As weird and trying as this isolation has been, it can also allow for us to explore new hobbies, slow down, and tune into ourselves. Aside from binging Tiger King (what. did. I. just. watch?) and the new series “Little Fires Everywhere”, I’ve been more inspired than ever to try new things and experiment in the kitchen — partly because it’s a nice creative outlet, and also because I can’t rely on a few meals out per week like I usually would! I’ve been craving cozier meals that take a little more work — which isn’t my usual, but I’m leaning into it. We’ve been staying with my husband’s family for the last two weeks and it’s been a nice way to expend some energy, share comforting meals, and get a little giggly over a cocktail (or two.) I’ve gathered some recipes below that I’ve tried or plan to try this month! I am gluten and dairy free for the most part, so I’ll note any swaps I’d make. Enjoy!

SALADS:

This egg-free kale caesar salad — yum! I’d keep all ingredients separate and eat throughout the week, along with adding some sort of protein — grilled shrimp, salmon, or chicken.

Nocrumbsleft’s cookbook is full of lovely salad platters — perfect for serving a family, and has me dreaming about having friends over for dinner. Until then, I think making this modern chopped salad with some charred, grilled chicken would be perfect.

LUNCH/DINNER:

I want to make this bowl ASAP! I keep kimchi in the fridge at all times. It’s a probiotic, tangy, spicy, crunchy, and perfect little snack with rice, meat, or on it’s own straight out of the jar.

These enchiladas pair well with a giant margarita. See: cocktails section below. I ended up using plain greek yogurt in place of the sour cream because it was what we had on hand, and it was delicious.

I recently made this creamy sun-dried tomato and chicken skillet from Half Baked Harvest (because a friend raved about it!) and boy, she was not wrong. I subbed the orzo for a gluten free pasta, and next time I’d sub the heavy cream for Nutpods dairy free creamer or even coconut milk.)

I’ve got a few other items on my “to cook” list from Half Baked Harvest: 30 minute caramelized shallot beef ramen noodles (I’d add more vegetables so I’m not in a full-on carb-coma), slow cooker red wine sunday rag├╣ pasta (I’d sub for a GF pappardelle if possible, or perhaps a fettuccine), and this california chicken, veggie, avocado and rice bowl. Annnnd basically the rest of her entire website, because it all looks delicious and comforting.

You can take the girl out of Texas… And she’d probably prefer to stay in the midwest anyways! Regardless, I do want to make these Texas style brisket tacos — (I’d even throw the leftover brisket over salads, or in a bowl with veggies and rice.)

Soup! I almost forgot to mention this zuppa toscana I made earlier this week. I added nutritional yeast for additional depth, and I used store bought Italian sausage because I am not that ambitious. I also love this cabbage soup and make a large batch and eat it throughout the week. Add ground beef, pulled chicken, or whatever protein you prefer.

BAKING:

I made this banana bread recipe (pictured above) into gluten free muffins and added chocolate chips. They were fluffy, moist, and paired perfectly with my black coffee — this recipe will be saved in my archives and used over and over from here on out. For added enjoyment, put them on a fancy plate “just because” (we could all use a little more joy sprinkled in.)

These better for you blueberry muffins could easily be made GF with 1:1 All Purpose flour used as a replacement. (I enjoy Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose 1:1 Gluten Free Flour.) I actually have all of these ingredients on hand, so these might be up next!

I’ve always wanted to try making my own GF cinnamon rolls. I feel like there’s no time like the present.

DRINKS:

“Clayton’s Margarita’! Everybody and their mom is talking about it on social media — and for good reason. I was skeptical re: the egg whites, but I went for it, and now I’m converted. I made a double batch for Bryan’s family (we’re currently isolated with them in Minnesota) and everyone gave it 5 stars. A second batch was soon to follow later in the week. (We used Casamigos Blanco. Personally, I think this is a non-negotiable.)

I’m missing our Scandinavian go-to restaurant in Grand Rapids, mainly their “Walk in the Woods” cocktail. This drink seems like it’d be a distant cousin to the WITW, but it still looks extremely refreshing. Coincidentally named the “homesick blues”.

This immune boosting wellness smoothie seems like a good way to end this post, bringing some balance to the comforting and indulgent recipes I’ve shared!

What have you been whipping up lately? I’d love to hear below.

xx,

Kaleigh

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