For a minute there here in lower Michigan we had a drop in temps so immediate that I thought for sure I was late for winter. Burrr! (I hate being cold, mind you.) However, the temps bounced back and we are enjoying 80-degree days and warm September nights. It's a lovely thing, to squeeze out a few more weeks of summer. This week's "What's for Dinner?" post feeds my summer eats daydreams of enjoying fresh seafood by the seaside somewhere, but also brings me back to reality as an easy weeknight meal solution, especially for all the busy families getting into the rhythm of a new school year. Fried fish on a weeknight, you wonder...well, yeah! Think of it like fish sticks but made fresh, from scratch, not pulled from a bag in the freezer. Kids and adults alike will love it, and it only takes about 20 minutes. My tartar-sauce-inspired dill and caper potato salad, rounds out the meal and brightens up your plate (also, good for lunch leftovers!) So, skip the bagged freezer meals or take-out orders and make this delicious plate of food instead. And, enjoy summer while it lasts! Cheers!
What's For Dinner: White Bean Veggies Burgers with Blue Cheese Slaw and Home-Fried Sweet Potato Chips
It's been awhile since I created a new veggie burger recipe. I was inspired by two recent events. First, ordering one at a restaurant while on vacation that was good in description, but I felt could have been a little better on actual flavor delivery, and second, having a client request veggie burgers for a recent event. I decided to take the inspiration from the restaurant version and create a veggie-burger my client (and I) would be excited about. Voila! Here you have it! The important things for me with a veggie burger are as follows - good flavor, good texture, not too dry and definitely not crumbly. And while I love that veggie burgers tend to be on the healthy side, I still like to feel like I'm eating something somewhat indulgent, like a real burger would be - hence my blue cheese slaw and chips on the side. Trust me, I've had my fair share of bad veggie burgers, but this one hits the mark. I love it! I hope you do, too!
I am OBSESSED with summer fruits and vegetables right now. Just obsessed. I feel like I can't consume enough leafy greens, sweet summer corn, juicy peaches and tangy blueberries. While I have always leaned a little vegetarian, I have never craved summer produce quite like I am right now and I have to be honest, it's really quite fun. The best part is that you can't really over-indulge on things like kale and tomatoes or carrots and squash. You can literally eat as much as you want! How great is that?! It's only natural that this addiction of mine would manifest it's way onto my blog here, which is why this week's "What's for Dinner" post highlights all these current obsessions. While this meal is vegetarian, meat-lovers will get their fill from the heartiness of the fritters, and kids won't even realize that they are eating good-for-you vegetables, so it really is a meal to please all palates. I hope you enjoy this plate of food as much as I did!
Another simple, fresh meal for you this week. I can't help myself! I just want to eat simply-prepared, fresh ingredients and spend as little time in the kitchen cooking or washing dishes as possible. I know you agree with me! This week, I return to an old favorite - salmon. I just don't prepare salmon enough for myself, although I cook it almost weekly for my meal-prep clients. In fact, I truly love it when the meals I cook for my clients inspire me to cook better for myself, too. Hopefully, the inspiration train will continue on to you as well! While salmon provides the anchor, the salad ingredients provide the flair, and I love how all the textures of this dish comes from the creamy avocado, crunchy almonds, snappy cucumber and red onion, and juicy orange segments. All you need, right in one bowl! But my favorite thing about this meal is that it's not just for dinner. Cook up extra salmon and enjoy it throughout the week, for the easiest meal that keeps on giving. Enjoy!
This week's post feels a little like cheating. There is very little cooking that goes into this flatbread meal, but what I lack in recipe detail I hopefully make up for with inspiration. Flatbreads are a great way to combine everyone's love for pizza with your favorite summertime ingredients, which is what I did here in two very contrasting combinations. The first is a popular favorite - tomatoes, basil and ricotta. Hard to go wrong with those flavors, am I right? The second is a little more out-of-the-ordinary - bbq sauce, goat cheese, cherries and arugula - but the pairing of sweet and savory is what makes it extra-ordinary! (Hahaha - see what I did there?) Anyway, feel free to use these ideas as guides, keeping in mind the most important part of dinner this week - enjoying fresh food you love without fussing too much in the kitchen. And have fun with it, 'cuz it's summer and we just can't take mealtime too seriously. Enjoy!
We are dead in the middle of summer this week, and I am loving every minute of it. Not only the long days of sun and warmth, but the bounty of the season is just so inspiring. Fresh summer foods practically beg to be eaten in there most natural form, without any fuss or todo. Which is great for weeknight cooking. It's also why I have been craving so many salads lately. Fresh salads with seasonal ingredients that make a complete meal and leave me feeling healthfully satiated.
This week's meal was inspired by a dish I served at a recent event where I served brisket with blueberry-feta "slaw". Brisket is a labor of love, so I skipped that and focused on making the slaw a full meal. To help "beef" it up a bit, I married it with another summer favorite - panzanella, or bread salad. So many favorite ingredients all in one bowl - kale, blueberries, goat cheese (in place of feta) and toasted bread...yum! To really take it over the top I decided that since I'd be turning on the oven to toast the bread, I could toss some shrimp in there at the same time. And, voila! My shrimp panzanella with goat cheese and blueberries was born. It's an interesting combination, I'll give you that, but the beauty of eating fresh foods straight from the season is that they tend to pair so well together! Enjoy!
This week's meal is admittedly a departure for my weekly "What's for Dinner?" series. Recently, I was shopping at the Asian market to pick up some seaweed-sesame sprinkle that I like to put on rice and I was reminded of all the great ingredients they offer there. Sometimes I get so programmed in my ways of every-day-grocery-store shopping that it's exciting to be inspired by something different. When I saw the sashimi tuna for sale I was reminded of the restaurant I worked at during culinary school and how we would coat tuna in sesame seeds and then sear it ever-so quickly, adding great textural contrast to the delicate fish. I decided that while sashimi-grade tuna might not be in every weeknight meal budget, it's always nice to keep dinner exciting, and every now and then that means something other than chicken, or salmon! Right? Right. And what tuna lacks in affordability, it makes up for in fantastically fast cooking, so this complete meal can be ready in 20 minutes. Yum!
This week's meal was inspired directly from a busy, hunger-satisfying weeknight meal I whipped up for myself a few months ago. As it was, I had all of these ingredients on hand at that moment and was so hungry I knew I needed something good, fast. Well, when magic like this happens, how can I NOT share it with all of you who undoubtedly are facing the same scenarios every week, right? Even if you don't happen to have every ingredient on hand, familiar staples plus a stop at the store for a few fresh ingredients make this meal quick and easy.
I'm baffled that I haven't shared this meal with all of you sooner! Better late than never, right? The salmon and avocado recipe is one of my absolute favorite ways to prepare salmon and this entire meal represents the way I like to eat when I am trying to eat fresh and healthy. It's packed with veggies, whole grains, and healthy fats not to mention texture, color and flavor. It makes me happy and it makes other people happy, too. Trust me, I've made this for lots of clients and friends. The quinoa recipe is as flexible as any side dish can be, so especially as we evolve into summer feel free to change up the ingredients to suit whatever fresh veggies and herbs call your name at the market. And you know my mantra by now! "Make Extra!" Lunch has never tasted so good!
I have a confession. I can oftentimes be a very lazy cook. Even though I love to cook, I usually am cooking in order to eat, so sometimes I just want the process to be as quick and efficient as possible. This means very little chopping, hardly any pots or pans, and easy clean up. Let's take pasta for example. My entire life, I've cooked pasta in a small pot with as little water as possible. Directions always say like 10 gallons of water for 1 pound of pasta, but let's be real - no one wants to wait for that much water to boil, and no one likes wrangling a huge dirty pot. The magic of this recipe is that it skips the water step all together and boils the pasta right in the same pot with all the other ingredients and just enough stock to soften the noodles and leave a thin, silky sauce at the end. Amazing! So, yes, I admit it, my laziness inspired this meal, but what's better for home cooks on a busy weeknight than a one pot, one pan, one cutting board dinner? Oh, and the fact that it's ready in just 30 minutes?! Enjoy!
Hi! I'm Emily, and this is the official blog of Guest Chef, my personal chef and catering business serving Metro Detroit. As much as I love to cook for people, I also love inspiring others to cook great food for themselves and their friends and family. Which is why I share recipes, tips and inspiration here. Follow along and let's cook something great together!