Butternut Squash Meatball Breakfast

Saturday mornings are my favorite.  I wake up, run, drink coffee, grocery shop and cook.  There are not many things I love more than spending the morning in the kitchen whipping up a meal (okay – I love my boyfriend, cats, family, friends and sparkling wine more – in no particular order).  When one of the first free Saturdays in weeks rolled up, I had a mish mash of ideas of what I wanted to make.  Here is what I had to work with:

1 sweet potato that NEEDED to be used.

I decided to go with some kind of bowl with a fried egg on top.  After walking through the grocery store with an extremely empty stomach, I settled on turkey meatballs with a butternut squash sauce and swoodles (see below).

Swoodles: Sweet Potato Noodles – I recently discovered the Zoodle Maker which is a tool used to grind zucchini into a spaghetti-like shape.  It’s actually really great and can be used for a number of other veggies, too.  I.E.: Swoodles! (See photo below).

Swoodles: Sweet Potato Noodles

Swoodles: Sweet Potato Noodles

I threw the Swoodles in with some homemade turkey meatballs and Dave’s Gourmet Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce.

Butternut Squash Turkey Meatball Swoodles

Butternut Squash Turkey Meatball Swoodles

Since the single sweet potato did not make quite as much as I expected, I also made some quinoa which resulted in the layering as so:

1st layer: Quinoa

2nd layer: Meatball/Swoodle/Sauce

3rd layer: Mozzarella Cheese (I also had this at home, but admittedly realized the way home from the store that I really needed a good soft rich goat cheese – next time!)

4th layer: Fried Egg

Butternut Squash Swoodles with Quinoa and Egg

Butternut Squash Swoodles with Quinoa and Egg

Let me tell you, I was full from this meal from 11am to 7pm!


1lb Lean Turkey

1 Chopped Onion

Sprinkle salt/pepper

Sprinkle Basil (fresh and dried)

Sprinkle Rosemary (fresh)

Sprinkle Oregano (fresh)

2 eggs

1/4 cupish bread crumbs

Grease pan and ball in 2 inchish balls and bake for 20 minutes.

Once Meatballs are finished, spoon into sauce with Swoodles and simmer for 5 minutes.

Serve by self or over quinoa, brown rice, potatoes or other!  Add cheese and egg as preferred!




Easy Weekday Meal: Chef Salad

After spending an awesome weekend in Park City, Utah with family and friends celebrating one of my bestie’s wedding, I needed something that would take away the shakes and make me start to feel a little more human again.

I love a chef salad, but they are definitely one of those salads that calories can overtake the effectiveness in restaurants quite easily, so it’s always been one of my favorite make at home salads.


On a large plate layer chopped romaine, spinach, and kale.  In stripes, add halved cherry tomatoes, cubed avocado, crumbled goat cheese and bleu cheese, a sliced hard boiled egg, and diced chicken.  Serve with your favorite ranch dressing (mine is Bolthouse Yogurt Ranch).

Recently I feel like I’ve finally nailed the hard boiled egg.  Sounds simple, those eggs, but they aren’t always that way.

Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs:

-Start with old eggs, the older the better.  This makes them easier to peel.
-Place the eggs in your pot and cover with cold water to about an inch over the top of the eggs.
-Bring to a boil.
-Take off the heat.
-Cover, and wait 12 minutes.
-Rinse with cold water until they are no longer warm.

Moist Grilled Chicken:

-Take a chicken breast and sprinkle both sides with salt/pepper, then place in a plastic bag, or cover in plastic wrap.
-Pound to about an inch thick.
-Grill for 7-8 minutes each side on medium-high heat. Do not cut into it to check temperature or doneness.
-Let rest for 1-2 minutes.

Happy summer!


Guinness Cake with Baileys Frosting

St. Patrick’s Day is a big day in our house, this comes from R’s side of the family, who really goes big on March 17 annually.  My first St. Patrick’s Day with the Hanley’s, I flew up from SLC to visit Rory in Bozeman and we drove back to Billings to spend the holiday with his family.  A couple memories stand out from that trip, sipping Amaretto with R’s grandmother, then watching her complete a full jig while all the young cousins tried to keep up, and of course the Corned Beef and Cabbage.

Last week, we couldn’t make it back to Montana for the big day so we hosted a get together at our house and I prepared Corned Beef and Cabbage, plenty of potatoes, coleslaw, and the finale, Guinness Cake.


Instead of the traditional cream cheese frosting, I whipped in a couple tablespoons of Baileys.  The result was rich, sweet, and tasted a lot like an Irish Carbomb.


Although St. Paddy’s Day has passed, this cake would make a great Father’s Day treat as well.


P.S.  Nigella’s recipe can be found converted and adapted a bit here to use American style measurements.

Baked Eggs

I’ve been really into baked eggs lately (okay more like the last year) – breakfast, lunch, dinner, any meal… throw an egg on it.  The nice part is – you can use whatever is in your fridge as the base, crack an egg on top, bake it, that’s a well balanced meal right there.

Sunday, I started by frying some chopped pepper bacon, added sweet potato, and brussels sprouts and let those roast for 10-15 minutes. (Use a pan that is oven safe.)



Crack an egg on top…


And bake at 400 degrees for 5-8 minutes or until the white is no longer runny.

You really can use whatever you have on hand – tomato, spinach, onion or kale, hash brown, garlic or root vegetable (beet, turnip, sunchoke), onion, garlic, greens.  It’s easy to add a breakfast meat like bacon or ham, and just as simple to omit the meat.

Have a great week everyone!




Sunday Dinner: Individual Tamale Pies

Sunday Dinner: Individual Tamale Pies

Hot damn. It’s been a minute. Christmas is over – and it was another fantastic one for the books.  Now, I’ve purged the house of all the sweets, and I’m ready to get back to clean eating.  We hosted a … Continue reading

Halfway Homemade Egg Pizza

Some days you just need some pizza, and usually that day is Friday. BAM! Today IS Friday!  YAY pizza!  Okay, this is more like Saturday morning or afternoon pizza, but really, it works for anytime that you want to put an egg on a pizza.  What? You’ve never done that?  It’s time my friend. It is time.

Anyways, in our house there are 5 classifications of pizza: true homemade, quarter homemade, halfway homemade, frozen, and delivery.  I like to put frozen and delivery in one classification but R begs to differ.   True homemade means labor intensive dough, quarter homemade means dough from Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, halfway homemade means altering a frozen pizza, and of course frozen and delivery are pretty self-explanatory.

A couple weeks ago we hosted a baby shower at our house – it was a last minute venue change and we quickly decided on a pizza party.  Given the circumstances, I picked up a bunch of frozen specialty pizzas – not my usual style, but sometimes you just have to go with the convenience factor.


The next day, S and I were contemplating what to make for brunch and joking about how our latest kitchen habit is cracking an egg on anything we make.  We both looked at each other and Sarah immediately grabbed an artichoke pesto chicken from the freezer.  We topped it with halved cherry tomatoes from my garden and cracked a few eggs on top in the last minutes of baking.


We pulled the pizza out when the whites had just set and the tomatoes were starting to burst a little.  Let it cool for a minute or so and cut in triangles or squares so each person gets one of the yolks, which should be cooked on the over medium side.  The best part is that when you break the runny yolk, you can use the crust to soak up the gooeyness.


Halfway homemade pizza is awesome because it is fast, easy, and tastes delicious.  Seriously – it could be like one of those cheesy commercials where the lady claims to have made it all from scratch.  Everyone will be all like, “Did you make THIS?” And then you’re like, “Well, SORTA!”




Gourmet S’mores

Gourmet s'mores vessel.

Gourmet s’mores oven.

I picked up some mallows from Madyson’s Gourmet Marshmallows in Sumner a few weeks ago, and I was SO excited to make gourmet s’mores using the peanut butter/chocolate chip stuffed fluffs.

I mean…you guys…s’mores are the ultimate, and these homemade marshmallows are life changing.  Our family has always used fudge stripe cookies instead of grahams.  The group officially decided that the ultimate s’more is a fudge stripe smeared with peanut butter and a Madyson’s stuffed mallow.

It would be SO cute to have a s’more station at a rustic wedding featuring the fluffs.

S’more? S’more what?



Grilled Salmon and Cucumber Salsa

My friend Lindsey is temporarily back in the area and I couldn’t be more excited.  She came over last week and we collaborated on a salmon dinner served with cucumber salsa.  We were feeling inspired by Ashley, the chef behind one of my favorite Seattle blogs, Not Without Salt, having never poached salmon before, I decided to do what I know and treat my big side of fresh Copper River Salmon to the grill.

Salmon is quintessential in the Northwest, and it is a food that is full of memories for me.  Rory and I were in Alaska with my family on a salmon fishing trip when we got engaged.  We brought home 50 pounds of fish from that trip.

1000 Wonderful Things Salmon

Catch of the day in Yakutat, Alaska (2009).

We were giving it away to our friends and coworkers and still months later, I would pull a bag of salmon out of the freezer, researching new recipes as it thawed.  In the mean time, we found our favorite techniques for preparing the fish.  It is easy to overcook it, but a true Northwester will tell you that if the fish is quality, it can be on the rare side of medium rare and coast into perfect texture once removed from the heat.

1000 Wonderful Things Grilled Salmon

This recipe can be adapted according to what you have on hand, but the basic technique is the same.

Barbeque Salmon

– Using pliers and feeling along the fillet pull the larger eye bones out – this isn’t necessary, but for guests, it makes it much more pleasant to eat.
– Preheat grill to medium high.
– Lay the fish on a piece of heavy duty foil that is big enough to fold up along the edges.
– Season using fennel seeds, green garlic, fresh garlic sliced, fresh chopped dill, salt and pepper.
– Thinly slice a full lemon and lay on top of the fish.
– Grill for about 12-15 minutes (depending on thickness, we usually do about 8 minutes per inch) and let rest for 10 minutes.
– Serve salmon warm with cucumber salsa.

1000 Wonderful Things Cucumber Salsa

Cucumber Salsa Recipe via Not Without Salt, it packed some serious heat from the serrano chili.  Next time, I think we would use a jalapeno instead.