sausage-stuffed-peppers

I love these things for SO many reasons, but the #1 might be because they’re sausage! That means they’re not chicken, salmon, or beef, which take up about 99% of our diet around here. Sausage is such a fun change-up, and we keep it light by stuffing it in a pepper. No rice in these because you just don’t need it. These are inspired by my mother-in-law, who makes them on a regular basis. I’ve had them in the back of my mind for a long time, and now that I see how easy and delicious and different these are, we’ll be making them often.

Recipe

  • 4 yellow bell peppers
  • 1 lb mild italian sausage
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes (the regular size – ~10 oz I think)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano
  • 1.5 cup homemade bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan
  • Pepperidge Farm crispy breadcrumbs (or any store bought version)

First make the breadcrumbs. Cut about 2-3 slices of bread (any kind) into 3/4 in pieces. Place them on a baking sheet and bake at 300 for about 15 minutes until they are dried out.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Cook the sausage in a large skillet until cooked through. If necessary, drain the fat if there is a lot of excess. You need a little left in there to cook the onions and celery. Add in the garlic, onions and celery and cook for about 8 minutes. Mix in the tomatoes, salt, basil and oregano. Stir to combine. Add in the homemade breadcrumbs and chicken broth to moisten and bring to a low boil until the broth is gone (you don’t want a liquid-y filling). Turn off the heat.

Cut the stems off the peppers, slice the peppers in half, and remove the seeds and veins. Place them in a bowl with a splash of water, cover and microwave for 2 minutes. Place the 8 pepper halves in a shallow baking dish and fill with the stuffing (do not add cheese or crispy crumbs yet).  Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.  Uncover, top peppers with the cheese then the bread crumbs (a pinch or two per pepper for an extra crunch) and bake for another 15 minutes.

punch-bowl-cherry-cosmopolitans

Happy almost 4th of July! What a great holiday. I mean aside from the country’s independence, it’s a day full of drinks, boating, and brats (at least it usually is for us). Those three things might actually be my favorite things of all time. We didn’t get to go to Wisconsin this year (believe it or not flying/traveling/sleeping in pack n’ plays is not enjoyable with twin babies), so while we couldn’t do the boating, we still celebrated throughout the weekend with drinks and brats.

When I’m ordering a drink at a restaurant, I always want to like something exotic on the martini menu.  But time and time again, I am disappointed. The only drink I consistently like (besides wine), is a cosmopolitan. Those never let me down. So when trying to come up with a red white and blue drink, I decided to make a redder version of a cosmopolitan. Cherry juice instead of cranberry. Delicious! For the blue I made blue star shaped ice cubes from a mold, and I couldn’t think of a darn thing for white. So it’s really a red and blue drink. And the blue ice cubes are hard to see – next time I’ll make them lighter.

Recipe

  • 4 cups vodka (I used Tito’s)
  • 2 cups Triple Sec
  • 2 cups cherry juice
  • Juice from 1-2 large limes

No real instructions here. Simply mix everything together in a large punch bowl or pitcher, and serve over ice!

grilled-peach-sriracha-chicken

I don’t know how your week is going, but mine is awesome. My mom is here, and I’m doing a lot of workout classes, self-indulging, and sitting on my couch reading the news (daily mail); and not a lot of diaper changing, feeding, or baby-playing. It feels glorious. I am so lucky to have a mom that not only really rolls up her sleeves  when she’s here and helps with the babies, but one that can so seamlessly take over my role. She is so good at playing with and teaching them that I would think she was an 11-month old boy at one point. She’s a real pro. So I’m going to write this post, then go back to wasting time.

This recipe came to me in the night. I woke up and thought I wanted grilled chicken with a slightly sweet but savory spicy peach glaze. So that’s what this is. If you want more spice, feel free to get heavy handed with the sriracha.  The glaze is out of this world. Next time, however, I will make this with boneless skinless chicken breasts rather than the bone-in skin-on version that you see in the photo. I don’t really like eating chicken skin, and so I was really torn when the really super sweet delicious glaze was all over the skin. I would use skinless – either boneless or bone-in. GREAT summer recipe y’all.

Recipe

  • ~4-5 lb chicken pieces, skin removed (or 2-3 lb boneless chicken breasts)
  • Kosher salt + pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup peach preserves
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire
  • 1/2 tablespoon Sriracha (more to taste)

Heat the grill to medium-high.  Brush the chicken with olive oil and season with S&P.  Grill the chicken until nearly done- about 7 minutes each side for the bone-in variation.  Mix the glaze ingredients together, then brush on one side of the chicken, close the grill for about 3 minutes, then flip and glaze the other side. Close grill another 3-5 minutes to finish cooking and let the glaze set.

Grilled Caprese Salad

grilled-caprese-salad

I’m feeling very uninspired in the world of fashion lately. Anyone else? Denim in particular. I mean WTF. Wide leg, cropped, high-waisted, frayed…basically all the styles that look good on no one all rolled into one jean. So apparently if you don’t know what type of new denim you should get for the summer/fall, just go to the store and find the pair that looks the absolute worst on you – and get those. I also heard that pinch rolling is coming back, and skinnies are out. It literally took me years to get into the skinny trend because it just didn’t suit my body type…now I’m firmly on board and have a closet full of skinnies and they’re out. Well forget it, Fashion 2017, I’m skipping you entirely this year and maybe I’ll check back in the spring. Of course, who am I kidding? When do I wear regular clothes anyway? I’m definitely pushing the boundaries of appropriate “athleisure” on a daily basis.

Onto food. I love the caprese combination. It’s perfect to me, and I like it in nearly every form: sandwich, pizza, flatbread, cold salad…and now, hot salad. I put it on the grill last weekend and I looooved the melty cheesy touch and the sweet, cooked down tomatoes.

Recipe

  • 2 large tomatoes
  • ~1/2 ball fresh mozzarella
  • olive oil & salt
  • ~2-3 tablespoons fresh basil
  • balsamic glaze (store bought)

Cut the tomato into thick slices, remove the seedy/watery part, place them on a paper towel and blot to remove excess moisture.  Season with salt.  Place the tomatoes on a thick piece of foil sprayed with nonstick spray and brush with just a touch of oil. Grill on medium for about 3-4 minutes (on the foil). Slice the mozzarella into thick pieces, and place a piece on half of the tomatoes. Cover each tomato with another tomato slice and cover grill just for a minute or two to melt. Remove from grill. Top with fresh basil and drizzle with balsamic glaze.

maple-chocolate-chip-cookies-2

I really love pancakes. So much so that I would add “being able to order the kids’ pancakes at brunch” as one of the best things about having kids. And what’s the best thing about pancakes? The syrup, of course.  My best friend, who lives in Wisconsin, has started making her own maple syrup and oh man. There are no words to describe how good it is. She sent me a jar when I was pregnant, and to this day I can’t really tell you what happened to it. Pancakes? Ice Cream? Oatmeal? Spoon? I don’t know. I finished it in about a week and it’s all one big maply blur.  (hint hint, Christa, I’m accepting more maple syrup).

So anyway, these cookies are like pancakes in a cookie. Not made with homemade maple syrup because that would be a waste, but made with pure maple syrup to give it that really delicious sweet amber flavor. I know amber isn’t really a flavor.

Recipe

  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon corn starch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups + 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • ~1/3 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Cream the butter and sugar together. Beat in the egg, then the vanilla, baking soda, corn starch, and salt. Slowly mix in the flour and then the maple syrup. Add the chocolate chips.  Cover cookie dough and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350.  Drop rounded balls onto baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.

Greek Fajitas

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I absolutely love eating my dinner in a tortilla. I’ll eat anything in there. Anything at all. A few examples:

  1. tacos (duh)
  2. quesadillas (duh)
  3. BBQ chicken quesadilla (ok)
  4. peanut butter quesadilla (woah)
  5. Egg burrito (yep)
  6. and the best….Pizzadilla (wow! idea courtesy of my BIL circa 2005)

So we’ve decided to move our Greek chicken pitas out of the pita and into the fajita. A Greek version of our favorite Mexican dinner. My only regret is that we didn’t think of this sooner, and the only thing I’m lying about is that dollop of Tzatziki shown in that photo. I use like 75 dollops.

Recipe

Chicken Marinade

  • ~2 lbs boneless/skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup Greek vinaigrette (your favorite store bought)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 2 small lemons)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano (optional)

Tzatziki Sauce

  • 1 container plain yogurt (about 5 oz)
  • 1 container 2% Greek yogurt (~7 oz)
  • 1/2 cup seeded & chopped cucumber
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • ~1 clove garlic (more or less to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Fajitas

  • 2 small yellow/white onions (to caramelize)
  • Feta cheese (for topping)
  • 1/2 chopped cucumber (for topping)
  • 4-8 of your favorite tortillas

Mix the marinade ingredients in a Ziploc bag. Add the chicken and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, up to 8.  Mix all tzatziki ingredients together and refrigerate until ready to use.

To caramelize the onion, slice thin, combine into a pan with a drizzle of olive oil and touch of salt, and cook down for about 20 minutes.

Grill the chicken (about 5-6 min/side for thicker cuts, 3 min/side for cutlets); let stand for a few minutes and then slice pieces about 1/4 in thick.

Assemble fajitas on your tortillas with caramelized onion, chicken, and top with chopped cucumber and fresh feta. Serve with sauce.

 

 

 

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