Filet Mignon with Roasted Vegetables

The perfect celebratory healthy meal

Nothing screams “fancy as f&#@k” as filet mignon. When it is time to celebrate in this apartment, filet is on the menu. It is also something that is so deceivingly easy to cook but for some reason intimidating to most and therefore seems impressive to whoever you are cooking for (hopefully they don’t read this post and continue to feel special and in awe when they come to your home). With this perfectly seared on the outside and medium rare on the inside steak, you can pair it with some crispy and somehow still soft roasted fall vegetables. Honestly, steak houses get a bad rep for being an unhealthy option. Yes, they throw in an unnecessary bottle of heavy cream to their creamed spinach and fry one too many sides, but, if you keep it simple with a great steak and some roasted vegetables this meal is not only delicious but also incredibly healthy. And, even better, if you are one of the brave souls enduring an either paleo or Whole30 January, then you are in luck! Because this entire meal is approved. People on cleanses/resets gotta celebrate too? Just pourthat extra glass of red wine for your friend who refuses to cut out the booze.

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Rack of Lamb with Crisped Kale, Sautéed Mushrooms, and Butternut Squash Puree

The perfect Christmas dinner

When I think Christmas dinner, I envision sitting at a table with everyone I love, large glasses of wine, laughter encompassing the entire room, and an incredible meal on the plate in front of me. Typically, that meal involves two main things: vegetables and some type of perfectly cooked, fancy, wonderful, meat. Typically, it is a filet mignon or a pot roast. However, I am proposing we all change it up a little bit; its time to give the limelight to one of my favorite meats of 2017: lamb. This year, lamb has been one of my top obsessions. Not that it was ever something I didn’t enjoy (trust me, there isn’t a lamb chop that leaves my plate with a scrap of meat left on the bone), but recently I have found myself craving it hard core. Because of the price, and the fact that most of us are trying to cook on a budget, it is not something that I indulge in weekly. However, it provides the perfect candidate for the most wonderful time of the year: Christmas day. So, if you’re heading into this weekend hosting the holidays without a menu planned, I am here to help. Your family will love you even more.

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@Lets.eat.yall’s Guide to the Seaport District

If there is ever a part of NYC that is so overlooked by the people of Manhattan, it is the South Street Seaport district. Coming from someone who, after living here for five years, has only visited it once, I find myself consistently daydreaming of that one perfect fall day I spent drinking and eating my way down the cobblestone streets. Why haven’t I been back since? Great freaking question. When I met my insta-turn-real-friend Emma of @lets.eat.yall (the ultimate #foodporn account behind a girl who is always in the know of the NYC restaurant scene) and she told me she was moving to this area, I immediately knew she had to be featured on Freckled Foodie & Friend’s Favorites. Not only will I now have a checklist of restaurants to go to in this dreamy secluded spot within our busy city that I have so carelessly ignored, but it will hopefully encourage all of you to also make your way alllll the way downtown. Check out all of Emma’s favorite picks below!

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Sausage & Vegetable Omelet Bake

Gluten and dairy free vegetable packed omelet bake

With every dish made, there is a spot it falls on the effort required / deliciousness graph; there are some that require hours of labor and are just kind of blah when the time comes to actually eat it and then there are ones that require very minimal effort and return insanely positive reactions. This, my friends, is the champion of this scale. This dish is the answer to any “breakfast / brunch for group” question you may have. This bake can be all prepped and ready to go the night prior, so that you aren’t waking up at the crack of dawn or cooking while your guests are enjoying themselves, and simply requires you to only place it in the oven the morning of. Without a doubt, if I am ever making breakfast for a group, this dish is the star of my menu. Especially for family brunches, such as on Christmas morning, there is no better option. Continue reading “Sausage & Vegetable Omelet Bake”

Chicken Vegetable Instant Pot Soup

Thanksgiving leftovers transformed to chicken & vegetable soup

If you’re like my family, as soon as Thanksgiving dinner is over everyone immediately grabs a Tupperware and begins fitting as much food as possible into their dedicated “leftovers bin”; fighting for that last bite of stuffing or spoonful of sweet potato casserole. This year, I made it easy for the rest of my family, and took myself out of the fight declaring I only wanted to take one thing home, something that absolutely no one else was eyeing: the turkey carcass. Yep, that’s right, I wanted the bones. So much so, that I even traveled back to NYC with them in a Ziploc bag (I know, seriously a psycho move). BUT, the week prior I made turkey stock with all of the turkey bones leftover from my Friendsgiving meal and it truly was better than any bone broth I had ever tasted (fully tooting my own horn) and it was garlic & onion free. This is huge for all of my low FODMAP friends out there. So, instead of elbowing my sister over the white turkey meat, I grabbed my bones and headed back to my apartment where my instant pot resided. As expected, the turkey stock turned out magnificently. So tasty, in fact, that I may begin eating turkey instead of chicken just so I can store the bones for my next batch of broth. Either way, I had vats and vats of turkey stock to put to work; one can only fit so many mason jars in her refrigerator. As I felt a cold coming on, I knew what I was prepping for my weekday lunches: homemade chicken vegetable soup. It was insanely easy, cooked itself (not kidding), and is now officially going to be on my meal rotation all winter. Bless you, turkey, for giving me so much to love over the past two weeks.

Recipe

Freckled Foodie’s Friendsgiving

My Friendsgiving recap and the perfect, downloadable, Thanksgiving recipe and grocery list booklet

“A meal is only as important as the people you share it with”. Four years ago, I typed this sentence onto an Instagram caption of me and my close girlfriends all gathered around my kitchen counter in front of the Friendsgiving spread I had just cooked and served them. The words simply streamed straight from my consciousness to my fingertips before realizing how true and meaningful they were to both my beliefs and lifestyle. Yes, eating is an obvious survival necessity, but it is just as vital that you are enjoying these nutrients in a comforting, loving, and welcoming environment. Even better, surrounded by people you care about. In my mind, and stomach, this is what the holidays are all about. Designated days to spend time with your loved ones, whether family or friends, enjoy each other’s company, and enjoy great food. Not only delicious, rib warming, meals, but nutritious food. Dishes that leave you feeling nourished and well fed rather than sprinting to the other room to unbutton your pants (because, let’s be honest, we’ve all been there).

Continue… and BOOKLET!

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Dry Brined Herb and Ghee Roasted Spatchcock Turkey

The star of your Thanksgiving feast

Few words are needed to describe this dish and recipe. There is nothing more important for a Thanksgiving dinner than a well-executed turkey. Being my first time preparing a full turkey for my guests, I was incredibly intimidated. Thankfully, I have a local butcher that I love (shoutout to Dickson’s Meat Stand) who made sure they had the perfect bird ready for me to serve my Friendsgivings guests a week early. Most importantly, they spatchcoked this big bird for me to cut down roasting time (because who has time to cook a turkey for four hours) and guarantee more of my favorite part of turkey – perfectly roasted skin. This bird was dry brined and then rubbed with ghee and seasonings to make sure every bite was flavorful, juicy, and nap inducing.

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Raw Pumpkin Coconut Cheesecake Bars

Dairy and gluten free raw pumpkin coconut cheesecake bars

Thanksgiving is most commonly associated with a big old turkey, but I would venture to guess that the second dish that comes to people’s minds is a pumpkin pie. What is Thanksgiving without some type of creamy, delicious, pumpkin filled dessert. In an attempt to recreate my favorite dessert but also keep my menu gluten and dairy free, and to include some of my favorite ingredients, I created raw coconut pumpkin cheesecake bars. These are incredibly easy to make and perfectly fill the void of that craving for sweets as you begin to clear your plates.

Recipe

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Honey Glazed Roasted Carrots

Thanksgiving vegetable side of honey glazed carrots

To often during a Thanksgiving meal you stand up from you seat, probably panic in realization that you have forgotten to rebutton your pants (although, if you’re a true pro you know the only acceptable pants are stretchy ones), and notice that you did not eat one vegetable that entire meal. I’m not here to shame you or make you feel badly about this, we’ve all been there. But this year, prepare yourself so that when you leave the table and begin to start this stream of thought the light bulb clicks and you’re like “wait, no, I had those incredibly perfect glazed carrots. Go me”. This recipe will add extremely minimal amount of time and effort to your game-day prep (lets be real, Thanksgiving is a game) but provides an option for people to get some veggies in. And not just any veggies, tasty, soft on the inside, crisped on the outside, well cooked and glazed, vegetables. Did I say honey is involved? Just go make them already.

Recipe Continue reading “Honey Glazed Roasted Carrots”

Sweet Potato Casserole with Maple Pecans and Marshmallows

Dairy-free Thanksgiving sweet potato casserole

In my household growing up, sweet potato casserole was the one Thanksgiving side that was completely ignored. Unfortunately for my deep love for this vegetable and constant sweet tooth, this dish never made the cut for my mother’s standards. Whether it be the fact that we already had mashed potatoes and another potato dish brought by my grandmother (that, if ignored, would cause an absolute uproar from my sister), she just didn’t feel the need for this third starch, or the fact that marshmallows were something she didn’t see fit for a dinner table, I never knew what I was missing. It wasn’t until I began hosting my own Friendsgiving and researching recipes and menus online when I realized how deprived (insert overreaction) I was as a child without this glorious dish next to my turkey. I soon took my favorite method of cooking sweet potatoes – low and slow in the slow cooker so that the ooey gooey sugar begins to seep out of the pores and the inside can be eaten with a spoon it is so soft and delicious – and mixed it with my love for toasted nuts and constant desire for something sweet. Alas, an absolute fan favorite of my Friendsgiving crowd. This dish will also always have a sweet spot in my heart because, as proven and always reminded by the scar on my inner forearm, it was the dish I cooked in my first industrial kitchen at non-other than Blue Smoke restaurant at an Umi Kitchen holiday cookoff (one of the highlights of my Freckled Foodie venture).

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