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Lunch and Dinner

Riced Cauliflower Chicken Casserole

March 28, 2017
Riced Cauliflower Chicken Casserole Recipe | Fake Food Free

It’s like broccoli rice casserole, but without the broccoli or rice. That’s the first description that came to mind when I made this. Or at least that is what I envisioned when I came up with the recipe. 

I’m still not over riced cauliflower. Maybe the rest of the world is? I don’t know. But I love the stuff. I’m always stir-frying it into things. So last week I thought – why not stir it into things…and then bake it. 

Alas, a casserole was born. 

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Acorn Squash Risotto and Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

October 31, 2016
Acorn Squash Risotto and Brussels Sprouts with Bacon Recipe | Fake Food Free

It’s the end of October which means my meals have become fully committed to all things fall. Currently, that means Brussels sprouts and winter squash. I’ve even gone so far as to plant a few Brussels sprouts in the garden in hopes that I can keep the trend going throughout the winter. 

We went to a pumpkin farm last weekend and the walk up to the outdoor checkout was lined with $1 and $2 heirloom acorn squash, butternut squash and pie pumpkins. It was my version of the king size packs of M&Ms on sale as you wait to check out at the supermarket. The wagon was full of orange and green speckled culinary squash by the time it was my turn to pay. No self control. 

This is one of the recipes I put together recently that incorporates both of my fall favorites. I hadn’t made risotto in forever and I love it with winter squash mixed in. I often incorporate cheddar into it, but this time I skipped that. Instead, I paired it with shredded brussels sprouts and crispy bites of bacon. 

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Braised Boneless Short Ribs with Citrus Garlic Slaw

December 16, 2015

These boneless short ribs make the best winter comfort food when braised in white wine and served with a seasonal cabbage slaw. The short ribs were among several cuts of high-quality grass-fed beef that I recently received from Butcher Box.

Braised Boneless Short Ribs with Garlic Citrus Slaw | Fake Food Free | Made with grass-fed beef I received from Butcher Box!

Beyond burgers, I don’t claim to be an expert at cooking beef. That’s why I like it when I receive a little something that makes me step out of my comfort zone. This time is was grass-fed boneless beef short ribs. 

Last minute gift idea alert. If you have a beef lover in your life or someone who loves to cook it, Butcher Box is the answer. 

A little while back, I was sent a Butcher Box full of high-quality grass-fed beef. Sirloin tips, steaks, short ribs, ground and bacon. It was loaded with good stuff. 

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Nashville Hot Chicken

November 28, 2015

Traditional Nashville Hot Chicken Recipe from The Hot Chicken Cookbook | Fake Food Free

We were at the wedding reception of a friend, chatting over a drink with the cousin of the groom. The conversation turned to our upcoming trip to Nashville. It would be a quick weekend trip from Lexington, our home at the time. 

“You need to try Hot Chicken,” he said. My husband and I must have had confused looks on our faces, and he must have been used to that kind of response, because he went on to explain. He lived in East Nashville and said that few people had heard of it, but it was a favorite among locals. 

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Skillet Mushrooms in Rosemary Gravy and Smoked Ham and Olive Spread

November 18, 2015

These savory snacks make a great start to holiday meals. Their rich, earthy flavors are an ideal match for the Cabernet Franc I received from Cultivar Wine.

Skillet Mushrooms in Rosemary Gravy and Smoked Ham and Olive Spread | Holiday Snacks and Appetizers | Cultivar Wine Pairing on Fake Food Free #partner  
The idea of snacks for Thanksgiving day seems a little absurd. It’s not like we really need to include more food in the celebration. And having snacks around certainly isn’t because we need to satisfy hunger. If you are like me, hungry won’t even be a part of your vocabulary for at least 36 hours. 

Yet there is something about little bites to kick off the celebration that feels like a necessity. All that cooking makes you want to eat. Why not take things over the top? It is Thanksgiving after all.

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Simple Slow Cooker Mung Bean Soup

November 11, 2015

Simple Slow Cooker Mung Bean Soup Recipe | Fake Food Free | An easy, comforting meal for the busy holiday season.  
Soon, we’ll be frantically running out to the supermarket to get overlooked ingredients. Soon, we’ll forget what it’s like to shop during the holidays and find ourselves elbowing our way to a check-out line. Soon, we’ll be waiting in line at the post office (something we swore we’d never do again) to get gifts mailed before the last possible hour. 

Soon, no matter how hard we try to stay in control, things are going to get crazy. 

I love the holiday season, crazy or not. So I say bring it on! As long as I have some lights sparkling in the living room and cookies in the oven at some point throughout the season, I’ll take it. 

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Club Sandwich with Duck Breast, Cambozola, Applewood Smoked Bacon and Roasted Garlic

November 2, 2015

This recipe takes an ordinary sandwich and makes it worthy of an excellent wine pairing! It comes from Chad Hendrickson, Executive Chef for The Hess Collection. A special thank you to The Hess Collection for sponsoring this post. 

Club Sandwich with Duck Breast, Cambozola, Applewood Smoked Bacon and Roasted Garlic | Paired with The Hess Collection Small Block Series 2012 Napa Valley Syrah | Fake Food Free | #sponsored

Sandwiches are casual. When we don’t want to have a fancy meal or invest too much time in the kitchen, we go for a sandwich. 

They are convenient and familiar, but many lean a little towards boring and monotonous. That is, until you start considering whether the lowly sandwich could possibly pair with wine. Not just any wine, but a syrah that boasts black and blue fruits with a subtle touch of spiced vanilla and cedar. Before you know it, you have a duck breast sandwich on your hands that also happens to be layered with bacon and Cambozola cheese. 

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Roasted Cranberries with Greens

October 29, 2015

Roasted Cranberries with Greens Recipe | Fake Food Free | A quick and healthy side dish for the holiday season!
Every year, I go to the grocery store mid-October and ask if they have fresh cranberries. Every year the hard working person in the produce section tells me that they don’t come in until mid-November. So last week my expectations were low, but I had my eye out anyway.

When I turned to find a pile of bags front and center in the lettuce row, I’m certain my cheer carried itself to the freezer section across the store. 

Rumor has it the season arrived earlier this year. As a result, it will end earlier to. So stock up. I’ve already started. 

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Roasted Butternut Squash with Pear and Red Walnuts

October 7, 2015

Roasted Butternut Squash with Pear and Red Walnuts Recipe | Fake Food Free
This butternut squash dish is not sweet. I repeat, this dish is not sweet.

If you are like me, no matter how many versions of winter squash you’ve made or been exposed to, your brain still thinks of nutmeg, cinnamon and maybe even maple, when you envision the rich, orange, tender squash.

Okay, I’ll admit that this does contain cinnamon. But cinnamon is one of those interesting spices that can swing sweet or savory. It this case, it’s savory. 

The secret to this recipe is some heat. You don’t have to burn your mouth off, but use at least a medium spicy chili powder. I could even see a chipotle chili powder working. When you use these deeply flavored spices you get a beautiful balance of slightly sweet squash, with earthy pear, a bit of heat and crunchy walnuts. 

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