Author Archives: Laura Youngquist

Normally by mid-December we would have a plan for Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas Day brunch, and Christmas Day dinner…. it’s a busy 2 days to say the least!  But we have zero plans scheduled at the moment.  It’s an odd feeling and we know we are not along.  Do you spend time with family and friends over the holidays or opt for a quiet day at home?  Do you take the simple route and order a meal to go from your favorite restaurant or perhaps a heat-and-serve meal from the grocery store?  Whatever you end up doing, it will be a year to remember! We will still have a lovely meal to commemorate the holidays and spend the day cooking together.  I have a few recipes I want to share with you that not only make the perfect Christmas meal but are great options when cooking for a small group … Continue reading

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Christmas is a time for baking, enjoying good food, and spending time with family and friends.  The holidays may look a little different this year but that doesn’t mean you can’t participate it some of your usual traditions.  Take a cookie exchange party for example, you can still bake the cookies but instead of getting together with friends to exchange, you can deliver to their doorstep or ship them.  It’s a nice way to say you’re thinking about them and still want to be connected this holiday season.  Plus, you can’t have a happy holiday without desserts and plenty of sweets 🙂 Whether you are making breads, cookies, pies, candy, or other goodies, I suggest you still follow through with your traditions.  It will get you in the holiday spirit and bring some comfort to these trying times.  I personally like to eat Christmas cookies all month long and even … Continue reading

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Have you ever had an Empanada?  They are common in Southern Europe, Latin America, and the Philippines but I’m sure you’ve noticed them as a menu item from time to time.  Empanadas are essentially pockets of dough with some kind of filling; typically, meat, cheese, and vegetables, or any combination of those. I think they are pretty easy to make and tend to feed a crowd because the recipe makes so many.  And they are often freezer friendly so you can have leftovers for another day.  You do want to be careful with what kind of vegetable you use in empanadas because some vegetables hold up better when being used as filling.  For instance, bell peppers, onions, broccoli, carrots, spinach, etc. all work very well.  Squash, tomatoes, or other watery vegetables will need to be drained before using, otherwise you will be left with some soggy dough!  So, feel free … Continue reading

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Lettuce wraps are a quick and easy meal option!  They also have the potential to be incredibly healthy because you can customize your ingredients to create a diet-friendly meal or you can simply enjoy them because they are delicious 🙂  Swapping out a carb-heavy tortilla or slice of bread and replacing it with a low carb / low calorie option is always a win in my book! Today I want to share with you my 2 favorite recipes to make as lettuce wraps.  You can always create these recipes and substitute the lettuce wrap with a tortilla or perhaps rice to create a bowl style meal if you prefer. First up is Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps.  These are bursting with flavor and taste just like a dish you would get at a local Chinese restaurant! The recipe can be found here. In a small bowl, add the hoisin sauce, soy … Continue reading

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Not too long ago, I wrote a blog called Creative Cauliflower Meals about various ways to use cauliflower in Chinese inspired recipes.  We’ve been talking about those recipes ever since and thought, why not try a few more? There are SO MANY ways to utilize cauliflower in recipes.  My most preferred way is to substitute chicken with cauliflower.  Once it’s cooked/baked, it has a very similar texture so you can hardly tell you aren’t eating meat.  This is a great way to expand your pallet if you are vegetarian or exploring a vegan diet. First up is Baked BBQ Cauliflower Wings.  These are just like boneless BBQ chicken wings but a lot healthier and you aren’t sacrificing the taste.  These are full of flavor and easy to make! The recipe can be found here. ***This is a vegan recipe*** Start by preheating the oven to 425 degrees F.  Line a … Continue reading

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Tex-Mex Chicken & Zucchini Skillet is a yummy, low-carb, one-pan dinner that’s ready in about 30 minutes, which makes it a great option for a quick weeknight meal.  It’s packed with a variety of vegetables, tender chicken, and lots of flavor! The recipe can be found here. This is how you make it: start by doing all your prep work.  Chop the onion, bell peppers, zucchini, green onion, and cilantro.  Mince the garlic.  Drain and rinse the black beans.  Slice the chicken breasts.  Set everything aside.  This will help you move along a lot faster while cooking because all ingredients are ready to go.  You can even portion out your seasonings ahead of time! Add avocado oil to a large, deep skillet and heat over medium heat.  You need to use a large skillet, or you will run out of room for all the ingredients 🙂  You can also use … Continue reading

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Can you believe Thanksgiving is almost here?  It’s been an interesting year (to say the least), so I’m looking forward to the holidays.  Although, the holidays might look a little different this year.  We still plan on seeing our immediate families for a nice Thanksgiving meal but will keep our gathering to 4-6 people.  We will miss traveling, seeing extended family, participating in some Black Friday shopping, and more this Thanksgiving, but will savor the time we do have with the few we choose to celebrate with…socially distanced with some delicious food 🙂 We are going to start our day with a nice fall-themed charcuterie board.  You need something to snack on while you cook, right?  If you’ve never made a charcuterie board before, you are in for a treat.  They are very simple to make, can include as many or as few ingredients as you choose, and make a … Continue reading

Posted in Holidays, Poultry, Thanksgiving, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on A Socially Distanced Thanksgiving

I’ve been on a chicken wing kick lately.  There’s just something about them that I can’t get enough of.  Sure, they are messy to eat, but picking every juicy morsel off the bone is pretty satisfying 🙂 There are a lot of words I would use to describe chicken wings…oven baked, grilled, crispy, sticky, sweet, spicy, saucy, tender, juicy, etc.…but it all depends on the recipe.  There is also the debate of boneless vs. bone-in chicken.  Is it really a chicken wing if it’s boneless?  I used to only eat boneless wings because I didn’t want to do the work but now, I usually prefer bone-in wings because they a bit more succulent.  I think a lot of people would agree. I started experimenting with different sauce flavors and came up with some fun Asian inspired recipes that I want to share with you today: General Tso’s Chicken Wings Kung … Continue reading

Posted in Grilling, Party, Poultry, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Wingin’ It

Chili season is upon us and my recipe for Slow Cooker Beef & Italian Sausage Chili fits the bill!  It’s simple to make, is loaded with hearty ingredients, and has a bit of spice…just the way chili should be 🙂   And who doesn’t love a good “set it and forget it” recipe? I played around with the recipe a bit…. how many beans to add, how many peppers or tomatoes to add, how much liquid to add, etc. but I eventually got the recipe just right!  I like to use half ground beef and hot Italian sausage because the combination goes together very well (and Andrew loves Italian sausage so he’s always willing to try a recipe that includes it).  I’m also not a huge fan of kidney beans so I like to use pinto beans in chili.  If you prefer kidney beans, go ahead and use them, I just … Continue reading

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Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese is a great one-pot meal that will blow your mind!  It’s a twist on traditional mac & cheese that is easy to make and done in minutes.  It’s super cream, full of tender chicken, and has a great spicy and tangy flavor from the addition of buffalo sauce. The recipe can be found here. Start by slicing the chicken into bite sized pieces.  Add the chicken to a bowl and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Toss to coat all pieces. Turn on the sauté function of the Instant Pot.  Add a small amount of oil.  I like to use avocado oil or coconut oil, but olive oil works just as well.  Add the chicken and cook until cooked through, about 5-7 minutes.  Make sure to stir the chicken while it cooks so it doesn’t stick to the bowl of the Instant … Continue reading

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