Friday, September 25, 2015


Grilling... I promised myself I wouldn't start this post off with a long list of excuses as to why I have neglected Dahlicious for TWO MONTHS, but I think I have to just explain myself a tiny bit. For starters, I accepted a new job (same company but big functional move) which is super exciting but has also meant that I'm a bit busier and a bit more exhausted at the end day to whip up creative new dishes worthy of posts. And secondly, this summer we have been in total grill mode, and while everything has been wonderfully Dahlicious, I didn't quite deem it post worth. That being said, I don't know why I thought my simple grilled meals weren't worthy but they are... they deserve their spotlight too - right??

So without further a do, an update on the Dahlicious grilled things we made this summer.

Bunless burgers and pretzel bun burgers alike we did a lot of these this summer. Served up with a bunch of veggies, it's the quintessential summer grilling meal.

Flank Steak/Skirt Steak: 
Before this grilling season I never realized that flank steak could be hard to find. Turns out our local Whole Foods only gets them every couple weeks so if you aren't one of those first few customers you are out of luck! Good news is we found that skirt steak was an equally Dahlicious choice as well. We did a lot of steak & veggies which, while not a very exciting meal, when cooked correctly it can be extremely tasty and satisfying (plus low carb!) My go to here is simply marinating the steak in Trader Joe's Soyaki for anywhere from 3-24 hours before grilling. The veggies are just lightly tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Skirt steak, grilled portobello, sauteed rainbow chard

Skirt teak & green beans

Flank steak, grilled asparagus, oven baked homemade sweet potato fries

Grilled Boneless Skin On Chicken Breasts:
Generally speaking I hate chicken breasts, I think they are a waste. However I know they're a healthful protein and my roomie/landlord tends to grill them so perfectly that even this chicken breast hater really enjoys them. I think the skin on adds a lot of flavor and crispiness that would be missing otherwise, and the lack of bone just makes it easier to eat. As far as marinating, I was pretty lazy and went the same route as the steak - Soyaki to the rescue!

Grilled chicken, asparagus, oven roasted cauliflower

Grilled Chicken, grilled bell peppers & yellow squash

The best part about the chicken & steak are that if cooked correctly (for the steak a bit more on the rare side) they can be great leftovers for lunches:

Using my favorite meal delivery containers for weekly lunches! Skirt steak with peppers & zucchini

4 days of grilled chicken! Perfectly portioned

Pork Loin:
This was new for us but it turned out so well. I was bummed I didn't have time to whip up a more interesting marinade or that I didn't marinate it for longer, but I ended up just drizzling the guy with olive oil and sprinkling liberally with this lovely spice blend I found a while on a quick day trip to Milwaukee with my mom. The blend includes: Tellicherry pepper, coriander, cumin, cloves, saigon cinnamon, cardamom, paprika, & tien tsin chile peppers. It was a warm, deep, sweet & peppery combo and made for a lovely flavor on the pork. We served it up with acorn squash (hello fall!), applesauce (duh), and burnt broccoli. This meal will definitely be replicated.

Perfectly grilled pork loin, juicy on the inside!

Pork loin with acorn squash & broccoli

We did also utilize the grill to make pizzas & of course some fish but the ones listed above were definitely our go-to options this summer and I can say for certain that we'll be using our new grill until it's just too freezing for my grill master to step outside (which I'm hoping is still a couple months away!!!)

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Seared Tuna & Soba Noodle Salad

Seared Tuna & Soba Noodle Salad... It's summa time and the grillin's easy! We recently procured a lovely grill and honestly it's fabulous. I have zero interest in cooking anything inside anymore and I must admit my landlord/roomie is actually quite the grill master. So far he has cooked everything to perfection - and I'm picky. I like things with a char but juicy inside, I HATE overcooked meat but I also don't exactly want my food to give me a deathly illness. Anywho, among the burgers and flank steak and pizza we have also had some lighter fare, and this seared tuna was summatime on a plate.

The Tuna:
Marinated in a teryakki sauce for about 30 minutes before spending about 2 minutes on each side at a very high heat. The tuna was super high quality from Whole Foods and you could cut it with a fork it was so tender.

The Soba Noodles:
I had leftover lacinato kale which had been chiffonade (is that a major grammatical error??) as well as julienned zucchini which I wanted to incorporate into this "pasta salad" of sorts. To start I cooked the buckwheat soba noodles per the instructions, drained them and rinsed them with cold water.

While they cooled I added a bit of oil to the emptied medium sized pot I boiled the noodles in (water drained of course) and tossed around my veggies on very low heat for just a few minutes, long enough for them to soften slightly but still keep their crunch. Once done I tossed them into a large salad bowl and quickly doused them with a chilled miso soy ginger dressing and added the cooled soba noodles. I gave it all a big toss and voila!

To Serve:
Plate each dish with the soba noodle salad in the middle and then when the tuna is ready, slice each steak into 1/2 inch thick strips. Fan them out over the noodles for a beautiful display of grill marks and bright red tuna - sprinkle with sesame seeds and you've got yourself a Dahlicious gourmet dinner!

Tossing the soba noodles with the veggies and dressing


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Classic BLT Perfection

Classic BLT Perfection...yesterday morning one of my favorite blogs, Cup of Jo, posted about the most gorgeous, simple, crave-worthy tomato sandwich. I literally spent the whole day fantasizing, dare I say obsessing, over this morsel of Dahliciousness. I just couldn't shake the desire to recreate it myself. But as the day continued and as I started thinking about how I could work this into dinner, accommodating my meat loving roomie, I decided what better way to make this "man friendly" than to add bacon. So, the homemade BLT was conceived.

Oddly enough, I don't think I've ever made a BLT at home, and it's also one of those things I perhaps order once a year at a restaurant. But man is it good. Lightly toasted bread, slathered with tangy mayo, luscious ripe heirloom tomatoes, salty decadent bacon, and crispy fresh lettuce. I MEAN.

The big ticket item here that really started the whole thing was the heirloom. Here we are, in the midst of summer, in prime heirloom season and all I wanted was to luxuriate in that juiciness, and so I did.

After work I convinced my driver-roomie-significant other-landlord to accompany me to Whole Foods, I figured this might get him excited about his impending dinner... letting him help select the bacon and all.

Here's what we ended up with:

  • 3 GORGEOUS heirlooms, of which I used one and could only even eat half of what I sliced up (don't worry the leftovers are being put to good use - more to come). Also side note the guy who rang us up looked at this wonky lopsided hunk of glory and said, defeated,"ugh this was the one I had been eyeing". Sad, but it was mine - sorry!!!
  • Whole Foods French Pan loaf
  • 4 strips of WF Original Pork bacon
  • 4 strips of WF Maple Pork bacon
  • 4 strips of WF Savory Pork bacon
  • Salt & Vinegar Chips
  • Cole Slaw

*At home I had mayo and mini romaine/gem lettuce*

Once home, I got cookin'. The bacon went in the oven at 400 for about 20 minutes on a baking sheet until crispy around the edges.

I started by slicing the big yellow/red/orange heirloom and quickly realized it would be PLENTY, and so to test it, I snuck myself a little hunk of bread with mayo and piled a few slices on top - salt and pepper. DONE.

Once the tomato was sliced I rinsed and dried my lettuce and sliced up some bread. When the bacon was done and resting on a few paper towels, I took just a minute or so to lightly toast the bread. I don't know about you, but I want my bread starting to crisp without a trace of brown. This way it holds up to the mayo and tomato, but still has enough integrity to meld into the shape of it's innards (the B, the L, & the T). I wish I had gotten a picture of it in it's glory, but once I got hold of my sando there was no putting it down to take a photo of the inside.

So, without further ado.... here she is:

Heirlooms, Bread, what more could a girl need

The Goods


This cook needed a tasting mid prep

Basically the light shining on this plate was from the heavens

Here we go
Mayo (check), Tomato (check), Bacon (Check)

Lettuce (check)

Time to devour

Happy Fourth Yall! Maybe if you're lucky you'll find some beautiful tomatoes and make yourself a classic American BLT this holiday weekend!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Sweet & Savory Rice Bowl

Sweet & Savory Rice Bowl... So there's a cafe in my hometown called Active Culture, they make the most Dahlicious rice bowls, yogurt & fruit parfaits, and super fresh frozen yogurt. It seems that everyone in town has their "go-to" bowl at Active Culture, and the one that I just never hear the end of is the LB Rice Bowl. This epic mixture of goodness includes organic brown rice, prosciutto, goat cheese, dates, apples, and basil. The sweet dates, salty prosciutto, creamy goat cheese, crisp apples, and aromatic basil are a combo to crave and last night I just had to make my own rendition at home.

I kept some things the same, the organic brown rice for instance as well as the prosciutto and basil (mainly because I had both already on hand). My bowl differed slightly though. On the sweet front I had recently procured a bag of large mixed medley raisins from TJ's which I diced up in place of the dates. For the creamy cheese, I went with crumbled feta... again mainly because I had it on hand and it was perfection. For the crispy bite I went in a pretty different direction from the tangy apple that AC includes in their bowl and instead went for warm burnt broccoli. Burnt broccoli, by the way, is a staple in my home - florets coated in olive oil/salt/pepper roasted at 450 for 20 minutes on a sheet pan until slightly crispy. They added a heartiness and warmth to my bowl that made this a scrumptious and filling dinner! I topped the whole bowl with a big squeeze of lime juice for a little acidity and moisture to bind all of my toppings.

This bowl will definitely become a regular of mine, the pop of flavor with each bite was addicting to say the least! Now go grab some sweet & savory toppings for your homemade rice bowls and report back on any great new combos!!

Starting the bowl, minus the broc

Too pretty not to post multiple pics!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Grilled Tofu/Zucchini Lettuce Wraps w/ Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

Grilled Tofu/Zucchini Lettuce Wraps w/ Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce... It's a short week for me and I am doing everything I can do eat light after a weekend of stuffing my face and the 4th coming up. Summer is hard man! I feel like I can't find inspiration to cook because the evenings are so beautiful I want to be sitting out at a lovely restaurant dining al fresco or I'm running to a later in the night workout class and trying to grab a quick bite on my way home. Seems that those dark winter months were more inspiring to this wanabe chef. Anywho, I am trying this week to make at least 3 healthful, new meals. So here goes night one.....

What I used for the Wraps:

  • Firm Tofu (I like these sprouted Tofu pack's from TJ's I used one half of the 2 pack)
  • 2 Zucchinis (there were leftovers)
  • 5 lettuce cups (got mine from TJ's)
  • Fresh Mint
  • Fresh Basil
  • Fresh Cilantro

What I used for the Sauce:(which was way more than I needed, cut this in half for 1 person)
1/2 cup chunky peanut or almond butter

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • 1 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/4 cup warm water

For the sauce just whisk all of those ingredients together, I topped mine with some sesame seeds at the end.

For the wraps, simply slice your tofu and zucchini into wrap sized pieces and grill for a few minutes over high heat. Layer them into your rinsed lettuce cups (note I had to rinse and pat dry my lettuce cups before using) and then add on your herbs. I just tore up a combo of the mint, basil, and cilantro and sprinkled over the top of each wrap. Then dig in!!

This meal literally took 10 minutes max - it was super light and super flavorful!! Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

May Roundup

May Roundup... I really like these roundups because it's giving me an opportunity to look back on all the Dahlicious things I've consumed in the month... and it's giving me an opportunity to fully accept why I am not 10 lbs lighter. Without further ado, here is what I stuffed my face with in May of 2015:

The Angry Crab: The first of a new series of "Adventure Date Nights" with our couple friends. I found this place via instagram and let me tell you it did not disappoint. After a lengthy drive to a part of town we were not familiar with, we sat down at this BYOB locale to enjoy bags of shellfish tossed in yummy sauces galore.

Shrimp, Crab Legs, Craw Fish

The aftermath with my namesake beer

Shrimp Roll by the pool: Such a perfect summer bite. Hunks of tender shrimp tossed in mayo and fresh herbs like dill and spicy arugula, stuffed on a super buttery roll and served with salt & vinegar chips. Yes please.

Portillo's: This was one of those nights where my eyes were way bigger than my stomach. I normally order an Italian beef but that night I thought I needed a BIG BEEF as well as a hot dog as well as cheese fries. I am proud to say I finished the beef, had half the fries and took at least 2 bites of the dog.

Look how iddy biddy the hot dog looks next to the Big Beef!!!!

Cinco De Mayo: What a perfect night to treat yourself to the most simple, buttery, cheesy treat - a quesadilla. I was all too pleased to scarf this down with some shredded chicken for lean protein (jaja) and a glob of sour cream because, why not??

Shredded Chicken: The rest of that shredded chicken was used another night that week for a dinner that included a large arugula & buratta salad with a side of chicken vodka fusilli.

Brekkie at The Palace Grill: This place is just around the corner from us and came highly recommended by a friend. It's a total classic diner, and a great spot for a big Dahlicious over hang skillet.

Sauteed onion and bacon hash topped with American Cheese & Fried Eggs

Pork Chops in a Brine: This was interesting. I have never used a brine before but I followed what I thought was a simple one. I let it brine for 24 hours and while the chops were tender and juice and not overcooked they were the saltiest things I have just about ever eaten. I'll have to work on that one.

Jon & Vinny's: While these are not pictures from my actual meal, these are two of the dishes we did order and LOVE at this LA hot spot. I could potentially survive on those meatballs with ricotta and focaccia.

Trader Joe's Cabernet Pot RoastThis was easy and super Dahlicious. It's not a lovely picture but I served this pot roast over wide noodles (aka lasagna noodles I snapped in half before cooking) along side roasted Brussels. Oh and a small glob of sour cream and some fresh chives mixed in... kind of made it stroganoff-esq.

Simple Stir Fry & Pot Stickers

Shredded Beef Super Burrito from De Pasada:  I had like 3 nights in row where I couldn't fall asleep because I was dreaming about a perfect burrito. This is one of my favorite things in the world... a soft stretchy tortilla, wrapped around shredded carnitas, a little rice, a little beans, a lot of guac, sour cream, pico, cheese, and a bit of super shredded lettuce. But I had not been able to find such a treat in the Chicago area, despite knowing it had to exist. Anyways, when I couldn't take the craving any longer I started the Yelp hunt and found this gem. I have ordered it twice since and have been happy each time... now I need to visit in person!!

Pizza by the pool: A favorite summer past time, am I right?? This one topped with Prosciutto & Arugula

Lunch at Home Baguette Style: I love me a good open faced sammy. One side used up buratta, roasted bell peppers, and prosciutto. The other was slathered in pesto topped with marinated artichoke hearts and shaved Parmesan.

Roasted pork chop over lentils & kale : This was actually pretty Dahlicious even though it looks outrageously boring

Ellie's: Lunch with my mom in San Clemente featured a trio of salads and sandos!

Egg's Anna at Anastasia Cafe: My favorite breakfast to have when I'm home is the Eggs Anna which is sourdough toast with proscuitto, arugula, poached egg and a yummy light creamy thyme sauce. Note that my dining partner had their special benedict which is italian sausage over hash browns with poached eggs and holandaise. YUM. Plus their signatute side of french toast which is one of the best things I have ever eaten. That crazy dark sauce is their caramel syrup.

Tula Market: And this my friendsis the place that serves up the burritos I have been craving. This place is a gold mine, its a small Mexican market that dishes out the most outrageously huge and incredibly Dahlicious food... for super reasonable prices. This was a post lunch, pre dinner "snack" so I couldn't indulge in the full burrito but the taco featured below is roughly the size of a small child's head.

Nando's Peri Peri: This a new spot on our block that has been MOBBED ever since they opened their doors. They serve up South African style grilled chicken with fun sauces and an assortment of sides. I got the grilled chicken with lemon sauce, smashed peas and coleslaw.

Radish Round Two: Coffee Rubbed Pork Shoulder, Braised Kohlrabi, Turnip/Carrot Salad. Check out my first experience with this awesome Chicago based food delivery service here.

Charred Beets & Buratta: You guessed it, by the pool! Topped with pistachios. Perfection.

Egg white Omelette with Fresh Spinach & Fruit: Probably my healthiest meal of the month

Sunday Breakfast at Home: Greek Yogurt, Watermelon, Blueberries, Chia Seeds, Hemp Seeds, Organic Blue Agave

Sunday Feast: Basically a brunch that has everything you could ever want from salads to waffles to an oyster bar to mac n cheese. The desserts are outrageous and so are the meatballs.

Meatballs, italian sausage, lasagna, roasted tomatoes, mac n cheese, brocolini

That's all friends! I'll be back soon for with some more Dahlicious Eats!