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.
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!
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 delicious breakfast on the go!
You all know by now that banana and almond butter is one of my all-time favorite combinations; something I am constantly looking to include in recipes as a vehicle for this delicious flavor bomb. As someone who also loves baked goods, but hates dealing with the “are these gluten free?” question and time spent trying to figure out what sugars have been added into them, I’ve pretty much cut them out of my breakfast routine. Instead of deciphering whether or not the local coffee shop is serving basically cake and calling it a breakfast muffin, I decided to get to my kitchen and make my own. These babies are gluten and dairy free and are only sweetened with a bit of maple syrup. They also can be made vegan by using a flax egg (don’t hate on this method til you try it!). My favorite way to enjoy them: nice and warm, cut in half, and filled with a layer of almond butter and some extra banana. BAM!
Your new go-to week day breakfast
One of my breakfast staples as of late, chia pudding. Honestly, it is one of the cheapest, quickest, and most versatile breakfasts out there. During the summer we are all jam-packed with incredibly fun weekends that not only pay a toll on our bodies, but also leave us with minimal time to prep. I’m not saying change your schedule; hell, load on more fun. But, at the same time, don’t let that excuse get in the way of you enjoying a healthy breakfast.
You won’t miss the “real” (but fake) version
Awhile back, after finishing a recipe that called for hazelnuts (hello you delicious rack of lamb and full head of cauliflower), I found myself with an extremely large amount of leftovers – thanks to a mother who multiplies anything on a grocery list by 5 just in case an entire unexpected party decides to show up for dinner. As I began reorganizing my drawers to fit the random bag of hazelnuts somewhere that I knew would go avoided for the next few months, I realized that hazelnuts are one of the main ingredients of an oh so deliciously unhealthy old school pantry staple that I haven’t had in forever: Nutella. While I’m still confused how Nutella is marketed as a “breakfast option”, being packed with sugar and other not-so-great ingredients, I thought to myself “what if I made a Nutella that would actually be an acceptable breakfast option? Like a muffin? And why not add in my favorite thing I used to put Nutella on – bananas?” With my mind whirling and my childhood Cam doing her happy dance, I decided to make my own Nutella to include in, and spread on top, banana muffins. Let me just say: Holy. Shit. Do yourself a favor and throw out the jar of Nutella in your pantry (seriously, do that) and make these muffins instead. You will not be sorry or miss the sugar laden real (but really fake) version.
A delicious dairy free spin on a kitchen classic
One of my favorite kitchen activities is creating homemade, and most times healthier, dishes upon the request of friends or family. So, when my mom and I were out to dinner and she was mentioning how much she missed risotto now that she is dairy free, I took it as a personal challenge to make her a dairy-free version the next time she came over. As I contemplated how I was going to prepare this dish, I quickly remembered the delicious coconut milk risotto I had at a recent mindbodygreen revitalize dinner. With the coconut flavor locked down as a definite, I then began to brainstorm for some complimenting ingredients and decided on asparagus, bok choy, mushrooms, and shrimp. With the ingredient list finalized, another lightbulb dinged – I could use my brand spanking new Mealthy Multi-Pot. As an avid believer in pressure cookers and their insane abilities, I was anxious to put this baby to work. I truly cannot believe how easy it makes cooking. This recipe uses both the sauté and multigrain function and prepares this whole dish without the need to wash another pot or pan. How simple is that!? Not only are you able to close the lid, push a button, and get back to that glass of wine you’re enjoying, but the result of enhanced flavor and perfectly cooked ingredients is truly remarkable. This recipe is one that will impress your guests and take minimal effort for you to prep; that’s all we ever really want, right!?
The best vegan dessert I’ve ever had
This past Sunday I found myself cooking up a storm in my kitchen for majority of the day (putting all the finishing touches on my Whole30 5-day meal plan) and when it was all said and done and I sat down on the couch to unwind, I immediately began daydreaming of new dessert creations. With a few hours to spare before dinner and a running imagination that just wouldn’t sit still and relax, I got up, went back into my kitchen, and assessed what ingredients I had on hand. After realizing I had majority of my favorite things (banana, almond butter, tahini, and chocolate chips), I decided to combine them into the best vehicle possible: a skillet cookie. Being that I am currently dairy & gluten free and that eggs right now don’t seem to be working too well with my stomach, I slowly realized when I popped this baby in the oven that this recipe is actually vegan. While I spent a few minutes questioning who the heck I have become, none of that mattered once I took a bite of this baby. Plus, I happened to have just purchased a pint of Van Leeuwen vegan ice cream (chocolate and mint chip) so I knew I was just about to elevate this to the best (and first?) fully vegan dessert I probably have ever had.