Poor potatoes. They've gotten such a bad wrap. It's a shame really that anti-carb fanatics have turned the potato into a forbidden vegetable. I for one am not buying into all of the bad potato press.
Potatoes are inexpensive, they're available year round, they're full of vitamins and potassium and let's face it, few things are as delicious as a potato. As if those weren't enough reasons to fall in love with potatoes, they're also super simple to prepare and they're incredibly satisfying. After all what would Thanksgiving be without a giant bowl of buttery mashed potatoes? What's a burger without fries or a sandwich without chips?
I'm bringing potatoes back to our table. White, red, sweet, roasted, baked or fried - bring em on. I can't even think of a way to prepare a potato that I DON'T like but my favorite is probably baked or roasted potatoes. It just doesn't get much better than a batch of roasted potatoes smothered in cheddar cheese and served with a ranch dipping sauce.
Roasted Ranch Potatoes
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
2 Tablespoons milk
2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1 Tablespoon white vinegar
2 teaspoons fresh dill, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1" pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 cup sharp cheddar cheese
1 Tablespoon fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons fresh dill
Sprinkle with cheddar and bake another 3 minutes.
Transfer to platter and serve with sauce.
Roasted Ranch Potatoes are a great side dish for almost any meal. The next time that I make them I think I'll slice them into wedges though to make them even easier to dip into the ranch sauce. Cubes or wedges, I think you're going to like these.
Can we just start a club for people who really want to make and eat healthy dinners for themselves and their families but who fall massively short of their high expectations? A club where we encourage each other even when we have to pick up fast food for dinner. A support group for busy, stressed out parents who need to know that they're not a failure if they run out of time to fix a healthy meal and they order pizza instead.
Since this sort of club may never exist, I'll take it upon myself to tell all of the stressed out parents that you're not alone. You are not a disappointment, you're not inadequate and you should not feel guilty. Believe me when I tell you that everyone shares in the struggle to provide healthy meals.
Leave your guilt at the door and whether you cooked a healthy dinner last night or if it's been a month since you fixed a healthy meal - it's never too late to start preparing nutritious meals. It's a daily struggle - trust me - I get it.
It's easy to get discouraged when I try and fix healthy meals, especially when I spend an hour preparing a meal and my family really doesn't even enjoy it. It happens to everyone. Don't get frustrated, just get back on the healthy meal bandwagon and try again.
If you're looking for a healthy meal that your family will actually enjoy - give this Grilled Rainbow Trout with Chimichurri a try.
Grilled Rainbow Trout with Chimichurri
4 skin on trout filets
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons chopped onion
1 garlic clove
1 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1 Tablespoon chopped jalepeno
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
5 Tablespoons olive oil
Grill 3-5 minutes until opaque.
Serve with chimichurri.
Monday is always fish night in our house and I'm always looking for new ways to prepare it. The fresh and bright chimichurri sauce was such a nice compliment to this light and flaky fish. If you can't find fresh trout - I'm sure that this chimichurri would be great on any type of flaky, white fish.
I think that we're all drawn to super positive people. The kind of people who always have a smile on their face. People who remain calm and cheerful even when it seems like the world is ending. I'm not sure where this magical power of positivity comes from but I totally admire the glass half full attitude. I wish that I could remain optimistic in the face of adversity but if I'm being totally honest, I struggle to remain grounded and happy when my world starts to collapse around me.
The more time that I spend around positive people, the more that I realize that positivity may be less of a genetic trait and more of a learned behavior. Positive people, in my opinion, are more grateful than people who have negative attitudes. They appreciate the big and the small things in life. They seem to live with the attitude that they may not have it all - but they have always have enough. You rarely see them going after the bigger and better things in life. They are content and grateful for everything they have.
I feel like it was so much easier to be positive and grateful when we were young. There were no bills to pay, errands to run or chores to be done, just friends to meet and sledding hills to be conquered. It's easy to be grateful for a day spend riding bikes with friends or exploring in the woods. I should be equally grateful for a day spent running from the post office to the grocery, cooking meals or weeding the garden. I have to remind myself what a blessing and a privilege it is to be healthy enough to be able to accomplish everything on my to-do list for the day.
So, I'm learning to be consciously grateful for everything that I have in my attempt to be a more positive person. I know that there are days when I will get upset, disheartened or frustrated but I'm still going to try and count my blessings even on those days. To be honest, most of my anxiety and negative attitude comes from the "what-ifs". Like a lot of you, a lot of my anxiety comes from worrying about what could potentially happen in the future. When I redirect my thoughts to the here and now, I tend to be more grateful for the things that I have right now.
I'm also my own worst critic. I find it hard to say positive things to myself. It's much easier to speak encouragement and gratefulness to a friend than it is to tell myself those same positive things. Speaking positive words to myself is totally unnatural and awkward but I feel like the "look on the bright side" attitude is worth striving for.
I've heard that if you smile while you're talking on the phone, it will make you seem happier and more positive to the person on the other end. Maybe there's something to that. The fake it till you make it strategy.
Eat all your vegetables. There are children in China who are starving and would be grateful for this food that you're wasting. I heard this from my parents and I told it to my kids. OK, so maybe it was a little dramatic but the fact is that there ARE starving children - all over the world and we do need to grateful for the food that we have. My goal was to get my kids to eat their veggies and to be grateful for them. My strategy didn't always get them to consume more vegetables but maybe it made them stop and think about gratefulness for just a moment. Don't worry, it won't take any extra convincing to get your kids to eat these broccoli fritters.
Drain on paper towels
Not sure I'll be able to smile through my next "woe is me" slump but I'll certainly try and count my blessings and be grateful even on the hard days.
Is it just me or did anyone else out there think that Chicago Style pizza was always a deep dish pizza? When I hear Chicago Style Pizza I have a vision of a thick bubbly crust baked in a deep cast iron pan with spicy sauce and a blanketing layer of cheese. It never even occurred to me that there might be a thin crust version of the classic Chicago Style Pizza. And to be honest with you - I'm not sure what characteristics classify this particular recipe as a Chicago Style pizza and distinguish it from other thin crust pizzas but I'm sooo not complaining.
I'm not here to question the authenticity of this recipe - I'm really only interested in taste testing it. And I can tell you that it passed the test with flying colors. This was a really yummy, thin crust pizza.
We love, love, loved the sausage topping on this pizza pie but since the recipe makes 2 pizzas, you could always switch up the second pizza with another topping. I cooked mine on the Big Green Egg and it took less than 15 minutes to get the cheese nicely browned and bubbly. The crust didn't really brown very much but I think that was more related to the pizza stone that I used and not necessarily recipe related.
Chicago Thin Crust Pizza
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons cold water
2 Tablespoons olive oil
12 ounces sweet Italian sausage, cooked
3 cups mozzarella cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
8 ounce can tomato sauce
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
Cool pizza 5 minutes before slicing.
What's more fun that homemade pizza night? Making pizza together is such a fun family activity - even if we ARE running into each other in the kitchen.
I'm not one to toot my own horn but I must say that I feel like I have some of the most delicious brownie and blondie recipes. My tried and true brownie and blondie recipes really are some of my favorite go-to desserts and I make over and over again. I certainly never felt deprived or like I was in NEED of a new brownie or blondie recipe but when Cook's Illustrated publishes a new recipe for Browned Butter Blondies, none of that matters. It doesn't matter how many other blondie recipes I already have in my index, Cook's Illustrated dessert recipes are too good to pass up.
This browned butter blondie recipe certainly did not disappoint. It lived up to every mouth watering expectation that I had. I love the simplicity of one pan desserts and this one is surprisingly simple for a Cook's Illustrated recipe. (Those of you who regularly subscribe to the magazine know exactly what I'm talking about.)
Browned Butter Blondies
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
12 Tablespoons butter
1 3/4 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
2 Tablespoons vanilla
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/4 teaspoon flake sea salt
Let blondies cool in pan for 2 hours. Remove from pan using foil sling and cut into 24 bars.
I've made this recipe several times already and I've made them both with and without chocolate chips. I like them both ways but I'm partial to anything with chocolate so that is my favorite.
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