Deconstructed Falafel Bowls

Welcome spring with a light and flavorful deconstructed falafel bowl! This vegetarian dinner is so fresh and delicious, perfect for busy weeknights. 

Welcome spring with a light and flavorful deconstructed falafel bowl! This vegetarian dinner is so fresh and delicious, perfect for busy weeknights.

Spring is here! My birthday was yesterday, and #BabyVolde’s is next week. He’ll be ONE on Friday. I can hardly believe it. Last weekend we celebrated his birthday and his baptism. Almost our entire family came down for the occasion. It was a whirlwind weekend (and unfortunately it rained the whole time) but it was so fun.

Our little family

One of the best parts of spring (aside from the great running weather) is all the fresh produce at the grocery store! It’s almost farmer’s market season too. I can’t wait. I foresee quite a few lighter meals in our future, like these deconstructed falafel bowls. Regular falafel, while delicious, are a little too intense for weeknight dinners at my house. All that shaping and frying/baking. Noooo thanks! BUT if you just roast the chickpeas in the oven and layer them up with some grains, a tasty Mediterranean salsa bursting with fresh tomatoes, cucumber, and herbs, and drizzle a tangy tzatziki yogurt sauce over top, suddenly falafels on a random Wednesday night is doable. Even if you have a baby crawling all over the kitchen, getting into evvvvvvverything.

Welcome spring with a light and flavorful deconstructed falafel bowl! This vegetarian dinner is so fresh and delicious, perfect for busy weeknights.

Though they take about 45 minutes to put together, most of that time is hands-off, waiting for the chickpeas to get all crispy in the oven. To make this meal faster, you can prepare the grain base (I used bulgur but anything goes–couscous, quinoa, rice, etc.) and tzatziki yogurt sauce ahead of time. Then, when the chickpeas are cooking you can throw the Mediterranean salsa together in a hurry… and presto! Dinner is served. 🙂 We loved all the textures/flavors in this dish, as well as the temperature contrast between the hot, smoky chickpeas and the cool, creamy tzatziki sauce. This is a great one dish meal that has definitely earned a spot on my spring/summer dinner rotation. Next time, I’ll be sure to pick up some pita bread and hummus to enjoy on the side. Happy Friday!

one year ago: Chocolate Peanut Butter Oreo Dream
two years ago: Spicy Chickpea Bacon Burgers
three years ago: Easy Homemade New York Bagels
four years ago: Kale Fried Rice
five years ago: Lemon Orzo Chicken Soup
six years ago: Mexican Pizza

Deconstructed Falafel Bowls

  • Servings: 3
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Print

adapted from Delish Knowledge; Tzatziki from my blog

  • 1 – 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and patted very dry with towel
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3/4 cup uncooked bulgur, couscous or other grain/grain susbtitute of choice

for the Tzatziki

  • 2 cups plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cucumber, seeded and grated, pressed dry with a clean dish towel
  • 2 teaspoons dried dill (or 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped])
  • 1-2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste

for the Mediterranean salsa

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, minced
  • 1/3 cup fresh mint, minced
  • freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Begin by making the chickpeas. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the chickpeas–they should be very dry–with olive oil, then spread on a baking sheet in a single layer. Cook for 30 minutes, tossing halfway through. Remove from oven and season with cayenne, cumin, and paprika.

While chickpeas are cooking, prepare grain according to package directions. I made bulgur but couscous, quinoa, farro, or even rice would be great choices! Basically, anything goes here.

Next, make tzatziki. In a small bowl, stir together greek yogurt with grated cucumber, then fold in dill. Season with pepper and salt to taste. If desired, add mayonnaise. It adds a little extra tang that I love, but it can be omitted. Cover and refrigerate to let flavors blend. Tzatziki can be made the day before if desired.

Finally, make the Mediterranean salsa. Stir together tomatoes, cucumber, and red onion in a medium bowl. Gently fold in parsley and mint, then season with a bit of pepper. Let rest while chickpeas finish cooking.

 

When ready to serve, place bulgur in individual bowls. Top with chickpeas, Medterranean salsa, and a drizzle of tzatziki. Enjoy!

Advertisements

Apple Cheddar Bacon Soup with Cheesy Croutons

Cheesy soup gets dressed up with sweet apples, salty bacon, and ooey gooey cheesy croutons!

Cheesy soup gets dressed up with sweet apples, salty bacon, and ooey gooey cheesy croutons!

At first glance, this is an unlikely soup. Apples, cheddar, and bacon? “Pass!” you might be thinking. But hold up just a minute… cheddar and bacon is a classic combo, right? And you’ve heard of the whole cheddar cheese with apple pie thing, right? And applewood smoked bacon is totally a thing. So let’s put it all together–apples, cheddar, bacon. Not so unlikely after all! (And pssttt… I made a fabulous Maple Apple Pie Crisp with Cheddar Crust and Bacon Crumb Topping a couple years back!) And if you need further convincing, just think of it this way: this soup has the sweet and salty thing down pat.

Cheesy soup gets dressed up with sweet apples, salty bacon, and ooey gooey cheesy croutons!

And it’s utterly delicious. Next time you’re in the mood for an interesting new soup recipe, check out this one! I’m sure you’ll love it. 🙂

one year ago: Spicy Ranch Chicken Rice Skillet
two years ago: Chocolate Coffee Bundt Cake
three years ago: Strawberry Yogurt
four years ago: Cumin-Scented Cabbage Salad
five years ago: Extraordinary Grilled Cheese
six years ago: Best Egg Salad

Apple Cheddar Bacon Soup with Cheesy Croutons

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Print

from What Megan’s Making

Ingredients:

  • 3 slices bacon
  • 1 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 2 cups apples, peeled and chopped (about 2 medium)
  • 1 large potato, peeled and diced
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups no-sugar-added apple juice
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 slices sourdough or rye bread, toasted
  • 1 teaspoon whole grain dijon mustard

Directions:

Cook bacon in a large stockpot set over medium heat until crisp. Remove to paper towel to drain. Meanwhile, remove most of grease from pot, leaving about 2 tablespoons.

When bacon is cool, chop into small pieces and set aside.

Combine the onion, apples, and potato in the stockpot and saute over medium high heat until onion and apples are soft, about 8-10 minutes. Pour in chicken broth and apple juice, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until potato is soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and season with pepper, then stir in almost all the cheese, reserving 3 tablespoons. When cheese is melted, use an immersion blender to puree soup until smooth.

Meanwhile, preheat the broiler. Spread the toasted bread with dijon and evenly divide reserved cheese between slices. Broil–watching carefully!–until cheese is bubbly and melted. Remove from oven, cool for a couple minutes, then slice into bite-sized squares. Serve soup with bacon, cheese croutons, and lots of black pepper. Enjoy!

Simple Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

Simple sheet pan chicken fajitas – I think you are going to want these in your mouth, like, last night for dinner. They bake ALL BY THEMSELVES in the oven but still have a bit of that smoky flair you love. A great weeknight dinner that the whole family will enjoy!

Simple sheet pan chicken fajitas - I think you are going to want these in your mouth, like, last night for dinner. They bake ALL BY THEMSELVES in the oven but still have a bit of that smoky flair you love. A great weeknight dinner that the whole family will enjoy!

Yup, hopping on the sheet pan meal train. I even have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to them. Because seriously… they are a #weeknightdinner savior.

My oven died a few weeks ago, and I was utterly devastated. Fortunately, it was just the heating element–a pretty inexpensive repair–but I did freak out quite just a bit, especially since this happened after I prepped English muffin bread dough AND lasagna so I couldn’t bake either. Bummer. But on the bright side (if there is a bright side to a non-functional oven), I salvaged the dough by making individual English muffins on the stovetop. Phew! But back to sheet pan dinners. They are the best cause they are eeeeeeeasy! I mean, seriously. Chop, cut, slice a few things, throw it on a pan with some seasonings… bake bake bake, and presto! Dinner. Kinda like a casserole, except without the weird cream ‘o soup sauce. And now I can make ALL THE sheet pan meals and casseroles I want ’cause my oven is back in action! Hooooray!

Simple sheet pan chicken fajitas - I think you are going to want these in your mouth, like, last night for dinner. They bake ALL BY THEMSELVES in the oven but still have a bit of that smoky flair you love. A great weeknight dinner that the whole family will enjoy!

My sister introduced me to this fabulous recipe over the summer, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made it. The fajita seasoning is absolutely mouthwatering and is full of simple seasonings you probably already have in your spice rack. The veggies come out perfectly crisp-tender, and the chicken is sizzling hot. I like to dress my fajitas with plenty of lime juice and cilantro, and not much else–maybe a little bit of sour cream or avocado if I’m feeling it. But like with most Tex-Mex recipes, everyone can customize their plate as desired. #WIN! This recipe makes great leftovers–enjoy it the first night in tortillas, the second day for lunch over Mexican rice or lettuce, and the third day in a quesadilla! Don’t be frightened by the one hour time mentioned in the recipe below. Most of it is cooking, promise! If I can make this after work with a baby in tow, so can you! 🙂

one year ago: White Bean Sriracha Dip
two years ago: Homemade Turkey Sausage Patties
three year ago: Flourless Peanut-Chocolate Cookies
four years ago: Buffalo Pretzels
five year ago: Chicken Noodle Soup
six years ago: Mediterranean Tuna Salad

Sheet Pan Fajitas

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 60 minutes
  • Print

slightly adapted from Budget Bytes

Ingredients:

fajita seasoning

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • dash of cayenne powder – omit if you don’t want a lot of spice
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste – I’m pretty liberal with black pepper 🙂
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

fajitas

  • 1 large onion – I like sweet onions or red onions
  • 4 bell peppers – I like to use a combination of colors
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • juice of 1 lime
  • tortillas, rice, sour cream, avocado, cilantro, pico de gallo, etc. – for serving, as desired

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a small bowl, stir together all ingredients for the fajita seasoning and set aside.

Slice the onion and bell peppers into 1/4-1/2 inch wide strips. Place on a large sheet pan [or divide between 2 9×13 baking dishes]. Cut the chicken breast into thin strips and add to sheet pan with the vegetables.

Sprinkle the seasoning over the chicken and vegetables, then drizzle the olive oil on top. Toss together [your hands are great for this!] and spread into an even layer.

Bake for 20 minutes, then stir everything and return to oven, baking for another 15-20 minutes. Sprinkle lime juice over fajitas, then serve in tortillas or over rice with sour cream, avocado, cilantro, and pico de gallo. Enjoy!

Pro Tip: Make your life easier by making this ahead! Make the seasoning, then cut chicken and veggies and put everything in a ziptop bag. Then pour the olive oil into the bag and shake. Let it marinate in the fridge up to 24 hours before baking. 

 

Hassleback Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Cranberries, Pears, and Goat Cheese

Looking for a show-stopping dish for New Year’s? This Hassleback Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Cranberries, Pears, and Goat Cheese is sure to impress… and it tastes even better! 

Disclaimer: This recipe was created for the Cape Cod Select Holiday Blogger Recipe Challenge. Please follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. I was sent free cranberries for recipe development purposes, but was in any other way compensated for my time, ingredients, etc. 

Looking for a show-stopping dish for New Year's? This Hassleback Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Cranberries, Pears, and Goat Cheese is sure to impress... and it tastes even better!

While I am not much of a “meat and potatoes” sort of girl, the one special cut of meat that I do appreciate is the pork tenderloin. Large hunks of meat tend to scare me a little bit. In college, my roomie and I always said that we would be “real adults” when we bought our own meat. We were joking around, but it’s sort of true… and then I married a man who loves his meat–so I had to get out of my comfort zone! Thankfully pork tenderloin, at least in my experience, is ridiculously simple and hard to mess up. Plus it tastes amazing! Pork tenderloin is incredibly versatile, and my recipe today combines lots of great winter flavors that the whole family is sure to love.

Looking for a show-stopping dish for New Year's? This Hassleback Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Cranberries, Pears, and Goat Cheese is sure to impress... and it tastes even better!

Normally, I make my pork tenderloin with some sort of marinade or sauce. And that’s true here…but I ALSO stuffed it, hassleback style, with cranberries and pears and goat cheese. MMMM! The cranberries and pears get all roasted and yummy–the perfect combination of tart and sweet–and when you add in the melty goat cheese, it’s just like a party on your plate! There’s nothing better! 🙂 For this recipe, I used Cape Cod Select Premium Frozen Cranberries. These cranberries are utterly wonderful–and a great way to enjoy cranberries every season of the year. This was the first time I had used Cape Cod Select products and I was really impressed with their freshness and quality. Check ’em out at a store near you!

Looking for a show-stopping dish for New Year's? This Hassleback Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Cranberries, Pears, and Goat Cheese is sure to impress... and it tastes even better!

After the pork is done cooking, all the excess cranberries, pears, and juices from the meat aren’t going to go to waste–you can make a quick, savory cranberry sauce by pulsing everything together with an immersion blender or food processor. Spoon the savory sauce with the pork to keep it moist with every bite or use it as a dipping sauce. It’s in this sauce that the flavors of the maple syrup, Dijon mustard, rosemary, and cinnamon that was poured over the pork before cooking really comes through! The double dose of cranberry goodness is sure to spice up your pork and your dinner!

one year ago: No-Bake Peanut Butter Marshmallow Bars
two years ago: Orange Spritz
three years ago: Cranberry-Pistachio Citrus Butter Cookies
four years ago: Cranberry Orange Pancakes with Cranberry Maple Syrup
five years ago: Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies
six years ago: Cranberry Scones

Hassleback Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Cranberries, Pears, and Goat Cheese

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 90 minutes
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced
  • freshly ground pepper
  • sea salt
  • 2 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed of excess fat
  • 1 large pear, thinly sliced
  • 12 ounces Cape Cod Select Premium Frozen Cranberries
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoons whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 ounces crumbled goat cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Heat olive oil in a skillet set over medium heat. Add diced onion and cook for 5-6 minutes, or until soft. Season with pepper and salt to taste. Evenly scatter half of the onions in the bottom of a roasting pan or other oven-safe dish. Place rest of the onions in a medium bowl.

Slice pork tenderloin by cutting 3/4 of the way through, approximately 1/2-1 inch apart. Place in pan.

Stuff each opening with 1 slice of pear and 5-6 cranberries. Place remaining pear slices and cranberries around the pork tenderloin.

Pour maple syrup over the onions in the bowl, then add Dijon mustard, rosemary, and cinnamon. Stir together, then season with pepper and salt to taste. Pour mixture over pork, then sprinkle with goat cheese.

Cook for 35-50 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F and pork is no longer pink in the center [unless you prefer it rarer]. Pork takes about 15-20 minutes per pound to cook through, and I found it needed a little longer probably due to the pears and cranberries.

Transfer cooked pork to a serving platter and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Pour drippings from pan, including excess fruit/onions, to a medium bowl. Use an immersion blender to puree everything together into a chunky, savory cranberry sauce. Add a little water to thin if desired. You can also use a regular food processor. Serve savory cranberry sauce on the side and enjoy!

Kale and Brown Rice Gratin

Cozy up to fall with this hearty and cheesy side dish. Kale and Brown Rice Gratin… filling enough for a meatless dinner, but fancy enough for a holiday side dish. The best of both worlds!

Cozy up to fall with this hearty and cheesy side dish. Kale and Brown Rice Gratin... filling enough for a meatless dinner, but fancy enough for a holiday side dish. The best of both worlds!

Every year, I have this huge internal debate with myself… fall vs. spring, which season is best? I love the chill that comes in the air with fall mornings (especially after a hot summer), but the warm afternoons of spring are delightful too (especially after a cold winter). Both seasons are great for running and long walks with Ben [and now our lil baby!!]… and both seasons bring a plethora of amazing recipes.

Spring means lots of new produce and the first farmer’s market and going to purchase herbs and tomatoes to plant in the backyard. But fall means cozy recipes, cheesy recipes, roasted root veggies, and evenings tucked under my favorite soft blankets.

So I simply cannot decide… each fall I think I love fall the best, and each spring I think I love spring the best. It is so tough, ya know? THE STRUGGLE IS REAL!

Am I alone in this? Please tell me I’m not alone…

Cozy up to fall with this hearty and cheesy side dish. Kale and Brown Rice Gratin... filling enough for a meatless dinner, but fancy enough for a holiday side dish. The best of both worlds!

All that to say… I’m going to embrace the fall now that it is here and STOP THE DEBATE. Because this election has enough of that drama. Did I just say that? Whoops… 🙂

Moving on… And what better way to do that than with a cheesy side dish made with kale, caramelized onions, garlic, and brown rice? This dish is absolutely fabulous, and is a great way to introduce kale to the skeptics. Are there still any kale skeptics out there? Probably.

Anyways, this delicious dish has a few steps, but it can basically be summed up in this way: make rice. Caramelize onions, add garlic and kale. Make a cheese sauce [don’t forget to use room temp milk/cream… mucho easier that way, trust me, I know!]. Stir together and bake til ooey gooey. Enjoy!

Cozy up to fall with this hearty and cheesy side dish. Kale and Brown Rice Gratin... filling enough for a meatless dinner, but fancy enough for a holiday side dish. The best of both worlds!

Like I said before, this dish is hearty enough for a meatless meal, but it is also perfecto for a holiday side dish. Anyway you serve it you’ll be sure to love it! Have a great day, friends!

one year ago: Crockpot Barbacoa
two years ago: Baked Caramel Apple Mini Doughnuts
three years ago: Baked Strawberry French Toast with Strawberry Maple Syrup
four years ago: Maple Cornmeal Drop Biscuits
five years ago: Pumpkin Spread
six years ago: Pumpkin Pie Baked Oatmeal

Kale and Brown Rice Gratin

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 75 minutes
  • Print

from Iowa Girl Eats

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large Vidalia onion, cut in half then into thin slices [or other sweet onion]
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups chopped kale, packed [original recipe used lacinato but I just used curly kale – this is about 1/2 a bunch]
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk, cream, or half and half – at room temperature [you can use skim milk, but this is used to make a cheese sauce so you may want to use something fattier  – when I use skim milk in this, I use half skim milk, half half and half]
  • white pepper
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup shredded fontina cheese, divided
  • 3/4 cup shredded smoked gouda cheese, divided [you could also use ALL fontina, ALL gouda, or half fontina or gouda and half mozzarella/white cheddar/etc.]

Directions:

In a medium saucepan, combine chicken broth and rice. Bring to a boil and stir. Reduce heat to low and cover, cooking for about 30-40 minutes until rice is tender. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.

While rice cooks, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions, then season with salt and pepper. Stir together to combine, then cook for 25-30 minutes, until onions are caramelized and very soft. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant, then top with kale. Cover skillet with a lid for a minute or so to let kale wilt a bit, then remove lid, season kale with salt and pepper, and stir together. Cook for another 2-3 minutes then transfer kale and onion mixture to a large bowl.

In the same skillet set over medium-low heat, melt butter and then whisk flour into melted butter. Cook for a minute, then slowly pour in room temperature milk/cream. Whisk constantly to avoid lumps, then season with white pepper and a pinch of nutmeg. Cook until thick — mixture should be able to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes. Stir frequently! Remove from heat and stir in half of each type of cheese until incorporated.

Meanwhile, grease a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray and preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Add cooked rice to kale mixture in large bowl, stirring to combine. Fold in cheese sauce and stir again. Transfer mixture to prepared pan, then top with remaining cheese.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Let rest for 10-15 minutes before cutting to serve. Enjoy!