From The Kitchen

I’m always a little behind with my cooking magazines. I get 4 or 5 a month, and it takes a little time to read them, decide which recipes will be a good fit for our family, and if anything needs to be subbed out to accommodate being GF & DF.

As a result I’m just now trying some of the recipes from the June Rachael Ray Magazine. Once again I’m finding tons of good stuff in her magazine. Most of my go to, 30 min, yummy meals are from Rachael Ray!

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I spilled too much Cotija Cheese on mine and was too hungry to make a fresh salad just for a photo.

I’m loving this Chorizo & Chicken Taco Salad from the June issue. It’s also on her site if you want to check it out: Chorizo & Chicken Taco Salad with Chipotle Dressing

I pretty much followed the recipe without any changes. For the dressing there is an option between acacia, honey, or agave syrup and I used honey. In the salad I forgot to add the green olives, so I don’t know how they add or take away from the salad.

I really love this recipe because you get rotisserie chicken, shred it up and cook some chorizo, which cooks really fast, so dinner is ready so fast, super easy, and accommodates individual taste if you let each person build their own salad.

Rather than toss it all together I tossed the lettuce and dressing together, and then left all the other ingredients separate so Mark and Sky could pick and choose what they want. For example I left the jalapeno’s, onion, and chorizo off of Sky’s salad and gave her extra chicken instead.

This is a great summer recipe and pairs well with a crisp, chilled white wine or margaritas.

 

Herb Garden Salad Dressing

I’ve struggled with my herbs this year. They grew like crazy last year, but this year….they just are not growing well at all.

I was surprised to find a small herb harvest the other day. I didn’t need them for cooking, but they were ready to harvest so I decided to make an herb infused salad dressing.

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Herb Garden Salad Dressing

-Cut fresh herbs: I used cilantro, dill, basil, flat leaf parsley and thyme.

-Put them in a mason jar  and add about 1/3 cup of vinegar, 1/3 cup of olive oil, and 1/3 cup of water.

-I added a few tablespoons of salt and pepper.

-Refrigerate overnight and taste test. Mine needed more salt and water.

-Remove herbs, use your infused dressing as is or add in additional oil/water/vinegar to fit your taste.

Super easy and a great way to control what goes on your salads! I would use it on green salads and fresh summer pasta salads as well.

 

Picture of Summer

 

I mean does anything say summer more than grilling ribs in a swimsuit?

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Between helping daddy grill steaks and helping Uncle Paul with ribs she’s going to be a grill master!

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Sadly, in W WA we are waiting for summer to kick in. It’s been cool, rainy, and gray since the 4th. Boo! Oh well, I guess that’s what socks with sandals, hoodies, and outdoor heaters are for.

Happy Summer…wherever you are!

 

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Today I’m so thankful to have amazing friends who are willing to spend hours in the kitchen, on a Saturday afternoon non-the-less, perfecting recipes, and providing valuable feedback as I work on my cooking class ideas. Since Cinco de Mayo was only a few days away I went with a Mexican menu for this class test run.

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Taco’s three ways top left – peasant pork tacos, top right beef brisket tacos, and bottom is my go to ground hamburger taco meat with fresh guacamole. 

 

You know it’s going to be a good time when you combine crazy good margaritas, maybe the best sangria I’ve ever had, hand-made tortillas, fresh guacamole, some pretty out of this world peasant pork and beef brisket tacos, and some seriously fun people!

A few tips from the day:

-Don’t drink too many margarita’s before the cooking is done! Thankfully this wasn’t an issue, but man they were good and I can see how things could get burned or forgotten really quick.

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This cucumber and jalapeno margarita was so good I’m still dreaming about it!

-Be ok with the possibility that something will escape from the blender and end up on the ceiling…that didn’t happen, but it was so close to hitting the ceiling!

-Don’t be afraid to try new things! I broke the rule and we tried two new taco meats, two new margarita’s, new sangria, and we were new to tortilla making. That’s a lot of potential for something to go wrong, but I/we went for it and it was so worth the risk!

-When the kitchen gets crowded set up a cooking station outside!

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Tortilla station outside since the kitchen counters & stove were already full.

-When all the burners on the stove are in use move it to the grill! Cast Iron is so versatile and can be used on almost any surface/heat source.

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This turned into the best peasant pork tacos…just amazing!

-Put on your official apron and make sure everyone knows what their task is. This was my first time “managing” people, several main dishes, sides, and different finish times. You know what…turns out I’m pretty good at it and everything was done (and done well) when it needed to be. It helps that my two helpers are foodies that know their way around the kitchen!

-Improvise as needed. I didn’t have a shaker for the margarita making, so I snagged one of our wide mouth Hydro Flask and it worked perfectly! P.S. if you don’t have a Hydro Flask…get one! We each have one and we use them daily…this is not a sponsored plug for them, just me sharing my two cents worth. We also ran out of counter space so I opened up my laundry area and we used the top of the washer & dryer since they are right there by the kitchen (behind Jake and Elya in the picture below).

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Jake and Elya prepping away! We had so much fun messing up my kitchen!

-The best part of a dinner party is the kitchen part. Invite your friends over early, serve some drinks or good wine, and put them to work. (It’s ok to let them see the mess behind the magic)! By the time the meal is ready you will have laughed, shared stories, learned something you didn’t know before, and when you sit down to eat together it’s going to taste that much better!

We had so much fun, and I can’t wait to test run another class idea!

But, first I have more tacos and margarita to enjoy today! Happy Cinco de Mayo!

 

 

From The Kitchen

I don’t know about you, but I tend to think of dinner as pasta & salad or meat and potatoes. Pretty traditional I guess, especially given how much I love to cook and how adventurous we are in our food choices.  I think I just want to provide hearty food that will people up.

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I tend to skip right over salad and sandwich options for dinner. But, the more we settle into Paleo/Whole30 way of eating the more comfortable I am exploring other options. It’s easy to get stuck in the grilled meat, roasted vegetable rut, but there are so many other options. Especially now that we’ve done Whole30 twice and know what the (almost) perfect balance is of adding a few things back in now and then (things like honey or coconut/almond flour to create paleo wraps etc).

In an attempt to switch things up a bit I decided to give the California Chicken Wraps from Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain, Meals Made Simple a try for dinner the other night, and I’m so glad I did!

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First let me say you should follow Against All Grain online! Even if you don’t have food allergy issues, and don’t really care about eating paleo, her recipes are good! Everything, from sauces & condiments, to starters and main meals have been a hit in our house!

She has two Cook Books I have the Meals Made Easy one (I’ll get the other one at some point…because having 30+ cookbooks it totally normal right?!) and I love it. It’s the one I grab the most when sitting down to make my two week menu.

Anyway, back to the chicken wraps…while I can’t share the recipe here, since it’s not my creation (you will have to get the cook book if you want the recipe) I can say it has honey-mustard grilled chicken, bacon, avacado, amazing paleo/Whole30 ranch herb dressing (that is way better than the Whole30 approved options I’ve been purchasing at the store!) and her famous (at least in this house) wraps that work in a multitude of recipes. They are really great to make at the beginning of the week and then have on hand, as needed throughout the week for lunches etc.

We found that using the lettuce as a cup to hold everything keeps the dressing from making the wrap soggy and falling apart. And, if you need a Whole30 version of this meal then just use the lettuce and skip the wrap, it’s still going to be yummy that way, and get Whole30 approved bacon (which I find at Whole Foods).

I foresee us eating this a lot, especially during the summer when something a little lighter and cooler will be refreshing. Especially when served with a nice, crisp white wine!