Saffron Risotto with Roasted Butternut Squash and Seared Barramundi

Saffron Risotto Roasted Butternut Squash and Seared Barramundi_ Natalie ParamoreWe went to Boston last week and had all the lobster rolls and oysters and chowder! It was delicious to say the least. I was so happy because we finally found some oysters, Mookie Blues to be exact, that BMW really loves. I am taking this as a hint to start adding more seafood into meals at home. Last month we tried this Coconut Lemongrass Barramundi dish inspired by our trip to Thailand and this month I decided to make something more savory and comforting for fall and to remind us of our weekend in Boston! Enter: Saffron Risotto and Roasted Butternut Squash with Seared Barramundi!

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Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Stuffed Zucchini Boats_Natalie ParamoreI thought we could all use a little something easy and fun to make with our hectic fall schedules! There is something about the cooler weather that makes me want to bake cookies and cook all the dinners and have all my friends over. Maybe a few cocktails too! But in reality, sometimes just getting something together for dinner feels like the last thing I want to do on busy days. So here is super quick recipe for those days!

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Basil and Mushroom Lasagna

Basil Mushroom Lasagna_Natalie Paramore

Fall, is that you? Supposedly, we are getting some cooler weather this week but I am excited because we will be heading to Boston! I have my fingers crossed that we will see lots of gorgeous leaves and of course eat all the things. I’ve made most of our meal reservations but I left a few open if you have suggestions for oysters, daytime cocktails and coffee! We snagged an Air BnB right near the Common so we can walk lots of places but we did rent a car for a day to drive up to Salem! I am so excited! We will be there on Friday the 13th so who knows what we will see! In other news, I made you this Basil and Mushroom Lasagna if you’re looking for a one pan dish this week!

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Grilled Barramundi with Lemongrass Coconut Dressing and Green Salad

Coconut Lemongrass Dressing Barramundi Recipe_Natalie ParamoreFall is on the horizon and I couldn’t be more excited about my favorite season! Maybe it’s because of the cooler weather (it’s definitely the cooler weather) or the colors or the excuse to eat all the good food! Either way, we’ve been running around like crazy prepping for more travel and I managed to squeeze in a delicious recipe that is inspired by our upcoming trip to Thailand! Yes, Thailand. I can’t wait for the land of rice and spice. Oh and those noodles. And the mango sticky rice! We’ve booked a cooking class and market tour, a street food tour by tuk tuk and reservations at Gaggan! Yes, that Gaggan, the one of Chef’s Table on Netflix. Needless to say, I’ve been stoked for a while and already craving allll the flavors!

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Moroccan Chicken Tagine

Moroccan Chicken Tangine by Natalie ParamoreThis recipe is one of my favorite travel-inspired recipes I’ve made! Last summer BMW and I took a day trip to Tangier, Morocco from Spain. It was the first time for both of us to visit the African continent even if only the northern tip and just for a few hours! We decided to book a day tour with a company we found on Trip Advisor. Sometimes I am weary of these things and usually like to explore on my own but this one had great reviews and promised to take us to all the main attractions. Apparently, visiting Tangier for just one day is a thing. Fast forward past our sight seeing and spice shopping to our amazing lunch. Like one of my favorites. Have you ever had those meals that just surprised you at how delicious they were? The ones that you have really found memories of? Well, this is exactly how I felt about the first time I had chicken tagine in Morocco!

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Grilled Zucchini and Corn Tacos

Grilled Zucchini and Corn Tacos by Natalie Paramore

Confession time: we don’t eat tacos that much. Well, besides breakfast tacos. I haven’t been able to full transition BMW to the Austin lifestyle quite yet. He still isn’t the biggest fan of Mexican food and especially not Tex-Mex. Which drives me mad because Mexican food and Tex-Mex are basically like just food to me. I grew up in Texas so we ate tacos, in many different forms, all the time. And I still love when I order at a restaurant and they just bring a thing of tortillas. Oh you ordered enchiladas? Here are some tortillas. Salad? I mean why not. Fresh corn tortillas are some my favorite things ever. Finding them can be tough though. When I do make tacos at home we typically opt for flour. Anyways, I was thrilled when BMW actually liked these veggies tacos! I mean they were vegetarian AND tacos, so I really feel accomplished y’all. Getting my picky Midwest raised BF to get on board with anything besides meat and potatoes can be a struggle. So I am pumped to share these with you! 

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Summer Mint and Pea Pesto

Summer Mint and Pea Pesto by Natalie Paramore

Summer time in most places means lots and lots of fresh herbs! And in Austin, that was the case for me until we left for China during twelve of the hottest days this summer– ack! I came home to what looked the scorched earth. I’m sorry Mr. Purple Jalapeño Plant! Lucky for you, the local farms are much better at tending their herb gardens than I am and you can still find lots of fresh and fragrant bunches of herbs on stands. I even picked up a load of basil two days ago! While I have my, lets call it, lack of enthusiasm for summer, its just too dang hot for me y’all, there are still plenty of good things to behold! Like fresh mint! And fresh peas! And this lovely, flavorful pesto! 

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Smoky Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Smoky Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps Recipe_Natalie Paramore

This is one of those recipes I’ve been keeping from y’all! It’s weird because usually I share my favorite ones right away! Since BMW and I work from home we typically make our lunch everyday. Usually something pretty quick but delicious and satisfying nonetheless! At least, when I look forward to lunch then I’m not as tempted to grab something quick or order takeout. Although that certainly does happen. If you’re trying to eat lean or looking for a quick weeknight dinner, then this is it! Less than 30 minutes, maybe even less than that!

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Lamb Ribs with Chimichurri Sauce

Capra Lamb Ribs with Chimichurri

Every now and then BMW and I like bust open the Big Green Egg and get to grilling up some veggies or meat! Ok, he is more partial to the meat. His favorite being Beer Can Chicken. It’s actually pretty flavorful. But this time we tried our hand at something new: lamb ribs. I’ve made lamb before but never a full rack of ribs. The meat wasn’t quite as tender as the other cuts, the fattiness of it provides quite a bit of flavor. We tried these in the oven and really didn’t care for how they turned out. We hit them on the grill and the flavor profile was much better and the meat more tender. 

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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

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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?
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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.

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

 

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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!)

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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)

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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

 

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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?