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Dinner

Jalapeño Macaroni and Cheese

Dinner, Quick and Easy, Thanksgiving, Vegetarian, Winter

I feel like the big thing during Thanksgiving cooking is oven space/availability. So I always suggest for people to make a few things that can be made on the stove top and a few things that can be made ahead. The timing is sometimes stressful but always doable. Not all of us have double ovens!

One dish I love at Thanksgiving (and honestly any other time, too), is macaroni and cheese. I actually prefer the stovetop variety because it’s usually creamier and faster to make.

For this post, I teamed up with French’s® Crispy Jalapeños. THEY ARE SO GOOD. You’re probably pretty familiar with their Crispy Onions, which I also love but their Crispy Jalapeños definitely deserve a place at your Thanksgiving table, too.

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Sheet Pan Mojo Turkey

Dinner, Fall, Thanksgiving, The Holidays

I am SO excited about this post because if I’m being completely honest, I never cook the turkey for Thanksgiving. Josh is super passionate about brining, roasting, blah blah and I just let him do it and I concentrate on the sides and desserts.

BUT, when ALDI reached out about hosting a Friendsgiving with some of my bestest blog friends–Geri, Teri + Jenny, Naomi, Jeanine, Ashley and Claire–I decided that it was time to figure out how to make a proper Thanksgiving turkey.

One of the most popular recipes this fall has been this Mojo Sheet Pan Chicken and there’s good reason for it! It’s so flavorful and the lemon/orange and heavy garlic flavors work so well together. I thought that maybe it would be delicious on turkey and boy was I right!

If you’re unfamiliar, mojo is a Cuban marinade that is wildly simple but oh so good. In Cuba they have sour oranges, which are sort of a cross between a lemon and an orange. They aren’t readily available in the United States and most Cubans/people trying to achieve mojo, simply combine lemons and oranges—it’s a good solution!

I went to ALDI where I picked up a gorgeous, hormone-free turkey at a super affordable price, along with the organic dried oregano and organic lemons and naval oranges. I also stocked up on baking ingredients (like I always do) because they’re super amazing quality at really great prices.

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Mini Meatball Pasta Bake

Dinner, Fall, Pasta, Quick and Easy, Winter

The Dodgers are in The World Series and I have never been more emotionally invested in any series ever. Lol. I don’t even watch sports but I grew up going to Dodger games. I grew up eating Dodger dogs. So, I’m a fan. And, I live in Echo Park, which means that Dodger stadium is literally walking distance so…well, honestly I don’t know how that has anything to do with me being a fan but I am!!

This week I’ve been screaming at the television (so unlike me) and it’s been fun! Also, it’s finally feel like fall (even tho I know I said that yesterday). I’ve been craving warm, cozy foods more than ever. I posted this recipe on the Instagram a while back but I wanted to repost it here so it’s a printable recipe and easier to find.

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Maybe-Too-Cheesy Roasted Garlic Knots

Appetizers, Dinner, Pizza, Quick and Easy

Ayyyyye! These are SO good, girlfriends and dude friends.

I am currently in full-on heavy planning for Thanksgiving and this year it feels like SO much earlier than usual. Thanks so much for all your feedback about Classics vs. Twists. It was so interesting hearing everyone’s opinion on it.

I think I feel similarly like all of you: mostly classics on the savory stuff but TONS of twists and fun with desserts.

I think I’m going to bring a few classics. Like how I get the fluffiest of fluffy mashed potatoes and give you some fun twists on desserts.


This fine specimen you see in the photos is something that could definitely be served at Thanksgiving. The big, gigantic bonus is that it uses store-bought pizza dough (and yes, you can make a homemade batch too). It saves on a ton of time so it’s basically just an assembly-type recipe.

Moving to the suburbs of LA has kinda forced Josh and I to explore the chain restaurants of our childhoods. Some are just as good as we remember them. But others….eeesh. I feel like I remember them being so much more awesome back then.

I feel like garlic knots are those things that are still awesome at Olive Garden but why not make a homemade version, especially when we can make it taste better.

This recipe starts with roasting dat garlic.

We’re using an entire head of garlic here and it’s amazing. I just squeezed it out into of bit of room temperature butter with crushed red peppers, salt and dried oregano.

We’re going for classic, Italian-pizzeria type content, ok.

Another big bonus with this recipe is that it uses store-bought pizza dough. Of course, you could make your own but I used store-bought and it saved a ton of time and made me excited to start the assembly process.

I divided the dough into twelve pieces. And rolled them out into strips. THEN I smothered them with the butter/garlic mixture and that’s kinda it!

It rises and then bakes. It is glorious and maybe too cheesy…but then maybe it’s just heaven.

You decide.

Maybe-Too-Cheesy Roasted Garlic Knots

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Serving Size: 4 to 6 (as an appetizer or a lil' snack)

Maybe-Too-Cheesy Roasted Garlic Knots

Ingredients

  • 1 whole head of garlic, top sliced off
  • 1 pound of store-bought or homemade pizza dough
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons minced Italian parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 2 teaspoon salt (if you’re using salted butter, please leave this out!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 3/4 cups of shredded mozzarella, divided

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Wrap the head of garlic in a small sheet of foil and place on a baking sheet or in a baking dish. Transfer to the oven to roast for 1 hour. Carefully remove it from the foil. Allow the head of garlic to cool and press the roasted garlic out of the cloves and into a bowl.
  2. To the bowl with the garlic, add the butter, minced Italian parsley, salt, crushed red pepper and oregano. Mix and mash it together until combined. Give it a taste and add a bit more salt if needed.
  3. Lightly flour your work surface and divide the dough into twelve pieces. Listen, this doesn’t have to be perfect. We just want the twelve pieces to be sorta the same size so it all bakes evenly.
  4. Roll and stretch each piece until it’s about 5 inches long. Spread about a half of teaspoon of the butter mixture onto the piece of dough and sprinkle it with a bit of mozzarella, pressing it into the butter. Tie the strip of dough into a knot and transfer it to the cast iron skillet. Repeat until you’ve worked your way through all of the strips of dough.
  5. Brush the top with a bit of the remaining butter (if any) and cover the knots with a clean kitchen towel. Allow it to rise until it’s doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Uncover the cast iron skillet and transfer to the oven to bake for 20 minutes. At the 20-minute mark, sprinkle the top with the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until the tops of the knots are golden brown. Top with more Italian parsley and crushed red pepper (if you like it spicy!).

Notes

Tip #1: If you don’t have time to roast garlic, it’s ok. Just add half of the garlic (about 6 cloves) of minced garlic to the butter mixture. Raw garlic is more intense than roasted garlic so that’s why I recommend half of the amount.

Tip #2: I use a cast iron for this recipe but a baking dish that’s about 9-inches round or rectangular will work just fine too.

http://www.acozykitchen.com/maybe-too-cheesy-roasted-garlic-knots/

Chorizo-Spiced Pumpkin Pasta

Dinner, Fall, Pasta, Quick and Easy

Easy, Creamy, Homemade Pumpkin Sauce Chorizo-Spiced Pasta

The kitchen is coming along (more on that soon). And this year I’m so happy to be in a new home because I’m super excited about decorating for fall. At our Echo Park apartment we never got any trick-or-treaters because we lived on an insanely steep hill and our apartment was hidden from the street.

BUT, the house that we’re moving into is in a neighborhood where tons of kids come to in order to get a++ candy.

Easy, Creamy, Homemade Pumpkin Sauce Chorizo-Spiced Pasta

Another thing that I can’t wait to do is set-up the entire kitchen with all of my kitchen items. This pretty blue Crofton Cast Iron French Oven and this Cast Iron Saucepan are from ALDI! If you head into the stores starting Wednesday, you’ll see them (but only for a short time!). ALDI has a range of beautiful cast iron items on sale throughout the fall and winter seasons.

And let me tell you they are such good quality. The pots heat up evenly (very important!), are heavy bottomed (so they are perfect for literally everything including cozy stews, soups and everything in between), super affordable and the enamel coating makes them super easy to clean.

To kick off the fall season and to break in these new pots, I wanted to make something very seasonal and pumpkin-y.

One of my favorite pumpkin/squash recipes is from The Year of Cozy and it’s the chorizo-spiced squash soup. I took that idea and applied it to this pasta dish and it is SO good.

Pumpkin puree (this organic puree is also available at ALDI this fall and is super affordable and the consistency is amazing!) is cooked with the spices that traditionally go in chorizo sausage. The spices go in but this dish is still very vegetarian—no meat whatsoever!

I mixed it with the pasta and a bit of the pasta water to thin it out and topped it with chopped up pepitas. It’s a recipe that comes together in about 20 minutes and it’s delicious.

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Harissa Chicken over Fluffy Couscous + Pomegranate + Yogurt

Dinner, Fall, Healthy

I’m currently getting all prepped to go to Italy on Tuesday and I’m so excited. Josh has psychotically made maps, coursing our tentative eating schedule. The past few weeks I’ve been purposefully eating on the healthier side so that I could save myself for loads and loads of pasta. I think it has been a wise decision.

One of the health-ish meals I’ve been making is this one-pan harissa chicken dish. It is SO delicious and Israeli couscous are my new favorite thing. They have such delicious toothsome texture.

For this recipe and post, I’m super excited to partner with GreenPan and their healthy, ceramic, non-stick pans. They are so gorgeous in person (the bronze is super pretty) and I love that they’re safe to cook with and super easy to clean.

I love these pans because they’re coated in Thermolon, making them safer and healthier to use. They’re super resistant to high heat (zero fumes come off the surface) and the coating, made from a sand derivative, will never flake or peel onto your food. All pluses!

The surface of the pan was ideal for searing this chicken and getting a super crispy skin and crust on it. And I didn’t have to use a ton of oil (also a plus) so the meal is pretty light.

Right now you can get a limited edition 5-piece set for their 10th anniversary. An extra bonus? The All frypans are currently 20% off through October 24th! GET UR PANS!

Lately, I have been living my life for anything one-pan/one-pot. I’ve been craving ease and I think you have too because anything I make that can be made in one vessel, you guys have made over and over, which of course makes me so pumped.

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Eggplant Meatballs over Cauliflower Puree and Pesto

Dinner, Healthy, Healthy (ish), Summer, Vegetarian

Meatballs might be my favorite food in the entire world. I strive to eat them ALL THE TIME. It doesn’t always work out but I really do try.

I eat healthy ones when I’m vibing that paleo/Whole 30 lifestyle.
I like legit ones that I like to think I would eat if I lived in the movie Goodfellas.
And then there are these fine things: eggplant veggie meatballs.

You can serve them to all your friends who don’t like meat but also don’t like fake meat. Also people who like meat love them too.

If you know me then you know that I was LATE to the eggplant game. I lived my life for years hating it but I love it SO much now. This sabich is still one of my favorite things to eat and the thing I love most on that sandwich is the deng harissa eggplant—it’s too good!

These meatballs come together pretty easily.

We do have an extra step and that’s cooking the eggplant down a bit and then blending it all up in a food processor with a bunch of other delicious things.

I like to use a non-stick pan for this so that I don’t end up with crumbly-broken meatballs. These are definitely more fragile than your traditional meatball.

I served this over cauliflower puree and pesto and it was the perfect healthy meal. If you’re looking to cut down on some time, serve it with store-bought pesto and some sautéed cauliflower rice.

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Mojo Sheet Pan Chicken

Dinner, Quick and Easy

It is still technically summer but my inbox looks like it’s mid-November. Full-on Thanksgiving and fall pitches. And then yesterday I drove past a Halloween store! I. AM. NOT. READY. Tho I kinda am because wearing sweaters are dope.

Let’s talk about this sheet pan dish. Mojo is my favorite thing ever. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s Cuban and a lot of times you’ll find it in marinades for meats and chicken or fish. It’s also sometimes served with tostones for, like, dipping, though usually it’s a bit thicker in consistency. You get the idea!

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Payday Lobster Cherry Tomato Pasta

Dinner, Pasta, Quick and Easy, Summer

Hello! I am here. Is today (or next Friday) payday for you? I hope so because this pasta is something that I hope you make when you get PAID! This is a treat yo’self kinda pasta because it has lobster in it.

Pasta is usually on the cheaper end of the food-money-spending spectrum but lobster makes it pretty indulgent.

I went to the market and bought two lobster tails for about $20. I definitely was like “dang, ok. lobster is legit expensive.” And I still had to buy all of the other ingredients. I think my total bill came to like $30 or $35 dollars for this entire meal, which if you actually compare to a restaurant, it’s still cheaper.

But whatever you do, don’t overcook/mess up the precious lobster ok?!

I’m going to be honest again and tell you that I grew up eating lobster because my family loved it. And I knew when they brought home lobster someone was having a good day/bills had been paid/we were living!

Before recipe testing this, I’d actually never cooked lobster. I was super pumped that it was just the tails and not a whole, living, thriving lobster. That experience might’ve been too real for my city-loving self.

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Camarones a la Diabla

Dinner, Healthy, Quick and Easy, Summer

I LOVE THIS RECIPE!

If you’ve never had camarones (shrimp) a al diabla, here’s a breakdown of how it goes:

A sauce is made. This sauce might remind you of an enchilada sauce. It’s red and flavorful and in this case, a little smoky. This sauce recipe makes quite a bit and part of me wanted to halve it but I actually ended up using it for three other dinners last week.

1st dinner: I made this.
2nd dinner: I tossed it with roasted eggplant and vegetables and ate it with quinoa.
3rd dinner: I made this again.
4th dinner: Josh used it to braise some flank steak (using one of our favorite kitchen gadgets) AND then we put it in tacos for Friday taco night and it was boooomb.

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