Make This Now

So much of life is a Catch -22.  I like planning ahead, but I like to match things to my mood and you can’t plan your mood ahead of time, can you?  That would be nice though!  Good moods every Friday please!  Anyway, this is all to say spring is so up and down and I find it hard to match pre-planned meals to ever-changing weather.  I feel like grilling a burger when it’s 80° and sunny and curry when it’s rainy and gray, but those things can happen in the same day!

I guess this list is comprised of meals that managed to match my mood and the weather.  Those make me extra happy and are the reason I continue to chase that feeling.

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One-Skillet Lemon Pepper Shrimp and Orzo

Do you every just HARD-sear some zucchini coins and then realize they look bad in pictures?  Me neither…  Anyway, we made this skillet dinner a few weeks back and were delighted when the orzo cooked perfectly and tasted wonderfully decadent but still light and citrusy.  Also, we bought a bag of Meyer lemons to make this and I legitimately full on ate the other six?  Joey thought I was insane, but they tasted like candy to me!

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Banh Mi Burgers

Okay, I maybe said “next time I make these, I’m definitely adding more salt to the beef” something like 10 times the night we made these, but they were still REALLY GOOD.  Then again, I’m a sucker for banh mi anything.  Joey asked me “what makes these banh mi burgers??” and I was so confused, because… everything?  Those quick-pickled veggies, that fiery sriracha mayo, all that cilantro!  I loved them.  Also, I’ve tried SO MANY sweet potato fry methods and then I just tossed these in olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted them for 30 minutes and I think they were the best ones I’ve ever made, ha!

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Tomato-Ricotta Pizza

Per my Dinner Diary (yeah, I still keep that!), I made this pizza two years ago and not since.  Which is a shame, because it is delicious!  It has a pesto-ricotta and roasted cherry tomatoes and a sprinkling of feta and basil.  So many flavor bombs that just really sing together.  Plus I ate a cherry tomato while prepping this pizza and it had NO RIGHT to taste as good as it did this early in the season.  Not mad about the leftover ricotta I have in the fridge either because it means ricotta pancakes are in my very near future!

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Black Bean and Tempeh Tacos with Cashew Cheese Sauce

These tacos were a breeze because I had leftover cheese sauce from burrito bowls the week before and black beans I’d already cooked from scratch in the freezer.  Look, I’m not really one to enjoy a veggie taco because you know what’s good?  Steak, chicken, shrimp, carnitas!  But these were honestly so good and satisfying.  Also, how good are those corn-wheat blend tortillas?  Thank you, La Tortilla Factory, for this little gift.

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Skillet Poblano and Pumpkin Enchiladas

Two skillet recipes in one post?  You know it!  And let me tell you, skillet enchiladas are way way way easier than real enchiladas.  Joey and I are still traumatized by the time we made enchiladas from scratch (cooked the meat, made the sauce, individually fried the tortillas, milked a cow and made cheese… okay, maybe not that last one) and it took HOURS, but this recipe basically just requires you to stir some tortillas strips into a skillet and that I can do!  Plus all the garnishes just make this meal feel extra special.  There’s a lime yogurt sauce, a sprinkle of salty Cotija and those spiced pepitas.  We loved it!

I hope that you’ll find some inspiration here and that you have a wonderful weekend!

Weekend Things: Viva Las Vegas

I think I stand in opposition to almost everything Vegas stands for — gambling, drinking, staying out late — but I’m always up for sight-seeing, show watching and going out to eat!  We took a little weekend trip and even though our flight home was delayed, delayed again then majorly delayed, I think we all still had a great time.  I got to see P!nk fly through the air, a robot mix a margarita and the last ever season premier of Game of Thrones on an iPad at 1 AM, so I feel pretty happy about it.

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We stayed at The LINQ and it had a lovely little promenade area with shops and you know, In-N-Out, but lots of other restaurants too!  Next door at The Flamingo, I got to see some of those pink birds hanging out in the sun.  Sounds like a great life, to be honest!  We go every time we’re in Vegas, but Gordon Ramsay Burger is just really good and they know how to cook a burger right.  We walked over to T-Mobile Arena afterward and WHOA, I was just blown away by how incredible P!nk was.  Not only was she dancing and soaring all over but she sounded FLAWLESS.  HOW??  That’s a concert I’ll never forget.

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The next morning, Joey, Lori and I hit up PublicUs for breakfast, then walked over to the Downtown Container Park — we tried to go last time we were in Vegas but the area was closed off because of some sort of festival — and were delighted to discover it was very nice and most importantly, uncrowded!  A jazz band was just about to perform so we grabbed a seat and watched for a while.  Then we walked down Fremont Street, got drinks made by a robot, watched the fountain show at the Bellagio, walked through The Forum Shops and made our way back to The LINQ to get cleaned up for dinner.

We ate at Roma and I had an amazing plate of eggplant parm with a side of what was just a simple penne in tomato sauce but somehow tasted better than any other penne with tomato sauce I’ve ever had?  Then, the real reason for our trip to Las Vegas: Donny and Marie!  In all honestly, I barely know who the Osmonds are, but when your mother-in-law is a major fan and it’s their last year in Vegas, you go!  Guys, it was so fun to watch them interact with the audience!  Women losing their minds over Donny Osmond is highly highly entertaining and look, I’ll be happy if I’m ever as good in high heels as Marie Osmond is!

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Our last full day started with a hike in Red Rock Canyon!  I guess I only ever hike on vacation now, but maybe that’s for the best because all of those hikes have been great.  The weather was perfect, the scenery was unbelievable and the company was the best.  We did what felt like rock climbing to me and Lori is a trooper for scaling rocks like the best of em!  There’s something like 26 different trails but we chose Calico Tanks and it had such a cool view of the city at the top.  Also, we saw a chuckwalla!

Post-hike, Joey ate In-N-Out and the rest of us did not because we were having dinner soon!  But then we got cleaned up and went to THE DORSEY!!!!  Aka a cocktail bar inside the Venetian that I had imagined to be on the top floor with big windows facing the outside but was actually a dark ground floor room with a view of… the casino.  But there was a library and that seemed very Dorsey-esque.  After, we had dinner at Mesa Grill which, honestly, I thought was going to be a lot better.  I wasn’t blown away and, with the amount of money we spent (especially since we ordered a total of two drinks!), I should have been blown away.  But the highlight of the night was “O” by Cirque du Soleil.  I am too old for a 9:30 PM show and maybe felt dozy a few times but WOW, it was the BEST Cirque show I’ve ever seen!

Mostly though, I feel real lucky that my family in-law is such a pleasure to vacation with ♥