Make This Now: Fall is here!

Somehow, we’re here, mid-October, and I have no idea how it all happened so fast!  I swear it was just September and it was still hot and I could still convince myself it was summer but now all the trees have turned, many have already started losing leaves, oh and that part where it already snowed.

I think I might be into it though!  Sweaters, pumpkin spiced things, just enough daylight after work to fit in a quick run and I’m really embracing fall comfort foods, so I wanted to share some of the standouts thus far in this fall game.  Enjoy!

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Thai Roasted Cauliflower Pizza

I don’t know much, but I do know you need this in your life.  I made this pizza dough a few weeks ago and not gonna lie, I was skeptical because you add the oil in last and I had a hard time getting it to fully incorporate (it seemed so oily!), but then it all worked out and I think half the beauty of this pizza was the dough we used.  The other half was perfectly roasted cauliflower, the subtle heat from the creamy yogurt sauce, cheese (obvi!) and those green onion and jalapeño garnishes.  MAKE IT!

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Crispy Peppercorn Chicken Wings

Remember when I said I should cook wings more?  Tis the season!  As disinterested as I am in actual football, I’m equally as interested in football food so while Joey was cheering on the Cowboys, I was cheering on these wings.  But actually, so was Joey.  Not gonna take any credit because he marinated them and cooked them and all I did was cut up some green onion, celery and a lime but these were delicious!  It’s a dry-rub so these aren’t dripping in sauce but that rub was a slow burn of epic flavor that we both loved.  I could definitely get used to eating these often.

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Kale Salad Bowl w/ Tahini

You know what makes eating a salad for lunch (almost) every day really easy??  Roasted sweet potatoes, feta cheese crumbles, chickpeas and a garlic-y tahini drizzle to tie the whole thing together.  I looked forward to this lunch-time combo EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.  I usually make this with arugula (because sometimes you just don’t have the time or patience to prep a bunch of kale) but they were out, so spinach it was and it worked perfectly.

 

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Roast Chicken with Butternut-Tahini Purée

There is something so innately comforting about roasting a chicken.  That is, until you set off the fire alarm… TWICE.  But still, this came out of the oven and I carved it up and served it with the butternut-tahini purée that Joey made and some black rice and was in fall food heaven.  We make this meal every fall/winter and every time, I’m blown away by how delicious it all is.  I could (would? did?) eat that purée with a spoon.  It is SO GOOD.

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Super Soft Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins

Okay, this picture is making these muffins looks kinda craggy but I swear they were, as promised, “super soft.”  And also really light and fluffy and I totally ate one (the SECOND biggest, because I left the actual biggest for Joey) fresh from in the oven, in the dark, while watching The Night Of and it all felt too good to be true.  Plus I got to use my new ice cream scoop on the batter and it was deeply satisfying how quick and easy it made the whole process.

Pro Tip: Crumble one over some yogurt and call it breakfast 🙂

I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Summer BBQ Recipes 2017

If you’re new to this space, welcome to the post where I share/link all the things we barbecued this summer.  I like it for inspiration the next year and also because it’s fun to look back and see what we were into during a particular summer and how much our BBQ game has grown since I started posting these.  And this year, Summer 2017, we barbecued to our little hearts’ desire!

From low key weeknight dinners, to celebratory holiday feasts to BBQs with all our friends and family, we did it all this summer!  It made me feel happy and hot (why doesn’t anyone talk about how sweaty you get standing at the grill??) and adventurous (we even grilled lamb chops!) and I’m grateful for every meal and dish and person I got to share it all with this summer ♥

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Drinks:

Cherry-Peach Sangria // People are now referring to this sangria as “Lauren’s Drink,” so I think it’s safe to say I’ve A) made this A LOT and B) drank A LOT of this.  Definitely double it (and maybe even triple it if you have a big group) but you can keep the fruit amounts the same because I always have leftovers of that stuff at the end of the night and why waste a good stone fruit?

Strawberry Summer Water // When I saw this recipe on the internet I immediately showed it to Joey like “someone literally wrote a recipe for water with fruit in it!”  Followed seconds later by “I’m gonna make it…”  Continued irony when everyone at our summer BBQ claimed it to be VERY GOOD.  

Bonus Non-Recipe // We made a good handful of margaritas this summer and I feel very good about it.  Make a simple syrup by boiling equal parts water and sugar, then combine 1.5 oz. tequila, 1 oz. triple sec, juice of one lime and 1.5 oz. of the (COOLED) simple syrup and shake over ice.  So simple!

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Apps/Sides:

BA’s Best Guacamole // It’s called BA’s Best for a reason.  Also, no tomatoes and I’m so very down with that!

Maple Baked Beans // I’ve made these a few times and they always turn out great!  Plus you just dump it all in the crock pot, set the timer for 4 hours and forget it.  Couldn’t be easier!

Cranberry-Almond Broccoli Salad // I LOVE this broccoli salad because: bacon.  BUT I’m also here to tell you that I made it WITHOUT bacon OR almonds (because I love my vegetarian and nut-allergic friends) and somehow it was still so dang good!  That creamy dressing holds up all on its own.  Plus it’s really really easy to make and tastes even better than the Whole Foods version.  This is my go-to BBQ side dish!

 Ultimate Red Skinned Potato Salad // I usually leave the potato salad to my mom (because she makes the best!) but turns out she’s not at every BBQ I’m at so I tried my own hand at it and this mayo-free version blew me away.  Honey mustard dressing is where it’s at!  And for the record, I didn’t even add more dressing after the initial 1/3 cup because I thought it tasted perfect right then!

Easy Cornbread // Okay, that recipe title does not do this cornbread justice.  Officially re-naming it THE VERY BEST CORNBREAD TO EVER EXIST, AS CONFIRMED BY EVERYONE I’VE EVER FED IT TO.  Too long?  

Greek Farmers’ Salad // Told my mom I made this for Father’s Day and she was all “oh, I’ve never made it” and then I told her I got the recipe from her.  She’s a goofy one!  This salad is my easiest potluck side and I think I’ve made it about 300 times.  

Grilled Corn and Bell Pepper Salad // Do not underestimate the power of a simple grilled veggie salad, especially when summer produce is at its peak.  Joey grilled all these veggies and when he came back inside he said “well, do you wanna be mad at me now or later, because I charred the hell out of the bell peppers,” but then he actually grilled them to perfection and I tossed them in the dressing and was delighted at how good and fresh it all tasted.

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Main Dish:

Honey Garlic Chicken Thighs // If you, like Joey and I, are a bit intimidated by bone-in skin-on chicken thighs, this works perfectly fine with boneless skinless thighs too!  The marinade makes for the most beautiful grill marks, to boot.

Grilled Chicken Wings with Shishito Peppers and Herbs // Does it count as a BBQ if there’s only two people in attendance?  It does if it’s a holiday!  Or so I say.  This dinner was a monumental win for me because A) it was the inaugural meal on my new grill and B) it turned out incredibly well.  For the record, I thought I burnt some of the wings but those ones ended up tasting the best so don’t fear a little char!  

Grilled Steak Tacos with Cilantro Chimichurri Sauce // Honestly, this recipe was A LOT of work.  I’m all for making stuff from scratch but a sauce, a salsa, pickled veggies, marinade, grilled onions and steak is a lot to handle in one day.  VERY delicious but also maybe very exhausting.    

The BA Burger Deluxe // For when you just need that classic cheeseburger, ya know?

Spinach Goat Cheese Turkey Burgers // I love love love these burgers because they are way juicy and because there are few things as delightful as biting into a goat cheese pocket.  I just throw in a handful of chopped fresh spinach in place of the frozen and just FYI, these can easily be made gluten free by just leaving out the panko.

BBQ Chicken Burgers // You can make these with any cheese but you should make them with sharp cheddar because it can hold its own against the BBQ sauce, making for one flavor-packed and supremely tender burger.  Please be forewarned that the patties are kinda wet but all’s well that ends well and these end SO well!

Grilled Lamb Rib Chops // We used a combination of this recipe (for the marinade, which we let sit for ~5 hours) and this guide (for the grilling method) and while I shouldn’t take any credit because I never even stepped foot near the grill while Joey made these, I want to take credit because I bought the chops, prepped them for marinating, semi-researched the grilling method and made all the sauces and flatbread that we ate with it.  TL;DR: THIS MEAL WAS SUPER DELICIOUS.

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Desserts:

Giant Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie // All hail the cast-iron skillet!  And the giant cookie!  And this recipe for being so easy and made of all pantry ingredients, aka you could probably whip it up right now if you wanted to!  Joey squeezed my arm SO hard when he took his first bite of this cookie because he was THAT excited about how good it was.  Do it — you won’t be disappointed.

Easy One-Bowl Upside-Down Cake // Fail-proof!  I made it once with cherries and lime and another time with blueberries and lemon and both turned out so incredibly good!  If you’re the type of person who considers batter to be beautiful, this one is GORGEOUS.  Don’t skip/be scared by the whipped sour cream because it totally takes this cake to another level of deliciousness.  

Blackberry-Cherry Cobbler with Honey Whipped Cream // I’m a huge believer in cobbler.  So much easier than a pie or even a galette!  This biscuit dough comes together so easily and the entire recipe take minimal effort so it’s a real win for us cobbler lovers.   

Gluten-Free Chocolate-Tahini Brownies // Usually, the words gluten-free make me run for the hills, but sometimes I do attempt to be accommodating and these had me at tahini.  Turns out they were fan-freaking-tastic and I bet, if you didn’t tell anyone, they wouldn’t even know these didn’t have flour in them.  If you’re not into that sweet-salty thing, maybe half the salt, but I’m a salt freak so I loved em’ as they were.  

Bonus Non-Recipe: Need to tell you that recently, I discovered the pure bliss of a grilled peach topped with yogurt, honey and maybe even some toasted almonds and making this little dessert for myself was the best form of self-care ever.  Do it!

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Looks burnt but tastes good!

Thank you, Summer 17 for all the happy and delicious times and for never letting us run out of propane mid-BBQ 🙂