Green Beans with Toasted Almonds and Lemon Zest

Move over green bean casserole. Like wayyyy over. There’s a new green bean on the block and it’s about to take center stage.

Growing up, my mom had a recipe for green beans with toasted almonds and sauteed shallots and it’s such a perfect Thanksgiving side dish. The toasted almonds add such an interesting flavor to the bite and are a nice little surprise. I was looking to update the recipe a bit and make it perfect for Spring and Summer, and what better flavor to add then lemon?

Oh this green beans with toasted almonds and fresh lemon juice and lemon zest is so bright and refreshing. It’s not a complicated recipe to make either. A note though, you must use fresh green beans. Anything else will not get the quality flavor that you get from using the good fresh greens.

Add this to an otherwise heavy dinner to lighten the flavors and add a crisp bite, or thee would be perfect as a side to some summer grilling. Have these once and I bet you’ll want to be adding these to your menu every week!

-1.5-2lbs of fresh green beans
-1 shallot, minced
-2 and 1/2 tablespoons butter
-zest of 1 lemon
-1/2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
-1/2 cup slivered almonds
-1 bowl of ice water

1. Preheat oven to 350. Spread the slivered almonds on a foil lined baking sheet, bake for 10 minutes.

2. Trim the ends off the fresh green beans and bring a pot of salted water to boil. Boil the green beans for 3 minutes, strain, then immediately dump into the ice water bowl. Leave in the ice water for 5 minutes, then strain into an empty bowl.

3. Melt the butter in a large pot, add the shallot and cook for 2 minutes over medium heat. Dump in the zest of the whole lemon, the lemon juice, toasted almonds and the green beans. Stir so everything is well blended. Turn heat to low and simmer covered for 10-15 minutes.

Enjoy!

Pesto Chicken Parm

I’m a huge fan of the super easy, requires little clean up dinners. Aren’t you?

As a food blogger, I’ll admit, I love to experiment with flavors and try new adventurous techniques. But, I’m a mom. I work full time. I’m exhausted 99% of the time. I absolutely hate..HATE doing dishes and cleaning up. So when there’s a meal that saves me time, requires minimal cleanup, but is a delicious homemade meal I’m all for it.

This recipe is a fun twist on the traditional chicken parm. Who doesn’t love chicken parm?! Ok…I do love chicken parm but it does get a bit…boring? Maybe a little predictable? Add a generous layer of pesto underneath the tomato sauce and cheese and you’ll have a dinner that’s not at all boring or predictable. And since there’s no chopping, no slicing and no dicing you can have dinner on the table without breaking a sweat.

I’ll also add this was kid approved. Miss Lilly loved this! I take off the melted Mozzarella before I feed her since that can get a little stringy and I’m not comfortable with her ability to chew that. But she loved the pesto tomato chicken, so a meal that works for mommy, daddy, and Lilly is a winner in my book.

So the recipe below lists out the ingredients you need, but some of the quantities can be up to you…there’s no right or wrong here…another reason to love this recipe! If you’re a huge pesto fan go ahead and add more!

-2 chicken breasts, butterflied
-1 jar of your favorite tomato sauce
-1 jar of pesto
-Shredded Mozzarella cheese
-Grated Parmesan cheese
-Extra Virgin Olive Oil
-Salt & Pepper

1. Heat oven to 350. Lay the butterflied chicken breasts in a baking dish, drizzle with some EVOO and season with salt and pepper. Generously cover each chicken piece with pesto, then with tomato sauce (again, generously), and lastly the Mozzarella cheese. bake for 27-30 minutes until chicken is cooked. Place under the broiler for a few minutes to brown the cheese (always watch the food when it’s under the broiler, things can burn very quickly!).

2. Top with grated Parmesan cheese and serve with a side of pasta.

Enjoy!

Source: Iowa Girl Eats

Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies

If you ever get that uncontrollable cravings for something chocolatey, oh boy are these cookies for you. The problem is, these aren’t going to last very long. They are that good. Soft, chewy, totally decadent, and the pools of dark chocolate are such an incredible combination, I find myself going back to the plate for just one more…ok oneeee more….this is the last one I swear. You get the idea, once you taste one it’s hard to not want to eat the entire plate. Pair these with a strong cup of coffee and you’ve got the best 3pm snack.

I added some sea salt on top of these and I think you’re going to love that. It’s a nice little salty bite with the dark chocolate chunks.

-1 cup salted butter
-1 and 1/2 white sugar
-2 teaspoons vanilla
-2 eggs
-3 tablespoons strong coffee
-2 and 2/3 cup all purpose flour
-1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-2 cups chopped dark chocolate (for these I was using Ghirardelli bars 72% dark)
-Optional sea salt for topping

1. Take 1/2 cup of the butter and melt it in the microwave until it is completely melted. Place in the freezer for about 10 minutes until it has solidified again. The remaining 1/2 cup of butter bring to room temperature. 

2. Preheat the oven to 350. Once the 1/2 cup of butter is removed from the freezer cream that together with the other 1/2 cup butter, the sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy. You can use a stand mixer or handheld mixer. Add both eggs and mix until combined.

3. In another bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and the 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Add this mixture to the butter mix and stir until it’s incorporated. Add the coffee gradually as you’re stirring. If the dough feels too sticky, add a little more flour. Lastly, stir in the chopped chocolate.

4. Drop dough balls onto baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes. Once baked, place ona  cooling rack or plate right away. These are meant to be super fudgy and soft. Sprinkle with a little sea salt if you want, enjoy!

Source: Pinch of Yum

Crunchy Taco Meatballs

If you’ve seen my Instagram stories, you know that we’ve been dealing with some car troubles.

Wait, if you don’t follow me on Instagram go find me @aseasonedgreeting

So anyway, our car was totaled (ok I totally downplayed that above, totaling a car is way more than ‘car troubles’) and we needed to start the car buying process again. I think what sucks about totaling a car and having the replace it is that you weren’t in the market for a new car to begin with, and now you’ve been thrown into this scenario that’s all kinds money and stressful that you weren’t planning to be in. After working with a lease broker and dealing with a few hurdles we finally drove home our new 2019 Mazda CX-5 this morning and couldn’t be happier. Of course while we were at the dealership Lilly was running all around making friends with the other toddlers and sales people. Once we got home we popped some bubbly and celebrated the new ride and putting the whole accident behind us. That’s something about me, I love any reason to celebrate. Any reason to bring out the champagne flutes and pop a cork I’m totally down for it.

I’ll be honest, I have zero natural segue to go from all that car talk to a recipe about taco meatballs. But that’s not going to change the fact that these crunchy taco meatballs are going to be the best thing you can add to your dinner rotation. First, they are incredibly easy. Second, they are creative and totally not boring. And third, you can reheat these for lunch. The recipe below using 1 lb of ground beef will get you 16 meatballs. Don’t want 16 meatballs? No problem, just cut the recipe amounts in half and make a smaller portion. The recipe does call for one egg, so if you need to halve the recipe crack the egg into a small bowl and whisk it a bit then just use half of that.

The toasted Panko really makes these little guys like a crunchy taco in meatball form.

Just look at these perfectly crunchy meatballs!

-1 pound ground beef (as close as you can get to 1lb, I find the packages are always a little higher or lower then exactly one pound, like 1.15 lbs and that’s Ok to use)
-1 cup Panko crumbs
-Cooking Spray
-1/2 cup black beans, drained then roughly chopped
-1 egg
-1 teaspoon cumin
-1 packet taco seasoning

1. Heat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with foil and spread out the Panko crumbs in an even layer and spray with some cooking spray. Bake for 3 minutes, remove from oven and stir the crumbs then place back in the oven for another 45 seconds. (Watch them because they can go from nice and toasty to not so nice and burned very quickly.)

2. In a large bowl, mix the ground beef, roughly chopped black beans, cumin, taco seasoning, the egg, and 1/4 cup of the toasted Panko. Mix until combined, then form into meatballs. Roll each meatball in the remaining toasted Panko.

3. I like to bake my meatballs slightly elevated on cooling racks as seen in the photos above, this helps keep some of the fatty oils away from the meatballs. You don’t have to do this, but it does help prevent the bottoms from getting soggy. Bake at 400 for 25 minutes. I like serving with rice and fresh lime juice. You can also top these with anything you’d put on a taco…onions, salsa, avocado…have fun with it!

Enjoy!

Cucumber Green Goddess Wraps

Eating fresh doesn’t have to be boring, complicated, or dull.

I’ll admit it, I struggle with staying on track with healthy eating. The thing is, I actually really like veggies and find myself gravitating towards the fresh and veggie meals at parties or events. But at home, it’s more of an effort. It’s an effort to keep the ingredients stocked in the fridge, because let’s face it, who wants to make trips to the grocery store every other day? It’s also an effort to think up healthy meals that have the veggies I’m looking for and taste good and aren’t boring and are easy and aren’t expensive and and and….you get the idea.

Let me introduce you to a lovely little cucumber wrap that will solve all your healthy eating dilemmas. There is so much flavor in this wraps from the green goddess spread that’s cool and creamy and I promise you’re going to want to put this on everything. The cucumbers are so fresh and crisp and really make these wraps feel abundant. These are a great addition to a party spread, you’ll be surprised how fast these disappear.

When you’re prepping all the ingredients, you want your cucumbers to be about the length of the tortilla you use, since you’re not going to be chopping this in halve, but actually slicing in half length-wise so each cucumber gives you two long halves.

Then, after you peel and cut length-wise, you’re going to slice each of the halves into 4-5 sticks like so. 

For the Wraps
-4 flour tortilla wraps
-2 seedless cucumbers (you can use traditional cucumbers with seeds but I really prefer seedless here)
-Romaine lettuce
-Grated Parmesan cheese
-2 oz cream cheese, softened
-toothpicks

For the Green Goddess Dressing
Source: 100 Days of Real Food
-1/2 cup fresh basil
-1 clove garlic, grated
-1/2 cup fresh parsley
-2 tablespoons lemon juice
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1/4 cup milk
-3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
-1/2 cup diced scallions (include the light green and white parts)

1. Peel both cucumbers, and slice both of them completely through the center from end to end so you have two long halves. Now, take each long half and slice length-wise about 4-5 times so that you’ve made cucumber sticks, see image above. Each wrap is going to be made using one of these halved cucumbers cut into sticks, so you are going to be making 4 full wraps in total like the image above.

2. Place all of the green goddess dressing ingredients in a food processor or blender, I actually use my NutriBullet so that works really well too if you have one. Process until completely smooth. You’re going to have extra that you can use on salads during the week because you won’t use all of the dressing in these wraps.

3. In a bowl, combine the softened cream cheese with 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon of the green goddess dressing and stir until smooth. I used a fork to help the cream cheese combine into the dressing.

4. To assemble the wraps you are going to make 4 full wraps that each get sliced into 4 pieces. So, lay one tortilla flat, cover with some of the green goddess mixture (you don’t want to go all the way to the edges, keep most of it more towards the center leaving the edges bare). Then sprinkle with 1/2 tablespoon of grated Parmesan cheese (this doesn’t have to be exact…add a little more if you want it cheesier!), then top with a handful of romaine, then lastly top with one of the sliced cucumbers halves (again, see image above for how it should look at this point). Now roll up, and secure with 4 toothpicks, slice into 4 individual pieces. Repeat 3 more times until all cucumbers have been used. If you’re on the last wrap and notice you’re low on the goddess mixture just whip up a little more, it all depends on how generous you are with coating the wraps. The leftover dressing can be stored in the fridge for a few days and used on salads.

Enjoy!

Cinnamon Sugar Palmiers

When I wake up in the morning and start brewing that extremely needed first cup of coffee I always find myself looking for a little tasty treat to go along with it. I definitely not ready for eggs but need something to take the hunger edge off, and there’s nothing better than something fresh and home-baked.

I’ve made some braided danishes with puff pastry and was looking around for other things to bake with puff pastry that would pair well with that morning coffee. Enter the sweet palmier.

Palmiers are so beautiful and they look complex and difficult But here’s the best part, it’s just a few simple folds of the pastry that result in those flaky layers and crispy folds. I wanted to start with just a basic cinnamon sugar mixture, and added just a bit of butter for more moisture and to help the folded ends stay shut. The result is a sweet and cinnamony crispy and flaky breakfast treat that is so easy you’ll want to whip these up every week!

I thought this photo might help when discussing the folding method below. You take the left and right edges and fold to the center to make a crease, coat generously with the cinnamon sugar mixture, then you’re going to repeat the fold again by taking the left and right edges and folding to meet that crease. Lastly, you will make one last fold by folding the left side on top of the right, as if you are closing a book. 

Look at these little beauties! I love that they are crispy, not soft and doughy. You’ll really enjoy their subtle sweetness 

Cinnamon Sugar Sweet Palmiers are an easy breakfast treat that pair pefectly with tea or coffee. These would also make a great addition to a brunch spread. Their delicate design look like it takes a complex method to create, but just a few folds of puff pastry are all it takes!

-1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed
-1/2 cup sugar
-1 tablespoon cinnamon
-1 tablespoon butter, softened

1. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Mix the cinnamon and sugar together.

2. Place a sheet of parchment paper on your counter and generously coat with cinnamon and sugar. Open the sheet of thawed puff pastry and lay it on top of the cinnamon sugar and press firmly to allow the mixture to stick. Now coat the face-up side of puff pasty with cinnamon sugar.

3. Take the left and right side of the pastry sheet and fold to meet in the center (see photo above). Spread the softened butter over these two sides then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Repeat the folding process, taking the left and right side and folding again to meet in the middle. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Make the final fold by taking the left side and folding it on top of the right side, as if you are closing a book. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar on any part that looks exposed or like it could use some of the mixture. You might not use all of the cinnamon sugar mixture, you can save whatever isn’t used.

4. With a knife, slice into the palmiers. The edges might open a bit as you’re slicing, just press them closed again as you put them on the baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes, then using a spatula flip the palmiers over and bake another 5 minutes. Flip one more time and bake for a final 1 minute until caramelized and browned. Keep an eye on these at the end, the sugar can burn if your oven runs hot, you want these to be a rich brown color and crispy but not burned.

Enjoy!

Greek Zucchini Tots

Move over zucchini fries, zucchini tots have arrived. That’s right…zucchini is now in a delicious Greek inspired tot.

If you follow me on Instagram (if you don’t look me up @aseasonedgreeting) you’ll know that I post polls in my story where foods face-off to be featured in recipes. A few weeks ago I had a “Battle of the Greens” where, you guessed it, different green vegetables faced-off and the winners got recipes. So the winners were:

  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli

You’ll notice zucchini wasn’t in that list. Well, that’s because it lost it’s poll to Broccoli. But, my mommy-exhausted brain for some reason had it in my mind that zucchini was supposed to be featured in a recipe…so here we are. The bonus recipe in the Battle of the Greens.

When I started on the zucchini recipe I actually was intending to make a fritter, but along the way fritter just seemed to average. Of course, I love a fritter, but to be a feature poll-winning recipe I thought I needed to be a bit more adventurous. I found a recipe on Pinterest, I didn’t alter it one bit and I am seriously obsessed with these little guys. Dip them in some tzatziki sauce (which is super easy to make) and you’ve got yourself a really great snack or dinner side item. I also ate these with some eggs at breakfast! These make a really big batch so be ready to save the leftovers, which is perfectly fine with me since that means I get a few days of eating these. I’m definitely brainstorming now more vegetable tots, what a great way to eat more veggies…this is great for toddlers too!

Greek Zucchini Tots are a great way to eat more vegetables without sacrificing savory flavor. Cooked with feta cheese and Parmesan cheese then zipped in homemade tzatziki. These will become a family favorite!

-2 medium zucchini
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-3/4 cup finely sliced scallions, use all of the scallion including the light green and white
-2 garlic gloves, grated
-1 cup panko breadcrumbs
-2 eggs
-5 oz feta cheese, crumbled
-1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
-1 tablespoon dried oregano
-1/2 cup all purpose flour

For the Dipping Tzatziki Sauce
-1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
-1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
-1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
-2 tablespoons grated cucumber
-salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Spray a large baking sheet with oil spray.

2. With a box grater, grate the zucchini and place into a strainer in the sink, add the salt and let sit for 30 minutes. I find that using a circular motion on the grater with the zucchini was quicker than the typical up/down motion, watch your fingers!

3. While the zucchini sits in the strainer, in a large bowl add the eggs, panko, grated garlic, scallions, feta cheese, Parmesan, flour and oregano. When the zucchini is finished resting in the strainer, grab handfuls at a time and firmly squeeze to remove as much excess water as possible, then place in the bowl. Repeat until all zucchini is in the bowl. Stir everything together until incorporated.

4. This part gets a little tedious, but now it’s time to make the tots. Place small spoonfuls onto the baking try and form into tot-shapes. They don’t have to be perfect, but you do want to make sure that the mixture is pressed together firmly so it bakes into a solid form. Once you’ve made all your zucchini tots, bake for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, flip tots over and bake an additional 5 minutes.

5. While tots are baking, mix all the tzatziki ingredients together. For the cucumber, remove the skin and grate so you have a cucumber paste almost. Add 2 tablespoons into the tzatziki, or as much as you like for the cucumber flavor.

Enjoy!

Source: Recipe Tin Eats