Roasted Ranch Potatoes

Friends! Happy holidays! How are things?

It’s the season of madness in our home..we’ve got 4/5 birthdays over the holiday season so things have been pretty nutso around here. We are also going through a small home renovation…so add being displaced from our home for a short time…and living in our basement with three small kids for a while..and well, things have felt a tad chaotic. I’m really just not the best at feeling good about unsettledness. But I am SO grateful for the fun changes we are making to our home…and the light is totally being seen at the end of the tunnel! Trying my best to stay present to my family throughout all of the hustle and bustle..so I apologize for my lack of blogging.

So basically, with all of the crazy has come way too much eating out for my liking. I mean my kids no longer want macaroni and cheese because they’ve had too much. That’s certainly a sign that we are ALL extremely excited to get back to our kitchen and home cooked meals!

On the nights that the mess has allowed me to use the kitchen, these potatoes have made a frequent appearance. There’s hardly any prep and I always have the ingredients in my pantry. They are something I can always count on my whole family gobbling up..and they make the perfect side for basically any protein. A great addition to the weekly meal rotations!

Roasted Ranch Potatoes

Ingredients

1 1/2 Pounds Russet Potatoes, cut into 1-2 inch pieces

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Teaspoon Onion Powder

1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder

1 Teaspoon Dried Dillweed

1 Teaspoon Dried Parsley

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 and place cut potatoes on a baking sheet. Drizzle oil on top and sprinkle the rest of the ingredients all over; toss well to coat. Place in the oven and roast for 35-40 minutes or until potatoes are golden brown, stirring twice in between cooking. Serves 4 as a side.

Cinnamon Apple Pear Sauce

Look, you guys

It’s here. My most favorite, beautiful, scenic time of year. I told the kids it was supposed to snow this week so we had to ask Alexa when the first technical day of winter is. Do you want to know what she said? December 21st. Yet we have snow in the forecast for today, November 6. You try explaining all of this to a 4 year old. Why oh why can’t crispy, cool autumn fulfill its assigned 3 full months?! Winter is so dang greedy and aggressive around here🙄

But we certainly won’t stop celebrating autumn in this house until that far away day in December…and this yummy Cinnamon Apple Pear Sauce will certainly be a constant in our fridge. I’m addicted. My kids could take down an entire batch in one sitting. I even got a “I want to eat this every day of my life!” from Jude. Winning.

It’s both tart and sweet with the perfect amount of warm cinnamon running through it. Incredibly slurpable by itself with a spoon, but my kids also love it for breakfast on top of plain Greek yogurt. A happy happy happy autumn, indeed, even if it does snow today!

Cinnamon Apple Pear Sauce

Adapted from this recipe

Ingredients

7 Medium Honeycrisp Apples, peeled, cored and quartered

4 Medium Ripe Pears, cored and quartered

Zest and Juice of 2 Navel Oranges

Zest of 1 and Juice of 2 Lemons

3 Tablespoons Pure Maple Syrup

2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, cut into four pieces

1 1/4 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon

1/4 Teaspoon Ground Allspice

1/4 Teaspoon Salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 350. Place all ingredients in a oven safe pot or Dutch oven and stir to combine. Cover and bake for 1 1/2 hours. Remove from oven, let cool just slightly, place in a blender or food processor and blend until desired consistency.

Pumpkin Banana Bread

All things pumpkin are in full effect! Are you loving it or ready to move right into peppermint for the holidays?

We are embracing it over here…I love the warm spices that meld so wonderfully with the flavor of pumpkin. And this Pumpkin Banana Bread is the perfect display of that.

It screams fall with just the perfect amount of cozy spices and warm maple flavor. The combination of pumpkin and banana is such a good thing. And if you want to take it up to the level of perfection, sprinkle a bit of cinnamon and coconut sugar on top of the loaf before you bake it…heavenly!

It’s so much more healthful than your standard banana bread recipe, and you won’t miss all that refined sugar one bit, i promise!

Pumpkin Banana Bread

Note: you can buy oat flour at most markets…but it’s super simple and much cheaper to make your own at home. Just place rolled oats in a food processor or blender and process until the oats are very fine and flour-like.

Ingredients

1 1/4 Cups Oat Flour * see note

1/2 Cup White Whole Wheat or All Purpose Flour

1 Teaspoon Baking Soda

1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

1/2 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg

1/2 Teaspoon Salt

1/4 Teaspoon Allspice

1 Cup Canned Pumpkin

1/2 Cup Mashed Ripe Banana (approx 1 Banana)

1/2 Cup Pure Maple Syrup

6 Tablespoons Melted Unsalted Butter, slightly cooled

2 Large Eggs

1 Teaspoon Vanilla

Optional topping: 1 Tablespoon Coconut Sugar mixed with 2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9×5 loaf pan or mini loaf pan with butter. Place the flours, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and allspice in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.

In a large bowl whisk together the pumpkin, banana, maple syrup, butter, eggs and vanilla until combined. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and stir until just combined. Pour batter in prepared loaf pan and sprinkle with coconut sugar/cinnamon topping if desired.

Bake for 1 hour, if using a 9×5, or approximately 30 minutes if using a mini loaf pan, or until toothpick is inserted an comes out clean. Slightly cool before slicing.

Walnut Crusted Chicken Autumn Salad

Truth: I have no idea where this salad came from. I was in kitchen madness mode…one thing led to another with no plans in sight and this salad is what we ended up with. And I must note, it was a wonderful WONDERFUL ending.

The chicken has just the perfect crunch and flavor…and paired with roasted beets, sweet pears, tangy goat cheese and a mustard-balsamic vinaigrette…I’m basically just salivating at the mere thought of it!

It’s a lovely switch up to boring old chicken salads and I think our future will see much much more of this crusted chicken..so num!

Walnut Crusted Chicken Autumn Salad

Ingredients

For the Vinaigrette

1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

3 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar

3 Teaspoons Pure Maple Syrup

3 Teaspoons Dijon Mustard

3/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1/8 Teaspoon Pepper

For the Salad

1/4 Cup + 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil, divided

1 Pound Beets

1 Cup Walnuts

2 Tablespoons Corn Starch

1 Egg + 2 Tablespoons Water

1 Pound Chicken Breast Tenderloins, seasoned liberally with salt and pepper

2 Tablespoons Butter

7 Ounces Arugula

1 Ripe Pear, diced

1 Avocado, diced

1 Cup Cooked Quinoa, optional

1/2 Cup Crumbled Goat Cheese

Directions

For the Vinaigrette

Place all ingredients in a glass jar, cover with a lid and shake well to combine. Alternatively, whisk together in a small bowl. Set aside or refrigerate for up to 4 days, bringing it back to room temp before serving.

For the Salad

Preheat oven to 400. Season beets with salt and pepper and drizzle with 1 Tablespoon olive oil; toss to coat. Wrap each beet tightly in foil and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until beets are tender. Remove from foil, let cool slightly and rub the peel off with your fingers (wrapping them in foil will help the peel slide right off). Dice peeled beets and set aside.

Add the walnuts and corn starch to the bowl of a food processor and pulse about 10-15 times or until walnuts are chopped fine. Place the mixture on a large plate.

Mix the egg and water together in a large bowl.

Heat 1/4 cup olive oil and butter in a large pan over medium high heat. Add the seasoned chicken to the egg mixtures and toss to coat well. One by one, dredge the egg-coated chicken in the walnut mixture and place in the prepared pan. Cook chicken for 2-3 minutes, or until crust in nicely browned, flip and then repeat on the other side. Remove from pan once cooked through.

Add the arugula, beets, pears, avocado, quinoa and goat cheese to a large bowl. Drizzle on half of the vinaigrette and gently toss to coat, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Divide salad among serving plates and top with a piece of crusted chicken. Drizzle remaining vinaigrette on top, as desired. Serves 4

Jude’s Chicken Lo Mein

Hey there! How we doing on this lovely Thursday? I’d like to share the fact that I saw snowflakes fall from the sky here in Minnesota this morning. I’d also like to say a lot more about the situation, but my tact is telling me to keep the bitter thoughts to myself. So instead, why don’t we just go ahead and dive into a big ol bowl of comforting Lo Mein? Let’s eat our feelings today, friends. It’s totally okay.

My little Judebugs favorite meal is Lo Mein. The slurpable, sticky-sweet combo makes his tummy so darn happy-and I’m right there with him. And while Asian food isn’t at the top of my daughters or husbands list, this is an Asian meal I can make in a jiffy that everyone in the fam approves of.

Since we learned that Rocco has a sesame allergy I’ve had to play around quite a bit with Lo Mein to get the taste just right without using sesame oil. But right here, we have the winner winner Chicken Lo Mein Dinner that will now be my new go-to.

It beats the cost and nutrient profile of your standard Lo Mein takeout..and I have to say it tastes equally as delish, all with such little work. So here’s to many many more “Jude’s Choice” dinners being served…I just love it when I can dish up the meals my family loves to eat out right in the comfort of our own kitchen!

Jude’s Chicken Lo Mein

Ingredients

For the Sauce

1/2 Cup Tamari (soy sauce can be subbed)

1/4 Cup Honey

1 Teaspoon Fish Sauce

1 Teaspoon Sriracha

1 Teaspoon Rice Vinegar

2 Cloves Garlic, grated or pressed

For the Chicken Lo Mein

16 Ounces Brown Rice Spaghetti Noodles

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 – 1 1/2 Pounds Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces

2 Heaping Cups Broccoli Florets

1 Cup Sugar Snap Peas

3/4 Cup Sliced Carrots

3 Green Onions, thinly sliced

Directions

For the Sauce

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

For the Chicken Lo Mein

Cook the pasta according to package directions, cutting the cook time short by about 1 minute (the pasta will finish cooking in the sauce when you mix it together); drain and set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add it to the pan in a single layer. Cook for two minutes, give it a stir, and finish cooking until chicken is just cooked through, stirring as needed. Stir in the broccoli, snap peas and carrots and cook for 30 seconds. Add 1 Tablespoon warm water to the pan, cover, reduce heat to medium and cook until the veggies are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes.

Remove the lid, turn the heat up to medium high and stir in the sauce. Let the sauce cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add pasta to the sauce and gently stir to coat. Stir in green onions and serve. Serves 4-6

Feta + Roasted Red Pepper Dip

Well friends, we’ve got ourselves a food allergy in the house. Poor little Rocco can’t have sesame. I realize this could be so much worse, I do. But I’d like to remind you that my blood is full of Lebanese. There’s actually a good chance I have hummus running through my veins. And as you know, hummus is made out of tahini, or sesame paste. Im sure you can do the math..no hummus for Rocco. Kind of a big deal around here…but just praying this is something he can grow out of.

And if you follow along on Instagram, you know that Roccoboy is quite the dip connoisseur. Which has left me no choice but to replace hummus with something equally as delish for my fam. So here it is….I give you this Feta + Roasted Red Pepper Dip.

Super yummy, super creamy (sorry..I had to) and super terrific for keeping in the fridge at all times for snacks and lunches. We eat in on everything and it also makes a great appetizer for company.

It’s a cinch to mix up and keeps so well for days and days. Hope you guys enjoy this one..have a great weekend!

Feta + Roasted Red Pepper Dip

Ingredients

8 Ounce Package Cream Cheese, at room temperature

3/4 Cup Sour Cream

1 Garlic Clove

12 Ounce Jar Roasted Red Peppers, drained

1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper

1/2 Cup Crumbled Feta

Directions

Place the cream cheese, sour cream, garlic, roasted red peppers, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Add the feta and pulse 5-8 times, or until desired consistency. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Store in the refrigerator.

15 Minute Shrimp Pasta with Garlic Cream Sauce

Comfort food season seems to be quickly approaching around here and we are welcoming it with open arms. It’s rainy, gloomy and a bit chilly so this pasta dish is totally fitting the bill!

Now when I say 15 minutes, I MEAN 15 minutes..max. You won’t believe how quick and easy this one is..it’s such an awesome one to keep in the rotation for crazy weeknights.

You can use any fresh pasta variety or shape that you like here..think tortellini, fettuccini, etc, but just make sure it’s the “fresh” stuff in the refrigerated section of your market..it makes all the difference in the world. This is the one we use from Trader Joe’s..it’s our fave

Non-dairy friends, you’re going to have to pass this one up. Dairy friends, you’re NOT going to want to pass this one up. Your kids will adore it as much as the grown ups…it’s rich, cheesy and such a goodie!

15 Minute Shrimp Pasta with Garlic Cream Sauce

Note: use any dryer white wine here that you enjoy the taste of..we use a Sauvignon Blanc.

Ingredients

16 Ounces Fresh Pasta

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Pound Large Shrimp, peeled and deveined + seasoned liberally with salt and pepper

1 Tablespoon Butter

2 Large Garlic Cloves, finely chopped

1/2 Cup White Wine *see note

2 Cups Heavy Cream

3 Cups Baby Spinach

1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan + more for serving

Directions

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the shrimp in 2 batches, making sure they are in a single layer. Cook for 1-2 minutes per side or until no longer translucent. Repeat with second batch. Remove the shrimp to a plate and set aside.

Add butter to the same pan. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring often. Stir in the wine, scrapping up all the bits from the bottom of the pan, and cook until wine is reduced by about half. Stir in the cream and simmer for five minutes.

Add the pasta, shrimp, spinach and Parmesan to the sauce and gently toss to combine. Serve topped with additional Parmesan, if desired. Serves 4+