Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Corn, Fregola, and Grilled Halloumi Cheese Salad


I just got back from the most incredible week in LA and I'm officially in love.  The blue skies, incredible climate, food scene, shopping, and countless adorable neighborhoods and beaches had me at hello. So did this Corn, Fregola, and Grilled Halloumi Cheese salad that I was served at a backyard barbecue (treehouse included) of my very talented (and adorable) friend Missy. If you want to feel inspired, check out Homethrown LA, her full service party planning company that makes your greatest Pinterest dream come to life and pairs it with a creative seasonal and organic menu that will blow you away. The girl's got taste and you will understand it just by tasting this salad.  Missy paired it with Goop's bbq turkey burger and salted and spiced Melon (to die for). It might be the best backyard bbq combo EVA.

Recipe after the jump:
PC: Food & Wine 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Muffins Galore

My daughter is a very picky eater but thanks to Weelicious and Detoxinista I start her day with a healthy dose of fruits and vegetables hidden in one of (their) many muffin recipes. Here is what I currently make on repeat: 

Carrot Apple Coconut Muffins: 
*I add a 1/3 cup of pre-chopped dates


Zucchini Muffins: 
*I add a 1/2 cup of chocolate chips 




Flourless Peanut Butter Banana Muffins 
*I add 1/2 cup of chocolate chips

Enjoy! 





PC: afamilyfeast.com, bluegrassbites.com, & detoxinista

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Chocolate Peanut Butter Blobs


With Valentine's Day just around the corner, here is the perfect treat to ring in this important Hallmark holiday: Ina Garten's Chocolate Peanut Butter Blobs.  While the blobs' name isn't the sexiest one in the book, they are the perfect reminder to never judge a book (or cookie) by its cover.   These cookies are crunchy yet tender and the peanut butter chips and walnuts are the perfect complement to the velvety chocolate. Happy V Day friends. 

Recipe after the jump
PC: Ina Garten


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Oatmeal Caramel Bars



With the holidays behind us, it's time to look forward... to the Superbowl.  Here's a great dessert to bring to the big day: Oatmeal Caramel Bars. They won't win the Most Beautiful award but you can bet that your dessert will come out on top (even if your team doesn't).  

PC: food-pusher.com


Recipe after the jump:

Monday, January 4, 2016

Weeknight Bolognese

I can always count on my dear friend Laura for the latest and greatest fashion finds, gourmet meals for entertaining, and anything decorative, classy, and must-have (not to mention anything friend-related). Lucky for you, you don't have to have 35 years of friendship to be privy to her advice because it's all featured on her new blog A Beautiful Hunt .  While I love everything on there, I'm already obsessed with a meal she prepares for her daughter: Cecily's Bolognese.  It's easy to prepare (it's made in 20 minutes flat) and it's delicious and healthful.  I served mine atop whole wheat pasta and a side of parmesan zucchini wedges. It's my new favorite weeknight meal.  Feel free to use ground turkey if you're not a beef person.


PC: Williams-sonoma.com

Recipe after the jump:

Friday, December 18, 2015

Pumpkin Cheesecake

I feel guilty posting this recipe after Thanksgiving but I figured better late than never. This is a recipe that will never go out of style and will most likely be passed on to future generations to come. Pretty important if you ask me.


P.S. I didn't use bourbon. 

PC: Hungrytohappy.com

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Za'atar Roasted Chicken Breasts


The key to entertaining is to not only serve mind-blowing food that has a ton of flavor and depth but also to make sure that everyone (including the chef) has a good time. How do you achieve this? A one pot main dish, of course, like my newest find: Ottolenghi's Za'atar Roasted Chicken Breasts. This tasty Mediterranean dish can be prepared in advance and popped into the oven just before everyone arrives. It's marinated in lemon juice and all of my favorite Middle-Eastern spices like Za'atar and sumac that makes the chicken super juicy, tasty, and memorable.  Serve it with Basmati, Wild Rice with Chickpeas, Currants, and herbs, or Roasted Cauliflower with tahini sauce or Roasted Butternut Squash & Red Onion with Tahini and Za'atar. 

Recipe after the jump:
PC: themediterraneandish.com

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Last minute Thanksgiving ideas

Here are some last minute ideas for your Thanksgiving table:

Gem Lettuce Salad with Chile Lemon Dressing and Breadcrumbs
(a play on caesar salad but sooo good and worth the effort-I used baby kale)




Cauliflower Couscous with Cheesy Crumbs:
(divine)

and


Shaved Asparagus Pizza by Smitten Kitchen: 
(the perfect appetizer-be sure to add a pinch of red pepper flakes to the shaved asparagus before adding it to the pizza) 


Happy Thanksgiving all!

PC: Samencroute.com, Dish by Dish, Smitten Kitchen 



Friday, October 30, 2015

Beef and Lamb Kofta Lettuce Wraps




Calling all lettuce wrap lovers, meet your newest love interest: Beef and Lamb Kofta Wraps (be sure to sub quinoa for brown rice if you want a serious low-carb meal). It's like an asian lettuce wrap turned Mediterranean.  Need more good ideas? Try subbing farro or barley for rice and don't forget the cucumber greek yogurt sauce that won't make you miss PF Changs for a second. 
PC: Cooking light 

Recipe after the break:  


Mustard-Roasted Potatoes


My Friday night go-to of meat and potatoes is anything but ordinary.  The trick is to find superb steak from a great butcher (like Gepperth's in Lincoln Park) and pair it with Ina Garten's mustard-roasted potatoes and a green vegetable (like roasted asparagus or burned broccoli).  Light a fire, open a nice bottle of red, and enjoy. 

I highly recommend their skirt steak marinated in soy vey for at least 12 hours.  Be sure to ask for a thin cut. 

Recipe after the jump: 
PC: Bon Appetit

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Dutch Oven Cornbread with Fig Jam

Looking for the perfect side to your next BBQ bash? Look no further than Dutch Oven Cornbread with Fig Jam. I served it at my Superbowl party along with my favorite baked beans (recipe to come), and Martha's Mac n' Cheese and it truly was the fan favorite.  For the mains I left it to the pro's (of Smoque BBQ in Chicago) and served BBQ ribs, chopped brisket and pulled pork. It was a simple yet delightful entertaining move.   

PC: Bon Appetit

Winter Kale Salad

Here's the perfect weeknight salad that you can whip together in no time: 

KALE SALAD WITH BUTTERNUT SQUASH, GOAT CHEESE & HONEY-CIDER VINAIGRETTE


PC/Recipe: RecipeGirl

Recipe after the jump: 

Chicken Parm Meatballs


My love of meatballs is evergrowing since I've discovered variations like chicken parm that is not only delicious but the perfect antidote to cold Winter nights and hungry tummies. They're also a lighter version of the real deal which is perfect for a week night. Serve them with whole wheat pasta marinara and roasted asparagus. Or a tuscan shredded kale salad. 

Recipe after the jump.
PC and Recipe: Dinner: A Love Story

General Tso's Chicken

In honor of the Chinese New Year, I whipped up General Tso's chicken to warm up my heart and soul on a recent freezing Friday night. While the traditional cooking method calls for deep frying the chicken in vegetable oil, I baked it for a lower fat version that tastes anything but.

I paired it with Gwyneth Paltrow's (amazing) Salad with carrot and ginger dressing to start and Food & Wine's Kung Pao brussel sprouts. The only thing missing was fortune cookies. 


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Recipe for General Tso's Chicken after the break 



PC: CookingClassy, Goop, Food & Wine

Monday, February 2, 2015

TGIF

Friday nights have taken on a whole new meaning since I started a family. While I'll spare you the details of my thrilling days of yesteryear, I've come to the conclusion that getting older actually rocks-everything except the wrinkles. The meals are better, the wine is high end, and the company is unbeatable.

Here's a recent Friday night meal that was better than a steakhouse:

To start:
Standard Wedge salad:
I like mine with chopped tomato, red onion, crumbled blue cheese and balsamic vinaigrette

Strip Steaks with red wine-rosemary butter:
With or without the butter, this steak prep is the best

Twice Baked Potatoes with Kale (recipe to follow)

Dessert: 
a piece of dark chocolate and berries 


PC: Huffington Post, Giada Delaurentis, The Smitten Kitchen

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Friendsgiving

Last night I hosted a memorable Friendsgiving that was by far the tastiest Thanksgiving spread I've ever eaten.  Here are some ideas for your upcoming holiday:

The Drink: 
Moscow Mule
(Buy my favorite copper mugs here)

The Appetizer: 
Brie en Croute with apricot and strawberry jam



The Main: 
Ina's Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast
(No dark meat here) 


Homemade Cranberry Sauce: 



And sides: 

The showstopper: Kosher by design Entertains: 
Graham Cracker Crusted Squash Pie* 
(This is the tastiest side dish I have ever eaten-it's a must try) 



Smitten Kitchen's Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Onions: 


The Pioneer Woman's Thanksgiving Stuffing


and the icing on the cake: 

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars: 


PC: Mug: Black Dog Design Blog, Brie: Simply Recipes, Turkey: Food Network, Cranberry sauce: Pioneer Woman, Butternut Squash: Melodrama, Green Beans: Smitten Kitchen, and Stuffing: Pioneer Woman, bars: Sally's Baking Addiction

*Butternut Squash recipe after the break: 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Snickerdoodle Blondies

Snickerdoodle Blondies are the best bars on the recipe market, bar none.   They're buttery and sweet with a blondie-like texture and are dusted with cinnamon and sugar that makes them oh so dreamy. Why did I have to discover them postpartum?


PC: Browneyedbaker


Monday, November 3, 2014

Roasted Root Vegetable Salad with Quinoa

Looking to spice up Thanksgiving? Look no further than Deb Perelman's (from Smitten Kitchen) Roasted Root Vegetable Salad with Quinoa.  It's a bed of quinoa topped with hearty root vegetables finished off with a shallot vinaigrette, goat cheese, and a balsamic glaze.  My girlfriend brought it to a recent cooking club party and it went over big (especially paired with my apple cider). I can't wait to share it with my extended family over Thanksgiving.


PC: Neverskipdessert

Recipe after the break:

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Wasabi Pea Encrusted Salmon


While I normally ignore chain emails, I got lucky with a recent recipe exchange like you'd never believe.  One of my favorite finds is a wasabi pea encrusted salmon.  It's simple to prepare and is the perfect twist on fish.  It's a salmon fillet topped with a thin layer of mayo mixed with wasabi powder and topped with crushed wasabi peas and sesame seeds.  It's baked to perfection in 15 minutes flat and you can serve it with basmati rice and asparagus to tie in the Asian factor.  It's pretty awesome.

PC: Bon Appetit
Recipe: Danielle Kozin

Recipe after the jump: 

Apple Cider 2.0

I rocked my Fall-themed Cooking club with my favorite spiked apple cider and it was an affair to remember (or not).  I'm not even a huge specialty drink kind-of-girl and this sultry drink made me change my tune.  It's served warm and goes down nice and smooth like apple pie.  It's a must-try for those of you who like do it up.  It's the quintessential Fall drink.

Ingredients:
1 Gallon apple cider
4 cinnamon sticks
1 bottle Captain Morgans Rum

Combine three ingredients in a pan over medium heat.  Allow to heat up and serve in mugs.

PC: thedeaneryproject.com

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Food Delivery Part II

Here is another fantastic recipe, Ina's Turkey Meatloaf, that was delivered by my girlfriend Allyson who spearheaded the delivery of meals to my house. (Thanks All!) It is perfect comfort food but unlike the traditional kind, it's healthy and light.  Best of all, it is HUGE, so you'll have leftovers for days.  


PC: Food network

Friends are the best medicine

After welcoming my third child into the world in August, my wonderful friends delivered the most amazing gift imaginable-daily home-cooked meals for four that were as delicious as they were heartfelt, appreciated, and devoured with nursing hunger gusto.  While I thought I had everything under control, I had no idea just how hard it was to get a meal on the table while caring for a newborn baby.  I guess that's why the saying goes, "friends are the best medicine." This is especially true after a c-section!

After recreating my friend Emily's Spaghetti Bolognese two months later, I realized how much love and time she put into her meal and I don't even have words to tell you how much I appreciate it.  This sauce is the real deal.  She uses a mix of veal/beef/pork (which you can substitute if you don't like one of the meats) and layers it with carrots, onion, and celery and finishes it off with whole milk (I used 2%), white wine (which is the ticket) and crushed tomatoes.  While the sauce takes about 3-6 hours to cook (6 hours if you double the recipe like yours truly), it's worth every minute of your precious time.  She delivered it with fresh pasta from Eataly (damn she's good), homemade caesar salad and a blackberry crisp.  It was a meal to remember and I'll be making it forever while thinking of her generosity and love. Thanks Em!

This is also the perfect dish for entertaining guests.  You can prepare the sauce in advance, buy fresh pasta from a good market, make a good caesar (with store-bought dressing to save on time), and serve it with garlic bread and biscotti and gelato for dessert... or a crisp if you're an all-star like Emily.  I can't think of anything better.

PC: Bonappetit

Recipe after the jump: 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Dinner for Two

To celebrate my husband's recent birthday, I made a special dinner for two followed by a big Golf cake so my kids could join in on the fun.  I made Rigatoni with Lemony Kale and Pecorino Pesto and Butcher Chop Chicken which served as a token of my love for the birthday boy.  The golf cake was also a huge hit.


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PC: Food and Wine
Recipes after the jump:

Monday, July 21, 2014

Greek Burgers

With just a few weeks to go in my pregnancy, the only thing happening in my kitchen (other than burning everything I put into the oven) is simple and speedy meals with very little clean up.  Tonight's dinner fit the bill with juicy Greek Chicken Burgers that I threw on toasted pita and topped with a dollop of store-bought tzatziki sauce (Cedar's brand).  I also roasted some broccoli (which I burned) and tossed it into a bowl of prepared couscous.  It was still a delightful meal that happens to be healthy.

I would definitely recommend this burger for entertaining.  Serve it with a big Greek Salad and Bobby's Greek Potatoes with lemon vinaigrette. As my son Wyatt says, Bam!

Recipe after the jump:

PC: publix.com

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Chickpea, Barley, and Feta Salad

Here's another fabulous side salad that's perfect for your next BBQ or dinner at home.

Chickpea, Barley, and Feta Salad


I served mine with Moroccan Chicken and Grilled Zucchini and Leeks with Walnuts and Herbs. It was an awesome meal!
PC: Bonappetit


Recipe after the jump:

Flourless Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

My good friend Lauren (who brought us Breakfast Cookies) is at again as she introduced me to the most scrumptious and healthy morning muffins:

Flourless Peanut Butter Banana Blueberry Muffins

They're truly one of a kind boasting strong peanut butter, banana and blueberry flavors while delivering tons of nutrients and not packing in the fat.  They're perfect for Breakfast or an afternoon snack.  And best of all, your kids will love them,* they are a dream come true. 

 *use sun butter if your child has a nut allergy

PC: Detoxinista
Recipe after the jump:

Green Couscous, Summer's perfect side dish

Leave it to Ottolenghi to create the world's best couscous dish... think layers of fresh (green) herb pesto, arugula, green chile, green onion, and even green pistachios.  This couscous will leave you feeling (what else) green with envy for those who have been enjoying it for years.  I don't think I'll ever look at another couscous dish again as it's truly the most perfect Summer side dish.


PC: Inmybowl.com

Recipe after the jump:

Date Night

Looking for a perfect date night dish for you and your loved one? Try Nobu's Black Cod with Miso. It's sweet and silky and screams total date night dish.  Like a blow out or manicure, don't forget to plan ahead as it's recommended to marinate the fish for at least 24 hours*. Serve it with sticky rice and bok choy and enjoy!


*if you're in Chicago, go to Dirk's because they already have it marinating.  

PC: RealLifeLovers.wordpress.com

Recipe after the jump

Monday, April 28, 2014

Low Carb Delight

My mother-in-law introduced me to these awesome Beef & Quinoa Meatballs over Passover and they're so good that I made them this past Friday with a kale caesar and Julia Child's Eggplant Pizzas. It was a match made in culinary & low carb heaven.  If only I could eat this well seven nights a week.

Tender-Oven Roasted Beef & Quinoa Meatballs:


Julia Child's Eggplant Pizzas:


PC: Canyoustayfordinner.com & kalynskitchen.com
Recipes after the jump

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Turkey Meatloaf with Chipotle Glaze

I just developed a major crush on SIRIouslyDelicious, a food blog written by Carson Daly's other half, Siri Pinter.  She's witty, funny, and says it like it is with awesome recipes for every occasion. 

Tonight I made two versions of her Turkey Meatloaf with Chipotle Glaze, one with and without the adobo sauce so my kids could enjoy it as well.  Both were seriously delicious and since they're packed with zucchini, onion, and sweet potato, they're healthy too. What more could a girl ask for? They will definitely become part of my weeknight staples. 

PC: SIRIouslydelicious.com
Recipe after the jump:


Blackberry Pie Bars


If you can resist the heavenly picture above then you must have a problem.  I took one look and ran to the market as fast as you can say 'snap' so I could sink my teeth into them ASAP. 

After cutting a 'sliver' before whisking them to a dinner party, my husband caught me red-handed, literally and figuratively, since by sliver I mean 3, maybe 4 bars, and I was (on the verge of) licking my fingers clean in my nice party dress.  HEY, you're only pregnant once and sometimes it ain't pretty. Whoever said "you can't have your cake and eat it too" was just plain wrong or obviously never pregnant. There are some things that are meant to be done in private. And this, my friends, is one of them. 

Back to the bars... they taste exactly how they look- a buttery crust topped with a sweet blackberry filling, covered in the a delightful crumble mixture. They are as delicious as they look, especially paired with vanilla ice cream (low fat of course) because then you can have a larger scoop. 

PC: Tracey's Culinary Adventures
Recipe after the jump:

Batali's Chicken

As a huge Batali fan, I had no doubt that his stuffed Herb and Cheese Filled Chicken Thigh recipe would fall nothing short of awesome. Sure enough, it's a definite crowd pleaser even for those who aren't the 'thigh' type, like yours truly. I served it with a Spicy Caesar Salad and Pizza with Charred Cherry Tomatoes and Pesto.  It was divine. And best of all, unlike most of Batali's dishes, this chicken dish isn't that unhealthy (besides the fat in the thigh) but I don't think you should count that since it's protein. How else are you supposed to grow?

Batali's Herb and Cheese-Filled Chicken Thighs:

PC: Food & Wine
Recipe after the jump: