Salmon En Papillote with Vegetables

Delicious Salmon En Papillote with Vegetables |

Do you find yourself having a Rachel Ray moment? You know, noodling around to figure out how you can make a quick meal in 30 minutes or less on any given weekday? Sunday mornings are typically when I navigate through the super market aisles in search for my weekday meal inspiration. I want to be able to make Jason and I something healthy, flavorful and fast. Sounds like a wish I would make with a magical genie!

We are all strapped for time during the week, speeding through dinner so we can spend those extra minutes relaxing, or for me, snuggling with baby James. So I dug deep into those foggy memory banks from culinary school and had an Aha moment… salmon en papillote! Huh? What the heck is papillote? That’s just a fancy way to say “in parchment” in French, but it sounds much more impressive and romantic in the language of love, so why not! So lets get going, we only have 30 minutes remember?… 

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Moroccan Lamb Stew with Couscous

Moroccan lamb stew recipe with couscous |

I’m a huge SPICE girl fan, and I don’t mean the ones from Britain! I mean the savory, sweet, spicy, earthy, pungent Kung pow kick spices that take your taste buds for a roller coaster ride. That’s why it’s hard not to crave a flavorful and hearty Moroccan lamb stew, especially as the weather starts to cool down and I can finally wear my boots and scarves without looking too silly in California. Stews are pretty awesome because you can use more affordable and less tender cuts of meat and transform them into a glorious, tender and rich meaty feast all in one pot. Cha Ching!… 

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Chicken Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

Chicken butternut squash soup recipe |

I’m really bumming out… Today is my official first day back at work from maternity leave, I sure hope I can make it at work without crying, yikes! It’s been the most amazing and challenging 4 months since the arrival of baby James. I can’t believe how much he has grown and taking on his own jubilant personality! It’s been a blessing that I’ve been able to indulge in each tender moment. I’ve learned how to navigate through epic diaper blow outs in public, the ninja creep out of the nursery after putting him to sleep, getting my zombie wake up calls during those late night feedings, and I’m a whiz at cooking and eating with one hand, haha.

Spending each day with my adorable buddy has given me the chance to see him grow into a strong and healthy boy, hear his first full bellied blissful laugh, knowing that he recognizes us, and that we can make each other smile. My favorite times are our mornings when Jason brings our little early bird into our room and we get some family cuddle time before we start the day. It’s so cute how he likes to watch The Chew and Ellen, by the way I need to start recording my favorite day time TV shows!

Sorry for all the sappy puppy dog lovey mommy stuff, it’s mostly for James to know someday if he ever reads this, just how much he is loved and that he has made me a better person.

Now that it’s back to reality! That means back to work and being more efficient with my time at home. What I needed was some quick, easy and hearty meals that I could prepare as soon as I walked through the door so we could maximize our time with the little guy. A big pot of chicken butternut squash soup is one of the answers., Who doesn’t love a steamy wholesome bowl of chicken soup?… 

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Sausage Pear Pecan Stuffing

Sausage Pear Pecan Stuffing recipe | #thanksgiving

Turkey’s get the star treatment as they are prepared to be the centerpiece of each thanksgiving meal. However you can’t have a holiday meal without turkeys’ tasty side kick, stuffing! Sometimes stuffing is cooked directly inside the bird to soak up all of the delicious roasted juices while there is usually an extra casserole dish filled to the brim with more. Does your family have a traditional stuffing recipe? The best part about stuffing is that there are endless combos and they are all so festive and flavorful.

Being that Jason’s mom’s side of the family is Italian (from Malta), she makes her stuffing with traditional flavors. Mama Joan’s recipe typically has Italian sausage, Stouffers bread crumbs, apples, onions, celery and cream of mushroom soup. It’s so delicious! I wanted to still have an Italian inspiration in this year’s stuffing, however add some seasonal flavors and more crunch. I’m a big challah bread fan and like to make my own, it’s easier than you think! So this year I took the slightly sweet egg bread to use as bread crumbs for an Italian sausage pear pecan stuffing recipe. I can’t wait to see if mama approves!… 

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Citrus Green Beans with Almonds

A healthy serving of Citrus Green Beans with crunchy almonds | #greenbeans #recipe

Have you ever had really mushy and overlooked green beans that seem more like a punishment than a delight to eat? I’ve never had a bad relationship with green beans unless you try and give them to me from a can, yuck! I wanted to keep this citrus green bean with almonds recipe really easy and flavorful. It will take under 20 minutes to prepare, no lie! This is the perfect holiday or weekday side because it can be the last thing you cook before serving, and it’s so simple! No need to make meal time any more difficult, this dish is operator friendly…. 

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Chicken Enchiladas with Pumpkin Sauce

serving dish of chicken pumpkin enchiladas | #mexicanrecipes #food

Oh man… I am so excited to share this recipe with you, it’s my new fall favorite and guaranteed to score you some high fives from the fam bam!  I’ve added pumpkin purée to as many sweet recipes that you could imagine, but this was my first time with a savory dish. To my surprise, these chicken enchiladas with pumpkin sauce are my best pumpkin inspired dish so far! I seriously couldn’t wait to devour these amazing mini burritos the next day, and I wasn’t in the mood for sharing!

Enchiladas have been one of my go to meals to make for a crowd while on a budget. This worked especially well during those penny pinching college days. I used to just grab a whole roasted chicken, canned red enchilada sauce, flour tortillas and Mexican blend cheese and called it good. I’d call my hungry study buddy’s over for a mini feast and we were fueled up for the long cram sessions ahead. Enchiladas are so simple and filling, but I really wanted to make the enchilada sauce from scratch. Instead of the traditional red or green chili sauce, even though it may sound strange, I thought a pumpkin sauce may be a nice way to switch up. Oh yes, it was divine and I’ll tell you why…… 

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Pork Chops with Spiced Apples

pork chops with spiced apples in skillet | #pork

This week marks the official beginning of fall, which means cooler temps, mini pumpkins everywhere and cozy comfort foods. I was really sad to see the dwindling of summer produce at the market yesterday, but they were replaced by marvelous apples! There are so many varieties to choose from like honeycrisp, jazz or the traditional green.

It really depends on how you decide to cook the apples, and since I wanted to use them for a sweet and savory topping for this pork recipe, Fuji apples were my pick. Incredibly sweet yet sturdy when cooked down and sauteed, Fuji apples are great at infusing flavors into it’s flesh and staying nice and tender once cooked. I was excited to transition from using the grill during the summer time to breaking out my trusty cast iron pan to create my hearty and delicious pork chops with spiced apples recipe…. 

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Arugula Walnut Pesto Pasta w/ Shrimp

delicious plate of arugula walnut pesto pasta with shrimp |

Do you ever reminisce about what made you fall in love with your soul mate? Deep question huh? For my husband Jason and I, our common love for Italian food was just the beginning of our romance, haha. My husband grew up around a big Italian family who would get together and prepare huge homemade suppers (think the Godfather), so he is accustomed to traditions and quality of family meals. Jason may not be the head chef in our kitchen (that’s my job), but he sure has his expectations and opinions when it comes to making Italian food just right, and isn’t shy to tell me!

My first test came when Jason’s mom gave me the most amazing kitchen gift, a pasta maker! She must have been putting me to the ultimate test, to see if I could properly feed her son! It’s a good thing that I got rolling because I got mama’s stamp of approval and Jason and I have been married for 3 years now (and together for 10)! The pasta machine has sure come in handy over the years. I usually like to make a traditional egg pasta dough, however I wanted to create a healthier whole wheat noodle to make an arugula walnut pesto pasta with shrimp recipe…. 

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Grilled Cedar Plank Salmon Fillet

cedar plank salmon recipe |

Salmon is one of my favorite seafood choices because it cooks in minutes and is packed with healthy nutrients like Omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon also takes on any flavors you choose with very little effort. At our house, we still have our lean “salmon mondays” so I wanted to think of a new recipe to put into our weekly rotation. I was really happy when Jason spent a good part of the weekend upgrading our Weber grill with some much needed replacement parts. When he returned from Home Depot he surprised me with a fun new cooking tool to play with, cedar planks! I had never tried this cooking technique before so I was excited to try a grilled cedar plank salmon fillet recipe and add a blend of aromatic herbs and spices to make the fish even more tasty…. 

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Grilled Pork Chops with Honey Mustard Glaze

grilled pork chops with honey mustard glaze |

When you’re in the mood for a healthy and lean protein, chicken can get repetitive and a little, well, blah. That’s why I like to switch it up and grill pork chops, a tender yet hearty cut which infuses flavors quite easily and cooks within minutes! A savory dry rub added to season the meat just before cooking adds a quick hint of flavor and a super simple honey mustard glaze generously added at the end of cooking locks in the juices and makes the pork even more tastier. Grilled pork chops with honey mustard glaze will certainly be your new favorite recipe. So easy you can throw into your weekly dinner rotation!… 

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