easter eats

Remember last year when I posted all about Easter food the day after Easter? That was selfish and unhelpful.

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So THIS year I’m going to give you some food suggestions for your Sunday feast with plenty of time to go grocery shopping and prepare.

Brunch Foods

My Favorite Waffle Recipe

Cold Brewed Iced Coffee

Veggie Egg Tower

Blueberry Muffins

Cinnamon Sugar Pull Apart Bread

Bruschetta

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Dinner Staples

Cheesy Potatoes

Portuguese Sweet Bread

Easter Ham

Broccoli Salad

Brussels Sprouts with Mustard Sauce

Kale Salad with Lemon Dressing

Pretzel Jello

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If You’re Not a Ham Fan…

Easy Pot Roast

Roasted Chicken

Honey Glazed Salmon

Salmon w/ Pea & Mint Pesto

Spicy Pork Ragu

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Dessert (besides jelly beans)

Death By Chocolate

Peanut Butter Squares

Pecan Pie

Italian Cookies

Oatmeal Fudge Bars

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

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Also this Easter post is one that still makes me giggle. Yes, I find myself very entertaining sometimes.

sweet potato sausage egg stack

I just typed out a whole post about how this recipe was accidentally Paleo, even though I’m not on the Paleo diet and have no interest in being on the Paleo diet.

Then I Google’d the Paleo diet, and realized that I was wrong about what exactly qualifies as Paleo. This is what happens when my patients don’t show up for appointments.

It might not be Paleo but it is DELICIOUS and healthy. Really it’s just a nugget of everything I was wanting to eat right at that moment.

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This weekend there was much talk of healthy eating. I went home to hang out with my two younger siblings, the famous Kevin and the less-famous Morgan. Morgan is all into the BeachBody stuff now- she did one of those Insanity challenges and drinks Shakeology like it’s going out of style. She’s 6 feet tall and slender to begin with, but more power to her. If you want to join her team and do challenges, leave a comment and I’ll hook you up.

She was showing Kevin and I her “before and after” photos from her Insanity challenge. As previously mentioned, she was already thin to begin with, but it’s still fun to see that you’ve toned up a bit after all that hard work.

Kevin looked hard at the side by side photos and remarked “It looks like you got taller!”

Not exactly what she was looking for. But given that this kid thinks anyone taller than 7 feet should be put into some kind of hall of fame, she should probably take this as a compliment. Unfortunately, the photo where he thought she looked taller was the ‘before’ picture. Oh well.

Sweet Potato Sausage Egg Stack (serves 4)

1 cup brown rice

1 sweet potato, peeled and diced

1/2 onion, chopped (I used a red onion for color but any would work)

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup shredded cheese (I used sharp cheddar)

4 Hot Italian turkey sausage patties

4 eggs

15-20 asparagus stalks

First, cook the rice. While the rice is cooking, saute the onion and sweet potato in a little olive oil. Season liberally with salt and pepper, and whatever other flavors you like. I added some garlic powder and crushed red pepper. Sometimes it helps to add a little bit of water (like 1/4 cup) to help the sweet potato steam and cook through, while still getting a good sear on it. Once both are soft, add the garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Move into a mixing bowl, and combine with the brown rice and the cheese. It doesn’t hold together all that well, so you have to be gentle when flipping your “cakes.” If it falls apart though, who really cares. I browned mine for 1-2 minutes on each side. This is layer 1!

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In the same pan, cook your sausage patty until browned on both sides. Layer 2!

Use the same pan AGAIN! We hate doing dishes. Fry your egg. Layer 3!

While all this is going on, I was roasting some asparagus at 425 with just some olive oil, salt and pepper. Once they turn bright green, they’re all done. Pretty garnish- plus I could eat pounds and pounds of asparagus. My pee would smell weird for weeks.

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TMI? Anyway, I loved everything about this- not just the asparagus. You could also serve it for breakfast if you’re fancy.

I’m thinking about cleansing again next week before we go to Kiawah (excitement!!!) I’m considering taking before and after photos for the sole purpose of Kevin’s commentary.

chipotle cucumber turkey pita

I know what you’re thinking. Hasn’t blogged in two weeks, and then returns with… a sandwich?

Yes, that is actually the best I could do.

As I mentioned I was in a car accident, car was totaled, needed to buy a new one, yada yada stress on my life.

BUT I ended up going with this gem. Meet Gretel. (Name cred- Kelly, photo cred- my dad).

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I had to go home a bunch of times to pick out the car, sign paperwork, etc. Thank goodness my father is a patient man, because I am clueless about real life things. Ears? I know a lot about those. While at home, I stockpiled sauce and meatballs  and ate it for literally 7 nights in a row. Never got sick of it, just ran out.

Then I moved on to this sandwich, which is both delicious and very inexpensive. I’m pretending that a moderate car payment is going to leave me poor and homeless.

The idea is sort of stolen from my mom, who eats hummus and cucumber on pita fairly regularly. Obviously I had to add some fat and protein to that concoction. I also picked spicy chipotle hummus because why not? You can use any variety you like but I’m a big fan of the spicy kick.

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I used Pocket Thins which are wonderful, but any pita will do. I also went with honey roasted turkey breast. And sharp cheddar cheese. And a cucumber is a cucumber. I peeled it.

I won’t teach you how to assemble a sandwich. You’re all educated folks.

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I will try to make something more interesting soon. My life stress (buying a car, finding a job, etc.) has been leeching my creativity, I think. But I’ve been reading like a fiend since I finished Breaking Bad on Netflix (I know I’m a few years behind on that one but OMG SO GOOD), so I’m gearing up to do another Kindle post very soon.

I’ll try to make sure it isn’t soup again but with this weather I’m not making any promises.

15 minute spaghetti squash

I’m feeling a little bit like my life is in shambles right now, so I’m going to teach you how to make a healthy dinner in the microwave!

I’ve made spaghetti squash before, but I stuck it in the oven which takes foreeeever. I lack patience.

WAIT. I just looked up the last time I blogged about this mysterious vegetable, and it was right after I got into a massive car accident and totaled my car. The reference to my life being in shambles above? Got into a massive car accident this weekend and totaled my car.

WHAT THE WHAT?! I wasn’t going to talk about it but that is just plain weird.

I would like to defend myself by saying that I was not speeding, texting while driving, or doing any other reckless things. This winter is just an evil bitch with icy roads and a slushy disposition.

I don’t know what I mean by that.

Oh and this is after I sunk the majority of my tax return into getting new brakes and stuff last week. Solid 4 days of clean and easy braking! Not worth the money.

Moving on.

SQUASH. In the microwave! It’s a revelation!

Cut it in half the long way, and scoop out the seeds. Brush it with olive oil, and add some salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Place both halves face down in a casserole dish. Microwave for 10-12 minutes (I did 12) and it’s DONE.

Normally you would let it cool a little before using the fork to create spaghetti strand magic, but I opted to wear oven mitts because I was just straight up starving.

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While my squash was in the microwave, I sauteed some hot Italian turkey/chicken sausage on the stove until brown. I pulled it out, and cooked up half an onion in the “fat” (there isn’t much fat in poultry sausage). Once the squash is done, toss it with the sausage, onion, and some tomato sauce. I had some leftover of this  20 minute tomato sauce, but you could also use your favorite jarred sauce (gasp!).

Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese (or Parm from a can- gasp!) and serve.

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This stuff is pretty amazing leftover as well. I promise.

Now I feel like I should keep track of other foods that may or may not be associated with traumatic life events. I’ll be sure to let you know.

tortilla crusted chicken

200 days until Kelly and Aaron tie the knot!

(It works out really well that it’s a nice number, implying that I really planned ahead here. Spoiler alert: I didn’t.)

A midst all of the planning for the event itself, everyone in the family is thinking about looking their best for the big day. Mom and Dad have a workout calendar in the basement. Morgan and I have our bridesmaid dresses hanging in our closets as motivation.

Kevin is the odd man out, proclaiming that he would like to gain as much weight as possible, and hopes that he’ll have braces on by the wedding day. Picture perfect.

Last weekend we were all home for the SU vs. Duke game, and Kelly was discussing her formerly chubby middle school days. In case you don’t click on the link above, she’s not chubby. Like at all. But like any bride, she wants to be slim and trim for her wedding day. She confessed that, when packing her lunch in 7th grade, she discovered that if she brought Doritos she could only fit a small amount of chips into a Ziplock bag. If she crushed them up, though, she could fit a lot more chips. Cue pouring chip crumbs down your throat in the cafeteria. We were all cracking up and Aaron was wondering if he can still back out.

Just kidding, Kel.

This recipe allows you to crush up some chips AND stay on your healthy eating plan. Win win, even if you’re not in a wedding.

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Tortilla Crusted Chicken

4-6 chicken breasts

6-7 cups tortilla chips, crushed

2 eggs

1/3 cup flour

1-2 tbs taco seasoning

1/2 cup of your favorite salsa

1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Trim your chicken. I think I’ve talked about this 5,000 times but I like to butterfly the chicken if it’s a thick piece, or if it’s more like a chicken tender you can leave it as is. You just don’t want a massive chicken breast in the oven because then the tortilla crispy-ness is torched and the inside of the chicken is raw. You feel me?

Mix up some flour with taco seasoning. If you don’t have taco seasoning, you can throw in chili powder, paprika, oregano, garlic powder, etc. Really, whatever you have is fine.

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Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture, dip it in egg, then coat it in your crushed chips.  As many chip crumbs as you can stick on there. Kelly style.

Place the chicken on a greased baking sheet. Spritz the side of the chicken facing up with some oil- preferably if you have one of those Misto sprayers like my mom does, but Pam if you need to.

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Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, turning halfway through.

Remove from the oven and top with a little bit of salsa and some shredded cheese. Stick it back in the oven under the broiler until the cheese melts.

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I thought about serving this with guacamole, but went with salad instead. #sheddingforthewedding

white bean and arugula stew

I know what you’re thinking. Can you make anything other than soup? No.

This weather is just friggin’ freezing and I have no interest in foods that aren’t steamy and comforting.

The GS came into town last weekend and we made a fancy surf’n’turf dinner. One swordfish steak and one hanger steak, split. Talk about teamwork. Complete with red skin mashed potatoes, kale salad, and a growler full of Resurgence IPA.

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I’ve been trying to incorporate more protein into my diet but I rarely crave meat. I’m also still living as if my only income is $75/week from teaching Body Pump, so that’s probably why I’m not out buying sirloin. The solution? BEANS.

I tweaked this recipe a little bit from How Sweet It Is, my all time favorite that I love even more since she’s been posting pictures of her new bundle of joy. The main reason I made any changes to the original recipe was because I didn’t feel like buying anchovies. However, I won’t tell you not to include them. Adding salty flavor is always a good idea.

White Bean & Arugula Stew

slightly adapted from How Sweet It Is

3 slices bacon

1 sweet onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 lb white beans

1 Parmesan rind

3-4 cups chicken stock

1-2 cups water

5 oz bag arugula

Start by preparing your beans. You can either let them soak for at least 4 hours, or potentially overnight. I was too impatient for this method, so I put them into a pot of water and brought it to a boil for 2 minutes, then turned the heat off and let them soak for an hour. Still time consuming, but slightly less so.

Next, crisp up your bacon. I sliced it first and then threw it in a hot soup pot. Brown it, and remove with a slotted spoon. Pour most of the fat out (I have a “fat can”, a coffee can that I pour oil and fat into).

 

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Add the onions to the bacon fat. Take a deep breath, as there is no better smell.

Add the smoked paprika, and some salt and pepper. Allow the onions to cook until translucent. Add the garlic, beans, bacon, and Parmesan rind.whitebeanThat looks like a hunk of butter, doesn’t it? I won’t judge you if you add that to the ingredients list, but it’s the cheese rind.

Add about half a box of stock and 2 cups of water, and bring to a simmer. Once the liquid has reduced by about half, add the greens. The whole bag, toss em in.

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Cook on medium low, stirring occasionally, for about an hour.

Serve with Parmesan cheese and BREAD. I only had boring sandwich bread but next time I make this I’ll plan ahead and get a big fat baguette. Or three.

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This stuff warms your soul even in a 54 degree apartment.

 

valentine’s day dinner ideas

If you’re a slacker and you know it, raise your hand!

I have been cooking, but nothing new or exciting. Mostly just kale on kale. This pasta with sausage and kale, and this kale salad. One night for dinner I just ate a plate of straight up sauteed kale with some garlic. That was a little sad. The GS told me that when Baltimore was supposed to get a “huge snow storm,” he went to Whole Foods. They were fully stocked in milk, bread, eggs, other essentials. The only thing out of stock? Kale. Basic bitches stocking up.

I’ve also been making vegan cookies out the wahzoo, and a lot of times I make a batch of this cookie dough and bake one ramekin at a time to keep my portion control in check.

But but but.

This weekend the GS will be visiting! He usually cooks dinner for me on V-Day (a holiday I’m not really a fan of). But tomorrow we’ll be shopping at WEGMANS for ingredients and then cooking in my apartment. And then eating dinner on the floor because I still don’t have a kitchen table. Floor space for yoga and Body Pump is much more important.

If you’re cooking for someone and want to impress them, these are my suggestions:

Appetizers (keep in mind some of these will make your breath stink):

Swiss-Bacon-Scallion Dip

Guacamole

Black Bean Salsa

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

Bruschetta

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Entrees (some vegetarian, some not. some cost $5. some, ahem, lobster, cost more than that):

Eggplant Rollatini

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Crab Stuffed Lobster Tails

Honey Glazed Salmon with Brown Butter Lime Saucehoney glazed salmon 015

Beer Braised Short Ribs

Roasted Chicken

Pasta Bolognese

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Dessert (these are just the ones I LOVE the most, or look cute in single servings):

Peanut Butter Squares

Magic Bars

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Chocolate Souffle

Chocolate Greek Yogurt Truffles

Death by Chocolate Trifle (if you make mini ones in mason jars, please send me pictures)

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

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Really, Valentine’s Day should just be another day to celebrate food. Eat your heart out.