I am not sure I can fully express how much I love the food associated with autumn. I love comfort food, I love butternut squash, chilis, pasta and I can’t even get started on Thanksgiving in general! I have re-discovered a long lost favorite recipe this fall, which made everyone in my house very excited.

I made this special stuffed acorn squash on a Friday night after a pretty long work week. I dug deep down to get enough energy to battle traffic AND stop at the grocery store after work on Friday… and as I was in the kitchen later that night, sipping a glass of wine and scooping out the seeds of my acorn squash, I was so glad I had gone the extra (few) miles to get what I needed to make this dinner.

SC was working from home that Friday night, so he was upstairs in our home office on conference calls and responding to emails as I was down cooking my heart out. (This is our arrangement a lot – and it works out perfectly, because SC cleans up after dinner – and he actually likes doing the dishes. Seriously. I am awful at cleaning up – but I try to do what I can as I cook.)

Before I started cooking, I preheated my oven to 400 degrees.

To make getting into my acorn squash a little easier (it is never truly easy to get into the middle of a squash) I cut off both ends of the squash. After that I was able to cut my squash in half (although far from perfectly. I gave SC the bigger half!) I put my squash on a foil lined baking sheet and then drizzled with a table spoon of oil.

I added a pinch of salt to each side, and a good amount of freshly ground pepper. I popped the acorn squash halves into the oven and cooked them for 40 minutes at 400 degrees.
While the squash was cooking, I chopped up a small Vidalia onion, a medium apple and a stalk of celery I minced a couple of cloves of garlic. I also chopped up two cups of spinach. I heated 2 teaspoons of olive oil in my skillet and once the oil was hot, I added the onion and celery. Once the onion was soft, I added two hot Italian sausage links (casing removed) and the garlic. I cooked until the sausage started browning, stirring frequently. I added a pinch of rosemary.

Then I added the apple and spinach. About two minutes later I added half a cup of Panko breadcrumbs and 1/2 a cup of shredded parmesan cheese.

Once the squash was finished cooking, I took it out and stuffed it with the sausage and apple mixture. I sprinkled more shredded cheese on top and popped it all back in the oven for 20 minutes. The end result was crazy delicious!! It was also a big hit with SC who had yet to enjoy this meal. We will definitely be making it again soon… we even have an acorn squash on our counter, just waiting for the next opportunity to make this recipe – I can’t wait!

In New England we are definitely transitioning from Summer foods to Autumn meals…. and as I am doing that, I’ve decided to take a look back and see what some of my favorite meals of this past summer were.

Definitely one of my favorite fresh meals was the Summer Vegetable Tarte Tatin that I made a couple of months ago. In the summer I am hard pressed to turn the oven on – I like to grill almost anything that needs to be cooked, and a lot of times I will just have a sandwich or a fresh salad for meals. I have also been known to use my crock pot many times during the summer – it does not heat the house up like turning on the oven does!

This Vegetable Tarte Tatin was one of the few times I turned on the oven this summer.

I started off with grilling eggplant, zucchini, summer squash, mushrooms and thinly cut onions on the grill pan (I worked slowly, in batches). I sprayed my spring form pan on the base and on the sides and then I gradually started layering the vegetables. This process is really hard! It is best if you can get a full layer of eggplant at the bottom of the pan – but I think I had a few gaps. I also incorporated fresh, juicy cuts of tomato in my dish – but I did not grill the tomato.


After I had layered all of my vegetables in the pan, I drizzled the top with two tablespoons of olive oil. I sprinkled bred crumbs on top along with some parmesan cheese and basil.

The vegetables then cook in the oven (it definitely got pretty hot in the kitchen while the oven was heating up and while we were cooking this dish!) but the end result is absolutely worth it… Before I placed the pan in the oven, I lined a cookie sheet with parchment paper and placed the pan on top of it. (Sometimes the juices from the vegetables will drip down and out of the pan if you don’t have the perfect seal) I cooked the Vegetable Tarte Tatin in the oven for 35 minutes at 400 degrees.
The end result was a delicious dinner that even a non-vegetarian would love to have on a summer’s night (or any time of the year). I was so pleased with this meal – it was so fresh, healthy and satisfying.

(The next day I had more of this veggie dish with scrambled eggs for additional protein – it was a great lunch!)

This dish does not have to be just a summer dish – if you can still get fresh zucchini, summer squash and tomatoes I would highly recommend giving a recipe like this a try!

Back in the Kitchen!

Hi Blog Readers, I have definitely been away from the blog for a long time. A lot has happened – but I’m happy to be back cooking and writing about food!

In the past few months all of my energy went into planning my wedding, and now I am slowly getting back to normal – just a few weeks after my wedding. It has been a lot of fun having enough time to get back into the kitchen and start cooking again!

In the past couple of week I have made a lot of healthy (and delicious) meals . Lean turkey chili, butternut squash soup (the most perfect fall food in my opinion!), grilled salmon, shrimp and so on. I’ve also used the crock pot for a few recipe.

One of the favorite meals we have been making is grilled Wild Salmon. We try to have salmon once a week or every other week at least. I season the salmon with lemon zest, pepper, a pinch of salt. While the salmon is grilling I spoon lemon juice and white wine over the salmon which gives it an amazing flavor!

For this dinner we paired the salmon with roasted asparagus and whole wheat couscous:

For the asparagus, I line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. I wash and snap the bottoms of the asparagus off, lay the asparagus on the lined pan. Drizzle the asparagus with a spoon of olive oil and then salt and pepper the asparagus. I roast my asparagus under the oven broiler. While I do this I do not close the oven, I leave it just a little open so I can monitor the asparagus – it can quickly go from not done to burned – so watch as you do this. After the asparagus is finished, I garnish the asparagus with a little lemon zest.

When having a dinner like this I love adding couscous as the starch because it is such a hands off preparation! For couscous you just need to add water and couscous to a pan, bring to a boil and once it is boiling stir the couscous, and turn off the heat. Put a lid on your pan and let it sit for five – ten minutes. Fluff with a fork and you’re ready to serve! (It might be the easiest thing I make on a regular basis.)

Overall this is a fairly simple dinner and it is one of our favorites!

Another great dinner I made recently was shrimp sautéed in a little butter and white wine (are you seeing a trend here? We had a bottle of white wine open and also had some too good to pass up Kerrygold butter on hand as well!)

It was a Friday night and I had a very long work day and a long drive home in the rain… I was planning on skipping dinner and having a bowl of cereal instead. But I remembered that I had eight or nine shrimp in the fridge… one of the things I love about shrimp is how quickly they cook up. I usually get already peeled and deveined shrimp from Whole Foods (it saves a lot of time and mess in the kitchen!).

My part of cooking this dinner took less than ten minutes. Luckily for me, SC was cooking up pasta for his dinner and made enough for me to have some too. I cooked the shrimp and put it aside while I waited for the pasta to finish up: (the ‘sauce’ in the bowl is a little butter (1/2 a tablespoon) with lemon and white wine; shrimp seasoned with freshly ground pepper.)

Once the pasta was finished I tossed everything together and garnished with fresh parsley.


After a tough day this dinner totally hit the spot and it was so easy!

Stay tuned – I’ll be sharing more of the meals I have been making in the coming days!

On Friday night I decided to make a dinner that we don’t usually have at home. It was a little rich – and we do not tend to have dinners full of rich, creamy, bacon-y food. But I needed it and it was good for the soul.

The idea came to me during a walk with two friends over our lunch break on Friday – so I can’t take all of the credit. A friend of mine asked if I ever did a creamy pasta sauce with pasta and vegetables. I told her that I had not done something like this in a very long time, but I had a craving for such a dish. In my head it would be not just pasta and vegetables, but grilled chicken and pancetta. As soon as the idea was in my head, I was looking forward to my next creation in the kitchen.

I started off my weekend with a run to Wegman’s. I picked up one piece of grilled chicken, slices of pancetta, broccoli, garlic, milk and Gruyère cheese.

When we got home I turned my oven on to 400 degrees. I chopped up the pancetta in half inch pieces and turned on the stove. At the same time I also quickly washed and prepped the broccoli. I lined a baking sheet with foil, threw the broccoli florets on to it and drizzled olive oil and sprinkled sea salt and freshly ground pepper as well. Once my pan was hot, I added the pancetta and browned it. SC thinly cut up the grilled chicken while I was working the pancetta.

Once the pancetta was browned, I spooned it out of the pan into a small plate lined with a paper towel to drain. I cleaned most of the fat off of the pan (but left just a little bit for flavor). I added three crushed and chopped cloves of garlic to the pan with 2 tablespoons of butter. Once the butter was melted, I added two scant tablespoons of flour to make my roux. Once the flour had cooked, I slowly added some milk to the pan and a little half and half because we had it on hand. Soon enough I had just a little bit of a cream sauce – next time I might make more, but this time it was good enough. Because we don’t eat a lot of rich meals, I didn’t want to shock our system with a super creamy / cheesy dinner. Once the cream sauce was developed, I sprinkled a small handful of Gruyère into the mix.

At this time the pasta was finished cooking – it only needs to be al dente because you’re going to throw it into the pan to cook with the other ingredients. I reserved a cup of the pasta water in case I needed it for the cream sauce. I added the pasta, chicken, broccoli and pancetta into the pan. Wow, this was amazing!! I ended up adding a little of the pasta water just to increase the volume of the sauce (I really skimped on it I realized in the end…)

It really felt like the dinner was ready in no time. A few days earlier I had mentioned to SC that we don’t go out to dinner all that often (ironically I said this as we were going out for a wonderful dinner…) and as we were eating the dinner we had just made he said, “See?! This is why we don’t go out to dinner all that much – because this is restaurant quality food right here and we like cooking it!” I couldn’t argue with him. It was a fantastic dinner – and it was exactly what I was craving. I love having a dinner in mind and going home to make it. There is nothing better than what you were desiring comes out so well. It might not be a pretty photograph, but this dinner was fantastic – and I will definitely be making it again soon!

The title of this blog post about sums up my day. I got up at 5:20 AM. I drove to work, I worked all day, I got out for a quick walk at lunch (it was almost fifty degrees in Boston today which is downright amazing!!!), went back to work, ended work, went for a run, went to the grocery store, drove home, made dinner, showered, and finally ate dinner at 8pm.

For breakfast I had another one of my incredible (now frozen) egg sandwiches. I love these things!! I’m sad that I only have two left from my original batch, I’m not looking forward to making more – but I enjoy eating them so much. I love starting my day off with a great dose of protein – it keeps my hunger bay until lunch.

After my brief walk (it was warm but really windy) I enjoyed quite a wonderful dinner. I must say a couple of my colleagues were pretty jealous over this beautiful plate – and I also must say that that I was pretty spoiled. On Monday night I was literally trying to hold my eye lids open at 9:15 pm so that I could finish an episode of Making a Murderer when SC told me to go to bed. I was exhausted (and had 17,500 fitbit steps to show for it!) While I was sleeping SC made and packed my lunch. The end result was nothing short of spectacular:

Grilled chicken over arugula, with raspberries and some of the most amazing strawberries I have tasted in years (I am not kidding!). On the side a small piece of seven grain sourdough bread with organic peanut butter.

We celebrated an office birthday today – and I definitely had a piece. Because I haven’t been eating processed sugar much at all lately, the frosting seemed so sweet. But I ate it. And I am sure it helped fuel the run I got under my belt a couple of hours later. (Right!?)

After dropping my running buddy off at the T (and I can’t say enough about my running friend – I would be lost and a lot less motivated without her!!!❤ ) I popped into Star Market to do some power grocery shopping. I knew exactly what I was making for dinner – Mark Bittman’s Pasta e Fagioli, one of my all time favorite soups.

I finally got home at 6:45 pm and went right into the kitchen to start dinner. After getting everything cooking and serving my mom a bowl of soup, I took a shower. I finally sat down to my own soup at 8pm. It had been a long day – but let me tell you, the soup tasted so good.

It turned out I put a little too much pasta in the soup – but what can you do? I guess there are worse things in the world than too much pasta in your soup. The fresh parsley really makes this soup!

With all of that under my belt today, I’m signing off and heading for bed. Until next time, blog readers!

Snow Day Food

This weekend saw the first big snowstorm for the East Coast this winter. Somehow we missed the brunt of the storm, but it was still enough snow for me to cancel my Saturday evening plans which was a real bummer.

On Saturday we got out the crock pot to make a bunch of shredded chicken! I use the famous recipe from Skinnytaste as a starter for my shredded chicken – her Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken. (If you have not tried this recipe, what are you waiting for!? It is a great one!)

I added five chicken breasts to the crock pot, 32 ounces of low sodium chicken broth, two cans of tomatoes with green chilis, two cans of black beans (drained), 1/2 a cup of frozen corn, 1 1/2 teaspoons of cumin, onion powder, garlic powder and 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. I also added a pinch of kosher salt, freshly ground pepper and 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro. The chicken cooked for 6 hours and the entire house smelled amazing!

After five hours and forty-five minutes, I took the chicken breasts out to shred them. I love how easily this chicken comes apart after cooking for so long! We had a lot of chicken:

I let the mixture continue cooking in the crock pot for another half hour (maybe a little bit more as I got the rest of dinner together!).

Because we had so much extra liquid leftover, I sort of thought of this as a shredded chicken stew. It really hit the spot as the snow kept falling on Saturday night.

I cooked jasmine rice to go with our ‘stew’ and cut up avocado and squeezed fresh lime juice on top of both bowls:

This dinner was so satisfying and filling – thanks to all of the protein from the chicken – that I did not have to go back for seconds. It was the perfect dinner for a night in due to the snow.

Sunday morning I woke up hungry and wanting a nice breakfast. After cleaning off my car (we had a few inches – but nothing like New York and Washington, DC thankfully!) I came in to start my breakfast. I made an over medium egg and topped it with a sprinkle of cheddar cheese, freshly cut tomato and diced avocado. On the side was a slice of Wegman’s rosemary olive oil bread (this is one of my favorite breads – which says a lot because you know how much I love bread!).

This breakfast really hit the spot and kept me going until after I did forty five minutes on the treadmill a couple of hours later.

After my forty five minutes on the treadmill I worked on a healthier oatmeal cookie recipe at SC’s request. I think what I came up with turned out pretty well! (I’ve had two cookies already – no more for me!)

Recipe: Healthy-ish Oatmeal Cookies


3/4 C flour (Whole wheat if you have it!)

3/4 C oats

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

Sprinkle of cinnamon & nutmeg

Pinch of salt

2 tsp vanilla

1/4 C brown sugar

1/4 C coconut oil

1 egg

2 T milk

1/3 C dark chocolate

1/3 C raisins


Combine flour, oats, baking powder & soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg into a small bowl. Whisk together the ingredients so they are evenly distributed.

In a larger bowl, combine your coconut oil (if it is in solid form, warm the coconut oil until it is back to its liquid state – make sure it is not warm because you don’t want it to cook your egg!) mix your coconut oil, brown sugar and egg together until smooth. Add vanilla and mix again. Gradually add your dry ingredients to your wet. When the mixture starts getting dry, add the milk one tablespoon at a time. Once the dough has come together add your raisins and chocolate chips.

Wrap your dough in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. Turn your oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Once the oven is ready, take your dough out and using a cookie scoop, form your cookies onto the baking sheet. Press the cookies down slightly with a spoon. Place baking sheet in the oven and bake for 12 minutes. Remove your cookies when they start browning.

Gently remove your cookies from the parchment lined baking sheet and place on a wire wrack to cool.


Food Prep

Over this past weekend I spent a couple of hours on food prep for the work week. I made salads for lunch and egg sandwiches for breakfasts. I spent two hours preparing these foods, and it paid off every day for the rest of the week. I kept thinking “This is the best two hours I’ve spent in a long time!” I loved having my breakfasts and lunches taken care of.

Here’s what I did:

In the morning I ran to Trader Joe’s. I got the rest of the ingredients I needed to make my meals: eggs, arugula, yogurt ranch dressing (I can’t say enough about this dressing – I love it so much!), tomatoes, chicken and so on.

Once I got home I got all of my containers ready for the salads. For my breakfast sandwiches, I prepped my english muffins and lightly toasted them. I cracked six eggs, added some 1% milk, and poured the egg mixture into a 8 x 8 pyrex baking dish. I baked the eggs for 25 minutes at 375 degrees. (For a great instructional article on how to make these breakfast sandwiches read this article – it’s where I got my breakfast idea!) I found turkey bacon at Wegman’s (nitrate free) and used it on my egg sandwiches and I had a piece on my salads each day for lunch.

For the salads there was a lot of washing vegetables, chopping, and dividing ingredients into my containers. I lined the containers with a piece of paper towel at the bottom and top of the containers – this really helps to absorb the moisture of the salads – especially by Friday. My salads lasted ALL WEEK!

Tuesday was the first day I tried my breakfast sandwich. I was thrilled with how good the sandwich was – and more importantly how it kept my hunger at bay until lunch time. I love starting the day off with so much protein – I had about 18 grams of protein in this sandwich!


Before I sat down with my salad, I went for a walk outside. I was bundled up and it was refreshing to get outside for some fresh air. Before I ate my salad, I added the Trader Joe’s yogurt ranch dressing, grilled chicken, a piece of the Wegman’s turkey bacon and croutons. It was a great lunch!


Ingredients in the salad: romaine lettuce, arugula, tomatoes, orange pepper, carrots and cucumbers. For me, I just love eating salads during the winter – they taste so fresh and I love having the vegetables incorporated into my day!

Over the weekend I made another new dinner: Shepherd’s Pie. Most traditional shepherd’s pies are made with lamb. I made mine with grass fed organic beef and organic ground pork. Wow, this combination was pretty amazing! I loved this meal and definitely think I will make it again before this winter is over:


I also made a loaf of banana bread:IMG_0367

It was quite tasty for snacks over the weekend and during the work week.

I was very happy with this past work week. I felt really happy to have rather healthy breakfasts and lunches. I was able to run three times over the week – twice outside which was especially great!

This weekend we are expecting some snow in our forecast so I hope I can be as prepared for the work week for this next week – but I’m not quite sure how it will work out!

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