grilled eggplant melts

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i am all about an easy dinner, as stated before, and especially on a monday. i found this recipe while flipping through Real Simple and stashed it into some forgotten drawer that never gets any love, until yesterday. i came across it and the rest is history, that was dinner. and man, i’m kinda mad it lived in that drawer for so long.

grilled eggplant melts (serves 2)

  • 2 large¬†slices of bread sliced 1 inch thick, sourdough or a hearty crusty bread works best
  • 1 medium eggplant, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled
  • 6 ounces of fresh mozzarella, cut into 6 slices
  • 1 large ripe tomato, sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil
  • salt + pepper

here’s how:

heat your grill to medium & make sure to clean the grate. don’t have a grill? the following can all be done on your stove using a grill pan!

brush slices of eggplant and bread with olive oil on both sides and then salt +¬†pepper them. throw the bread and eggplant on grill. grill eggplant 6-8 minutes turning occasionally until tender. grill bread 1-2 minutes per side until golden and crisp. rub garlic onto one side of crisp bread and then add 3 slices of fresh mozzarella to each piece. heat the cheese until melted making sure your bread isn’t burning!

take inside and put slices of bread on plate. top with sliced eggplant, tomatoes and basil. drizzle your olive oil then one last sprinkle of salt + pepper.

boom! dinner in under 25 minutes.

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grilled eggplant melts

summer pasta salad

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summer pasta salad (serves 4-6, generously)

  • 1 box of your favorite type of pasta, cooked and drained
  • block cheddar cheese (or whatever you prefer), chopped in cubes*
  • block of salami, chopped in cubes*
  • mix of veggies, chopped (i used bell peppers, tomatoes, carrots, broccoli)
  • 1 shallot (this worked great! i typically¬†use red onion but whole foods was out that day, so shallot it was), chopped
  • 1 bottle of your favorite italian dressing

*For the salami and cheese I picked it up from the deli at my local grocer. Just ask for a three inch chunk of each!

here’s how:

throw everything in a bowl and add italian dressing. start with half the bottle then add as needed. mix it up and enjoy! served below alongside turkey burgers with a yogurt sauce and watermelon. perfect for a cool summers night or lunches throughout the week!

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summer pasta salad

carnitas tacos

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when deciding what’s for dinner, usually it comes down to one thing. how many of the ingredients do i have on hand? with only 5 ingredients for these carnitas, i was almost there and sans pork shoulder. a quick trip to the west side market and 7 bucks later – i was set. while it does take a few hours in the oven to braise, there is virtually no prep or hands on work, more time to watch all of the amazing (slash terrible) bachelor girls squirm.

coke braised carnitas (serves 3-4)

  • 2 pound pork shoulder
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3-4 cups Coke
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • zest of 1/2 lime (optional)
  • toppings: shredded red cabbage, onion, feta cheese, avocado, cilantro, lime wedges – go wild.

here’s how:

preheat oven to 325. put your olive oil in a dutch oven over medium high heat and brown pork shoulder on all side, should take around 8 minutes. add remaining ingredients (coke, soy sauce, hot sauce, optional lime zest) and bring to a boil. use enough coke so it is halfway up the pork. cover with the lid slightly askew and put into oven for 3-3.5 hours turning every 30-45 minutes. once the meat is falling apart, transfer pork to a large bowl and shred with two forks. if you’d like your meat a little saucier, add some of the liquid – not too much, its sweet! i didn’t find it necessary to add any.

to assemble tacos: heat tortillas directly on burners for about 15-20 seconds or until charred to your liking. garnish with whatever toppings make you smile and serve.

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carnitas tacos

simple suppers: broiled salmon + bacon brussels

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fall is officially here along with simple suppers, a¬†series to showcase dinners that might not always be the prettiest, but will be tasty and time efficient! who has 2 hours to prep and make dinners? full time bloggers, maybe. the rest of humankind? i don’t think so. first up? broiled salmon with pan roasted bacon brussel sprouts and rice pilaf. sound easy? it is. on this particular night, all i wanted was a big pizza or juicy burger and was just not into salmon. alas, it needed to be used. then, once that bacon started cooking and the salmon was popped into the oven..my mouth was watering, per usual.

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broiled brown sugar salmon + bacon brussels & rice pilaf (serves 2)

  • 1 lb wild caught salmon
  • 1/2 to 3/4 lbs of brussel sprouts, washed, ends trimmed and halved lengthwise
  • 4 pieces of bacon
  • 1 box of rice pilaf, cooked according to directions
  • 1.5 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • pinch of cayenne
  • salt + pepper
  • olive oil

here’s how:

cook your rice according to instructions, this will most likely take the longest time to cook. then pop your broiler on high while you prep your salmon and other ingredients. make sure your oven rack is the highest it can go. wash your brussel sprouts, trim the ends then cut length wise. chop bacon.

mix together your brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne and season with salt and pepper. please note: you do not¬†need every single spice – in this recipe the brown sugar and paprika is needed and the rest is great, but if you don’t have onion powder on hand…no need to go out to the store RIGHT NOW mid cooking to buy it :) place salmon skin side down on a baking sheet lined with foil and rub brown sugar mixture all over it. pop into the broiler for 6-12 minutes depending on thickness.*

heat a cast iron (or heavy bottomed) pan over medium. once heated, throw in bacon and cook until it is just crispy. remove bacon from pan and throw in your brussel sprouts…yep, cook it in that bacon fat. toss the brussel sprouts around so they are evenly coated (you may need to add olive oil if they get dry) and season with salt and pepper. cook until your liking, i prefer mine crispy. this usually takes around 10 minutes. once done, add in bacon and toss.

by now, your rice should be done and fluffy, salmon flaky and brussels will be charred and loaded with bacon.

*general rule is 10 minutes for every one inch in thickness. always check a few minutes before, so if one inch in thickness, check after eight.

enjoy my litter supperistas!

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simple suppers: broiled salmon + bacon brussels

creamy polenta + roasted tomatoes and shrimps

pan seared shrimpi may have fallen off the wagon for a little¬†long while but don’t fret, i am back just in time for fall and a perfect dinner pairing for the season. every. single. day. i ask myself “what should i make for dinner tonight?” like i’ve never cooked a day¬†in my life. i have hundreds of dinners pinned, torn out of magazines and on my fridge but in reality, they are either too time consuming, too many ingredients or i’m just not in the mood. but once in awhile, i have an “aha!” moment (rarely). last night it was creamy polenta with roasted tomatoes and pan seared shrimpies. easy peasy, a foolproof¬†weeknight dinner. shall we?

polenta and roasted tomatoes

creamy polenta with roasted tomatoes + pan seared shrimp (serves 3-4)

  • 2 28 ounce cans of whole peeled tomatoes
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • handful of rosemary (4-5 sprigs)
  • olive oil
  • 1.5 cups of cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 3/4 cups of milk
  • salt + peppter
  • 3/4 lb of shrimp (optional) plus seasonings – i used s+p, paprika, garlic and olive oil.

here’s how:

preheat your oven to 400F.

if you bought shrimp, now would be the time to marinate. peel and devein your shrimp – if you are unsure of how, here’s a quickie little video.¬†once you’ve finished, place in a bowl and pour over 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 2 cloves of minced garlic, 2 teaspoons of paprika plus some salt + pepper, per usual. place in fridge and let them become friends while preparing your other goodies.

drain your tomatoes and cut them lengthwise in half then peel your garlic and roughly chop those babies up. add those two ingredients to a bowl and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt, pepper + 4 spring of rosemary and toss. pour the mixture into a baking dish and throw em in the oven to get all juicy and tasty for 45 minutes, stirring 2-3 times throughout.

onto the polenta….bring 6 cups of water to a boil. once it is boiling, add 1.5 cups of cornmeal in a steady stream while whisking to make sure it doesn’t get lumpy. continue to whisk 1-2 minutes until the polenta thickens. whisk in a few grinds of salt. turn it down to low and let it cook (and bubble) for 15 minutes.

when the polenta has about 5 minutes left, heat up some olive oil in your shrimp pan (i prefer cast iron) and add shrimp. cook shrimp 2-3 minutes per side and voila. once polenta is done, turn off heat and add in your butter, milk, salt and pepper and whisk. to keep your polenta warm, cover it on up. if it gets too thick, add milk.

by now your roasted tomatoes should be finished, take them out and serve over warm polenta and toss some shrimpies on there to finish. grate some cheese over it if you must, which, you pretty much must. TA-DA!

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creamy polenta + roasted tomatoes and shrimps

radish & egg salad sammies

DSC01015i have detested¬†egg salad, tuna salad, chicken salad, you name it salad ever since i can remember. why you ask? these things usually all have one thing in common: mayo. i am a mayo hater for life and the second i taste it….the plate gets pushed away and put in the sink. until one day…i started seeing recipes using greek yogurt instead of mayo and kinda flipped out. how didn’t i think of this sooner? I CAN FINALLY MAKE ALL THESE THINGS, THE DAY HAS COME! i couldn’t wait to try my hand at egg salad with a twist. then i decided to put it on bread because i’ve never met a sandwich i didn’t like. enter radish & egg salad sandwiches.¬†DSC00995DSC00999DSC01010DSC01022

radish & egg salad sandwiches (makes 4)

  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • 4-6 pieces of bacon
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1 bunch of radishes (probably 10 radishes)
  • handful of chives
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • handful of pea shoots, sprouts or green garnish (arugula would be good too!)
  • 8 slices of whole grain bread

here’s how:

start with boiling your eggs. if you are at a loss on how to boil eggs, follow this easy tutorial. throw your bacon in a pan and let it sizzle away. while those two are going, you can do your chopping. clean radishes, cut them in half then slice thinly. next, thinly slice chives so you have about 3 tablespoons. you can easily add more later if you are chive lover like yours truly.

once your eggs are done, let them cool, peel then chop roughly and put them in a big bowl.  you can also chop up your perfectly crisped bacon and throw it in along with the chives and radishes. now, add in the greek yogurt, dijon mustard and salt.

to assemble, toast the bread slightly, spread on the egg salad and add your pea shoots or green of choice. enjoy!

radish & egg salad sammies