This month has given us a peek at some light at the end of the tunnel! We have had both doses now and waiting out the timing. Tee-ball started and has been great. I love the time home to get outside and to work outside! I’m becoming a plant person from the buy-nothing group.
I made a Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad that was super fun! It was a lunch for me a few times and is a great chance for flavors I love but the rest of the fam doesn’t care about. I loaded it with arugula and some good flavor.
For breakfast, we had some Banana Pancakes with Nutella Whipped Cream. It was such a fantastic pairing. For some shocking unknown reason, the kids were anti-banana pancakes. I still don’t get it. The nutella whipped cream is delightful and is delicious even by itself.
Crispy Fish with Poppyseed Slaw came from wanting to turn the crispy fish we like into something besides tacos! The slaw is sooo simple – take that tip to make your summer sides easier.
June will be bananas at work- the end of the fiscal year is always a lot. We made some summer plans so that has me feeling hopeful. I’m not sure what’s ahead for meals – likely a lot of grilling!
The Little Girl: She is zooming on the balance bike. The other side of the street got new sidewalk and she loves riding on it. She turns this little deep voice during meals to say “it is very very good”. She’s been eating pretty well and her weight check was great. A unicorn book from the library has been a recent fav.
The Big Guy: We read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and he loved it. Seeing his eyes open wide and his excitement warmed my heart. He jumped right into playing and now is chatting with kids and has embraced it. Gosh, they just love the dirt. He’s still 24/7 on the granola/fig bars for breakfast.
Goals: Year of the fun mail! I mailed a quick thank you note to the sweet teacher who welcomes C during the outside music class. I also sent along a birthday card to a blogger I follow who is adopting a teen – this gal hasn’t ever lived anywhere that should really get mail except through a social worker and the blogger’s followers FLOODED her with cards. It was fun to be part of! More breakfasts:Banana Pancakes with Nutella Whipped Cream! Lunches coordinated or prepped in advance: I’ve been into bfast for lunch (like eggs!) and Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad I’d like to get the house a bit neater: ehh. I’m not sure I did much here Bullet journal – still keeping a meals list. What I’m reading: I finished My Year Abroad– mostly in April but finished in May and didn’t care much about it. I read The Four Winds and absolutely loved it. Since it is the same timing, at bookclub we re-read Grapes of Wrath and it isn’t great. I zipped through You Too? and it was really great. This Close to Okay was a captivating one. Wow, that’s a lot! What I’m Watching: We tried out Farmhouse Fixer and it is so fun! We’re also into $50K 3 Ways.
Such a fun way to have buffalo chicken and there’s lots of ways to customize yourself! I went mild on the spicy scale and below are lots of swaps to up the veggies.
Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad Ingredients: (for 2 meals, or 4 sides) 2 cups pasta 2 breaded chicken tenders 2 cups arugula 1 tablespoon hot sauce 3 tablespoons blue cheese or ranch dressing
Directions: Cook the pasta and the chicken and let cool to room temperature. Chop the arugula. Whisk together the dressing and hot sauce.
Mix together the pasta, arugula and dressing. Then add in the chopped chicken just before serving. Enjoy!
Go as spicy as you like! I like minimal but you could really go for it by tossing the chicken in buffalo sauce AND making the buffalo dressing! To go super mild, the hot sauce could be totally separate and sprinkled on per serving.
To make in advance, keep the chicken separate but the rest could be mixed ahead of time. Greens get a little wilty but a few hours lead time would work, or mix the pasta & the dressing and add in the chicken and veggies before serving.
While I was into the simplicity of it but more veggies would be great. Cucumbers and bell peppers would be awesome. I detest celery but that’s a natural fit and maybe chunks of carrots.
If nothing else, make this nutella whipped cream to even just eat by itself!
These pancakes are ebelskivers or pancake balls and all this would be just as delightful as a regular pancake but these little dip-able balls are a fun treat. Dipping into nutella whipped cream was pure magic.
Banana Pancakes with Nutella Whipped Cream Ingredients: Pancake mix + water (according to the mix) 1 ripe banana 1 cup heavy whipping cream 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar 1 tablespoon nutella
Directions: Put a metal mixing bowl and beaters into the freezer for at least 30 minutes before making the whipped cream. Mix together the pancake batter according to the package (mine was 1 cup mix to 2/3 cup water but did 1:1 for a runnier mix which helps when making ebelskivers). Chop the banana into slices for flat pancakes or dices for ebelskivers. Add the pancake mix to the warm, sprayed pan and add in the banana. Flip & keep warm when cooked. For the nutella whipped cream, beat the heavy whipping cream, vanilla, and confectioners sugar into whipped cream. Then add the nutella and beat until mixed. Serve the nutella whipped cream to dip & enjoy!
These were so fun! I forgot how much I like ebelskivers – it is the pancake version of a doughnut! Pieces of fruit and any kind of chips are great. Jelly is like molten lava and messy to add so we don’t do that anymore! They take a tiny bit of patience and practice but the small batch size is so helpful and they don’t stick to eachother when kept warm (or to freeze) so they’re easy to make in advance or bring somewhere!
You just might find me eating nutella whipped cream as dessert on the regular over here!
Crispy Fish with Poppyseed Slaw Ingredients: (for 2 servings) 4 breaded fish fillets (I use a variation of these) 2 cups shredded brussels sprouts 1/4 cup dried cranberries 1/4 cup poppyseed dressing 1 tablespoon dijon mustard 1 teaspoon lemon juice 2 pita pockets – optional
Directions: Cook the fish – I airfried mine for 12ish minutes. (They do well in the toaster oven for 15-20 minutes.) While the fish is cooking, mix together the shredded brussels sprouts, cranberries, dressing, dijon, lemon juice.
Serve the crispy fish over the slaw or in a pita with the slaw.
I loved this! It was great to have something I pigeon-hole into one set of flavors in a new way.
The slaw would be great with broccoli slaw, or cabbage, or shredded carrots- whatever you want! I intended to use broccoli slaw but it was sold out. The dressing is my go-to for slaw – coleslaw isn’t a signature dish and this bottled dressing is perfect. I never pick it for a regular salad but it is great to have on hand to mix slaw as needed.
Make your tacos for cinco de mayo and have the remaining fish around for these!
April has been lovely! We’ve turned the corner in my brain not needing to juggle nearly as much. T is at school full-time now and I think/hope that the multitasking nature of our own schedules with a kindergarten zoom schedule wrapping up means I less often feel like I’m just treading water.
This month, I loooved these Cuban Rice Bowls – maybe the most in my fam. It has great flavors and really diversifies pulled pork.
I made Breakfast Totchos, like nachos but with tots as the base with breakfast goodies like bacon, eggs, cheese, beans, green onions. I added a spicy maple drizzle. Delicious!
April was a good chance to intro some summery things while getting those last chances for wintery foods! We grilled and also ate lasagna. April to me is that reminder from Mother Nature of ‘did you want to wear a sweater one more time?’
The Little Girl: She suddenly wants to walk out of the stroller more often. The pace is slow but she listens well to hold hands or to get back in so I’m OK with it. For about a week straight we watched the diggers building sidewalks up the street. So fun. It is a-dor-able to hear her say “I’m so happy for chocolate/daffodils/swinging”. She occasionally wants “some lots” for desserts and also asks why things have the name they do- why is that called the deck? She’s so cute.
The Big Guy: School 5 days a week has been great. He loves it- though finds it tiring. He is into school lunch and I love giving him the 2 choices and guessing what he’ll pick. I have 99% accuracy. The convenience factor of not prepping or cleaning up from lunch is greatly appreciated and his astonishment that chocolate milk exists is comical. He’s starting tee-ball and I’m psyched he’s being brave and doing it. We just finished reading aloud Mouse and the Motorcycle.
Goals: Year of the fun mail! I sent off a birthday treat and also sent cards for the very best college friends as we’ve dubbed our apt number to be a holiday on that number-turned-into-a-date. More breakfasts: Totchos! Lunches coordinated or prepped in advance: it’s all leftovers or these Chicken, Broccoli & Rice Warm Wraps I’d like to get the house a bit neater: I’ve been going to town with a magic eraser. Bullet journal – I’ve been keeping a meals list. What I’m reading: I read Eight Hundred Grapes which was light and moderately entertaining and The Only Woman in the Room which was stellar and I couldn’t put it down. What I’m Watching: the Food Network Tournament of Champions is hands down, the best competition out there – they’re judging blindly! We did a few movies during school vacation: The Lands Before Time and Cars 2.
Think of a broccoli & rice & cheese but as a warm wrap- instead of a casserole! These wraps were so fun and an ideal way to use some leftovers!
Chicken, Broccoli, & Rice Warm Wraps Ingredients: (for 2 wraps) 1 cup brown rice (+ water/broth according to required prep) 1/2 broccoli head, cut into small florets 1 cup roasted chicken 1/2 cup white cheddar cheese, chopped or grated 2 large wraps 2 tablespoons dressing (optional – creamy caesar or Parmesan Peppercorn)
Directions: Prepare the rice (mine was brown rice for 10 minutes in the pressure cooker). Keep warm. Roast the broccoli with a drizzle of olive oil in a 400-degree oven for ~10 minutes until getting golden and crispy.
Assemble the wraps with half of each the rice, warm chicken, broccoli, and cheese.
Drizzle dressing, if using any. Heat a pan to medium heat with a drizzle of olive oil. If the wraps had been refrigerated (or a touch stale!) warm in the microwave for 10 seconds to be the most pliable. Roll the wraps by tucking the sides in then rolling from the bottom and tucking the sides in further until completely rolled. Then pan sear on each side, starting with the seam side down first. Cook for a few minutes on each side- a cover will help the cheese to melt. Let sit for 1-2 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!
I loved these! It is like a burrito – just without any particular identity. I like the balance of a whole grain (rice), as much veggie (broccoli) as protein (chicken) and some decadence (cheese & dressing) with just a few ingredients!
Most of this could be prepared in advance: the rice, the chicken, the roasted broccoli. These freeze well too – when freezing any burritos, I wrap in plastic and defrost overnight or in the microwave. Then to finish, I pan sear or bake the in toaster oven with a spray of non-stick spray. The goal is to defrost or warm slowly enough to heat all the way through, then give a little crunch to the exterior.
The technique to roll a burrito takes some practice not to over-fill and roll keeping the ingredients in, here’s a video of tucking the sides in as you roll away from yourself:
Tots turned into nachos, for breakfast! We’ve been watching The Great Food Truck Race: Alaska! and there’s a truck called “Some Like it Tot” and while I don’t envision them winning, the concept is still fun (spoiler: also their serving is about 6 tots with toppings for $15 so let’s make these at home, shall we?)
These are like a loaded breakfast hash of sorts but with tator tots. I’m always seeking savory breakfasts and this was so fun! It has tots, beans, cheese, eggs, bacon, green onions, and an optional spicy syrup!
Breakfast Totchos Ingredients: (for 2) 3 cups of tator tots (about 8-10 tots per person) 4 strips bacon 2 cups cheese 3 eggs 1/2 cup beans 2 green onions 2 tablespoons salsa 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce 2 tablespoons maple syrup
Directions: Bake the tator tots according to the package (mine were 20 minutes at 375 degrees). While the tots cook, pan fry the bacon until crisp- discarding the drippings. In the same pan, with a coating of drippings, cook the eggs to a soft-scramble. Layer half the cheese onto the tots and melt in the oven. Then assemble with half of the tots as a base layer, topped with half of the eggs, half the beans, half the green onions. Top with remaining tots and repeat, finishing with the remaining cheese. Bake to melt. Stir together the hot sauce and maple syrup. Out of the oven, add the salsa and a drizzle of spicy syrup. Enjoy!
There are lots of ways to customize these- any kind of beans, guac/avocado would be excellent, a sunny side up egg sounds good, or whatever you’re into for nachos. It is also a great use for any leftover nacho ingredients- not leftover nachos, that’s terrible.
Make them a build-your-own situation! There are a lot of tots made into a casserole for breakfast but the thought of them not being crispy is blasphemy in my book.
Normally I’d be very against maple syrup touching eggs but I was thinking of it like hot honey and the bacon seemed to be the connection there- and I went really minimally. Skip it or go just for hot sauce if you’re not feeling it!
Have you missed the grain bowls?! It has been awhile and I love love this format. We had these Cuban Rice bowls with inspiration from a cuban pressed sandwich – Pork, cheese, mustard, pickles. I didn’t have any ham but that would be traditional. These were fun for something different and have lots of ways to customize them.
Cuban Inspired Rice Bowls Ingredients: (serves ~4-5) 1 1/2 cups rice water/broth/bullion for the rice as dictated to prepare 1 1/2 cups pulled pork (or slices of cooked pork tenderloin) 2-3 pickle spears 1/4 cup white cheddar or swiss cheese 2 tablespoons yellow mustard 1 teaspoon honey 1/2 cup fried onions
Directions: Cook the rice – mine was 5 minutes in the pressure cooker and uses 2 1/4 cups water + bullion. Warm the pork in a pan until heated through. Chop the pickles & the cheese. Whisk or shake together the mustard and honey. Warm the fried onions in a dry pan for 1-2 minutes.
Assemble the bowls with rice, cheese, pork, pickles, and the crispy onions.
Then drizzle with honey mustard mixture and enjoy!
I loved these! Add in some chopped ham! Swap for the cheese you like! Use any kind of pickles you like- I like dill and the rest of the fam likes bread & butter pickles! Go for any grain or rice you’re into! I added the honey to the yellow mustard to mellow it out a bit but you could skip that too. The inspiration is a Cuban sandwich but I’d be open to more veggies or the mustard mixed into the rice too!
These were fun and a great deviation from other ways we enjoy pulled pork. I put a pork shoulder into the crock pot for 6 hours and this was one meal and we have ~4 more portions in the freezer for BBQ pulled pork or tacos or quesadillas or on pizza…the list goes on.
March felt so much brighter than February. I’m so glad people I know and love are getting vaccinated and I’m awaiting my turn. March had birthdays and spring weather both which make me so happy. February felt heavy and repetitive.
My fav thing to come out of the kitchen this month was this loaded Cobb Salad Turned Panini. So fun. I’ve not confirmed the difference between a cobb salad and a chef’s salad!
I’m excited for Easter brunch and treats. April will also mean full-time at-school kindergarten for Thomas! I cannot wait to eat outside and I love the daylight! I got matched once for Lasagna Love and I packed up a few things for some new mommies.
The Little Girl: She loves stickers and coloring. It was so exciting to get sandals out! She’s got sooo many stuffed friends in her bed- it is like flavor-of-the-week for preferences. She’s totally being 2.5 yrs old with some clapping her hands down and saying “but I got hurt” when she doesn’t want to hear or do something. We’re onto you little one. She is so happy to play in the sandbox again.
The Big Guy: I love to see the creations he crafts. Often it is an animal or something he’s just seen or heard about. He’ll draw snakes/hawks/eagles then color them, and carefully cut out. He’s about to start 5 days a week to school. He will love it. We love love love seeing how much he can read. We just finished Mr. Popper’s Penguins.
Goals: Year of the fun mail! I dropped a note to T’s fantastic kindergarten teacher. More breakfasts: Churro French Toast Sticks! Lunches coordinated or prepped in advance – Ehh. Not really. I’d like to get the house a bit neater: I think I nudged some small spots – like the wet bar in the kitchen and my dresser top. Bullet journal – I’ve been keeping a meals list. What I’m reading: I read I know Why the Caged Bird Sings and Text Me When You Get Home and Bel Canto. What I’m Watching: We loved Stanley Tucci’s series Searching for Italy! We watched Dark Waters and it was so impressive but disheartening.
All the perks of a Cobb salad without any of the lettuce! Lettuce really gets in the way of the fun stuff in a salad, right??? This panini has Cheese! Chicken! Ham! Avocado! Tomato! Blue Cheese Dressing!
I loved this grilled cheese with all the things.
Cobb Salad Panini Ingredients: 2 slices sourdough 1 slice ham 1/3 cup chopped chicken 3 slices cheese 1 small tomato 1/2 avocado 1/4 cup blue cheese dressing 2 teaspoons butter/olive oil/mayo
Directions: Heat a pan to medium heat. Assemble the sandwich with bread, half the cheese, ham, chicken, tomato, sliced avocado, and the remaining cheese. Spread butter or mayo or brush bread with olive oil. Cook the sandwich and grill on each side for ~ 2-3 minutes. Cover to melt the cheese. Remove from the heat and let sit for 1 minute before slicing. Dip into blue cheese dressing. Enjoy!
This was so fun. There’s a lot happening and it is one of those messy-delicious sandwiches you can barely put down. Good bread is necessary to hold up, and nothing makes a panini/loaded grilled cheese better than cheese on each side.
The defining elements of a cobb salad to me seems fuzzy compared to a chef’s salad. I’m not entirely sure what’s in one and not in the other? Either way, in a salad the hard boiled egg is ideal – I figured it might be a little weird here. Bacon would have been lovely, sliced turkey could definitely swap for the chicken. Go for what speaks to you.
Special sandwiches are so great for dinner – or make salads one meal and paninis for another!