It’s the most wonderful time, of the year… I truly love fall and the minute it wasn’t hot and humid anymore I was so happy. We all were. My fam does not like to be hot. One day I changed the babe into shorts and out of socks & sneakers and he was so much happier! Yeah, maybe we were all just hot. Phew! I’m rejuvenated to cook again! I love the crisp in the air.
September was busy. We had a weekend in Maine to see some family and a long weekend away for our 5th anniversary to Rockland & Camden Maine. It was so wonderful and getting away was JUST what we needed.
My fav dish I cooked this month was definitely the Pad Thai. I can’t get over how easy it was! I’m glad to know those flavors can be mixed up so quickly!
Also, it is so stinking easy, but the Dunkaroo Dip was just so fun. Sprinkles! Funfetti! Yay!
Ooo yes. Let’s talk about the Chicken Marsala Pizza. I loved this on the pizza and don’t think it at all trashed up what should be a nicer dish. Make all the expected flavors in unexpected platforms. Now I want Chicken Marsala Risotto or maybe a Croque Monsieur flatbread. Wait for it!!!
September was a really good month in the kitchen for me! I also was proud of the Tailgater Burger because who doesn’t need Cheetos dust in their life?
The Little One:
He’s such a little person now. He has a lot of thoughts, though admittedly, sometimes we cannot tell what he’s saying. I think he gets the concepts of “more” versus “all done”. He’s funny with identifying whose items are whose around the house and I was shocked that he knew where different pieces of his laundry belonged. The words are totally flowing and it cracks us up. My fav recent one is horse: “harsss”. He had a fun weekend while Mr. J and I went away. The day we were coming back, I couldn’t wait to see him.
This Year’s Goals:
The Year of the: Seasonal Decor: I’m falling behind on the decor but I’ve got this for Halloween.
do something a different way: I’m doing “chores” during the week instead of having to do them on the weekends. Laundry & bathroom cleaning seems better suited for a nothing-special-Tuesday rather than hitting my radar on Saturdays!
drink more water: ehh, I’m on it. I feel like I drink less when it isn’t hot!
make more interesting side dishes: maybe simple is still good? The babe loved orzo with a herby grilled chicken
cook more soups & sauces: I made Chicken Marsala Pizza which involved a sauce
watch more movies: Joy & The Revenant…quite diverse!
make working out a higher priority: I’ve kept running a bit and morning workouts have definitely become a habit.
After having peaches in a little raw-topping for a pork tenderloin I made last week, I was obsessed with peach in a quesadilla. Ob-sessed.
Lots of cheese: colby jack, cheddar, and pepper jack + some ripe peaches/nectarines + chicken. Yes, please! This is the perfect catch-all if you have lots of small amounts of cheese around, or to use some leftover grilled chicken.
Ingredients: (for 1 large quesadilla, serves 2)
2 “burrito-sized” tortillas (or 4 fajita-sized tortillas)
2 chicken tenders, marinated and grilled (or pan-sautéed until cooked through)
1 peach/nectarine, diced
8 oz cheese: 1/2 colby jack; 1/2 sharp cheddar
2 oz pepper jack cheese (1-2 slices, or 1/2 cup shredded or sliced)
1 slice red onion, diced
salsa on the side
Pre-cook or grill the chicken.
In a large skillet (big enough to fit the tortillas) or on a griddle pan, spray with non-stick spray and bring to medium heat.
Lay a tortilla down and top with colby jack cheese, sharp cheddar, shredded chicken, nectarine, and onion.
Top with pepper jack cheese, and 2nd tortilla.
Cook for 2-5 minutes until bottom tortilla is crisping and solid. Spray the top quesadilla with non-stick spray and very carefully/swiftly/in one motion, flip the quesadilla over.
Cook for another 2-5 minutes until crisp and gently browned.
Cut in half, serve with a side of salsa. Enjoy!
This was so good with the juicy chicken, all the cheeses, and sweet nectarines. I looved the little bit of crunchy red onion in there for some balance. I don’t tend to go very spicy but you could totally up the pepper jack cheese quantity in there!
This was such a quick dinner and I loved that it wasn’t a run of the mill quesadilla. Thanks to the peach.
I’m so glad I made this and that I tried! It seemed like something I should leave to the pros, but DO IT! It was so easy and I’ll totally make it again. Mr. J has recently gotten into pad thai and that’s precisely what inspired me to make it at home. That, and some shrimp in the freezer who gave me a little nudge. Also these noodles cook so quickly – everything I need for a weeknight meal! Who doesn’t looove a meal that gets all. the. toppings.
6 shrimp & 2 chicken tenders
1 package (9 oz) Refrigerated Asian-Style Noodles (that’s what they’re actually called – in the produce area – mine were soba but “Chinese Style” were sold out)
1 red pepper, chopped into match sticks
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1-2 cups bean sprouts
chopped cilantro, to taste
chopped peanuts, to taste
wedge of lime
Boil salted water for the noodles.
Pan saute the chicken with salt and pepper over medium heat until cooked through in a large pan. Remove from the heat and quickly cook the chicken. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Mix together the sauce: brown sugar; soy sauce; rice vinegar; lime juice; fish sauce; and garlic. Whisk and set aside.
Saute the red pepper and when partway cooked, move to the outside and scramble the egg in the middle.
When the egg cooks, add in the bean spouts and cooked noodles – straight from the water once they’re done – save washing a colander!
Bring to medium heat and add in the sauce. Cook for about 3 minutes tossing to coat well.
Shred the chicken and mix in. Add the shrimp in and toss well (or serve the protein on the top).
Serve with chopped peanuts, cilantro, and lime. Enjoy!
Omg. So good! My noodles were too thick (think soba, not uber thin). The sauce was sooo delightful. It was perfect. I was afraid it might be drippy or something. It was spot-on.
We’ll totally have this again. Mr. J was pretty pumped! The babe loves slurping long noodles and we love seeing that! I realized while writing this that ‘poon was coming out in my head…toddler talk is real. Anywho, The peanuts, cilantro, and lime maaaaaade this. I love toppings! I don’t pretend to know what authentic pad thai is like, but this beats take-out!
You know when the all the stars align and your seemingly straightforward dinner wows you? This was that moment. I knew it was going to be good, and a nicely balanced meal, and pretty easy, but I didn’t really anticipate how much we’d all LOVE IT.
Excuse me while I pull out the ole soapbox. Get yourself a meat thermometer. Do not cook meat (especially pork!) without one. If you think you don’t love pork tenderloin then it miiiight be that you’ve only had it severely overcooked. Then it’s bland, boring, tough, and yuck.
Mr. J marinated the pork for flavors of honey and lime. Then while he grilled it to perfection, I made some rice with
peaches nectarines, lime juice, peach jam, red onion.
1 pork tenderloin
1/2 cup lime juice + 1 tablespoon
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup rice
1/4 red onion
~ 1 cup cilantro (1/2 bunch)
1/4 cup peach preserves
Marinade the pork in 1/2 cup lime juice, honey, & garlic powder for 4 hours refrigerated.
Get the rice cooking.
Grill flipping to cook each side. Grill to at least 145 degrees. Let it sit about 5 minutes after removing from the heat.
Chop the onion, nectarine, and cilantro and add into the cooked rice.
Add in 1 tablespoon lime juice and peach preserves. Mix well.
Slice the pork and serve with a sprinkle of cilantro over a bed of the rice.
We really did love this. I was so into the peaches with the pork with the onion. The babe couldn’t get enough pork. He had so much and just kept asking for more! Though, he wasn’t into it the next day as leftovers. He liked the rice being kind of sticky…it was much easier for him to spoon from his bowl.
This was pretty fun for a Friday breakfast. To be honest, I reallllly wanted to pick up a bagel on the way to work but ate this instead. It didn’t quite hit the spot since I was trying to make myself want this sweet breakfast. Nutella does a pretty good job at making me forget other ideas, but it just wasn’t a toasty everything bagel. I know, I know, this was a better choice so let’s meet it where it is: this is a healthy-ish breakfast with some fun toppings.
Ingredients: (for 2 servings)
1 cup Old Fashioned Oats
1 cup coconut almond milk
1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons flax seeds
1-2 tablespoons peanut butter, melted
1 tablespoon nutella
2 tablespoons walnuts, chopped
Mix together the oatmeal, milk, yogurt, and flax seeds. Then divide into 2 bowls or containers with covers.
Slice banana and lay over the top.
In the morning, top with melted peanut butter, nutella, and walnuts.
I might not add the banana overnight again…that’s personal preference. The melted pb with the oats and the crunchy nuts was a good combo.
I know what you’re thinking. Whatttt? On pizza? Yes. Do it! So good! All the exclamation points!!
Mr. J and I watched The Revenant and afterwards I needed something calming to clear my eyeballs from the graphic voilence before attempting to sleep. Enter: Diner Drive Ins & Dives going to Phoenix, Arizona to Sal’s Gilbert Pizza for Chicken Marsala Pizza. Perfect night-cap.
4 chicken tenders
1/2 white onion (or 2 shallots)
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup Marsala wine
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
1-2 tablespoons fresh thyme
Preheat the oven (and pizza stone if using one) to 400-degrees.
In a large saute pan, cook the chicken over medium heat, sprinkled with salt & pepper. Flip and cook for about ~5 on each side until cooked through.
Meanwhile, dice the onion. Remove the chicken from the pan when cooked, and add the onion into the pan. Saute for about 5 minutes until getting translucent. Add the mushrooms.
Deglaze the pan with the wine and butter over a low simmer to thicken. Cook for about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and while the sauce thickens a bit, chop the chicken into pieces and add it back into the pan.
Stretch the dough out and lay onto the pizza stone or pan. Cut a few slits into the dough. Bake for ~10 minutes until starting to brown and puff.
Grate the cheese and sprinkle onto the crust. Crack pepper over the top.
Spoon the sauce, chicken, mushroom, and onion mixture over the cheese.
Sprinkle with thyme. Bake for 5 minutes until the cheese melts and the crust crisps.
Slice and enjoy!
I really loved this one. I liked that the sauce was so rich but the crust was crisp and the cheese was gooey. It was such a delightful combo. The cheese really served to “waterproof” the dough from the sauce. I think it’d get to soggy if the sauce was under the cheese. I think there’d be a few ways to assemble the pizza but I was glad for the way I did it.
I was a bit delayed on Mr. J’s August snack of the month. August’s theme was #throwback so I recreated Dunkaroos! I don’t remember ever seeing them at my house growing up. Essentially it was a cookie dipped into frosting so I doubt they are worse than another cookie with frosting but alas, they are no more…except for Pinterest. It is very addicting. The cake mix makes it.
1/2 box funfetti cake mix
1 cup Greek vanilla yogurt
2 cups cool whip
Mix together the funfetti, yogurt, and cool whip.
Mix and serve with animal crackers for dipping.
Add a few more sprinkles serve and enjoy!
I served these as single dipper portions…much like the 90s treat? Why, yes! I gave Mr. J I Owe Yous with themes for his birthday to get a year of Snacks/Treats.
June: hot & cold (Ice cream topping basket)
July: shareable (loaded waffle fries)
Aug: throwback (this Dunkaroo dip!)
Tomatoes were sort of a bust this year…we had a culprit nabbing them and the latest ones aren’t getting ripe. Herbs on the other hand…are going like GANG-BUSTERS. I wanted to highlight a few so they became part of my marinade. We grilled the chicken and I served it over some pretty basic orzo…like butter/tomatoes/basil/salt & pepper. The babe loved both the “chick-ken” and was thrilled to have his own bowl of orzo. It kind of was all over him, but Orzo-man was worth it.
I kept the yogurt-ness going with a tzatiki-like sauce to go with it. I don’t have any dill and I wasn’t about to buy more fresh herbs right now so I improvised with mint & oregano. Yay for all. the. herbs. Let’s count ‘em: basil, oregano, mint, & lemon thyme.
6 oz plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons Greek or Italian Dressing
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons each: oregano & thyme
5-6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 tablespoon each: mint & basil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon garlic
1/4 cucumber, with the seeds removed, diced or shredded
1/2 pound of orzo
1 tomato, chopped
1 teaspoon butter
Mix together the 3/4 of the yogurt, milk, oregano, thyme, and add the chicken to marinade for at least 30 minutes. Mine marinated for ~2.5 hours.
Meanwhile, mix together the cucumber, yogurt, mint, oregano, lemon juice, and garlic. Then refrigerate until serving.
Grill the chicken until cooked through.
While the chicken is cooking, boil water for the orzo and cook according to the package (probably 8-10 minutes).
Toss together the orzo, butter, tomato and once it cools a bit, add the basil.
Serve the chicken over a bed of orzo, topped with the cucumber yogurt sauce.
Let’s chat about all the summer foods & flavors we still need to eat:
I definitely need more corn on the cob, plus cooking it and cutting it off the cob (or freezing it off the cob) are great options too. This Heirloom Tomato & Corn Tart is soooo good.
Plus, watching this guy with an ear of corn cracks me up:
Obviously I need more tomatoes: Tomato sandwiches for B, L, D. I loved this ricotta pie with tomato though it seems sacrilegious to cook beautiful tomatoes.
Lobster is a must, I haven’t had any yet but will ASAP
I also need to make some summery cocktails. I have a few in mind…possibly featuring ice tea or lemonade. We’ll see.
I got my s’mores fix last weekend, but there’s no such thing as too many s’mores. I’m sure I will keep featuring the bounty of herbs we’re growing too. Mr. J grills pretty much year-round so that’s not necessarily a must-do. Labor day doesn’t quite mark the end of summer for me since the kiddo’s routine is the same all year but I do look forward to fall.
What’s left on your summery food bucket list?