Couldn’t-Get-Lobster Shrimp Mac ‘n Cheese

Sometimes, things just don’t go as planned. Sometimes, you just gotta roll with it and adjust and make it work. So this mac ‘n cheese was supposed to have lobster and I couldn’t get my hands on tails, so, here we are with shrimp mac ‘n cheese. But not just any shrimp. The Argentinian shrimp from Trader Joe’s. It’s sweet and meaty and very lobster-y.

The key to a baller mac ‘n cheese is 100% the cheese. Using good quality white cheddar and gouda gives the flavor a little tang and a lot of creaminess. And if you’re on a diet, just avert your eyes. There’s nothing light about this recipe and I mean, if you’re going to go for mac ‘n cheese, let’s just really go for it, right?

Dinner Salads with Marinated Chickpeas & Cilantro Vinaigrette

For some reason, when I think about dinner I rarely consider salads. I think I have this idea in my head that when I’m making dinner for my husband it has to be a “thing” and a salad isn’t a “thing.” I usually think of it as needing to make a protein and a vegetable – but hello! Dinner salads are a protein and a vegetable!

I made this salad to be served along side the Turkey & Candied Bacon Paninis from yesterday, so I opted to use marinated chickpeas instead of a steak, chicken or shrimp. You can totally add an animal or fish protein to this salad to up the ante for an actual dinner salad! You do you boo, right?!

It’s hard to keep things fresh and new, especially when you’re talking about weekday cooking. Usually, I go to my go-to vinaigrette recipe, but it really can get a little old. There’s only so many times I can eat salad without getting bored, let alone salad with the same mustard-vinegar-lemon-olive-oil combo. So, for this salad I whipped up a cilantro vinaigrette (which I served with roasted potatoes, too!) – and I’m a better woman for it.

Corned Beef Brisket Braised in Guinness

You need to know something about me as we start talking about how to make this corned beef brisket. I do not like corned beef brisket! Blasphemy, I know. But. Then I made this corned beef brisket and I’m into it.

This recipe actually happened by accident – well, kind of. I wanted to braise a brisket in Guinness, not a corned beef brisket because, ya know, didn’t think I liked it. But, Wegman’s was all out of brisket and the only option I had was corned beef, and this being a St. Paddy’s day-appropriate post, I said, heck with it let’s see what happens.

You know what happened? Freaking magic. Guys, this is so damn good. Like. SO GOOD. I was so excited about this I forgot to make mashed potatoes to serve it with, ended up making fries, and it was excellent. I mean, look at that sauce.

Shepherd’s Pie with Red Wine Slow Cooked Beef & Gruyere Potatoes

Oh guys, I really do love chicken pot pie’s rustic little sister. Or big sister. Or cousin. Whatever. I’m v much into the shepherd’s pie this year! And how fitting it is for a St. Paddy’s celebration.

To really develop the flavors in the beef and the saucey filling, I slow cooked the chuck steak in the crockpot for 8 hours with beef stock, tomatoes and red wine. The red wine deepens the whole flavor and really ups the ante on how freaking amazing your house smells when you make this! Plus, a whole bunch of cheese in the potatoes doesn’t hurt, either.

Hummus Crusted Chicken

Since we first were married, this crusted hummus chicken recipe has been on of my go-to weeknight meals. It’s satisfying, quick when you use a thin chicken breast, and feels like you actually took some effort to get dinner on the table. And I say this wanting you to know that most weeknights in our house is a protein and a vegetable sauteed in a pan together for dinner. So this always feels like, wow you made dinner!

This time, I topped 2 breasts with paprika and 2 with the Trader Joe’s Everything Bagel Seasoning. Because it literally tastes great on everything. I made roasted garlic hummus for this recipe, but you can use absolutely any flavor and you can use store bought!

How to Make Shrimp Po Boys Sandwiches with Tomato Chutney

I hope you are all ready to have to make these shrimp po boys on repeat! Seriously, they were such. a. hit. My husband doesn’t like when I put “salad” on a sandwich – ya know, lettuce, tomato, sometimes onion, the stuff that makes them taste really good. But this sandwich, he couldn’t wait until I was done photographing to try, ate it with the “salad” on it, and asked for them the next day. So get your note pad ready, write down the ingredients for and make these shrimp po boy sandwiches with tomato chutney!

Now, in a traditional po boy, you’d find sliced tomato, lettuce and remoulade sauce. Since it’s only Februrary, I was feeling like slices of tomato would likely be super grainy and not very exciting. I am so happy I decided to make a tomato chutney for this. It really gave the sandwich something extra. You can bet you’ll be seeing this chutney creeping in here and there – already dreaming about it on avo toast with a fried egg, or a panini, or a BLTC – bacon, lettuce, tomato chutney.

Creole Jambalaya Recipe

Jambalaya is one of those delicious, stick-to-your-ribs, keep you all warm and cozy, one-pot wonders. A solid jambalaya recipe is always good to have in your back pocket! And really, what’s a mardi gras celebration without jambalaya?!

My husband and I have football season tickets (to the New York Giants; I know, they’re terrible) and usually once a season, when it starts to get cold, we have a jambalaya tailgate. It’s always my favorite! Really, it’s a fun dish to watch come together in a place like a parking lot!

Mussels in a Mustard and Saffron Sauce Recipe

There’s something so simple-yet-elegant about a pot of mussels. A few summers ago, hubby and I went to dinner with friends at Madame Claude’s in Jersey City. We sat outside with some wine, and pots of mussels, and simple fries and crusty bread for dipping, and it was just heavenly. This girl became an instant fan of les moules!

I love a dish that feels simple and elegant, and honestly, one that results in a sauce that you just want to dip bread into. Even better if the sauce is so good you want to bottle it up; the best if you swear you could just drink it. I think you’re going to want to drink this sauce, y’all. It’s just that good!

This mustard and saffron sauce can be made ahead (and don’t worry, you can leave out the saffron if you don’t have any or if it’s out of your budget), which makes it a really easy dish for entertaining. You’ll make the sauce a few hours ahead, then reheat it, drop in the mussels and in like 3 minutes this dish will be ready!

How to Make French Onion Soup

Before this attempt, I had only tried to make French Onion Soup – soupe l’oignon – once. It’s my favorite soup, so you’d think after failing, miserably, once I’d try to make it again. So finally I did! I’m so happy my first failed attempt didn’t haunt me my entire life. Our trip to Paris felt like a calling for me to move there. Someday. But lately I’ve really been missing Paris and wanting to visit again just for the comforts of things like croissant and coffee in the morning, french onion soup for lunch. And this, friends, really tastes like the soupe l’oignon in Paris.

I also feel like I learned a whole lot about french onion soup this time, which includes:

  • Yep, beef broth is definitely the way to go.
  • Butter. Lot’s of butter with those onions.
  • Yep, you really do need that splash of red wine.
  • Nope, don’t need to add sugar.
  • And, the size of the bread relative to the size of the crock is how they get the cheese to stay on top of the soup and not sink to the bottom.

Learn from me, friends, learn from me! Get the right size bread and the right size crock. I really should have added three slices of bread to each of these crocks to keep the gruyere cheese from sinking to the bottom.

Brown Sugar & Root Beer Pulled Pork Slow Cooker Recipe

It took me forever to have pulled pork for the first time – as in, I’m pretty sure I was 27 or 28 by the time I took my first bite of a pulled pork sandwich. It really was love at first bite, as they say, and from that point on I’ve been a pulled pork convert, making this recipe in my slow cooker ever since.

I’ve played around with a few recipes and then really settled on how I like to make pulled pork. It all comes down to the toppings. I like a spicy topping – like those super spicy pickles from Trader Joe’s, jalapenos, a little touch of siracha. So because I like a lot of heat on top of my sandwich, I like to make the pork sweet. Balance, right?