Weeknight Dinner Alert! Balsamic Hanger Steaks

27 May

So the other day my husband Dave mentioned he wanted a hanger or skirt steak for dinner. During my weekly planning I decided let’s try it. I came across Michael Symon’s marinade from the Chew. I made a few alterations but it came out really good! Making steaks without a grill can be really intimidating (after previous epic fails using the broiler). Apprehensively, I gave it a try. I ended up using a hanger steak. See below and give it a try for yourself!

FYI – I used a Calphalon Square Grill Pan like this one. I know a lot of people tout using cast iron skillets, and that would work just fine too but I don’t have one yet. If using a cast iron skillet, make sure to preheat the skillet really well (at least 5 minutes) as the steak needs to be grilled on medium-high heat.

1 1/2-2 lb Skirt Steak (or Flank, Hanger)
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
3 cloves of garlic (smashed)
1 tbsp dried or fresh rosemary
1 tsp chili flakes
1/3 cup olive oil and more later for grilling
Montreal Steak Seasoning

Season the steak liberally with the montreal steak seasoning (or salt and pepper). Place in a ziplock or resealable bag. Start creating the marinade in a medium bowl – whisk together the balsamic, sugar, garlic, rosemary, chili flakes and olive oil. Pour over the steak and marinade at least 3 hours or overnight (even better). When ready to grill, preheat the pan until you see smoke coming from it – usually happens on medium-high heat with a bit of olive oil on it. Remove the steak from the marinade, pat down the excess marinade (steak should be slightly dryer) and drizzle one side with olive oil. Don’t be afraid of the sizzle – put the steak down on the pan and let it sit to get up a nice color. It will look “burnt” but thats not actually the case. It’s the coloring that has to happen for the meat to tenderize. Depending on the size of your steak, leave it to grill about 3-5 minutes on each side. Once done, set the steak aside on a plate and let it rest for 10 minutes (let the juices from the pan drip right onto the steak when you transfer to the plate). Finally, slice against the grain in small 1/2 inch slices and serve.

FYI – I served this with homemade mac and cheese and fresh boiled corn. For the homemade mac and cheese recipe click here – I did everything except bake it. I also skipped the egg altogether. Everything came out so good, so flavorful and super delicious! This would be great for a crowd or just for a weeknight dinner. Everything took me about an hour (minus the overnight marinating)



Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

1 May

Surfing pinterest, I came across this delicious banana bread recipe. I recently made a different version and it was also yummy but a little sticky and I figured I should try different variations. This came out really good. Seriously – amazing. Super flavorful but at the same time light and would make for a perfect breakfast on the go. I will be making this time and time again!

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit

cups all-purpose flour
teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 large)
¾ cup vegetable oil
Regular or mini chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 350°. Coat a loaf pan with nonstick spray. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Add eggs, sugar, bananas, and oil and mix to combine everything. Add chocolate chips and stir. Scrape batter into prepared pan and wiggle the pan side to side to even everything out.
Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of bread comes out clean, about an hour.

Beef Stew

24 Apr

I’ve been super good lately with cooking during the week. I was in the mood for a fall stew (since it’s feeling more like fall right now than spring!) I created this recipe and really enjoyed making it. It was really simple and smelled amazing cooking during the day. I think the flour really got the beef to a nice brown and the long cooking made the meat super soft! If you’re in the mood for a hearty stew and a yummy smelling kitchen – give it a try!

Beef Stew

2 lbs beef for stew (1 inch cubes) seasoned with salt and pepper
1/3 cup flour
4 cups of boiling water (yes boiling)
1 can of beef stock (4 cups)
1 large onion, diced
8-10 carrots, chopped into any size of your liking
8-10 baby potatoes, cut into cubes
2 bay leaves
garlic powder, salt and pepper for seasoning
french bread for dipping! (optional)

Season the beef and coat the beef with flour, just enough to get the pieces lightly dusted. In a dutch oven, warm vegetable oil and brown the beef in batches and set aside. Boil 5 cups of water. Once you are done with the last batch browning, add the rest of the beef you set aside and add the 4 cups of boiled water to the pot. Add the onion, bay leaves, and beef stock and reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let it simmer for 1.5 hours. Add carrots, potatoes, and season the broth with garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. Cook for another 45 minutes and enjoy!


Chicken Pineapple Stir-fry

28 Mar

Now that I’m pregnant I’ve been having these ridiculous cravings for the most random things. On my list this week was a Thai inspired chicken pineapple stir-fry. I wanted something tasty but not too heavy or greasy. It came out just right!

1 lb chicken breast, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 tbsp fish sauce (found in the Asian section of the ethnic food isle)
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp lime juice
1-2 tsp minced garlic or garlic powder will due, eye about this amount
1 tbsp red pepper flakes
1 red pepper cubed
1 green pepper cubed
1 orange pepper cubed
1/2 cup of pineapple chunks (if buying canned, get it in juice not syrup)
1/2 cup of sweet chili sauce (found in the Asian section of the ethnic food isle)
Small amount of oil for the pan (I used olive oil, whatever works enough to coat the pan lightly!)
Jasmine Rice – cooked per package instructions

In a medium sized bowl, add the fish sauce and cornstarch to the cubed chicken and toss it evenly to coat. Set aside.

On medium high heat in a deep non-stick pan, heat the oil. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and stir for a few seconds. Add the cubed peppers and pineapple chunks and cook for 5 minutes, until everything is soft and fragrant. Lower the heat to medium-low and add the chili sauce and mix until warmed throughout, for about another 3-5 minutes. Move the mixture to a bowl and set aside.

Increase the heat of the pan to medium and add another coat of oil to the pan if needed. Cook the chicken until lightly cooked on each side. Add soy sauce and lime juice, stir, and chicken through. Add the pepper mixture back to the pan and stir fry until well blended.

Complete this dish by serving with jasmine rice. So good! Enjoy…

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Our Honeymoon – FOOD in Italy

27 Mar IMG_0341

As I noted in my previous post, we went to Italy for our honeymoon. The food in Italy is divine. Everything comes right off of the farm and right out of the goat. There is just no other word except perfection. It’s perfection at the core of every taste bud. I seriously love you guys, but there is no way I can remember every single one of these dishes below and what type of garnish, tomato, or sauce is on these dishes. I’ll leave it up to your imagination… I will just say it was made and eaten with love???

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Our Honeymoon – My Favorites

27 Mar IMG_0742

I’m pulling a Ziggy. Yes you Ziggy! Italy… oh my god Italy. The most beautiful country.. Its been about a year since our wedding and honeymoon, and we are so damn nostalgic looking at these photos. We decided to embark on a journey to Venice, Florence, Tuscany, the Amalfi Coast, and of course, Rome. We stopped at Bologna on the way to Florence, too. These are our favorites (food post is next).

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Pineapple Cashew Fried Rice

5 Jan

adapted by how sweet it is

We have 3 months to go until our wedding and I’m looking to cook healthier, have more meal prep on the weekends, and shed the final lbs before the big day! I wanted something gluten free and still filling and satisfying. Try it for yourself! It came out delicious!

1 cup of whole grain/gluten free jasmine rice
1 cup of light canned coconut milk
1/2 cup fresh pineapple juice
1/2 cup water

5 tablespoons coconut oil
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
2 cups cubed pineapple
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
3/4 cup of green peas
1 1/2-2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
4 green onions, sliced
1/2 cup cashews, some chopped if desired

In a medium size pan, add rice, coconut milk, juice and water, stirring to combine. Bring it a boil, then cover the plan and reduce it to a simmer, and cook until the rice has absorbed all of the liquid – about 20-30 minutes (depending on your rice, following the package).

In a large skillet melt 1 tablespoon of coconut oil over medium high heat. Add in the onions and peppers with a pinch of salt, stir and cook for about 2-3 minutes or until slightly soft. Add in the garlic and ginger, stirring for a minute. Remove everything with a large spoon and set aside in a bowl. Keeping the skillet hot, add another tablespoon of coconut oil and add the pineapple. Stir and cook until golden – about 5-6 minutes. Add to the bowl of veggies. Cook peas per package instructions as well.

Add 1/2 tablespoons of coconut oil to the skillet and add eggs, quickly stirring the entire time they cook, which will take about a minute. Break them apart as much as you’d like. Add eggs to a separate bowl and set aside.

Keep the heat high under the skillet and add 2 1/2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Add in the cooled  rice, tossing to coat, then let sit for 1-2 minutes to crisp up and get golden. Stir, breaking apart any pieces, and repeat for another 1-2 minutes. Repeat another 1-2 times until the rice is crispy and golden.

Reduce the heat to low and stir in soy sauce – if you are not using a low-sodium version, add a bit less and taste before adding more. Add the veggies and pineapple, then stir in the green onions and cashews. Taste and season if you need – this can be eaten alone or can serve as a great base for chicken, shrimp, pork or anything!

SO good!!! and HEALTHY! Enjoy!

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