Early last weekend when I was the first one up, I felt like messing around with my normal black coffee. I considered a doughnut excursion, though the little one dozed until 9 and I wasn’t going to interrupt that! After a quick google to sort through how to steam milk without some fancy contraption. I went with this shake-milk-in-a-jar method.
8 oz coffee
2 tbs nutella
3-4 oz milk (suggested lower fat milk)
Brew hot coffee.
Add the hot coffee to a small pot over medium heat. Add nutella to the coffee.
Stir well while allowing nutella to melt.
Add milk into the jar (not more than half full).
Shake for about a minute. The milk should double in size.
Microwave in the jar for about 30-seconds.
Pour the coffee into a mug. Gently pour the milk over the coffee, spoon any remaining froth out of the jar onto the coffee.
I loved this. It was seriously nutella flavored. My ratio of nutella to coffee is definitely hefty but I was serious about this drink being a treat. I normally drink my coffee black.
I love the idea of a raw sauce to top meat and fish. Mine was grilled shrimp and Mr. J had steak tips. The arugula salad had avocado, cucumbers, and tomatoes. I’ll have to keep the idea of chimichurri around the next time I have handfuls of fresh herbs leftover from something!
1 cup flat parsley
1/2 cup cilantro
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp garlic, minced
pinch crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 olive oil
2 cups arugula
1 cup mixed greens
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 cucumber, chopped
Preheat the grill.
In a blender or food processor, combine the parsley, cilantro, red wine vinegar, crushed red pepper, cumin, salt, pepper, and stream in the olive oil. Taste and add in more oil/vinegar as needed. Keep at room temperature until ready to serve.
Grill the steak/shrimp.
Toss together the arugula, avocado, tomato, and cucumber.
Toss with some salad dressing. Add the grilled steak/shrimp and spoon some chimichurri sauce over the top.
I liked the fresh-herby flavor of the chimichurri. I found it a strong so I made sure there was some on each shrimp, but I wasn’t trying to dress the salad with it. I used some creamy caesar dressing for the salad. I thought a more fatty-peppery dressing was good to contrast the chimichurri sauce.
Today is my birthday!!! Yay! In my own honor, here are 5 of my current food favs.
1) I’m all about the pressure cooker at the moment. Hands down, my fav kitchen appliance. (sorry coffee maker, you’ll always have a place in my heart). Goodbye slow cooker!
2) Birthday freebies & bday wishes! So far, I’ve received bday wishes with gifts of free burritos, free sundae, $5 off, or clothes discounts! Always include your bday on store info (or if your bday falls around major gift giving time maybe choose a random one when you’d need to treat yourself)!
3) Mr. J making really awesome dinners. He’s been perfecting the frittata the last two weeks. Both have been awesome, in my opinion. The babe loves them too.
4) Bottled sangria. I got this sangria as a hostess gift and we LOVED it. I found a tasty white one at Whole Foods and just purchased one from Trader Joe’s…that one is up next!
5) This salsa. Winner winner, taco dinner! It is much closer to pico de gallo than anything else I’ve found. I was on a quest trying lots of different salsas and this one wins.
See ya after the famous chocolate ring of coconut fudge cake with the fam this weekend!
Pressure cooker success, again! Jump on board the pressure-cooker train, or really, just cook the chicken as you wish, this sauce was so good. I served it over polenta but rice, pasta, or couscous would be good too. Polenta cooks for about 5 minutes, so that’s definitely a selling point for that one.
2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 tbs Italian seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 tbs minced garlic
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp Marsala wine
2 tbs butter
1 cup instant polenta
3 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup milk or cream
1/2 grated Parmesan
~5 basil leaves
Roast the tomatoes in a 400-degree oven with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Cook for about 10 minutes, until they blister and pop.
Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and garlic powder on each side. Sear the chicken on both sides in the pressure cooker or in a skillet. Then either add to the pressure cooker with 1/2 cup of the chicken broth, high pressure for 10 minutes, or roast in the oven at 375-degrees for 30 minutes.
In a medium pot, bring 1 cup of the chicken broth to a boil. Add in garlic, Marsala wine, and butter and return to a boil for about 5 minutes.
Chop the zucchini and roasted tomatoes. Stir well and cook for another 5 minutes, covered. Then reduce heat until ready to serve.
For the polenta, add polenta to the water & milk and stir while cooking over medium heat for 5 minutes.
Add in Parmesan and stir well.
Serve with a base of polenta, then chicken, then veggie sauce and sprinkle with basil.
I was really happy with this dinner feeling a bit different, very flavorful, and pretty quick! Polenta is such a great break from pasta or grains. I love the parmesan in there for some salt and flavor. The sauce was soooo flavorful. I liked that the zucchini was lightly cooked. I used some leftover roasted tomatoes that I used, but roasting them would be easy while prepping everything else. I think the marsala cooking wine and broth really kept it from being like marinara.
February coming to an end means my birthday is just around the corner!! I’m so excited for my birthday this year. Last year my bday was kinda crappy. I was by myself during the day and Baby T screamed all. day. long. I ate a frozen burrito by myself while Mr. J took the babe off my hands at night. That wasn’t our easiest time and everything got better a few weeks later. I did have a fun & festive fam bday last year that was graciously brought to my house. Anywho, I’m living the dream now so bring it on!
Mr. J and I went to fancy-pants brunch for Valentine’s Day at Aquitaine which was so lovely and I also surprised him with a date night to Pastoral this month.
I was quite into the pressure cooker this month! #obsessed I made lentils with carrots and spinach that was a really ideal base to get topped with a quickly seared chicken sausage. That is a perfect weeknight dinner! Then I made a show-stopping Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic & Cherries.
With a few little snow-storms and then random warm (aka 50-degree days in February) there was quite the mix. One warm day we made some burgers that I still wanted to seem like winter burgers. I topped them with dried cranberries and topped with brie and lemon aioli. Ooo la la!
I fell off the savory-breakfast bandwagon but made little puff pastry egg cups that were addicting!
The Year of the: Seasonal Decor I was treated by an awesome Etsy shop Urban Fringe Living to a Valentine’s Day sign! I am so in LOVE.
do something a different way: I’ve tried alternative routes from work to see what is fastest to get to daycare. I didn’t find a better one, but you never know until you try! Another “different” was picking up Mr. J at work to surprise him for a date-night! We had amazing pizzas at Pastoral and I loved every second.
drink more water: I’m doing well. I never seem to get above 50 oz, but that’s OK with me.
make more interesting side dishes: Ohh yeah. Caesar brussels sprouts for the win! These lentils with veggies were good too!
cook more soups & sauces: ehh. I missed this one this month.
watch more movies: This month Mr. J and I watched Tammy, Good Will Hunting, and Trainwreck
make working out a higher priority: I’m back into some classes at the gym. I went to a zumba class with a different instructor who was AH-mazing. I also joined some Fitbit challenges which got me moving more.
I should be a salesperson for pressure cookers. I am ready to get rid of the slow cooker and go all pressure cooker, all the time. I made a honey-garlic chicken crockpot thing a few weeks ago that really wasn’t very good. The leftovers were OK as tacos, but I wasn’t impressed. Why didn’t I make it in the pressure cooker?!?!? Anywho, pork tenderloin can be tough, dry, and flavorless. Enter the pressure cooker! 20 minutes and we had amazing and juicy pork that we all loved. The little one included! I was SUCH a proud Mama. Baby T ate pork, potato, and asparagus with us. My heart almost burst. On weeknights we don’t get to all eat dinner together. The babe eats the minute he and I get home and then we all sit together while Mr. J and I eat since he’s almost ready to sleep at that point.
2 cups broth (I used chicken & my fav is Better Than Bouillion, or swap the broth with red wine)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup frozen whole cherries
Sprinkle salt & pepper over the pork, on both sides.
(See below if you’re not using a pressure cooker) On the brown or sear setting on the pressure cooker, sear it on all sides for some brown coloring.
Add in the broth, vinegar, and cherries.
Set to high pressure for 15-20 minutes. (I cooked it for 20 minutes but a little less would have been OK too.)
Quick release the pressure, let sit for ~3 minutes, then slice.
Serve with lots of cherries or reduce some liquid for a sauce. Enjoy!
(If you’re not using a pressure cooker, brown the meat on all sides for 3-5 minutes. Then in an oven-safe dutch oven, bake for 30-35 minutes in a 350-degree preheated oven. Be sure the middle is cooked to at least 145-degrees. Use that meat thermometer!)
I can’t even tell you how juicy this pork is. The flavors are great. Tang from the vinegar with the gentle sweetness of the cherries was perfect. I referred to this pressure cooker pork with peach salsa for the timing. I kept going back for more cherries. I wanted a cherry with each bite! The leftovers were great too. The pork was buy one get one free so I’m thrilled that I have another in the freezer!
Some of my pizzas just can’t leave well enough alone with toppings that are really out there (uhh, like this one or this one). I haven’t made a traditional-ish pizza in such a while but this one was soooo good and the little touch of crunchy breadcrumbs became the best part. About a year ago Mr. J got a sausage & ricotta pizza from a place down the street. Since then, he hasn’t been able to have it since! They’ve been out of ricotta! Foiled! Making it at home was long overdue.
2 links Italian sausage
1-1 1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 cup ricotta
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tsp butter
1 tsp truffle oil
Preheat the oven and pizza stone if using one to 500-degrees.
Sear the sausages in a skillet over medium heat turning to cook through.
Spread the pizza dough out onto the pizza stone or pan and bake for about 10 minutes, until cooked a bit and beginning to brown. Then remove from the heat and cut into slices.
Top the dough with sauce, mozzarella, dollops of ricotta and slices of sausage.
Bake for 5 minutes until the cheese melts and ricotta warms through.
While pizza is baking, melt butter in a small skillet over medium low heat and add in the panko. Drizzle in the truffle oil and cook for 3-5 minutes to toast the breadcumbs lightly.
Remove pizza from the oven. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top of the pizza.
Slice and enjoy!
The pizza itself was SO good. I used more dough than usual and cooked it a bit more to get it really crunchy. I really love the flavorful sausage with creamy ricotta. I feel like a Project Runway contestant saying my design needed hard and soft.
The truffle breadcrumbs MAKE this pizza from so one I liked to an amazing pizza. I’ve added truffle breadcrumbs to top pasta. Truffle breadcrumbs for everyone!
Warning: this is not the most photogenic dish I’ve ever made, but it was really too tasty not to share. You can’t miss with caramelized onions. Add fontina and I’m yours. I made this dip for the Superbowl and served it with some bread. My only thought was that half would probably have been plenty for two of us. Mr. J and I barely made a dent! It was pretty decadent but so perfect for a chilly winter night. Leftovers might be pretty good in a rockstar grilled cheese!
2 medium onions, chopped
1 pkg french onion dip
1/2 cup chicken/beef/vegetable broth
1/4 cup red wine
6 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup shredded sharp white cheddar
1 cup gruyere cheese
1 tsp dried thyme
ground black pepper
In a heavy pan over low heat, caramelize the onions in a few tablespoons of olive oil. Stir regularly and be patient. Cook for about 30 minutes until they get soft, light brown, and sweet.
Bring to medium heat and add in the onion soup mix, broth, and wine. Stir well.
Bring to a low boil for about 5 minutes.
Add in cream cheese, sour cream, and stir until it is all melted and incorporated. Then add cheddar cheese just until melted and then put it all into a baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray.
Preheat the oven to 375-degrees.
Shred gruyere onto the top and sprinkle thyme & pepper over the top.
Bake for 15-minutes, or until melted.
Serve with bread. Enjoy!
This was so good, and addicting. It was sort of a meal in itself with the bread. Mr. J made wings so we only made it so far with our sports-snacks.
My side dishes tend to be really supporting characters rather than the blog-worthy item. Until now! I saw a recipe for caesar green beans and thought it would be even better for brussels spouts since the leaves would hold the sauce so well.
2 cups brussels sprouts, shredded
1 tbs butter
1/4 cup creamy Caesar dressing
1 tsp grated Parmesan
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter while chopping the brussels sprouts.
Sear the brussels spouts to gently brown, stirring well. Cook for 2-3 minutes over medium.
Add in the caesar dressing reducing the heat to low.
Cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Sprinkle with Parmesan then serve & enjoy!
These were really addictive. We served them with some marinated grilled chicken.
We had some super warm days here in New England which seemed like perfect timing for a burger. This burger had dried cranberries mixed into it, brie on top, and a lemon-y aoli. Jazzing up the aoli or ketchup definitely makes a burger feel more special. Lemon pepper aoli spread is so easy and I used some leftovers for egg salad.
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 tsp garlic, minced
2 tbs mayo
1 tsp lemon juice
Mix together the ground meat, cranberries, garlic, and salt & pepper.
Then form into patties and grill until cooked through.
Mix together the mayo, lemon juice, and pepper.
When the burgers are mostly cooked, top with brie until melted.
Serve with some dijon mustard and lemon/pepper aoli.
These were great. I liked the chewy and tartness the cranberries added with the creamy brie. So good. The zing of the aoli kept it from being too rich. These were good burgers and seemingly appropriate for winter burgers!