Roasted Cauliflower and Sausage Pasta

I cook a lot because of what I do for a living, but I don’t have to tell you that, I’m sure you already knew this. If you looked in my fridge right now you would see an obscene amount of food. It’s packed with food storage containers filled with various dishes, ranging from appetizers to salads to entrées from the week’s work. Sometimes it’s crazy how much of it there is in my house at any given moment, but crazier is the fact that we can’t always seem to eat it fast enough. We’ll have friends or family over often, and basically force food down their throats and even then we’ll find ourselves eating a certain dish for several days in a row. It’s a good thing I happen to really love leftovers. It’s not a good thing that Julian is meh about leftovers. 

Because I spend so much time in the kitchen on a daily basis, there are times every now and then where the last thing I want to do is get in the kitchen, yet again, and make dinner. Sure, on more than a few occasions what I make and shoot ends up becoming dinner, but as much as I would love for Chunky Monkey Sticky Buns and Strawberry Pistachio Cupcakes to be a hearty supper, it doesn’t always work out that way. Unfortunately my doctor says I need a well rounded meal with protein and vegetables. The nerve! On those days, I find myself making the easiest of dishes. We’ll have tacos (my go-to option) or tuna sandwiches (against Julian’s wishes) for dinner because it’s the quickest thing I can whip up without going crazy because I’ve just spent the entire day in the kitchen. Julian will cook a few nights out of the week which totally makes me happy, and I’ll just spend the night on the couch drinking a cocktail and bask in the pampered life.

We’ve recently made a valiant effort to have a date night at least once a week (every Thursday) where we go out and enjoy a meal somewhere we’ve never eaten before. It gives us a chance to try one of the many restaurants in our neighborhood. I do have to admit though, at times, mainly due to me falling in love with a particular place, we’ll go back to the same restaurant a few weeks in a row. On one of these evenings we tried a cauliflower dish that was out of this world. It was battered and fried and served with a garlic aioli and I couldn’t get enough. Easily one of the best dishes I’ve ever eaten outside of my house. Ever since then, cauliflower and I have become the greatest of friends. We’re kind of, sort of inseparable. I’ve now added this Roasted Cauliflower and Sausage Pasta to the rotation when I don’t really feel like cooking because it’s so easy to make. I can shut off my mind and bring it together in no time at all. Although it’s simple with only a handful of ingredients, it’s one of the tastiest pastas you’ll ever try. Cross my heart and kiss my elbow. 

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Strawberry Rhubarb BBQ Wings

I don’t know about your mothers, but my mamma would much rather have a barbecue feast instead of a fancy brunch for Mother’s Day. She’s a boss like that. Don’t give her pancakes or waffles, or even eggs, on her special day. She’d probably flip a table over and demand smoked ribs with coleslaw and cornbread on the side. I’m totally kidding, she’s not really a tyrant like that. She’s actually the complete opposite, but for dramatic effect let’s say I’m not kidding. (Sorry mamma). Give her a big plate of chicken wings though—not just on Mother’s Day but any day of the week—and she’ll be happy as a clam. A clam, I tell you. Take these Strawberry Rhubarb BBQ Wings for instance, they would probably bring tears of joy to her eyes. More so than any flower or chocolate or card ever possibly could. I think it’s safe to say that grilled chicken wings are the new way to our mothers’ hearts. It’s so 2015 of us. We shouldn’t be fighting it, but rather we should be making and eating all of the wings. Don’t fight it. Just make the wings.

Forget about all of the traditional, normal, everyday gifts that most moms get year after year. They don’t want that! They’re tired of those presents. Take it from me, they want something much tastier. Something new and exciting. Something they can’t get enough of. Something they can get their hands and faces dirty with, and are forced to lick their fingers clean because they don’t want to waste one drop of this delicious sauce. Don’t let the idea of making homemade BBQ sauce scare you though. It can be intimidating, but it’s actually incredibly easy to whip up. The hardest part is letting it simmer away for half an hour without sneaking a taste or two. So that’s definitely saying something. But let’s face it, at time’s I’m super lazy aren’t you? So I’m all for a homemade sauce that I can just dump everything into a pot, and forget about it while it simmer’s on low developing its incredible flavor, without me having to do anything major to it, other than just stirring it every now and then.

I’m definitely my mother’s son because I can never resist using my charcoal grill for everything. To me, nothing beats that flavor you get from burning coals. Definitely not as good as a propane grill, and sure it’s probably not the safest for the environment but I couldn’t grill any other way. It’s what I grew up with. My childhood during warm summer days, eating hamburgers and hot dogs by the pool. With that being said I of course, had to fire up my grill for this recipe. Rest assured though, I have those of you who don’t have an outdoor grill covered. I’ve given you a few alternative options to be able to make these sweet and spicy wings yourself. I’m just thinking of you and your mother’s because you should totally make these wings for them. They’ll be happy you did. 

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Mediterranean Taquitos

It doesn’t take a lot for me to be impressed with food. I love food so much that I try not to discriminate against anything—except for my hatred of coconut and mango but that’s a story for another time—so I’ll essentially eat everything that is presented to me and I’ll thoroughly enjoy it too. I tend to get really excited over the simplest of dishes. They don’t necessarily have to be super fancy with a million ingredients, half of which I can’t even pronounce, in order for me to like it. Where’s the fun in that? Good food can be simple and you don’t have to sell your arm or your leg to get it either. I’m all for trying new things and expanding palate because I’m a firm believer of having to try everything at least once before writing it off as something I do not care for. How else will you know if you like something or not, if you don’t try it? There’s nothing more unnerving, or scary for that matter, then when I overhear people say they don’t like a certain dish or ingredient, yet they’ve never tried it before and refuse to give it a chance. Come on, let’s be more adventurous. Food isn’t scary. Food is delicious.

A few weeks ago I visited a Mediterranean restaurant by my place—we’ve made a promise to venture out and explore our neighborhood more because there are so many options close by to us and yet we always end up going to the same restaurants—and they make the very best Greek-style street food around. I decided to try something new and picked the Mediterranean Taquitos, although if I’m being honest I probably would’ve picked the taquitos regardless because I happen to really love taquitos. But that’s not the point of this story. They were incredible and I couldn’t stop talking about them all night so Julian eventually told me to make them for my blog, mainly because he wanted some at home but also because I’m sure he wanted me to stop talking about them. Little did he know that I’d still be talking about them till this day and now I’m mentioning them even more because I’ve just barely shared them with you. 

I’ll be talking about these taquitos for a while, and no one can stop me. Can you blame me though? I know that when you give them a try yourself, you’ll be talking about them too. Go ahead and make them already so we can have a discussion around the water cooler. There’s so much to talk about, like the delicious yogurt-marinated chicken filling, the flaky lavash and of course that creamy feta and olive sauce on top of a crisp Greek-salad topping. It doesn’t get any better than that. 

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Spinach, Garlic and Chicken Chardonnay White Pizza

We’re beginning to settle into our new place just nicely these days. I’m starting to cook a lot more, once again, and even getting back into the rhythm of creating new recipes for the site. I’ve been away far too long if you ask me. The very first thing we bought for our new home was a pizza stone, even before we got some of the more important things like a lamp or dining table. I wanted to make sure we had our pizza nights locked in. This is actually the first pizza stone I’ve ever owned. As a matter of fact, someone on instagram recommended it to me a long time ago and I immediately thought about their comment when I picked it up at the store. They were absolutely right, pizzas are 100 times better when cooked on this round ceramic pizza cooking contraption. It’s like magic. Like the future. It makes it so easy to achieve that artisan pizza taste and texture. (The following has been a PSA for Pizza Stones of America. Is that an actual thing? It totally should be).

Moving and unpacking has taught me that we’re all looking for quick and easy recipes that require little to no time in the kitchen. Sometimes we’re just too tired to whip up something fancy during the week, or we simply don’t have the time to devote ourselves to a meal that takes way too long to make. That’s okay. Instead of reaching for that take-out menu, though, we should be focusing on creating simple recipes that taste just as good (if not better) as the restaurant version. I’m always trying to come up with new and exciting ways to incorporate pizza into my daily life. If I had it my way, we’d be eating pizza every single night. Oh, different kinds of course. I mean I do have some standards. Pizza everyday for dinner just sounds like a dream come true, doesn’t it? 

One easy way to turn a drab meal into something fun and exciting is by incorporating wine into the dish. Sure, wine is great to drink with dinner, but it’s also great to cook with! I’ve partnered up with Barefoot Wine to bring you this delicious Spinach, Garlic and Chicken Chardonnay White Pizza. It’ll change the way you think about pizza and wine forever! Get ready to eat the entire pizza by yourself, especially with the creamy white garlic sauce that gets slathered on top of it underneath all of that cheese and tasty toppings. Are you rethinking that “pizza every night” thing we talked about earlier? You should be. 

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Chorizo, White Bean and Chard Bruschetta

Julian and I are in the midst of looking for an apartment. Preferably a dog friendly, hardwood floored, large windowed, blasting with natural light, gas range, large balcony, few unit building, type of apartment. That’s not a lot to ask for, right? I don’t think so. We actually found one that I’ve been obsessing over. One that I’m no longer allowed to talk about because apparently I’ve been driving people crazy over it. I can’t even bring up the subject of that apartment to him (or to my mom and sisters) because if I do…well, I’m not sure what would happen If I do, but let’s just say I was threatened not to talk about it anymore. I mean, sure I’ve mentioned it once or twice (if that), in passing, over the last couple of days, and yeah okay, so I might’ve driven by the place one too many times, bordering on becoming a complete and total stalker, but it’s perfectly harmless. I have this feeling about it. I can’t explain it. Maybe I’m turning into a psychic magician or something as I get older. I don’t know. I just see myself living there, is that a crime? We’re currently in the waiting process, which happens to be the worst process of all because I have to somehow continue looking through all the other dumpy, awful, (not that one I want) apartments, just in case we don’t get my dream apartment. Just in case someone takes it from us, crushing all of my hopes and dreams in the process. Not a big deal at all. 

I’ve been postponing the dreadful packing part of this whole ordeal because I’m lazy but also because…no, pretty much just because I’m lazy. I figure I’ll wait until the very end, then say something like, “I have so much work! I have to post a few things to the blog first!” And then have Julian do it all for me. *Insert evil laugh here.* Shhh, don’t tell him I told you that. It’s our little secret. I did go out and get some boxes though. That should count for something. And by “go out and get some” I mean I bought a few things online and didn’t throw away the boxes they were delivered in. That still counts. I’m way ahead of the game. 

With all of this looking for apartments, driving by that one dream place, and pretending to pack, I’ve been too busy to cook much around here. I somehow keep thinking about that one kitchen I’ll soon be cooking in and how great it’ll be to have so much more space…oh I’m not supposed to talk about it anymore. Anyhow, I’ve been making really easy dishes that require no work at all and can be made rather quickly. Things we can eat while we drink wine because it takes a lot out of a person to look for the perfect place to move into. I’ve always been a big fan of tapas. What about you? They make me feel so fancy whenever we go out to eat some. Also because it’s just a big ol’ sharing feast and you don’t feel super stuffed, like you can barely move, after you eat it. Also, something about tiny food just makes me so happy. I like to pretend I’m a giant eating normal sized food, but in my giant hands it’s super tiny….gosh now that I think about it, I really need to grow up. I should go and pretend to pack some more. Let’s all enjoy this bruschetta though. 

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Roasted Asparagus Sandwiches

I’d like to discuss so much with you in regards to the perfect sandwich. One might think that there isn’t much to it, other than a few common ingredients here and there, but they’re wrong. There’s so much more to it than a few slices of bread and some filling in between. The bread needs to be hearty and toasted. I’m the kind of the guy that likes my bread toasted to the point where it can pass as a lethal weapon. Always have been, ever since I was a little boy. It was so bad that I wouldn’t even eat my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches if my mamma didn’t toast the bread for me. I’d throw the sandwich back in her face if it wasn’t (that didn’t really happen, although now she’ll claim that it did, just you watch). Of course the perfect sandwich has got to have cheese of some kind. No exception. It doesn’t matter what kind of cheese, I don’t discriminate, just as long as there is cheese involved. And lots of it. The ultimate sandwich needs meat, also. I’m not a vegetarian and although sometimes I find it necessary to pretend to be (don’t ask), when it comes to a sandwich, all bets are off. Something salty and cured is definitely a must. Because my dream sandwich involves lots of bread and cheese and cured meat, it needs to have a vegetable of some sort, you know, to pass itself off as “healthy.” Whatever is in season will do, don’t worry about it. It’s really just so that my mom and doctor won’t complain. See guys? I’m eating my veggies! I love vegetables!

So now that we have all that down, the sandwich to end all sandwiches is coming together. Before we can proceed to devouring said sandwich, however, it needs to have  a crunch factor of some sort. I’m all about different textures when it comes to eating. I don’t like to feel like I’m eating baby food, where everything is sort of one note, that one note being mush. I’d say to throw some potato chips directly into the sandwich itself, but I’m trying to be classy here. I sometimes forget that I’m not ten years old anymore and people expect you to eat your chips on the side, not on the inside. All these rules, I can’t seem to keep up. So we’ll classify this sandwich making business up a bit by adding a nut of some sort. Walnuts will do. Pine nuts would be great, sure, but what am I made of money?!

Once you have all these different components together, you can begin to assemble the World’s Best Sandwich. Or Jon’s Ultimate Sammie if you’d like. Or maybe Move Over Subway Because You Ain’t Got Nothing On Us? Okay, perhaps not the last one, I’m still working on the title, bear with me. So here we are making delicious sandwiches like our lives depend on it, because it’s a serious task. One that requires so much more than we originally anticipated. We’re sandwich making masters. Pros. We got this. We’re going to make them open-faced and put an egg on top because we all know that everything is better with an egg on top. Hello, that’s why there’s a saying going around, “put an egg on top.” So now that we know how to make the perfect sandwich, all that’s left to do is to go out and celebrate this feat by making these perfect sandwiches and eating ALL of them until we can’t eat anymore. That’s the only way I like to eat my sandwiches if I’m being honest. 

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