The Perfect Easter Meal

Whole rack of lamb, vegetable quinoa medley, and a kale salad

I’m a big fan of lamb no matter the day, but I specifically love that Easter provides a tradition, for many families, to roast a whole rack. Now, while this dish is, and always will be, the star of this meal, you can’t forget to dress it up with some delicious sides. While I was creating this recipe I realized that, about five years ago, Freckled Foodie was truly born on Easter weekend. My mother was traveling somewhere and we had somehow become responsible for hosting over 10 people for an Easter lunch. Instead of cancelling on everyone, I, not quite knowing what I was doing yet, decided to step in and run with the task at hand. That Easter was the first time I confidently prepared a meal for a large group of people; proving to myself that I was not only able to, but also that I loved it. This meal is the prime example of a pretty effortless and healthy Easter spread that will impress your guests, taste delicious, and not break the bank. With the lamb being the center of attention, you are able to pair it with some delicious, yet affordable and quick, sides. If you’re in charge of cooking, here is your answer!

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Steak Fajitas

A new take on #FFTacoTuesday

This past week my girlfriend and her fiancé came over for a birthday celebratory Taco Tuesday and, when I gave her some meal options, she immediately jumped at the idea of a steak fajita night. Dare I begin #FreckledFoodieFajitas on top of #FFTacoTuesday!? Probably not, but it was a fun mix-up! Plus, oh steak, how I love you. For a food that so many people love, I find a lot of us are intimidated by the act of cooking it. Sure, having a grill is pretty damn sweet and makes the entire process way more simple, but after living in NYC for almost 6 years and relying solely on my cast-iron skillet, I think I may enjoy the end result more than a grilled steak. Surprisingly (or not, depending on who you ask), I find a cast iron steak to have more flavor. To help those of you intimidated by the task, I’m dumbing it down with a super at-home easy to follow tutorial of how I make my steak so crisped on the outside with that perfect medium rare middle.

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Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese

The perfect football Sunday indulgence

As I’ve mentioned in a former post, pulled pork has a special place in my heart thanks to my mom and her ability to serve it at every possible family gathering without anyone ever getting bored of it. In fact, I have a friend who comes over solely around these said holidays just to devour a few bites straight from the pressure cooker. When I was thinking about what to serve at this past snoozefest of a Super Bowl, pulled pork was the first thing that came to mind. We weren’t sure how many people were coming, we had planned this gathering very last minute so I didn’t have much time to prep, and I felt downright lazy when faced with the idea of cooking all day. Instead, I stuck to my mom’s foolproof plan and added a bit of a cheesy and indulgent twist. One of my favorite things to do at prior lacrosse tailgates or at my parent’s infamous Christmas party is combine the homemade pulled pork with some of the mac and cheese that always seemed to conveniently be served next to it. A spark went off in my brain and immediately decided what we’d be having for the big game: pulled pork mac and cheese. Let it be said that by no means is this as “clean” as majority of my recipes on here. I’m usually not one for adding butter and I typically don’t cook with a lot of cheese, but this dish just felt right. Plus, it’s the god damn Super Bowl – a time to worry less about eating vegetables and more about whether any game will ever compare to 2018’s. Plus, I’d venture to say this home cooked dish is still healthier than any comparable you could purchase or order from a restaurant.

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Taco Tuesday for a Crowd

Behind the scenes look at hosting friends for my favorite night of the week

From following me on Instagram, you all know by now that there are two things that are very important to me: taco Tuesdays, and cooking for friends and family. Growing up in a family that continuously hosts others, it is one of my favorite ways to use our apartment. While Joe and my tradition of Taco Tuesday is consistently just us, and often times our weekly date night, there are many times we open our doors to any friends free to join us. Last week when I was heading home from Florida on a Tuesday morning, I realized it was about to be taco time. Firing out a quick text to see who wanted to join us, and put our new and very overdue dining room table to work, I realized this would be a perfect opportunity for a behind the scenes #FFTacoTuesday VLOG. In an effort to show how easy it can be to throw a dinner party together when serving this crowd-pleasing spread, I’m here to show you all the necessary steps. From creating a grocery list on the plane all the way to the final product, this video and corresponding recipe is here to assist you host your own classic Taco Tuesday with all the fixings.

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Vegetable Chickpea Curry

The fix to all my curry cravings

I’m assuming it’s the colder temperatures and the desire to feel grounded, but lately I have been craving all things curry. I’m not talking a once and awhile type thing. It’s been almost a daily calling for the past few weeks; a craving that I am on a constant search to fulfill. With the constant dreams of a delicious curry flavored stew, I figured I am probably not alone and needed to create something for all of us to get our fix in. This delicious, vegetarian (gasp), vegetable chickpea curry is truly one of the easier meals on here to prep and reheat for lunches or dinners during the workweek. Not only does it take minimal work, but I’m a believer that these types of dishes are actually better when eaten as leftovers. Enjoy!

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Meat Lasagna (with Dairy & Gluten Free Substitutions)

Yes, it is possible!!!

The other day the craving for lasagna hit me like a freaking mack truck. Even though I haven’t had it in forever, I suddenly couldn’t think about anything but lasagna. This meant one simple thing: lasagna was going to be on the menu for dinner. As someone who is currently avoiding gluten and dairy, I noticed the challenge that was ahead of me. How the F do you make a lasagna that does not include the two primary ingredients? Oh, also, throw in the fact that I am intolerant to garlic and onion. Maybe there was a reason I hadn’t had it in forever… All of that aside, I decided it was time to create something delicious. I wanted a rib warming dinner on this snowy night and lasagna was the vehicle to do so. With some oh-so-sneaky ingredients, and things I never in a million years thought I would purchase (hello dairy free cheese, I’m talking to you), I made a freaking incredible allergen free lasagna. Trust me, I wouldn’t encourage you to be seen purchasing vegan cheese unless I meant it. This thing is freaking delicious. Lasagna, oh how I’ve missed you. Welcome back into my life, beautiful.

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Gluten Free Low FODMAP Meatloaf

The rib-warming deliciously healthy dinner

I recently was on a walk with my friend catching up on life and discussing potential new recipe ideas when she turned to me out of the blue and said, “I’ve been dying for a simple meatloaf recipe.” Although it was something I never really had considered creating, nor something I grew up eating, I couldn’t get the idea out of my mind for the rest of the day. When deciding what to cook for dinner it became a very easy decision: meatloaf, duh. I accepted the challenge (that my friend was unaware she was putting on me) and questioned why the heck I had never made meatloaf before. This insanely easy recipe will definitely be a staple for every single cold and cozy night this year.

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Roasted Chicken Thighs with Blistered Mushroom and Kale Pasta

The Perfect Anniversary Dinner Date

As someone who loves the NYC restaurant scene, I am a big fan of date night out exploring either some of the new “must go” spots or returning to some of our favorite local places. However, almost as often, I crave a date night in. There is something about actually putting in the time and effort to make a meal for the person you love and then enjoying it in the comfort of your own home (and the comfort of leggings and a sweatshirt, but that’s another conversation). Joe and I just recently celebrated our eleven-year anniversary of which Joe continuously reminded me that “this really isn’t our anniversary anymore”. I understand that, going forward, we will now celebrate our wedding anniversary, but this day will always have a special place in my heart. So, in the compromise of still celebrating while not making it a big deal, a date night in was established and a more elaborate than usual weeknight menu was prepared. One of Joe and my favorite meals to make is a deliciously juicy crispy chicken thigh. I mean, is there anything better than the perfectly crisped chicken skin? The answer is no. To serve alongside these beauties I decided to create a veggie packed pasta that would use majority of the juice from cooking the chicken as it’s sauce. The smartest idea I’ve had all year? Quite possibly.  Date night or not, this dinner is a hit!

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Sweet Potato Gnocchi with a Pumpkin Cream Sauce

my Halloween inspired dinner

Since I was away majority of October, I feel like I missed out on not only all of the pumpkin flavored food, but also the hype surrounding Halloween. (True story, I didn’t really realize it was Halloween today until midway through the afternoon when I saw a kid in a costume while running an errand). So, safe to say, I am not a big Halloween gal in this stage of my life. That being said, I wanted to celebrate somehow – in addition to contradicting my food beliefs and handing out classic Snickers and M&M like candy to little kids. Obviously, my celebrating turned into creating a new recipe for dinner. Along with my desire to make a dish that featured pumpkin and the color orange, I also have felt this deep anger towards the fact that I haven’t been able to get my hands on any of the Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi since it was released (what feels like years ago). Combining all of these random thoughts I had during my yoga class this morning, it came to me: I was going to make my own god damn gnocchi for dinner and you better believe it was going to be orange! Hello, my favorite vegetable, sweet potato to the rescue. Not only did I feel really freaking important and chef-like while making this dinner, because I hate to admit I’ve never made homemade pasta before (sorry!), but it is also absolutely delicious. Fall flavored, cozy, rib warming, I want to take a nap in this bowl, kind of dinner. I’ll let you see for yourself! Plus, not like I follow all of these, but I’m just going to through it out there: this meal is vegan, gluten and dairy free, paleo, and Whole30 compliant…

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Dry Rub Pork Ribs with an “Inbetween Seasons” Salad

When you’re not quite sure if its Summer or Fall

As the seasons are changing and we’re all screaming “YAY FALL” and excited for the lower temperatures, pumpkin spice everything, and change of leaf colors, there is still a part of me ever so slightly holding on to the summer and warm weather. This meal is the perfect depiction of my exact emotions. With the main touches of fall flavors with the pecans and butternut squash, it still has that small hint of summer through the pomegranate seeds and the nod to barbeques with the baby back ribs. Food has never better expressed my current emotions. This meal was a hit for the dinner party I threw this past weekend. From age 26 to 85 and both males and females, everyone was licking their fingers (quiet literally, thank you ribs). Quick, invite some friends over and get cooking. You won’t regret it!

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