It goes without saying that this weeks meal is inspired by the 4th of July (hot dogs!) and eating outside (picnic'ing to watch the fireworks!). Make this meal in advance (yes, even the dogs) and take it with you to enjoy on a blanket or a boat or on one of those low-rise beach chairs that you wiggle down into the sand. Wherever you happen to be this weekend, you won't have to be in your kitchen! Happy 4th of July and Bon Appetite!
I'm in a mood lately, and I'm sure I'm not the only one, where I want to cook inside as little as possible. I also want my food to feel light and fresh, and I want to try and enjoy the bounty of the season as best as possible, whether that be from my own little garden or some farmers market fare. Oh, and I don't want to spend a ton of money. Who's with me? This dinner hits a lot of these marks. In fact, here in Michigan I could find most of these ingredients at the farmers market, including spice rubs and honey! Since the carrots need to cook in a pan, I opted to grill the tenderloin inside as well, but if you are less lazy than I am, cook the pork on an outdoor grill by all means! As for the salad, yes, it's simple, but you don't need a ton of ingredients to pack the perfect flavor punch. Blue cheese and honey!? Yes, ma'am!
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 have to admit, I often feel jealous of my clients. As I cook deliciously fresh meals for them each week, I can't help but wish I cooked as well for myself as I do for them. What can I say? I try a lot harder for my clients than I do for myself! After a full day of cooking for someone else, it's hard to have the energy to come home and do it again, [especially the dishes]. But recently I figured out a compromise. The healthy, supper-size salad. I like to leave a hearty, meal-worthy salad in my clients' fridges every so often. Not a side salad, but a salad that packs loads of protein, fiber and overall nutrients that it makes a meal all in itself. I realized this is the exact meal I can prepare for myself, too. The trick is in the no cooking. Chopping, yes. A few dishes, of course...but no cooking. And, my two favorite things about any meal - 1. It's easy to prep a big batch to enjoy throughout the week, and 2. the ingredients are super flexible - see my prep notes for suggestions. One last thing - with the weather getting warmer, don't you just feel like eating healthier and fresher? That's why I call this the "Rainbow" salad, because the more varied the veggies you choose, the more beautiful it is to eat. And who doesn't get happy when they see a rainbow!?!
Well, the season of long weekends and lazy, outdoor cooking is upon us, so what better meal to share with you this week than grilled chicken drumsticks and broccoli salad. Classic outdoor foods, yeah? My Blueberry BBQ sauce is a great addition to grilled chicken and the slight sweetness of it pairs perfectly with my timeless broccoli salad. Someone once told me my broccoli salad was so good he wanted to climb into the bowl with the broccoli and eat his way out. There may have been a few adult beverages consumed before he paid me this compliment, but I still find it flattering all the same. With that endorsement, how can you not try this meal immediately! Enjoy!
This week, I'm sharing another one-pot meal with you all. I honestly can't remember what inspired this dish, but once I made it the first time I knew I wanted to turn it into a recipe. Originally, I made this brothy bean and bacon dish to serve with seared scallops and it was light, yet hearty. Rustic yet special-feeling. While scallops are one of my favorite foods, they are a bit pricey for a weeknight meal solution, so I swapped them for shrimp in this version. And, you know I gotta add that extra "veggie boost" so I simmered some kale into the mix as well. I realized this makes two, warm-food-in-a-bowl dinners in back-to-back posts, right as we get into the warmer months, but I can't explain it; this dish still feels apropos for spring. The broth is light and the meal is quick and easy, and with all your veggies, proteins and starches in one bowl you don't have to fuss over more than one dish. It will feel like a meal that simmered slowly all day, when really, it takes less than 30 minutes. Dinner, fast! I hope you enjoy this meal as much as I do!
For as long as I can remember, I have loved cream-based soups. As a kid, I judged restaurants specifically on whether or not they had good Cream of Broccoli. Creamy Potato and New England Clam Chowder rounded out my top three favorites. I remember when I learned that not all clam chowders were creamy - that there was a red version of clam chowder out in the world somewhere and I just thought, "who would ever order that?!?" I vowed never to be one of them. So, the other day, you know the story, I was super busy, running all around, and becoming quite hungry. With zero time to get home and prepare lunch, I decided to pick up some soup at the grocery store salad bar (I'm at a grocery store almost every day). I chose an old favorite, clam chowder. It's been awhile since I indulged in a creamy soup, and as I was eating it I wondered why it was so boring. Creamy, yes. Chunky, yes. Both good things. But it fell totally flat on flavor. It felt kinda sad, to be honest. Immediately, I was inspired to re-invigorate the classic soup for this week's "What's for Dinner" post.
A little over a month ago, I shared this recipe for panko crusted chicken, then a few weeks ago I shared this recipe for one-pot pasta. This week, I combine two of these easy techniques onto one plate. The crispy, golden panko crust will make zucchini the star of your meal (shout out to all my meat-free friends!) while the simmer-into-a-sauce pasta trick will turn ordinary orzo into a creamy, cheesy, risotto-style side dish. I add a little spicy Italian sauce into the pasta so our meat-lovers and veg-heads can live in harmony all in one meal. To amp it up one step further, I include my recipe for sun-dried tomato pesto. Another simple technique I've posted about before, with just a few simple ingredients.
Hard to believe, but Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner! I get really excited this time of year for spring, for May, and for my favorite food holiday. Yep! Better than candy on halloween or turkey on Thanksgiving, tacos and all the close relatives are true cause to celebrate. Amen! Yessir!
This year, I return to an old favorite - the Mexican Pizza. While I doubt it is an official dish of Mexico, as a teenager who too-often frequented, dare I say, Taco Bell I hardly cared about it's legitimacy. Since I broke my TB addiction (I've been "clean" for over 15 years now) I decided to recreate my own version of the layered, crispy-tortilla dish. Over the years adding different creative flares, I love it now more than ever! One of my favorite parts about this recipe, in fact, is how versatile it is. So, if you are planning a little Cinco de Mayo Fiesta you can simply lay out all the fillings and toppings and let guests build their own combination. This is especially helpful when you are combining vegetarians and meat-lovers at the same gathering! To round out the meal, I made a play on the classic wedge salad using queso fresco instead of blue cheese and my kicked-up Jalapeno Ranch, which is seriously my new favorite thing. Make double!
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!