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!
Springtime is really getting underway, making it easy and fun to eat fresh, healthy ingredients. As I was planning this weeks "What's for Dinner" meal, I quickly decided on roasted asparagus with a side of Farro tossed with lemon, goat cheese and arugula. I mean, those two dishes alone scream "Spring Dinner!", am I right? As I was considering a good protein, I realized that as the weather warms, so does my craving for steak. Perhaps that seems counterintuitive, but I think it's the grill calling my name, and my favorite steak to grill is skirt steak. Not only is skirt steak one of the more affordable cuts of steak, but it cooks so incredibly fast that it makes a perfect weeknight dinner. It's been raining vigorously lately, so the grill has to wait, but a hot cast iron skillet does the trick just as nicely!
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!
It may be getting warm outside, but I'm a year-round soup lover. I'm not one to quit on soup 6 months of the year just because the weather changes, no sir! In fact, in this week's meal plan I prepare one of my favorite soup recipes with a slight twist (hello, fennel!) and pair it with a crisp and bright side salad. While soup may be warm and cozy, this meal overall feels fresh and light, which is perfect for our springtime stomachs (ahem, and diets, you know, if you are into that kind of thing.) So whatever your weather this week, or this month as spring bursts to life, enjoy the goodness of this soup and salad supper.
If I had to venture an educated guess, I would say that chicken breast is the most popular dinner choice for busy households. My thought is that it's affordability and familiarity are what make it such a reliable dinner option. But, while it may be popular, it can also be boring. As a personal chef, I have to think of lots of different ways to make this (in my opinion) benign protein exciting. My favorite way to dress up chicken breast, or anything for that matter, is to coat it in panko breadcrumbs and pan fry it. I mean, who doesn't love a crispy, golden brown crust?!? Yep! That'll do it! To further boost the wow factor in this [winner, winner] chicken dinner, I pair it with a springy arborio rice salad. If you just thought "risotto" you are correct! Same rice, but instead of the painstaking stirring method, we are just going to boil it like pasta, then toss it with a few favorite ingredients. It's surprisingly simple and delightful. As promised, together we will keep dinner, even chicken dinners, interesting! Enjoy!
Here is a recipe I like to whip up when I want to cook something fast and simple, using only ingredients I already have on hand in my pantry. Further proof that a well-stocked pantry can make dinner effortless! (More on investing in your pantry to come in a future post!)
While the pasta and the peanut butter are more common, every-household items (most likely) the Asian ingredients may be a bit more uncommon, but the beauty of buying them once is that you can get multiple meals out of that initial investment. In fact, if you cooked my Hoisin Salmon meal I shared back in February, you just might have a few of these ingredients on hand already! How cool is that?!
My other favorite thing about this recipe, aside from it's speed and ingredients, is it's flexibility. You can switch up the toppings based on what you already have or what you are willing to stop at the grocery store for. I include a bunch of suggestions in the ingredient list, but ultimately the choice is yours. While I prefer this dish vegetarian for a perfect Meatless Monday treat, if you want to top it off with shredded chicken or seared shrimp, by all means, have your way with it! And if you are cooking for a family, make the toppings a "build-your-own" option for customization that will make every diner happy.
When it comes to weekly meals, I'm a big fan of pork tenderloin. Not only is it a lean and inexpensive protein, but it cooks quickly, too. It also takes on bold flavors very easily, like in this recipe where I simply mix a few spices together and rub it all over the tenderloin to give it a slightly charred, kicked-up coating. Paired with a curried-coconut chickpea and sweet potato side dish, this meal is easy, nutrient-rich, and just exotic enough to keep dinner interesting. So forget the same ol' same ol' this week, and cook this instead!
Um, I love tacos. Don't you? Who doesn't!? This meal offers a healthy twist, with honey and spice and freshly flavorful cabbage slaw. The enchilada squash is one of my favorite recipes with an unexpected prepartion and it packs a ton of rich, "cooked-all-day" flavor in a dish that really takes less than 20 minutes. I mean, those are the best kind of recipes, don't you agree?
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!