What we’re eating now

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"What we're eating now" is a new series with links to great recipes PLUS a bonus recipe!

“What we’re eating now” is a new series highlighting the dishes that my family has been raving about recently along with some new ways to enjoy old favorites. In addition to the recipes I don’t want you to miss, I’ve included a printable bonus recipe that I’m pretty sure you’ll want to make on repeat all summer long!

 

So often, I wish my readers could join me in my kitchen.
We could chat over coffee or tea, and I could share behind-the-scenes details that don’t always make it to the pages of my blog… more helpful shortcuts, tips and simply making use of what I have on hand to create low-effort, high-flavor meals.
Also, what are the day-in, day-out favorites that I rely on when life is busy and my camera isn’t in use?
“What we’re eating now” is designed to remind all of us of what works on a daily basis. I will also use this space to share a recipe that my family has been raving about and that I’ve used to enhance countless meals—but for some reason haven’t managed to photograph yet.
In addition to providing a bonus recipe, I’ll include links to tried-and-true recipes that can be used all season long and may not be on your radar. And then through the comment section, you can chime in with what’s been working for you lately.
So let’s consider this a casual chat among friends, cup of coffee or tea (perhaps a glass of wine?) in hand. If it generates interest, we can make this an ongoing series.
So please weigh in with feedback. As always, I love to hear from you and welcome your ideas for new and improved content.
(Teaser: the bonus recipe is called Peruvian green sauce and, dare I say, it makes virtually any meat, vegetable or grain taste amazing!)

 

 

So here we go…

 

Last week, my husband was traveling for work, so it was just my two sons and me for dinner. The night before he headed out of town, I marinated a big batch of boneless, skinless chicken breasts in Sazón seasoning and he grilled them to juicy perfection.

I served them with a side of forbidden rice (also called black rice), which is my new favorite grain, making sure to have leftovers of that, too. To pull the meal together, I whipped up this quick Avocado and Tomato Salsa.

As we were eating, I made a mental note to tell you that I always triple or quadruple the homemade Sazón seasoning recipe because it makes such a flavorful rub for chicken. (And so easy when you have the rub on hand.)

Though I love the avocado salsa, virtually any salsa or guacamole adds a little something extra and tastes great mixed into the rice.

Sazón Grilled Chicken - This little spice packet (or the easy homemade option) adds incredible flavor when used as a rub for grilled chicken!

The following night, I made speedy bowls using the leftover chicken and rice as a base. The previous night’s salsa bowl was scraped clean (it’s equally delightful served as a dip with tortilla chips, by the way), so I simply added chopped avocado and a handful of grape tomatoes to each bowl.

Oh, I added a handful of chopped greens to the bottom of each bowl and topped with some pickled red onions that were hiding in the fridge. The mild tasting onions are a lovely alternative to the pickled ginger that often accompanies sushi, and I highly recommend keeping a jar on hand for use on burgers. (Have you tried these turkey burgers yet?? If not, you must!)

Once you start using the pickled onions, you’ll find they perk up all sorts of dishes, from tuna and potato salad to homemade burrito bowls, tacos, pulled pork and more.

This easy-to-make condiment adds a punch of color and flavor to a variety of meats, tacos, sandwiches, salads--and so much more!

To make was was ostensibly leftovers a little more special, I whipped up a new sauce, inspired by Epicurious, and it was a total hit. Days later, my younger son mentioned how much better that bowl was compared to one of his favorite, and similarly constructed, restaurant offerings-and my older son readily concurred.

I’m sort of an in-the-moment person and try to savor the times my family is altogether, which happens less often as the boys get older. 😢 As a result, my camera and phone are usually far from the dinner table-meaning many of my concoctions aren’t recorded.

But days after serving this meal, which was so darn easy to whip up thanks to leftovers and an easy sauce, my sons actually asked if I shared it with my readers. When I replied no, they said I should!  So I’m including the Peruvian Green Sauce recipe, which is creamy and bursting with fresh flavor, along with the accompanying bowl details as a bonus recipe until I get around to making it again and take pictures. As an added benefit, the sauce will keep for at least a week and improves over time.

In other news, my older son had a birthday last week, so I prepared his favorite sushi bowls with a side of edamame in the shell. (Hint: keep a bag in the freezer for a super simple side.) Instead of toasted nori, which is optional but supplies authentic flavor and added nutrients, I reached for dulse flakes. These are little flakes of seaweed that enhance the flavor of these bowls with ease and add great seasoning to basic sides like rice and potatoes. (The linked product is on Amazon but I purchase mine locally.)

In lieu of the pickled ginger that often accompanies sushi, I thought the aforementioned pickled red onions might be a nice addition to the sushi bowls. (They were!)

For a special dessert (someone celebrated his 21st birthday!), we enjoyed another round of Mud Pie. I’m pretty sure that I could serve this for every special occasion and it wouldn’t wear out its welcome. When entertaining, the make-head factor is so helpful. (Because schedules have been crazy lately, I actually made this two weeks in advance, adding the salted hot fudge sauce, chopped peanuts-and a pinch of flaky sea salt😍-a few hours before serving.)

Blowing out the candles...almost!

A silly picture of John blowing out the candles…he was laughing and squirming to access every last ounce of breath. (My random assortment of candles-including trick candles-don’t make it easy!)

At the time, John was home for several weeks after his sophomore year in college before returning for a summer session. He loves overnight oats and requested these.

This classic recipe for overnight oats offers meal prep convenience and is loaded with fruit and staying power.

He got the rest of us back on board and I’ve been churning out so many servings that I started mixing the dry ingredients in individual jars to have them prepped and ready. I typically use blueberries and sometimes mix in strawberries and literally wake up thinking about this fruity, creamy, chewy meal. (I stir in a spoonful of toasted almonds and granola before serving, so there’s crunch, too!) Over the years, many readers have told me they appreciate the built-in portion control, flavor and filling nature of this easy recipe.

Overnight Oats Prep

While John was home and before Christian headed to Maine for his job as a summer camp counselor, we spent an impromptu weekend in New York. The photos below are after an all-family workout at Soul Cycle and our subsequent (and completely fantastic) breakfast at Bluestone Lane Collective Cafe in the West Village. If you’re in the City, it’s worth a trip!

Bluestone Cafe breakfast

Since we’ve spent a lot of time in NYC and Maine, I was also thinking that a fun idea for future posts would be to share some of our favorite restaurants, cafes and activities in these places. As always, readers could chime in as to their recommendations. That way, there’d be an ongoing resource for anyone traveling to those areas.

Bluestone Lane breakfast - NYC

 

Finally, after several recent mentions from family and friends about this coleslaw recipe, I must quickly mention it before we say goodbye for now. I make it often because it delivers the big flavor, incredible versatility and ease of assembly that I prize in a recipe. The name probably doesn’t do it justice, so I encourage you to look past the boring name and give it a try. You’ll likely return to it for a quick and easy side as well as a topping for fish and beef tacos, burrito bowls, burgers, barbecue and pulled pork sandwiches and more.

 

Peruvian Green Sauce
This easy blender sauce is like a creamy cilantro lime sauce that complements chicken, fish, steak, tomatoes, greens, root vegetables, beans and grains. Use it as the dressing for a "bowl" with your favorite components (read what I did above) or as a sauce to enhance an otherwise basic meal. Most recently, my younger son thought to use it as a dip for leftover shrimp and as a delicious condiment in an otherwise ordinary egg sandwich.

The small amount of mayonnaise really brings the flavors together without tasting of mayo. For a somewhat different sauce, however, I want to try using an avocado in its place-or doubling the recipe and using 1/3 cup mayo and half an avocado. (Update: Most recently I added a quarter of a leftover avocado, leaving everything else unchanged. The taste was much the same but the consistency was slightly thicker. Keep this in mind if you prefer a thicker dressing or dip.)
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (lightly packed) cilantro leaves (about 1 ounce; tender stems may be included)
  • 1 medium jalapeño, coarsely chopped*
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2½ teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅓ cup (69 grams)  mayonnaise
Instructions

Purée the cilantro, jalapeño, garlic, oil, lime juice and salt in a blender or small food processor until combined. Add the mayonnaise and purée until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl, cover, and chill until ready to use.

Green sauce can be made 5 days ahead. Cover and chill.

Tip: if your blender doesn’t blend small quantities well, you may wish to double the recipe. (And once you taste it, you’ll likely be grateful you did!)

Notes

*I include half the jalapeño seeds and find the sauce is not overly spicy. If you’re unsure, remove the seeds but reserve them. Then you can add them to taste.

The Fountain Avenue Kitchen https://fountainavenuekitchen.com/

 

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Comments

  1. Heather Jane

    Ann, I made the Peruvian Green Sauce and the linked coleslaw last night to use in mahi-mahi fish tacos and they were a big hit! My husband was especially enthusiastic about the very delicious green sauce. I forgot to add the pickled onions, which I always have on hand since I first read your recipe. Next time! (There definitely will be a next time. This was a delicious meal and healthy meal.)

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Yay! I am so happy to read this, Heather. Thanks for the terrific feedback. (I am now hungry for fish tacos!)

      Reply
      1. Heather Jane

        I should also mention that I loved your post—so packed with detail. I would be very pleased to see it as a regular feature. As for what works for us these days, I’ve been finding lots of uses for all the varieties of bagged slaws I can get now. I use them for slaws and salads, but also as crunchy toppings, and throw handfuls into soups and sauces, or chop them fine to add to mirepoix bases.

        Reply
        1. Ann Post author

          I love the bagged slaw mixes, too! They’re so convenient and versatile. Thanks for the mention and the thoughtful feedback!

          Reply