Creamy chicken and spinach lasagna

Creamy chicken and spinach lasagna
Creamy chicken and spinach lasagna

Michael made this recipe for dinner on Thursday, and we both thought it was delicious. The white sauce is rich and creamy, and the mushrooms and spinach add some heartiness (and healthiness) to the recipe. We also think it would be delicious to use baby kale in place of the spinach.

It does take some time to make this recipe, including baking time, but our inspiration recipe gives directions for making the casserole ahead of time and freezing it. We haven’t tried that yet — because we don’t have the freezer space right now — but think it would be a great option to plan ahead for a busy night.

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Italian beef sandwiches

Italian beef
Italian beef sandwich

If you’re looking for an authentic Chicago-style Italian beef sandwich, this probably isn’t it (you might want to check out this article for some tips). But if you’re looking for a very tasty Chicago-inspired Italian beef sandwich, this is definitely it.

The combination of beef, swiss cheese, onions, au jus, and giardiniera is savory, delicious, and flavorful. We smoked an eye of round roast on the grill, but you could also buy thinly sliced roast beef from the deli as an easy option. I also highly recommend purchasing a Chicago-style giardiniera (such as Marconi), instead of the Italian style (which won’t have the right flavor). Another tasty option is to cook sliced bell peppers and mushrooms along with the onions to make a sort of Philly-style sandwich.

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Grilled teriyaki burgers

Grilled teriyaki burgers
Grilled teriyaki burgers

Now that we have a deck and a grill, we’ve been doing a lot of grilling and smoking meats. These teriyaki burgers are one of our favorites when we’re looking for a quick, delicious dinner.

I like to buy large packages of ground beef when they’re on sale and make a bunch of burgers for the freezer. Then, it’s easy to thaw and grill however many we need for dinner. At a minimum, we recommend topping the burger with cheese, mayo, and butter lettuce — but grilled pineapple slices, grilled onions, or onion buns are also tasty additions.

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Tangy cabbage and broccoli coleslaw

Tangy cabbage and broccoli coleslaw
Tangy cabbage and broccoli coleslaw

This refreshing, vinegar-based coleslaw is my new favorite summer side dish. Michael found this recipe a couple months ago when we were looking for something to go with Jamaican jerk chicken. I made a couple small tweaks to the recipe, and we like it so much that I’ve made it at least once a week since.

I like to make this recipe with a mix of shredded cabbage and broccoli slaw, but you could use just one or the other, as long as you still use 6 cups total. Either way, you’ll want to refrigerate the slaw for at least one hour (or overnight) before serving. It’s delicious alongside any grilled meat or picnic meal. Enjoy!

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Summertime peach cobbler

Summertime peach cobbler
Summertime peach cobbler

I don’t post — or make — very many dessert recipes, but this peach cobbler recipe is definitely worth sharing. In fact, it’s pretty much the only dessert I’ve made this summer. I suppose I could make something else, but this recipe is just so good that I don’t want to. So, if you’re looking for a knock-your-socks-off dessert, look no further.

There are two caveats: The first is that the cobbler is best eaten the same day you make it. The second is that you may not be able to stop eating it. And may I recommend topping it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream?

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Deep dish pan pizza with sausage and tomatoes

Deep dish pizza
Deep dish pan pizza with sausage and tomatoes

Over the past several weeks, Michael and I have been working on improving our homemade pizza — and this deep dish pan pizza was our first project. After several iterations, we’ve come up with a go-to method and picked out our favorite ingredients. Like Papa John’s says: “Better ingredients, better pizza.”

One of the keys to getting a delicious, crispy crust is to use non-stick, 9-inch cake pans to bake the pizza. Also, we’ve found that buttering the pan and using butter in the pizza dough both give the crust a great flavor.

We chose sausage and diced tomatoes as our toppings, based on our favorite pizza from The Italian Pie Shoppe in St. Paul, and it was delicious. If you do want to change the toppings, however, I would recommend sticking with a 1 meat-1 veggie combination so you don’t overwhelm the pizza.

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Easy rice cooker Mexican rice

Easy rice cooker Mexican rice (served with iceberg lettuce, Tapatio hot sauce, avocado, and cheese)

This Mexican rice is one of my favorite rice cooker recipes, and it’s one that we’ve been making for several years — I first posted the recipe in 2012, and we’ve made it countless times since then.

Why do we like it? It’s super simple to make! And it’s a delicious side dish that goes well with nearly any Mexican-inspired meal. I’ve served it with enchiladas, fajitas, and tacos, to name a few. Also, it’s easy to scale this recipe up to feed a crowd. Give it a try!

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Enchilada noodle casserole

Enchilada noodle casserole
Enchilada noodle casserole

This delicious casserole is the easy version of enchiladas — all the flavor with minimal work. Instead of making individual enchiladas, you simply pour the filling and sauce mixture over uncooked egg noodles and bake for 25 minutes. It’s that easy! Like most casseroles, this would be great to bring to a potluck.

I prefer to use medium Rotel and enchilada sauce, but you can use mild or hot instead to get the level of spiciness you prefer. You could also substitute diced rotisserie chicken for the ground turkey; either would be delicious. We hope you give this recipe a try!

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Au gratin potatoes

Au gratin potatoes
Au gratin potatoes

Like I said in my previous post, my Easter dinner menu is now a 2-year tradition: lamb, minted peas, crescent rolls, and these au gratin potatoes. Apparently the other part of this new tradition is that I don’t make these recipes except on Easter (although the crescent rolls need to make it back into regular rotation, I think).

These au gratin potatoes are creamy and cheesy, with a delicious crunchy panko topping. I like to use Yukon Gold potatoes, because those are my favorite, but you could also use Russet potatoes if that’s what you have on hand (I would peel them). I would also recommend shredding your own cheese, because it will melt better into the sauce. Enjoy!

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Minted peas

Minted peas
Minted peas

Happy Easter! This year, I decided to stick with a good thing and repeat last year’s dinner menu: roasted leg of lamb, au gratin potatoes, minted peas, and crescent rolls.

These minted peas are a great (and super easy) way to dress up frozen peas, but I should note that it isn’t the healthiest recipe — after all, there’s heavy cream in it. Hence, it’s once-a-year appearance on my menu at Easter. Give it a try at your next holiday meal!

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