Butternut Squash Soup

Every fall I make butternut squash soup and every year I say I am going to write it down. Today’s the day. Before we get to that, there have been some big changes in my life. After taking the summer off from working (that sounds a lil better than my contract ended and it took a few months to find something new), I started a fabulous job at DocuSign last Monday. I could not be more excited and am loving it so far. And Oliver just started Kindergarten too! It’s been an adjustment for us both, but such good stuff.

With the new gig, I am back in the office full time for the first time since 2010. This is a departure from the three days I was working from home these past few years. This affects some important parts of my life – working out and cooking. I managed to get five workouts in this week and I also made a big batch of Ina’s Italian Wedding Soup last Sunday, which I used for Oliver’s and my lunches this week. The Sunday cooking for easy leftover dinners and lunches is going to be key to my sanity.

So it’s Sunday and I’m cooking! Butternut squash soup and Smitten Kitchen’s oven-braised beef with garlic and tomatoes (holy shit is that one good and literally could not be easier). I’m particular about what I like in my butternut squash soup (no curry, no apple, no cream) and this recipe totally nails it.

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Tuscan Lemon Chicken

If you live in Seattle, it appears summer has left the building. Before it is totally gone and with Labor Day weekend coming up, I wanted to share my favorite grilled chicken recipe of the summer. Backing up a little, I wasn’t always the master griller I am today. Four short months ago I had never operated a grill on my own and was completely intimidated. I thought this was a guy job. I don’t currently have one of those. I decided it was about time to change my status – my grilling status. For Mother’s Day, my parents got me a Weber grill and it has been the best gift ever! I grill everything now! Steaks, chicken, lots of hotdogs for Oliver, veggies, salmon. Obsessed.

My first grilling project was Ina’s Tuscan Lemon Chicken. It is so delicious. I’ve probably made it six times this summer and it is just really good. I have made this a few ways, a whole chicken flattened as is in the recipe or cut up into eight pieces. The latter is the easier method and much less mess.  Read More

Kale Salad Perfection

I know, I’m losing credibility because every salad I make is like the best salad ever. But this one is no joke. I have made it 3 times in the past 2 week, so easy, gets rave reviews. Part of what I loved about this recipe was discovering the method used for de-stemming and slicing the kale. It’s not life changing, but close. Seriously, thanks to Jackie of Marin Mama Cooks for the kale prep tutorial. My blog totally loves and admires your blog.

Kale Salad

Lacinato Kale Salad, courtesy of Marin Mama Cooks

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch lacinato/dinosaur kale, de-stemmed and thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • pinch of fine sea salt
  • pinch of freshly ground pepper
  • pinch of red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese – I used a bit less

Directions (you gots to check out her pics to follow this properly)

1) To de-stem the kale as well as cut it into thin strips:

  • Grab a stalk of freshly washed and dried kale, holding it by the stem with one hand while placing the pointer or middle finger and thumb of your other hand around the stem just above the leaves. Pull your fingers along the stem, tearing the leaves off.
  • Here is how to cut your kale into thin strips. You can also use this technique for any sort of lettuce and herbs. Take the kale leaves and lay them on top of one another and then roll them up tightly.

2) Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes in a small bowl.

3) Pour the dressing over the kale and make sure to massage it well so that all the kale absorbs the dressing. When I say, “massage” your kale, I literally mean, get your hands in there and massage it.

4) After your kale is well tossed, add the parmesan cheese and toss again. Let the salad rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

Bonus, it tastes just as good the next day, not soggy at all.

I just have to say, today’s post is one of the reasons I love blogging. Yes, I love blogging because of a goddamned good kale salad. I discovered Marin Mama Cooks through my friend Michele’s blog and now I am sharing with all of you! Happy Monday folks.

Simple, Healthy Dinner – Soy Vay Teriyaki Chicken, Veggies & Quinoa

soy vey sauceAfter coming off of my heavy eating and drinking Portland weekend, I wanted something healthy and easy for dinner, but still delicious, obv. Oliver is with his dad on Mondays, so I’m just cooking for me, but I like to make enough for Tuesday lunch leftovers. One of my go to’s in this situation is marinating some chicken in Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki. If you haven’t used this, it’s brilliant (plus, the name is so cute!). Oliver loves it and it’s a one stop shop for flavorful, teriyaki tofu/beef/chicken/veggies (there are 5 different flavors of Soy Vay, but I like the Veri Teriyaki). This isn’t a fancy dinner, there is no recipe required, but it’s simple and isn’t simple a relief sometimes? Bonus – if you split this into 3 meals, it’s under 500 calories per serving.

I stopped by TJ’s on the way home from work and picked up the ingredients (organic chicken tenders, green beans, mushrooms, quinoa). I threw the chicken in a shallow baking dish with a sprinkle of salt and pepper, then coated with Soy Vay, covered and put it in the fridge to marinate and headed off to Pilates – it got about an hour of marination time.

Soy Vey
Nothing fancy, just a solid, easy dinner that tastes good

Ingredients

  • 1lb chicken breast (tenders are great)
  • 1lb green beans (or broccoli)
  • 10oz sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups veggie broth
  • Soy Vey Veri Veri Teriyaki (enough to coat your chicken and more for finishing)

Directions

30 minutes total cook time

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Cook chicken for 25-30 minutes
  3. Bring 1 cup quinoa (rinsed) and 2 cups veggie broth to a boil, then simmer on low for 20 minutes
  4. Sautee mushrooms in olive oil on medium low, salt & pepper, red pepper flakes, maybe a little veggie broth (so you can use less oil) for about 15 minutes or until soft
  5. Steam the green beans for about 7 minutes
  6. When chicken is finished cooking, cut up tenders into bite-sized pieces
  7. Toss green beans, chicken and sauce into the pan that contains the mushrooms and toss together
  8. Serve over quinoa

Now it’s time to start tackling my DVR…..