Wednesday Wisdom: What’s In Your Pantry?

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread I made for my Dad when I saw him last month!

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread I made for my Dad when I saw him last month!

I went grocery shopping yesterday after a long day of exams, student panels, and puppy-watching.  When I walked in my normal grocery store, nothing was where it was supposed to be.  I know Kroger said, “Pardon our dust while we remodel!”, but man.  Running through 12 aisles to find canned beans by themselves next to the lightbulbs and forgetting to buy peanut butter because my flow was off was NOT what I wanted to do yesterday.

Alas!  I was on a mission.  I’m truly terrible at the whole “New-Year’s-Resolution-Get-Healthy” thing.  Because the last thing I want to do when it’s -10 degrees outside is leave my house (and my Netflix).  Every year, during the fall, I decide to go on a bit of a health kick.  Last year, I found an awesome yoga/barre studio and it was my saving grace during the throws of my second year of medical school.  This year, since I have much more time during the day, I’m focusing on healthy cooking, and Dan and I are joining the gym down the street for some accountabili-buddy workouts when Gino wakes us up at 5:30 AM (like this morning…)!

I think one of the most important things about cooking healthy foods – and avoiding eating out all the time – is to have a well stocked pantry and fridge to whip up some basics or to spice up something bland.  Here’s what I make sure to have on hand…along with some of my latest life pictures!

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Asparagus, Red Pepper, and Bacon Frittata

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A make-ahead frittata for a savory breakfast choice!

We’ve had Gino, our 9-week-old Golden Retriever puppy for 11 days.  I haven’t posted on here in 11 days.  That pretty much sums up what the last 11 days have been like.  Puppy bite marks on my hands, the carpet covered in towels and blankets, an entire bottle of cleaning spray gone, 4 pounds of puppy food eaten.  I found myself yesterday talking to Buckeye cable on the phone to fix our bad internet, holding Gino in my arm, and cleaning up poop with my other hand.  Now I know what moms feel like.

But, I can’t complain.  I have more videos and pictures of this fluff ball and his big sister cuddling, rolling around on the floor.  I’m greeted with pure joy when I get home at night.  And I now have 8 feet pitter-pattering behind me every single step I take.  I usually am living by the mantra of, “When he sleeps, you sleep!”, but I decided to fill you all in on this fantastic frittata instead.  Because if I make this on the weekend, I can sleep for 10 more minutes during the week, knowing breakfast is ready in the fridge.

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Butternut Squash Soup with Ancho Chipotle Pepper Cream and Bacon Crumbles

THIS.  This bowl of SOUP.  Is amazing.

One Bowl Wonder

One Bowl Wonder

Update on the life:

  • Sorry for no TGIF post this week.  We’re picking up our new puppy, GINO!, tonight.  He’s an 8 week old golden retriever, weighing a hefty 13 pounds, and I’m busy puppy-proofing the apartment today.  Stay tuned for Gino Pupdates!
  • I was under the weather yesterday and my local Urgent Care patched me right up.  I had matzo ball soup from the delicatessen for lunch (yum) and LUCKILY had this butternut squash soup in my pantry that I was going to try and be inventive with for dinner.
  • While I made this gourmet squash soup, Dan preferred Taco Bell.  Full disclosure – I had him get me a deluxe soft taco.
  • Do yourself a favority favor and make this IMMEDIATELY.
  • Side note – anything I add ancho chili peppers to is immediately better.  It’s got a spicy punch behind it, so go lightly if you’re scardy of the spice!
  • If I was overzealous, I would have made some cornbread croutons to put on top of this for a little more crunch!  If you’ve got spare cornbread laying around (Who has spare cornbread laying around…?), then go for it!

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Chicken Parmesan with Zucchini “Zoodles”

Zoodily Zoodles and World’s Best Garlic Bread!

My mom taught me quite a few things in the kitchen.  One of those things is homemade garlic bread, and I am forever grateful.  Buying a French baguette at the grocery store is a decision I don’t take lightly – I know it’ll be followed by over-garlicked, buttery, amazing bread.  And I need the perfect meal to enjoy it with.  And to use leftovers to make homemade croutons – another one of my mother’s culinary gifts.

I have found that meal.  Healthified chicken parmesan with zoodles!  A great dose of vegetables, protein, and some cheesy goodness.  Best part?  No boiling noodles, a quick *zesty* red sauce, and easy chicken finished in the oven.  Perfect to melt your cheese and brown your garlic bread under the broiler.  And go back for a second slice of this delicious bread!  No pasta = extra bread 😉

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Slow Cooker Shredded Mexican Chicken

The goodness that is easy, 3-ingredient shredded chicken.

The goodness that is easy, 3-ingredient shredded chicken.

MONDAYZZZ. Ugh. I shouldn’t even be complaining.  It’s Fall break, which means no class for 2 days.  It was sunny and 65 degrees out today.  Football Today had a new podcast out and they continued to rave about the Packers.  I made my childhood favorite meal (Chicken, Broccoli, and Rice Casserole) on a whim today.  And it was just as good as I remembered.

But, today was one of those days I needed a Diet Coke at 5PM and I don’t even drink pop unless it has Jack Daniel’s in it.  I didn’t even wear mascara today. *Gasp*.  Before I was writing this, I was reading a book about patient case files and realizing how much I have to study before medicine starts back up again next summer.  My biggest accomplishment was tying my tennis shoes today.

And for days like today?  And I know everyone has them.  CROCKPOT.  Buy one.  Use it.  I’ll make it easy for you: CROCK POT.  Even better? Throw 3 ingredients in there and you’ve got a delicioso meal that will last you FOREVER.  Okay, like 3 meals, but that’s pretty good.

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The new fall wreath I made! Crafting challenge - complete.

The new fall wreath I made! Crafting challenge – complete.

Hi friends! Welcome to this (kinda late) TGIF!  I missed last week because a friend from college visited Toledo!  We made delicious cocktails, goat cheese and prosciutto crostinis, and amazing garlic basil chicken with tomato butter sauce.  It was a HUGE success and I got to show off Toledo a bit – it’s a great place to live!

Enjoy these links from around the web:

If Your Piggy Bank is Full:

      • Fall = cardigan season.  I’m digging this longer, cozy, go-with-everything cardigan.  And for under $40? Steal!
      • All my fav bloggers have been raving about A Cozy Kitchen’s new cookbook: The Year of Cozy.  After following her for years, I can’t wait to buy this and try her seasonal recipes and CRAFTS! (^^see above wreath).
      • So, after almost cutting my finger off this week, I decided I need a few new, non-plastic, cutting boards.  After some Amazon perusing, this bamboo cutting board caught my eye.  Non-skid pads!
      • Just got this campfire soy candle and I can’t WAIT for my apartment to smell like subtle fall bonfires all season long.

Weekend Eats:

Link Love:

And for the grand finale, a Will Smith, Jaden Smith, and Alfonzo Ribeira (Carlton) reunion.  And as always, GO BLUE!

xo, Maddy