Classic Beef Roast | Sunday Night Suppers

Another week, another Monday. Tell me if I’m wrong but I feel like Mondays are not the worst day of the week, Tuesdays are. Mondays you can expect to dread. It’s the first day back at work after the weekend but at the same time, you’re coming off a super relaxing Sunday (hopefully). The real worst day of the week is Tuesday. Yesterday was probably an exhausting, soul sucking Monday with little to no recovery time and you still have four full days (three if it’s later in the day) till the weekend. Monday mornings I feel refreshed and motivated to get a jumpstart on the week. Tuesdays I want to dig a hole and not come out until 3PM on Friday. What do you think? Are you a Monday hater or a Tuesday hater?

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Regardless which day of the week you think is the worst, one thing that everyone loves (or should love) about Sundays is a delicious, comforting Sunday Night Supper. In true Monday fashion for September, we have yet another recipe for you. We started with an American favorite, last week we got a taste of my Italian roots, and this week we’re going full classic. I’m not sure where the concept of a Sunday roast began but I know it’s a thing in the United Kingdom, England to be more specific, and here in America. If you know of any other countries around the world that love a good roast for Sunday suppers, tell me in the comments below.

Roasts are pretty full-proof. It’s not entirely impossible to mess them up though. My Noni managed to burn a roast so bad one time when I was a kid that it was like a rock. To this day, we still don’t understand how she destroyed a perfectly good piece of meat. In case you’re wondering, we ordered pizza that night. The experience left a mark though...I always put timers on when it comes to roasting meat. This recipe is pretty basic and easy enough for beginners in the kitchen. Start by searing your roast. It develops a rich flavor that only gets better while in the oven. You want to season both sides generously and let it cook over a high heat on the stove for at least 8-10 minutes per side. Once done, transfer to a plate and cook the onions. The onions give a lot of flavor to the juice. You’ll see a lot of roasts made with pearl onions or quartered onions. I feel that when an onion is diced up, you get to pull out all the flavors. Pour the beef broth into the pot, scrape the bottom to release all those beautiful browned bits, add the vegetables and top with the roast. Voila! You have yourself a Sunday Night Supper. Easy right?

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What I love about roasts is that because they cook slow, you have time between prep and dinner to get things done. For example, writing a few blog posts or planning out content for the remainder of 2018. Once the roast is finished cooking, it’s important to let it sit. This allows the meat to settle and the juices to disperse within the meat so that when you cut into it, they don’t come pouring out. While it rests, whip up those mashed potatoes. I love a good, creamy mash. It’s comforting in the best possible way. Our recipe is simple with three ingredients and salt. All you need for a decent mashed potato is: potatoes, butter, cream. Not milk. Cream keeps the mash thick and rich. Milk waters it down. Salt the mash to taste and go at it with a potato masher. If you like an extra smooth mash, take an immersion blender and get rid of any clumps. It’s easy and 100% worth the effort. Once finished, the mash acts as the perfect bed for the roast. Spoon a little bit of that juice over everything for extra richness and flavor. Bon appetit!

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Classic Beef Roast with Creamy Mashed Potatoes
2-3 lb. Beef Roast (Chuck, Brisket, or Round)
1 tbsp. Oregano
1 tbsp. Basil
1 tbsp. Olive Oil
1 large Onion, diced
6 Garlic Cloves, peeled
8 large Carrots, peeled and sliced thick on a bias
6 Celery Stalks, cut into 2-inch pieces
4 cups Beef Stock
Rosemary Sprigs
Salt & Pepper

2 lbs. Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and diced
½ cup Cream
4 tbsp. Butter
Salt, to taste

1 - Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Season the beef generously on all sides with the oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet or oven-proof Dutch Oven over high heat. Add the olive oil. Once hot, sear the roast on both sides. Remove to a plate.

2 - Add the onion to the pot. Stir and cook until translucent. Add the beef stock, scraping the bottom to get all the browned bits loose. Add the garlic, carrots, and celery to the pot. Place the roast back on top and place the rosemary on either side of the roast. Cover and move to the oven. Roast for 1.5 hours to 2 hours until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Remove from the oven and let rest at least 20 minutes, lid on. Shred with two forks or use a knife to slice the roast after resting.

3 - While the roast is resting, prepare the mashed potatoes. Put the potatoes in a pot and add enough cold water to cover them. Place over high heat and bring to a roaring boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer and let the potatoes boil for 15-20 minutes until fork tender. Drain the potatoes. Add the cream and butter to the pot with the potatoes and begin to mash them. For an extra smooth potato, use an immersion blender to cream the potatoes and remove any clumps. Taste the mashed potatoes and salt to taste.

4 - Serve by creating a bed of mashed potatoes and spooning the roast and veggies on top with your preference of juice.

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Chicken Parmesan | Sunday Night Suppers

Nothing is more comforting than a bowl of pasta with homemade gravy. It instantly takes me back to my childhood. One of my favorite Sunday Night Suppers from when I was a kid is Chicken Parmesan. This dish doesn’t necessarily take a long time to pull together but there are a lot of steps and moving parts. It’s a great meal to make with someone too. Normally, I prefer to cook alone but there are some dishes that are nice to have a companion in the kitchen for. Everyone is familiar with Chicken Parmesan. It’s one of those classic Italian dishes that you can find anywhere. It’s been transformed into a sandwich, salads, and I’ve even seen pizzas and recipes for soup! Nothing beats the classic, pan fried and oven finished meal.

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This recipe has two parts, the pasta and the chicken. Chicken Parmesan is traditionally served without pasta. Italians don’t mix meat entrees with pasta. You have the meat course, the pasta course and the salad course all separate. My family never had a problem with the American tradition of mixing meat and pasta though. Spaghetti and Meatballs? Bring it on. If it saves us from an extra set of dishes, we’re in. With that said, I went all in with this recipe by creating a homemade gravy (or red sauce) to use in the pasta and the Chicken Parmesan. I’m not above store-bought but to do a Sunday Supper properly, pour the ingredients into the pot and get the real thing going. It’s hardly any effort at all. The only hassle is stirring the gravy regularly to ensure the bottom doesn’t burn. Tasting it each time is also important. It’ll tell you whether you need to adjust the seasoning.

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When it comes to the Chicken Parmesan, the end result that you want is a nice, crispy breading with a gooey outer layer from the mozzarella, finished with a delightful crisp Parmesan crust. This recipe, I’m proud to say, yields that result. Believe me when I say I surprised myself with how delicious this meal turned out. My Noni would have been proud had she been with us that night. Let’s start at the beginning. The chicken receives a classic breading technique. Flour followed by egg finished with breadcrumbs. Don’t be afraid to get messy. Get the chicken nice and soaked by the egg so that the breadcrumbs can hold on tight. Make sure to be really generous with the breadcrumb coating too because you want a nice, crisp breading. The oil should be screaming hot before placing the chicken into it otherwise you risk the chicken being soggy. It will only take a few minutes per side to fry the chicken. You’ll know because when you go to flip the chicken, the cooked side will be nice and stiff. This is what you want.

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Once the chicken is fried, it’s not completely cooked so it needs to finish in the oven. This is also where the cheesy magic happens. The mozzarella will get all gooey around the chicken and the parmesan will become golden and bubbly on top while creating a crisp later. This is pure heaven and while it might seem like you’ve overcooked your chicken, you haven’t. The result should be a moist center. Serve on top of a bed of spaghetti and you’re good to go. See? Not too bad! There are a few moving parts but in the end, the result is completely 100% worth it.

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Homemade Red Gravy
2 - 28 oz. cans Crushed Tomatoes (low-sodium or no salt added preferred)
8 oz. Tomato Paste (low-sodium or no salt added preferred)
½ cup Fresh Basil (or ¼ cup dried)
6 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 tbsp. Oregano
2 tbsp. Parsley
1 Bay Leaf
½ tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
Salt & Pepper, to taste

1 - Place all the ingredients in a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and let cook for 2-3 hours stirring every 15-30 minutes. Keep the temperature as low as you can to avoid the bottom from burning. Taste the gravy each time you stir to make sure the seasoning is good. Adjust as necessary.

Chicken Parmesan
½ cup Flour
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
2 Eggs
¾ cup Breadcrumbs
½ cup Parmesan, grated
1 tbsp. dried Parsley
1 tbsp. dried Basil
1 tsp. Oregano
⅓ cup Vegetable Oil
4 boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts
1 recipe of Homemade Red Gravy (above)
1 lb. Spaghetti
Salt & Pepper

1 - Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Prep three bowls. In one add the flour, garlic powder and salt and pepper. In a 2nd add the eggs and whisk. In the 3rd, mix together the breadcrumbs, parmesan, basil, parsley, and oregano.

2 - Add 1-inch of vegetable oil (about ⅓ cup) to a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. While the oil gets hot, start breading the chicken. Coat first with flour followed by dredging in the egg and then coating generously with the breadcrumbs mixture.

3 - Add the chicken to the hot oil and cook 4-5 minutes until golden brown on each side. Take off the heat, add half of the gravy and top the chicken with th mozzarella cheese, parmesan, and basil. Bake 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melted and the chicken temperature reads 165 degrees internally.

4 - While the chicken bakes, bring a pot of water to a boil. Salt the water generously and add the pasta. Cook until al dente and drain. Toss with the remaining gravy. Serve the Chicken Parmesan by making a bed of spaghetti for the chicken and placing the chicken on top.

Grease a baking dish and spread a half cup of gravy along the bottom. Place the chicken in the dish after shallow frying in the skillet. Continue the recipe as is.

4 Large Chicken Breasts Makes 8 Servings

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Open-Face Chicken Caprese Sandwiches | Farmers Market Series

We’re coming towards the end of tomato season which is so sad! Tomatoes are in the height of their harvest from August to about mid-September, maybe through the month if the weather keeps warm. I went to the farmers market this morning and it was obvious the end is near. Heirlooms are bountiful right now but all the other tomato varieties are starting to phase out. It’s the only time of the year you’ll see me bite into a tomato the same way you would an apple. A little salt and that’s all it needs, if anything. From colorful, rustic heirlooms to the delightful mini cherry tomatoes, there are a million things you can do with tomatoes. Cook a fresh pot of tomato sauce, make a cold gazpacho on a hot late summer day, puree a bowl of steaming classic tomato soup to pair with a crispy, gooey grilled cheese sandwiches on fall-like September days...the options are endless! This particular recipe is a hearty version of summertime flavor combination that is one of my personal favorites: Caprese.

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Caprese is an Italian salad consisting of tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and fresh basil. It’s also served as a pizza, sandwich and more. It’s fresh and delicious. Something about the combination of these three ingredients is dynamite. I wanted to do something similar for this time of year because the tomatoes are perfect but I wanted it to be a little more substantial for dinner. So I thought...add chicken! To really bump up the flavor of the basil, I also threw together a quick and easy pesto to schmear the bread with. The end result had great flavors and left everyone completely satisfied.

The chicken should not be enormous. Unless I’m planning to cut the chicken into strips or cubes myself, I always go to the butcher to order my chicken breasts. It gives me a little more control over the size of the meat. This particular recipe only needs thin-cut chicken breasts which are easier to eyeball in the packaged meat section. You can also buy two regular sized chicken breasts and slice them in half yourself. It’s much easier than it might seem. The trick is to have a really sharp, thin knife. It gives you the control you need to make a nice cut easily. There will be plenty of flavor from the pesto and the tomatoes so the chicken only needs to be seasoned simply with salt and pepper. Thin-cut breasts will cook rapidly over a higher heat which is what you want. No dry chicken in this kitchen! Sear it on both sides for a few minutes and let it rest while preparing the sandwiches.

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Roasting tomatoes, especially cherry tomatoes, brings out all their natural sweetness. It’s my favorite way to cook them and it couldn’t be easier. Because you just want to melt the cheese after assembling the sandwiches, all the ingredients should be ready to go before assembly. In other words, the tomatoes need to be roasted. Drizzle a little olive oil, season with salt and pepper and slide into the oven while you cook the chicken. Once everything is ready, schmear the bread with some pesto, top with the chicken, add a little more pesto, top with the roasted tomatoes and cheese. I don’t feel like this needs anything to go alongside it but a simple salad or roasted potatoes would pair nicely.

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Open-Face Chicken Caprese Sandwiches
2 cups fresh Basil + ½ cup torn
1 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
2 Garlic Cloves
¼ cup Olive Oil, divided
1 pint Multi-Color Cherry Tomatoes, halved
4 thin-cut boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 thick-cut slices Country or Italian Bread
4 slices Mozzarella Cheese
Salt & Pepper

1 - In a food processor, combine the basil, parmesan, garlic, salt and pepper until chopped. Slowly stream in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until a paste forms.

2 - Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tin foil. Place the tomatoes on the sheet. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast 20-30 minutes until skins are blistered and tomatoes have softened.

3 - Meanwhile, heat a grill pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper. Cook 3-4 minutes per side until cooked through and no longer pink.

4 - Assemble the sandwiches. Brush 1 tablespoon of pesto on each bread slice. Lay the chicken on top and spoon a little more pesto. Top with the tomatoes and mozzarella slice. Place back in the oven for 5 minutes until cheese melts.

5 - Top with torn basil for garnish and serve.

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Lazy Girl's Chicken Pot Pie | Sunday Night Suppers

Sunday Night Supper is a weekly tradition that holds memories for a lot of people. If there’s one thing every culture and every person can relate to, its the comfort that food brings when it reminds them of home. Whether that’s a giant pot of Noni’s red gravy or the first crisp bite of Grandma’s fried chicken, we can taste and smell the memory as if it happened yesterday. Sunday Night Supper each week is a time where everyone comes together to be with one another and catch up on each other’s lives while enjoying a great meal. As fun as summer is, this weekly tradition tends to take a back seat to the barbecues, graduation parties, birthday parties and vacations. Now that school is back in session and things have started to settle down, it’s time to start bringing the family around the table again for Sunday Night Suppers.

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One of the best things about Sunday Night Supper is the comfort food. It’s the dishes that take too much time to prepare on a regular weeknight. Instead, they take a little extra prep than you probably want to handle and sometimes cook for hours. It’s bolognese instead of marinara, rump roast instead of steaks on the grill. Or in the case of today’s recipe, Chicken Pot Pie instead of pan-seared chicken breasts. Chicken Pot Pie is a classic American comfort food but its history actually goes back to Roman empire times. Bottom line, it’s a meat pie. Meat and veggies cooked in a creamy sauce and served pie-style with pastry dough. There are a lot of moving parts though. So instead of creating a recipe that scares you away from these memorable dinners, I morphed Chicken Pot Pie into a more approachable recipe. Let’s be honest though, I hate dealing with pie dough and the thought of having one part of this dish already finished sounded pretty darn good.

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Chicken Pot Pie made in its classic form includes cooking the chicken and the vegetables, preparing the sauce (or roux) for the chicken and vegetables to bathe in, and prepping a seamless pie crust. This recipe cuts a few steps. For starters, instead of cooking the chicken we’re using a store-bought Rotisserie Chicken. Any leftover chicken shredded or diced would work though. Second, we’re cutting the whole pie dough step and using store-bought biscuits instead. It’s a trick that not only is equally as tasty but so simple and seamless. I kind of like it better because biscuits make it easier to scoop up the delicious sauce. If you have a cast-iron skillet or another type of very large oven-safe skillet, this recipe only gets better because that makes it one-dish! If not, no worries.

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When making chicken pot pie, it’s important that you cook all the ingredients through before putting the final product in the oven. This recipe has a little more leniency since there isn’t a traditional pie crust. If you were to put undercooked ingredients in the pie crust to finish in the oven, it risks being a liquidy pie. Since we’re placing biscuits on top, it’s not vital to have the ingredients cooked through before baking but you want the end result to be creamy and chunkier. Almost like a very hearty stew. So I'd suggest to cook everything through. One more important note before you get cooking, store-bought biscuits or your own favorite biscuit recipe will work. The point of the pot pie going into the oven is to cook the dough. So regardless of what recipe or store-bought option you use, follow those directions. I used Pillsbury Homestyle Southern-Style Biscuits which is what you see pictured.

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Lazy Girl’s Chicken Pot Pie
2 tbsp. Butter + 4 tbsp. For the roux
1 Onion, diced
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
3 large Carrots, diced
3 Celery Stalks, sliced
¼ cup Flour
2 cups Chicken Stock
1 Rotisserie Chicken, shredded (about 3-4 cups)
3 Ears of Corn, kernels removed
2 cups frozen Peas
1 tsp. Thyme
Salt & Pepper
1 package store-bought Biscuits

1 - Preheat the oven to 325 degrees*. Prepare the filling.

2 - Melt 2 tbsp of the butter in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrots and celery. Cook 15-20 minutes until the carrots have softened. Remove from the skillet and set aside.

3 - Back in the skillet, melt 4 tbsp of the butter over medium heat. Once melted, add the flour. Whisk constantly until the roux turns a golden brown color. Slowly whisk in the chicken stock, continuing to whisk to remove any clumps. Let simmer 3-5 minutes until thickened.

4 - Add the vegetables back to the skillet with the shredded rotisserie chicken, peas and corn. Stir to coat all the ingredients with the sauce. Bring back to a simmer, season with thyme, salt and pepper.

5 - Top the pot pie mixture in the skillet with the biscuits. Move to the oven and bake 20-25 minutes* until the biscuits are cooked through and the filling is bubbly**. Let sit about 10 minutes before serving.

If you do not have a cast-iron skillet, prepare the filling in a large skillet and move to a buttered baking dish to finish the recipe in the oven.

*Oven temperature and baking time depend on the store-bought biscuits that you purchase. Adjust if necessary according to the package directions
**If the biscuits are browning too quickly on top but the rest still needs time, cover the dish with tin foil and remove 2-3 minutes before taking it out of the oven

Sliced Sausage Sandwiches with Roasted Potatoes | Easy Weeknight Recipes

One of my favorite things to eat while visiting Texas is a smoked sausage sandwich. They’re usually served at barbecue joints with some housemade bbq sauce and so delicious. Rather than the Italian kind you find around these parts, this sausage is smoked and more like a hot dog than sausage. I loved the idea of sliced sausage sandwiches because they’re crowd-pleasers and easy to pull together. The type of sausage you find in Texas isn’t as easy to track down in the midwest and even if you do, it doesn’t seem the same. The closest is Andouille or Smoked Deli Sausage and which don't live up to the real Texas kind. So while I loved the idea of recreating these sandwiches, I didn’t want to replicate them because they wouldn’t live up to my expectations. Instead, I decided to give them a little Italian Chicago twist.

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Sausage and peppers is a classic combination. Something about the spice of the sausage and sweetness of the peppers makes it a crowd pleaser number. Add a little mozzarella and you’ve got a winner! These Sliced Sausage Sandwiches are inspired by the ones I have all the time in Texas but with a different flavor profile. They're also most likely a lot healthier. They’re very easy to prepare and quick too making them great for weeknights. The packaged sausage in the deli aisle that’s pre-cooked is such a great ingredient for weeknight cooking. There are so many options and many of them not too bad in the nutrition department. I used a Chicken Sausage with classic Italian seasoning for this recipe in particular. Any variety that seems like a good match for peppers would work for this recipe.

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Before you start working on the sandwiches, get some potatoes roasting in the oven. Dice the potatoes about an inch or so thick, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and stick them in the oven for about 25 minutes until they’re fork tender and crisp on the outside. These should cook in about the time it’ll take to completely prepare the sandwiches. To start, heat a little olive oil in a large skillet. Cook the peppers first to soften them but not too much. They should still have a bite. You don’t want mushy peppers. Once they’ve developed a nice color to them and have tenderized a bit, add the sausage and cook just a few minutes to get them browning. Once that’s finished, add the mixture to the bottom bun halves, top with cheese and place in the oven. The cheese will melt and the buns will toast for great textures and flavors.

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Sliced Sausage Sandwiches with Roasted Potatoes
2 Potatoes, diced
2 tbsp. Olive Oil + 1 tbsp.
4 links Chicken Sausage, sliced 1-inch thick
½ Red Bell Pepper, sliced
½ Green Bell Pepper, sliced
4 slices Mozzarella Cheese
4 Brioche Rolls, or hearty Hamburger Buns, sliced in half
Salt & Pepper

1 - Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Prep a baking sheet with tin foil. Place the potatoes on the foil-lined baking sheet, drizzle with two tablespoons of olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Toss. Bake 20-25 minutes until crisp and browned.

2 - While the potatoes cook, prep your sandwiches. Heat the remaining tablespoon in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the peppers and cook until just starting to soften. They should still have a bite to them. Add in the sausage and cook about 5-6 minutes longer until the sausage starts to brown.

3 - Prep a second baking sheet with tin foil and lay the sliced buns on it top sides down, bottom sides up. Fill the bottom halves with the sausage and pepper mixture. Top with the mozzarella slices and place into the oven for about 3 minutes or just until the cheese melts. Remove from the oven, top with your favorite condiments (or nothing at all), and serve with the roasted potatoes alongside!

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Simple 3-Ingredient Tomato Sauce | Farmers Market Series

Tomato season is here! As an Italian, I can appreciate the season of tomatoes. They’re such a versatile ingredient and come in many different shapes, sizes, and even colors. I love roasting cherry tomatoes to bring out more of their natural sweetness. Heirloom tomatoes are gorgeous for salads and sandwiches. Plum tomatoes and vine tomatoes are perfect for homemade sauces. Tomatoes are never better than while at the peak of their season. The same goes for any other fruit or vegetable but tomatoes seem to be juicier and sweeter from August to September while they’re thriving. With that said, today’s farmers market recipe is a very simple and easy tomato sauce. Make it on weeknights, make it on the weekend. Double, triple, or even quadruple the batch and freeze the extras for quick dinners in the coming weeks.

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What’s great about this recipe is that the other two main ingredients are also at the peak of their season right now: basil and garlic. The basil is so aromatic at this time which makes it perfect for using in homemade sauces. Its potency will lend lots of great flavor to the tomatoes. Garlic is also growing like crazy now which means it's inexpensive and fresh. I call this recipe 3-Ingredient because the others should be basics you have in your pantry. Olive oil, salt and pepper should always be stocked in your kitchen. Nothing puts me in a panic more than realizing that I just used my last drop of olive oil. So to keep that from happening, I’ll usually buy a new bottle of olive oil when I’m a little under half-way through with my current one.

There are a lot of variations of olive oil at the grocery store and it can be intimidating, especially if you’re just getting started in the kitchen or haven’t used olive oil regularly up till now. Being Italian, olive oil was always something we had on hand. We use it for everything from sweating onions to drizzling over salads. We use it straight up to dip bread, we use it in baking. It’s a basic kitchen ingredient and that’s the same for a lot of other cultures too: Spanish, French, Greek, etc. It’s also really good for you, especially in its raw form (not cooked). I always go with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. You want to stay away from anything that labeled or considered "light." Extra virgin is of the best quality and a standard option for overall use. I won’t go crazy and buy $50 bottles but I generally like my olive oil to be made in Italy, Greece or Spain and never more than one location. Surprisingly, you can find oils that have 2+ places attributed to their creation. Not good. I have, however, found a brand made out of California that's really good. Bon Appetit has a helpful article to buying olive oil as a beginner if you're interested.

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Now that we’ve got ingredient information out of the way, let’s talk sauce. Like I said, this is essentially a 3-ingredient sauce: tomatoes, basil and garlic. While you prepare the sauce, get a pot of water boiling and cook your desired pasta. I used Fettuccine because we love big noodles in my house and it's a heartier pasta. Fettuccine pairs well with the fresher sauces too. First step: heat the olive oil over a medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes, basil and garlic. Season generously to taste (the S&P is your only chance to season the sauce) and bring to a simmer. Step 2: Let the sauce simmer for about 15-minutes until the tomatoes have released their juices and the bitterness has cooked out. Step 3: Toss with the fettuccine and serve. That’s it! Super easy, ridiculously quick and SOOO delicious.

NOTE: If you decide to increase this recipe and make a double, triple or even quadruple batch, increase the cook time. This is very important. Adding more tomatoes means they need extra time to cook. I would add 15-minutes for every extra “batch.” So if you double this recipe, cook 30-minutes. If you quadruple the recipe, cook for at least 60-minutes. The key is to keep stirring it every 15-minutes or so to keep the bottom from burning and tasting it along the way to see if it’s ready. And to be clear, you can absolutely cook this sauce longer than the required time. Cooking tomato sauces longer make the flavors develop more which creates a richer, sweeter, more delicious sauce. The time reflected in this recipe is the minimum suggestion for the best result. Happy cooking!

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Simple 3-Ingredient Tomato Sauce
2 tbsp. Olive Oil
4 medium-large Tomatoes, diced
½ cup Basil, roughly chopped
3 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
Salt & Pepper
1 lb. Fettuccine

1 - In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes, basil and garlic. Season generously with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and let cook for about 15 minutes until the tomatoes have released their juices and are no longer bitter.

2 - Meanwhile, cook the fettuccine or your choice of pasta, according to package directions. Drain and toss with the tomato sauce. Serve.

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Weeknight Chicken Burrito Bowls | Easy Weeknight Recipes

Fast food doesn’t have much of a presence in my house. The occasional burger from a local spot and a once-in-a-while Jimmy John’s sandwich are pretty much the most you’ll see us indulge in. One of my personal favorite go-to’s when it comes to eating out in a rush is Chipotle. Something tells me I won’t get much judgement from you guys either. I love Chipotle but I don’t love paying $8 for a burrito bowl on the regular and I don’t love venturing out and waiting in line. I don’t love all that especially when I can make my own burrito bowl in the comfort of my home for about the same price to serve four. With that in mind, I went on a mission to create burrito bowls at home without lots of work.

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The majority of the prep for these bowls will be in creating the Pico de Gallo which is hardly anything at all. Mix together chopped tomatoes, red onion, garlic, parsley (or cilantro for you weird people), and lime juice. Side note: I hate cilantro. It takes like soap to me. If you feel the same way, use parsley instead. I substitute it for every recipe that calls for cilantro. Once the Pico de Gallo is created, layer your burrito bowls! Make a bed of rice, top it with chicken followed by the pico de gallo, corn, beans, lettuce, sour cream and cheese...or however you prefer to top your bowl.

There is an important difference to note with this recipe. The type of chicken you use in this bowl will have an effect on the flavor. Chipotle seasons their meat pretty well. So for example, I used a store-bought Rotisserie chicken which has flavor but nothing crazy. I didn’t mind the flavors being a little muted but if you want that same spicy flavor from the meat, make a note of that when you choose what chicken you’ll be using. You can chop up some leftover breasts or thighs that you seasoned for a dinner earlier in the week. Or, there are plenty of cooked chicken options in the deli section. Some stores even offer Rotisserie chickens that have been seasoned. Our store has Rosemary + Garlic along with the traditional Rotisserie-style. It’s just something to keep in mind while you’re preparing the ingredients for this meal or doing your grocery shopping for the week. Regardless of your decision, it will still turn out delightful. Promise!

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Weeknight Chicken Burrito Bowls
2 small Roma Tomatoes, diced
½ small Red Onion, chopped
1 clove Garlic, minced
Juice of ½ Lime
2 tbsp. Parsley, chopped (or Cilantro)
3 cups Brown Rice, cooked (white rice is ok too)
2 cups Cooked Chicken, shredded or chopped
14 oz. Corn, drained
14 oz. Black Beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups Lettuce, chopped
¼ cup Sour Cream
2 cups Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
Salt & Pepper

1 - In a bowl, prepare the pico de gallo. Mix together the tomatoes, onion, garlic, parsley, and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

2 - In four bowls, split the rice evenly to make a bed for the rest of the ingredients. Layer the chicken, pico de gallo, corn, beans, lettuce, sour cream, and cheese. Serve!

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Chunky Chicken Salad Sandwiches | Easy Weeknight Recipes

Back to school is starting this week and will continue all month long for many people. Whether that means bringing your baby to pre-school for the first time or heading back to a college campus, chances are time is not something to be wasteful with anymore. Gone are the long days of summer where dinner can be dragged out over a few hours. Weeknight cookouts (if you’re lucky enough to have those) will become a distant memory and budgets get a little tighter. Everyone loves a meal they can prep in under 20 minutes and it’s even better if it saves you a buck. That’s what’s so great about this Chunky Chicken Salad.

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Two words: Rotisserie Chicken. I wasn’t a huge fan of these for a long time because breaking them down isn’t fun. One week this summer, I managed to make one $7 Rotisserie Chicken act as the protein for two different dinners plus there was enough left over from both meals to feed two adults for lunch for 5 days. $7 essentially provided 14 servings at least. That’s impressive. One meal was the Southwestern Chicken Pita Pockets that I shared a few weeks ago. The second was this delightful Chunky Chicken Salad. Both recipes need about two cups of cooked chicken which is about what one Rotisserie Chicken will yield. The remaining ingredients are pretty inexpensive and can be used in many other different ways as well.

Another perk of this Chunky Chicken Salad is that it’s no-cook! All of the ingredients get mixed up and spooned onto bread. Simple, easy, quick! Dice up carrots, celery and cucumbers. You don’t have to get crazy because this is a chunky salad but you want them to be small enough so that the sandwich isn't a challenge to eat. Adding cucumbers to the classic carrot-celery combo adds a refreshing touch. I always like to include grapes in my chicken salads if they look good ad the store. Their sweetness takes the chicken salad to another level and gives it a more dynamic flavor profile. Instead of just tossing the ingredients with mayo, add in a touch of relish for a tiny zing. It’s a small extra step that makes all the difference. These sandwiches are quite tasty, and pack well for lunches. The only time you’ll spend on this dish is how long it takes you to prep the ingredients and mix everything together. I used an Artisanal Bread from the farmers market but any kind you prefer will work. Try toasting the bread before hand if it’s not too sturdy so it can handle the salad well.

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Chunky Chicken Salad
2 cups cooked Chicken, chopped or shredded
1 small Carrot, diced
1 Celery Stalk, diced
½ Cucumber, diced
1 cup Grapes, halved
½ cup Mayo
1 tsp. Relish
8 slices Artisan Bread

1 - In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the chicken, carrot, celery, cucumber, grapes, mayo and relish. Spoon onto the bread and serve.

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