Construction done…for now

The kitchen is done!

Granted, the kitchen has been done for several months but I now know where everything is.

We ended up taking on a lot more than intended including replacing the subfloor, ugh. I did learn how to use the tilesaw though and tiled the floors and backsplash.


I’m obsessed with the countertops and I sure as hell should be given the cost of granite these days. By far my favorite piece is the waterfall edge on the countertop. It’s so pretty, unique, and I just love it!

I’ve cooked many staple meals since we completed the kitchen and can’t wait to start busting out new recipes!


More to come!

Under Construction

Slowly but surely I am climbing out of construction purgatory. “Under construction” is quite literal as the home I bought turned into more of a project than anticipated. Thank the lord I am not going at this alone and my boyfriend turns out to be quite the handyman/Google researcher! To add to the madness, I decided to put my house on the market while under construction -clearly I am off my rocker! The kitchen at the new house, we call her Lizzy, was supposed to be a “down the road” project. Well, it was all the drywalls fault and shitty 60 cabinets. So IKEA kitchen planner and I are becoming fast frenemies! As a Swede myself, even I can say…wtf?!?!

Kitchen(above) pre-demo

The above was the original stove!


Kitchen post demo

Now the exciting part of all of this are the new appliances! How do you know you’re adulting?! You ask your love for a 5 burner gas range with a double oven for your birthday/Christmas present! Eeekkksss I am so excited!

I have eaten so much pizza, chic fil-a, and pre-made trader joes salads that I am giddy for the day I can cook an actual meal!

Butternut Squash Stuffed Pasta Shells




IMG_3053
This butternut squash stuffed shells recipe is the epitome of a hearty dish.  It’s not packed with meat, on the contrary, it’s vegetarian but so flavorful.  I have tried different versions of this recipe and this is by far my favorite and it just so happens to require less steps, go figure!

IMG_3050

Now, you can absolutely use the frozen chunks of butternut squash purchased at the store and defrost it. I just so happened to have a butternut squash that needed to be used so I roasted it.  Now, I will say that the roasting does caramelize the squash giving it a sweeter and richer flavor.  I roasted the squash the day before which worked just fine as I did endless loads of laundry.

IMG_3051

IMG_3052

I also had some fresh mozzarella leftover that I wanted to use that I actually may not use again.  I can’t believe I am saying this, BUT, it was too much cheesiness.  Not something I really believe in as I probably eat cheese at every meal.  I could live like a Parisian and eat cheese, cured meats, and drink wine every day.  However, in this instance I should I have stuck with just the shredded mozzarella.

Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells – Serves 4

The Goods:

  • 3 Cups butternut Squash (roasted or defrosted)
  • ½ C. Ricotta Cheese
  • ½ C. Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • 12 oz. Jump Pasta Shells
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper

The Process:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  2. Defrost the Butternut Squash
  3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta shells according to the package
  4. Once done, drain and let cool, set aside
  5. In a food processer, mix the butternut squash and ricotta together, until it’s smooth
  6. Season the mixture with salt and pepper
  7. Oil the bottom and sides a glass baking dish 9 x13 so the shells don’t stick
  8. Stuff each shell with about 1 Tablespoon of the mixture, just enough to fill each.
  9. Lay each in the baking dish
  10. Top with shredded mozzarella and fresh cracked pepper
  11. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes until the cheese has melted
  12. Let cool and serve

Reverse Sear – Ribeye Steak

IMG_2952IMG_2948

Yes I am so beyond late for contributing to this thing.  I don’t have a good excuse either, I’m always cooking a ton but I forget to take pictures of what I make.  So here is one of the simple things I made that I feel compelled to share.  When it comes to steak, I am picky and am usually not a Ribeye fan.  I really detest fat hence my natural inclination to Filet.  However, I saw some Ribeye steaks at the store that looked pretty good and decided “what the hell” I’ll go all out for the man tonight.  Well, it paid off!  For the guy who rarely is speechless or struggles to find words he was.  He ate each bite slowly and almost purrs “mmm” takes another bite “mhmmm.”  SUCCESS!

IMG_2945

IMG_2946

Yes this was another easy recipe, shocker right?!  I’m all about it!  What I liked about this technique is the sear stays crispy whereas when you sear first and cook later you loose that crispy outside.  Now, does it make a huge difference?  I don’t know if I would notice if it was seared first or after nor would be picky enough to snuff off a steak dinner.  I am always interested in trying new techniques and will use this one again.

IMG_2947

This was after the steaks cooked in the oven

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 Ribeye Steaks – I got the thin cut
  • Grill mates Steak rub
  • Roasting pan or any pan with sides
  • Cooling rack (like the kind you use for cookies)
  • Cast Iron pan

This is what I did:

  1. Preheat over to 250 degrees
  2. Cover both sides of the Ribeyes with the Grill Mates rub evenly (don’t overdo it)
  3. I put the cooling rack on top of the pan and then placed the Ribeyes on it.
  4. Cook for 20 minutes (for the thin cut, 40 minutes for the regular cut) or until thermometer reads 165
  5. Heat you cast iron man on high heat until toasty
  6. Place the Ribeyes in the hot pan and let brown and crust on each side for about 1 minute (the corners should be a dark brown/black color).
  7. Enjoy!

 

 

Cauliflower Soup

Soup

Soup season has arrived and this recipe was at the top of my list to make.  I made a few substitutes from the original recipe in my Food and Wine Magazine and I think it turned out great.  It was really quite easy to make and will definitely make it again.

Cauliflower Soup – Serves 4-6 

The Goods:

  • One 2 1/2 lb. Head of cauliflower, cored
  • 1/4 C. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Leek, white and light green parts only (clean the stalks and coarsely chop)
  • 1 Large garlic clove, minded
  • 1 Large baking potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3/4 C. dry white wine (I used a Chardonnay and yes drank a glass too)
  • 1 Quart chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 1/4 C Milk (recipe calls for heavy cream)
  • 1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste

The Process:

  1. Cut the cauliflower into coarse pieces about 1 inch.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat 2 tbs. olive oil.
  3. Add the leek, garlic, and a generous pinch of salt and cook over medium heat until soft.
  4. Stir in the potato, red pepper flakes, and chopped cauliflower
  5. Add the wine and cook over high heat until reduced by half (4 minutes)
  6. Add the stock and bring to a boil
  7. Reduce to moderate heat and let simmer until the vegetables are tender (30 minutes)
  8. In a blender, puree the soup in batches until very smooth.
  9. Return to the pot and add the milk/cream and stir well to incorporate.
  10. Add salt and pepper to taste

Grilled Artichokes

IMG_2331A favorite restaurant in town serves grilled artichokes as an appetizer during the summer that are positively heavenly.  It’s a guarantee that I will order them so after my Birthday dinner comprising of said Grilled Artichokes, I was determined to re-create them at home.  The result was perfection!

Honestly, they are so easy to make you just need to have the time to boil the artichokes first before throwing them on the grill.

IMG_2326

These should be a staple of everyone’s entertaining menu during the summer.  Plus they are so pretty that you hardly need a centerpiece for decoration; instead you eat it!  Lemons in a bowl are out, Grilled Artichokes are in!

IMG_2330

Try these, you will not be disappointed.  Unless you don’t like artichokes and then you have bigger problems!

 

Grilled Artichokes with Aoili – Serves 4

*Make the Aioli ahead of time and let sit in the fridge while the artichokes are cooking/grilling.

Aioli

  • 1 Egg Yoke
  • 1/4 C. Mayo
  • 1.5 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice (a bit of the zest as well)
  • 1 tsp Olive Oil
  • Pinch of Salt and Pepper
  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl well.  Taste to adjust seasoning.
  2. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

2 Artichokes

  1. Trim the tops of the 2 Artichokes as well as tops of the leaves and a bit of the bottom stem.
  2. Fill a pot of water and bring to a boil.
  3. Heat the Grill to high heat.
  4. Boil the Artichokes whole for about 30 minutes.
  5. Pull them out of the boiling water and put in an ice bath to stop the cooking (water and ice cubes)
  6. Once cool, cut in half.
  7. Scoop out the fuzzy hairs inside.
  8. Cover the flesh side in olive oil and salt and pepper.
  9. Place artichokes flesh side down on the grill and let cook for about 10 minutes.  Check on them to see if they have a good char on them.  May need to adjust cooking time accordingly.
  10. Remove from the grill once the right char has been achieved and serve with the Aioli.

 

 

 

 

Lite Turkey Taco Salad

IMG_2495

I know my entire family tries to eat lighter and let’s be honest, it’s better for us and we typically feel better too.  My sister shared this recipe with me while experimenting with lighter dinner options while on her diet.  By the way she lost 50 pounds and looks fantastic.  This taco salad substitutes the higher fat content from ground beef with lean ground turkey meat without losing the flavor.  I know some of you might be thinking, “well turkey is so bland in flavor.”  Yes you are right but it is a great substitute because it can take on so many different flavor profiles without being too overpowering.

IMG_2496

This is a one pot recipe that is so quick to make and delicious that you need this in your recipe arsenal.  If you don’t want the taco salad version, you can use the filling in tacos and I am going to use the leftovers as the stuffing inside Stuffed Poblanos!

 

Lite Turkey Taco Salad

Serves 4-8 mouths

The Goods:

  • 1 Lb. Ground Turkey (90% lean)
  • 1/2 Pkg. Taco Seasoning (I got mine from Trader Joes)
  • 1 12 Oz. Can Diced Tomatoes (with juice)
  • 1 12 Oz. Can Can Back Beans (strained)
  • 1 12 Oz. Can Corn – Drained
  • 1 Carrot – Grated
  • 1 Zucchini – Sliced in half and then sliced into 1/4 inch pieces.
  • 1 Head Shredded Cabbage
  • Shredded Cheese (I used cheddar) *Optional
  • 1-2 Avocado (cubed)
  • Sour Cream/Greek Yogurt *Optional
  • Tortilla Chips *Optional

 

The Process:

  1. In a large skillet, cook the turkey, tomatoes, zucchini, corn, taco seasoning, and black beans until cooked through (about 5 mins).
  2. Remove from heat and let cool.
  3. On a clean plate, put a handful of shredded cabbage in the middle of the plate.
  4. Top the cabbage with the taco mixture.
  5. Garnish with cubed Avocado, Greek Yogurt/Sour Cream, Cheese, and Tortilla Chips