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.

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

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.