmer.  Next, add in your thinly sliced beef tenderloin.  Yes, it’s a delicious cut of meat and I rarely would want to cook such high quality beef this way but the end result is incredible and totally worth it.  (We were “gifted”this beef tenderloin and it’s by far the best beef tenderloin I’ve ever had – the marveling was perfection.)  Back to cooking…cook the beef about three minutes and then remove from the heat.

At this point, we’re going to brighten up the dish with some fresh elements – basil, lime juice and some salt.

Served over rice with a squeeze of fresh lime.

beefcurry

To my surprise, my wine and food pairing book suggested to serve a riesling with this dish.  I don’t keep a lot of riesling on hand but it also suggested a California chardonnay which I have plenty of.  I found a bottle that was described as a “cousin to riesling” and I felt compelled to open the bottle.  (Thankfully the weekend was so warm and a glass of crisp white wine here and there was just what I need to get through “mommy-ing.”)

Y’all, I can’t rave about this recipe enough.  It was savory with a little sweetness yet a hint of heat from the red pepper flakes.  And the curry married with the coconut milk made me oh, so happy.  And Big Guy was a huge fan because beef tenderloin + rice makes him extremely happy.

Unfortunately for y’all I’m not doing a lot of cooking this week.  A huge thank you to all the folks that have signed up to bring us dinner – it’s been such a treat to not have to worry about dinner (though cooking dinner remains one of my favorite things to do).

I’ll (hopefully) be back tomorrow with a 1-month update on Blakely Gray.  That is if I can type it without tearing up and mourning the fact that she’s growing so fast.  I swear, she’ll be wanting to date next week at this pace…

 

Chipotle Corn Chowder

We’re at that point in the year where we are craving warm weather (and we’re actually having super warm weather here) but the reality is that it’s still February and there is always the possibility of a cold snap in March (and even April).  This chowder, in my opinion, is the perfect meal for this time of the year.  It celebrates the produce that’s to come (corn!  zucchini!) yet it’s warm and comforting and totally appropriate for February (I can’t quite get behind eating hot soup in July).

I decided to make this recipe after noticing the abundance of frozen corn from our garden in the freezer.  I don’t want to let one kernel go to waste.  My aunt (Hey, Daphne!) was also in town and she’s a huge fan of soups so I thought this would be the perfect dinner to make while she was visiting.  On Monday evening, she was on baby duty (aka getting ALL the baby snuggles) and I set out to make dinner.  This dinner comes together super quickly once you’ve chopped all your veggies.

The potatoes, corn (if you don’t have any fresh-frozen corn I would go for frozen corn from the grocery store this time of year), onion, garlic and zucchini (I found some really pretty organic zucchini at Trader Joe’s) are sautéed in a little olive oil until tender.  Then add in the broth (I used chicken – but you can totally use veggie to make this vegetarian) and allow the pot to simmer until the potatoes are fork-tender.  Transfer about three cups of the mixture to a blender and puree and then add in the almond milk and chipotles (as much or as little) and blend until smooth.  Add the blended soup back into the pot with the remaining “chunky” soup and allow everything to warm.

cornchowder

To serve, top with some pesto and/or basil and slurp your way through this bowl of chowder.  It’s silky – as if you’ve added cream – with just the right amount of body.  The pesto and basil on top made this bowl of chowder for me and I loved the bit of heat that the chipotle peppers added to the whole bowl of deliciousness.

I hope you’re all having a great week – we’re still adjusting to being a family of three and I’m finding ways to make the time I spend pumping (almost 3 hours a day) a little more productive (aka – blogging while pumping).  I have high hopes for a Friday Favorites post tomorrow…but don’t hate me if it doesn’t happen.

 

Steak, Feta and Olive Quesadillas

Another quick and easy dinner headed your way with this Mediterranean twist on the classic Mexican quesadilla.  All the quesadilla ingredients are mixed together to save time – there’s no layering or trying to make sure you save room for each element.

To make the quesadilla stuffing, cook the thinly sliced steak on the stovetop until browned.  Add in the spinach, cream cheese, feta and chopped olives.  Allow the mixture to cook for two minutes and then remove from the heat.

And just like that, you’re ready to make your quesadillas.  I used corn tortillas but you can use your favorite – whether thats flour or corn.  Spoon the filling on one tortilla and then top with another tortilla.  Cook until browned in a little oil and carefully flip.  Make sure not to overstuff your quesadillas!

The quesadillas are served with a side of greek yogurt for dipping.

steakquesadillas

And on the side, a simple cucumber and tomato salad with parsley, olive oil, salt, pepper and red wine vinegar.

I loved this spin on a dinner that is so common in many households.  The steak paired with the olives was so yummy and the cream cheese made it extra creamy and delicious.

OPA.