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Have an adventure. Eat good food till your pants are too tight. Enjoy a good belly laugh.


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Weekday lunches

Breakfast is for easing into things over a hot cup of coffee while listening to the birds welcome the day.  Dinner is for nourishing your family and friends with the recipes that create legends.  Weekday lunches are for… work.

I have an issue coming up with ideas for weekday lunches.  There is no one around to appreciate the balance of flavors or the effort it took, so I take a yogurt to the office and call it a day.  Unfortunately, this leaves me unsatisfied and underwhelmed, so I am trying something new.  I am going to try easy or no prep real foods that are low cal so that I can keep using butter at dinner without having to wear my fat pants (Don’t judge.  You have them too.)

Anyway, here are some easy weekday lunch options to try out:

  1. Sweet potato – microwave for 5min-ish (potato setting) add crazons and sunflower seeds or go decedent by adding brown sugar or a little butter
  2. Cherry tomatoes and blue cheese drizzled with a little olive oil, salt and pepper (if you don’t cut the tomatoes it will not get runny)
  3. Soft pretzel roll (I love you central market) cut open and microwaved or toasted with an American cheese slice on each side
  4. Deli meat and cheese rolled up with a little stone ground mustard and an apple (I have stuck the full deli bags in my lunch bag with an ice pack rather than prepping this)
  5. Bagged or store prepped salad with deli meat thrown on top, because lets be honest.  A plain salad is never enough

All of these weekday lunches (with the exception of #2) required no prep.  I could throw the items in my lunch box and throw them together at work.  The cherry tomatoes and blue cheese require a very small amount of prep but it is so worth it. Let me know if you come up with any other no prep lunch ideas.


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BBQ’d Nachos

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The two things that make me happiest in my life are doing anything with my kids (yep, I’m that mom) and feeding people so much food that they feel the need to stuff themselves to the point of unbuttoning their pants.  This is why I will never complain about my husbands friends coming over every week.  I get to feed them.

This week I defiantly forced a couple buttons as I fed them bbqd pulled pork nachos.  You heard me.  BARBAQUED PULLED PORK NACHOS!

These are devine and I make pulled pork just so I can make the nachos.

 

Ingredient Action
1-12 oz can pinto beans
Juice of one lime
salt
1/2T cajun seasoning
1/2t salt or to taste  Smash together to make your refried beans and set aside

 

2 ripe tomatoes, diced
1/4 c pickled jalapeños, diced
1/3 c cilantro, diced  Mix together to make your pico and season with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

 

7oz large tortila chips  Spread out on a baking tray
2c bbq pulled pork  Scatter over chips
Smashed beans (above)  Scatter over chips
Pico (above)  Scatter over chips
1/3 c sour cream  Dot little blobs all over the chips
12 oz cheddar cheese, shredded  Scatter over chips.  Throw your finished tray of chips under the broiler for 5-8 min.


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Another day… another happy moment brought to you by buttermilk pancakes

ButtermilkPancakes

I know I posted about food making me happy yesterday, but it is a holiday weekend and that means I am cooking a lot.  This morning I made my oldest daughter’s favorite… pancakes.  Everyone has a favorite kind of pancakes.  Mine are light, fluffy and perfect.  This is because of the baking powder and the holiest of baking ingredients… buttermilk.  I have decided that any and all baked goods are better with buttermilk.  Feel free to try my buttermilk pancakes recipe and decide for yourself.

Ingredient Action
2c flour
2T sugar
2t baking powder
1/2t baking soda
1/2t salt
1/2t cinnamon  Wisk together in a large measuring pitcher

 

3 T butter, melted
1 egg  Mix egg into the butter while constantly whisking
2 c buttermilk
vanilla extract  Whisk into the egg mixture

Mix your bow of wet ingredients into your bowl of dry ingredients with a spatula. Set aside while you heat a cast iron skillet (will need butter) or non-stick pan (will not need but may want butter) for 5 minutes on med-low heat.  Don’t preheat your pan.  This 5 minutes will give your batter time to have air bubbles form in the batter and you will want them there for that light and fluffy thing.

When you are all preheated throw some butter on the pan and use your 1/4-1/3 cup measuring cup to dump equal portions of batter into your hot pan making sure to leave room to breath.  I flip my pancakes as soon as the texture of the outside edge looks a little firm.  If you can’t tell looking at the outside edge watch for bubbles to come to the surface towards the center of the pancakes.  Pull them off the pan when you think it is done (sorry but you are just going to have to get a feel for that one) and throw them on a baking sheet in a warm oven or on a covered plate.

Serve up with butter, syrup, berries… anything you want.  Oh, and slip any extras into your toaster for quick breakfast during the week.  That should make you happy.  🙂


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Tiramisu birthday cake makes me so happy!

p2-BdayTiramisu

We recently celebrated a birthday in my house and I am happy to report that it required a birthday tiramisu rather than a birthday cake.  Magic!  It may not be the most beautiful tiramisu I have ever made but I was so excited that my daughter wanted to help that I didn’t care.

This is one of my husbands favorite deserts and it actually isn’t that hard.

Ingredient Action
7 egg yolks
1/4 c sugar Mix on high in electric mixer with wisk attachment
1/4 c rum
1/4 c cooled espresso
or coffee concentrate
16oz mascarpone cheese  Mix in on medium speed until evenly combined

 

1/4 c rum
1 1/2 c cooled espresso
or coffee concentrate
Combine and set aside in a pie plate or shallow dish

 

Lots o lady fingers Dip the lady fingers in the rum/espresso mixture use them to create a cookie layer in the bottom of a trifle dish.  Cover with a layer of the mousse.  Go back and forth between the two till you are out of ingredents ending with the mousse.
Semi sweet chocolate bar Use a carrot peeler to create chocolate shavings to drip all over the top.


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A Pot of Italian Goodness… Braciole

I believe in the kind of Sunday dinner that has to sit on the stove over a low heat for hours smelling up the whole house until it holds the aroma of family.  The kind of food that makes people feel like they are home.  My favorite way to create this magical smell of home is to make a big pot of braciole, meatballs and sausages in homemade sauce.

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Braciole

Mix together & set aside:
1/2 c pine nuts
1 c parmesan regiano
1 c herbs (I like basil and parsley but feel free to play with this part)
1 T garlic (or to taste)

Heat a large dutch oven over medium heat.

Meanwhile on another counter… lay out 1/4″ thick slices of top round roast ideally in the neighborhood of 5″ x 7″ (can cut bigger pieces in half.)  Season both sides with salt, pepper and a little oil.  Give it a little rub down and then set a half slice of provolone on each piece.  Next, add a heaping tablespoon of the herb mix on top of each piece of provolone.  Roll steaks starting on the thinest end.  As you get them rolled up set them seam side down in the hot pan.  If you are the skittish type you can secure with a tooth pick.  Once they are browned on the one side flip them and brown the other side.  Stuff will be falling out by this point.  Let that make you happy as this is what will make your award winning sauce.  Once they are browned on both sides pull them out, sent them on a plate and move on to the sauce.

Sauce

Add to your dirty pan 1/2 a small onion.  Cook 5 minutes till slightly transparent.  Add 1T garlic and cook 30 sec.  This is the fun part…throw 1/2 c or a bit more red wine in the pan and start scraping the brown bits off the bottom so that they can become one with the sauce.  Cook 3-5 minutes till it has cooked down by about half.  Then add 2 big cans of crushed tomatoes.  Bring to a slow boil and then add back in the braciole with any drippings.  You can also add meat balls and sausages at this point.

Cook 2-3 hours.  By the time it is done the braciole should be fall apart tender.

Serve with pasta and garlic bread to loving family members.  If you want to serve this to friends that is fine too.  It will make them family.


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Birthday parties are better with pea pesto

We recently had a birthday party for the baby.  Just a small get together for some close friends and kids (4 kids total although all 8 of us are young at heart.)  My husband, being the smart man that he is, suggested that we order some pizza and keep things simple.  Simple is not my middle name, but I thought about it and saw the logic.  I did however add a couple easy items to the table to create some healthy and flavorful options for all to enjoy.

We ordered pizzas from Joe’s Pizza (guys are from Brooklyn and you can tell!)  I added to the table a big pitcher of Sherley Temples, Cesar salad, cheese bread, garlic bread and pea pesto.  The pea pesto is a go to favorite of mine because it is easy as pie (birthday cake in this instance) and sooooo good!

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Pea Pesto

Thank you Giada for originally sharing this with the world

Step 1
Throw  the following items in your food processor : 10 ounces of frozen peas (defrosted), 1 clove garlic, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, 1 tsp salt and some fresh pepper.

Step 2
Turn on food processor and slowly pour in 1/3 cup of olive oil and then continue to run the food processor until the pesto hits a texture that looks good to you.  I like it just a little lumpy.

Step 3
Put in a bowl and stick it in the fridge before you find yourself eating it all.

That is it.  You are already to go!