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Veggie & Chickpea Tacos

5/7/18



A couple of weeks ago, I had two of my sisters over for dinner.  They are vegetarian, gluten-free and one doesn't eat sugar, onions or garlic.  To say the least, I had to think carefully about what I served them, especially because I happen to be a meat-eating, sugar-toothed gluten lover.  It was a Tuesday night and naturally I was craving tacos, so I thought... veggie tacos!  For some added protein, I threw chickpeas into the mix.  I used corn tortillas (gluten-free) and resisted the overwhelming urge to add garlic (however did end up making crispy onions to serve on the side).    

I loosely followed this recipe from the lovely Baker Chick for the chickpeas and slaw (using bagged broccoli slaw instead of cabbage).  Then, I roasted some julienned zucchini, sweet potatoes and yellow onions in the oven (olive oil, salt and pepper, 400 degrees, 20 minutes or so) and added those to the tacos.  Finally, I *lightly fried sliced leeks in veggie oil until they got brown and crispy, and I sprinkled those on top of everything.  Queso fresco, avocado, radishes, hot sauce... done.

*I enjoy saying "lightly fried" because it makes it sound healthier when, in fact, there is nothing "light" about it.  I'm frying food, period.

These were SO tasty, and also filling.  I didn't miss the meat or the gluten (but maybe the garlic, because I have a problem).    



Skinny Spinach and Artichoke Dip

4/30/18


Well my friends, now that it appears spring blizzards are finally behind us, it's safe to start thinking about swim suit season.  Although, is it ever safe to think about that?  I just went online to look at a few, and the ones I like are backordered until August.  Excuse me??  Was I supposed to shop for swimsuits in January?  While I was eating hearty stews and drinking goblets of wine??  No thanks.  I guess I'll just drape myself in a fitted sheet and call it a day.  

However, if YOU found yourself a fabulous new swimsuit seven months ago, then maybe you're working on getting fit for those selfies by the pool (bahahaha... hahahahaha... HA, who does that?).  I have found the perfect snack for you.  This Spinach and Artichoke Dip uses greek yogurt in place of sour cream and much less cheese than traditional dips, yet it's just as creamy and delicious and the perfect vessel for all sorts of vegetables.  See?  Swim suit approved.        

One-Pan Sausage, Shrimp & Veggies

4/26/18


Ironically, leading up to the release of my cookbook, I haven't been cooking!  Is that actual irony?  I never really know, Alanis has me all confused.  Whatever it is, I do find it amusing.  We've had more take-out and meals that friends have graciously cooked for us in the last few weeks than we've had in a long time!  I should probably go ahead and add the pizza delivery guys to my will.

The truth is, I've been so busy trying to share what this cookbook stands for - which is that cooking should be simple, fun and delicious - that I've abandoned my kitchen in the process!  My kitchen is mad at me!  It's saying, "Siri, come back, you belong here..." because my kitchen talks, doesn't yours?

Therefore, to appease my talking kitchen and my family, I finally cooked dinner the other night.  I cooked it up, cooked it up real good.  And, surprise, surprise, I went with a simple, approachable, delicious recipe!  Can you tell I've been promoting my cookbook for the last month?  

One-pan dinners are my jam, if I was the type of person who said things like "my jam" - which I'm not.  They are easy, the flavors all marinate together, and clean-up is a breeze.  Here, I chopped up some veggies, added sausage and shrimp and a bunch of spices and, voila, dinner is done.  Serve it over rice, quinoa or pasta and you've got a yummy week-night dinner that you didn't slave over.  Perfect for those busy times which are, let's face it, all of the times.  Recipe below...    


One-Pan Sausage, Shrimp & Veggies
Serves 4-6
Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, sliced
1/2 lb. shrimp (cleaned and deveined)
1 bunch broccoli, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 leek, cleaned and sliced
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
Parmesan

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  On a large sheet pan, add all veggies and sausage.  Place shrimp in a bowl.  In a smaller bowl, add spices and mix to combine.  Sprinkle 2 tbsp olive oil over sausage and veggies.  Add most of seasoning, reserving about a tsp.  Toss to make sure everything is evenly coated.  Add the remaining olive oil and remaining seasoning to shrimp, and toss to combine.  Place sheet pan in oven and cook for 15 minutes.  Remove and flip veggies and sausage.  Cook for another 10 minutes.  Remove, flip again and add shrimp.  Cook for 5 more minutes.  Serve over pasta or rice with freshly grated Parmesan.    

The Book is Out!!!

4/17/18


It's here!  It's here!  
I wrote a book and it's here!  
Check you local bookstore!!
Or, you can still find it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble... 
(and I've always wanted to say this phrase)
"...or wherever books are sold!"

For a sneak peek, check out these videos.  I talk about the book, and I make some recipes from my favorite chapters... It's 5 O'Clock Somewhere and Sweet Treats (obviously).     






This process has been an insane, emotional journey and I'm full of gratitude for everyone that worked so hard to help make it happen... including YOU.  You are my favorite :)  

Book Signings!!

3/30/18


Now that March is almost over, the countdown is officially on for April 17th when... my cookbook is officially released!  Can I sign yours?  Pretty please, with chocolate chips on top??

Remember, you can pre-order now at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

See below for my upcoming signings.  I would love to meet you!


NEW YORK CITY
Saturday, April 14th - 12PM
Williams Sonoma Columbus Circle

NEW YORK CITY
Thursday, April 19th - 10AM
NBC Studios Store at Rockefeller Plaza

MINNEAPOLIS, MN
Thursday, May 10th - 7PM
Magers & Quinn

HACKETTSTOWN, NJ
Thursday, May 17th
An Evening of Wine and Roses 
Ticketed event, benefits Newton Medical Center

BEVERLY HILLS, CA
Sunday, May 20th - 1PM
Williams Sonoma Beverly Hills

Roasted Salmon with Chiles and Leeks

3/28/18


Does it feel impossible for anyone else to get stuff done lately?  My to-do list has reached comical highs, proving March Madness isn't just a sport thing.  ("A sport thing" - as you can see, I'm really into it!)  It always seems to be a busy month as we transition from winter to spring, activities ending and others starting, vacations from school, holidays, and already planning for summer.  Am I stressing anyone out with this talk?  Sorry not sorry!  #venting

So the other night, I was overwhelmed from a day of eleventy (favorite non-number) errands, and I didn't want to cook.  We had gone out or been at someone's house for dinner the previous three nights in a row, so I knew it was time to make something myself, but I felt like a kid being forced to take a nap... "I DON'T WANNA!"  (I think moms should be allowed one proper temper tantrum a week.) 

Alas, I had already gone to the store... I had already bought food that I had no plan for... so I put on my big-girl panties and started cooking... a lovely image, yes.

Carson usually grills salmon, but recently I've been seeing slow-roasting methods of our favorite fish, so I thought I'd give it a try!  I made a simple marinade consisting of red chili paste, olive oil and garlic, poured it over salmon in a baking dish, topped it all with sliced lemons and put it in the oven.  As it slowly-roasted, I lightly fried some leeks in oil until they were crispy.  When the salmon was cooked, I scattered the crunchy onions on top of the fish, and sprinkled it all with chives.  

It, was, so, good!  You use extra commas like that when you really mean it.  The flavors had taken their time soaking into each bite, and the salmon was light and perfectly flaky with a yummy, salty crunch from the leeks.  Most importantly... it was easy!  A great dish for lazy nights.  Recipe below...   


Roasted Salmon with Chiles and Leeks 
Adapted from Bon Appetit
Serves 4

1.5 pounds center-cut salmon filet, cut into pieces
3 tablespoons red chili paste
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1 leek, washed and sliced
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons chives, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 275.  Place salmon filets into baking dish and season with salt and pepper.  In a small bowl, whisk together red chili paste, olive oil and garlic.  Pour evenly over salmon and place lemon slices on top.  Place dish in oven and roast for 15 minutes.  Remove and baste fish, then place back in oven for another 15-20 minutes, until salmon is cooked through.

While salmon is roasting, heat vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add leeks, and sauté until they start to brown and crisp.  Make sure to stir frequently, as they can burn quickly.  Remove and place on a paper towel-lined plate.  Season with salt.  

Place leeks and chives over salmon and serve.

M&M Piñata Cake

3/19/18


Hey party people!  My son turned NINE last week.  NINE.  NINE TIMES.  (Bueller, anyone?)  That's so old.  As Carson pointed out, he's halfway to 18, at which point he'll leave us forever (orrrr, maybe he'll go to a local college and live in our basement until his 40's...I'm okay with that, I think).  We celebrated on Thursday, his actual birthday, with an Italian dinner out and then cake at home.  Since he's getting older and a Yo Gabba Gabba cake will no longer suffice, I had to get creative.  I've been curious about these "piñata" style cakes for awhile now - the ones that are sliced open to reveal an inside full of candy - but I wanted him to think it was just a regular old cake...

...bwa ha ha.  Bwahahahahaha.  That's my evil, sneaky laugh.

So I baked it while he was at school, following this tutorial, and it was pleasantly easy to pull off!  I followed a recipe from MY BOOK for my favorite yellow cake (you TOO can have this recipe when the book comes out on April 17th!!!), and sliced each layer in half, resulting in four layers.  I cored out two layers using a large, circular cookie cutter, and then placed them all on top of each other with the cored layers in the middle, icing in between each.  One of the layers broke apart, but I was able to use frosting to glue it back together.  Problem solved!  We filled the center with mini m&m's - but you could use sprinkles or bite-sized candy bars... anything your heart desires!  


Explosion!!!


It's like a barfing candy cake, or something that sounds more appetizing.  

Two thumbs up!!

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