Whole 30 Week 3 – It’s all downhill from here

So we made it through a weekend in Syracuse, complete with three large meals with extended family – and desserts at each!  If you’ve ever been to the Cheesecake Factory and seen their chocolate tower cake – my dad bought an entire cake of that for dessert the first night, and then when the 12 or so people only ate 1/3 of it, he brings it to the other family gathering the next night…and then there was still about half of the cake left and told us we could take some home and freeze it (we declined).  But we did get to eat some good steak and crab legs, and see a lot of family members and friends and meet some babies that were born in June!  It was a busy but great trip, as most of our visits home are 🙂

So we’re back in DC and into the second half of our whole30.   Here’s a look at what we had this week, as well as links to recipes:

Breakfasts: mostly eggs, and some more of that homemade turkey sausage I shared from last week.  When we’re running late we have lara bars to grab n go and I’ve been hard-boiling some eggs in advance to have those ready to go too.

Lunches – mostly leftovers.

Snacks – bananas, almonds, pistacchios, Trader Joe’s ‘Just Mango’, lara bars (they have a list of approved ones here), apples with almond butter, and remnants of the beef jerky Matt made a couple weeks ago and  we had a few of these delicious energy bars left from the batch Matt made last week so that continued to be a treat 🙂

Dinners – Last Sunday we were at a BBQ with Matt’s family and brough out own homemade spiedie sauce (bc all the bottled ones have sugar and/or MSG…which is no bueno on the whole30).  I’ve actually had the marinade recipe for a long time and have meaned to try it out but never had any marjoram, but thanks to our Penzey’s trip a couple weeks ago we have some and will probably go homemade from now on. It was delicious! For those of you not from upstate NY – spiedies are bite sized chunks of chicken, marinated a specific way, and then grilled, usually on skewers.  They’re also meant to be eaten kind of as a sandwhich on thin sliced italian bread, but obivously we can’t do that on the whole30.  Either way, it’s amazing.

On Monday we were travelling all day so when we got home we just made a quick hash for dinner (red peppers, onions, sweet potatoes, home made turkey sausage, and topped with a fried egg).

Tuesday we had a taco bar for our small group (we did provide the group with cheese and tortillas…and then made them take the leftover cheese with them, because we don’t trust ourselves).  In order to be compliant we made our own taco seasoning (if you use that recipe and don’t like spicy, cut down on the cayenne.  Even Matt admitted it was quite spicy).

Wednesday we had salmon and asparagus, because we stopped by Whole Foods on Monday (I know, twice in a month…who are we?) and the wild sockeye salmon was still on sale for $8.99/lb!

Thursday we had zoodles with Moroccan meat sauce.  We did not make the meatball ingredients into balls, it was a weeknight and who has time for that?!  But feel free to do that.  Or short cut it like us and it’s still just as delicious!

This weekend modified (olive oil instead of veggie oil) this tandoori chicken recipe, and made it with breasts instead of thighs.

We also just made sausages (we went to whole foods, a third time (!) for these compliant ones) and peppers and onions for a quick and delicious dinner this weekend.

Today we modified this chicken with lemon sauce recipe to be compliant.  We picked it up when we were at Penzey’s a couple weeks ago as it goes with one of their spice blends (which is an optional ingredient if you don’t have it, we used it to season the chicken).  This was seriously delicious, will definitely make it again.

Day 21 is in the books and now it’s on to our last full week of this!  We’re mostly having a “favorites week” of our fave recipes from the whole30, looking forward to it!

IMG_6434Sausages with peppers and onions

IMG_6413Baked salmon and asparagus

IMG_6409Turkey sausage and sweet potato hash

IMG_6415Zoodles with Morroccan meat sauce

IMG_6425Saturday breakfast

IMG_6426Tandoori chicken with pineapple relish

IMG_6348Homemade spiedie sauce

IMG_6451Chicken w/ lemon sauce and green beans

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One Pan Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo

Where has December gone?!  We’ve had a busy couple of weeks to start the month.  Got back from our Bahamas Thanksgiving vacation with my family, worked a few days and then flew to Florida for Matt’s cousin’s wedding the first weekend of the month.  Last week was really busy in general, we had something every night of the week.  But this past weekend was a perfect mix of just what we needed.  A few parties, the wreath laying at Arlington Cemetery, hanging out time, a fun run, and just a bunch quality time with several friends.  Like I said, just what we needed.

Last week was so busy we didn’t have much time to try new recipes, but we did remake this one when we had some friends over for dinner on Thursday.  I re-read the blog post from when we first tried it, “It did not disappoint, we will definitely be having this again!”  It may have taken almost a year and a half to get back to it, but man was it good!  We’ll still be making it again…hopefully before another year and a half pass.

Tonight we picked up a new recipe and boy was is good!  It only takes about 30 min to cook and just hit the spot – One pan chicken and broccoli alfredo.  ONE PAN.  Which means cleaning up isn’t awful either.  When I say one pan I’m specifically referring to this pan.  It is absolutely amazing.  Matt’s aunt gave it to us as a wedding gift, saying we’d use it all the time and she was not kidding!

One Pan Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo (adapted from here)

Serves: 4+

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1¼ pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 14 oz can of low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • ½ a pound of penne pasta, or any bite-sized shape pasta, uncooked
  • 2 cups of freshly shredded real parmesan cheese
  • 2 crowns of broccoli, cut into bite size pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • Flat leaf parsley for garnish

Directions:

  1. Start by cutting chicken breasts into 1 inch pieces. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Brown chicken in olive oil over medium high heat, it does not need to be cooked through at this point, it will continue cooking as it simmers.
  3. Once chicken is browned, add minced garlic and saute for about one minute.
  4. Add chicken broth, cream, and uncooked pasta to pan and stir.
  5. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer.
  6. Simmer for 15 minutes, until pasta is almost cooked through.
  7. While the dish continues to simmer, stir in shredded parmesan cheese until melted and completely mixed. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Add broccoli to the dish and cook 3-5 additional minutes
  9. Served topped with fresh minced parsley leaves, if desired.

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Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Cranberries, Apples and Gouda

Here’s the recipe I referenced in my blog post the other day.  I will warn you – gouda is kind of stinky so you might not want to eat it, but it is really delicious in this salad.  I was kind of skeptical at first, but this came together really nicely.  One thing I would recommend that I normally wouldn’t – definitely only use 1 small garlic clove and 1/2 cup shredded gouda.  I typically believe there can never be too much garlic or cheese, but this recipe requires a delicate balance and if you follow the recipe below it will be perfect.

Speaking of things I was skeptical of, if you live near a Trader Joe’s I know just how to make you the hero of our next holiday gathering.  They have these fig and olive crisps and cranberry chevre.  Oh boy is this stuff delicious!  They were sampling it at our store tonight and I almost didn’t try it, but man is it a good thing I did, you’re welcome.IMG_5603.JPG

 

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Cranberries, Apples and Gouda

Serves: 6+

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. whole brussels sprouts, or 12-14 oz already shaved brussels sprouts
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp. shallot, finely minced
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup aged gouda, coarsely shredded
  • 1 apple such as Pink Lady, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  • ½ cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped (optional)

Directions:

  1. Trim the ends off of the brussels sprouts. In a food processor fitted with the slicing attachment, shred the brussels sprouts. Remove to a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a liquid measuring cup or dressing shaker, combine the lemon juice, Dijon, shallot, garlic, salt and pepper. Add in the olive oil and whisk/shake until well blended.
  3. Add the dressing to the bowl with the brussels sprouts. Toss well, then let stand at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
  4. Add the gouda, apple, cranberries and hazelnuts to the bowl with the brussels sprout mixture. Toss well to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Serve.

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Fettuccine with Sausage & Kale

Happy Wednesday!

Life update – I started the new position at work this week.  Right now I’m doing more training and learning and it’s really great.  I also travelled to New York (near Westchester) today for a presentation about Investing.  Every day this week I’ve had a ‘pinch me, this is now my job!’ moment.  It’s great.  There are some obstacles to overcome, like the fact that the new office is very different from the old one and I can’t even figure out how to print stuff right now.  But the fact that I can walk outside of this office and be in downtown DC, and walk home from work outweigh that.  I did walk home from work on Monday.  It’s like 3.5 miles, but I’m in a step challenge and needed the steps.  It gets dark really early these days…

This new recipe is another quick and easy one.  Since I flew to and from New York today I needed something quick to make when I got home.  It’s pretty good, and since it’s quick and doesn’t require a ton of ingredients, we’ll be adding it to our rotation for sure.

Fettuccine with Sausage & Kale

Serves: 6+

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fettuccine
  • 1 pound spicy Italian sausage*, removed from casing
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 large bunch kale, trimmed and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan, plus extra for topping

Directions:

  1. In large pot of boiling, salted water, cook pasta until al dente; drain.
  2. In large skillet, cook sausage over medium-low until browned, about 7 minutes. Drain fat if desired.
  3. Add 1/2 cup water and cream; simmer until reduced by half, about 7 minutes. Add 1-2 Tbsp olive oil if you drained the sausage fat.  If you didn’t drain the fat, no olive oil should be needed. Add cheese and mix until melted.  If it doesn’t seem very sauce-like add a little more oil and parmesan.
  4. Add kale; toss until wilted.
  5. Remove from heat; toss with pasta.
  6. Sprinkle with parmesan and enjoy.

*Make sure you use spicy Italian Sausage, even if you don’t think you like spicy things.  It give the dish a majority of its flavor.  Also, it’s not that spicy once the dish all comes together, and my tolerance for spice is very low!

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5 Ingredient Squash & Sausage Pasta

I swear our lives will slow down eventually…in just under two months.  This past weekend we were in St. Louis, MO and Springfield, IL for my friend Allison’s wedding.  It was a blast!  We flew into St. Louis early on Friday morning and spent the day exploring there.  Caught lunch with one of my coworkers who is in the St. Louis office, and hung out with our friend Brian for the rest of the day.  After dinner we had just a little 1.5 hr drive up to Springfield.  That went super fast compared to the 8-12 hours road trips we started the month with.  I’ve only been to Springfield once before and boy did I forget how much that town loves Lincoln…

Saturday was an absolute blast, such a nice ceremony and fun reception.  My friends Rachel and Kara made the trip down from Milwaukee, completing the fun.

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Due to the crazy business of our lives, actually caring about our budgets (thanks, Dave Ramsey…) and a free Everyday with Rachel Ray Subscription that I scored with my most recent Fabletics order, we’re moving to easier (yet still delicious) recipes.  One of the recent issues had a whole slew of really delicious looking 5 ingredient recipes, so we’ll be testing those bad boys out over the next weeks/months.  Quick, easy, and cheap, that’s my kind of meal!  Here’s the first of many –

Squash & Sausage Pasta (recipe from here)

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 3/4 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed*
  • 1/2 pound summer squash, quartered lengthwise then sliced
  • 5 ounces goat cheese
  • 12 ounces farfalle pasta
  • 3 tablespoons torn mint leaves
  • Optional: herbs and red pepper flakes for seasoning

Directions:

  1. Cook Pasta, being sure to save ¾ cup of the pasta water
  2. In a large skillet, cook the sausage over medium-high heat, until browned and crumbled (about 7 minutes)
  3. Transfer Sausage to a plate
  4. Add squash to the same skillet and cook on medium-high, stirring often (about 4 minutes). Season with salt, pepper, and other desired herbs.
  5. In the pot used to cook the pasta, stir in the pasta with the cheese and the reserved pasta water. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Top pasta with sausage, squash, and mint leaves. Enjoy!

*We used Trader Joe’s sweet italian chicken sausages for our version.  It was still pretty delicious but we decided that we’d go with regular sausage next time – more flavor.

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Scotcheroos!

These bars are one of my all time favorites!  My college friend Kirsten would always make them, or share the ones her mom would send in care packages and I was hooked.  They had them as a dessert at my friend Hannah’s wedding and I’m embarrassed at how many I ate!  After college I went through withdrawal after a few years and when I realized that I’m capable of making things myself, I just asked Kirsten for the recipe.  So glad I did that, because these are SO good!  We bust these out occasionally when we need a sugar high and want to feed a larger group.  This weekend we brought these (along with the cowboy caviar) to our friend Stefan’s party.  It’s a recipe we need to bring to a large gathering, because if left to eat it all on our own, we will go through it too soon and get severe stomach aches!

Scotcheroos

For the Bars:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup light karo syrup
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 5 1/2 cups Rice Krispies (we used the Trader Joe’s brand and it was fine)

For the Icing:

  • 1 1/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/4 cup butterscotch chips

Directions:

  1. Start with a large pot (will need to hold krsipies too).  Melt the sugar and syrup together.
  2. Stir over heat and take off heat as edged start to boil.
  3. Stir in the peanut butter.
  4. Add Rice Krispies.
  5. Place into a 9×13 pan (no need to grease).
  6. Melt chocolate chips together, stir, and frost the krispies.
  7. Let frosting harden before enjoying.

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Cowboy Caviar and Blue Apron Goodness

What a great weekend!  I finally got back to Pure Barre for the first time in a few weeks (stupid knee injury) on my studying day off of work on Friday.  The rest of the weekend I got a lot of studying in, and a some quality time with friends and new friends.  We spent a bunch of time in the city, the weather wasn’t too hot and life is oh so good!

On Saturday one of our friends had a cocktail party.  He’s done these every couple of months and it’s really an all around win.  He makes fancy cocktails and tries new cocktail recipes, and we all bring food to snack on, and then it’s just a solid evening of hanging out and enjoying fancy drinks that don’t cost $15 each.  We brought cowboy caviar this time because it’s always a favorite, and I realized I’ve never posted the recipe on here (because it wasn’t new and during year one, this was for new recipes…)!  Well folks, here it is, enjoy!

We also accidentally got Blue Apron this week (forgot to skip the delivery) but it worked out really well.  All the meals were delicious and 2 of them were made with common enough ingredients that we’d totally make them again.  Pics and links to recipes are after the caviar.  We also have a couple free weeks of blue apron we can give to people who have never tried it.  So if you want to check out this great service send me a text or email.

Cowboy Caviar

Serves: A lot (fills a bowl described as “7” in diameter; 4½;” tall; 1½-liter capacity”)

Ingredients

For the Caviar:

  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can white (Shoepeg) corn
  • 2/3 cup parsley, chopped
  • ¾ cup cherry tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 2/3 cup green onion, chopped
  • 2 avocados, chopped

For the Dressing:

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper

Directions:

  1. Prepare and mix together caviar ingredients
  2. Prepare the dressing (in a salad dressing shaker is easiest), and pour over Caviar.
  3. Chill and let sit for a couple hours for best flavors.
  4. Stir and serve with tortilla chips.

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Seared Salmon & Preserved Lemon

The side salad with this was absolutely delicious and totally do-able on your own (without having the ingredients delivered to you).

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Lamb & Risotto-Style Ditalini Pasta

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Miso Roasted Chicken

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