Bar-B-Q(ueen)

My summer time vibes are REAL, QUEEN! I love to host #PatioParties and fire up the grill. It’s an extension of the kitchen lezzbehonest, of course I love it.

Had friends over for a BBQ on our deck. Kids played while the adults adult’d. Lovely evening! We had surf and turf. Spoiler alert, it was amazing!

Fancy Flank Steak

If you’re not a fan of meat…swipe left. I don’t discriminate against ANY food group but totally respect your right to choose. #DoYouBooBoo

Here’s my marinated flank steak from week 11,986,391 of quarantine.

Ingredients:

  • Flank steak, cut into chunky strips
  • Packet of seasoning, dealers choice (try Mongolian Beef or Korean BBQ)
  • Soy sauce, 1/4 Cup
  • Scallions, 1/4 Cup chopped
  • Curly leaf parsley, 1/4 Cup chopped or ripped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Let’s Cook Queen:

Toss your packet of desired spice, soy sauce and steak strips into a gallon size zip top bag. Seal the bag and shake the shit out of it to ensure that each piece gets coated. Marinate the strips in the fridge for 30 minutes, give or take.

On the stovetop, sear each side of the flank steak on high heat. Side note: I use a 12″ cast iron skillet that is coated with vegetable oil after each cleaning. Sear until you’ve achieved a dark brown caramelized color, then transfer oven safe skillet to a preheated oven for 10-12 minutes.

Lastly and most importantly, let the steak rest! Lay a long piece of foil over a large dinner plate. The length of the foil is twice as long as the plate. Transfer all the steak to the foiled plate. Wrap the excess foil over the steak and fold the edges to lock in the heat. After 5 restful minutes the steak will have retained its juices and be ready for a garnish of parsley and scallions. Enjoy you, fancy Queen!

Meals For Munchkins Vol. 2

Attention KIDDOS: It’s lunch time! I don’t always make my boys fancy lunches, but when I do, they are EXTRA! I’m talking curly straws with juice, crustless sandwiches cut into mini shapes, fun toothpicks and the list goes on.

It’s all about the details. Let’s be honest, kids are visual eaters and DO judge a book by its cover. Turn up the volume on the drab brown bagged lunch and see the difference a little fancy can make. Betcha those kids will notice your efforts. Go crush it moms! #ImYourCheerleader

Pancake kebabs with peanut butter and jelly

Week Night All Star: Vol 5

Tonight I embraced the K.I.S.S. method and kept it simple in the kitchen. Mozzarella basil chicken is a staple in our house. With bikini season right round the corner, I opted for a side of roasted asparagus in leu of carbs. If I haven’t said so before, the best way to slice mozzarella cheese is with original flavorless dental floss. That’s right, DENTAL FLOSS! Sounds insane, right? But when I saw the Barefoot Contessa do it with ease, I was sold. Matter of fact, you can find Top Care dental floss in my Jr Varsity kitchen tools drawer. Have fun in the kitchen, gang!

Fancy Boards: Vol 1

If you haven’t attempted a charcuterie board, what are you waiting for, love?! #BOARDit & they will EAT!

Over the holidays I was the queen of transporting boards to parties. Shout out to Maegan Brown #TheBakerMama. The spread below is the fancy board I took to my MIL’s Christmas Eve Brunch. My theme was hearty biscuits with all the fix-ins.

Can I tell ya a little secret…I have NEVER made biscuits! I know, don’t judge me. Being from West (By God) Virginia, this is a sin. Feeling overzealous, I figured I’d make up for lost time and do two different kinds. The first was an Everything Bagel Biscuit curtesy of Daphne Oz. And the second was a Hot Honey & Thyme Biscuit from the masterminds, Erin Patinkin & Agatha Kulaga of Ovenly. They were devoured, and obviously made the cut for Varsity status. #FutureBrunch #AllStar

Veggies, Fruit, Cheese, Green Goddess Dip, & Everything Bagel Biscuits
Hot Honey & Thyme Biscuits

Week Night All Star: Vol 4

Cooking is my most favorite past time. When I have infinite time to do it, it’s even more enjoyable. The time you invest prepping your staple ingredients, always pays off. What I mean is this, if fresh vegetables are washed, peeled/trimmed and stored at eye level in the fridge you’re more likely to incorporate them in your dishes. When eggs are hard boiled and shelled, I’m apt to reach for one as a quick snack in a pinch. Anytime I’ve boiled or roasted chicken, I make homemade chicken salad. By simply adding salt, pepper, freshly chopped parsley and scallions, you’ve dressed up an otherwise boring dish. I’m not a fan of eating the same meal on repeat throughout the week. With a little planning, I can assemble healthy meals from the bits and bobs that have been prepared in advance. In my opinion, nobody does this better than Lisa Bryan from Downshiftology.

Roasted cauliflower, carrots, red onion and sweet potatoes
Ground turkey with sautéed broccolini, yellow peppers and carrots
Shredded chicken breasts with parsley
Roasted celery, carrots, sweet potatoes and red onion with scallions and parsley

In each of the pictures above, the meals came together in minutes because I invested time on the front end. By prepping my ingredients before hand, i.e. – chopping vegetables and herbs, that’s one less thing to do when my boys are T-Minus from eating the house down.

Thanksgiving Feast Prep

With Thanksgiving approaching, this home cook is researching recipes for the big feast, making personalized place cards, decorating the dinner table and tweaking the oven schedule spreadsheet. I do quirky things through out the year to prepare for a meal of this stature and always save everything pertaining to this meal in a manilla folder. And let me tell you, the seams on that bad boy are close to bursting!

My inspiration comes from, but is not limited to;

Like a true dork, I commit my action plan to a spreadsheet. See my first draft below.

DishCategoryDateTimeAcknowledgements
Nuts, olives, figs & prosciuttoappetizerThu, Nov 28, 2019
Barefoot
TurkeyMainThu, Nov 28, 20199:30 AM
RollsSideThu, Nov 28, 2019

GravySideThu, Nov 21, 2019
Barefoot
Brussel Sprouts VegetableWed, Nov 27, 2019
Bon Appetit
Carrots VegetableTue, Nov 26, 2019

Green BeansVegetabledelegated

Cranberry SauceSidedelegated

Sweet Potatoes & MarshmallowsStarchWed, Nov 27, 2019
Sunny Anderson
DressingSideTue, Nov 26, 2019
Barefoot
Apple PieDessertdelegated

Macaroni Alfredo w/ pumpkinSideWed, Nov 27, 2019
Better H&G
Perfect mashed potatoes Starchdelegated
Bon Appetit
Gruyere & Thyme Stacked Potatoes StarchWed, Nov 27, 2019
Fork in the kitchen
Mini Pumpkin PiesDessertThu, Nov 28, 2019
ambitious kitchen
saladsideThu, Nov 28, 2019

Thanksgiving Feast
Thu, Nov 28, 20191:00 PM

The table is set days in advance, so I can get ahead of as many fussy tasks as humanly possible. Yes, I’m talking place cards, fancy napkins, candles, chargers, plates, dinner glasses, etc. Do as much in advance as you can. #PreparationAndPresentation

Coffee & Scones

This morning my girlfriends came over for coffee and scones. I know what you’re thinking…Damn girl! What time did you get up this morning?! Well, let me tell ya a little secret, the scones have been assembled and waiting for this very occasion. That’s right, I made them (up to a certain point) in advance! #BarefootContessa #InaGarten #MakeItAhead

The trick to effortless entertaining and stress free hosting is, being prepared and having a plan. It’s that simple. I love having home made baked goods tucked away for a rainy day. Just before the girls arrive, I’ll toss them in the oven and wait for their aroma to fill my kitchen with bakery vibes!

Coffee Beans – This is a blog post all on its own. I personally like to buy the beans and grind them at home. When you really want to impress the #CoffeeClub, try beans from the Hampton Coffee Company or Starbucks.