Venison Meatballs with Pesto Pasta

Venison Meatball and Easy Pesto Pasta Recipe_Natalie Paramore

I can’t believe how rainy it’s been this June! I can’t complain because I’ll take any relief from the summer heat. These rainy nights those have had me wanting to stay in and curl up with some comfort food. Instead of rushing off to the grocery store, I rummaged through our freezer and picked some fresh herbs for this meal! Needless to say, this rain has my garden going crazy and I’ve been using that as an excuse to put pesto on just about anything. I use the term pesto very loosely. This actually might not be a pesto at all, since I skip the cheese and nuts, and opt for super fragrant herbs! It adds a ton of flavor without all the calories. I’ll change up this recipe for whatever is in season: spinach, arugula, oregano, jalapeños, basil, cilantro… whatever I can get my hands on!

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Grilled Chicken Vermicelli Bowls

Grilled Chicken Bun Bowl_Natalie Paramore

I’ve been telling y’all how I am making an effort to cook more and recently I got together with a small group of friends and we made some delicious spring rolls! I love making spring rolls with friends because it’s simple and people can add whatever they want. Plus, it’s just a little bit interactive so people really feel like they are a part of the meal. This recipe though stemmed out of having a bunch of leftover ingredients from that dinner! I couldn’t let all those herbs and veggies go to waste and the perfect solution was to quickly whip up a vermicelli bowl for lunch one day. I thought you all might like this one too because you can easily make this ahead and have for lunch at work. 

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Arugula Caprese Pizza

Arugula Mozzarella Caprese Pizza_Natalie Paramore

On Mondays I am always looking for easy, sorta healthy recipes that I can whip together in no time! I like to think that I would always get eat something super healthy to start off the week but lets be honest I really just want something good. Enter this easy, meatless Monday recipe. Since it’s summer there are plenty of gorgeous ripe tomatoes and they pair perfectly with some fresh greens and thick slices of mozzarella of course. Because salad on pizza should totally be a thing, don’t ya think?

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Curry Chicken Thighs with Carrot Salad

Curry Chicken and Carrot Salad_Natalie Paramore

We’ve been cooking quite a bit when we are home lately and I’ve been loving it! Well, at least for the most part. It’s certainly easier to cook when I take a little time on Sunday or Monday to plan things out and order or grab our groceries early on in the week. When I get the week started off with healthy foods, then the rest of the week seems to fall in line and it makes going out all the more enjoyable. Plus, when we eat out for every meal when we travel, it’s really nice to have good, healthy food when we are home! Sometimes, I do fall prey to making the same things over and over. Which is why have been trying to switch it up a little and this is one of our favorite dishes that we made last week.

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Greek Chicken Quinoa Salad

Greek Quinoa Salad Recipe_Natalie Paramore

Fresh, light and filling. That is pretty much my requirements for meals this time of year. I am not a huge snacker by nature, I really like to save up my calories for meals. And if I’m being totally honest I don’t love snacks. I know! Some of y’all are probably shaking your heads right now but eating three square meals a day is what works for me. So I have to make the most of it and have filling meals to keep me from getting to epic hanger levels. Enter: Greek Chicken Quinoa Salad. Filling and it’s easy to make ahead for lunch or dinners for the week!

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Asian-Inspired Flank Steak Lettuce Wraps

Asian Flank Steak Lettuce Wraps_Natalie Paramore

A fresh start to the week and a fresh recipe! Ok, well I mean fresh as in flavor because this is one of those recipes I’ve had tucked away and haven’t found the time to post until now. I really like this recipe because you can easily swap out the protein with chicken or tofu and keep everything else the same and it will still be delicious! This recipe can easily be made for dinner one night and pack the leftovers for lunch the next day. Since I made this recipe for Austin Woman, I even included tips for a kid-friendly version. If only lunch box recipes were this cool back in the day!

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Green Bean Panzanella Salad

Green Bean Panzanella Salad Recipe_Natalie Paramore

Spring has sprung around here! Plenty of sunshine, blue skies and oh lots of fresh veggies at the markets! I know most people love  spring and summer but I gotta admit I am more of a fall kinda gal. However, this year, maybe it was that we just saw all the beautiful blooms in Paris, I will say that spring is growing on me. Especially after this photo shoot and recipe I made for Austin Woman’s April 2017 issue. I mean this green bean salad is perfect for lunch or even a light dinner! It’s hearty enough to fill you up and it’s packed with crisp, fresh vegetables. 

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Bourbon Braised Brisket with Cranberry Sauce

bourbon-braised-hanukkah-brisket-with-cranberry-sauce-by-natalie-paramore

Happy December everyone! I absolutely LOVE the holidays. I really do, I love them all. Anytime there is a reason to celebrate, I am all in. I was so excited when Austin Woman asked me to create some fun Hanukkah recipes for them this year. I immediately turned to my friend Amy Kritzer of What Jew Wanna Eat. She is the local (and probably national) Jewish food expert! So if you’re looking for tons of great Jewish food with a heavy dose of hilarity, be sure and check out her blog. I wanted to give these Hanukkah recipes a little twist so naturally, I went Texan with Amy’s recipe for Bourbon Braise Brisket with Cranberry Sauce! It’s sweet, tangy, delicious and it’s definitely the star of the holiday table! 

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Pork and Shrimp Shumai Dumplings

how-to-make-chinese-dumplings-at-home-by-natalie-paramoreOne of my biggest food obsessions this year has been dumplings! And I know there are lots of you out there that share my passions for these pouches of deliciousness. From gyoza to shumai to the ever popular xiao long bao, better known as soup dumplings, it seems like everyone is crazy for dumplings. I love a good dim sum but I also wanted to try my hand at making dumplings at home! I started off with an easy pork and shrimp shumai recipe but there are so many. I’ll walk you through the steps!

PS- check out the video below!

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Lemongrass Turmeric Slow Cooker Chicken

lemongrass-turmeric-chicken-recipe_natalie-paramoreY’all 2016 needs to slow down. Like for reals. It’s all going by so fast and we are totally all losing our minds. Or is it just me? Ok glad we got that out of the way. I like easy recipes. Like stupid, easy, put it all in one pot and let the machine do its thang easy. Enter this recipe for Lemongrass Turmeric Slow Cooker Chicken. Basically, I was looking for an easy recipe that had turmeric in it and stumbled upon a delicious looking recipe for turmeric butter chicken. But it required a few too many pans so I totally riffed off of it and made this crock pot version. It’s fragrant and will fill your house with mouth-watering smells coming from the kitchen. Plus, it’s a slow cooker recipe that cooks in 2-3 hours and not 4-8. Yeah, so you can totally do this after work hours. You’re welcome. My gift to you! 

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Easy Lunch Box Ready Lobster Rolls

lunch-box-ready-lobster-rolls_natalie-paramore

School may be back in session but summer isn’t over yet! At least not in Austin, TX. I mean I love fall, like loooove it, but it isn’t here quite yet. So if you’ve been traveling like me or just missed out on summer favorites this year, there’s still time to enjoy some summer favorites! I made this lobster roll that is lunch box ready. Which I will probably be packing for my girl’s night picnic next week. It’s great for work lunches and I even included some kid-friendly tips!

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BMW’s Spicy Red Wine Spaghetti Sauce

BMW's Spicy Red Sauce Spaghetti_Natalie Paramore

Y’all this is the best, BEST, spaghetti sauce recipe ever. Like for reals though. I have been working on this one for a while. Like over a year and have made it multiple times just to make sure I get it perfectly right for ya! Before I left on my epic summer adventure to eat my way through Europe, I made this spicy red wine spaghetti sauce one last time and took some pretty pictures of it to share with you!

I named this one BMW’s Spicy Red Wine Spaghetti Sauce because the boyfriend (his initials are actually BMW) loves a thick, rich, meaty, red sauce. So last fall I set out to create a one-of-a-kind red sauce just for him! And this is the one we’ve been perfecting all year long. And while I am still eating my way through Europe (London currently!) I heard it is rainy back at home in Austin and this recipe will cure those Monday night blues!

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Delicious Budget Friendly Weeknight Meals

Tom Kha GaiI have been so excited to be writing for Austin Woman the past few months! It is seriously so much fun coming up with recipes and getting to take gorgeous photos! There is always some sort of challenge for me like cooking with all CSA or farmers market vegetables or keeping things super simple with a blender soup. For the month of June, I had to get three recipes, with two servings each, all for under $20! I have to admit, I used to be on a tight budget in grad school so I knew a thing or two about stretching a dollar. I am happy to report that these recipes are all super tasty, easy to make and best of all they are great for one person to make and take leftovers for lunch the next day or great for two roommates or a couple! Be sure to  tag me if you make these recipes!

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Tom Kha Gai

Tom Kha Gai

Spicy, Asian soups have long been a favorite go-to meal of mine! Seriously, this spicy coconut soup will cure what ails ya! Whenever I get the chance to eat Thai food, you betcha I am getting the Tom Kha Gai soup. So it only made sense I figured out how to make a quick and easy at-home version! This recipe was part of my budget friendly recipes for Austin Woman. Three recipes, six meals and only $20! Get the shopping list here or the Tom Kha Gai recipe below. 

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Farmers Market Cooking – 3 Gorgeous Spring Recipes

CSA Picnic Table 4

Y’all, probably one of the best things I did in 2015 was build a picnic table with my boyfriend! Yes, for reals, we looked up a gazillion plans, went to Home Depot like we knew what we were doing, bought all the supplies and 18 hours later our first picnic table was born! Can you believe it?!? We are such proud parents. Many a wonderful night has been spent sitting around it enjoying long, delicious meals with friends. Bonus points, it is the absolutely most perfect background for showing off my pretty blue and white plates. I just love how they look on this table!

When it came time to shoot the April issue of Austin Woman Magazine, I knew immediately that I wanted my little picnic table to shine! I rounded up three of my most favorite spring recipes for you. Check them out below plus my tips for shopping at the farmers market this spring!

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Easy Creamy Cauliflower Soup

Easy Cauliflower Soup by Natalie Paramore1 - Copy

Some days I need a little, ok maybe a big, reminder to eat more veggies! Cheese and wine, welp somehow I don’t need any reminders there haha. I love this soup because it is so simple and full of cauliflower so creamy you won’t even know it’s mostly veggies. The combo of coconut milk + parmesan is also quite lovely. Annnnnd I have some exciting news to share with you! I am now writing on a semi-regular basis for Austin Woman! I couldn’t be more excited to see my recipes in print and forever grateful for all of you for sticking by me this whole time! You can find my first piece in the February 2016 issue here. Now, go make some soup and let me know how you like it!

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Avocado Toast Bar

Avocado Toast Bar 3

I will have to admit this is probably more of an idea than an actual recipe! Avocado Toast is such a crowd pleaser though and perfect for a quick prep meal for two or ten. Simply gather up your favorite toppings and display them out and let your guests choose their own and enjoy!

P.S. Scroll to the bottom to watch the video!

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Brunch Shakshuka

Brunch Shakshuka 1This popular middle eastern dish is one I have had my eye for a while! I always mean to make it but then something else comes up and alas. I finally got my chance and I couldn’t believe how easy it is! Not to mention fragrant and will draw everyone into your kitchen. Which is perfect because this dish is best served right out of the pan with big hunks of crusty bread (I picked up a loaf of rosemary sourdough) and dip it right into the pan to get all those delicious juices.

P.S. Scroll to the bottom to watch the video!

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Easy Homemade Everything Bagels

Everything Bagels Easy Homemade RecipeHmm what to do with rainy weekend? Why make some homemade bagels of course! I truly love bagels, almost as much a breakfast tacos. But somehow they seem a little bit more indulgent and little more special. Is it because I can’t get them on every street corner in Austin at anytime of day? Is it because if I were to make them myself then they take a little more invest of my sweet weekend time? Maybe. Bagels were something I ate a lot more of as kid than I do these days. Maybe simply because growing up breakfast tacos weren’t much of thing were I lived. I still like to grab a bagel and cream cheese anytime I am in an airport. Not really sure why because of most of the time they are a bit of a disappointment. I think it’s just some sorta nostalgia I have for the gluttonous breakfast pastry! When I came across this recipe that says you can make these in less than two hours, well I knew what my weekend plans were!

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Garden Basil Bucatini with Parmigiano Reggiano

Garden Basil Bucatini with Parmesan_By Natalie ParamoreWhat better simple pleasure is there than a fine cheese? Well if you’re me, not much! Truly, I can make an entire meal out of cheese and it’s practically a major food group in my diet. BMW doesn’t consider it a meal unless there’s meat involved and I sorta feel the same way about cheese. Ok maybe not every meal but you know what I’m sayin! I usually find just about any excuse to add a sprinkle here or there to juuuuuust about anything haha.

This recipe came about after a few things happened. First, I attended this amazing cheese event with Parmigiano Reggiano. Yes! There is actually a whole entire consorzio over in Italy dedicated to Parmesan! Not to be confused with the green bottle of ’90’s childhoods but actual real, delicious parmesan. The event was hosted by Parmigiano Reggiano at Antonelli’s Cheese Shop with local chef extrodianire Drew Curren of Italic, Easy Tiger, 24 Diner, arro and soon to be Irene’s. At the event we tasted three different types of parmesan and they walked us through the differences in each. It can’t be called Parmigiano Reggiano unless it’s been aged for at least 12 months and has the official dotted rind, so look for that when you’re shopping. We got to taste the milder 14 month cheese which is hard to find in the US simply because after it ages for hard to get here in time to be sold as a 14 month. The 24 month is the most common and middle of the road perfect for everything cheese and the 36 month is a bolder, stinker cheese that can add that distinct flavor to any dish! 

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Cold Brew Coffee Steak Marinade

NP_High Brew Coffee Skirt Steak Marinade by Natalie Paramore (1)Fall is here and it feels uber luxurious! I spent the whole weekend avoiding the ACL crowds and snuggled up at home trying out some new recipes and binging on Netflix. Don’t tell me what happens on Breaking Bad! I just started season four and things are getting gooood. Or bad. Well good television watching but you know bad if it was real life stuff. Anyways, I can’t stop. Whilst binge watching, I also tried making stove top popcorn for the first time! Um, hello, why did no one tell me it was so EASY. Like so easy. I’ve been without a microwave in my new place since last winter and things have been just fine. The only time I sorta miss it is when I want to heat up leftovers, but let me tell ya, they taste way better when heated up on the stove or in the oven. It’s just that they take quite a bit longer, but oh well. Back to my point, I totally discovered stove top popcorn and am in love! Everyone should be doing this! It’s so much healthier and you can make any flavor you want. The best! I also tried my hand at some birthday cake funfetti cookie bars. Yes, all those words really do go into one recipe! Sometimes it’s nice just to cook for myself and see what happens 🙂

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Spicy Thai Basil Beef

Thai Basil Beef 6You guys! Can you believe that this whole meal was cooked with solar sunshine? Seriously. Kinda crazy but really awesome. Plus, it’s Thai food so it’s basically my fav. Hello spicy, savory Thai food that didn’t make my kitchen a hotmess is everything. Especially right now when temperatures in Austin are the highest they have been in years! Heat wave, y’all. So why not take advantage of all the sun power and make dinner?

Technically, I think the Solavore Sport Oven was made with campers and outdoor enthusiasts in mind. But let me be the first to tell you that I am not really a camper. As in, I went camping once, repeat one time in my life, where I actually pitched a tent and slept on the ground. It was terrible. Awful. I swore I was never, ever doing that again. And I haven’t since. It was that crazy hot summer, 2011 I believe, and somehow a group of friends and I got the notion that it would be a great idea to go camping in the middle of July in Texas. As I write this, I can’t believe how we ever thought this would even remotely be fun. Anyways, it was suffocatingly hot, even at midnight and as soon as daylight peaked through, I was packing up and loading out. So there was my one experience with camping. Maybe sometime, some place else I will try again, but I think I am still sweating from that failed attempt, haha.

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Curry Salmon with Mango

Curry Salmon with Mango for Father's Day by Natalie Paramore

This post is sponsored by The National Mango Board

So like Father’s Day is on Sunday. Really soon! No worries though, I celebrated with my pops last weekend. Mainly because I have to work this weekend. This whole blogging, foodie life really never stops, yo. No complaints here though 🙂 Lately me and my boyfriend, (lets call him BMW because those are his initials and the car he drives, so makes sense) have been attempting to cook more on the weekends. I have big, fat habit of eating out a ton on the weekends, but living in Austin where there is literally a new restaurant opening every other day, can you blame me? Anyways, cooking on the weekends is all part of my goals to make more healthy choices. Enter: Curry Salmon. I found this recipe while deep in the Pinterest files. I love curry, I really like salmon but never really thought about putting the two together. The recipe turned out to be delicious, so I decided to repurpose that flavor profile for a little Father’s Day meal.

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Bison Burgers with Harissa Aioli

Bison Burgers on Lettuce with Harissa Aioli

Y’all, I stared at these pictures all day trying to figure out to write something that adequately describes my love for burgers. Like I love, love, love them. I go around town or heck even when I travel trying to find the best ones, most unique ones and often the cheesiest ones. This love runs deep. Like I can feel that love down in my soul for these darling little patties. I am not sure if people refer to their cheeseburgers as darling, but that is what I feel yo. I took a healthy-ish approach to these bison burgers and swapped the bun for some romain and skipped the cheese… touch decisions I know, but the harissa aioli packs a ton of flavor so you almost don’t miss the other two…almost. Great, easy weeknight meal and keeps it on lighter side. Since I am trying to be healthier, this is a nice little swap.

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Steak & Ale Pie

Steak & Ale Pie by Natalie Paramore Horizontal

Steak & Ale Pie, y’all! It is time. After a recent trip to a local Austin brewery Adelbert’s, I couldn’t wait to get back home and cook with some of their beer. Yes, that’s right, I said cook. Well, and drink some of it too, but some beers just scream cook with me! All the craft beers that are popping up everywhere really lend themselves perfectly to be used in the kitchen. The funky flavors, hops and carbonation add a lot of depth to recipes like this one.  The subtle flavor the beer gives when you stew it with the meat really gives it that extra edge you can’t get any other way.

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Bucatini with Arugula and Parmesan

Bucatini with Arugula Parmesan and Lemon by Natalie Paramore

My go-to weeknight meals usually involve something with one pot and carbs. Oh and cheese too. Every now and then I throw in something green to make myself feel better  it healthier. My old favorite was cilantro pesto pasta with a poached egg. All the yums! Super spicy and comforting. Because spicy food is comforting to me. I just love it. If my eyes are watering, my nose is running and my mouth is on fire, then the spice level is juuuuust right. Yeah, that kind of spice. Recently, I’ve been taking it down just a notch. A little bit of spice, ok ok maybe a little bit more than a little, but not crazy like I used to.

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Sriracha Soba Noodles

Sriracha and Peas on Soba Noodles by Natalie Paramore

Soba noodles! Finally! I am really late to the game on this trend. I’ve eaten them in restaurants for a while and loved them. The buckwheat noodles are more of an Asian thing, but the buckwheat gives it all a nice earthy flavor not usually found in other white flour noodles. My friends over at HEB sent me a nice package for their Primo Pick promotion this month. I found a lovely bottle of olive oil and immediately knew I wanted a big bowl of noodles! Good olive oil is the basis of any great dish. It is really important. Trust. Luckily because I like to make Asian food so much, I also had all the oils and sauces I needed to whip up this easy Meatless Monday dinner. I am always a big fan of using whatever you have in the kitchen to make dinner. Makes life oh so much easier!

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Sirloin Steak in a Cast Iron Skillet (with Kale and Mushrooms in a White Wine Cream Sauce)

Cooking Steak in a Cast Iron Skillet by Natalie Paramore

So this is one of those posts that I have been sitting on for while. Mainly because of the holidays and this didn’t seem to quite fit into the holiday buzz. I got caught up and distracted with the fun and bustle this season. Although, to be completely honest this year was a bit scattered for me. My typical family gatherings were all different this year and most took place before the actual day, so I wound up spending a good chunk of my Christmas Day alone. I didn’t feel the magic and giddiness of the holidays like I used to. I say used to because last year (2013) I was a down right grinch. I blame that mostly on some questionable dating decisions I made earlier that fall. I really wasn’t feeling it last year.  I didn’t even help put up the tree which is one of my most looked forward to days of the year. Typically, January is my least favorite month of the year. I get the post-holiday blues, it’s usually gray out and blah… I always feel like all the fun just left. This year is different though. I am feeling refreshed, work couldn’t be busier (which I love) and I have some exciting life changes on the horizon. More on those in another post. My whole point of this is that even when I was feeling down, I forced myself to do a little cooking. Which always makes me happy and feel more centered. I decided to try something new when I could have called for take-out or done something I am used to. And what happened when I tried something new was deliciousness. Deliciousness happened. It is funny how life works out, just when you feel like doing something the least is probably when you need to do it the most.

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Nashville Hot Chicken

Hot Chicken by Natalie Paramore

 

I recently visited Nashville and had to try the hot chicken there. I saw all the bright red pictures of chicken and just couldn’t be kept away! Of course, once I got back home I’ve been craving it more than ever. So I grabbed a recipe from Bon Appetit, that is based off of Hattie B’s Hot Chicken, which is where I had my first hot chicken. Tell me what you think about this one!

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Lobster Tails with Sriracha Butter

Lobster with Sriracha Butter Natalie Paramore 1

Hey friends! So this recipe has been a stewing in my mind for a while now. It started off as Lobsters Rockafellar, then after some recipe searching and pinning, I stumbled across this little gem of a recipe from Fifteen Spatulas and viola! A star was born! Sometimes you come across a recipe and it is just too good to change, ya know? Well that was the case here. Plus, it fit all my criteria of being simple and using just a handful of ingredients. Besides, lobster just screams summer time to me. Is lobster really a summer thing? I am not sure, but something about it always makes me think of summer. Add in the grilling aspect and man ‘o man, well that’s just a summer dinner waiting to happen. Of course, I loved this for the spice. It’s great because you can really tailor it to your desired spice level. So go now and get your summer on y’all!

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Grilled Tofu Arugula Salad with Grapefruit and Avocado

Grilled Tofu Salad_Natalie Paramore 1

I had the pleasure of making this recipe for my friend Mary, from Mary Makes Dinner, who just had a little bundle of joy arrive! She recruited a few of us blogger friends to post recipes on her site so she can have some much needed downtime while her and the hubs adjust to their new family addition. Mary typically sticks to healthy, vegetarian recipes, so I wanted to come up with something good for her. My first thought was to make a refreshing cous cous, but then I came across a bunch of fresh arugula at the farmer’s market, so that became the obvious choice. I knew I needed something substantial because when you have baby my guess is you don’t have much time to eat, so it better be worth it when you do. I learned a few things about tofu during this little adventure, like that you need to dry it out, hard tofu is better for grilling and you can pretty much make it taste like anything you want. Scared of tofu? Don’t be, its just soybean curd. It’s been a staple in Asian diets for centuries and packs a lot of protein. Just be sure to get some that is non-GMO and you’re in the clear. Ok ready to get started?
Grilled Tofu Salad_Natalie Paramore 6

First off you need to dry out the tofu. Start by pressing down on the tofu with paper towels to soak up any of the extra water that the tofu comes stored in. You’ll be surprised how much is in there.

Grilled Tofu Salad_Natalie Paramore 5

Slice tofu into about 1 inch thick squares. This is the best thickness for grilling.

 

Grilled Tofu Salad_Natalie Paramore 4

Marinated the tofu with two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper. Marinated for 30 minutes or up to over night. The longer you marinate, the more flavor will get into the tofu. I only marinated for about 30 minutes, because surprise, surprise that is the only time I had. Place tofu on the grill for about 7 minutes on each side. There is really no time minimum since you can tofu as is.

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Toss 2 cups of arugula with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, juice from 1/2 a grapefruit.

 

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Serve salad with tofu and avocado and any extra grapefruit slices. Enjoy!

Coconut Jerk Chicken with Mango Salsa (and a Giveaway!)

Coconut Mango Jerk Chicken_Natalie Paramore 5

 

A while back I got the opportunity to partner with one my favorites, The National Mango Board, to work on a recipe for their new cookbook which launched at BlogHer Food in Miami a few weeks ago. I got to get a little creative and come up with a fun recipe using one of my favorite ingredients, the ever popular mango! I love, love, love mango salsa and updated a recipe I have used before to make this one. I wanted something that would capture the tropical spirit of Miami and add a little heat (hello jerk spice!) that would be perfect to serve year round. After doing a little research and calling on some chef friends, the conclusion I came to was that it’s really not that hard to make your own jerk seasoning and chances are you probably already have most of the spices hanging around in your kitchen. I love the flavor combination of spicy and coconut, it is one of my go to’s. It only seemed fitting for this recipe adventure to include them both! You can find my recipe online here, or you can enter to win a copy of the National Mango Board Cookbook! All you have to do is follow my blog on Facebook. Just click here to like my page! Already a fan? You can enter by signing up via email (on the right sidebar) or following me on Instagram, it’s up to you! The contest starts now and ends at 11:59pm on Friday June 13th!

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Shrimp Khoa Soi (Spicy Coconut Soup)

Spicy Thai Shrimp Soup_Natalie Paramore 5

Rain, rain go away! We’ve had quite the cloudy, rainy days recently here in our normally too hot to trot Austin, TX. I spent the better part of this Memorial Day weekend curled up in bed watching the thunderstorms and burning a holiday scented candle. It was practically like Christmas, haha. Which brings me to another point, why does the weather affect how we feel about food? Is it the seasonal vegetables? The heat, the rain, the everything that affects our mode. Hmmm, interesting. I need to investigate this more, but all I can say is, the weather definitely pulls my appetite in all sorts of directions. And rainy, cool days at the end of May mean hot, spicy soup! I found this recipe on Bon Appetit a few months ago and had every intention on making it this winter. Well despite all my efforts, it didn’t quite happen, so all this cool weather was my perfect moment to carpe diem and make this tempting soup!

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Spicy Blood Orange Mahi Mahi

 

Spicy Blood Orange Mahi Mahi_Natalie Paramore1

Happy Easter! I probably should have made you something cute or spring like, but well, I made this mahi mahi last week and I was couldn’t wait any longer to share it with you! From about January to May in Austin, TX there is a large compilation of festivals surrounding food. There are many in the summer and fall as well, but right now there seem to be a plethora. I like to call this Eating Season. Almost every week there seems to be an event celebrating our culinary culture with copious amounts of gluttony. Don’t get me wrong, I sure do love it, but it is also about to be lake season, and that means bikinis. In effort to not completely embarress myself, I’ve been trying to keep it light on the few days I do actually get to eat at home. The other problem with eating season, it that one can easily become accustom to bold, rich flavors and when you try to eat healthy, well, it isn’t really that satisfying. But with this dish, I tried to do just that. Make it healthy but keep all the strong flavors, and of course a hint of heat, because I just love spice so damn much. You can always tailor the seasoning to your tastes, but this recipe won’t spice you out too much. I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did!

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Baked Chicken Legs

What came first the chicken or the egg? Well in my case, the egg. Because  I did that post on Monday haha. I guess spring has sprung me like a little chicken. I’ve been eating way more of the bird than usual lately. Not sure why, but get prepared to see more.

chicken legs 2

 

I figured it was about time for another super, simple dinner recipe. I’ve been eating out a ton lately for both work and pleasure, so when I do get a chance to have a night in, my meal is usually something easy, comforting and some-what healthy. This little gem came about from one of those, what do I have left in the fridge nights. Plus, although I’ve been eating a lot of chicken, it’s been mostly breasts, so I wanted to try something a teensy bit different from what I normally pick up at the market. And this falls into my favorite category of a one dish meal! Everything you need, right in one place. Boom!

herbsFor this recipe, you’ll need:

 

  • 2lbs chicken legs with skin
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped cauliflower
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon each kosher salt and black pepper

 

 

Chicken legsPre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  In a baking dish, toss carrots and cauliflower together. Mix olive oil with lemon juice and herbs. Spread over chicken legs and place on top of vegetables. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

finishedEasiest chicken dish ever I think!

Baked Chicken Legs

What are some of your favorite ways to make one-dish chicken dinners?

Frito Pie in a Bag

Ready for some football? I’ve been pinning away thinking of recipe and party ideas for the big game. You can see all the drool worthy recipes on my Pinterest page here.


Frito Pie in a Bag for Super Bowl

If you’ve been following along with my recipes, then you’ll know that most of party ideas revolve around things with less clean up. Enter Frito Pie in a Bag. No dishes (holla!) plus you can set it up as a Frito Pie Bar and let your guest make their own. Win Win. You can have vegetarian versions, your very own special chili and tons of toppings, so easy!


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You’ll need:

Individual Frito Bags

Chili

Fresh toppings:

Cheddar Cheese

Jalapenos

Cilantro

Red Onion

Get creative! Use your own favorites!

Frito Pie in a Bag

Dice up the fresh ingredients.

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Slice the tops off the Frito bags.

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Set up your Frito Pie assembly line.

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Stuff each bag!

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Layer on the toppings.

Super Bowl Frito Pie in a Bag 2 Super Bowl Frito Pie in a Bag

It’s that easy! Cute and easy way to munch during the Super Bowl. What are some your favorite chili recipes to use for Super Bowl Sunday? Tell me in the comments! I need ideas!

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For even more ideas and party planning tips, plus a live demo of how to make Frito Pie in a Bag, check out my segment on Fox 7’s Make It Monday!

Herb Grilled Salmon

Ah Cyber Monday. Much better than Black Friday if you ask me. First of all, no lines, no brainer. Second, I can do all my shopping while working on the bajillion other things I have on my to-do list. Not to mention, I am finally feeling a little recovered from all my Turkey Day gluttoness. December is host to so many parties, which includes tons of eating and drinking, and welp, come January, yikes says the scale. I rounded up a few tips for staying skinny during the holidays last year, but I also like to include some healthy recipes throughout the holidays, that still taste festive like this arugula salad with grilled chicken and pomegranate.

Herb Grilled Salmon Recipe_Natalie Paramore

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What to do with Thanksgiving leftovers? Turkey Enchiladas!

It may be a day early but it’s definitely not too late to get some creative ideas for all those Turkey Day leftovers! Come on y’all, we all know there is going to be tons of turkey and sides, sides, sides stocking your fridge the day after the feast. And we just can’t let all those tasty morsels go to waste, but let’s be honest, there’s only so many times in a row I can eat the same meal.

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And that’s where I came up with this smorgasbord of an idea, Thanksgiving Enchiladas! Ok, ok, ok, I know you’re thinking whhhhaaatttt? But stay with me. These put a little Tex-Mex spin on leftovers, which turns out pretty tasty! Plus, there always seem to be tortillas around our house, which makes this even easier.

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Sour cream and cranberry sauce? Might sound weird but this makes a sweet, tart and creamy sauce!

Corn and sweet potatoes? No brainer.

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Add some turkey and assemble.

Check out my post on Brit+Co. for the full recipe and how to.

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What are some of your favorite leftover recipes and ideas?

Pumpkin French Toast Waffles

Pumpkin French Toast Waffles _Natalie Paramore 1

Who is as excited as I am about Thanksgiving next weekend? I mean hello my entire existence revolves around food! This is my mecca of day if you know what I mean. I am kicking off my celebration on Sunday with 5o or so of my closest friends for a Friendsgiving Fiasco! Have y’all gotten into the Friendsgiving thing? I’m telling it is where it’s at. I love seeing all the different traditions and family recipes come together. Lots of fellowship, lots of wine, oh and I got a fire pit this year. Hello pumpkin pie smores! This girl is comin’ atcha so you better watch out (better not cry… ok ok too soon)

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Blistered Potatoes with Shrimp and Cilantro Pesto

Happy rainy Sunday! What better on a Sunday morning than brunch? Brunch is definitely, probably, for sure my most favorite meal. It combines all my favorite things: friends, coffee, cocktails, eggs and carbs. Best things ever! This recipe is where Southern meets Tex-Mex and can be good for breakfast, lunch or dinner, but is best for brunch!

Blistered Potaotes with Shrimp and Cilantro Pesto_Natalie Paramore 4

I made these potatoes and shrimp for a quick brunch with my family a few weeks ago. This is kind of my take on shrimp and grits. I love the slightly charred taste the blistered potatoes add, and course the spicy kick from the jalapeno in the pesto. Plus, the pesto is super fresh and balances the heaviness of the potatoes. Simple but delicious recipe, best of all it is a pretty quick one to make. I love cooking brunch for a group, but anything that takes too long usually doesn’t go over well because everyone is so hungry and the food needs to happen…fast.

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Family time meant no step by step photos, but hopefully you can get it from this regular recipe.

You’ll need:

½ lb shrimp with tails

2 cups quartered red potatoes

1 bunch cilantro

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 jalapeno

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 ounces fresh lemon juice

For the Cilantro Pesto:

Wash and pat dry the cilantro. Give it a rough chop. Mince 2-3 cloves of garlic, about one tablespoon. In a food processor, combine cilantro, garlic, salt and lemon juice with two tablespoons of olive oil. Puree until smooth. Add additional olive oil one teaspoon at a time as needed to puree.

For the shrimp:

In a pan, sauté shrimp with one tablespoon olive oil and one teaspoon salt. Saute over medium heat until pink, about 3-4 minutes. Toss with one ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice.

In a separate pan, toss quartered red potatoes with one tablespoon olive oil over high heat. Blistering the potatoes slightly, stir frequently so that they do not burn. Do this for 1-2 minutes. Lower heat to medium, continually stirring potatoes until cooked through, about 5 more minutes.

Plate potatoes, top with shrimp. Drizzle with pesto and serve. Add additional lemon juice and salt to taste.

Blistered Potaotes with Shrimp and Cilantro Pesto_Natalie Paramore 5 Blistered Potaotes with Shrimp and Cilantro Pesto_Natalie Paramore 2

What are your favorite dishes for brunch?

Truffled Lamb Lollipops

 

This weekend I made these insane lamb lollipops with the help of my friends over at HEB. This month their #PrimoPicks are all about Italy. They sent me some black truffle salt and I was super excited to use it.  I thought popcorn, because heck yeah truffled popcorn. Potatoes were an obvious choice, and why they snuck their way into this recipe. But ultimately I wanted something savory and worthy of the truffles. Enter lamb. It was the perfect choice! Not something I always make, but not hard to get either.

Truffled Lamb Lollipops_Natalie Paramore

For this recipe, I used:

3lb rack of lamb

1lb red potatoes

2 cups chopped brussels sprouts

1 cup diced mushrooms

3 tablespoons minced garlic

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 sprigs fresh rosemary or about 1 tablespoon of leaves

1 tablespoon truffle salt, divided

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Begin by preheating the oven to 360 degrees.

Wash and chop the brussels sprouts and red potatoes. Depending on the potatoes, quarter or eighth them. Slice the brussels sprouts about 1/4 inch thick. Slice mushrooms similarly. Toss vegetables together with minced garlic, rosemary and olive oil. Place into a large baking dish.

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For lamb, place rack on top of vegetables and sprinkle with half a tablespoon of truffle salt on each side.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until cooked through.

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Once lamb is cooked thoroughly, slice into lollipops and remove tough meat from bone with a knife. Cut off any excess fat.

Lamb Lollipops_Natalie Paramore 3 Serve alongside roasted vegetables! Add extra truffle salt to taste if needed, but beware, it is strong!

Lamb Lollipops_Natalie Paramore 2What is your favorite lamb dish?

 

Cottage Cheese Pancakes

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Ah pancakes. The ultimate bane of my culinary existence. I mean, it just a pancake. Nothing that special, right? Well, I never thought out them too much expect for an especially hungry Saturday morning. But this is where the bane part comes in, I have been trying to make pancakes at home for a few years now off and on and have failed miserably each time. I don’t know if it’s the batter or my technique or my general black thumb when it comes to try to bake. But finally, FINALLY, this recipe is a winner. Plus, the cottage cheese adds an extra punch of protein and depth to the pancake which I enjoy.

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Hatch Chile Crusted Tilapia

Hello Friends! I got back in the kitchen and made a quick dinner with these Hatch Green Chile Tortilla Chips from Central Market. I am a big fan of baking fish, so easy and quick, so this wasn’t much of stretch

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for me. This post is part of the partnership I am doing with H-E-B and their Primo Picks. Every few months the good people from H-E-B and Central Market send me a fun package full of their Primo Picks items and I get to come up with fun recipes! This time it was all about the Hatch Chiles! Hatch Chile Soups, tortilla chips, salsas, you name it! After almost devouring half the bag of chips, I decided I better make something with them before they were all gone! If you haven’t tried these chips yet, you totally should. They’re kind of like Doritos, but better. I am always looking in the bag to get the perfect chip with the most seasoning on it. Come on y’all knnoooooowwww what I am talking about!


Hatch Chile Crusted Tilapia Ingredients

For this recipe, you’ll need:

2 cups Hatch Chile Tortilla Chips

1 cup Panko bread crumbs

2 eggs

1lb fresh Tilapia – this wound up being three filets for me, which was more than even for three servings

 

The great part about using the Hatch Chile Chips is that they are already seasoned so you don’t have to worry about adding extra seasoning yourself! The chips have some spice to them, however once you mix with the Panko and bake, it takes the heat out. If you want a little extra somethin’ somethin’ garnish with Hatch Green Chile Salsa Verde. At least that is what me and my dinner crew did.

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Oh hey- these are GMO free and organic btw. Holla!

DSC_0690You could probably crush these in a large plastic bag, but in the words of Julia Child, sometimes you just need to get loaded and whack the hell out of something! Ok, maybe not a direct quote… but it is something like that!

Hatch Chile Crusted Tilapia
Use a rolling pin, or improvise with a wine bottle, and get after it!

DSC_0695Toss the crushed tortilla chips with the Panko crumbs. Whisk the eggs in a separate bowl. Dip the tilapia in the egg then roll into the bread crumbs. I like to do this step twice for extra crunchy crust.

DSC_0717Place the filets in a baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until cooked through.

 

 

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Garnish with the salsa!

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And viola, there you have it! Super simple dinner. Serve with greens, salad or even in tacos.
If you are looking for some other Hatch Chile recipes this season, check out my post from last year where I made Hatch Chile and Peach Jam!
Enjoy!
Disclaimer: HEB sponsored this post and provided me with the products. However all opinions are my own.

Champagne Clams with Lemon Oil

For dinner last night I decided to get just a little bit fancy. Sometimes it’s nice to try something a little new, get some new ingredients and pull out the fancy pots and good cheese and do it all up. I had never made clams, so I decided to give them a go! I bought some new lemon olive oil this weekend and was just dying to use it, so this was the perfect excuse!

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I picked up some spinach pasta and fresh herbs to add some color. I even used all my restraint and didnt make this dish spicy. It was hard but I was glad to try something a little new!

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For this recipe, you’ll need:
1 lb Little Neck Clams
1/2 lb or 2 spinach pasta nests
2 cups champagne or bubbles
1 tablespoon fresh mint
1 tablespoon fresh curly leaf parsley
1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 tablespoon lemon olive oil

Extras:
Salt and pepper to taste
Cheese- I used a Parmesan merlot cheese

Serves two.

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I love shellfish! Not sure why, but I just do!

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Wash and mince the herbs, set aside.

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Ok now it is time to move to the stove. We are going to have three pots going at the same time so get ready! First, melt the garlic and butter together in a small pot over medium heat. Careful to not burn this one!

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In a separate pot, bring the champagne to a boil. Add the clams, covered and let simmer until the clams have completely opened.

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In another pot, boil the spinach nests.

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Oops! Boiled the nests too long and they fell apart. Oh well. Check the packaging to see how long you should boil, it’s only a few minutes.

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Clams are all open and look good to me!

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Drain clams, reserving one tablespoon of champagne. Combine with the pasta in a larger pot.

20130716-083104.jpg add melted garlic butter and herbs. Toss together.

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Plate and drizzle with just a touch of lemon olive oil! You don’t need much, the flavor is pretty strong.

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Salt and pepper taste. Grate a little cheese over everything if you’re into that. I tried a little and decided it was actually great without it.

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I love this dish because I love pasta and the one is light enough to enjoy even in the summer heat.

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And it’s kind of pretty don’t ya think? Perfect for feeling fancy without all the fuss!

Enjoy!

Semi Homemade Lunch-able

This is one of my secret favs. Simple, throw it together and little bit nostalgic all at the same time. I mean who didnt secretly like lunchables as a kid? As adult, the slimy meat weirds me out and the laundry list of ingredients is well, weird. But never fear! I’ve got just the thing!

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It’s easy, it’s kind-of homemade… I mean crackers are not something I usually make at home the reg.

For my semi-homemade lunchable, you’ll need:
Hummus- I make my own using this recipe
Crackers- I went with Triscuits this time
Baby bell peppers
Sharp white cheddar
Cucumber slices
Baby carrots

Throw it all in a little container and it’s perfect for lunch at work, or a snack, or a picnic or road trip… Or I could go on. You get it, they are great for everything!

You could switch your semi-homemade lunchable up and add grapes or berries or even a little protein.

Enjoy!

Quick & Easy Pasta Lunch

First off, thanks everyone for bearing with me the past month as things slowed down here on the blog a little bit. I switched jobs, so was a little busy distracted adjusting to a new routine. Needless to say, loving the new gig but happy to be settling into a new groove and ready to get back to blogging!

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Since I’ve written a lot about breakfasts lately, I decided to do a few lunch posts! Today it’s chicken pasta salad! And I even made it the super easy cheater way. This is one of those perfect make it on Sunday or Monday and eat it a few times throughout the week!

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Egg and Avocado Toast

Keeping with my breakfast kick… Here is my new favorite! Scrambled egg, smooshed avocado on multi-grain toast with havarti and Valentina sauce. Super simple and protein packed.

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You’ll need:
1 egg
1/2 an avocado
1 slice havarti cheese
1 piece multigrain bread
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper
Valentina hot sauce

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Scramble the egg with the olive oil.

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Toast the bread with the havarti. I used my toaster oven for this, a regular oven would work too.

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Add scrambled egg and avocado slices to the toast.

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Salt and pepper.

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Oops. I cheated on Sriracha. The Valentina really does work better on this one though.

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Best breakfast ever!

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So good it’s almost like weekend breakfast…but on a Wednesday!

Enjoy!