Tag Archives: dinner

My Favorite Easy Dinners

Standard
My Favorite Easy Dinners

Hi! I have so enjoyed cooking lots of delicious homemade meals this past month and I am proud of the mental health one eighty that was accomplished by my new job. It has turned cooking back into something that I love to do rather than a chore and I can’t wait for a lifetime of meals with my husband. ❤

It has been a while since I have gone grocery shopping because I will buy a lot at one time which eliminates the need for time consuming, weekly trips to the store. When this happens, Johnny and I default to “easy” dinners to use up the rest of what we have in the freezer and pantry. While a home cooked meal is amazing, a big pot of spaghetti or an oven pizza just hits different! Here are some of my favorite easy peasy dinners:

Spaghetti:

I actually just made a spaghetti and garlic bread dinner last night and it was SO good! Spaghetti has been one of my favorite foods since I was little and I love how versatile it is. I always remember my dad preparing spaghetti for dinner when my mom would return home from work back in the day and it is still one of the sweetest things to me. While Alfredo and red sauce are delicious, my perfect plate of spaghetti is angel hair covered with my favorite: Pesto! And, also, who doesn’t love hella leftovers? 😀

Grilled Cheese:

In my household, you cannot go wrong with grilled cheese and it is one of mine and Johnny’s go to weekend lunches. I hate to brag, but I make a mean grilled cheese. However, it pales in comparison to when my mom makes it with her homemade bread! Johnny doesn’t like anything but cheese on his sandwich but I really like honey or brown mustard on mine. We are also partial to mac n’ cheese grilled cheeses for the ultimate comfort food.

Oven Pizza:

I don’t care what anyone says, oven pizza is the bomb lol. Johnny and I are obsessed with the Digiorno croissant and stuffed crust pizzas and I always have to get at least one of each when I go shopping. Sometimes I’ll doctor my portion of the pizza up with chopped veggies but they are so good as is. And, of course, you can’t forget the ranch dressing to dip it in! 🙂

Air Fried Commodities:

Although our air fryer is on the fritz, Johnny and I still love it dearly and the novelty of using it has yet to wear off. Appetizer food like mozzarella sticks, cheese curds, and French fries air fried are the absolute best and it feels like such a treat whenever we have apps as the main course. When we got our air fryer for Christmas, we went to the store so we could try air frying all of the things and I think about that every time we break it out. ❤

Quesadillas:

If you can’t tell by now, Johnny and I love cheesy food! Quesadillas are so easy to make as well as improve upon and I make them often when we are running low on dinner options. I usually will try out a different kind of salsa or two whenever I do shopping and quesadilla night is the perfect time to test them out!

The best part of my evening is having dinner while watching a show with Johnny. It also is the sweetest thing because whether I spend an hour or five minutes on a meal, he will always compliment and thank me for it. ANGEL! ❤

What is your favorite easy dinner? What are some of your favorite recipes? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Eating For The Season

Standard
Eating For The Season

As summer is starting to come to an end, so is the harvesting of all our summer vegetables. Finding joy in eating seasonally is something that your family can experience – all it takes is a little creativity at dinner time! As fall begins, explore the following in your meals:

Root vegetables:

Root vegetables are coming into the season, which means an abundance of potatoes, carrots, and parsnips. All the good stodgy veggies that are best stewed or cooked into wholesome foods. There are so many lovely recipes out there for the autumn and winter months that allow you to just sink into and enjoy.

We all live a busy life and finding the time to cook those proper homely meals can seem like an inconvenience after a full day at work. So, what’s a better time than to dust off the old slow cooker and put it to good use.

Pumpkins:

Lots of cuisines use pumpkin because of the sweetness so to add a kick of it to your curries why not add pumpkin? A tasty Japanese alternative is pumpkin Kuroki, which is a pumpkin patty covered in panko breadcrumbs and fried. It’s delicious. However, you can just put pumpkin in your stews, it’s a healthy colorful vegetable that can’t be forgotten about. You can pick pumpkins up everywhere in the autumn and for extremely low prices… so when you are pumpkin picking don’t forget to eat the inside before you carve the outside!

season1

Pexels Image

Butternut Squash:

Butternut squash is such an underrated vegetable. It is packed with vitamins and antioxidants and is a great source of nutrients. This funny-looking vegetable is so versatile. It can be used in the same way as a pumpkin but has become much more popular in soups and curries.

Butternut squash and apple soup is one to try this season, the contrasting flavors of the savory and sweet makes the perfect warming meal. Butternut squash can also be used as a lower carb option for spaghetti in pasta dishes as its form stays solid when spiraling it. It can also be added to stews but is equally as good as the main star of a meal.

season2

Pexels Image

Potatoes:

The king of root vegetables, the potato is one of the worlds’ favorite foods due to its versatility. There are hundreds of ways to cook potatoes that are warming and hearty and just make you feel good. Jacket potatoes with beans and cheese or cold fillings are a quick meal. You can cook a jacket potato in the oven or microwave and you can add whatever toppings you like. This is a staple food for the whole family in the autumn.

Have you ever thought about widening your repertoire of cooking potatoes? What about crispy roast potatoes, where you parboil them and then shake the pan to fluff them up before roasting. Or creating dauphinoise potatoes, which can be achieved very quickly. Hasselback potatoes, with lots of cuts on one side with spices and fillings melted into the slots? There are so many ways to use potatoes through the autumn and winter months to create gorgeous additions to your recipes.

Carrots:

The only real way to eat carrots at this time of year is roasted with honey. They are divine and, of course, that is not the only way to eat carrots, but they certainly should become a household staple. Honey glazed carrots with any meal is a sweet addition to offset any savory flavors. The color adds a pop to what can be an otherwise muted plate of food. During the autumn and winter months, if you are eating seasonally, there isn’t usually a lot of colors to foods so carrots are a great way to brighten your plate.

season3

Pexels Image

There are far too many recipes to list in one simple blog post so it is great to research and find some different recipes to spice up your autumn/winter menus for the family. Bon Appetit!

Featured Image By: Pexels

What’s Cookin?

Standard
What’s Cookin?

Hello! I have always enjoyed cooking and have fond memories of making anything and everything together with my mom. Cooking in the kitchen in my apartment is an entirely different story, though, because it’s so small and I don’t know about you guys, but I like having lots of room to spread out when I’m making food. I also don’t know about you guys, but I fell into a bit of a depression during the most extreme parts of the pandemic and that left me never feeling like even attempting to make home cooked meals.

The stress of working throughout the pandemic as well as a job that I wasn’t entirely thrilled with really contributed to my slump and it made it hard to do just about anything when I would return home from work. However, this past month has been a complete one eighty as I accepted a new position that I am in love with. Every day, I have come home so happy and both Johnny and I can’t remember the last time I would get off work in such an amazing mood.

Because of this, my love of cooking has definitely been reignited and I have been making meals several times a week for me and my husband to enjoy. Below are some of the favorite recipes that I have whipped up so far and it has felt great to have delicious meals to serve every night. Check it out:

This past month, I have made mac n’ cheese, veggie enchiladas, quesadillas, and pizza. I also used a super easy recipe for pepperoni bread for my non vegetarian husband that he is crazy about. When I began cooking again, I wanted to find simple recipes with limited ingredients as I only have one small counter space to work on in my kitchen. It has been a huge success and I feel proud of myself the entire time. In fact, I feel so happy that I normally will be singing or humming to myself as I chop veggies. This is a far cry from sitting on the couch in misery waiting for yet another air fried meal to cook!

Cooking dinner is a love language that I have learned from a young age from both my mom and grandma and I love being able to express that again. I really enjoy getting creative with the dinners I make now and while I’ll follow the basic recipes, I always try to doctor them up to make it even better. Our favorite recipe is, easily, the jalapeno popper quesadillas and it makes me feel wonderful when Johnny will request them every other night lol. 🙂

I am looking forward to all of the yummy meals that I plan on making and Johnny is looking forward to eating them. One of the last times I made dinner this past week, I told him that it feels good to feel like me again and I wake up every day now eager to go to work and come home to engage in one of my favorite hobbies again. Here’s to delicious meals for all! ❤

What are some of your favorite recipes? Who is the best cook in your family? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Kitchen Upgrades To Try Today

Standard
Kitchen Upgrades To Try Today

They say that the kitchen is the heart of the home. We tend to spend a lot of time in this space, cooking, chatting, hosting guests. So, why not consider giving your kitchen a little overhaul with some new appliances that will not only look great, but will add to your cooking too? Here are just a few examples you might want to consider:

A Stand Mixer:

Into baking? Throughout the past year and a half, many people have picked up baking as an activity to keep them preoccupied with free time found during the pandemic. We can’t blame them! Baking can be carried out easily from the comfort of your own home – and you get a delicious treat at the end too! Now, if you’ve been practicing and are getting better at your breads, cakes, pastries and other baked goods you may be aware of just how tiring it can be thoroughly mixing ingredients. This is where a stand mixer could help. Stand mixers do the hard work for you, leaving you with a lovely dough or batter, ready to bake.

A Coffee Machine:

If you like a good cup of coffee, you don’t have to go to your local coffee shop to get one. If you have a coffee machine at home, you’ll be able to make delicious brews within your own four walls. A coffee machine can do much more than simply pouring hot water from the kettle into some granules. When choosing your machine, make sure to look for good reviews and recommendations. This will give you an idea of other people’s experience with your chosen machine and whether it’s worth the money. There are different options on the market to suit different budgets but, generally speaking, the better the machine is, the better the coffee will be.

Cookware:

A lot of us settle for budget cookware only to find that food sticks to it or the food burns on it. This is less than ideal, so consider overhauling your cookware and investing in some new versions. There are different types for different cooking devices, such as the best ceramic cookware for oven, stove top, and more. There are also many different designs, allowing you to match your pots, pans and trays to the aesthetic of your kitchen itself.

A Slow Cooker:

Many of us are working from home now and would love to be able to prep a few simple ingredients in the morning to have dinner ready at the end of the day. A slow cooker can achieve this. Leave it plugged in with your ingredients inside and you can have some great casseroles, stews, and curries lined up for your evening meals.

There’s an endless array of other kitchen appliances and equipment out there. The options highlighted above are just a few useful suggestions that could do you and your home a world of good!

Featured Image By: Pexels

Amazing Ways To Cook The Best Steaks

Standard
Amazing Ways To Cook The Best Steaks

If you like steak, it is a given that you have your favorite way to cook them and ask any steak lover, and you may get a different answer. Nevertheless, treating every steak the same would be a foolish disservice. So, let’s look at a few of the ways you can cook steak:

Grill:

Specifically charcoal grilled thin steaks. With meat prices rising, it’s good to know how to cook thin steaks. Grilling steak is quick, simple, and hard to mess up after a short period of learning. All you need is a grill (gas or charcoal), steaks, salt, pepper, and oil.

Start the grill and let it get nice and hot; oil and season the steaks on both sides, and when the grill is good to go, throw the steaks on and leave them alone for 3-5 minutes a side depending on how red you like them. Once the time is up, remove the steaks, leave them to rest covered in foil, and then serve.

Sous Vide:

Sous Vide involves vacuum sealing your steak, cooking it for nearly an hour in temperature-controlled water, then finishing it off with a sear. This may sound like a strange method, but it leads to the most evenly cooked and potentially best tasting steaks out there! There is a very sensory experience with cooking with Sous Vide, you get the aromatic smokey smell of steak getting cooked on high heat, and the end results are exceptional.

Pan Fry:

Pan frying steak is not dissimilar to grilling, except you don’t need to go outside. Like the grill, make sure your pan is hot. A cast-iron pan or a similar heavy-bottomed skillet works best because they hold more heat. You may want to oil your steak, or you may wish to simply salt and pepper the steak and then drop a lump of butter in the pan. A meat splash guard is good for keeping the ventilation going. Otherwise, your kitchen will be covered in grease spots. Not ideal when you want to enjoy your meal!

Sear Roasting:

Sear-roasting involves pre-heating both your oven and a cast-iron skillet at upwards of 500 Fahrenheit. When both the skillet and oven are piping hot, you put an oiled or buttered steak in the skillet, sear it on both sides and then slip it into the oven to finish cooking.

By searing first and then finishing in the oven, sear roasting causes fewer problems than pan-frying and broiling. However, this method is less accurate than grilling or sous vide, where you bring a steak more or less precisely to temperature.

Steak Tartare:

This method is quite overlooked, probably because, at first glance, it does not require any preparation at all, which is a myth. Steak Tartare is a popular dish in France and is overlooked since it is raw. Steak Tartare is not only odd for the lack of heat involved in its preparations, but it is also chopped up before serving!

Its preparation usually involves the assembly of ingredients, but there are also crucial steps to ensure food safety. It is important to locate a fresh cut of good meat as the meat will not be exposed to heat on the outside, where most of the bacteria are. Proper steak tartare starts out life as a decent steak; this recipe suggests eye of round, which is then chilled in the freezer and diced up immediately before serving.

Become the host with the most at your next gathering with the tips above!

Featured Image By: Gonzalo Guzman on Pexels

Pineapple On Pizza: Yay Or Nay?

Standard
Pineapple On Pizza: Yay Or Nay?

Hello! Much to the annoyance of others and the delight of Johnny and myself, we have a handful of movie or TV scenes that we quote constantly. It’s never not funny to us and a shining example of that would be the Pizza Order sketch from Key & Peele. If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and give it a watch:

^^^ As always, I have no rights to this video.

In this sketch, a man named Wendell tries to order three pizzas with pineapple, meat, and cheesy crust and the phone call to the pizza shop gets really weird really quick. To Johnny’s surprise, I have never tried pineapple on pizza before so he decided that this past Sunday was the day to change that. He ordered a pizza with pineapple, bacon, and cheesy crust for himself and one with pineapple, jalapenos, and (of course) cheesy crust for me.

As always, the Pizza Hut presentation never ceases to amaze me, lol. Take a look at this masterpiece:

As a vegetarian, I thought that pineapple and jalapeno would be the way to go for a little sweet and heat. The pineapple was a huge success and I loved the sweet and salty combination between the fruit and the sauce. The jalapenos, however, were a totally different story and I never plan on getting it again. It’s so weird because I enjoy spicy food and never have shied away from it but my mouth was on freaking fire from these peppers. I felt like my mouth was burning long after I ate and my stomach wasn’t thanking me, either.

I feel like such a baby to be saying that the Pizza Hut jalapenos were really spicy but DAMN, lol. In conclusion? I say “yay” to pineapple on pizza and while I wouldn’t order it every time, I would definitely get it every once in a while. And a big fat “nay” to jalapenos!

What are your favorite pizza toppings? Should pineapple go on pizza? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

DoorDash Deliciousness

Standard
DoorDash Deliciousness

Hello! Sometimes, you just need a treat and, with the stress of my job, I know that better than most. Whether this be stopping at Starbucks on your way to work, ordering a little something online, or taking a luxurious bubble bath, it’s important to do what you can to help put the pep back in your step. In my case, I decided to order myself dinner from my favorite Indian restaurant, The Saffron Patch.

Johnny has absolutely no desire to try Indian food while I, on the other hand, LOVE it. And, as a strict vegetarian it is so nice to have tons of options on The Saffron Patch’s menu. Thanks to DoorDash, I was able to indulge my never ending craving for Indian food and I got a great deal for it, to boot! Check it out:

709A1294-077E-4048-9B2C-98811BDE812CDBEB9E8E-B0E9-4DAF-A61A-367CE0805F95B5988C3D-52F1-437E-8497-B264304839FC33FA44C4-5746-4B97-91C8-ED0DEC522843D17F3DE8-A901-427A-A1F0-331A1551E667C1A849F4-6FE1-4CBC-BA03-2A89CA50EA0C

DoorDash is awesome because you get free deliveries for your first month of using the service. Not only that, but I also got twenty percent off of my order and, in total, I saved close to eight dollars. For forty dollars, I was able to get my favorite dishes of Vegetable Biryani with cucumber Raita, Malai Kofta with saffron rice, and garlic Naan as well as provide a healthy tip. I thought this was a steal, especially since the servings are huge because it is family style.

I always say that if I had a visit from someone who has never been to good ol’ Akron, Ohio that we would go to TJMaxx and The Saffron Patch and I still stand by that statement. It has been ages since I ordered from my favorite restaurant and it was even better than I remember it being. The Biryani was completely loaded with huge pieces of carrots, potatoes, peppers, and cauliflower while the sauce in the Malai Kofta was rich and the balls of lentils and veggies were tender. The Naan was buttery and had SO. Much. Garlic. – Just how I like it!

Like I said, it had been a long while since I had Indian food and I normally order a level three for spiciness which would be considered Medium Hot. I decided to just order a level two of Medium to be safe since I was having the food delivered and I’m glad I did because it was hot! This was no matter, though, because the cucumber Raita helped dissipate the spiciness and it was so delicious when mixed with all of my dishes.

I couldn’t have asked for a better meal if I tried. Or, should I say meals? Lol, since Johnny doesn’t eat Indian food, I had all of the leftovers to myself and it lasted me a good five days. So not complaining!! 😀

What is your favorite restaurant? How do you treat yourself? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Gourmet Instant Food You Need In Your Life

Standard
Gourmet Instant Food You Need In Your Life

The words “gourmet” and “instant” don’t usually go together. But in our high-tech world of technological voodoo, that’s no longer the case in the realm of food. Today there are all sorts of instant gourmet options available. And it’s taking instant gratification to a whole new level:

Cheese Stuffed Burgers:

Why put cheese on top of your burger patty when you can put it inside, instead? That’s the idea behind cheese-stuffed burgers. As a home chef, you just cook the burgers as you usually would. Then when you bite into them, the cheese oozes out, and you get a massive dose of flavor.

What’s nice about these burgers is how runny the cheese gets when you cook it this way. The meat prevents evaporation, so you wind up with a sous-vide-style experience. These burgers tend to work best with semi-sweet sauces, like BBQ, but you can also pair them with coleslaw or onion rings.

Gourmet Calzones:

Call up your local late night pizza delivery services these days and they will probably offer gourmet options around the clock. Today, it is a completely different experience. Takeouts know that their patrons want quality ingredients and new taste sensations. The standard options are still popular. But there’s also a big market for the finer flavors.

Today, gourmet calzones are a big hit. That’s because you can fit more quality ingredients in them than you can a standard pizza. Goat cheese, spinach, sun dried tomatoes, and roasted peppers are all par for the course. And the taste experience is dramatically improved for foodies with sophisticated palates.

Specialty Ramen:

If you thought that ramen was just for students on microscopic budgets, think again. It turns out that multiple vendors are now making gourmet versions that harken back to the original Asian dish. With these meals, you’re getting much more than just some cheap noodles suspended in MSG-filled water. Many come with things like king shiitake mushrooms, wholefood glass noodles, sugar snap peas, black fungus, and marinated tofu. In fact, the number of options is quite spectacular. If you haven’t checked out the market yet, you definitely should!

gourmet1

Pexels Image

Mac n’ Cheese With a Twist:

This classic American dish is usually something you put in the microwave and enjoy steaming hot a few minutes later. But even this “plain” dish is going through a revolution.

The standard version is just a cheese sauce with refined macaroni pieces. It’s comforting, but it’s not healthy food. Today, though, people are discovering that they can create a better experience by combining flavors and using whole food ingredients. So, instead of using refined pasta, they’re using specialty wholemeal versions. And instead of using cheese sauce, they’re replacing it with cashew and nutritional yeast. A lot of budding chefs also like to char some broccoli with soy sauce before mixing into the main meal.

Bean Sausages:

Finally, we’re seeing the rise of bean gourmet sausages made with fresh ingredients. In these recipes, the base is always beans and wholemeal breadcrumbs. People are then adding their choice of herbs to create a variety of flavors to keep them interested throughout the month.

Is your mouth watering yet? Use the ideas above and transform your family dinner tonight!

Featured Image By: Pexels

Morning Star Meals

Standard
Morning Star Meals

Hello! I have been a strict vegetarian for the closer part of two decades and literally could never imagine eating meat again. Although I have a different diet than Johnny who loves cheeseburgers, bacon, and hot dogs we still both eat the “fake” meat by Morning Star pretty regularly. Check it out:

I have never been one of the vegetarians who are put off by people eating meat so I was tickled when Johnny wanted to try my vegetarian chicken nuggets and sausage patties. I was even more thrilled about the fact that he liked them just as much as me! In fact, I consider it a rarity to have a boyfriend who is excited about me making a veggie option and not asking me to make “regular” meat for him – even though he knows I would be happy to.

We are both huge fans of the Morning Star buffalo chicken nuggets and, this past shopping trip, I got us the buffalo patties for him to try. I was about to start prepping our meal when Johnny took it upon himself to make it, instead. He air fried our patties, then buttered and toasted the buns. We topped it off with lettuce and ranch and my heart kind of melted when Johnny said “it tastes just like a spicy chicken sandwich from Wendy’s”.

My Johnny is just so dear to me and him being willing to always try new things is one of the many things I love about him. I know it seems like a little thing but Morning Star meals with my non vegetarian boyfriend will never cease to put me in all of the happy feels. I’m a lucky girl. ❤

What is the most recent new food you tried? Which other brands make the best “fake” meat? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Making Every Family Dinner Special

Standard
Making Every Family Dinner Special

If you want to spend more quality time with your family but you’re struggling to figure out how to do it, one way is to start making your family dinners special. If you all sit down for dinner and ignore one another while scrolling on your phones or watching TV, of course it’s going to feel like you don’t have enough quality time together.

Similarly, if you all eat dinner separately, then you’re missing out on a great opportunity to catch up with one another. It might not be possible to do this every day, but there are all kinds of benefits to having dinner together each night. If you want to make the family dinners that you do have together more special, then read on for some advice:

Make It A Ritual:

Start by making it a ritual. Try to do family dinners at the same time, wash up beforehand, and name three things you’re grateful for before you begin to eat. Of course, your ritual may differ – but it’s definitely worth coming up with one that means something to you.

Set The Table:

Set the table for your dinner with nice plates and cutlery, place mats, a tablecloth, and even candles. Make it look fancy. This is especially important if you don’t get to have many family dinners together. Setting the table nicely can make a huge difference to the atmosphere.

Have Themed Nights:

It can be really fun to have themed dinner nights together. You could have Mexican nights, Italian food nights, and even nights based around Porter & York meats. Having themes can keep family dinners exciting and give some structure to your week if you have one every few days.

Turn Off The TV:

Ban phones from the table and don’t watch the TV, either. Enjoy one another’s company. Listen and concentrate – these could be the most meaningful moments of your day! This is so much better than spending hours sitting together while not really concentrating on one another at all.

Prep Together:

Involving your family in the preparation of the dinner can help everyone to get more invested in the meal and bond beforehand. This is especially great for younger members of the family, as they tend to enjoy helping and will learn a lot from it. They are also far more likely to eat different foods if they have had a hand in making them!

Find Something To Celebrate:

It doesn’t need to be a special occasion for you to find something to celebrate. Has somebody in the family achieved something? It doesn’t matter how small – find something and celebrate it! At the very least, this will make each dinner a cheery event and teach everybody to look for the good, no matter how small and seemingly insignificant!

Family dinners are tons of fun and helps bring you and yours closer together. Bon appetit!

Featured Image By: Pexels