The easiest method to cook perfect chicken breasts every time!

Go-To Basic Chicken Breasts

It’s no secret that I don’t cook a lot of meat. I actually counted the recipes on my blog. There are 49 entree & appetizer recipes on this blog. 37 of those are vegetarian. Only 6 recipes on the blog actually need meat to be what I would consider successful (i.e. Spicy Orange Glazed Chicken). One of my New Year’s resolutions was to learn to cook more meat. Not really because I feel I need to eat more meat. I’m plenty happy with my chickpeas and quinoa, but I do think not being afraid of raw meat is a good life skill to have. So today, I decided to share my newly discovered go-to way to cook chicken, along with a simple sauce/ marinade that’s super adaptable so you can make it work with whatever you have in mind for the week.

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A warm, comforting, bowl of sweet potato noodles smothered with a tangy avocado and arugula sauce make a perfect weeknight dinner.

Sweet Potato Noodles with Avocado Arugula Sauce

Hellooo! And Happy New Year. It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? Sorry about that. I didn’t mean to leave you Guac-less for so long, but the Holiday season always seems to get away from me. But I’m back, and ready to scarf down these sweet potato noodles every chance I get. This recipe looks rather virtuous doesn’t it? Let’s pretend I did that for all you resolution makers, and not because I was testing out my new spiralizer that I got for my birthday last month.

Approximately one and a half years ago, my apartment reached capacity for kitchen gadgets. And yet, somehow I decided I could make one more exception, and asked for a new spiralizer for my birthday. Let me just say, it’s even better than I could have expected. In case you’re not familiar with the gadget, I’ll enlighten you. Very simply, it’s a tool that turns your food into spiral shaped noodles. In my case, I used it to make these delicious sweet potato noodles.  Covered in avocado, the noodles make a dinner that’s easy enough for Monday night, and fancy enough to be a guest-worthy dinner.

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A delicious, healthy, soup packed with flavor and delicious veggies - it'll warm you right up!

Creamy Vegetable Noodle Soup

Perhaps the last few weeks have also left you in need of some good old fashioned comfort food. Something warm, something familiar, and something that will let you relax and enjoy a cozy dinner in the best company. If that’s the case, I declare this creamy vegetable and noodle soup to be just what you need. It’s the kind of soup that warms you up from the inside out and leaves you totally satisfied, without feeling sick about the amount of food you just ate. The recipe itself is adapted from a more traditional chicken noodle soup – I simply made it vegetarian friendly and am bringing it to you today in the hope that a bowl of it brings you a small amount of comfort and joy.

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Roasted veggies and quinoa tossed with a tangy lemon dressing make the perfect hearty salad.

Roasted Cauliflower & Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad

This roasted veggie salad is the kind of salad that salad-haters will love. Is it even really a salad if it doesn’t have lettuce? I’m not sure, but we’re going to go with it, because the only other descriptor I have is “food in a bowl”. In fact, when people ask me what I make for dinner, “food in a bowl” is my most common answer. The whole separate protein, veggie, and grain thing just doesn’t fit my lifestyle (read: seems too complicated). Throwing it all in a bowl and calling it dinner always seems like a much better way to go. Then you don’t have to waste time taking individual bites of everything, right?

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Individual spinach artichoke pizzas are easy enough to be the perfect weeknight pizza: fast, full of veggies, and topped with plenty of cheese!

Spinach Artichoke Pizza with Sweet Potato Crust

Ahh, the end of August. For many people that means it’s time to go back to school. For me, it usually means a little bit of a slow down in work – my clients and coworkers are on vacation, spending time with family, and just trying to soak up the last couple days of summer. A necessary reprieve before the end of the year rush hits. I’ve been packing everything I can into this past month, including hosting friends, checking out my favorite Chicago events, and just generally trying to be outside.

That also means I’ve been cooking less, so when I do make something, it has to fit into my summer schedule, and this sweet potato pizza fit the bill perfectly. First of all, it’s marginally healthier than regular pizza (think of all those vitamins in the sweet potato!), and second of all it’s super easy to make. Listen up, and I may just convert you to a potato-pizza eater.

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Simple Kale Salad with cranberries, pepitas and a fresh lemon dressing

The Simplest Kale Salad

Simplicity is a beautiful thing. Over the past month (where did the time go?!), I feel like I’ve been running around from place to place, so when I’ve been back home, simple is about all I can handle in the food department. Three ingredients and a quick homemade dressing are all you need to make this easy kale salad. It works as lunch, with maybe some grilled chicken on top, or just a side to whatever graces the dinner table.

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Eggplant stuffed with ground turkey, veggies, and covered in cheese!

Turkey & Veggie Stuffed Eggplant

You know what I think we should all do more often? Take a vacation in our home cities. For me, this is also known as “having visitors,” because they provide a great excuse to see the tourist sites, pick out special places to eat, and revisit old haunts. I got the best of both worlds when my Mom was in town for a visit recently; we did plenty of exploring and restaurant-hopping, but also got a chance to put together a few home-cooked goodies.

We made these stuffed eggplants for dinner one night, and we were both big fans! Of course, it’s not all that surprising that the two of us would gravitate to this dish given the chance. We never ate much eggplant growing up, as my dad likes to refer to it as “the evil purple fruit,” so with just the girls around, we could make as much eggplant as we wanted!

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BLTs made with Turkey Bacon, dressed up with avocado and honey mustard are super comforting, tasty lunch or dinner.

BLT, Dressed Up

Technically, I think this should be called a TBLTA (Turkey Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato & Avocado), but that seemed like a bit of a mouthful, so I like to think of this as a regular old BLT, just dressed up a bit. There’s something super classic and comforting about a traditional BLT. I remember eating them as a kid, except I would request them with no lettuce – just good old bacon, tomato & mayo. Since my tastes have changed a bit since then, I thought I’d adapt this to be a bit more “grown up”. Don’t worry, grown up BLTs are just as delicious as their kid-friendly versions.

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Beet Hummus - slightly sweet, a little tangy, and such a gorgeous color!

Beet Hummus (and my favorite way to eat it!)

It’s no secret that turquoise is my favorite color. From my blog color scheme, to my apartment decor – it’s pretty hard to forget my affinity for a rather specific shade of blue. However, I will admit that there aren’t very many tasty looking turquoise foods (this is probably as close as we get). Instead, I usually turn to pink foods (see here, here, and here). This beet hummus is just next in line in my pink food fascination.

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Lentils are turned into a hearty vegetarian dinner with this Puttensca style sauce.

Lentils Puttenesca

I talk a lot about my Mom’s cooking – how she instilled a love of cooking in both my sister and I, how I aspire to have her repertoire of “on the fly” meals – but I sometimes forget that her origins of cooking love came from my Grandmother. Last week I was lucky enough to enjoy two of my Grandmother’s specialties, which inspired my lentil-based meal tonight. I’m not sure whether it’s the tapered candles that always adorn the table, the well-balanced meals, or the homey flavors, but there’s something truly comforting about a Grandmother-cooked meal. This lentil dish is the perfect way to bring that comfort with you wherever you are.

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