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.

Blistered Potaotes with Shrimp and Cilantro Pesto_Natalie Paramore 3

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

DSC_0323edited DSC_0325

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.


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.


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


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.

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.



Garnish with the salsa!

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!
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!

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!

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

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

Serves two.


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

Wash and mince the herbs, set aside.

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!

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

In another pot, boil the spinach nests.

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.

Clams are all open and look good to me!

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.

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

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.


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

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


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!

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.


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!

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.

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

Scramble the egg with the olive oil.

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

Add scrambled egg and avocado slices to the toast.

Salt and pepper.

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

Best breakfast ever!

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


Toasted Coconut Peanut Butter and Banana Breakfast Sandwich

I’ve been changing up my morning routines the past few weeks and that definitely includes breakfast. So naturally, I was pumped to share to my newest creation with you all.

It’s kinda like a grilled cheese but for breakfast… and without cheese. But still delicious. Plus, the coconut adds a little something tropical to your morning!

You’ll need:
2 slices multigrain bread (or other thick bread)
2 tablespoons of peanut butter
6-7 slices of banana
1 tablespoon of coconut oil

I have to admit I’ve been resisting the coconut oil train for quite sometime. Not sure why… maybe because the first time I tried to buy some I realized that it wasnt actually oil but a wax-y substance and that really creeped me out for some reason.

Not to fear though, I’ve gotten over that and today dove into my first jar. I decided to keep it simple, since I’m a first timer and all.

Scoop half a tablespoon of coconut oil on to a pan. Let it melt just a touch. It’s so fragrant!

Then place the bread over the oil. I smeared it around a little to make sure it was evenly coated.

Add another half tablespoon of coconut oil and the bread slice with the peanut butter and bananas to the pan. Let the coconut oil gently toast the bread.

Then put the sandwich together and serve! It’s a super quick breakfast. Pretty sure I made this sandwich and took pictures of it in less than 15 minutes.

The coconut oil adds a nice touch to the traditional peanut butter and banana sando.

What’s your favorite breakfast sandwich?

Disclaimer: The coconut oil was gifted to me by HEB but all opinions are my own.

My Recipes on Cooking Planit

One of the projects I’ve been working on hard lately is developing some recipes and menus for my friends at Cooking Planit. My recipes are always easy but teaming up with Cooking Planit, they helped really break them down step-by-step. Best of all, Cooking Planit helps the novice cook get all the menu items ready to be served at the same time! I put a few sneak peeks at my menus below. Download the Cooking Planit iPhone or iPad app or use the desk top version to get my recipes. Happy Cooking!

Cold Asian noodle salad and spicy edamame are perfect for summer! Full recipes here.

Try this simple salmon with spicy black beans and cilantro rice.

For the ultimate summer picnic, try this fried chicken, lettuce and tomato sandwich with crispy green beans and herb-y pasta salad.

Brisket for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner!

This week I tried my hand at a little BBQ brisket for my friends over at Brit+Co.. Brisket for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Now, I don’t know what could be more Texan than that!

Be sure and bookmark this post for using any leftovers from BBQ’s this summer.

Brisket breakfast tacos

BBQ brisket sliders

And last but not least, Brisket bahn mi!

Get the full recipe, including my amazing dry rub, and full how-to here!

Happy Friday!

Kale and Eggs

Maybe I should just call this breakfast week. Or maybe not because tomorrow I’ll want something different than breakfast. Truth is, I got in a terrible habit of not eating breakfast. Terrible terrible, I know. So this this week I’ve been making an effort to start good habits like making my bed, walking my dog in the morning instead of just letting her out in the backyard… and most importantly: eating breakfast!

Oh yeah, I threw some sriracha on there too!

You’ll need:
2 cups fresh kale
1 egg
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic salt
Black pepper to taste

Sauté kale and olive oil over medium heat for 3-4 minutes.

Add the egg. I scrambled it in with kale. Make it how you like it.

And that’s it y’all. Another super easy and quick power breakfast!

What’s your favorite power breakfast?

Quickest Breakfast of Champions Ever

Ok here it is… Quickest power breakfast ever: Greek yogurt, steel cut oats and berries. Simple. So quick I even made, photographed and blogged about it this morning!


I’ve had some steel cut oats for a while. Couldn’t figure out just what to do with them. I thought why not replace regular, high calorie granola with some of these and see what happens?

It was good! Use vanilla Greek yogurt or brown sugar for extra sweetness. The oats can be a little gritty and dry, so stir them into the yogurt for a hearty texture.

You’ll need:
1/2 cup Chobani Vanilla Greek Yogurt
1/3 cup steel cut oats
2-4 strawberries

Serves 1.

Wash and slice the strawberries.

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1/2 cup yogurt.

Add the oats.

Top with berries or other fresh fruit and you’re done!

Grab you’re coffee and you’re out the door in 5 minutes!

What’s your favorite way to eat steel cut oats?

Spicy Lemon Butter Pasta

Life has been all to hectic lately. So last night called for a super quick and easy dish. Sometimes when I’m running around in a million directions, a big bowl of comforting pasta is just what I need!

This might also

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be known as clean-out-your-fridge-pasta, but lets just keep that between you and me.

You’ll need:

1/4 pound whole wheat pasta
1 cup frozen peas
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons fresh garlic
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon black pepper

Serves two.

Boil pasta until al dente. I like to use angel hair because it cooks so quickly!

Sauté butter, garlic and pine nuts until melted and fragrant.

Ohhh looks so nice… add salt, black and red pepper. Stir over medium heat for one additional minute.

Once the pasta is al dente, pour in the frozen peas and turn off heat. Stir around and let the peas cook in the hot water for two minutes. Drain water from pasta and peas.

Combine butter and pepper goodness with pasta and peas. Squeeze in the fresh lemon juice and give everything a good toss.

Yum! Now it’s time to dig in.

At the last minute I added some crumbled feta to my bowl. Twas an excellent choice.

What’s your favorite quick and easy comfort food?

The Ultimate Grilled Cheese: White Cheese, Pepperoni and Jalapeño

I’m really going all out for Nation Grilled Cheese month this year. I mean what is not to love? Melty cheese, carbs, butter and whatever else I can dream up, yes please! I did a breadless grilled cheese round up earlier this month. But this, THIS, grilled cheese is for you traditionalists.

This ultimate grilled cheese has not one, not two but THREE pieces of sourdough. Layers of white cheese, jalapeños and pepperoni to boot.

For this recipe you’ll need:
3 pieces of sourdough bread
Fresh jalapeño slices
Thinly sliced muenster and jack cheeses

Makes one very large, delicious, grilled cheese sandwich.

Butter the outside of the bread and lay it flat in the pan. Layer fresh jalapeños and jack cheese.

Add the middle piece of bread, then layer the muenster and pepperoni.

Layer another piece of sourdough with the outside buttered. Cook over medium heat until edges are browned. Flip and repeat. If a little cheese bubbles out and get crispy… consider yourself lucky.

Now it’s time to dig into this melty goodness. Best served with a beer.

Stacks on stacks on stacks.

Ok I have to stop typing. Think I just drooled all over this keyboard.


Spicy Seafood Paella

I’ve been diving head first into the kitchen lately, and with summer coming up, paella was on my mind. I love this dish because even though it sounds fancy, it’s really not. It’s a country dish and a one pot meal. I call that a win! I took it up a notch with some spice and made it my own with some fresh cilantro!

There’s nothing I love more than big family dinners where everyone gathers around a big table with tons of food. Paella is meant to be served in a huge pot in the middle of the table. I added mussels and left the shrimp shells on, I love eating with my hands haha! Plus,

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it gives everything a little more casual feel. Add a few bottles of vino, a good playlist and the conversations are sure to flow easily.

For this recipe, you’ll need:
3lbs seafood, I used:
2lbs mussels
1/2lb shrimp
1/2lb squid tubes
1 large onion
1 large jalapeño
1 cup diced tomatoes (I used cherry)
1 cup frozen peas
1 lemon
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups arborio or paella rice
1 cup dry white wine
5 tablespoons olive oil
5 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon paprika
Fresh cilantro for garnish

This recipes serves 5-6. Adapted from this recipe.

Start by prepping the veggies. Dice the onion, slice jalapeños, mince garlic…

In large pot, sauté the onions in the olive oil. Once they begin to become translucent, stir in the garlic for one minute.

Now add the tomatoes and jalapeños. Stir frequently for 4-5 more minutes. The tomatoes will begin to get a little jelly.

In a separate pot, bring the chicken stock and white wine to a boil.

Meanwhile, add the sugar, salt, red pepper flakes and paprika to the pot. Keep stirring.

Add a pinch of saffron!

Add the the squid. Stir for another 4-5 minutes.

Next add the arborio rice. Stir it around to toast it just a touch, about 1-2 minutes.

Add the boiling chicken stock and wine to the big pot. Stir frequently until it begins to become absorbed, 10 minutes or so.

After the stock begins to become absorbed, add the shrimp and peas. Stir until the shrimp turn pink. Squeeze in the juice of the lemon now.

Add the mussels last. Cover the pot and let the mussels steam for 5 minutes or until they are completely opened. Stir and check on them occasionally.

Serve this in one big pot in the middle of the table. I think it should be served with a good Pinot or Chardonnay.

Garnish with fresh cilantro! Or parsley if you’re feeling a little more traditional.
Make sure you put a bowl on the table for the shells.

This is one of favorite dishes in recent memory. What are your favorite one pot meals?


Vietnamese Lamb Bún

Do y’all love Vietnamese food as much as me? I love all the freshness that goes along with it. You know I love Elizabeth Street Cafe with a passion and fresh jalapeño and mint is of my current obsessions . This was my attempt at recreating the Short Rib Bún from Elizabeth Street Cafe.

So fresh!

For this recipe, you’ll need:
2 lbs of lamb (or any other protein/tofu)
1 pack of rice vermicelli
1 cup of the following:

For the sauce:
1/3 cup fish sauce + 2 more tablespoons
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons sugar
2 serranos or thai chilies
3 cloves of garlic
1 shallot
1 lemon

1 teaspoon salt

Sauce recipe based on this one from The Ravenous Couple .

I started off by mincing the serranos, garlic and shallot. Next whisk those together with the lemon, water, sugar and fish sauce until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Let that sit while you prep the veggies.

Dice the veggies up thinly. Boil the rice vermicelli noodles according to the packaging.

Cube the lamb meat and toss with 2 tablespoons of fish sauce. Sauté the lamb over medium heat with 1 teaspoon salt until browned.

Put the noodles in the bowl first, then organize all the

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veggies on top. Serve 1-2 tablespoons of the sauce on the side. The sauce can be a little strong for some palates, so I let my guests pour their own. Obviously, add sriracha for extra heat.

Serve it up with some chopsticks and dig in!


Breadless Grilled Cheese: 3 Ways

April is National Grilled Cheese Month! To celebrate, I did a roundup of some delicious looking grilled cheeses that I want to make.

But I thought, what about all my gluten free friends? So, I whipped up these breadless grilled cheeses for Brit+Co. . These Avocado Latkes are ahhhhazingg. Also great for breakfast!

Sauteed Portabella with Gruyere

Or how about this Grilled Caprese?

Click here for the full how-to.

Which is your favorite?

Pizza Bianca with Whipped Ricotta Goat Cheese

All this rain and chilly weather really had me craving pizza. Like the amazing Pizza Bianca from Backspace. Which I love Backspace… did you know they are serving lunch now? Who wants to be my date?

So I dreamed up the idea for a whipped ricotta and goat cheese spread for this number. Creamy, white goodness. Best of all, you get to slather it on with a spatula. It’s really fun actually.

I made the dough using this recipe . I used a pizza stone instead of grilling. The crust wasnt quite as crispy and didnt have that fire roasted taste, but it got the job done on a chilly evening.

For this recipe you’ll need:

1lb pizza dough (recipe)
3 cups fresh arugula
2 ounces lemon juice
1 cup part skim ricotta
1/2 cup goat cheese
1/4 pine nuts
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Whip the ricotta and goat cheese together. I used my stand mixer with the whisk attachment for about two minutes on medium speed. You could also use a hand mixer. You could even do it by hand with a whisk or fork, just might take a while. Use those muscles!

Roll out the pizza dough on the stone and bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees or until the edges are crispy. Be sure to roll the dough out very thin, less than a 1/4 inch thick before baking.

Slather on the creamy ricotta and goat cheese. Try not to lick the spatula until you’re done.

Toss the arugula with olive oil, lemon juice, pine nuts, salt and pepper.

Load the arugula on top of the pizza and eat up! I mean, I personally like a little salad with my pizza, so if you’re into that, this is the pizza for you!

Red pepper flakes and Parmesan cheese go very well with this pizza.


Grilled Portabella Mushrooms with Strawberry Mango Salad

I have grilled Portabella mushrooms before , but they are so great! Especially as a steak alternative, at least I think so! They are hearty and can withstand the grill, plus you can marinate them the same as steaks for a comparable flavor.

Where I got creative was when I added fresh mango, strawberries, grilled corn, mint and jalapeño. I’d like to take a minute and tell you that fresh mint and jalapeño is one of my current favorite flavor combinations. I’ve never been crazy about fresh mint… but fresh mint with jalapeño? Come to mama.

Isn’t this so colorful? I think dish will be in regular rotation on the grill this season. It’s hearty enough for a meal but packed with fresh ingredients that won’t weigh you down.

For this recipe you’ll need:
4 large Portabella mushrooms- 6-8 inches in diameter
1 mango or 1 1/2 cups chopped
2 stalks or 1 1/2 cups grilled corn
1 cup chopped strawberries
1/2 cup crumbled feta
1/4 cup minced jalapeño
1/4 cup fresh torn mint
1/4 cup chopped red onion

For Portabella marinade:
1/2 cup soy sauce or Teriyaki sauce
1/8 cup fish sauce
2 tablespoons minced garlic

Begin by scooping out the gills and stalk of the mushrooms. A spoon works well.

Wash the mushrooms well, they are quite dirty little things. Cover the portabellas in the marinade and garlic. Cover and let marinate in the fridge for 30 to 60 minutes.

While the portabellas are marinating, begin chopping up all the fresh ingredients. Need help dicing that mango? Here’s a quick tutorial.

Peel the husks off the corn and remove any silk fibers.

Place the corn and portabella mushrooms on the grill on medium flame. Grilled for about 15 minutes, rotating everything about halfway through. Keep an eye on everything, as a high flame could scorch the veggies.

After the corn is cool enough to touch, cut the kernels off the stalk and add to the salad. Stir everything well.

Top the Portabella mushrooms with the fresh salad and garnish with feta and a sprig of mint!

We served this up with a glass of merlot and a steak knife for good measure.


Fried Chicken Sunday Salad

Did anyone else get out and enjoy the gorgeous weather this weekend? I mean, omg it was beautiful!

The girls and me enjoying all that Spicewood Springs Vineyard has to offer. Thanks for letting me snag your pic Brooke!

I got out and did some chili tasting (really more wine tasting) at the Spicewood Springs Annual Chili Cookoff.

Snagged this photo from my awesome roomie Alex

Sunday I headed out to Zilker Park to see all the kites whipping across the Austin skyline. Pictures just really can’t capture how amazing it is to see all those kites (and people!) filling up the park. Of course, Mimi had a great time too!

After a full weekend of fun, I was ready for a good Sunday night dinner. Sundays are always a conundrum for me… Do I want healthy? Do I want comfort food? There’s something I love about Sunday meals, so I don’t like skipping out of the kitchen in Sundays. Hence, the birth of the Fried Chicken Sunday Salad. Lots of greens, with some (baked!) fried chicken. Growing up we are a lot of fried on Sundays with my grandparents, so it felt nostalgic.

For this salad you’ll need:

2 lbs chicken tenderloins
1/2 lb fresh green beans
1 red bell pepper
1/2 cup sharp white cheddar cheese
6 cups spring mix and arugula (I used more arugula)
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups flour
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoon Tony Cheacere’s
1 ounce lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic sea salt
Salt and pepper

For the dressing:
3 tablespoons sweet and hot mustard
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Serves five

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray a baking dish with non-stick spray.
Mix egg and butter milk together in a bowl. Mix flour, breadcrumbs and Tony Chacere’s in a separate bowl.
Dip chicken in egg and buttermilk then coat in flour mixture. I repeat this process for an extra thick breading.

Place in baking dish and bake for 25-30 minutes or until chicken is cooked thoroughly and breading is crispy.

While the chicken is baking, chop the green beans and red bell pepper.

Sauté the green beans on low heat with one tablespoon olive oil and garlic salt. You want these to be warm but still a little crunchy. Sauté about 15 minutes.

Whisk together the sweet and hot mustard with the balsamic vinegar. Set aside.

Toss the greens with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Chicken is done!

Plate the greens, adding the bell pepper and green beans. Top with the chicken and white cheddar cheese. Drizzle a little dressing on top and you’re done!

Eat it with a fork and knife, enjoy!

Black Bean and Fried Egg Rice Bowl

I’ve been neck deep in the kitchen blending orders of homemade pesto. Naturally, a few tablespoons have weaseled their way into my quick dinners. Isn’t it funny how stress makes you crave simple, comfort foods? It’s almost like my brain and stomach can’t handled any additional complicated signals. Simple. Comforting. We all need it sometimes. All my cravings for adventure and change have left me quite the full plate in most aspects of my life, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m definitely a personality type that thrives in stressful, crisis type situations. You can’t have growth without a little pain and stretching. And who wants to be bored anyways?


If you ever find yourself knee-deep in a million crazy, but fun activities, here is a great go-to dinner (or breakfast)! Packed with protein from black beans and the egg, some carbs from the rice to keep ya full and tons of flavor from the cilantro pesto!

For this recipe, you’ll need:

1 cup rice
1 can black beans
2-3 eggs
2 tablespoons your favorite pesto
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil

Serves three girls or two hungry guys

Start by cooking the rice according the packaging.

Once the rice is finished, mix it well with the pesto.

Drain the black beans and let me dry out on the counter for a minutes or pat dry with a paper towel. You don’t want them to be wet. Ewww.

Shape the rice into a circle if serving on a plate. Don’t be afraid to use your (clean!) hands to do this. Or serve in a bowl.

Layer on the black beans.

Top with a fried egg. I use olive oil to fry my eggs. I like the touch of flavor it adds and a better fat than butter in my opinion.

I always like salt and pepper on my eggs. So add that if you like!

And there you have it folks, another quick and easy meal. Dig in and enjoy!

Pesto Parmesan Pasta

Ready for a super easy, super quick dinner recipe? Ok awesome because I have one for you!

Some of my favorite dishes include the following:
Cream sauce
Something spicy
Carbs. Lots.

Dishes with those things are the most satisfying and comforting to me. Hence why I came up with this little gem for dinner this week.

Oh and did I mention I love Cavatelli noodles? Because I really do. These curly little guys are so eye catching I think, and add a good texture. Always an important aspect in a dish, texture that is.

I added some spicy sausage to this as well. Which is easily left out depending on your preference. I made my favorite homemade, extra spicy pesto but decide to mix it with a little buttermilk, butter and pasta water to tone down the spicy of this dish. I love, love spicy but it’s easy to over do it. The cream really mellows out the spicy and lets the flavors come out and do their thing.

For this recipe, you’ll need:
1/2 lb of Cavatelli noodles
1 lb spicy sausage (optional)
3 tablespoons of your favorite pesto!
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 cup pasta water

Begin by boiling the noodles until al dente.

Meanwhile, brown the sausage in a separate pan. Drain, set aside.

Drain the noodles, reserving 1/8 cup of pasta water. More on why pasta water is so important in an upcoming post.

Add the pesto, butter, buttermilk, pasta water, salt and sausage to the pot with the drained noodles. Stir all together.

Top with Parmesan!

Time to eat up!

What’s your favorite pasta dish?

Super Simple Greek Gyro

Growing up I loved Oreos. I do not use the word loved lightly either. My madre always kept them in a pink glass jar on the very top shelf in the cabinet. The jar was exactly large enough to hold an entire package of Oreos minus one, because obviously you must eat one while unpacking them. My mother’s attempt to hide my beloved Oreos only turned me into kitchen-climbing-ninja-monkey. I’m a total pro at scaling cabinets, pantries, the dairy case at the grocery store… You name it, my petite stature does not keep me away from my goodies!

Of course, that was until one day I sank about 12 Oreos in a glass of milk and ate myself sick. My sweet, crumbly, chocolatey cookies never quite had the same appeal. Eventually the longing for Oreos went away almost completely. Every now and then I like to enjoy a few crumbled Oreos on my coffee gelato, but that’s about as far as it goes.

It seems that in my life in general I have this same over indulgence issue. I get super excited about a new food or project, but then I burn out fast. I think it’s just my personality, to go all in. Then I wind up bored, restless and ready for the next big thing. As I get older, I find this happening less and less. I still get super excited, but I’m better at gauging my expectations and knowing what will ultimately leave me satisfied time and time again.

And what leaves me satisfied time and time again? Greek food. It’s true. It’s so good, healthy, filling and brings in some unique, fresh flavors. After a week hiatus , I was eager to get back in the kitchen, my happy place. And what better welcome back meal than a semi-homemade gyro.

Best thing about this recipe, it’s quick, healthy and a lot of the ingredients can be bought fresh, but already prepared. This is perfect for those of you wanting to try your hand at a simple weeknight meal.

For this recipe, you’ll need:
1 1/2 lbs thinly cut beef or lamb
Marinated kalamata olives and feta (in the fine cheese case)
Red onion
1 teaspoon of each: kosher salt, ground mustard, cayenne, coriander
1/4 teaspoon all spice

Whisk dry spices together.

Massage the spices evenly into all sides of the meat.

Heat in a skillet over medium high heat.

Cook 2-3 minutes on each side. Since the meat is thin, it should cook quickly.

At an angle, thinly slice the meat into strips.

Load up the naan with your favorite hummus , then stack on the beef, cucumber, onions, olives and feta.

Now dig into your hearty Greek gyro that took you about 20 minutes start to finish to make!


Chicken Vindaloo with Turmeric Cauliflower

This is my take on the traditional spicy Indian dish. I didn’t really follow any recipe, but just went on a hunch after my success with green curry last week, I wanted to try my hand at Indian!

I did a little improvising, like using cauliflower instead of rice for serving. This recipe can easily be made less or more spicy based your taste.

For this recipe, you’ll need:
3 lbs chicken breasts
2 medium sized onions
14 ounces chicken broth
12 ounces tomato paste
1 large jalapeño
3-4 cloves of garlic
1 3in piece of fresh ginger
2 tablespoons of kosher salt
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne
Fresh cilantro for garnish

For the Turmeric Cauliflower:
1 head of cauliflower
3 teaspoons turmeric
3 teaspoons of garlic powder

For the Mint Peas:
3 cups frozen peas
1 cup fresh chopped mint leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Begin by pureeing the onion, garlic, ginger and jalapeño.

Blurry pic!

Add the tomato paste and turmeric, cayenne, coriander and paprika. Blend until well mixed.

Cut the chicken breasts into 2 inch cubes. Cook the chicken with the kosher salt in a large stock pot until you can’t see anymore pink, stirring frequently. About 5-7 minutes over medium high heat.

Add the tomato and onion paste with the chicken broth to the stock pot. Simmer over medium low heat for 20 minutes.

For the mint peas, cool the frozen peas according to the packaging. Let the peas cool down. To speed this up, rinse the peas with cool water and place in fridge for 5 minutes. Just before serving, stir in olive oil, salt and fresh mint!

For the turmeric cauliflower, wash and chop the cauliflower. Boil the cauliflower until tender, about 10-15 minutes. Add the turmeric about halfway through. Once fork tender, drain the cauliflower. Add the garlic power and stir.

Serve the chicken vindaloo over the turmeric cauliflower. Serve hot!

I love this spicy Indian dish! Rice is traditionally served, but I love the texture of the cauliflower with this dish. The mint peas really help balance out the heat. This can easily be made vegetarian by subbing vegetable broth and potatoes!

It’s great with a glass of red wine!


Parmesan Shrimp Risotto

I spent some time this weekend cooking up a few new dishes for you. This Parmesan risotto has been on my mind for a few days and I am so excited to share it with you!


So creamy and delicious! Not to mention filling!

For this recipe, you’ll need:
2 cups arborio rice
2 (14 oz) cans of chicken broth
2 cups fresh spinach
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan reggiano… Get the good stuff y’all. It totally makes a difference in this recipe.
2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of minced garlic
1 ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons of kosher salt
1 lb fresh shrimp

Start by grating the Parmesan reggiano. Set aside. Mince the garlic at this point too.

In a large skillet, or my case a wok, put the butter, garlic and arborio rice and mix together over medium high heat for about 2 minutes stirring constantly.

Then add the chicken broth. Stirring frequently until all broth is absorbed.

Add the grated Parmesan. Stir until melted and well blended.

Add the lemon juice and give everything another whirl.

Add the fresh spinach and peeled shrimp. Cook until shrimp are nice and pink and spinach is wilted. Add salt.

Now you are ready eat! I love this meal because:
A) it’s an entire meal in one pot!
B) it’s rich and filling without being overbearing
C) even though its simple to make, everyone will be totally impressed!

Eat up and enjoy!

Homemade Green Curry with Shrimp

I love love love Green Curry! I really enjoy almost all curries but green definitely takes the #1 spot for my tastebuds. After doing some Pinterest inspiration I stumbled across this recipe for green curry.

First of all, how did I miss the fact that the main ingredient in green curry is cilantro? Like seriously. How did I never figure that out! I love cilantro. I guess I was so busy slurping down green curry that I never took a second to think about it actually was!

I modified the recipe a little and came out with a delicious tasty homemade green curry! Best of all, it keeps well in the fridge for a few days and still tastes just as fresh! Love that!

For this recipe, you’ll need:
1 lb shrimp (or protein of your choice)
1 cucumber
1 red bell pepper
1 small white onion
2 Serrano peppers (seeded)
1 bunch cilantro
1 bunch of fresh mint
1/2 cup chicken stock or broth
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons fresh minced ginger
3 tablespoons fresh minced garlic
1 teaspoon of each:
Kosher salt

2 cups dry rice cooked as instructed on package

Extra cilantro and limes for garnish if you like.

Begin by cooking the rice. Next wash and chop the cilantro, mint, onion and Serrano peppers. Place all that into a food processor with the spices. Blend until smooth. Add a tablespoon of water if you need to help everything blend together.

Place the paste into a sauce pot. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.

During this time chop the cucumber and red bell pepper into bite sized pieces.

Add the shrimp, chicken stock, coconut milk and vegetables to the curry pot. Stir everything together well. Simmer for another 5 minutes.

Serve the curry over a heaping bowl of rice or Asian noodles of your choice.

You can easily substitute other vegetables such as jicama or leeks. Turn up the spice by not seeding the peppers or adding extra! Of course this goes great with a dash of sriracha.

Perfect leftovers for lunch or dinner.


Banana and Beet Root Waffles with Whipped Brie Mousse


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Over the weekend I had a few friends over to try out my new waffle idea. This isn’t the first I’ve incorporated vegetables into waffles . There is something I really love about the savory sweet combination. And I love taking an old favorite like pancakes and adding new flavors and making it a little healthier.

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Curried Red Lentils

I spent the weekend relaxing, taking it easy and generally just trying to catch back up on life. Funny thing though, somehow I feel even more tired! How does that happen? It’s like when you play that game with yourself “oh I’m just going to take a quick power nap or better “I’m going to rest my eyes”. Whatever. Power nap?!? Do those really exist? My power naps usually turn into an hour or two snoozefest in which I wind up feeling more groggy than before. That’s kind of how this weekend went. I rested up, ate well, worked out but still couldn’t peel myself out of bed this morning to hit the gym. I totally skipped out on all the errands I needed to run yesterday. Oh well, I suppose I’ll be playing even more catch up this week.

I did whip up these lentils last night for the season primere of Downton Abbey! Oh how I love that show. I’m totally addicted.

I had never made lentils before, and I heard their quite filling and delicious. Plus, I love a good curry. What better meal to curl up with and watch a two hour long season primere! With no commercials, it practically felt like a movie, but I was so caught up with the drama of white tie versus black tie at a dinner party that I could care less.

This recipe can easily be made vegan (see substitutions below). It was a hit with my girlfriends, they liked it with sriracha. I mean sriracha goes on everything, right?

For this recipe, you’ll need:

2 1/2 cups of dry red lentils

4 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup chopped onion

6 oz tomato paste

1/4 cup milk

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon minced ginger

1 tablespoon red curry paste

1 teaspoon cayenne

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon garam masala

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt (or more to taste)

Fresh cilantro and limes for garnish

2 cups of dry rice cooked to the instructions on packaging.

Make 8 servings

Can substitute olive oil for butter and coconut milk for cows milk to make this recipe vegan.

Start of by cooking the lentils according to the packaging. They cook very similar to rice. Also, start making the rice at this time too.

While the rice and lentils are cooking, prep the curry. In a large pan, sauté the butter and onions until fragrant and soft. About 2 minutes.

Next add the tomato paste, spices and minced garlic and ginger. Stir frequently. Sauté another 2-3 minutes over medium heat.

Once the lentils are finished, add the curry to the lentils. Stir together well and let sit for 10-15 minutes.

Serve the lentils over rice and garnish with cilantro and lime wedges. Add salt and pepper (or sriracha!) to taste.

These are great as leftovers too! Perfect for a quick lunch!


Tomato Soup with Vegetables and Spicy Meatballs

All the rainy, cold weather last week had me craving a big hearty (and healthy!) soup. When I started to think about how I was going to make this, I wasn’t sure exactly how I was going to go out about it. In true Natalie fashion I totally winged it. I grabbed a few cans of chicken broth, some tomato paste and whatever vegetables I had in the fridge. I am happy to report that it tasted great! Experimenting in the kitchen is one of my favorite things to do.

Great thing about this recipe is that it can easily be made vegan! Just substitute vegetable broth and no meatballs. Easy peasy.

 For this soup, you’ll need:

4 (14.5 ounce) cans of chicken broth

6 ounces of tomato paste

3 cups of chopped fresh kale

1 lb of spicy sausage

1/2 cup of chopped white onion

1/2 cup of chopped celery

1/2 cup of sliced mushrooms

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 tablespoon of minced ginger

1 tablespoon of minced garlic

1 tablespoon kosher salt

Fresh cilantro leaves and lime wedges for garnish


 Roll the sausage into golf ball sized balls and bake at 350 degrees on a parchment lined baking sheet for 20 minutes or until cooked thoroughly. I didn’t do anything special for these meatballs, just rolled them up!

 Begin by bringing the chicken broth plus 3/4 a can of water to a boil. Then add in the chopped onions, celery and kale.

In a separate pan, sauté the tomato paste with the mushrooms, olive oil, salt, ginger and garlic for about one minute over medium high heat. Then transfer that into the large pot with the broth. Bring to a rolling boil for about 15-20 minutes or until the vegetables have softened a little.


 Next add the meatballs to the soup. I garnished mine with squeezed limes and some cilantro leaves.

 This soup is packed with veggies and is filling enough for a meal.


Crispy Kale and Chickpea Salad

Happy Friday everyone!

I’m still getting in the swing of things at home and work. I’m so thankful for a 2 day work week. Needless to say, yesterday after I painfully forced myself go to the gym and grocery store, the last thing I felt like doing was cooking. Lucky for me I have an awesome roommate who let me indulge in her super healthy dinner.

She braised some kale with a touch of olive oil, a teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes and salt & pepper to taste. She topped it with chickpeas that she also braised with the same red pepper flakes, olive oil and s&p.

She cooked these on a baking sheet at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until slightly crispy.

I added a handful of craisins that my mom sent me home with after the holidays. Roomie topped her salad with some rotisserie chicken.

Super easy, über healthy weeknight dinner.

Sometimes you just have to let someone else do the cooking!

Grilled Chicken and Pomegranate Salad

In spite of the holiday hustle and bustle, I’ve been trying to keep it healthy. This seasonal salad is full of protein and lots of fresh greens and fruit to keep you going. The Gorgonzola and pomegranate go really well together. Grilling up the thinly sliced chicken breasts doesn’t take much time and adds a ton of flavor.

For this holiday inspired salad, you’ll need:
1lb of fresh arugula
1 1/2lbs thinly sliced chicken breasts
1/2 cup of Gorgonzola cheese crumbles
1/2 cup fresh pomegranate seeds
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic sea salt
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and Pepper to taste

Freshly sliced pomegranate. So gorgeous! Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Set aside.

Drizzle the chicken breasts with one tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 tablespoon of garlic sea salt. Grill over medium fire until completely cooked. About five minutes each side.

Slice into strips.

Toss together sliced grilled chicken, pomegranate seeds, lemon juice, remaining garlic sea salt and olive oil. Place over a heaping bed of fresh arugula. Sprinkle with Gorgonzola and add salt and pepper to taste.


What healthy recipes are you incorporating this season?

Sweet Potato Breakfast Skillet Hash

Good Morning! Are you waking up craving a hearty breakfast as much as I am?

Sweet potato breakfast hash is the perfect amount of fill you up carbs with a touch of sweet. I love to eat mine with sriracha to spice it up!

 For this recipe, you’ll need:

1 medium sized sweet potato (just under 1lb)

1 egg

1 teaspoon garlic salt

1 teaspoon olive oil

Sriracha if you like

Makes one serving

 Start off by peeling the skin off of the sweet potato. Use a vegetable peeler (affiliate link) and you’ll be peelin’ potatoes like a champ!

 Next, dice the sweet potato into one centimeter cubes.

Saute the sweet potato cubes with olive oil over medium high heat for about 15 minutes, may need longer if you’re using more potatoes. Add the garlic salt about half way through. Cooking the potatoes slowly will prevent them from burning and the give them that perfect crisp.

 Make  little room in the middle of the pan once the potatoes are finished cooking and cook the egg to your desired temperature.

 Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with sriracha.

Happy Saturday!

Runner’s Pasta (Healthy Alfredo Pasta)

I snagged this recipe from one of my favorite blogs Pinch of Yum . Lindsay, the author, is awesome and always has the best recipes and pictures. Be sure to go check her out!


I know a lot of people around Austin are gearing up for marathon season. What better way to carbo load than with a big bowl of creamy, pillowy Alfredo pasta? Even if you’re training for a marathon, you may not want all those extra calories. Lindsay from Pinch of Yum comes to our rescue with this healthy version of Alfredo sauce made with primarily cauliflower!

My roommate went to the running convention in Austin last week (I didn’t even know there are such things as running conventions!) and brought me back a sample of this pasta. So I thought what better way to try out marathon carbo loading than with a healthy comfort food!


This recipe is from Pinch of Yum.

You’ll need:

1 lb. uncooked noodles
3 medium heads cauliflower
6 cups vegetable broth (I used chicken!)
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon salt
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup heavy cream
1 cup starchy boiling water from pasta pot

Wash and chop the cauliflower. Bring the broth to a boil, then add the cauliflower. Boil until very soft. About 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, boil the noodles until al dente.

After the cauliflower is soft, blend it along with the broth and garlic until smooth in a blender. You may have to do this in shifts.

Melt the butter in a large sauce pan. Then add the seasonings and cream. Mix well.

Pour in the blended cauliflower and mix together well. Add the noodles, drain first, then combine them with the sauce. If your sauce is looking a little thick, reserve some pasta water to loosen it up. Add tablespoon by tablespoon.

Serve it up hot!

I got a little over ambitious and cooked my pasta too soon so it sat in the water while I finished everything else. This made the pasta extra soft, it wound up with

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the same texture as gnocchi. It was amazing! A wonderful mistake!


Baba Ghanouj and a Lebanese Dinner Party

Last week I got invited to my very first all Lebanese dinner party! It was oh so much fun. Lots of food and new people. Upon the recommendation of the host Lynnsie, I made baba ghanouj using this recipe from Mama’s Lebanese Kitchen.

This recipe uses roasted eggplant, tahini and garlic.

I served it up with kalamata olives and some pita bread that was at the party.

Aren’t eggplants pretty? I had no idea that baba ghanouj was made with eggplant. There is a teaspoon of white vinegar used in this recipe to lighten the color of the roasted eggplant.

Roast the eggplants on a non-stick surface. For more details on the recipe, click here.

I dressed the baba ghanouj with olive oil, parsley and paprika. After trying the recipe, I think adding cayenne would have been a nice addition!

Grilled chicken from Foo. Tons of lemon… very delicious!

Lynnsie’s family recipe for Kibbeh. She promised to give me all the recipes one day. This dish had cinnamon and pine nuts, which gave it a different flavor. I really like it! It’s kind of similar to a meatloaf, traditionally made with lean ground lamb, ground beef can be substituted, and bulgar wheat.

Tabbouleh from Tarbouch.

Lebanese dolmas. You can get Hunter’s family recipe here.

Vermicelli rice

These lima beans were far and away the BEST lima beans I have ever had. Seriously. And I don’t even like beans that much but these were just soo good. Lynnsie, I know Haley and I are dying for this recipe!

This is Hunter’s family’s Lebanese salad recipe which involves lots of fresh mint. I loved it! I think I am going to try and use more fresh mint in my salads!

Don’t forget the vino!

A big thanks to my little Lebanese chef Lynnsie for hosting! Can’t wait for the next dinner party!

Truffled Fried Egg Breakfast Sandwiches

Have I told you how much I love breakfast? Well, I do. But I usually only eat fancy, fun breakfasts on the weekends. I know it’s not quite the weekend yet but you might want to add these truffled fried egg sandwiches to your list for this weekend.

These are simple enough you could even make them on a weekday!

For this recipe, you’ll need:
English Muffins
Rolled out fresh mozzarella cheese
Cilantro Pesto– I actually didnt use any parmesan this time.

White truffle oil

Unroll the mozzarella and smear pesto all over it.

Roll the mozzarella sheet back up and slice.

 Fry the eggs and add one teaspoon of truffle oil to the pan. You dont need much truffle oil! It has a strong flavor and just a little will do.

Lightly toast the english muffin and put your sandwich together. Add more pesto if you like.


10 Minute Spinach and Ricotta Lasagna

Has life been as crazy for all of you as it has been for me lately? Busy days at work, fun events in the evenings, as well lots of new opportunities for the blog! And just what does all that mean? It means I needed a quick dish I could throw together and eat off of for a few meals. This vegetarian spinach ricotta lasagna comes together in 10 minutes and bakes in 35 minutes. Then you’re done!

The great thing about this recipe is that you can add meat if you like or use tomatoes instead of greens. Make it how you like it!

You’ll need:
No boil lasagna noodles
1 1/2 cups fresh spinach
16 oz part skim ricotta
1 cup low fat mozzarella
1 heaping tablespoon of garlic paste
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Pre hear oven to 350 degrees.

Yields six large servings.

In a mixing boil, combine the ricotta, salt, pepper and garlic paste. Set aside.

Chop the fresh spinach leaves.

Mix the chopped spinach and ricotta together.

In a small baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray, line the bottom with lasagna noodles. Break them if you need too to make them fit.

Begin layering the noodles and spinach ricotta mixture. I did three layers of noodles and spinach ricotta.

Top with the shredded mozzarella. Bake for 35 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and golden brown.

And there you have it friends, super easy lasagna. Refrigerates well so you can take it for lunch, or make ahead for dinner.

Dig in!

What is your favorite kind of lasagna?

Roasted Rack of Lamb with Truffled Polenta

It seems like I’ve been makig a lot of lamb lately. Or more than usual. Does lamb have a season, or is it traditionally served during certain times of year? I’m not really sure. I’ll investigate.

What I do know, is that lamb is quite tasty. Lamb is tender and not complicated. At least not the way I make it.

I started off making a dry rub with Himalayan Pink Salt.

I combined equal parts:
Himalayan Pink Salt
Dried oregano
Garlic powder and
Black pepper

For 2 racks of lamb, 3lbs each, I used about 1 tablespoon of each of the above for the rub. Use your hands to massage the dry rub into the lamb. Then place the lamb in foil and pour about 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar at over each rack. Tightly wrap each rack with foil. Place the wrapped racks onto a baking sheet or pan. Roast the lamb for 1 hour and 30 minutes at 325 degrees or until tender.

While the lamb is roasting, sauté about 1 lb of mushrooms with 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. I sautéed mine on low heat for almost the entire hour and half. They will turn out deliciously tender and the balsamic vinegar will reduce nicely. Stir occasionally.

In a large skillet, I cooked 3lbs of polenta. I used 2 teaspoons of white truffle oil, 1 tablespoon of garlic powder and about 1 tablespoon of Himalayan Pink Salt. Cook over medium heat for 30 minutes or until hot and smooth. Stir frequently.

Ahhh the lamb is done! Mouth watering smells should be filling your kitchen right about now.

Plate the lamb over the truffled polenta with the mushrooms.

Your guests won’t be disappointed!


White Bean and Kale Soup with Jalapeño Sausage Meatballs

This weekend brought some amazing cool weather. I made a big bowl of soup to cuddle up with.

Meatballs, kale, white beans…. This soup was filling but not too heavy. Which made it the perfect end of weekend meal. Great for getting your week started off right.

You’ll need:
8 cups of chicken stock
1 bag (16 ounces) or 2 cups of white beans
1 bunch of kale
1 cup chopped white onion
1 lb of hot or spicy sausage
1 diced jalapeño
4 cloves of minced garlic
1 egg
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Begin by soaking the beans according to the packaging. I would recommend getting the soaking process started at least 3hrs ahead of when you want to eat. Beans seem to take longer than expected. For these beans I mixed them with the recommend among of water, brought to a boil, then let simmer for 2 hours before starting the rest of the process.

After about 2 hours, I got started on the meatballs. Mix the sausage, egg, breadcrumbs and jalapeño together. I did this with my hands.

Roll the the meatballs into balls about 1 inch in diameter. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cooked thoroughly.

While the meatballs are baking, mince the garlic and chop the onion. Wash and chop the kale too.

Add the chicken stock, kale, onions and garlic to the bean pot. Stir well. Bring to a rolling boil. Let boil for 45 minutes to an hour, or until beans are tender.

The meatballs are ready! Add them to the soup right before serving.

And there you have it! A perfectly filling and healthy Sunday night dinner. Or any night really.


Roasted Pesto Chicken

I have to admit… I ate this roasted pesto chicken before I really got a chance to take a picture. Yeah, it was that good.


I cooked this whole chicken very similiar to the way I cooked last year’s Thanksgiving turkey. I removed the insides from the chicken, then stuffed it with white onion, garlic and lemon slices. Then I smeared cilantro pesto under the skin.


Then I roasted the chicken in a bag, at 350 degrees, for about 2 hours. My oven usually takes a little longer though so adjust your time accordingly.

20121003-224754.jpgMmmm smells so good.


Cut the chicken and be sure there is not any pink. This chicken will be very moist and tender.


Breadcrumb Fried Truffled Eggs

I wanted to share this super simple and delicious breakfast I made this weekend. I finally picked up some truffle oil and decided to go to town on some eggs for breakfast.

To make 2 eggs, you’ll need:

2 large eggs
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
1/8 cup garlic powder (could leave this out or use less.)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 drop or 1/8 teaspoon of white truffle oil

1/2 cup Spring mix greens
Salt and pepper to taste

First, I started off my mixing together the panko breadcrumbs, whole wheat breadcrumbs and some garlic powder.

Then get your oils ready.

Pour your oil in the pan, evenly covering the surface. Make little piles of the breadcrumb mixture, about 1/4 cup each in size. Let that fry over medium high heat for about 1 minute.

Then crack your eggs on top of the breadcrumbs. Mine slide off a little, oops! Fry until you reach your desired runniness level.

Plate and serve with some greens. Add salt and pepper if you like that kind of stuff on your eggs.


Red Curry Ramen Noodles

Like I said yesterday, I’ve been really off my game with cooking this week. I looked in my fridge to make dinner last night and found an apple, a lemon and cheese. Seriously.


After a little scavengering around the kitchen, I stirred up these super fast and easy ramen noodles.


For this recipe, you’ll need:

1 single serving of chicken flavored ramen noodles

1/2 teaspoon red curry paste ( I used a whole teaspoon and it was waaaayyy too hot)

1/2 cup frozen peas

1 slice of sharp cheddar Kraft singles

Start by boiling the ramen noodles. I did this in the microwave. It usually takes about 4 minutes in my microwave.

Pour out a little of the water, leaving only about the half the noodles covered in water.


Add in the frozen peas. The heat of the noodles and the bowl will cook them to perfection.

Add in the chicken flavored seasoning that came in the ramen package, along with the red curry paste. Stir well.


Then tear up the cheese and stir until completely melted.


It’s that easy y’all. It’s like gourmet college ramen noodles haha. Or when you haven’t had a chance to go to the grocery store in forever.



Rosemary Garlic Lamb Short Ribs

So you want to make some lamb for you and few friends for a Greek-inspired dinner party. Let’s talk about it.


You think it’s too difficult? Or what if you mess it up? Isn’t red meat bad for you?

Well, the short answer (haha get it? Short answer? Short ribs? Hehe) is, it’s way easier and healthier than you think! So put those daunting thoughts out of your head, and let’s get to cooking!

You’ll need:
4oz of lamb short rib per person (half a pound of meat per head is the rule of thumb)
4 cloves of garlic thinly sliced
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon of Steak seasoning (I use Southern Flavor)
1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce

These ratios are for about 4lbs.

Preheat oven to 315 degrees

Toss the lamb short ribs with Worcestershire sauce and seasoning.

Place the lamb short ribs into a baking dish lined with non-stick foil. Place the garlic slices and rosemary over top the lamb. Cover the top with more foil but leave a little space between the short ribs and the top.

Bake for 2 hours at 315 degrees or until fork tender.

The smells coming out of your oven will be heavenly! And 2 hours later… Deliciously tender lamb short ribs.

Mimi was pretty excited about the lamb!

I served this lamb alongside some grilled Greek corn I

threw together… That recipe coming soon!

My lamb was the main meat dish alongside all my girlfriends awesome Greek creations which will also be featured soon.

One of my friends mentioned her family serves lamb at Christmas, so this might be a good one to bookmark for upcoming holiday gatherings!


Southwestern Stuffed Acorn Squash

Y’all ready for a super healthy, super vegan, Friday recipe? Yea, I said healthy and Friday. It happens sometimes. Especially before a big holiday weekend, I like to load up on the good stuff.


This fall inspired vegan recipe was made with, get this, no oil or butter. Sounds super bland, huh? Well, it’s packed with flavor. I even invited over 3 taste testers just to be sure.

For this recipe, you’ll need:
1 acorn squash
1 small avocado
1 sweet potato
1 small jalapeño- seeded
1 can of black beans- rinsed
1/4 cup of chopped red onion
1/2 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon garlic powder

Yields 2 main dish servings or 4 side dish servings

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Start by slicing the acorn squash in half horizontally. I used the acorn squash as serving bowls. Too cute!

I used an ice cream scooper to take out the seeds and guts. If the acorn squash won’t sit up like a bowl on its own, slice off the bottom nub so that it will sit evenly.

Peel and dice the sweet potato into small pieces. About the size of cubed centimeters. Toss with 1/2 a tablespoon of garlic powder. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes (depending on your oven) or until soft.

Meanwhile, rinse the can of black beans. Let them dry out a little.

While the potatoes are in the oven, prep the other veggies. Remove the seeds from the jalapeño and then mince the jalapeño. Dice the red onion and slice the avocado.

Once the sweet potatoes are finished, combine the potatoes, beans and veggies in a large mixing bowl with the remaining garlic powder and cumin. Then serve in the acorn squash bowls! Top with avocado slices. So delicious and easy!

I served the stuffed acorn squash with a side of red curry rice. Which is just regular white rice made according to the packaging. I made one cup of dry rice, which was enough for 4 small servings. I added 3/4 a tablespoon of red curry paste once the rice was finished cooking. Mix it well. You can add more or less red curry paste depending on your heat preference.

I think a sunny side up egg would be a great Santa Fe style addition to this dish.


Roasted Tomato, Garlic and Bacon Baby Kale Salad

Kale, kale, kale! It’s all the rage. Probably because it’s up there with broccoli and blueberries and the other super foods in terms of vitamins and nutrition.


Kale comes in many varieties, but most are very cruciferous. Most recipes call for kale to be cooked down quite a bit. I came across Baby Kale in the grocery store, and it looked softer than curly kale, and I thought, why not make a salad with Baby Kale?!? So I did. Because we all know how much I love a big, hearty salad for dinner.

For 2 servings, you’ll need:
2 cups fresh baby kale
1 medium Roma tomato
3 cloves of garlic
5 strips of bacon
1/2 a medium avocado
1/4 cup crumbled feta
1/4 cup chopped red onion
4 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

Start by placing the sliced Roma tomatoes, chopped red onion, garlic cloves and bacon strips on a baking sheet lined with foil. Bake this all together for 12-15 minutes on 365 degrees.

Bake until the bacon is nice and crispy. I love baking bacon because its not as messy as frying it!

Dice the tomato slices. Remove the garlic cloves from the skin. They should slide easily out after being roasted.

In a bowl, whisk together the tomatoes, garlic and onions. Mush the garlic into small pieces.

Crumble the bacon into small pieces.

Making a balsamic reduction is way easier than I thought! You simply start with 4x the amount of balsamic you’ll need in the end. Pour the balsamic into a small frying pan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring frequently. Do this for 8-10 minutes, or until the balsamic has reduced into a thick, syrup-y type substance. We are basically boiling all the water out… Hence reducing it down.

To build your salad, start by plating a cup of baby kale. Top with the roasted tomatoes, garlic and onions. Add the bacon and feta crumbles. Plate some avocado slices along the side. Drizzle the balsamic reduction over the top.

It’s that easy!

Enjoy y’all!

Basil, Fig and Mozzarella Pizza

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Why, figs of course! This sweet, temperamental fruit is in season right now. Figs are perfect as a pizza topping or in a salad. They are fresh or dried as a snack.

So pretty! I love figs with fresh mozzarella. And that’s some basil from my herb garden ! Which I’m proud to report is still alive!

I made this pizza crust. I topped the grilled pizza crust with olive oil and my favorite cilantro pesto. Then load up your pizza with the fresh basil, mozzarella and of course, figs!

Pop that in the oven and broil until everything is nice and melty.

Slice and sprinkle with Parmesan or cracked red pepper if you like. There you have it, super easy and delicious meal!

What are your favorite ways to eat figs?

Roasted Butternut Squash Waffles

Good Morning everyone! This heat has me dreaming of cool, fall weather. Or more importantly, fall recipes! Fall is absolutely, 100% my favorite time of year. So no surprise that I am ready to dive into fall recipes!

I’ve been dreaming up this idea for roasted butternut squash waffles for a while now. The sweet smell of baking cinnamon will bring the whole house into your kitchen to see what you’re making. I’m pretty proud of this recipe, it’s my 2nd time to make a baking recipe on my own !

For these waffles, you’ll need:
1 cup cake or pastry flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 tablespoon of vanilla
3/4 cup butternut squash purée
1 egg

This yields about 6 large waffles.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients. Set aside.

For the butternut squash purée, you’ll need to roast the squash in the oven as shown here. After you roast the squash in the oven, remove the seeds and guts. Place the chunks of soft butternut squash into a food processor with the vanilla extract. Pulse until smooth. Add 1 tablespoon of water if needed to help blend.

Once smooth, mix egg and butternut squash purée together on medium speed for about 45 seconds.

Then add the dry mixture and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes or until smooth. Add the dry mixture about half at a time to avoid a powdery mess. Scrape down sides of bowl.

Coat your waffle iron with non-stick spray. Then pour the mixture in and let it do it’s thing!

Whoopsies! Had a little spillage! Be sure not to pour too much batter in!

Meanwhile, Emily whipped us up some awesome eggs to add a little protein to our breakfast! Thanks Emily!

I dusted the roasted butternut squash waffles with powdered sugar. The usual culprits, butter and syrup, go deliciously well with these waffles too!

This batter will keep for a few days in the fridge. This would be the perfect 1st day of school breakfast! Or a perfect weekend breakfast with friends as well.


Feta Stuffed Lamb Sliders

After looking at my past few posts, I must be going through a burger phase or something! I have been wanting to do some kind of spin on stuffed burgers or sliders for a while.


When I came across ground lamb meat at the store, I knew this was it! I did a simple lemon pepper tzatziki but I think roasted red pepper or mushrooms would be great additions too!

First, I started off with 1lb of ground lamb. I seasoned my meat with Southern Flavor Seasoning. I LOVE this stuff for using with ground meat. My Grandmother turned me onto it, and now its my go-to seasoning for ground meats!

I used about a tablespoon and mixed it with my hands into the ground lamb. I let that marinate for about 20 minutes in the fridge.

This yields about 6 sliders.

For the tzatziki spread, I mixed:
1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice


Whisk all together in a bowl and set aside until ready to serve.

I formed the ground lamb meat into little patty cups. I made these slider size, so about 2-2.5 inches in diameter. Fill with crumbled feta.

Then cover the feta filled patties with meat.

Super easy! These felt heavy to me. Which they should because they are stuffed and all.

Move these to the grill. Grill on medium high heat for about 3-4 minutes each side or until cooked through.

I used King’s Hawaiian Mini Sub Rolls because I had some leftover from another meal. The regular sweet rolls work perfectly for sliders as well!

Pile the cooked feta stuffed lamb sliders onto the King’s Hawaiian rolls. Spread on the tzatizki and add any toppings you like. I ate mine with just tzatziki and they were delicious!

Super simple and great as a meal or appetizer.

The lemon pepper tzatziki and lamb really give your taste buds a switch up from normal burgers.

What are your favorite sliders?

Salmon Burgers

I love salmon. I love burgers. Salmon burgers equal perfect combination in my book.


But a lot of salmon patties you buy at the store are pre-frozen and filled with who knows what. I made these salmon burgers for friends on a recent vacation. I bought the salmon fresh from a local fish market. Besides shredding the salmon filets, these fresh salmon burgers are pretty easy! And they taste great!

For these salmon burgers, you’ll need:
1/2 lb salmon per serving (this recipe is for 3lbs)
1 egg
1/4 cup capers
1/2 cup red onion
2 tablespoons of garlic paste
1/2 tablespoon of fresh black pepper
1/2-3/4 cup of high heat oil for cooking. I used canola.

Sauté the onions until translucent.

Using two forks, shred the salmon filets. If there are a few chunks that’s ok.

After you are done shredding, add the capers, egg, garlic paste and sautéed onions. Mix all together.

Add some fresh black pepper and mix again.

Using your hands, pack the salmon patties as tightly as you can. I used the egg as the melding agent instead of bread crumbs or some other carbohydrate.

Tightly packed fresh salmon patty! Let these rest on wax paper while you pack the other patties.

Be sure that the oil is hot. This will keep your patties from falling apart in the pan. To learn how to test your oil click here.

Fill a skillet so thats it’s about half an inch deep. Get it nice and hot. Then carefully place the salmon patties in the hot oil. Be careful not to crowd them too much. They should sizzle immediately when you put them in the oil.

You know they are ready to be flipped when the salmon is slightly browned in the bottom. Once both sides are browned you are ready to serve!

Homemade salmon burgers! You can top these with avocado or remoulade and eat them like a crab cake. They are also great all by themselves! Or dress them up with lettuce and bun and eat them burger style.

What’s your favorite way to eat salmon burgers?