Holiday Favorites

1st Communion Nut Free Menu

Our little lady has her 1st Communion coming up, and it’s the same weekend as Cinco de Mayo!  she already loves mexican food since most of it is safe! This will be fun filled family weekend as she connects to church a little more 🙂 Here is what we are thinking:

Our Menu

  • Tostitos chips and bean + cotija cheese dip
  • Tamales from El Rey in Milwaukee, WI – confirmed nut-free (also our favorite at Christmas time)
  • Mexican Rice
  • Street Corn  
  • Corn Bread – we use the Betty Crocker brand since it’s safe, the Jiff brand is NOT.
  • 1st Communion Cake – I’ll be baking it, and it might look like this, nice and easy with some fluffy frosting and cupcakes!

 

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Weeknight Dinners

Seared Sea Scallops in Vermouth Cream Sauce

If you live in the Midwest, you might have been rejoicing yesterday as your kids went off to school as the week has started in a “back to normal” routine – unlike last week, and the record number of consecutive days off! Below is a photo of the HIGH temperature last week Thursday.

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Our weekly grocery shop happened yesterday morning (Monday Morning Metcalfes Run) and I decided NOT to take a list. This was not a mistake, I wanted to grocery shop with an open mind, letting the creativity flow (lets be honest, this is not how I normally shop, but I was in a cooking rut, so new ideas needed to start popping in!). Metcalfes had some great looking seafood, and I decided to make some seared sea scallops at the last minute. We have not had them in a long time, and now that we have a gas cooktop, why not?

Luckily both kids LOVE seafood, and we are not allergic! And while scallops are very pricey, they were super buttery and delicious. For sure worth the $30 / pound price tag. It was a treat meal for sure, back to the norm today.

This recipe is easy to make during the week; however, if it’s your first time, I’d recommend tyring them over the weekend so you can get a feel for the recipe, how to prepare the scallops and your smoke detectors (it will get smoky, have that vent fan on and perhaps a window cracked!

Our IG LIVE stories still has the recipe live, if you want to see it first hand, otherwise, here is the recipe.

Pan Seared Sea Scallops in Creamy Vermouth Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 pound jumbo sea scallops
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup vermouth
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/8 tsp salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Clean scallops (see instructions in the link above, don’t forget to remove the side muscle).
  2. Heat butter in large skillet on high heat.
  3. When melted, add well dried scallops into butter. Sear on high for 2 to 2.5 minutes, then flip.
  4. Sear for another 2 minutes until a golden crust is formed.
  5. Remove to a plate, turn skillet to low.
  6. Add vermouth to skillet, and simmer for 1-2 minutes to reduce the vermouth, stirring. Scrape up any butter or scallop remains in the pan.
  7. Add cream, salt and pepper. Stir, simmering for another 1-2 minutes to combine.
  8. Serve sauce over scallops.

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Since they can be made very quickly, I recommend making your other sides first. We served ours over pasta and had  a side of broccoli. We estimate about 3 scallops per child and 5 per adult. In total we had 30 scallops in approximately 1 pound. Our scallops were fresh from Metcalfes, not frozen.

 

Weeknight Dinners

Sheet Pan Steak Fajitas

Who likes easy dinner clean up?!

*Raises Hand*

Perfect recipe for weeknight cooking! Especially if you have tiny steak lovers! However, I would HIGHLY recommend grilling the flank steak over putting it under the broiler. The broiler worked fine, if you cook it 1-2 minutes on each side. However, it can easily become chewy and tough in a matter of no time.

Flank steak is not cheap. For a little over one pound, we paid almost $12.00. This steak is delish, but you need to be careful in how you cook it. This recipe was good – and the kids did eat all of their food. But watch that steak! Or grill it quick. You know, Wisconsin style. Shovel a path to your grill, then stand outside in flip flops.

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Two sheet pans is a must. Ideally, you want the veggies to get a little roasty and crunchy. They won’t do that if they are crowded! Keep the meat separate and the veggies in their own space.

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Ingredients:

Directions

  1. Preheat broiler with oven rack in the top position. Place a rimmed baking sheet in oven (leave pan in oven as it preheats).
  2. Combine oil, cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt, chile powder, and black pepper in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Place steak in a bowl. Place bell peppers and onion in a bowl. Add half of oil mixture to steak; toss. Add remaining half of oil mixture to pepper mixture; toss.
  3. Carefully remove baking sheet from oven. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add pepper mixture to pan; broil 10 minutes or until almost tender. Remove pan from oven. Move pepper mixture to sides of pan; arrange steak in center of pan. Broil 3 minutes or until steak reaches desired degree of doneness. Sprinkle cilantro and lime wedges over pan.
  4. Combine remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, sour cream, lime juice, and ground red pepper in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Heat tortillas according to package directions. Serve sour cream mixture and tortillas with steak and pepper mixture.

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Weeknight Dinners

10 Minute Baked Potato

What?! Did you even know this was such a thing?

We were in a hurry the other day, yet we were all craving a good, hearty meal. We had potatoes, steak, mushrooms and a bunch of herbs and shallots in the fridge.

With less that 20 minutes to get dinner on the table, we googled this potato recipe, and now it’s a game change for us.

All you need is a baked potato or 4. Rinse well, poke with a fork all over. Pop into your microwave for 5 minutes. Check on it, flip it, put it back in for 5 more minutes.

I’ve made potatoes this way 2 times this week because I am in such awe! The potato turns out PERFECT. Fluffy and hot, cooked all the way through. Top with your favorite things

  • bacon
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • scallions
  • sour cream
  • salt + pepper
  • chili

We had these giant “petite” filets from Metcalfes. After speaking with the butcher this week, he said there are no nuts in the meat prep area, and if there were, it would be on a marinated item, which he could not even think of a possible cross contact scneario. Of course he gave the disclaimer that they could not 100% guarantee, but speaking with him gave me peace of mind. Now for the steak….

potatoes beside stainless steel cooking pot
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Ingredients

  • 2 (6 or 8oz) petite filets
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • fry pan
  • baking sheet lined with foil
  • meat thermometer

Directions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 400 and place your lined baking sheet inside.
  2. Let your meat come to room temperature over 30 minutes; just hanging out on the kitchen counter. If you don’t have time to do this, 10 minutes will be fine.
  3. Salt and pepper the ends of your steak to you liking, set aside on a plate.
  4. Melt the butter in the frying pan over high heat, about 2 minutes.
  5. Once your pan is super hot, sear the ends of the steak in the frying pan, about 2 minuets on each side.
  6. Then quickly place your steaks in the oven on the baking sheet.
  7. Baking time will vary depending on the thickness of your steak. Our steaks were huge. So it took about 12 minutes to get the internal temperature to 130, mediuim.
lunch meal steak meat
Photo by Markus Spiske temporausch.com on Pexels.com

Enjoy!

We also did some sauteed mushrooms with rosemary, thyme and shallots. Just a large frying pan with 2 tbsp butter, and the herbs and mushrooms on medium heat for 15 minutes or so. It was so , so good!

food wood kitchen cutting board
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
Holiday Favorites, Weeknight Dinners

Chicken Enchilada Melt Subs

Happy Fall! It’s October 1st and we couldn’t be more excited about this month’s upcoming festivities; orchards, pumpkins, lattes, leaf piles, leaf peeping, camp fires, parties and trick-or-treat! Halloween is one of our favorite holidays to celebrate.

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As the kids get older, and our time to make meals becomes less and less due to their involvement at school + activities, my blog posts containing elaborate meals is diminishing by the day! I’m peeking back at prior posts thinking, “how the heck did I have TIME to make all that food?!” And the reality is, I didn’t.

Opportunity Cost {A benefit, profit, or value of something that must be given up to acquire or achieve something else}

This is the biggest take away from my studies as an MBA student, and the time that I was spending making fancy meals was time away from things I could be doing with the kids. I’ve really tried to curb my food prep time in order to maximize human contact time. Why else are we here? Not to live in a cave alone.

The kids have had an awesome time pouring through new food recipe material with me. between activities or in the car on the go. We have two books open right now. One is called “Eat at Home Tonight” and the other is the latest Food Network Magazine. The cookbook was given to me by my brother, THANK YOU JOEY! And is organized by TIME. What a concept. The Mom who wrote this is a genious. The first chapter is “I only have 15 minutes to cook dinner” —Let me tell you, WE LOVE THIS BOOK. And she doesn’t use nuts, yet, so it’s easy converstions for us, like finding the right, safe breads to use.

Here is what we made last night. Kids gave it kind of a thumbs up, but they cleared their plates. I thought it was good!!!

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Chicken Enchilada Melt Subs

  • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken (rotisserie works great, Metcalfes is the best)
  • 1 (4oz) can diced green chiles
  • 1 (8oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt + pepper
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • 6 sub rolls – Pretzilla is your go-to nut free option! And so tasty!
  1. In a large microwave safe bowl, combine chicken, chiles, tomato, and garlic powder. Season with S+P. Microwave 2 min. Add some cheese to the mixture and microwave for 30 seconds until melted.
  2. Split your sub rolls. We use Pretzilla since they are PN + TN free. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spay with Pam non-stick. Put your rolls face side up and load up your subs. Sprinkle with cheesse.
  3. Put them under the broiler until cheese is melted.

We made a green vegetable and had some apple slices to get all food groups in! This was ready in 15 mintues. To save even more time, prep that shredded chicken on the weekend, that way you hvae it ready for your week night meals!

Have a great week everyone. And remember, the point of a meal together is just that, being together. So save some time in the kitchen and focus up on the people that you’re surrounded with, engage in some good conversation and enjoy being in the moment.

Nut Free Cookies Below….Metcalfes carries Lofthouse Bakery cookies – perfect for your Halloween Parties at school or home 🙂

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