Maple Dijon Salmon

This is the recipe that converted Tuck’s dad from straight up refusing to eat salmon to requesting it on the menu once a week. If you are looking to bring some of your picky eaters out of the dark and into the light when it comes to fish, this is your recipe. We love this Maple Dijon Salmon because it tastes out of this world and is made from just a few, simple ingredients. Less is always more in the kitchen, and that is especially true when you use high quality products. We prefer to use whole grain Dijon mustard if you can find it, but any nice Dijon will work just fine. The same goes for the maple syrup: a finer quality means that you only need a few tablespoons for the sweet and piney taste that is the signature to this dish. 

Maple Dijon Salmon

  • Servings: 4
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Our tried and true salmon dish that will convert the pickiest eaters in your family!

Ingredients

  • 4, 6 oz filets of salmon
  • 3 tbs whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 2-3 tbs maple syrup
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 385 degrees.
  2. Line a cookie sheet with foil or parchment paper and place the pieces of salmon skin side down on the sheet. Drizzle the lemon juice evenly over the pieces and season each with the paprika, garlic powder, and salt and pepper.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the mustard, maple syrup, olive oil, and minced garlic. We suggest starting with 2 tbs maple syrup and tasting the sauce before adding the third. Season the sauce with salt and pepper.
  4. Use a spoon to generously top the salmon pieces with the maple dijon sauce.
  5. Bake the salmon for 12-13 minutes for medium, 15-16 minutes for well done. Use a knife to peel the salmon away from the skin and serve.


Smoked Brisket on the Big Green Egg

With the exception of 2020, we usually host a big Friendsgiving sometime in November. We change the theme and menu from year to year, but we always have two staple dishes: fried turkey and smoked brisket. With no Friendsgiving on the docket this year and a hankering for brisket, we decided to make it this weekend for Hanukkah. If you are an “egg head” like we are, and into smoking meats, you know that cooking a giant brisket is a labor of love. The entire process from start to finish is close to 18 hours! This recipe is certainly time consuming but the results are more than worth it.

Smoked Brisket on the Big Green Egg

  • Servings: 12-14
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Our fool proof recipe for the best smoked brisket.

Ingredients

  • 1 brisket, somewhere between 12 and 14 lbs
  • salt and pepper
  • Big Green Egg starters
  • 1 large bag charcoal
  • 4 large pecan wood barbecue smoking chunks
  • 4 large hickory wood barbecue smoking chunks
  • barbecue sauce, for serving (optional)

Directions

  1. Fill a medium bowl with water. Submerge the pecan and hickory wood chunks and let them soak for 30 minutes to one hour.
  2. Prepare the brisket. Use a meat carving knife to remove any thick or hard pieces of fat from the brisket and discard. Season all sides of the brisket liberally with salt and pepper.
  3. While the wood chunks are soaking, prepare the egg. Fill the egg with charcoal and light three Big Green Egg starters and scatter throughout the charcoal. Open both air vents at the top and bottom of the egg and let the grill heat up to somewhere between 300-325 degrees.
  4. Drain the hickory and pecan wood from the water. When the Egg has reached 300 degrees, add the smoking chips to the charcoal and prepare the Egg for indirect cooking. Let the Egg temperature rise back to 220 degrees for the duration of the smoking.
  5. Smoke the brisket fat side down for about 4 hours, flipping it to fat side up until the thickest part of the brisket has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Once the brisket has reached that temperature, cover it well on all sides with foil. Continue to cook at 220 degrees until the brisket has reached an internal temperature of 200 degrees.
  6. Once the brisket has reached 200 degrees, remove it from the Egg, wrap it in a few towels, and let it rest in a large cooler for anywhere from 1 hour up to 4 hours. Unwrap the brisket and slice it against the grain to serve. Serve with barbecue sauce, if desired.


Bacon Wrapped Turkey Breast

We know that Thanksgiving is going to look different this year, and for the most part that means that our guest lists will be much smaller than previous Thanksgiving celebrations. For the past few years we have had so many people come to Thanksgiving that we make a traditional roasted turkey and our famous deep fried turkey. To mix things up this year we decided to try out roasting a turkey breast. Turkey breast is traditionally dry, so we are really doing things up and wrapping it in bacon! The result is an ultra savory turkey breast, with a crispy bacon crust that we cannot get enough of. This half turkey breast serves 4-6 people depending on the size of the rest of your dinner menu. It is a snazzy main course if you have just a handful of people at the table this year, but would also be a great addition to a whole turkey if you need a little something extra. We love this recipe because it takes just over 2 hours to make from prep to serving, compared to a whole turkey that can take 2-3 times longer to make. While the turkey breast is resting we heat the other side dishes, so that everything is warm and ready to go by dinnertime.

Bacon Wrapped Turkey Breast

  • Servings: 4-6 servings
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A delicious alternative to a traditional Thanksgiving turkey!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 turkey breast, skin and rib bone removed
  • 4 tbs butter, room temperature
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme, minced
  • 2 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
  • zest of one lemon
  • 12 oz thick cut, applewood smoked bacon
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Make the compound butter. Whip the butter, garlic, thyme, rosemary, and lemon zest with a hand mixer until it is well combined. Set aside.
  3. Lay the bacon in a single layer on a clean cutting board, make sure the bacon is touching and there is very little space between the pieces. If the bacon has a thicker end and a thinner end, flip every other piece of bacon so that the width of bacon is even on both sides. Use a rolling pin to roll the bacon, thinning it out to make a layer that will easily surround your turkey breast. You want it at least 1/3 longer than it started.
  4. Season the turkey breast very well on all sides with salt and pepper. Use your hands to coat the turkey breast on all sides with the garlic and herb butter.
  5. Lay the turkey breast top side down on the center of the bacon. Criss cross and overlap the bacon, using toothpicks to help secure it in place, so that you have a full coating around the turkey breast and that as little of the turkey is showing as possible. Don’t worry about how ugly the toothpicks look, you will remove them in plenty of time before serving. What matters most is that you have thoroughly secured the bacon around the turkey.
  6. Lay the turkey breast skin side down (toothpicks up) in a Pyrex baking sheet and bake the turkey for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, flip the turkey breast and cook an additional 30-40 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 160-165 degrees at the thickest part of the turkey. If the bacon isn’t crispy and brown when the turkey has finished cooking, remove the toothpicks and broil the turkey breast on high heat until the bacon is the color and crispiness you desire.
  7. Remove the turkey breast from the oven and gently tent with foil. Let the turkey rest for about 20 minutes before removing any remaining toothpicks, slicing, and serving. Any drippings from the turkey can be used to make a traditional gravy, if desired.


Scary Salt & Pepper Skeleton Ribs

Ribs are one of the recipes that we have struggled with over the years. It is so easy to overcook and undercook them, particularly on the grill. A few years ago we purchased Nadine Levy Redzepi’s cookbook, Downtime, and made her version of oven baked ribs. Once we made them, we never looked back. The key to this recipe is to generously season the ribs with salt and pepper. If you under season them, they won’t taste like anything and you’ll just be drowning them in bbq sauce to compensate. We love this particular recipe so much because it is so simple and really brings out the taste of the meat. It’s also a much shorter cooking time than other recipes for ribs, which is great when you haven’t planned far ahead before dinner time. We love how the ribs get just a little bit crispy and still have some pull to them, versus falling off the bone like a short rib. You can serve them with barbecue sauce, but we rarely do because they are so delicious on their own!

Scary Salt & Pepper Skeleton Ribs

  • Servings: 4
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Our favorite preparation of for ribs, just in time for Halloween dinner!

Ingredients

  • 1 rack pork spare ribs
  • 1 tbs vegetable oil or avocado oil
  • 1 scant tbs kosher salt or sea salt
  • freshly cracked pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Use a sharp paring knife or meat carving knife to remove the membrane from the back of the ribs. You can do this by turning the ribs bone-side up and gently sliding your knife between the membrane and rest of the rib. Gently pull away the membrane and discard.
  3. Rub the ribs with the vegetable oil and season very well on both sides with the salt and pepper. Place the ribs on a cookie sheet and into the oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Be aware that if there is excess fat on the ribs, the fat will splatter and can cause your oven to get very smoky. Keep a window cracked or your air vent on if this happens.
  4. After the 1 hour and 30 minute cooking time, remove the ribs from the oven and gently cover with foil. Let them rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Serve with barbecue sauce, if desired.


Beer Braised Instant Pot Shredded Chicken

During the fall and winter months, it is so comforting at night to have a warm cooked meal on the table. The problem with that is we don’t always have the time to be in the kitchen for hours on the weeknight. This recipe helps bring both together by giving you a delicious meal that can be ready in less than 30 minutes. This is a fun Mexican spin on a traditional shredded chicken. The beer, limes, and dried chiles blend together for a tangy, citrusy chicken that has just a hint of heat. We love this recipes because there are endless options for how you can use this chicken. We put it in tacos, over salad, or even on a burger bun- you can truly incorporate this any way you would like. We have found through some trial and error that our favorite beer for this recipe is a lighter ale, specifically, Corona. The key to cooking with any alcohol is that if you like to drink it, you will likely enjoy eating it as well. So if you don’t like Corona, just swap it out for something that suits you.

Beer Braised Instant Pot Chicken

  • Servings: 6-8 for taco preparation
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A quick & easy recipe for shredded chicken that is perfect for tacos, enchiladas, and salads.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1 tbs kosher salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 4 dried guajillo chilis (these can be found in the Mexican section of most grocery stores)
  • 6 oz Corona Beer or another beer of your choosing
  • 1 package boneless, skinless chicken thighs (~6 chicken thighs)
  • 1 lime, cut into segments

Directions

  1. Put the Instant Pot on the sauté setting and add the olive oil and onion. Sauté for 5 minutes until the onion becomes translucent.
  2. Add the salt, pepper cumin, chilis, beer, and limes to the pot and give everything a quick stir. Place the chicken breasts into the Instant Pot and try to submerge them in the liquid as much as possible. It’s ok if they are not fully submerged. Switch the Instant Pot setting to the Pressure Cook setting on High and set for 12 minutes.
  3. Use the quick release once the chicken has finished cooking. Use two large forks to shred the chicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve in tacos with rice and salad or in any other format you would like!


Vegan(ish) Mexican Sweet Potato Grain Bowls

We are back with another fun vegan(ish) recipe! We say vegan(ish) because we did add cheese to this recipe, but it can easily be omitted or substituted with a vegan alternative. One of the keys to eating vegan is attempting to reject the traditional concept that a meal needs to be “a protein, carb, and veggie”. It’s easy to feel stuck trying to fit that mold. Instead, we try to focus on changing the terminology to eating “plant-based”, where a meal can be made up of a bunch of different vegetables. This recipe has a bunch of different veggies and proteins that we bring together with a kick-ass, cilantro lime vinaigrette. These bowls are filling and really tasty; so much so that we promise that when you eat it you won’t be missing the meat.

Vegan(ish) Mexican Sweet Potato Grain Bowls

Makes: 4 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients for the Bowls:

  • 2 medium-large sweet potatoes, scrubbed and chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups mixed grains (we used brown rice and farro but use what you have)*
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained, patted try with paper towel
  • 1 tbs chili-lime seasoning (Tajin), divided
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 4 cups arugula
  • 1 avocado, quartered
  • 1/2 cup cotija cheese (you can leave this off if you want the recipe totally vegan)
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for the Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • juice of two limes
  • 1/2 cup packed cilantro
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Lay the sweet potatoes on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with 2 tbs olive oil and 2 tbs of the chili-lime seasoning. Toss to coat. Lay in a single layer and bake in the oven until tender, about 30 minutes.
  3. While the sweet potatoes are cooking, cook the grains. Heat 3 cups of water to a boil and add the grains you are using with a pinch of salt. Cook until tender, about 30 minutes.
  4. Prepare the chickpeas by laying them on a second cookie sheet. Drizzle 1 tbs olive oil and the remaining 1 tsp chili-lime seasoning over top. Toss to coat and lay them back in a single layer. When the sweet potatoes have cooked for about 20 minutes, add the chickpeas to the oven. Cook for the remaining 10 minutes with the sweet potatoes.
  5. While the chickpeas are cooking, prepare the dressing. Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a small blender. Blend until smooth and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. When the grains, sweet potatoes, and chickpeas have finished cooking, prepare the bowls for serving. Layer 1 cup arugula, 2/3 cup of the mixed grains, and 1/4 of the sweet potatoes in each of four bowls. Top each bowl with approximately 1/4 cup chickpeas, 1/4 of an avocado, a few slices of red onion, and 2 tbs of crumbled Cotija. Divide the dressing among the bowls and serve immediately.

**You can buy frozen, pre-cooked brown rice or quinoa and save a step by just reheating to serve.


Marinated Flank Steak Tacos

Flank steak is one of those cuts of meat that we want to love, but seem to have a hard time preparing correctly. We tend to buy it in a pinch when we don’t want something as decadent as a ribeye. It’s thin like a strip steak but is still a tough cut of meat- it really tastes best after it has been marinated for a few hours, or ideally overnight. After a few attempts at marinating, we finally feel like we have a much better approach to flank steak.

What we love about this recipe is how vinegary the marinade is. The vinegar helps break down the steak and makes it much more tender than cooking it straight away. We have used the steak for tacos in this recipe, but it is versatile enough that you can eat it as is with grilled vegetables or with a drizzle of chimichurri

Marinated Flank Steak Tacos 
Makes: 4 servings 
Prep Time: 24 hours    Total Time: 25 hours 

Ingredients For The Steak: 

  • 1.5 – 2 lbs flank steak 
  • 3/4 cup olive oil 
  • 2/3 cup red wine vinegar 
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed 
  • salt and pepper  

Ingredients For The Tacos: 

  • 8-12 tortillas, warmed 
  • 3/4 cup cotija cheese, crumbled 
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced 
  • tomatillo salsa 
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges 

Directions: 

  1. Combine the olive oil, red wine vinegar, and smashed garlic in a gallon ziplock bag or a pyrex baking dish. Pat the flank steak dry with paper towel and season it well on both sides with salt and pepper. Add the flank steak to the marinade and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, ideally overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 15-20 minutes before you want to cook the steak to bring it back up to room temperature. 
  2. When it is time to cook the steak, heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Let the pan get very hot, letting it get warm for a few minutes, before adding the steak. Cook the steak for 3-4 minutes per side, depending on how close to medium-rare you want the steak prepared. Remove the steak from the pan and let it rest for 8-10 minutes before slicing. 
  3. Serve the steak sliced in tacos with the taco ingredients listed above, or any preferred taco accompaniments. Slice the steak and serve immediately. 

Semi-Homemade Vegan Burrito Bowls

Tuck’s dad watched the documentary “Game Changers” on Netflix a few weeks ago and has been trying to eat vegan as much as possible since. Inspired by our usual Chipotle order, we made these tofu burrito bowls. We love the taste and texture of the tofu – it is loaded with spices and crumbled to resemble taco meat.This recipe falls into the semi-homemade category because we have purchased a majority of the burrito bowl toppings pre-made at the grocery store. We have included a recipe for the black bean and corn salsa, but you can purchase a similar product at the grocery store if you want to skip that step as well. Thanks to these grocery store helpers, this recipe comes together in under 30 minutes and is a healthy, filling recipe for a weeknight dinner. 

Semi-Homemade Vegan Burrito Bowls 
Makes: 4 servings 
Prep Time: 30 minutes    Total Time: 30 minutes 

Ingredients for the Burrito Bowls: 

  • 1 box firm tofu
  • 1 packet taco seasoning 
  • 1 package cilantro lime Right Rice (can sub pre-cooked brown rice) 
  • pico de gallo 
  • guacamole (you can use our recipe or buy it pre-made from the store!)

Ingredients for the Corn & Black Bean Salsa 

  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained 
  • 1 large ear of corn, kernels removed 
  • juice of 2 limes 
  • 1/4 red onion, diced 
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed cilantro 
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil 
  • 2 tsp cumin 
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Directions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Remove the tofu from its packaging and drain any excess water. Use paper towel or a kitchen towel to press the tofu and remove as much liquid from it as you can. Crumble the tofu and put it onto a cookie sheet, sprayed with cooking spray. Season the tofu well with taco seasoning, using your hands to coat well. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until it is crispy but not dry. 
  3. While the tofu is cooking, cook the Right Rice according to package directions. It will take about 12 minutes to cook once you bring the water to a boil. 
  4. While the Right Rice is cooking, make the black bean and corn salsa. Gently mix all of the ingredients in the salsa (black beans – cumin) together in a large mixing bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  
  5. Assemble the burrito bowls. Divide the Right Rice, tofu, and black bean salsa evenly amongst four bowls. Top with guacamole, pico de gallo, and any of your other favorite taco bowl ingredients. 

Skillet Lemon Chicken

Tuck’s dad was called up to the Marlins this week and our whole family immediately gathered to watch him play Wednesday night. On nights like this – where we are unexpectedly entertaining – we love the ease of cooking a recipe in one pan. We made this skillet chicken using the base for a traditional gravy and adding lots of lemon and capers to keep the taste fresh. This recipe is hearty and flavorful and can be served with just about anything on the side that you already have in your kitchen. 

Skillet Lemon Chicken 
Makes: 6 servings 
Prep Time: 30 minutes     Total Time: 45 minutes 

Ingredients: 

  • 8 – 10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs 
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour 
  • 1 tbs salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil 
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 4 cups chicken stock 
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 cup capers
  • salt and pepper to taste 
  • parsley (optional, for garnish)

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Prepare your station for browning the chicken getting one bowl and one medium plate. Scramble the eggs in the bowl and set aside. Combine one cup of the flour, salt and pepper on a plate and stir to combine. 
  3. In a deep (2 inch) skillet, add the canola oil and heat on medium over the stove top. Using one hand for wet ingredients and one hand for dry ingredients, coat the chicken in the flour, the egg and then back in the flour. Place the chicken thighs in the pan and brown on both sides (roughly 3 minutes per side). You do not need to cook the chicken all the way through. Set aside on a plate and drain any excess oil from the pan. 
  4. Add the butter to the pan until it is fully melted. Using a whisk, add the 1/4 cup of flour and whisk until a thick paste is made. You may get some brown bits from the chicken – this is OK. 
  5. Continue whisking while you add the chicken stock one cup at a time. The chicken stock will start to thicken. Once it does, add the next cup and repeat until all four cups have been added. Whisk in the lemon juice and capers and season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  6. Add the chicken back into the skillet and be sure that all pieces are covered with the lemon sauce. Place the skillet into the oven for 15 minutes or until the chicken thighs are cooked completely through. 
  7. Top with parsley and serve immediately. 

Crispy Chickpea Grain Bowls

Tuck’s family has been on the road for about six weeks now, moving apartments every two weeks because baseball season likes to keep us on our toes! Part of the challenge of “settling” somewhere, even though we don’t know how long we are staying for, is buying the correct amount of groceries. If we buy too much we might have to throw away perfectly good food that just won’t make the drive. If we buy too little we are eating out every meal which gets expensive and old after a few days. 

To try and balance out these problems we try to make meals that mix the perfect amount of fresh ingredients with pantry ingredients that we have on hand. This grain bowl uses farro and chickpeas from the pantry and arugula, onion, and parmesan cheese to freshen things up. We’ve tossed the bowl ingredients with a creamy, garlicky lemon vinaigrette that gives some zing to ingredients that seem a little plain on the outside. What started as a solution to a packing problem is now a bowl we will have on repeat all summer long. 

Crispy Chickpea Grain Bowl 
Makes: 2 entree servings 
Prep Time: 30 minutes    Total Time: 45 minutes 

Ingredients For The Salad: 

  • 1 cup uncooked farro 
  • 4 cups lightly packed arugula 
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced 
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, cut into thin chunks  

Ingredients For The Chickpeas: 

  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained 
  • 3 tbs olive oil 
  • 1 tsp cumin 
  • 1 tsp garlic powder 
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes 
  • salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients For The Dressing: 

  • 1/3 cup olive oil 
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon 
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced 
  • 1 tbs mayo 
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Directions: 

  1. Heat a medium pot with 2+ cups water. Cook the farro according to package directions (anywhere from 10-30 minutes). If you have excess water, drain the farro and fluff it with a fork to cool it down. 
  2. While the farro is cooking make the dressing. Whisk the olive oil, lemon zest and juice, garlic, and mayo in a small mixing bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside. If you are making the salad in advance refrigerate the dressing until you are ready to use. 
  3. After the dressing make the chickpeas. Make sure the chickpeas are drained and rinsed well. Gently pat them dry with paper towel or kitchen towel. Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the 3 tbs olive oil and let it get hot before adding the chickpeas. Add the chickpeas, cumin, garlic powder, and red chili flakes. Season the chickpeas with salt and pepper and give everything a good toss to coat. Cook the chickpeas for about 5 minutes- they should be crispy but not rock hard. Remove the chickpeas from the pan onto a paper towel to keep them crispy and drain any excess oil. 
  4. Once all of the ingredients are prepped it’s time to make the bowl! Layer about 3/4 cup of farrow and 2 cups of arugula into each of two bowls. Add a bit of the dressing and toss. Top the bowl with the chickpeas, red onion, parmesan cheese, and the rest of the dressing. Serve immediately.