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.

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+

Warm Grilled Salmon and Orzo Salad

Well friends, it’s back-to-school day over here! One down, one to go next week and as wonderful and adventurous as our summer was together I think we are all ready for some structure and space…getting back into the swing of schedules is feeling so good already!

Our summer break dinners seemed to be so loosey goosey this year. Most nights, dinner ended up being a game time decision based on how late our day ran. Even if I meal planned for one thing, chances are we’d end up squeezing in one more afternoon activity which made me change the plan for lack of time. So needless to say, this mama is so excited to be back on a schedule of meal plans!

This Grilled Salmon and Orzo Salad is just one of those dishes that will fit so nicely into our weekday dinner plans. It’s super fast and can easily be prepared in under 30 minutes…and if you make the vinaigrette ahead of time you’re looking at 20 minutes or less…can’t complain about that!

It’s the perfect summer to fall transitional dish because it uses all of the wonderful tomatoes available right now, yet it’s got a small bit of a comfort factor while still being light. And it tastes super yum too…an awesome way to switch up how you serve salmon!

To all of you parents sending those kiddos off to school as of recent, I wish you a smooth transition and a wonderful, fun-filled year for both you and the kids. And for you teachers…you are EVERYTHING. Thank you for being such a bright light in our kiddos lives…you are shaping the future, truly!

Xo

Warm Grilled Salmon and Orzo Salad

Adapted from this recipe

Ingredients

For the Vinaigrette

1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/4 Cup Red Wine Vinegar

1 Garlic Clove, grated or pressed

2 Teaspoons Dijon Mustard

1 Teaspoon Maple Syrup

1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1/8 Teaspoon Black Pepper

For the Salmon/Salad

1 1/2 Cups Orzo

4 (4-6oz) Skinless Salmon Filets, seasoned liberally with salt and pepper

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

4 Cups Baby Spinach

2 Cups Cherry Tomatoes, halved

1/2 Cup Crumbled Feta Cheese

1/4 Cup Toasted Pine Nuts, optional

2 Tablespoons Chopped Basil

Directions

For the Vinaigrette

Place all ingredients in a small jar, cover with a lid and shake until well combined. Can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

For the Salmon/Salad

Cook Orzo according to package directions. Drain and place in a large bowl.

Preheat grill over medium high heat. Drizzle olive oil over salmon and gently rub to ensure the are well coated, adding more oil as necessary. Place Salmon on the grill and cook for 4-5 minutes or until nicely browned on top. Flip and finish cooking until the fish is opaque and cooked thru, about 3 more minutes. Remove salmon to a plate and set aside.

Add the spinach, tomatoes, feta and pine nuts to the Orzo. Drizzle on the vinaigrette and toss gently to coat. Flake the salmon with a fork, divide Orzo Salad among dishes and top with salmon and basil. Serves 4.

Authentic Gyros (without the spit)

If you know even the slightest thing about me, you know I am a darn sucker for a gyro sandwich. Whether it’s in line at 1am after too much wine in my much younger, more hip days or takeout from our favorite hole in the wall local gas station, I am a proud, obsessed supporter of that perfectly flavored, juices running down your arm, all wrapped up in a pita bundle of goodness. And fortunately, my hubs and kiddos are equally on board.

I mean what’s really better than seeing them slice that glorious, salty, savory meat off that spinning spit? It’s magical. I get all giddy just thinking about it. I’ve always wished that I could have my own spit at home…and someday when I have that giant industrial kitchen I’ve been dreaming about it just may happen. But for now, I’m left with no other option than to research the heck out of that there Interweb and find a way to make that melt-in-your-mouth meat sans the spit.

And thanks to good old Epicurious, my dreams have come true! This is an unbeatable method, guys, for achieving a truly authentic, perfectly textured and flavored meat. And the best part is that if you can make a meatloaf, you’ll rock the heck out of this recipe!

It’s perfect for weekdays…from here on out I’ll make the meat on Sunday’s, let it chill in the fridge overnight and then serve it all week long for quick, easy meals. . The chilling is key so that the flavors all develop and the texture becomes perfectly sliceable. After you make the meat and it has chilled, all that’s left to do is fry it up and pack it in a pita with all the goods. You can also pile it on a salad or serve it bowl-style with rice or quinoa. Winning, friends. Straight up winning!

Authentic Gyros (without the spit)

Note: you can very easily swap the lamb for ground beef here

Adapted from this recipe

Ingredients

For the Gyro Meat

1 Yellow Onion, grated

1 Pound Ground Lamb

1/2 Pound Ground Pork

2 Large Garlic Cloves, grated or pressed

2 Tablespoons Fresh Chopped Parsley

2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt

3/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper

1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard

1 Teaspoon Ground Corriander

1/2 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika

2 Eggs

Olive Oil, for frying

For the Sandwiches

Pita Bread, slightly grilled or warmed

Rich Mans Salad, for topping *recipe here

Yogurt Sauce, for topping *recipe here

Directions

For the Gyro Meat

Preheat oven to 375 and grease an 8×8 glass baking dish with olive oil.

Grate the onion in a large bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Stir gently with your hands until combined. Add the meat mixture to the prepared baking dish and gently pack it in and smooth out the top with your hands. Bake for 50 minutes or until nicely browned on top and the edges are starting to come away from the pan. Remove, chill to room temperature and cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.

When you’re ready to serve the gyros add about 1/4 Cup olive oil to a pan (i use cast iron) and heat over medium high heat. Remove the meat from the baking dish with a large spatula and slice it as thin as you are able with a serrated knife. Fry the slices in olive oil, adding more oil if necessary as you go, until deep golden brown, turning occasionally.

For the Sandwiches

Pile the meat in pita bread and top with Rich Mans Salad and Yogurt Sauce.

Grilled Chicken + Street Corn Grain Bowls

If we are buddies on Instagram chances are you saw this bad boy in my stories a few days ago. I received quite a few recipe requests from you guys so delivering this one to you makes me super excited!

There’s not a whole lot I can say here because nothings going to fully translate how out-of-control-yummy these bowls are until you take a bite. Think Street Corn on steroids…that’s packed with nutrients and vitamins. But the taste? My gosh, you guys, it’s almost just not right! Almost.

You know I’m a condiment gal, through and through. So slap this smokey, savory, slightly tangy sauce on anything and I’m sold. But on top of fresh in season-veggies, perfectly seasoned chicken, sweet corn and hearty, protein packed quinoa completely hits it out of the park.

It’s easy-peasy to put together and the leftovers make outstanding lunches for the rest of the week. This is absolutely in my top 3 favorite recipes that have come to life in my kitchen this summer…I hope you love it as much as we do!

Grilled Chicken + Street Corn Grain Bowls

Ingredients

For the Sauce

1/2 Cup Sour Cream

1/2 Cup Mayonnaise

2 Garlic Cloves, grated or pressed

1 Tablespoon Fresh Lime Juice

1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika

For the Bowls

1 Cup Quinoa, cooked according to package directions

Olive Oil

1 Pound Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast’s

1 Teaspoon Chili Powder

1 Teaspoon Onion Powder

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

3 Ears Peeled and Cleaned Sweet Corn

2 Red Bell Peppers, sliced in half, stems removed and seeded

1 Zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise

1 Avocado, diced

3 Cups Baby Arugula, loosely packed

1/2 Cup Crumbled Queso Fresco

Fresh Cilantro, for garnish

Directions

For the Sauce

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl, set aside. Can be made up to two days in advance, just store in the refrigerator.

For the Bowls

Preheat outdoor grill to medium high heat.

Drizzle olive oil over the chicken, peppers and zucchini and rub it in to coat. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken breasts with chili powder, onion powder and salt.

Place the chicken on the grill and cook on one side until nice dark grill marks form, about 5-6 minutes. Flip chicken over and cook until completely cooked through and juices run clear. Remove from grill and set aside to rest while you grill the remaining ingredients.

Place the corn, peppers and zucchini on the grill and cook, turning occasionally, until grill marks start to form on all sides; do not over cook as you still want them to have a ‘bite’ to them. Remove from heat. Slice the chicken and cut the veggies into bite sized pieces. Cut the kernels of corn off the cob.

In a large bowl gently toss the quinoa, peppers, zucchini, arugula and corn with your hands. Divide among plates and top with avocado, Queso Fresco, and sliced chicken. Top the bowls off with a heaping spoonful of the sauce and cilantro. Serves 4