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!
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.
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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Believe it or not, this was one of the first meals I cooked after my concussion. This whole roasted cauliflower, which is inspired by one of my favorite restaurants in NYC (ABCV), has been on my “recipe to-do list” for an incredibly long time. I was sitting on my couch with my mom when she mentioned her and my dad were going to stay over for dinner followed by her asking, “what should we order in?” As someone who loves to cook for those I love, and have always promised my dad for a home cooked meal after work one day before his commute home, I finally had the opportunity at my fingertips. It was finally time to cook my parents a delicious and impressive meal in my own kitchen. Although I had just suffered a pretty serious concussion and was still unable to turn on majority of the lights in my apartment, which also showed me how magnificently calming a dimly lit home can be, cooking was the one thing I was most definitely capable of.
Guaranteed easiest clean up
We have a general rule in our apartment that if one person cooks, the other cleans. Since I typically am doing the former, Joe is often times the person manning the sink after we finish up our meal. With the constant flow of recipe testing that goes down in our kitchen, I am often questioned how it is possible that I dirtied so many dishes. If you have ever tried to create a recipe, or you are like me and decide to somehow use every bowl, plate, or fork in your cabinets, you get what a shitshow your kitchen can look like after the fact. In order to avoid this situation, and really just make Joe a happier human, I started creating “one sheet pan” dinners. The main requirement of these meals: once done cooking, the only dirty dish (other than those you ate on) is the baking sheet. These recipes are proving to be delicious and, not surprisingly, incredibly easy. I now know what Joe is going to request for every dinner from here on out…