Spring, are you there?

I can almost detect a few blossoms on the trees in our yard, which can only mean one thing: we’ve survived winter. This has been one of the worst winters I’ve experienced up north. Scratch that. This has been the worst winter since I’ve moved up from Florida. The snow was relentless, the days were short on sunlight, and the hours passed far too slowly. With spring and summer finally approaching (hello, 60-degree weather! I’ve missed you!) I can almost taste the fresh fruits, grilled veggies, and lighter fare that’s within our reach. This is the first year that we’ve signed up for a CSA and I can hardly contain my excitement! I think we’re set up for five or six months, and mostly I’m looking forward to the challenge of basing our weekly meals around fresh, locally grown, seasonal ingredients.

Why is June so far away? We’ll have to hit up some of the local farmer’s markets before then. Continue reading Spring, are you there?

Skillet Chicken Parmesan

Hello, melted cheese!

Skillet chicken parm

Alright, guys. If you’ve been looking for the perfect chicken parmesan recipe, the search is over. There is not one single thing I’d change about this recipe. The chicken is crispy, moist, and oh my god, the cheese. It’s heaven. If you’re not licking your plate clean after this, well, I’m not sure we can be friends. Continue reading Skillet Chicken Parmesan

Chili Garlic Chicken Stir Fry with Coconut Jasmine Rice

I know what you’re thinking: this can’t possibly be very good because it’s ‘just stir fry’. Guess again. This is seriously delish.

Chili chicken stir fry3 Continue reading Chili Garlic Chicken Stir Fry with Coconut Jasmine Rice

Traditional Beef Chili with Cornbread

As much as I look forward to fall (and trust me, I dream about it all year long), there are a few characteristics of the changing season that I find, well, depressing. Days after foliage reaches peak you’re left with bare trees all around. What was once so bright and beautiful is now cold, stark, and dreary.

Then there’s the end of daylight savings. Most people enjoy the switch and relish in an extra hour of sleep, but if you’ve got young children you’re probably laughing along with me when I say, “Extra sleep?! Yeah, no.”

Now we’re looking at complete darkness by 4:30 or 5 pm. Forget playing outside (not that we were planning on it — temps dropped into the 30s last weekend), from now on we’ll remain bundled up in sweaters, sweatpants, and slippers trying to stay warm in our playroom and eating dinner in the dark.

The light at the end of the bleak and oh-so-frigid tunnel (this is more directed at winter than fall) is warm, filling comfort food. Is this not the perfect time to load up on all things hearty and rich? I’m talkin’ braised meats, creamy pastas or risotto, and, my favorite favorite favorite: chili and cornbread.

Customize it any way you like. You can go meatless, lighten things up with turkey, use cubed steak, or take things to another level by grinding your own chiles and spices. The possibilities are limitless. But for the ultimate in comfort food, there is nothing quite like traditional beef chili (with or without beans) and sweet, crumbly cornbread. There’s something about the combination that just makes everything in the world seem right. When you pile it all together in a big bowl — cornbread, chili, cheese, sour cream, onions — it’s just… magic.

Traditional chili

Continue reading Traditional Beef Chili with Cornbread

Sausage and Butternut Squash Crustless Tart

Raise your hand if you began cooking butternut squash at the end of August. Guilty as charged? Me too. The moment I feel fall approaching (that is, when the temperature dips down into the 60s for one quick second), I’m all about squash, cinnamon, and sage.

Here we are nearing the end of October, and I’m delighted to report that I’m not yet sick of traditional fall flavors! It’s a miracle, too. We’ve been eating squash roasted, sautéed, or mashed almost every week since, well, August. Gather ’round fall food junkies! If you’re craving something a little lighter, this is it.


Sausage and butternut squash tart. Continue reading Sausage and Butternut Squash Crustless Tart

Chicken Parmesan Meatballs

Meatballs are a big hit amongst two-year olds, and therefore make frequent appearances at dinner. They’re easy to chew, bite-size, and are a great way to sneak veggies in to unsuspecting tummies. At Chez Laing, they come in a variety of flavors. Lamb, mint, spinach, and feta; turkey, pesto, and parmesan; traditional beef. But these are a personal favorite: chicken, spinach, and sun dried tomatoes. The surprise ingredient? A little piece of fresh mozzarella baked into the center.

Chicken parm meatballs2

Continue reading Chicken Parmesan Meatballs

Warm Brussels Chicken Caesar Salad

This salad might be the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Warm brussels and chicken caesar salad

It is insanely good. As in you should really try to squeeze it onto your menu tonight. Tomorrow, then? Next week? Ugh, it’s the best. Continue reading Warm Brussels Chicken Caesar Salad

Lemony Chicken Saltimbocca

Can we collectively agree that we all, like Alexander, have terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days?

Those days when your morning commute to work/school/gym takes twice as long as it should. And then something flies at your windshield (a rock? some litter? a pigeon?) and crack. And then you come down with a 24-hour bug that, okay fine, is closer to 48 hours.

And then your baby girl gets coxsackie days before scheduled family photos.

And then your son who is 99% potty trained forgets he has to go and pees all over the floor.

Should I just stop while I’m ahead?

I mean, wow. What a couple weeks it’s been!

With all the ups downs and downs, I’m happy to say we’ve at least been eating well.

Chicken saltimbocca2

Like, really well. Continue reading Lemony Chicken Saltimbocca

Chicken Tikka Masala

Indian lunch: Part 1

Me: I’m going to make chicken tikka masala for lunch this week. Sound good?

Chicken tikka masala_3

John: Okay. What about some saag paneer? Continue reading Chicken Tikka Masala

Curried Chicken Salad

Confession: I love a meal that comes together in less than thirty minutes. As annoying as Rachael Ray can be, she was definitely onto something. Whether you’ve been slaving away in an office all day or chasing kids around outside, we can all agree that when 5:30 rolls around on a Monday evening, no one wants to be stuck in the kitchen.

Curry chicken salad

Continue reading Curried Chicken Salad