A Weekend in the Kitchen…

For anyone curious about the actual recipes shared on my Instagram last night…..

Friday night was a semi-impromptu dinner party with my favorite local gals — the type of people for whom hanging out in pjs and not talking is the perfect introvert socialization. As it had been two months since we’ve seen each other in person — despite talking via Messenger constantly — there was a bit less quiet reading time and bit more laughter.

And we were all actually wearing pants.

One of us in the middle of a fitness challenge at work and another has some sexy costumes hitting the stage this this fall, so I wanted something healthy… but not TOO healthy, because what kind of dinner party is that?

Cooking Light: Potato Gratin Quiche and Spinach Salad

This was the perfect solution. I added some diced pancetta to the quiche for panache and was lazy and used jarred salad dressing (Brianna’s Real French is straight from the gods and still nice and light).

The leftovers have crisped up nicely — even Hampton, who hates leftovers — took some to work!

Saturday started a bit earlier than my usual preference — especially when Hampton had the day off. A Saturday off! In retail!  But I had a rehearsal at work for an event Sunday afternoon.

When I got home, Hampton and I went to DiLisio’s for some amazing Italian food, and then to grab a beer at Dogwood before finally getting to see Captain Marvel. (Using the Fandango app to reserve movie seats is probably my second favorite use of the internet’s capabilities after Pinterest.)

After the movie, we walked the puppers down to Southside Beer Garden and Bottle Shop to take advantage of the second part of their name and fill up growlers, and then it was back home for snuggs — it was National Puppy Day, after all — and cleaning the DVR.

And this: Half Baked Harvest: One Skillet Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken and Orzo

If you’ve been here a while, you may have noticed I have a definite crush on Tieghan’s cooking. She manages to make fancy-looking and -sounding dishes surprisingly easy.

For instance, I anticipated being frustrated attempting to get the stuffing to stay in the chicken from the start, nevermind flipping it — but her recipe called for the perfect amount of filling, and it all worked out splendidly.

….Even if I did sear the chicken too long so it got maybe a little dry. In my defense, I never cook chicken breast this way! And now I just have to try again.

As mentioned, we love chicken thighs! I knew I wanted to do something with them Sunday night, for both their ease and affordability — and because I made stock last weekend and need to replenish the broth bag.

Fox Valley Foodie: Crispy Soy-Brined Chicken Thighs

Bon Apetit: Grilled Mushrooms and Carrots with Sesame

These recipes paired perfectly together, especially with a side salad with Trader Joe’s new Toasted Sesame dressing and some toasted pepitas with soy sauce.

Even better: they were so fast! The brine didn’t take nearly as long to come together as the recipe suggests, and the thighs finished baking much sooner than called for. Of course, thanks to the brine and the inherent goodness in this cut of meat, they were still perfectly moist.

Also of note, I couldn’t find maitake mushrooms, so I subbed in sliced portobello caps, and it worked out just fine.

After my first choiring yesterday, I relaxed with the dogs and a budget mani/pedi, putting off all food duties until after the event at work. Despite the roasting time, these came together super quickly:

Hummusapein: Vegan Mediterranean Meal Prep Bowls

I did add roasted red pepper (roasting peppers on the new house’s gas burner makes me feel super official) and black olives (because olives) for fun, but, wow! Loving these. The only “problem” is that I may need to make more dressing because I bumped up the amount of greens.


These weren’t in my IG post, but they were so good, they deserve a mention.

The Domestic Realist: Bitch Dip

Don’t let the name put you off! This black bean, sweet corn, feta beauty is totally good enough to eat straight from the bowl with a spoon. Or with the new TJ’s Street Corn-style corn chip dippers of which I may or may not have bought three bags of Friday……… I’m just glad I didn’t polish the whole thing off before the girls arrived for dinner. It was a fun app, especially since Suzanne brought tapenade.  #allthedips

Mediterranean Baked Ricotta Muffins

I didn’t photograph these because, well, that’s what the pros are for (; Mine may not be pretty, but they are super tasty! I had no idea you could do this with ricotta, and, clearly, all things antipasti are my favorite. Even better: one kept me full ’til lunch time! Looking forward to trying again.

Occasionally I say semi-profound things on Instagram upon which I want to expound. Or just keep more easily accessible for posterity. This is that place – click on the “repost” tag for more.


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