The “I don’t feel like cooking or cleaning” dinner
As you know by now, I am all about easy, quick, healthy, and delicious dinners. When I was working in the corporate world and would get home after a day spent in the office, laboring over a dinner and then cleaning (what felt like a thousand) dishes was the last thing I wanted to do. While I no longer feel that way, I am here to help you. So, what is better than a dinner that only dirties one dish in the cooking process? I’d say just about nothing. But, to make this beauty even more incredible, she is filled with flavor and one of the lighter meals I’ve ever felt truly satisfied and full from. A triple win and your new go-to “I just got home from work but am having some girlfriends over from dinner and would rather eat McDonalds than have to spend time cooking in the kitchen” meal.
Close your eyes and pretend you’re in California for a second
As part of my ode to Taco Tuesday and the promise of switching things up each week, I recently tossed a new combo into the ring: these shrimp tacos. Boy, they did not disappoint. If you’re like most New Yorkers and intimidated by the act of cooking shrimp for the fear it will stink up your apartment, I promise, it’s not that bad! Plus, this avocado crema makes it all worth it. The perfect creaminess on top of a perfectly charred tortilla with some juicy shrimp. For a second, you can close your eyes and convince yourself you’re actually in California and not this muggy still feels summer when will it ever be fall city. We can dream, right??
My go-to pantry clean out meal
You know the nights where you get home and realize you are starving but have absolutely nothing in your fridge to make dinner out of and you just refuse to pay the absurd price of NYC delivery? (I mean really, after the tax, tip, delivery fee, etc, I want to scream). Well, I’ve been there. Many and many of times. Each time, I check my pantry and freezer to assess the essentials I always have on stock and, more times than not, end up making this exact dish. It was at first a random combination I happened to have on hand that I questioned, “will this work, or am I crazy?” and has now become a staple in my budget friendly lifestyle. Don’t knock it until you try it!
I’ve always wondered what this “bikini body” is that everyone speaks of come summer months. The focus on getting, and staying, thin and super fit before stepping into a bikini not only seems like an ill way to spend your summer, but also a task that seems nearly impossible. For me, and I believe majority of other people out there, my summer goes a little like this: the gorgeous weather encourages more frequent drinking than usual, there are BBQs galore with all the chips, dips, and sides you can dream of, ice cream becomes a no brainer after dinner, and a ton of traveling to enjoy these glorious weekends with friends leads to minimal at home cooking.
A mess-up became a fix up meal
To be totally transparent, this recipe was a total “mess-up becomes a fix-up.” This was a saying my fourth-grade teacher taught me and one I use quite often in my life. Nothing, and sure as heck no one, is perfect, so why stress over all the mistakes we can make? Since Joe and I are now making the family tradition of Taco Tuesdays in our apartment, I set the goal of stepping outside the box to try new taco recipes and keep things interesting. I mean, yes, I could have the same ground beef tacos once a week for the rest of my life, but I’d also be missing out on trying a bunch of new combinations and hopefully inspiring you all! To divert from our usual Tuesday spread, my idea for this recipe was to make tacos with beautifully juicy and gorgeously shredded pork. I turned to my handy dandy freezer and found that we had 1lb of pork tenderloin in there. Without consulting the internet and realizing that I should’ve instead used my slow cooker vs my instant pot for this result, I plopped this baby in my instant pot, turned it on, and got preparing my sides. To my dismay, this pork was in fact not at all the kind that I could shred, but instead a perfectly cooked, tender, and juicy meat. Instead of beating myself up over the fact that dinner was no longer going to look as I had hoped, I sliced the tenderloin, noticed how beautiful and tasty it was, and moved forward with the new star of the show. Turns out, this recipe is one of Joe’s favorite things I have ever made and provided some delicious leftovers for my younger sister. Plus, considering I never told anyone about the original plan, the mistake went was nonexistent. I’d call that a win in the mess-up becomes a fix-up category if I do say so myself.
To beat that afternoon hanger
Looking for a quick and easy snack to grab on the go while still eating something healthy and delicious? Aren’t we all! Energy balls are one of my favorite things to make in mass and then store in my freezer for afternoons when that hanger strikes (we’ve all been there). This version includes a ton of protein packed ingredients and a nice sweetness from the cacao powder and the coconut; not only are they a great snack option but they also can be a perfect 2-bite dessert. The best part about them though? When you make these on your own they cost you about 1/10th of the price you see in those fancy coffee shops. Anyone else have a moral dilemma paying $4 for a small ball made of majority peanut butter and oats!? No way I’m alone in that.
Once the sun begins to shine and it is officially summer, it is as if my body has a trigger response to immediately crave every dessert in site. So, in an attempt to not eat twenty pints of ice cream or store-bought cookies, I make an effort to personally cook the desserts I’m eating to try and fill them with healthier options than many purchased baked goods. These double chocolate chip muffins not only fill that post-dinner craving, but they free of a lot of ingredients that make up most of our desserts (i.e. gluten, dairy, and processed sugar). Behold, my new best friend. And also, my freezer’s newest tenant, because you better believe I have a couple batches of these in there for future night caps!
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The perfect summertime meal
The grill and I have an extremely long and historic love affair. From a very young age, I remember my dad grilling every single thing possible. The scent of the smoke and that char on whatever he was cooking is one of my favorite memories of childhood. Once I became old enough to cook, I was infatuated with the grill and mastering its ability to make every single ingredient produce more flavor than any other available cooking method. Seriously – why does everything taste better when cooked on a grill!? So, after many of nights watching my dad master the method, I one day decided it was my time to try; and the rest was history. While it may seem intimidating at first, I promise it is probably one of the easiest cooking gadgets out there. It does all the work for you! Although grilling is definitely not exclusive to summertime, this is one of my favorite quick and easy meals to throw together for a summer lunch or dinner. Say goodbye to lame salads and hello to flavor!
A fully farmer’s market dinner
This week I found myself in the Union Square farmer’s market doing some research for an upcoming piece (stay tuned!) and I began questioning why I ever purchase groceries anywhere other than a farmer’s market. I get they can be extremely busy at times, and you have to plan your shopping around when they are open, but gosh if you go at the right time, they are extremely pleasant. What is better than picking from a massive selection of produce, protein, and dairy all from local farms and all while enjoying the outdoors? (Get back to me if you think of anything). As I was perusing around and scoping out every single tent, I decided this was going to be the source of all my ingredients for my date night in with Joe. Grabbing the veggies from the organic farm stand, the chicken from the pasture raised organic protein man, and the cheese from the goat milk stand, I was ready to rock. Along with this recipe below, go check out the corresponding IGTV episode on my Instagram so you can feel like we’re in the kitchen cooking together!
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Shining light on a barbecue staple
Why is pasta salad totally the overlooked “step-sister” of a BBQ spread? For some reason, it is a dish I am constantly passing by and never craving. When a client recently mentioned how much he loved pasta salad it triggered me into a train of thoughts that came to the realization: pasta salad not only provides us with a way to still enjoy one of everyone’s favorite dishes in the summer without sweating our butts off, but it is freaking delicious, and extremely versatile. So, I naturally got in the kitchen, and got cooking. Safe to say, I will no longer be overlooking this side at summer cookouts.