Sunday Supper, Uncategorized

Sunday Supper recipe

It’s gotten too cold outside for me to run the last couple days, so I decided to warm up with some cooking! Especially after having to shovel snow when it’s a real feel of 5 degrees outside.  Yup.  FIVE. I will say, though, that I am in awe of my 16 year old who offered out of the blue to help me shovel?  WHAT?  I am still picking my jaw up off the groud. LOL!!

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First, we’ll start with meatballs and spinach fettuccini (you can use whatever noodle you prefer). While I don’t make the pasta myself, I do buy fresh made from my local grocery store.  I also take a little help with the marinara sauce by letting it simmer and adding some fresh herbs, crushed red pepper flakes, and garlic to give it a little more depth.

Meatballs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1 lb. of ground pork and 1 lb. of lean ground beef

1 cup of Italian bread crumbs

1 cup of grated parmesan cheese (use fresh if possible)

1/4 cup of fresh chopped Italian parsley

pinch of salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and Italian herb mix (Approximately 1 tablespoon each, to taste)

3 eggs

1/8 cup of extra virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients and roll in to small golf ball size balls and place on a sheet tray that has been lined with parchment paper.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Take a jar of GOOD marinara sauce (you know, the good stuff small markets make that don’t have all the added preservatives to it) and put into a wide, deep sauté pan. Turn on LOW, and let simmer.  Add in fresh herbs, garlic, and red pepper flakes and cook on low for 20 minutes.  Once the meatballs are done, add them to the sauce and let simmer for an additional 20 minutes. Cook your pasta according to package directions, and toss in your marinara sauce before serving!

Enjoy!!!!

 

What’s your favorite pasta dish? Today I am linking up with Holly and Tricia for the weekly wrap up!!!

weekly-Wrapup

I hope everyone has a great week! Things are getting REAL around here, with my hubby’s deployment training starting full speed tomorrow lasting the next 21 days.  Our Nanny starts tomorrow, and I pray it will be a smooth transition for us all!

❤ Michelle

weekend wrap up

Long weekend wrap up/Sunday Supper

This past weekend was a whirlwind of food, and family, plain and simple.  We holed up in our little family nest and made memories to hang on to over this next year of separation.  I’ll write this wrap up, mostly in photos, because I really want to go snuggle on the couch with my tribe.  I also have a recipe to share, but we will get to that a bit later.  ❤

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First day of Winter run with my friends!
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These ladies continue to love me, even when it’s not easy to do

 

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Running friends can always make me smile
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Many of my running friends
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My girls baked Christmas cookies since I had to work Christmas Eve
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First course of Christmas Eve dinner was a baby arugula salad with shrimp dressed with a blood orange vinaigrette
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Pan seared scallops with tri-colored potatoes
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Checking to see where Santa was located
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Letter to Santa
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Priceless smile from my mini while opening gifts
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Hubby got her a necklace to wear while he’s away…#allthetears
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Prepping Christmas Dinner
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Bacon wrapped dates with goat cheese!
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I think he approves…
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Dinner is served!
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Check out my pup, praying Daddy drops that bone on the floor!!  LOL
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Bowling with our new Xbox!
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Someone takes her bowling very seriously, LOL
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Hubby’s awesome form!
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Smoothies to start my week out right tomorrow!
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Homemade beef stock with the bones from our prime rib. It is currently simmering on my stove, and it smells AMAZING in here.
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My first attempt at Dim Sum
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Bamboo steamer that I got for Christmas
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I used my new mortar and pestle to add ginger, garlic and pink peppercorns to my dipping sauce.  YUM!!
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I lined my steamer with bok choy leaves vs. using oil
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Dinner is served! 

I adapted my recipe from HERE, omitting the jicama, and using 1/2 lb. of ground pork and 1/2 lb. of beef along with 1 cup of finely chopped cooked shrimp. I served with my yummy Asian dipping sauce but you can serve with the suggested plain soy sauce or chili paste.  Serve with your favorite rice/rice noodle and veggie for a complete meal!  Enjoy!!

This weekend I am linking up with Holly and Tricia again for the Weekly wrap up!

How was your week?  Get anything exciting for Christmas?

weekly-Wrapup

❤ Michelle

Recipes

Stuffed and roasted Acorn squash

Today was a busy day for us, but we managed to get to the DMV before the line went down the block, most of the housecleaning done, and our shopping at Aldi done for the next couple weeks.  They had beautiful acorn squash, so I just had to buy a couple to stuff and roast!

Ingredients/Recipe:

2 acorn squash-halved and seeds removed-Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, season with kosher salt and pepper and roast in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes.

Next get the stuffing ready.

In a sauce pot boil water and prepare your quinoa according to the package instructions.  Mine called for 2 cups of boiling water, and cook the quinoa for 15 minutes. I cooked it al dente as its going to cook a bit more in the oven.

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 small white onion, diced

4 baby portabella mushrooms, diced

1/2 of a green apple, peeled and diced-add LAST, just before removing from the heat

2 links of chicken sausage, cubed

2 pieces of bacon, cubed

While your quinoa is cooking, sauté the above ingredients for 20 minutes. Start first with the bacon and chicken sausage, then add the garlic, onions and mushrooms.  Add the apples just for the last 2-3 minutes.  Season with kosher salt, pepper, sage, and parsley (about 2 teaspoons each of sage and parsley).  Add in the quinoa when cooked and add to the stuffing mixture and remove from the heat.

Remove the roasted squash from the oven, and spoon in your stuffing.  Top with grated parmesan cheese, and put back in the oven for another 20 minutes at 375 or until the squash is slightly tender.

Delish!!!
Delish!!!

Dinner is served!  Enjoy!!!

Do you like squash? What’s your favorite way to prepare it?

I hope you are all having a great weekend!

❤ Michelle

Recipes

Slumps and Spicy Salmon…keepin’ it real!

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t in a bit of a slump.  With the news of my husband’s upcoming deployment, I honestly don’t feel like doing anything other than sleep even though  trying to get more than an hour of sleep at a time seems impossible. I don’t want to run, I don’t want to cook, I don’t want to do much of anything…I think my husband sensed my blues setting in, so he took me on a date on Friday. We only do date nights a few times a year, so this was just what I needed.

I actually felt pretty, which doesn't happen too often anymore!!
I actually felt pretty, which doesn’t happen too often anymore!!

We had a great date, first by going out to a nice dinner, and finishing the night off with seeing the movie, “Burnt.”  As a wanna-be Chef, this movie was all that and a bag of chips in my book, and it really portrayed what being a “real” Chef entails.  I highly recommend it to any food lovers!

Today, staying with the theme of trying to quit feeling sorry for myself, I got up early enough to watch the New York City Marathon.  A good friend of mine is running it, and I am always in awe of the enormity of this race. Watching the elites almost inspired me enough to go for a run, but my naggy Achilles and I decided to call it and clean the house instead.  Because of course, I haven’t felt like cleaning either.  I took out some salmon for dinner, and decided to change things up from my typical recipe of baking it with herbs and butter (recipe can be found HERE) and giving the salmon a little kick.

Spicy Salmon

Ingredients

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

1 fillet of salmon cut into 4 servings patted dry, seasoned with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard lightly spread on each fillet

Lightly sprinkle 1-2 teaspoons (total for all 4 fillets) of cayenne pepper over all 4 fillets, season to taste

Light sprinkle 1-2 teaspoons of brown sugar over all 4 fillets

2 chives, finely chopped for garnish

Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until the salmon flakes with a fork.  Garnish with chives, and serve with your favorite side dishes.

I served mine with roasted sweet potatoes, quinoa w/portabella mushrooms, sweet potatoes, garlic and onions.
I served mine with roasted sweet potatoes, quinoa w/portabella mushrooms, sweet potatoes, garlic and onions.

What’s your go-to activity to get out of a slump?  Do you like salmon?  Did you watch the New York City marathon today?

Have a great week, y’all!

❤ Michelle

Recipes

Baked fish with lemon, capers and a secret kick!

I am finally getting back in a routine of working out, and I can honestly say I missed it. I REALLY miss running outside, but I am doing the best I can with my current situation, making sure I put my kid’s needs first.  So tonight after work I had a plan…a good work out AND good eats.

When I got home from work, I changed my clothes and was joined by my youngest. It’s been so much fun having them work out with me from time to time.  I ensured my fish (I used Swai fish which is a buttery white fish-SOO GOOD) was thawed and preheated the oven to 350 degrees.

  
We completed day 3 of the 30 day shred (still on level 1) and felt great.  I ran upstairs and prepped the fish.  This is about the easiest recipe you can find.

 

smear the mustard thinly
  
top with lemons and tarragon
 Baked fish with lemon and capers

2 fillets of swai fish, or any other good white fish

1 tsp. of capers, rinsed well

2 cloves of garlic thinly sliced

1 lemon, thinly sliced

Salt, pepper, and tarragon to taste

And the secret?  Just a smidge of Dijon mustard, smeared thinly over the fish.

Take your fish and pat dry with a paper towel.  Thinly smear the Dijon mustard over the top of the fish, season with salt and pepper, then add your capers and garlic.  Top with the lemon slices and add a pinch of tarragon.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Sautéed peas with pancetta

I served with simple sautéed peas with pancetta.  Brown 2 Tbsp. of pancetta in a non stick pan that has been sprayed lightly with coconut oil cooking spray.  (Regular cooking spray will work as well). Add in 2 cups of peas, season with salt and pepper and cook for about 5-7 minutes, ensuring the peas still have a bite to the taste.

  
Dinner is served!

  
What’s your favorite fish recipe?  Do you like peas?  I hated them as a kid, but have grown to love them as a side dish!!

❤ Michelle

Uncategorized

Recipes and racing

It’s crazy to say that marathon training (and the race) is over.  After 18 weeks of blood, sweat, and tears I managed to finish the Grandma’s Marathon with my sister and cross yet another thing off my bucket list.  WINNING.

So now what?

First, there’s that on-going pipe dream of writing my own cook book that I always seem to gravitate back to…and that of course requires a LOT of work and time.  Having busied myself with full and half marathon training the last several years, that dream has perpetually been put in the back seat.  This in part mostly because I don’t cook with measuring…I cook with my palate, embracing the smells and flavors of food and never-ever measure out ingredients.  So over the last few years I’ve paid closer attention to my cooking so I can catalog my recipes with approximate measurements so people can replicate my dishes.  You can see the start of my collection HERE

And then, there is also that lingering sub-2 half marathon goal that although sometimes seems impossible, it also is something I REALLY want to achieve.  Why?  Not sure…but it’s a goal I want to smash one day-so last week I went to my first EVER speed work session at the track.  WHAT you say?  YOU did track work?  I did…guilty as charged said the girl who’d never run on a track again after 6 years of junior high school/high school track and 20 years of military running, again, around a track.  Although it was a bit soon coming off the full marathon on Saturday, I can honestly say I had FUN…shhhh, don’t tell anyone.  Now that my legs are fully rested, I plan on going back on Thursday for some more speed work.  YAY.

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Lastly, it’s time to kick the last few remaining negative forces that have resided in my brain, out of my head and heart once and for all.  I figure if I say it enough, I’ll eventually DO IT.  People, friends, life MOVES ON…whether or not I do…so it’s time to quit hanging on to things that no longer exist.  All it does, is drag me down…#notimeforthatanymore

What’s on your plate for the remainder of the year?  What’s your favorite go-to recipe?

Keep Movin’ Forward!!!  <#

Michelle

Recipes

Sicilian inspired braised chicken

Today’s recipe was inspired by a dream to…well…be something more.  You see, I never wanted to work in a hospital, I never wanted a job in healthcare for that matter.  But when I joined the Air Force 24+ years ago and signed on the dotted line, this was the job that was chosen FOR me.  The rest is, as they say, history. (Note: I am very lucky to have an amazing job, and people to work with every day.  It’s simply NOT my passion.)

But I am over having my career chosen for me.  I work, because the bills won’t pay themselves.  But I refuse to believe this is my permanent path in life.  And it’s all I can think about lately.  With that, I’ve taken up studying recipes again.  I read cookbooks, magazines, blogs, and websites to get inspiration for new dishes.  Because someday I hope that someone will read MY recipes and get inspired.  I want someone to cook up one of my recipes, and have the food bring a smile to their face and joy in to their home.

So tonight, I have prepared braised chicken thighs in a tomato, Kalmata olive and caper sauce.  Get out your Dutch oven, and a hefty appetite.  You’ll need it for this dish!

Sicilian inspired braised chicken-low carb style

1 package of boneless skinless chicken thighs

1 jar of tomato sauce-(I use Mario Batali’s sauce-YUM!)

1 small white onion, finely diced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1/4 cup of Kalmata olives, roughly chopped

1 tbsp. capers, rinsed

The zest of one lemon

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup of water/chicken stock

1 zucchini-noodled

I LOVE my noodle maker.
I LOVE my noodle maker.

Seasonings/Spices: kosher salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, rosemary, basil, oregano (all to taste-about a tsp. each)

Pre-heat your Dutch oven on medium high heat.  Season your chicken with salt and pepper, and brown on both sides.  Remove, and set aside.  Deglaze the bottom of the oven with water/chicken stock to get all the brown bits up. Add in your onions, garlic, capers and olives and cook for about 5 minutes.  Next, add your chicken thighs back in to the oven and cover with the tomato sauce.  Add the crushed red pepper flakes, rosemary, basil and oregano, and lemon zest – stir well and cover.  Lower the heat to medium-low and let braise for 30 minutes.

Can you smell it?  MMMM!
Can you smell it? MMMM!

I served mine over zucchini noodles for a healthy touch!!

Healthy, AND delish!
Healthy, AND delish!

This is a great weeknight meal, taking only about 40 minutes total to prepare and cook.

Questions!  Did you chose your current profession, or was it chosen for you?  What’s your dream job?

Have a great week, y’all!

❤ Michelle

food, Recipes, running, Uncategorized

Monday Motivation and updates

So after finishing my temper tantrum from the weekend, I decided this morning to pick myself up and start over today.  Despite struggles, single parenting, and normal teenage drama I needed a clean slate. So here….we….go….

truth.
truth.

This morning I woke up on time, and allowed myself an extra snooze. I smiled as I cuddled my dog, and I took my time getting ready since I only had ONE child to tend to this morning.  And it felt great.  This is a new day.

Work was great, and I had time to organize and file a lot of paperwork that had been collecting dust on my desk. YAY to organizing, right?!

My hubby offered to take our youngest to ballet even though it’s something I normally do, stating, “You need a break.”  He’s right… I do.

Can I get an Amen?   Pic: veryfunnypics.eu
Can I get an Amen?
Pic: veryfunnypics.eu

 

So I cooked the family dinner after work, and jumped at the chance to run.  My legs are still very tight from Saturday, so it felt GREAT to stretch ’em out on the ‘mill.  WAIT…did I say that out loud?  A dready run that wasn’t so dreadful.  Winning.

quick dready run that wasn't so dready...
quick dready run that wasn’t so dready…

After my run, I ate dinner, showered, and have been sitting quietly at my computer working on the recipe section of my blog for about an hour and a half.  Have you checked it out yet?  It’s just a start, but I’d love for you to try some of my favorite recipes!  You can check it out here! Feedback, comments, and ideas are always welcomed!

It felt great despite laundry duty to give myself a couple hours to do something JUST for me.  Running. Writing. And cataloging recipes.  Does it get better than that?

How do you spend your down time?  Do you allow yourself time to just do YOUR thing at least once a week?  If not, I highly recommend it. I tell ya what…my uninterrupted shower tonight was off. the. chain.  LOL

Thanks, y’all! I look forward to hearing from you!

❤ Michelle

food, Tuesday Truth

Time to be true-Two things…

 

 

Ok, so I started last year at a pretty dark place, but managed to finish on a pretty high note with lofty yet achievable goals. Running, writing, and researching recipes are high on my list this year mixed in with some awesome photography…Right?  Um…so yeah…about that…

 

Then, I cut my thumb on Christmas day, and my running, motivation, and goal making days halted all too quickly. BUT…thankfully only for just about a month.  Whew…bullet dodged.  I caveat this with saying I DID NOT/DO NOT want a repeat of last winter.  Ever.  Both the weather, and my mood were beyond frigid.

So here we go…

First:

I started running again last week.  My miles are minimal and my pace is slow as can be…but I’m MOVIN’…can I get a yahoo???  Today at work I had a leadership workshop of sorts to attend so my 8 hour day was squashed in to 4 hours of playing catch up.  I was tired by the time the final ‘bell’ rang, so upon arriving to my daughter’s school I texted my Maria…”I’ll be on the dreadmill in 30 minutes in case you want to join me.”  Of course she did, despite battling a migraine for 5 days, and her virtual hug and push helped get my on the mill.  2.6 miles, complete.

My pace may have slowed, but the passion is still very real.
My pace may have slowed, but the passion is still very real.

Second:

I hit the restart button after the holidays to try and lose my 5-7 lbs of marathon training/winter weight/I’m lazy and just ate all the food weight…so I’m back on MyFitnessPal for anyone else who uses this app, tracking my food and fitness and REALLY trying to stop eating all. the. chips.  I have to giggle when it says I should weigh a certain weight if I continue to eat the way I am because yeah-pre-menopause obviously isn’t calculated in to the equation, and well yeah…I don’t see that number on the scale.  BUT…I’ve just restarted in the last week or so, so baby steps, right?  With that I have been eating high protein/veggie/fruit type of diet, so here is tonight’s easy peasy dinner recipe!

Baked Pork chop with white wine, onion and caper sauce over baby spinach salad

Easy peasy pork in just over 30 minutes!
Easy peasy pork in just over 30 minutes!

What you’ll need (pork chops):

4 thick cut boneless pork chops, seasoned with kosher salt, pepper, and a dash of lemon pepper seasoning on all sides-apply liberally and set aside for about 5 minutes while you get everything preheated.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Pre-heat a non stick pan and add extra virgin olive oil and 1 pat of unsalted butter.  Heat to high heat, and pan sear chops on both sides (5-7 minutes each side-don’t over crowd your pan!) until golden brown and transfer to a baking sheet.  *Tip-line your pan with aluminum foil for easy clean up! Place in your pre-heated oven and cook for about 10 minutes or until your chops have reached 155 degrees-let rest for 10 minutes minimum-chops will reach required temp of 160 degrees by this time.  *Tip-cover with foil while resting your meat.  It helps hold the temperature.

While your chops are baking, make your “sauce.”

Sauce

1 white onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tablespoon capers, rinsed

2 tablespoons of Kalamata olives, chopped

Zest of a lemon

1 cup of white wine

1/4 of cold water mixed with cornstarch to thicken

Kosher salt, pepper, and oregano to taste.

In the same pan you seared your chops, deglaze with the white wine (make sure it’s wine you’d drink!)

Add your onions, garlic, capers, and olives.  Reduce down the liquid by half, and add your seasonings and cornstarch water to thicken.  Add zest just before serving.  I served the spinach and pork with the sauce, who needs dressing/gravy?  Not this girl!

So in order to stay on track with food, fitness, and life in general my TRUE goal this year is to BE CONTENT.  I have said it before, but I’ll say it again.  I am, and I have, ENOUGH.

Who’s with me?  How are your eats and exercise lately?  How do you battle off season eating/motivation?

❤ Michelle

 

food

Orange Chicken recipe…who needs take out?

I’ve been trying to expand my normal mid-week meals, so decided to try a version of Orange Chicken after doing some research.  As most of you know, I never strictly follow recipes, more so use them as guidelines.

Here’s my version of Orange Chicken, made easy…

Chicken:

Cube 6 chicken thighs-I prefer the thigh as the flavor of the meat is richer.  You can use the breast, but I find it tends to dry out.

Next, separate 4 eggs, keeping only the whites.  Place them in a bowl large enough to hold your cubed chicken.

Whisk in a couple tablespoons of corn starch until the mixture becomes frothy…Add in your chicken and coat well.  Season with salt and pepper, mix again, and set aside while you prepare the Orange sauce.

Orange Sauce:

In a sauce pan combine the following ingredients:

The juice of 2 oranges, along with a teaspoon of the zest (**set the zest aside to add at the end)

Soy sauce-I use low sodium/gluten free but feel free to use your favorite…1/4 cup give or take.

1 cup of stock, whatever you have on hand

A couple splashes of rice wine vinegar

Crushed red pepper flakes to taste

1 clove of garlic, minced (or use a micro plane, MUCH easier)

1 teaspoon of minced ginger (use that micro plane again, trust me!)

1 teaspoon of honey

A splash of sesame oil-don’t forget this, as it really adds depth to the sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

**Have a small cup of water with cornstarch mixed in to add at the end, bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer.  This will help thicken the glaze.  Just before serving add in your reserved orange zest.

While your sauce is simmering, heat a wide/deep pan with oil.  I used avocado oil as I love the flavor it adds, but use your favorite frying oil.  Fry the chicken in batches, making sure not to crowd the pan.  Brown the chicken on each side, cooking through evenly.  Drain on a paper towel lined plate and finish with a pinch of salt.

To serve, place a cup of your favorite rice or noodles in the bottom of a deep bowl.  Add your favorite veggies (I used steamed broccoli and shredded carrots)

Spoon your orange glaze over just before serving (this helps keep the crunch to the chicken), and garnish with scallions and sesame seeds.

Dinner is served!  I love the fact that my family prefers this type of food over take out any day of the week!

Orange Chicken served over jasmine rice with steamed veggies...YUM
Orange Chicken served over jasmine rice with steamed veggies…YUM

This was (as cooking always is) some much needed therapy after a stressful day!

What’s your favorite meal to prepare during the week?  Do you prefer home cooked or take out food?

Keep Movin’ forward gang,

<3Michelle