I am not a huge blondie person. I’m a brownie person. These are qualities that are determined early and not likely to change. However, I made Bourbon Brownies twice in the last few weeks and was tired of them, so I decided to make something else crowd and finger friendly, for a Labor Day weekend BBQ at a good friend and neighbor’s house. (Hi Kelly!)
Ina Garten says she’s not a baker, but I find that with her large group recipes, she really gets it right, where as the billion of Martha Stewart dessert recipes can be time-consuming. These are easy – meaning hard to mess up – and delicious even to brownie-preferrers like me. They really are like a chocolate-chip cookie made into a bar. Chewy and with a great crust. Try them!
Spinach & Feta Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Roasted Cauliflower
Another new favorite that Malcolm also loves. For the roasted cauliflower, I split it into chunks and roast with olive oil and salt at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes. If you haven’t tried roasting cauliflower yet, you must! It’s delicious!
Yep, just boiled it and slathered some marinara on it.
Turkey and Pork Meatloaf with Roasted Sweet Potato Fries and Broccoli
Meatloaf isn’t my favorite but Sol loves it. He asks for it every week (jokingly, I think.) This time I was really happy with how it turned out, and I basically combined the beloved Lipton French Onion Soup mix recipe from my childhood with a more savory (read: less ketchup) recipe from Barefoot Contessa (Ina Garten) that I think is awfully time-consuming for a meatloaf. It’s a restaurant recipe so that may explain the time; they likely make a very large batch in advance. I used our Ground Pork from Hasselmann Farms and regular ol’ ground turkey from the grocery store – I like to use 2 lbs of meat so we have leftovers. I’ll get the AKA recipe up here soon! For the sweet potato fries, cut the sweet potatoes into large steak fries, and roast, with broccoli, lightly covered in olive oil, at 400-425 degrees for at least 30 minutes if not more. The broccoli may not need as much time; I much prefer it roasted.
This was a crazy weekend because Sol was in Phoenix, Malcolm didn’t feel great Sunday, so I didn’t get the shopping done, and Sol did it Monday on his day off. Yes, that is enough to constitute a “crazy” weekend for me. Nonetheless, a couple days (er weeks) late, here are that week’s meals!
Pimiento Cheese BLTs
These are inspired by the incredible, salty, cheesy, bacon-y, super-fresh pimiento cheese BLTs at Merritt’s in Chapel Hill, NC. I really wasn’t much of a pimiento cheese fan (horrors!) until having this sandwich. It is also a top favorite of Sol’s. I love making the pimiento cheese at home so I can make it to taste. Here’s a great base recipe, be sure to update it to your liking! Then just stack the ingredients – I love using thick-cut bacon and baking it at 375 rather than dealing with a greasy mess on the stove-top. And, I just toast the bread, so there’s really not much “cooking” at all. This is also a great summer recipe.
Anna Kate’s Pimiento Cheese
Ingredients 1 CUP shredded cheddar cheese
1 CUP shredded mozzarella or provolone cheese
2/3 CUP mayonnaise
1 TBSP dijon mustard
1 small jar pimientos, drained
Hot sauce to taste
Combine, taste, and enjoy! I like a lot of hot sauce, and I don’t use salt and pepper due to that, but you can always add salt and pepper to taste, remembering that cheese has a lot of sodium.
Shrimp Fried Rice
I liked my one-off meal so much I decided to make it for all of us! Malcolm loves rice too. Just increase the amounts for each item and add more veggies!
Fried Pork Chops, Stewed Cinnamon Apples, & Roasted Broccoli I’m using my incredible, 3/4″ thick pork chops from Hasselmann Farm for this meal. I haven’t used a recipe for pork chops in a while, but have probably referenced a few, as well as remembering how my Mom made them, as these are a favorite of hers! For the apples, I’ll just peel and soften them on the stove-top in some lemon water, and add cinnamon and sugar if they’re too tart. Here are a couple recipes if you prefer more guidance. And for the broccoli, please know that every vegetable is better roasted than boiled. Every. Single. One. Okay, maybe not peas, but you get my point. I like to coat lightly in olive oil and roast at 400 for at least 20-25 minutes. Recipe later!
Grilled Ham & Broccoli Rabe Sandwiches
I love this Martha Stewart recipe – once you get it down it’s fairly easy and the combined flavors are amazing. I love fig jam and could eat it with a spoon. I always by Bonne Maman brand when it’s on sale.
Ina Garten’s Fresh Corn Salad This is another go-to, especially when it’s warm outside and basil is plentiful. I’ll often add chopped grape tomatoes or bacon when I have it on hand. Delicious!
Sol was out of town this past weekend and I made a few quick meals just for me. One of those was Shrimp Fried Rice, which is so easy to make with leftover rice. I love making fried rice at home because I can make exactly as much as I want, and it’s perfectly crispy and hot, unlike rice that’s been in a take-out container. Here’s my easy personal recipe; adjust it to your taste and add tofu, chicken, or more veggies!
Quick & Easy Shrimp Fried Rice
1-2 TBSP oil (sesame oil is great, otherwise vegetable/canola oil, olive oil, or even coconut oil would work)
1 CUP day-old rice (Really, don’t use just-made rice. It won’t crisp up enough. I often make extra rice at dinner so that I know there will be leftovers.)
5 Pre-cooked shrimp
1/4 CUP frozen peas
3-4 TBSP low-sodium soy sauce
Sriracha to taste
Heat half of oil on medium in a small frying pan. Add egg and cook gently, until just firm. (Don’t overcook.) Remove egg and place in bowl you will eat in. There’s no need to dirty an extra bowl, people!
Heat remaining oil in pan on medium. Add rice and spread across the pan. Allow to cook UNDISTURBED for 2-3 minutes, until rice is crispy. Turn rice once and cook for 2-3 minutes on the other side.
Add peas, soy sauce, and shrimp; stir and warm shrimp through, 2-3 minutes more. Add cooked egg, mix. Return to bowl, sprinkle (or douse) with Sriracha, and eat immediately!
I promise I’m going to catch up, and eventually be posting recipes in advance. In the meantime, it’s still helpful for me to log these. This week was a bit funny because we ended up going to visit Grandma, Grandpa, and Aunt Connie this weekend, which made for a “shorter” week dinner-wise, even though I made dinner Friday night before we left! We had a wonderful trip and I was treated to someone else making dinner, which my mother-in-law and I agree is the ultimate treat. She made delicious spaghetti and meatballs for dinner on Saturday, and awesome French Toast on Sunday. I am a lucky daughter-in-law!
Pro-Tip: I enjoy making one large meal a week, that we can eat throughout the week for leftovers or for another dinner if other plans arise. Last week that was the posole. This week that meal was baked manicotti.
This is a Giada De Laurentiis recipe that I found through a wonderful lifestyle blog, Designer Bags & Dirty Diapers. Natalie’s recipe page is outstanding and I often review her favorites before making my weekly list. Here’s her post on the manicotti. She also has EXCELLENT salad recipes, which is something I’m not great at and want to work on.
The manicotti was a HUGE hit with both Sol and Malcolm. It had a delicious, easy white sauce in addition to using jarred sauce, which I thought really elevated it to a restaurant-style manicotti. Again I loved using the Hasselmann Family Farm sausage. This recipe is definitely a keeper but does require some work (stuffing manicotti is a bit time-consuming.)
BLTs and Fries
These were simple, just baked bacon (375 degrees F for 15 minutes), romaine, tomatoes, and brioche bread. And of course the all-important mayonnaise. Malcolm had some bacon and a few of his toddler staples.
This recipe is so easy and we love using our Hasselmann Family Farm breakfast sausage with it. Malcolm (almost 2) gobbled it right up. And I feel like it’s “healthier” because of the cabbage, which I doubled the 2nd time I made it. Win/win! Sol says this one is a keeper.
Burgers & Fries
This is a weekly staple. I use 85% grassfed beef and whatever cheese is on hand. Have recently been getting bakery hamburger buns from Mariano’s, which are melt-in-your-mouth delicious, *almost* as good as Edzo’s. Frozen fries from Alexia or the Mariano’s brand, and fixins for the burgers. It doesn’t get easier and Malcolm loves a good burger, just like Mom.
Who knew that hominy was so good? The texture is amazing. I do the pork shoulder, again from Hasselmann, in the slow cooker while I’m at work and throw everything together when I get home. We eat it with tortilla chips, chihuahua cheese, sour cream, cilantro, and plenty of Louisiana Red Hot sauce.
Pesto pasta & a salad
This is another easy go-to for me, pesto (jarred, sometimes homemade) with tortellini usually. A nice green salad on the side. I was worried the pesto might be too spicy for Malcolm but he loved it! Just make the pasta per the package directions, drain, and add pesto sauce (and chopped dates if you’re fancy).
Okay, this was a reach. Trader Joe’s has Dover Sole for a great price, in the frozen section. The sole fell apart a little bit and was VERY lemony, but good overall to me. I got purple “fingerling” potatoes and they were a very different texture; not sure roasting was the way to go with these. The creamed spinach was a winner even though Malcolm wouldn’t try it.
Grilled cheese with dates and tomato soup
I used havarti to make delicious grilled cheeses, added dates to the adults’, and made tomato soup. I really need a hand-held blender. I shattered our regular blender, and doing soup in the food processor is really messy. I can’t remember the tomato soup recipe I used but will update if I come across it. Sol loves tomato soup; not my favorite.