Favorite Taco Meat

My Favorite Taco Meat - Just the TipWhen I put tacos on the menu this week, I went to the blog to search for the recipe to remind myself of what I needed to pick up at the store. I’ve been making this same taco meat recipe for a while now, I can’t believe I haven’t posted it here yet.

This is a very straight-forward and classic tasting taco meat recipe, but it’s made a lot healthier by sneaking in a ton of fresh veggies and it using fresh spices instead of those sketchy seasoning packets. Try it!

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Broiled Bluefish with Herbed Lemon Mustard Aioli

Broiled Bluefish with Herbed Lemon Mustard Aioli - Just the TipI found ridiculously fresh bluefish for a ridiculously low price at the store so I decided to pick some up on a whim for lunch. I don’t think I’ve ever cooked bluefish myself before, but I remember eating it with a mayo topping at my family’s house on Cape Cod, so I decided to keep it simple and try my hand at that. I served this with some of the extra lemony aioli topping on the side and it was awesome.

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Lemony Rigatoni with Broccoli and Sausage

Lemony Rigatoni with Broccoli and Sausage - Just the TipWe had Brian’s 13-year old son, Rob, as a last minute dinner guest tonight so our original plans to go out got scratched and I was left looking for a dinner idea that was Saturday-night worthy (easy, comforting, a little naughty) but also somewhat nutritious. When the kids spend the weekends with us I really try to make an effort to make sure they have good, home-cooked food with actual vegetables involved. It just so happens that Rob is a huge, huge, huge, broccoli fan, which tends to make my job pretty easy. I had just pinned this recipe this week so it was still pretty fresh in my head. I love that it includes “grown-up” ingredients such as hot italian sausage and anchovies (if you think you don’t like anchovies, please keep reading…if a 13-year old boy goes back for seconds, all hope is not lost), but also reads as super kid-friendly. Pasta. Broccoli (sub any veggie you/your kid likes). Sausage. Lemony and garlicky sauce. Did I tell anyone there were anchovies in it? Nope. Did everyone gobble it? Yup. Boom.

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Blueberry Pie Oatmeal

Bluebery Pie Oatmeal - Just the TipThis is one of my favorite breakfasts. I usually make a big batch (double this recipe) on Sunday to put into 8 individual containers for Brian and I to take to work with us for breakfast. Reheating for a couple of minutes in the microwave makes the blueberries warm and sweet and tasting exactly like blueberry pie.

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Italian Stuffed Artichokes

Italian Stuffed Artichokes - Just the TipI like when Brian is a little scared when I am making something he is unfamiliar with. I get a sick joy out of semi-convincing him that what he’s about to eat may or may not be edible or may or may not be poisonous. That was definitely the case with these stuffed artichokes.

When I was cleaning the artichokes, I jokingly asked him what the first person who decided artichokes might be edible was thinking. He replied by saying that he wasn’t really sure that they were still, and repeatedly asked me, “you really ate these growing up??”. We did grow up eating artichokes in their whole form, enjoying scraping the “meat” from each tender leaf. I stuffed these artichokes with toasted breadcrumbs seasoned with a ton of garlic, nutty anchovies, and fresh parmesan cheese. Delicious.

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Asparagus, Goat Cheese, and Herb Frittata

Asparagus, Goat Cheese, and Herb Frittata - Just the TipI suck at making omelets. They inevitably always end up as a “scramble” because I can’t flip an omelet to save my life.  A frittata is basically the answer to that because it requires NO FLIPPING. And, it will serve as a fantastic breakfast on the go for me all week long.

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BLT Salad with Buttermilk Chive Dressing

BLT Salad with Buttermilk Chive Dressing - Just the TipI’ve had bad cravings for a BLT sandwich lately. You know the kind. Toasted, crusty white semolina bread, big slather of mayonnaise, crispy bacon, juicy fresh tomatoes, and crisp romaine lettuce. Gah, I die. Well, this is my summertime (aka lighter) version of the classic BLT. This salad makes a super easy and fast first course and it manages to accomplish the oh-so-rare combination of satisfying, yet still light. And it has bacon.

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Escarole Soup with Mini Meatballs

Escarole Soup with Mini Meatballs - Just the TipI am yanking this one from the archives and re-posting with some upgraded pictures. From time to time I think of what a shame it is that some of these particularly yummy recipes I post are stuck in blog archives that will probably never get seen. This soup is just too good for that.

Today we had a lovely 70-degree humidity free day in Boston. This got me wanting to dust off my dutch oven, which during colder months is in heavy rotation, but is basically abandoned come May. I’ve been under the weather with one thing after the next over the last week+, so I went looking through my old posts for some comforting, yet light, old standbys.

Reading through the old post, I was reminded that the recipe is from the Sopranos Cookbook that someone had given me as a gift many years ago. Since James Gandolfini’s death (sniff sniff), Brian and I have been re-watching the series from the beginning and loving it. Although i am having a lot of mob-related dreams and I think I actually briefly considered blackmail as a solution to a real-life problem. Might need to cut back on The Sopranos.

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Grilled Sausages with Broccoli Rabe and Roasted Corn Polenta

Grilled Sausages with Broccoli Rabe and Roasted Corn Polenta - Just the TipIt happens every year without fail: the summer cold. I know I’m not alone in this as a bunch of people in my office are also sick (I blame you), but is there anything worse? Waking up this morning feeling like crap, I knew I would want something comforting but easy for dinner. Brian grilled up some hot italian sausages (I par-boiled them first to make sure they were fully cooked without getting too charred on the grill), while I stayed in and whipped up super-quick sauteed garlicky broccoli rabe and 3 minute instant polenta. I threw in some defrosted roasted corn (love this product from Trader Joe’s) to add some texture to the polenta. Now, excuse me while I bury my face in a box of kleenex and sip on a digestivo of NyQuil.

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Grilled Veggie Pesto Panini

Veggie Pesto Panini - Just the TipThis sandwich is a favorite in our house. It’s a great option for a vegetarian meal that still feels substantial. Just grill up your veggies of choice (I did zucchini, onions, and roasted red pepper, but eggplant would be a great addition/ substitution), layer on some pesto and provolone cheese. Use a panini press (I used my beloved Griddler) or a pan with heavy pan on top of the sandwich to press down until the sandwich is pressed and crispy and the cheese has melted.

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Chinese Lettuce Wraps

Chinese Lettuce Wraps - Just the TipIt’s been approximately 15,000 degrees in Boston for the past week or so and I am OVER IT. I like summer for its activities (cookouts, beach times, general good times/moods), but NOT for the weather. I tend to “run hot” and can get down right surly when overheated. So, it makes me wonder why over the last week I’ve made things, such as pizza, which requires a 500 degree oven, or polenta, which requires near constant stirring over a hot pot for a good 40 minutes. Not wise. In typical fashion, I waited for the heat wave to end to make something that requires little cooking/heat/effort. I actually made the filling to these lettuce wraps (which is yummy, by the way) on Sunday when I had some extra time, and just had to reheat tonight and serve with some crisp baby romaine leaves and some brown rice on the side.  Perfect light summer supper.

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Sweet and Spicy Island Pork with Coconut Rice

Island Pork and Coconutty Rice - Just the TipThis pork is goooooood. I wasn’t sure what I thought when I first saw the recipe, as it called for a ton of brown sugar and I’m don’t have a big sweet tooth. I do, however, have a salt tooth, so I just decided to reduce the amount of sugar called for and it was perfect. But, truthfully, I was drawn to this recipe because of the coconut rice. I mean, rice (I used basmati), cooked in coconut milk? Awesome. Life changing. If Brian didn’t think he hated coconut (he loved this rice so clearly he doesn’t), I would have garnished with some toasted, flaked coconut on top too. This whole meal was super easy and came together within 30 minutes. Weeknight score.

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Spinach and Artichoke Quinoa

Spinach and Artichoke Quinoa - Just the TipI’ve really been enjoying quinoa lately – sometimes as a salad for lunch, sometimes as a side. This side-dish recipe was was quick, healthy, and yummy.

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Parmesan Tilapia with Pesto and Tomato Salad

Easy Parmesan Pesto Tilapia - Just the TipToday marks my 7th consecutive day eating seafood and I LOVE IT. Tonight’s dinner, the end of the seafood streak, was probably my favorite. This will definitely be my a go-to for us – it was delicious! Sprinkle a little parmesan on some tilapia, broil it (my favorite fish cookery method), then top with some store-bought pesto and a little tomato salad dressed with lemon basil vinaigrette. Serve with some crusty bread and you have a simple 15 minute meal. Hallelujah.

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Broccoli, Ham, and Cheese Breakfast Casserole

Broccoli, Ham, and Cheese Breakfast Casserole - Just the Tip food blogPortability. This is the exact thing I need during a busy workweek to keep me from hitting the dreaded drive-thru on my hour+ commute to work. Something I can grab on my way out the door and know that when I finally reach my office, I can zap a piece of this casserole and enjoy a legitimate breakfast on the fly. This casserole is perfect for this – AND, it’s low-carb and only about 250 calories per serving. I’ve made it twice in as many weeks an I can see it as a regular in our menu plan. Eggs, cubed ham steak, broccoli, cheese – easy peasy. Make a big dish of this on Sunday, cut into 8 squares, and you’ve got breakfast for you and your mate for 80% of the workweek. I might get drive-thru crap on the 5th day when we run out, but that’s harm reduction at its best. Right?

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Clam and Bacon Pizza

IMG_4425I’m on a bit of a clam bender. You see, I’ve been at the cape for a few days for our annual 4th of July pilgrimage and my dad is supremely talented at just innocently and ever-so-legally just stumbling upon clams in the bay across from my family’s house. One night we enjoyed the fruits of his labor tossed with linguine in a lemon garlic sauce with garlic bread, another day, we had bacon-laden clams casino. But, I most enjoy them chilled, freshly shucked, on the half shell and squeezed with a little lemon and Tabasco. Life is hard sometimes, I know.

my dad, stumbling upon clams in the bay

my dad, stumbling upon clams in the bay

Enter this pizza. Brian and I had to sadly ditch the cape a day earlier than planned due to terrible, irresponsible sunburns. I came home and was really missing my diet of clams that I had become accustomed to. I had a roll of pillsbury pizza crust in the fridge (whole wheat from either trader joe’s or whole foods would have been my first choice, but you make do), some canned clams in the cupboard (blasphemy!), and a few slices of bacon and dinner was born. Made wholly from pantry staples (except for maybe the alfredo sauce, which can easily be made from scratch if you don’t have any bottled), this pizza was totally awesome.  I was a little sad when i took my last bite, I’m not gonna lie.

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Grilled Chicken and Sausage Kebab Salad

IMG_4420This is my FAVORITE dinner salad. I was so excited making it tonight because somehow I had forgotten about it. This recipe was heavy in my repertoire a couple of years ago and for good reason – it’s awesome. Grilled skewers of pork sausage, chicken breast, and fresh bay doused in olive oil and lemon all tossed around with romaine lettuce (the most boring part, but necessary), fresh garlic croutons and THE BEST dressing ever. The Best. Best part is that it’s such a simple meal and perfect for a summer night.

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Mashed Unpotatoes / Cheesy Cauliflower Puree

IMG_4395Soooo, I’ve been taking a little break from the blog, if you haven’t noticed. And I’m sure you’re thrilled that in my reappearance I give you cauliflower. It’s not the most popular vegetable, I know, but I’ve been making this a ton and it’s awesome! Considering cauliflower is among Brian’s top 3 hated foods (along with mushrooms and olives – he doesn’t know what he’s missing!), that’s saying a lot. I’ve tried my hand at faux mashed potatoes before, and those are good, but there’s just something about the consistency which screams I’M NOT A POTATO. This recipe, however, only whispers “I’m not a potato, but I’m the next closest thing if not better!” For real. It’s amazing what a little cheese does to making the cauliflower thick and creamy. Make this, I promise you won’t be disappointed!

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Guinness Beef Stew with Puff Pastry Topper

20130316_183053I’m not really Irish, but I love holiday food. Also, my man is Irish, so I figured I would try to give him some of his favorite foods this weekend. Read: potatoes (mashed for me, please!), beef, and beer. This beef stew is hands down the best beef stew I’ve had/made. Mix in some of the crunchy buttery pastry topper, and it. is. heaven. Really.

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Thai Butternut Soup

IMG_4366 I whipped this soup up in about 15-20 minutes and it has so. much. flavor. The original recipe (cooking light) called for red curry paste, but I since I have a big tub of a green curry paste in the fridge that I love, I used that instead – use whatever you like.

Another note about the curry paste. I have to insist that it really is worth seeking out an asian market for some authentic stuff. That little jar of thai kitchen curry paste isn’t doing you any favors in the flavor department. I really love the tub of curry I found at my local Super 88 which is Maesri brand, but I’ve also heard that Mae Ploy is really good too.

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