Bacon Wrapped Asparagus + Goat Cheese Bundles

SONY DSCWell guys, we made it.  Happy spring!  Yay!  You know what this means, right?  Warmer days ahead, lots of grilling, playtime at the parks, more daylight, fresh produce starting to make it’s way, and….baby!  WHOA BABY!

Any ideas or explanations as to how this pregnancy could possibly be going this quickly are completely welcomed, friends, because I am mind-blown at the whole deal.  We are finally getting going on bedroom moving, bunking, storage room cleaning, baby gear inventory-ing…you know, all of that good stuff…we are in the home stretch!  Which seems a bit crazy, actually a lot crazy, because I swear I just shared the news yesterday, didn’t I?  My gosh we can’t wait to meet this little one…all four of us.   Continue reading

Greek Grain + Roasted Chicken Salad

SONY DSCWe’ve been loading up on soups, stews and comfort food like crazy people around here.  This weather just lends itself to such deliciousness, don’t you think?  But geez louise we must switch things up once in a blue moon!  This salad-it’s just fantastic for this time of year.  It’s still a bit comforting and warm but the flavors are so light and fresh…a combo after my own heart! Continue reading

Parmesan + Goat Cheese Grilled Zucchini Boats

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My husband?  He’s pretty amazing.  Sensitive.  Kind.  Strong.  Intelligent.  Nearly the whole shebang, that Nickyboy is.  But a zucchini lover he is not…it’s the texture.  I can let the toilet seat thing go.  The all-too-often-frat-house-vibe I get from living with him, fine, I’ll get over it (please, just put the toilet seat down.  And the toothpaste…just clean the remains out of the sink before you finish!) But the lack of love for a little tiny thing called ‘summer squash’ that is very near and dear to my heart?  I can’t.  I won’t.  This is a part of our marriage…for better or for worse.  You’ve committed to me?  You’ve committed to summer squash.  Have I mentioned that he’s passed this turn-your-nose-up mentality of it on to my daughter?  Oy vey.  I’m in trouble.  Continue reading

Grilled Chicken, Roasted Tomato and Goat Cheese Flatbreads

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Boy have I missed you guys.  Have you been enjoying this crazy-wonderful weather?  This time of year…I just can’t get enough.  We’ve been trying our best to soak in all of this sunshine…swimming, farmers-marketing, park-hopping, festival-ing and patio dining galore.  It’s definitely all sunshine and rainbows…but it doesn’t leave me much time in the kitchen for dinner prep.  These flatbreads have become quite the time-saver around here…and I can’t even begin to tell you how absolutely amazing they taste. Continue reading

Goat Cheese, Tomato and Spinach Pasta

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This pasta is out of control.  I kid you not, the three of us ate nearly the entire bowl…and we had grilled chicken breasts on the side.  My husband and I kept looking at each other every time my toddler would say “more noodles”…like is she serious?  there’s no way.. and each little bit more we gave her she nearly inhaled.  Counting that as a win on my end.

It’s cheesy and creamy and sweet and salty without being super heavy.  I’m really not sure what I like most about it:  the fact that it tastes so indulgent but in essence is so healthful or the fact that there are such few ingredients and such little work time.  You’ll have this on the table in 20 minutes no problem…perfect weeknight meal that your entire family will love.  And you might want to make a double batch 😉

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Goat Cheese, Tomato, and Spinach Pasta

Adapted from this recipe

Note:  A fresh log of goat cheese is a must for this recipe, the “crumbles” will simply not cut it as they contain far less moisture.

Ingredients

12 Ounces Brown Rice or Quinoa Pasta

1/4 Cup Olive Oil

2 Cups Cherry Tomatoes, halved

4 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped

1/2 Teaspoon Salt

1/4 Teaspoon Pepper

5 Cups Packed Baby Spinach Leaves

1/3 Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan

4 Ounces Goat Cheese

Fresh Chopped Basil

Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

Directions

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Once pasta is cooked dip a measuring cup into the pot to reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid/water.  Drain pasta and set aside.

While pasta is near the end of cooking heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add tomatoes and garlic and sauté for 3-4 minutes or until tomatoes begin to burst and release their juices.  Stir in salt and pepper.

Add pasta back to the pot you cooked it in.  Add spinach, pour in the tomato sauce and stir to combine.  Stir in parmesan, goat cheese and the cooking liquid/water.  Continue to stir until the goat cheese has melted and a gooey sauce has coated the pasta.  Serve topped with fresh basil and crushed red pepper flakes, if desired.

Goat Cheese, Spinach and Tomato Stuffed Pork Chops

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I’m not sure what I am more sick of:  people complaining about the weather or the actual weather.  Yes it has rained every day for the last five zillion years, people, I know.  I also know we will probably not have a summer.  And that it wouldn’t be as bad if we were guaranteed some warm weather later in the year but chances are we will still get snow in October.  And it’s June and 50 degrees!  And it’s so dreary and depressing!  But guess what, if I hear one more ounce of negativity about it I might lose my cool  (no, I have not already lost it…I’m simply on the verge of losing it).

It seems you can’t go anywhere or talk to anyone these days without hearing the above comments.  Well guess what, I’m done giving the weather the satisfaction of having it bother me.  Guess what, weather…rain some more!  I’d love it!  Then we can go outside and run around and joyfully splash in the midst of all of your wonderfulness!  Which leads me to a visual thought of me grilling these pork chops yesterday.  I waited until the rain started coming down to throw these on on the grill because I was so excited to go out and celebrate more rain.  I put them on the grill and instead of going inside to wait for them to cook I danced around the back yard frolicking and splashing away…it was so wonderful.  None of this is true.  The rain actually waited until the minute I stepped outside to come down, typical.  And once I put them on the grill I was in pure awe of the cat-like reflexes I am capable of.  Pretty sure I was inside before the lid of the grill was even shut.  My motto these days:  this beats snow any day of the week 🙂

I love making these chops for company because you can put them together ahead of time and let them sit in the fridge until you are ready to grill them…and they only take a few minutes on the grill.  The stuffing is as simple as pie to put together and the final product looks and tastes so gourmet…without the gourmet effort.  I have yet to come across someone who has not raved about these and if porks not your cup of tea the stuffing is great with chicken as well.

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One last note:  if you do not feel like frolicking in the rain to grill theses bad boys you can surely bake or pan roast them with great results.

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Goat Cheese, Spinach and Tomato Stuffed Pork Chops

Ingredients

2 Boneless Pork Loin Center Cut Chops

2 Teaspoons Olive Oil

1/4 Cup Sun Dried Tomatoes, chopped

1 1/2 Cups Fresh Baby Spinach Leaves

2 Ounces Fresh Goat Cheese

Salt, Pepper

Directions

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the sun dried tomatoes and spinach and cook, stirring occasionally, until spinach is wilted down, about 3-5 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Transfer mixture to a medium bowl, add goat cheese and mix until stuffing is combined.  Place bowl in the freezer to chill while you prepare your pork.

With a sharp knife, slice a large slit through the middle of each chop, slicing horizontally so that it can be opened like a book.  Remove stuffing from freezer and spoon it into the middle of each chop.  Secure each pork chop closed with a couple of toothpicks.  At this point chops can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

Preheat grill to medium high (about 500 degrees).  Sprinkle both sides of the chops liberally with salt and pepper.  Place stuffed chops on the grill and cook for 5-8 minutes with the lid closed or until the bottom half is mostly cooked through.  Flip the pork chops over, close the lid and cook an additional 4-6 minutes or until completely cooked through.