This Weeks Menu

I can already tell this week is going to be very busy. So many new projects for work, including at least one day with a late meeting, and one day with a photoshoot in the evening. I’m hoping to still get a chance to make good dinners most nights. I just might need to prep earlier in the day or even get things ready the night before. It’s all about time management, right?

Monday: Simple Greek Salad & Leftovers

Tuesday: Out

Wednesday: Maple Dijon Pork

Thursday: Spaghetti and Meatballs

Friday: Curried Lentils and Chickpeas

Saturday: Out

Sunday: Chicken Sausage Skillet

Creamy (Two Ingredient!) Fettuccini Alfredo

If you ask what my favorite meal is, 9 times out of 10 I will say fettuccini alfredo. My dad used to make this for me when I was young and it was always the best thing ever. He would make it for my birthday and all my friends’ birthdays, or whenever I had a sleepover and we wanted a special meal.Super Easy Fettuccini Alfredo

Clearly I only had spaghetti on hand when the urge to make this struck, and honestly it’s just as good. But yes, I am aware that this picture is not truly fettuccini!

It’s super filling and delicious, and for the longest time I did not realize just how simple it is. I’ve seen recipes for fettuccini alfredo that have more ingredients, and I’ve never known why. There is literally nothing else you would need to put in this sauce to make it better. I also never understood why people bought jarred alfredo sauce since buying the ingredients for this homemade version only requires one more item in your shopping cart and it tastes so much better.

This is the best and most simple pasta you will ever make. Your friends will all think you are some amazing cook and you don’t need to tell them how simple it is. It’s also great for guests, because it’s so filling that one box of pasta is definitely enough. Start will small portions and go from there! It’s not diet food, but you can only eat a small amount anyway, and it’s only once in a while right? It’s so worth it.

:Creamy Two Ingredient Fettuccini Alfredo:

INGREDIENTS

1 pint of light cream

1 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (or pre-shredded), plus more for sprinkling

1/2 box fettuccini (or spaghetti!)

ASSEMBLY

Heat a pot of water to a boil and add in the pasta. Cook until al dente, according to package instructions. Meanwhile, slowly heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. When it becomes warm, begin adding in the grated cheese little by little, stirring constantly. Strain the pasta well and set aside. Once all of the cheese has been added to the cream and is fully melted and incorporated, add the pasta to the sauce carefully. You may want to add it little by little to make sure you get each strand fully covered. Alternatively, you can dish the pasta into dishes and then pour the sauce over the pasta. Garnish with fresh or dried parsley (if you have it) and extra cheese. Enjoy immediately.

This Weeks Menu

I can already tell this week is going to be another hectic one. All I want is a nice relaxing, slow, lazy week, and you would think that with a Monday holiday this week, there would be a chance of the next four days being that. But no, I know they won’t. All the meetings and things that I would have normally spread out between Monday and Tuesday are crammed in for Tuesday now, including two things rescheduled from last week. Wednesday, the Mr is being sworn in as an official citizen of this fine country, so we’ll be out for the afternoon and will probably do a late lunch/early dinner that day with family and friends who come to celebrate. After that the week should return somewhat to normal for the next couple days, but I know that there will be a lot of catching up on work and everything. I am going to try to stick to the plan and eat good meals each night and take the time to cook. I picked fairly easy things that should be quick to put together and satisfying to eat.

Monday: Chuck steak & potatoes

Tuesday: Chicken Tikka Masala

Wednesday: Out

Thursday: Quinoa Burgers & Sweet Potato Fries

Friday: Brown Sugar Baked Chicken Legs

Saturday: Fettuccini Alfredo

Sunday: Homemade Bacon Pizza

Brown Butter Banana Bread from Seriously Delish

Last week Jessica Merchant from How Sweet It Is, my favorite blog ever, came to Boston for a book signing of her brand new cookbook Seriously Delish. I have never bought a book as soon as it came out until this one- I made the Mr order it for me like the week it came out. I’ve been reading through the whole thing cover to cover like a novel, which I’ve also never done before with a cookbook. But there’s a little blurb to read with each recipe and it’s almost like getting a mini blog post on every single page.

Anyway, last week I went to see the writer and had her sign my book! I figured after that I couldn’t wait any longer to make one of the recipes, even if I hadn’t finished reading through the whole thing yet. Deciding what to make was the hard part. Glancing through the pages I had already read, I stopped today on the brown butter banana bread. Today was one of those days where I woke up feeling exhausted already and had a lot of trouble getting motivated. The windows were still open, but it was super windy and had a fall chill to the air. I was in the mood to be cozy and have the house smell nice. Also I didn’t want to have to go to the store to get any ingredients I wouldn’t already have. Banana bread seemed perfect. I had everything I needed and it was a perfect excuse to use up all bananas I keep sticking in the freezer as they turn brown. brown butter banana bread

I ended up only using three bananas. The recipe says to use about four mushy bananas, or about 1 1/4 cup. I had over 1 1/4 cups with only three bananas (I don’t know if this was partly because I was too impatient to let them totally defrost and the iciness added a bit of volume, or what, but it came out perfect). I also added a little extra cinnamon because I was in a cinnamony mood. The bread came out nicely. Not dry at all, very moist, but not overly moist and mushy which sometimes happens to me with banana bread.

All in all, a great success for my first recipe from Seriously Delish. I can’t wait to make another one!

:Brown Butter Banana Bread from Seriously Delish:

INGREDIENTS

1 stick of butter, browned

1/2 cup loosely packed brown sugar

1/2 cup canned coconut milk

4 very ripe bananas, mashed- about 1 1/4 cup (I only used 3)

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 2/3 cup whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (I used 1/2 teaspoon)

ASSEMBLY

1 Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 5×9 inch loaf pan with nonstick spray.

2 In a large bowl, whisk together the browned butter and brown sugar. Once it is combined, stir in the coconut milk, bananas, eggs, and vanilla extract. In a small bowl, whisk together the four, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

3 Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix them with a large spoon until just combined. Pour the batter into the greased loaf pan. Bake the bread for 60 to 65 minutes, rotating the pan once during the cooking time. Remove the bread from the oven and let cool in the loaf pan for 20 minutes, Gently remove the bread and place on a cutting board or counter lined with parchment paper. Let cool completely before cutting. <- Yeah right!

This Week’s Menu

We’ve been so busy lately that it’s been easy to go way too many days in a row without cooking and eating a real good balanced meal. I’m trying to make a conscious effort to eat meat for dinner, with vegetables, even though the only thing I ever really want these days is carbs on carbs on carbs. While I have been entirely happy as a clam living off of pizza and cereal (all the kinds!) this really needs to stop. Or at least be balanced out by good quality dinners. I made an effort to buy meat at the store the other day to put in the freezer for upcoming dinners, and then *actually* take it back out to defrost in time to make it for dinner. [Yesterday I may have scarfed down two bowls of rice chex while the chicken cooked, and then wasn’t even hungry when it was ready, but that’s neither here nor there– at least I cooked it!]

Working with restaurants like I do, I end up ‘going out’ for dinner way more often than a normal person. Usually it means that I either have a late meeting and will eat while I am there so won’t cook when I get home, or I bring something home from the restaurant to eat later, so I still don’t cook. I’m not actually going out out multiple times a week!

This weekend my aunt, uncle & cousins are going to be in town, so I’m not sure if I’ll actually end up cooking or not. But I like to plan as if I will either way, and we’ll see how it really pans out!

MENU

Monday: Pan seared steak, roasted vegetables

Tuesday: Honey mustard chicken

Wednesday: Out

Thursday: Pasta with pesto

Friday: Out

Saturday: Broccoli Quinoa Casserole

Sunday: Sweet & Sticky Chicken Drumsticks

Cheesy Italian Herb Popcorn

Growing up my family never had a microwave. I didn’t notice it was that weird really, as I had never been used to having one and never really thought twice about it until friends would come over and find it shocking that we didn’t have one. The only time I ever missed having a microwave was once I discovered microwave popcorn. It was the biggest treat ever for me when I would go over to my friends’ houses and be able to make microwave popcorn during sleepovers. It’s still one of my favorite treats, although shortly after discovering it, I also discovered how bad it was for you and realized I should not be eating it much. Even once I had my own microwave in college I would only buy microwave popcorn once in a very blue moon.

cheesy italian popcorn

One upside to the whole growing up with no microwave thing, was that I knew how to make stovetop popcorn from a very young age. Yes, we did still eat popcorn when I was young, and for a while I didn’t even realize that there was another kind besides what my family made, which was a whole different genre of popcorn. While stovetop and microwave popcorn are two totally different things, I have always also loved stovetop popcorn too. One of the best parts is that you can customize it so much. Our go to in my family was to pour melted butter over the popcorn and add brewers yeast. Later on, I discovered different options and began playing around with other toppings. One of my current favorites is parmesan cheese with some garlic powder and Italian seasonings. A bit of all my favorite things!

:Cheesy Italian Herb Popcorn:

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup popcorn kernels

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon parmesan cheese shake

1 teaspoon salt, plus additional shake

1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning

shake of pepper

ASSEMBLY

Place medium pot over medium-high heat and add vegetable oil and popcorn kernels and a shake of salt. Place top on pot and give it a good shake so that the kernels are covered by the oil and distributed along the bottom of the pot. Let sit until popcorn starts popping, giving additional shakes to the pot periodically to mix it all up and keep the kernels moving. Once you can count more than three seconds between pops, turn off the heat and pour popcorn into a large bowl. Add seasonings and mix it in. Enjoy!