Happy Birthday, America!

We had a wonderful long weekend with friends, family, and much needed down time. For dinner on the 4th, I made traditional burgers. We also had a large tub of beautiful sweet cherries brought by a guest, so I got to de-pitting them and making a cobbler.

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Meatball waits patiently…

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I used a variation of this recipe. I liked that it was not overly sweet. It would be good for breakfast.

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Roasted the potatoes and asparagus together (thyme, oregano, garlic powder, crushed red pepper, drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil, salt/pepper)

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Hope you had a wonderful holiday!

~ally

 

Happy Memorial Day! Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salad, Watermelon, Citrus & Mint Wine Spritzer

We spent Sunday poolside with dear friends and I’m very grateful for the perfect weather and company. To accompany our burgers and dogs on the grill, I made a roasted corn and black bean salad with avocado, tomatoes, and queso fresco. It worked as a salad, and as a chunky salsa with chips.

Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salad

6 ears of corn (grilled, or I broiled mine in the oven, salt and peppered)

1 large can (29 oz.) of black beans

3 medium ripe tomatoes

3/4-1 cup crumbled queso fresco

2 avocados, diced

1 jalapeno, finely diced, seeds removed

Lime vinaigrette: juice of 3-4 limes, 1/4 teaspoon chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, sprinkle of cumin, pinch of oregano, salt and pepper

Roast the corn, drain and rinse the beans in a colander. Add the corn and beans to a large bowl, drizzle half the lime vinaigrette over it. On the top, add a row of cheese, avocado, and tomatoes. I poured the remaining lime vinaigrette over the avocado (to keep it from turning brown) and tomatoes. Sprinkle jalapeno on top.

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Perfect burger..

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In anticipation of drinking most of the afternoon in the sun, I also made a light, refreshing drink. This was delicious and next time I will make a double batch!

Watermelon, Citrus, & Mint White Wine Spritzer

In an effort to not water down the drink with ice cubes, I made watermelon “ice cubes” to keep the drink cool. Basically, made melon balls with a melon baller and froze them overnight.

1/2 watermelon, balled (I used regular and yellow watermelon)

1 lemon, 3-4 small limes, sliced

1 large sprig of mint (or basil!)

1 bottle fruity white wine, like a Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon blanc

1 bottle sparkling water (I used Perrier lime flavored)

Mix everything together and enjoy (preferably in the sun, near a pool!) I bought a little cheap plastic dispenser for $3 from Big Lots. Perfect for patio gatherings.

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Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Bon appetit,

ally

 

Chicken Enchiladas

For dinner tonight I made a batch of enchiladas, something I have done many times before as my husband has a particular fondness, but this time I made my own enchilada sauce! I have always opted for a can of the delicious red sauce because I thought it was very complicated but it turns out it’s pretty to make your own, and way better!

DSC_0457.jpgInside ingredients: Shredded chicken breast (time saving tip: use a rotisserie chicken from the deli), shredded Mexican cheese blend, finely chopped onion

Outside ingredients: Homemade enchilada sauce (see recipe below), queso fresco

Fill your enchiladas, cover with sauce and cheese, and place in a 350 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and lime. Put in mouth.

DSC_0469.jpgHomemade Enchilada Sauce (from Gimme Some Oven)

2 tablespoons oil (vegetable or avocado)

2 tablespoons flour

4 tablespoons chili powder

1/2 tablespoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

2 cups chicken or veggie stock

Heat oil in pan (medium high heat) add flour and whisk. Slowly add spice mix and whisk. Then add stock gradually. Let simmer for about 10-15 minutes until thickened. Super easy!

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The consensus in my house: homemade enchilada sauce= fantastic! Happy enchilada-ing!

Bon appetit!

ally

Weekend-long Birthday Extravaganza

This weekend was jam packed with birthday festivities for one of my favorite humans and long-time best friend, Drew. We started Saturday afternoon at Hopleaf with a big group followed by Replay for patio dinner (the Swedish meatballs were delicious), quick stop at Elixir, and then popping in for a charity drag show.

We continued the fun on Sunday with a relaxing grill-out poolside (and more cake, of course!)

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Menu: Filet mignon, sweet potatoes, roast corn on the cob- amazing

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Ice cream cake!

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Overall, a pretty fantastic weekend to celebrate a truly fantastic person.

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Bon appetit,

ally

A Tale of Two Meats: Bourbon Baby Back Ribs and Roasted Herb Turkey Breast

It’s the first Saturday in May, which means one thing: Derby day! I am in Chicago this weekend and I felt like making a great dinner while I have use of my kitchen. But first, mint juleps..

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The market had some great baby back ribs, so I picked some up and used the bourbon in the marinade.

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I partially followed two recipes, one from Epicurious and one from the Food Network. I let the ribs marinate for a few hours in a bourbon-dark brown sugar-course ground mustard blend (below).

Bourbon Rib Marinade:

  • 1/4 cup Bourbon
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon course ground Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper

After marinating, I placed the ribs in a pan tightly covered with foil in a 350 degree oven, then let them cook for about 45 min. I pulled them out, brushed some more sauce on them (below) on them and let them cook uncovered for about 10 more minutes.

Bourbon Basting Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup Bourbon
  • 1/4 cup steak sauce
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • two pinches red pepper flakes

I also picked up a turkey breast. This was very easy, drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, dried herb blend of rosemary and thyme, and salt and pepper. Whatever is extra, I will take in my lunch this week.

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Served with roasted asparagus drizzled with hollandaise sauce. I like my hollandaise sauce extra lemon-y which is so yummy with asparagus. Also, warm, yeasty rolls right out of the oven. Fantastic!

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Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Bon appetit,

ally

Lentil Salad with Cucumbers and Olives

For this week’s lunch meal prep, I made a giant bowl of lentil salad from a recipe over at the Kitchn. Lentils are a great vegetarian source of both protein and fiber, and bonus, they are really cheap.

I made a couple of changes, one I cooked the lentils in the slow cooker and I used vegetarian stock instead of water for extra flavor. I would have preferred to used Persian cukes (my favorite) but the store was out so I used an English cucumber. For the dressing, I used red wine vinegar instead of Sherry because that is what I had. Sprinkle some feta on top and you are good to go! Lunches for the week!

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Bon appetit!

ally

Meal Prep Madness: Keeping it Simple

I have become a huge fan of meal prepping. I usually do it Sunday morning before my journey back to Michigan. My weeks are so busy that eating healthy (on a budget) and avoiding take out is especially difficult. It’s nice to have one less thing to worry about. It does take a little planning but I’ve gotten it down to a science.

I try to mix it up, here is what I made for this week:

  • Sauteed veggies with 100% buckwheat soba noodles (optional: add a poached egg or grilled salmon for more protein)
  • Mango lime quinoa
  • Chicken sausage, egg white, spinach cups (breakfast)

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Breakfast:

I got this idea from Arielle Calderon’s Instagram (love her recipe ideas!).  I used organic chicken Italian sausage. First, saute frozen chopped spinach, and shallots. Then, place the spinach in the bottom layer of a greased muffin pan. Nestle in a slice of sausage and sprinkle some mozzarella cheese around. Finally, cover with about 2-3 tablespoons of egg white. I poured my egg whites in a bowl first and seasoned with dried oregano, salt and pepper before placing into the cups.

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Yum! Each one has about 40 calories. Low-carb and high in protein! I will rotate these with overnight oats with blueberries and flaxseed.

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Lunch/Dinner:

Next up mango lime quinoa salad. This was very easy. I picked up a pre-made tub of mango salsa from the deli (about $4.00) and added it to about 3/4 cup of quinoa. Squeeze the juice of a lime on top. Serve with sliced avocado. Super easy!

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For dinners, I sauteed broccoli and red peppers in some sesame oil to go with soba noodles. You can add poached eggs or some grilled salmon. Fantastic dinner!

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Of course, Meatball was happy to help (and pick up anything I dropped).

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Bon appetit!

ally

Beef Stroganoff with Roast Asparagus

Well, not a real Stroganoff as I omitted mushrooms (not a mushroom household), but still a great dish!

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DSC_0038.jpgAlso enjoyed a vodka Gimlet!

DSC_0043.jpgIt’s best to avoid eye contact with Meatball until after dinner…

DSC_0058.jpgBeef Stroganoff

Sirloin steak, cut into thin ribbons

1 onion

1/2 cup sour cream

Beef stock

butter

salt and pepper

1/2 bag of whole wheat egg noodles

Parsley for garnish

Season beef with salt and pepper. Melt butter in pot, add onion until translucent, then add beef. Add the broth and sour cream, still until blended. Pour over bed of noodles (or mix them in, whichever you prefer). Salt and pepper to taste.

For the asparagus, cut the large, woody ends off. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Place under broiler on low for about 7 to 10 minutes.

bon appetit,

ally

Meal Prep Madness: My New Sunday Ritual

Last year while living away I was not very good about cooking and planning meals, partially because I was busy but partially because the kitchen in my apartment was disgusting and I avoided it at all costs. I usually either got carry out or ate salads out of bags, very sad.

This year, I am able to be home on the weekends in my own kitchen (my favorite place) with all my own cooking stuff. Determined to eat better this year, I have recently started meal prepping on Sundays for my lunches and dinners. Hands down, this has changed my life and decreased my week stress immensely. It also helps ensures that I eat healthy!

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Last week I packed chicken sausage with kale, tomatoes, and steamed broccoli. For this upcoming week, I stepped up my game and made two different meals (1) roast chicken, spaghetti squash, organic marinara with a handful of fresh parmesan (2) salmon, roast sweet potatoes, and steamed broccoli. I packed a lemon wedge because last week, I sprinkled some lemon juice on the broccoli before packing and it turned brown. It still tasted okay but looked sort of odd.

DSC_0839.jpgDSC_0832.jpgDSC_0845.jpgI packed some mid-day snacks as well. Michigan apples and a tablespoon of peanut butter. DSC_0834.jpgAll packed up and ready to go! I place it all in an insulated bag and take it with me to Michigan. Set for meals for the week!

DSC_0846.jpgAll together, this took me about an hour including cooking time. It was actually very easy and I highly recommend it! It was so nice to save money during the week and to come home to a healthy, delicious meal!

Bon appetit,

ally

Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos

Saturday night was taco night in our household! I spent the afternoon getting caught up on some work and getting ready for the upcoming week while Husband was at the theatre all day. It is unseasonably warm here and when it came time to think about dinner, a crispy fish taco with a cold beer sounded really nice.

I was open to several types of fish, the market had some really good mahi mahi.

I sliced a large filet into strips, then coated then in flour, followed by an egg wash, and then panko crumbs.

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Lightly fried in some vegetable oil.DSC_0775.jpg

Toppings include red onion, scallion, queso, roasted cornDSC_0787.jpgServed with cabbage slaw with lime juice, sour cream, and a spicy salsaDSC_0790.jpg

DSC_0795.jpgAlso creamy avocado which every fish taco needsDSC_0809.jpgCold beerDSC_0800.jpgDSC_0805.jpgFantastic weekend dinner!

Bon appetit,

ally