I did NOT cook that much in May. Normally I have a few interesting items here and there but I thoroughly enjoyed slooooowly getting back to real life after my work event. I had some fun restaurant excursions to Stoked for wood-fired pizza and to Tres Gatos for tapas! I’m all about the fast-ish dinners now that it is nice out and it is more fun to take walks through the neighborhood, or play in driveway with T & his yard-sale bubble mower, or whatever. Mr. J has a new train schedule and gets home earlier -woohoo! I love whenever we can all eat at the same time!
Let’s pause for the sous-chefs who have not had a blog appearance until just lately:
I was really proud of the ramen burgers! I kind of can’t believe the ramen buns stayed together! It was such a fun one to try! I loved the teryiaki & green onions on a burger.
I loved a quickie flatbread pizza with turkey kielbasa, sweet potato, red onion, and a mustard sauce. It was so perfectly fast and some variety to my typical dinner flavors. The babe loooves sweet potato so having some leftover was great.
Puff pastry has such an important place in my heart. I always love it. This eggplant parm pockets were so fun and cooking the eggplant the night before made them even easier. This meat-less meal was spot on and perfectly portioned!
The Little One:
He’s so funny right now. I mean, we always think he’s funny. That’s rule 1 of being a parent. He seems like such a little kid rather than a baby now! We just got him crocs and they’re just the cutest. He loves playing outside and his current favorite toys are books (especially this strawberry one & this truck one), mega blocks, and cardboard boxes. He’s not so into the talking & words but I can’t get over how much he knows. He will go retrieve a specific toy or book when we ask for it, he correctly identifies which dog is which, he knows some body parts, and will mimic some words when we say them like go, milk, choo-choo, beep, etc. T is still a rockstar-sleeper and still eating well. Fingers crossed he keeps both up!
This guy rockin’ the bed-head, pre-haircut last week:
The Year of the: Seasonal Decor I’m counting it, I got this watercolor flower print on wood and love it.
do something a different way: I’ve been focused on putting things where they belong, in the moment. Otherwise I find myself straightening up later which seems like more work.
drink more water: yup, going strong especially with no coffee until 10oz of water…at least on weekdays
make more interesting side dishes: nope
cook more soups & sauces: nah
watch more movies: we just laughed our way through Sisters
make working out a higher priority: Mr. J’s train is earlier so I’m been pretty good about getting up and moving before waking the little one. Plus, work is starting a walking challenge going so I’m psyched to see that.
Yes to breaded eggplant. Yes to Parmesan. Yes to puff pastry. I love all these things so I was secretly psyched for a cooler drizzly day to whip up this dinner. Ohh so good. I liked how quick these were and all the flavors I wanted while still feeling different. Puff pastry is so foolproof. Fill it with anything and you’ll have a happy dinner.
Also, let’s discuss my sous chefs: note how they flank where I stand at that neon-green cutting board. It is so nice they want to be a part of everything, but sometimes I just need some room. I fear the babe will think their names are Bailee Move and Windsor Move. They are cute though, aren’t they?
(for 1 sheet of puff pastry making 4 pockets)
~12 slices of breaded eggplant (3 slices per pocket)
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup ricotta
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 grated Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the eggplant until crisped, flipping once. (I cooked mine the night before to speed it up).
Roll out the puff pastry until it is about 1/8 of an inch thick. Cut into 4.
Top with a slice of eggplant, a few small dollops of ricotta, some shredded mozzarella, and a slight drizzle of tomato sauce (not too much! it’ll get soggy!) Add another eggplant slice and keep the layers going…3 slices per pocket. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
Pinch together opposite corners and keep tucking the puff pastry underneath. Cut a few slits into the sides to vent.
Bake 25-35 minutes. Check at 25 minutes – mine needed a few more minutes to get golden brown.
Enjoy! Serve with some tomato sauce for dipping if desired.
I really loved this. The crispy, buttery, flakey outside with the eggplant and all the cheese inside – ohh so great. The little one likes the breaded eggplant and gobbled it up a dinner and lunch in a row. Yes! Winning all around!
Have a happy Memorial Day weekend!
I’m always ready for a new pizza. I ran through Delish’s unconventional pizzas and was so ready for kielbasa, sweet potato, and red onion and I added a buttery mustard sauce. It was so great. I’ll always love pizza dough but using naan is just so much faster on a weeknight.
2 naan breads
1 sweet potato
1/2 turkey kielbasa
1 cup Monterey jack cheese
3 tbs butter
3 tbs dijon or grain mustard
1/4 cup red onion
Preheat the oven to 400-degrees and preheat pizza stone if using one.
Cook the sweet potato either baking it, pealing & boiling it, or microwaving it.
Heat a skillet to medium heat.
Melt the butter and add the mustard. Mix well, add some salt & pepper, and spoon onto the naan.
Bake for 10 minutes to toast the bottoms a bit.
Add the sliced kielbasa to the pan to warm through and caramelize the edges.
Slice or chop the sweet potato and the red onion.
Remove the naans from the oven, top with cheese, kielbasa, sweet potato, and red onion.
Bake for 15 minutes until the crust crisps and cheese melts.
I loved this. The mustardy sauce with the kielbasa was so spot on. Naans are the perfect individual serving. They are doughy and get a bit crisped. The baby loves sweet potato so we were all too happy to have half a leftover sweet potato.
Mr. J and I definitely have a little eater. Maybe he’s taken cues from us, or the pups who eat all that is served in one sitting, or his genes, or he’s just himself and is hungry, interested, and into food at this moment. Right now we’re taking the approach of just keeping serving varied foods and he’ll eat it or not but there aren’t other options at that meal. T has several teeth coming in so texture or mouth-feel could be a part of his current trends. Here’s what he’s been loving, or not into lately:
Into: feeding himself with forks & spoons.
It is pretty hysterical to see him speed up the fork usage by manually putting something onto the fork- after several attempts to spear it hasn’t worked. Baby + spoon + yogurt = a true testament to how challenging aim is. He’s so proud of himself!
Not into: grilled cheese at Gram & Pops house
Huh? I thought you were part mouse always wanting cheese! Quesadillas are often a staple for him so this surprised me.
Into: grilled sausages & grilled herbed potatoes
Sometimes he passes over meat, and grilled/charred pieces but he was into both of these the other night!
Not into: tortellini
Long-shaped pasta is always a hit, farfalle was gobbled down recently, but both hot tortellini and tortellini salad were no-gos this time. Who ARE you?
Always into: fruit – all.the.fruit, sweet potatoes, muffins, corn, beans, raw tomatoes, cucumbers
Hit or miss right now: green beans, avocado, eggs, deli meat, pickles, some foods if he has them in close succession.
mixed results so they’ll keep appearing and we’ll continue to see what happens.
Get. Ready. For. This.
I made the ramen burger and it was AWESOME! Yes! SHOUTING! It was so great! Yay! The crispy ramen buns stayed together and had the perfect toasted sesame flavor. The burgers had green onions and teriyaki. So good.
When I started thinking about a) I haven’t blogged in forever and b) what should the come-back meal be? I went high! RA-MEN BURG-ER. This video/tutorial is the best.
Ramen Burgers for 2
2 packages Chicken ramen
1/2 pound ground meat (I used pork)
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tbs teriyaki marinade
1/2 tsp sesame oil
3 green onions, diced
Boil water for the ramen and cook for 2-3 minutes. Then drain and rinse with cold water.
Whisk the eggs with a fork.
Add the noodles and 1 chicken flavoring packet to a large bowl. Mix/toss together until well coated.
Spray 4 patty-sized containers with non-stick spray. (Don’t forget this. I did and went back and washed, dried, and sprayed the containers to then put the noodle mix back in. Safe>Sorry)
Press the noodles down and cover with plastic wrap. Press or weigh the noodles down. I stacked my toddler’s bowls and lightly weighed the top noodles down. Refrigerate 20+ minutes.
For the burgers, mix together the ground meat, garlic, sesame oil, teriyaki sauce, and green onions.
Form into patties and then grill the burgers.
Heat a skillet to medium high heat and pour some sesame oil. Pan fry the ramen buns for 2-3 minutes per side. Flip just once.
Serve with more chopped green onions and teriyaki sauce.
It was really good! I think the sesame oil was really the key. I had some black sesame seeds which were also really good. I loved the flavors and was so excited the ramen worked! The craze is totally worth it.
I haven’t blogged or cooked interesting things lately, BUT I’m getting back on track now that I’m tiptoeing out of the post-event craziness. 800 guests bidding on 62 complex auction packages then having dinner at 80 locations does not clean itself up. I’m tying up some hypothetical bows and have wrapped up a lot this week.
This week doesn’t count as amazing food, but I’ve been flying solo for a few days and had an evening meeting cancelled so this week has been all over the place. I’ve eaten a few food groups and the baby has eaten varied things. Hey, we’re clean, I have exercised, and we all feel rested, and I emptied the dishwasher…so bonus points to us.
Here’s what I hope is in my future for food & drinks:
I looooved Saloniki #newGreek a few weeks ago. I want to play with making some of the sauces at home…like the eggplant one!
‘Tis the season for rose! I want to sip this rose sangria, or something like it on the deck.
I love this blueberry topped pizza idea and would probably tweak the cheeses. It reminds me of this blueberry & brie stuffed waffle I made awhile ago. The little one would LOVE this since his obsession with blueberries runs deep.
I’m obsessed with trying to make a ramen burger. I love ramen, especially from my low blood pressure days when the cardiologist was trying to up my sodium intake! Best 17-cent dinner money can buy.
I might test out all the onion cutting hacks and report back what actually works for me.
April whizzed past me. I didn’t cook a ton nor did I get to blog much. I kind of spent the month either super busy at work, trying to keep up with everything, plus a sweet little vacay to Florida.
I was sooo into the cherry “cheesecake” yogurt breakfast I made. It was really good and prepping in advance, made for a more lovely breakfast on a weekday!
These Baked Monte Cristo pockets felt like the best-fast-dinner-ever. I was so happy with them. They added some fun-ness, variety, and an insta-dinner that I know I needed to get back into the groove. Weeknight dinners with minimal prep are the best!
Next month I’ll totally get back to normal and back into the kitchen once I come up for air at work!
The Year of the: Seasonal Decor ehh. nothing in April.
do something a different way: hmm. I’m not sure I did this.
drink more water: yup, I’m on it.
make more interesting side dishes: nope, nothing right now
cook more soups & sauces: I made lasagna soup!
watch more movies: you know, I don’t think we watched any!
make working out a higher priority: yup! I did an kick-boxing on demand & fit in a few morning walks before the alarm!
I was feelin’ lasagna but wanted to speed it up and not have to bake it forever. This soup was quick and hit all the flavors I wanted! I went a tiny bit heavy handed with the red wine, so I cooked it down a bit to mellow that out. The dollop of ricotta allowed me to gently swirl it around to melt with the meaty bites and the wavy noodles.
2 Italian Sausage links
4 lasagna noodles
28oz can Pastene Kitchen Ready Tomatoes
1 tbs garlic, minced
3 tbs cup red wine
1 tbs Italian seasoning
1 tbs Parmesan cheese, grated
3 tbs ricotta cheese
In a large skillet, remove the casing and cook the sausage over medium heat. Break up the pieces with the back of a wooden spoon. Cook just until cooked through.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add in the lasagna noodles.
Drain the sausage and add it to a heavy pot with the canned tomatoes, garlic, wine, and Italian seasoning over medium heat.
When the pasta is al dente, drain and cut in half lengthwise, then into 1/2 inch pieces (think spoon size).
Stir well and reduce heat. Taste and add salt as needed and Parmesan.
Serve with a dollop of ricotta. Enjoy!
This is totally the speedy way to have the taste of lasagna without all the steps. I made this just before vacation so I also appreciated not having a lot of leftovers, or filling up the freezer. I have a serious love affair with ricotta so this was right up my ally. I would also try it in individual ramekins with ricotta at the bottom and mozzarella on the top. How fun would those be?!
I do exist! The last two weeks were a mad-rush to get ready for our trip, then 5 lovely days in Florida, and a busy return. I opted for some sleep and a return to reality instead of blogging. I’m sure you can imagine.
Post-Easter, I used some leftover ham for crepes with swiss cheese and a little creamy marsala mushroom sauce. It was so good! This was leftover that wouldn’t ever even seem like leftovers.
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup wheat flour
2 tbs butter, melted
2-3 slices of ham, chopped
1/2 cup shredded swiss
1 1/2 cup baby portabella mushrooms
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tbs Marsala wine
1 tbs worcestershire sauce
1 tbs cream cheese
Add crepe batter to a blender: egg, milk, water, flour, and melted butter. Blend for 15 seconds. Then refrigerate while prepping the filling.
In a large skillet, saute the onion in a drizzle of olive oil until soft and translucent over medium heat.
Add in the ham and cook for about 5 minutes to continue to caramelize the onion while warming the ham through. Then remove from the heat.
Slice the mushrooms and add to the still-hot pan with the broth, marsala, worcestershire, and cream cheese. Bring to high for a few minutes and then lower the heat to thicken a bit.
Cook the crepes in very thin pancakes in a large skillet, sprayed with non-stick spray, or with an electric crepe maker. Cook each crepes for about 3 minutes.
Assemble the crepes with some ham & onion filling, a sprinkle of cheese, and marsala mushrooms.
Fold the edges over themselves. Serve and enjoy!
I loved these. I haven’t made crepes in forever and they’re such great vehicles for any filling! I loved the ham cooked like lardons with onions and mushrooms! The babe ate his a bit deconstructed. He was very into the ham…for several meals!