Tag Archives: dinner

What’s in the Box? #82

What's in the Box?

It’s officially Fall and I couldn’t be more excited.  Where as summer is my favorite time for fresh fruit, the colder months welcome the harvest of the most delicious veggies.  I love the abundance of leafy greens and sweet winter squash and do my best to celebrate their seasonal goodness by incorporating them into as many meals as I can (for the record, I’ve served butternut squash 4 different ways in the last week…that’s how happy I am that it’s fall!).

And my affection for autumn goes beyond the produce.  Now that I’m a mom, I actually look forward to Halloween again.  I love seeing Harper dressed up in her costume (which we purchased yesterday) and finding spooky activities for us to do as a family that give her the opportunity to wear it over and over again (got to get our money’s worth!)

Finally, I love fall because it’s my birthday on Sunday!  I can’t believe I am going to be 31 already.  Seems like just yesterday I was celebrating the big 3-0.  My how time flies :)

So in honor of fall, and in honor of my birthday this weekend, let’s party it up with some fruits and veggies!

Last week we had 8 link ups and it week was a great reminder of why I continue to host this link party.  For one, it’s nice to know I’m not the only person who gets overly excited about local and organic produce.  But more than that, your new and creative ideas on how to make use of it all never ceases to amaze me.  It’s no secret that I am a kale lover through and through.  And even with all the ways I have prepared it, I have never thought about putting it into fried rice.  Nothing short of genius Kirsten :)  Next, broccoli is a weekly staple in our house.  And although I often scramble it in my eggs, I love Sam’s idea of turning it into breakfast tacos.  Finally, I am sure we can all attest to the importance of onions in our lives, but did you ever know an onion could create such beautiful and delicious masterpieces?  Angie of The Novice Gardener has a gift of making ordinary things extraordinary.

Thanks to everyone for linking up and sharing their goodies.  Keep ‘em coming :)

And now for my first haul of fall…

What's in the Box? #82

Before I go any further, I have to bring attention to my tomatoes.  Do you notice the sad face on the top tomato?  He’s bummed that his season has come to an end.  So I have decided to make the best out of my last crop of tomatoes, and whip up a Tomato and Corn Pie.  Yum!  And on the side, a lovely green salad, with grated carrots, nuts and dried fruit.

I picked up some boneless pork ribs on sale yesterday. I have never cooked with them before, but was able to find a recipe I am really excited about.  When I was planning out the meal, I thought a side of green beans would compliment the dish nicely and lucky me, I got some fresh ones in my box this week…score!

I roasted up the potatoes tonight for dinner and they were delish.  I tossed them with minced garlic and melted butter and baked them with some chicken for an hour and the result was scrumptious.

Speaking of scrumptious…nothing makes me happier than a huge bunch of kale.  I am officially in heaven.  And I plan on making Kirsten’s fried rice with it for lunch tomorrow.  I have no doubt it will be perfect :)

And for an afternoon snack?  I’m looking forward to having some of that melon with a bowl of cottage cheese.  The perfect balance of savory and sweet.

Finally, fresh oranges.  Is there anything better?  I’m hoping we can hold out on them until Sunday, so I can enjoy a glass or two of orange juice with my breakfast in bed.

Your turn: What are some of your favorite ways to incorporate your CSA fruits and veggies into simple and delicious meals? Looking forward to drooling over your ideas.

Linking up for the first time? Click here for more info…and Welcome!

PS: Don’t forget to tell your readers about the party by linking back to this post and grabbing the official “What’s in the Box?” button at the bottom of my blog. Thanks!

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What’s in the Box? #79

What's in the Box?

We made it through our first week in the “OC” and are finally beginning to feel settled in our new place.  We have enjoyed trips to the park, dips in the pool and lovely walks in the neighborhood.  I wish I had photos to share of all our adventures but my iPhone screen went grey last week and this time, I don’t think she’s coming back.  So for now we will all just have to use our imagination until a) she gets fixed or b) someone surprises me with the new iPhone for my birthday ;)…I’m hoping for the latter.

In the meantime, let’s just stay focused on the veggies.

Last week we had a total of 8 link ups and apparently it’s all about the party food.  Pizza, salsa, and tacos, all inspired by fresh and seasonal CSA bounty.  Gotta love the difference a box full of fruit and veggies can make in your life :)  Thanks to everyone for linking up and sharing their goodies with the rest of the group.  Keep ‘em coming!

Now on to my first box from my new CSA…

What's in the Box? #79 - In Her Chucks

I am officially in grape heaven.  I am drowning in them…but that makes me SO happy :)  Harper and I snacked on a few on the way home from picking up our box and they tasted absolutely perfect!  I will be enjoying these for the rest of the week.

I also have more broccoli than I think my fridge can hold.  4 heads!  But with the way my family eats broccoli around here, that might last a few nights.

I am super excited to see an eggplant.  It has been a while since I have gotten one in my box and this is the first time I have ever received a white one.  There have been so many delicious eggplant recipes posted lately that I am dying to try but the hubs requested this meal, which I had completely forgotten about.  Looking forward to a delicious and clean dinner tomorrow night.

To celebrate the end of the work week, I have decided to make a taco salad for dinner Friday night.  So that lettuce, tomatoes and peppers will be perfect.

I got a ton of fresh herbs that I am excited to cook with this week.  Chives and a fragrant bundle of herbs de Provence will be the perfect complement to some delicious meals.

I am thrilled to have fresh plums and pluots in my box this week.  I am doing my best to stay away from sugar at the moment so no pluot crumbles this time around.  But besides snacking on them I am thinking about some savory dishes where I could put them to use.  Or of course, I could always make Kirsten’s muffins…yum!

Your turn: What are some of your favorite ways to incorporate your CSA fruits into simple and delicious meals?  Looking forward to drooling over your ideas.  

Linking up for the first time?  Click here for more info…and Welcome!

PS:  Don’t forget to tell your readers about the party by linking back to this post and grabbing the official “What’s in the Box?” button at the bottom of my blog.  Thanks!

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What’s in the Box? Recipe Roundup #14

What's in the Box?

After over 2 months of vacation, Harper and I are finally back to reality.  It feels nice to unpack our bags, hang up our clothes and put our toiletries back in the medicine cabinet.  But lots has happened since we first left for Ireland back in June.  While we were gone, Freddie got another new job.  Which means yet another move for us (which, if you’re still keeping track is 12 moves in 8 years…with 3 of those moves happening in the last 8 months).  As much as we had hoped they would, things just didn’t work out for us in San Louis Obispo.  But as they say, when one door closes, another one opens, and Freddie’s new opportunity is even better than his last.  So while Harper and I were visiting friends and family all over the globe, Freddie was busy packing up our new home up north and moving us south to good ol’ Orange County.

Luckily, I am no stranger to this area.  I have aunts, uncles and cousins who live in Orange County and so I guess you can say I have grown up coming to visit here.  It’s just so much bigger than what we have become accustomed to after living in Santa Barbara for the past 3 years.  But there is nothing better than being close to family, so we are very grateful for that.

And of course, I couldn’t approve of the move until I found a CSA.  And my new one sounds awesome!  I just didn’t submit my subscription in time to get a box this week, so next Tuesday I will be picking up a box and can’t wait to share it with you all.

But in the meantime, let’s check out the links from last week.  I am loving the rooty, tooty, fresh and fruity flavors that are coming our way…Pizza with Raspberries, Pasta with Peaches, and Quinoa with Cranberries (and pineapple mint!).  Get’s me more excited than it should.  But, as we all know, I have a weakness for fruit.  Which is why I have decided to share my favorite summer fruit recipes this week.

Enjoy!

Raspberry Chicken

Raspberry Chicken with Homemade Rice Pilaf - In Her Chucks

Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Cake

Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Cake - In Her Chucks

Lime Pistachio Squares

Lime Squares with Pistacio Graham-Cracker Crust - In Her Chucks

Lemon Iced Tea

Lemon Iced Tea - In Her Chucks

Your turn: What are some of your favorite ways to incorporate your CSA fruits into simple and delicious meals?  Looking forward to drooling over your ideas.  

Linking up for the first time?  Click here for more info…and Welcome!

PS:  Don’t forget to tell your readers about the party by linking back to this post and grabbing the official “What’s in the Box?” button at the bottom of my blog.  Thanks!

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Chopped Caprese Salad

Chopped Caprese Salad - In Her Chucks

After nearly three years as a loyal CSA subscriber, I can honestly say, my weekly boxes have converted me in ways I never thought possible.  Once upon a time I used to feel lost and overwhelmed by the site of unwanted veggies but now I can honestly say I am a beet buff, a kale craver and most recently a proud tomato lover.

And if it weren’t for the help of my CSA, I don’t think those conversions would have been possible.  Week after week, they provided me with bunches of soil dusted root vegetables, luscious leafy greens and perfectly plump tomatoes.  And because I wouldn’t dare waste any of it, I had to get creative.  And slowly but surely, I became more and more excited to get these items in my box.  And today, I will pretty much eat anything.

Now, I know Caprese Salads aren’t anything new.  I mean, if you’ve met one Caprese Salad you’ve met them all, right?  Well, in this case, I promise that this Caprese Salad is sure to kick things up a notch.  The secret ingredient?  Kalamata olives.  These little suckers change. the. game.

Readers, meet my new favorite salad.  New favorite salad, meet my amazing and loyal readers.

Ingredients

1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered (or I like the Baby Heirloom Tomatoes from Trader Joe’s)

12 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, chopped (I use the Ciliegine Fresh Mozzarella Cheese from Trader Joe’s)

3 oz Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

5-7 basil leaves, finely chopped

1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or more to taste)

1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar (or more to taste) *traditional balsamic vinegar would work fine here too

Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

Throw the tomatoes, cheese, olives and basil into a bowl.  Add olive oil and vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Add more dressing or seasoning to taste.

What I love about this recipe is that it is so darn easy!  It’s the perfect dish to bring to a barbecue or pot luck or can be portioned out for a single meal.

The measurements shown above are merely suggestions.  Feel free to make this your own.  I personally prefer a balanced tomato to cheese ratio as each bite must have a piece of each before it enters my mouth.  Which is why I am obsessed with the Ciliegine Fresh Mozzarella Cheese from Trader Joe’s because it matches the size of the tomatoes perfectly :)

So for those of who have tomatoes coming out of your ears, here is one more recipe to add to your repertoire.  I promise you will love it.  I just can’t promise you it will make it to the dinner table before it’s half eaten.

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Raspberry Chicken with Homemade Rice Pilaf

Raspberry Chicken with Homemade Rice Pilaf - In Her Chucks

Fresh fruit.  It’s one of my weaknesses.  I can’t won’t go a day without it.  In fact, I love it so much, I do my best to incorporate it into every meal of the day.  Breakfast…Homemade crepes topped with fresh berries.  For a snack…Apples slices with cheese.   Lunch…Strawberry Salad with Grilled Chicken.   A meal isn’t complete without a piece of fruit in the mix.

But when it comes to dinner, some people might find incorporating a piece of seasonal fruit into their meal prep a bit of a challenge.  Sure, you can enjoy a piece of fruit as a healthy dessert but I’m talking about throwing sweet and delicious fruits right into your savory dishes.  I tend to have a habit of it (Braised Pork with Fuyu Persimmons, Sole with Grapefruit-Thyme Butter, Citrus Crusted Tilapia with Blood Orange Salsa, and the list goes on and on) but this is the dish that started it all.

My mom has been making Raspberry Chicken for us as long as I can remember.  It’s one of my most requested dishes when I go to visit.  Not only is it absolutely delicious but it is the perfect way to celebrate the beauty of one of my favorite summer fruits…raspberries!

And because this meal wouldn’t be complete without a side of homemade rice pilaf, I have included that recipe for you too :)

Raspberry Chicken

Ingredients

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, flattened

2 tbsp butter

1/4 cup onion, chopped

4 tbsp raspberry vinegar

1/4 cup chicken stock

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 tbsp canned crushed tomatoes

1 cup fresh raspberries, plus more for garnish

Salt and pepper to taste

Flat leaf parsley, chopped

Preparation

1.  Melt butter in the skillet.  Season chicken breasts with a bit of salt and pepper and cook for about 3 minutes per side or until lightly browned.  Remove from skillet and keep warm.

2.  Add the onions to the skillet and cook covered over low heat until tender (about 15 minutes)

3.  Add the vinegar to the skillet with the onions and raise the heat cooking uncovered (stirring occasionally) until vinegar is reduced to a syrupy spoonful.

4.  Whisk in the chicken stock, cream and crushed tomatoes and simmer for 1 minute.  Return the chicken breasts to the skillet and gently simmer in the sauce basting often.  Cook until the chicken is done and sauce is reduced and thickened (about 5 minutes).

5.  Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and keep warm.   Add the raspberries to the sauce and cook over low heat for 1 minute.  Do not stir the berries with the spoon, just swirl them in the sauce.

6.  Serve the chicken on a plate with the sauce along with the rice pilaf (recipe below).  Garnish with flat leaf parsley.

Recipe slightly adapted from the Silver Palate Cookbook

Rice Pilaf

Ingredients

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tbsp butter

1 medium yellow onion, minced

2 cloves of garlic, finely minced

2 cups of chicken broth

3/4 cup basmati rice

1/4 cup spaghetti sticks, broken into 1-1 1/2 in pieces

Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped

Preparation

Heat oil and butter together in a large skillet.  Add onions and cook 2-3 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for one minute, stirring frequently.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add rice and spaghetti, stirring to combine with garlic and onions.  Cook for 2-3 minutes until rice and pasta begin to lightly brown.  Stir in chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Once the liquid is boiling, turn heat down to simmer and cover, cooking for 15-20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.  Add a pinch of salt and pepper if needed.  Fluff the cooked rice mixture and add chopped parsley.

What I love most about this meal is how simple and easy it is to make.  However, the complex flavors and beautiful presentation are sure to impress both your family or favorite dinner guests.

So hurry out to your local farmer’s market and pick up a pint (or two) of raspberries and get cooking.  Your taste buds will be sure to thank you :)

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What’s in the Box? Recipe Roundup #14

What's in the Box?

This summer has been all about traveling.  Whether we were moving, or jet-setting across the Atlantic, it seems like we are always on the go.  And we still have a few more weeks to go until we are home.  But Harper and I are having a blast and enjoying each and every minute of it (minus missing Daddy…that part really sucks).

After coming home from Branson last week, we decided to hop up to Santa Barbara to visit some of our close friends.  Santa Barbara is a special place for us.  It is where we lived for the last 3 years before Freddie took his new job up north.  It is where we found out we were pregnant and where Harper was born.  And most importantly, it is where we have created lifelong friendships with some very special folks.  We are so grateful for the memories that we have in this beautiful town, and it feels good to be “home”, even for just a little while.

Here is a glimpse at what we have been up to in our favorite coastal city…

Greek Festival

For such a small town, Santa Barbara is famous for their summer festivals. This past weekend, we enjoyed the food, the fun and the music of the Greek Festival.

Cute Little Firefighters

The streets are officially safe with these two adorable firefighters on duty

Beach Fun

You can’t be staying a few blocks from the beach without taking a dip. Although Harper was clearly way more excited about the cold water than I was…

We are blessed to be able to visit such wonderful people in such a beautiful place.

But this post isn’t a paid advertisement for Santa Barbara (although it should be…), it’s about the goodness of veggies.  And although I still don’t have a box (but I got one coming next week), there’s more than enough produce at the party to go around.

Last week we had a total of 11 link ups.  And not only were there Fried Green Tomatoes and Buffalo Chicken Pizza, but there was homemade pie, and a collection of blueberry treats!  Man, are we spoiled :)  Thanks for sharing and linking up!  You continue to amaze me with your delicious and nutritious dishes.

As for me, I have been eating my weight in homegrown tomatoes, which is ironic considering I used to not be the biggest fan.  But after almost 3 years of CSA membership, and tons of great recipes linked to the party, I have collected enough scrumptious ideas to change my mind (although I still won’t snack on them for fun…have to draw the line somewhere…).

So in honor of my graduation to an “almost tomato lover”, here are my favorite recipes that utilize the abundance of CSA tomatoes this season…

Chicken with Tomato Herb Pan Sauce

Chicken with Tomato Herb Pan Sauce - In Her Chucks

Cherry Tomato Pesto

Cherry Tomato Pesto - In Her Chucks

Homemade Tomato Sauce

Homemade Tomato Sauce - In Her Chucks

Your turn: What are some of your favorite ways to incorporate your CSA tomatoes into simple and delicious meals?  Looking forward to drooling over your ideas.  

Linking up for the first time?  Click here for more info…and Welcome!

PS:  Don’t forget to tell your readers about the party by linking back to this post and grabbing the official “What’s in the Box?” button at the bottom of my blog.  Thanks!

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March Foodie Pen Pal Reveal

The Lean Green Bean

If you haven’t already noticed, I LOVE to go crazy with themes.  Whether it is for Lindsay’s Foodie Pen Pal Program, or a birthday party, if there is a need for a theme, I am there 150%.  So after all the fun I had last month with my Valentine’s Day box, I was excited to throw something together for St. Patrick’s Day.  See what I put together for Brie over at A Foodie’s Recipe Box.

This is my fifth month participating in the Foodie Pen Pal Program, and it is fun, fun, fun! If you want to learn more, check out my first Foodie Pen Pal Post.  It will give you all the details you need to know to sign up :)
For the month of March, I received my package from Katie of Baking and Swimming.  She put together a small collection of her favorite things which ended up being a perfect balance between sweet treats and heathy snacks.
FPP March
Most of what Katie packed in the box was new to me (except for the Girl Scout Cookies, of course).  So each and every bite was an adventure.
I was most excited to try the White Chocolate Peanut Butter.  I have seen so many different versions of this stuff around the blogosphere but have never had the pleasure of picking up a jar for myself.  And let me tell you, this stuff is AWESOME!  Pretty much tastes like Nutter Butters, especially when you spread it on graham crackers.  Divine :)  And to wash it down I took a sip of the Sparkling ICE Pomegranate Blueberry flavored water.  So delicious and refreshing!  I am going to have to be on the lookout for this stuff.  All of their flavors sound amazing.
Next, Harper and I dug into the Peanut Butter filled Pretzels and Girl Scout Cookies (though not at the same time).  Both were scrumptious and a big hit with the entire family.
Katie also included a few meals of convenience, which as a mommy of an adorable toddler and a part time music teacher, I extremely appreciate these days.  Since Katie is from Texas and is a self-proclaimed Tex-Mex lover, she sent me a package of her favorite tortilla soup mix.  I am looking forward to jazzing this up with some shredded rotisserie chicken and topping it off with some grated cheese and sour cream….yum!  Katie also sent me her favorite muffin mix for an easy breakfast on the go.  This is going to be a great activity for Harper and I to enjoy together.  All you need to do is add water and bake.  Doesn’t get more simple than that :)
Finally, Katie indulged my S’mores addiction by sending me a delicious and nutritious Pure Protein Bar (which came in very handy the other day when Harper took an unexpected nap in the car on the way to the grocery store.  Hungry mama locked in the car until sleeping baby wakes = potentially cranky mama.  Thank God for snack stashes!).
Thanks Katie for an awesome box! I hope your pen pal was as generous to you as you were to me :)

Interested in becoming a Foodie Pen Pal? CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions. Who knows, I might be your next Foodie PenPal :)

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What’s in the Box? #67

What's in the Box? We are busy getting ready for Easter around here, which includes dying batches of hardboiled eggs.  This year, I thought it would be fun to include Harper and her buddy Robin in this process.  However, our egg dying quickly turned into a color mixing experiment.

Dying Easter Eggs

Thank God I had the wisdom to set everything up outside.  I can’t imagine what my kitchen table would look like!  But that’s what hanging with toddlers is all about.  Lots of laughing, lots of learning and lots of messes.

In addition to hardboiled eggs, a proper spread will be in order for Sunday’s brunch as well.  So let’s take a look at last week’s party for some inspiration, shall we?

Last week we had 10 link ups.  And let’s hope none of you are currently on the Paleo diet because last week it was all about the carbs.  There was a nice variety of fresh pizza ideas including Asparagus with Prosciutto, Broccoli and Cheddar, and Mushroom with Caramelized Onions and Gorgonzola.  Yum!  But the fun didn’t stop there.  Lettuce Never Squash Our Love linked up a Pasta with Spinach and Butternut Squash.  Divine!  Yeah, it was a good week :)  Thank you to everyone who participated.  Your delicious and nutritious dishes never cease to amaze me.

Moving on to my farm fresh goodies for this week…

What's in the Box? #67

As I mentioned yesterday, in my sleepy slurred speech, I got my box on Tuesday this week.  They had to do a bit of rearranging with the routes which bumped my delivery up a day.  Yeah me!  Only time will tell if I will be able to change my blogging routine up a day earlier.  Stay tuned for that.

Upon opening my box, I immediately began to devour each and every item with my eyes.  For starters, the fennel, garlic, onion and orange were thrown into some Braised Pork with Orange and Fennel for dinner yesterday.  I had pretty much everything I needed except for the meat which made my trip to the grocery store quick and easy (and cheap too!).

After the success of the strawberry cake I bragged about last week (recipe coming soon…promise), I might have to go for round two.  We have plans to go to a few Easter gatherings this weekend and it is sure to be a real crowd pleaser.

I never got around to making any of my carrot sweets (these or these) last week because I was too busy stuffing my face with How I Ate My Box’s Chicken, Carrot and Leek Stew.  When I tell you this is the most amazing dish I have had in a long time…I am in no way exaggerating.  My whole family gobbled it up.  And then went back for seconds.  So you can be sure I will be making this again this week.  The hubby (who continued to ask me why I had never made this for him before) will be VERY pleased :)  And it will be even better served with a green salad on the side jazzed up with some of those lovely apples.

For the sage I am thinking about making my dad’s famous chicken.  I am pretty sure I owe you a recipe on this one I just never seem to be able to snap a pic before everyone digs in.  It’s just soooooo good :)  I will do my best to get it done this time around.

And finally for the arugula, I am thinking about some Grilled Steak Soft Tacos.  It has been a while since I have made this and after reminding myself of how good it looks simply from the picture, I can’t wait until dinner tomorrow night :)

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