French onion steak skillet

French Onion Steak Skillet | Me & The Moose. This one-pan meal is decadent enough for a special occasion, but quick and easy enough for a weeknight. #frenchonion #steak #valentinesdayrecipes #dinner #onepanmeal #quickrecipes #datenightrecipes
French Onion Steak Skillet | Me & The Moose. This one-pan meal is decadent enough for a special occasion, but quick and easy enough for a weeknight. #frenchonion #steak #valentinesdayrecipes #dinner #onepanmeal #quickrecipes #datenightrecipes

Valentine’s Day is on the horizon, folks. This is a holiday that I don’t particularly enjoy. If you’re not in a relationship or in one that’s complicated, it can feel like a giant middle finger. If you are in a relationship, it can be stressful and/or tedious to have a mandated celebration of your love. AND EXPENSIVE, AMIRIGHT? There’s definitely surge pricing for restaurants and babysitters. Bleh. I hate it.

So instead, we’ll put the kiddo to bed early, open a bottle of wine, and make this easy French Onion Steak Skillet that requires VERY little work and even less cleanup.

But even on non-holiday nights, if your kids like French Onion Soup or steak, they’ll dig in. No need to save this for a special, adults-only meal.

Also, I think I’ve finally cracked the code for getting GENUINELY caramelized onions (not fried, frizzled, or straight-up burned) in about 20 minutes. I know, I know. Most recipes claim that it takes 20 minutes when it actually takes an hour or more to get that deep uniform jammy brownness. Behold this before and after:

French Onion Steak Skillet | Me & The Moose. This one-pan meal is decadent enough for a special occasion, but quick and easy enough for a weeknight. #frenchonion #steak #valentinesdayrecipes #dinner #onepanmeal #quickrecipes #datenightrecipes
French Onion Steak Skillet | Me & The Moose. This one-pan meal is decadent enough for a special occasion, but quick and easy enough for a weeknight. #frenchonion #steak #valentinesdayrecipes #dinner #onepanmeal #quickrecipes #datenightrecipes

After a deep dive through Youtube videos and Cook’s Illustrated articles, I’ve achieved great results much faster than usual. Here are a few secrets to speeding up this otherwise slow process:

  1. Use a large pan with a tight fitting lid. You’ll melt butter and olive oil together and then cook the onions for 3 minutes at a time with the pan covered.

  2. Use medium high heat the whole time. You want the onions to brown and stick to the bottom of the pan just a little bit. If they stick too much and/or blacken rather than brown, turn the heat down slightly. If the onions aren’t sticking to the bottom, turn the heat up.

  3. Add water or stock every 3 minutes and scrape the browned bits off of the bottom and mix them into the onions while they’re cooking.

  4. Repeat the process: Cook 3 minutes over high heat/ add liquid/ scrape the browned bits/ cover and cook for 3 more minutes. After about 15-20 minutes, the onions will be done!

  5. Add 1/8 tsp baking powder at the very end to make the onions sweeter. You can’t add it at the beginning or the onions will break down too much, but adding it at the end lends just the right amount of jamminess.

French Onion Steak Skillet | Me & The Moose. This one-pan meal is decadent enough for a special occasion, but quick and easy enough for a weeknight. #frenchonion #steak #valentinesdayrecipes #dinner #onepanmeal #quickrecipes #datenightrecipes

French onion steak skillet

4 large onions, sliced in ¼ inch slices  
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp butter, divided
5 large sprigs of thyme
2½ cups beef stock
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking soda
1 lb skirt steak, strip steak, flank steak, or tri-tip steak (basically any moderately thin steak) Salt and pepper to taste
½ large baguette, sliced
1 clove garlic, halved
3 oz gruyere cheese, thinly sliced or grated
Flaky sea salt

For the onions:
In a large, ovenproof skillet or pot with a tight fitting lid, heat the olive oil and 1 Tbsp of butter over a medium high flame. Add the onions and thyme, cover, and cook for 3 minutes. If the onions start to burn, turn the heat down slightly (but try to maintain a high heat). After 3 minutes, remove the cover, add ¼ cup of stock, and scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pan and mix the onions around. Re-cover and cook for another 3 minutes, and then repeat the stock/scrape/mix process. Repeat this 3-minute process until the onions are uniformly soft and brown, about 15-20 minutes.

Turn off the heat and mix in ¼ tsp kosher salt and 1/8 tsp of baking soda. Remove the onions to a separate plate and wipe out the pot.

For the skillet:
Whole the onions are cooking, slice the bread and toast lightly in the toaster. Rub the raw garlic over one side of the bread. Shred the gruyere. Set aside.

When the onions are done and removed to another container, heat the broiler to high.

Melt the other 2 Tbsp of butter in your wiped-out skillet over high heat. Sear the steak for about 3-4 minutes per side. While the steak is seering on one side, season with salt and pepper. Repeat when you flip to the other side.

Turn off the heat and add the cooked onions back to the pan.

Pour 3-4 Tbsp of stock over the onions in the pan. Nestle the slices of bread in the onions around the steak and top with cheese.

Place the entire pan under the broiler until the cheese is bubbly and slightly browned.

Slice the steak to test doneness. Sprinkle with more flaky sea salt and fresh thyme sprigs.

 

Yield: 2 grown up and 2 kid servings

French Onion Steak Skillet | Me & The Moose. This one-pan meal is decadent enough for a special occasion, but quick and easy enough for a weeknight. #frenchonion #steak #valentinesdayrecipes #dinner #onepanmeal #quickrecipes #datenightrecipes

White bean chicken chili

White bean chicken chili | Me & The Moose. This easy, fast, cheap, and healthy meal also happens to be gluten and dairy free and a crowd pleaser for game day or a weekday. #meandthemoose #quickdinner #dinner #dinnerrecipes #glutenfreerecipes #dairyfreerecipes #chili #chilirecipes #gamedayrecipes

Who needs a quick, easy, healthy, and cheap dinner that everyone will eat, is totally customizable, and is gluten and dairy free? EVERYONE, that’s who. And we ESPECIALLY need it this week.

White bean chicken chili | Me & The Moose. This easy, fast, cheap, and healthy meal also happens to be gluten and dairy free and a crowd pleaser for game day or a weekday. #meandthemoose #quickdinner #dinner #dinnerrecipes #glutenfreerecipes #dairyfreerecipes #chili #chilirecipes #gamedayrecipes

Our family just flew back from 6 days in Key West, FL and boy are my arms, legs, eyes, lungs, feet, teeth, hair, elbows, knees, and brains tired. See what I did there?

Can we talk about traveling with kids? I love it and hate it. On the one hand, it’s really nice to get out of the regular grind and say “yes” to things like daily ice cream and night swimming. That’s how memories are made, people!

But some of parenting’s stressors are portable. And some of those stressors are actually worse when saying “yes” comes with a side of fatigue and crashing blood sugar.

This particular vacation was amazing fun sandwiched between two slices of crazy-travel bread thanks to oversleeping for our 6:30 am flight on the way there, and then changing our flights twice and driving four hours at 10 pm to beat an ice and snow storm on our way home.

We also paid an arm and a leg for a 3-hour nap in an airport hotel that was the grossest place I’ve ever stayed. It was less like a hotel room and more like a bunch of pink-eye germs and bed bugs holding hands. Shudder. M commented, “It smells like a lot of people were sweating in here.”

But I fully acknowledge that we’re so lucky to be able to travel and are so grateful to the TSA and FAA employees who are currently working really hard without pay. We tried to make meaningful eye contact while saying “Thank you” over and over in securlty.

That said, I’m exhausted.

White bean chicken chili | Me & The Moose. This easy, fast, cheap, and healthy meal also happens to be gluten and dairy free and a crowd pleaser for game day or a weekday. #meandthemoose #quickdinner #dinner #dinnerrecipes #glutenfreerecipes #dairyfreerecipes #chili #chilirecipes #gamedayrecipes

So, let’s get to this easy, all-purpose chili.

It is deceptively complex considering how quickly it comes together. You can certainly let it simmer for an hour to deepen the flavor if you like, but sauteing the spices and using a rich homemade stock if possible, will achieve the same depth of flavor in less time.

And if you put out every possible topping, I’ve found that this dish makes just about everyone happy.

White bean chicken chili | Me & The Moose. This easy, fast, cheap, and healthy meal also happens to be gluten and dairy free and a crowd pleaser for game day or a weekday. #meandthemoose #quickdinner #dinner #dinnerrecipes #glutenfreerecipes #dairyfreerecipes #chili #chilirecipes #gamedayrecipes

White bean chicken chili  

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small white onion, chopped
2-3 large cloves garlic
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp kosher salt
2 lbs ground chicken breast
1½ cups chicken stock (more, if you like a saucier chili)
1 cup chopped tomatoes
8 oz chopped roasted green chilis (2 small cans)
15 oz can white beans
Toppings: Cheese, scallions, avocado, sour cream, and pickled jalapenos

Heat oil over a medium flame in a large pot. Add the onion and sauté until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes.

Add the garlic and sauté again until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the spices and salt and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 more minute.

Add the chicken and sauté until no pink remains.

Add the stock and tomatoes and stir. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 15-20 minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly.   

If the sauce isn’t thickening to your liking after 20 minutes, combine 1 Tbsp flour and 1-2 Tbsp of water and stir vigorously to combine. (I usually use a lidded jar and shake the water and flour together.) Add to the sauce and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Add the chilis and the white beans and bring back to a boil to head through.  

Garnish with cheese, scallions, avocado, sour cream, yogurt, pickled jalapenos, cilantro, etc. Whatever your chili loving heart desires.

Serve immediately.

Yield: 7-8 cups (about 5 grown-up servings)

White bean chicken chili | Me & The Moose. This easy, fast, cheap, and healthy meal also happens to be gluten and dairy free and a crowd pleaser for game day or a weekday. #meandthemoose #quickdinner #dinner #dinnerrecipes #glutenfreerecipes #dairyfreerecipes #chili #chilirecipes #gamedayrecipes

Sheet pan dinner: Mustard salmon with crispy lentils and green beans

Sheet pan dinner: Mustard salmon with crispy lentils and green beans | Me & The Moose. This quick dinner is healthy, satisfying, and full of flavor. Supermarket shortcuts make it even easier. #meandthemoose #sheetpandinner #quickdinner #healthydinner #healthyrecipes #easyrecipes #salmon

Happy new year, all! Thanks for reading and cooking along with me this year. I hope you’ll stick around for 2019 too!

Are you all making resolutions this year?

There’s much talk about whether or not resolutions are a good move. I, personally, use my resolutions as a way to punish myself for everything I think is wrong with me. And that feels like a negative way to start the year, no?

So, instead of telling myself, “Eat healthier, you fatty,” I’m going to just make delicious food that happens to be healthy and see what happens. Staaarting….now!

Sheet pan dinner: Mustard salmon with crispy lentils and green beans | Me & The Moose. This quick dinner is healthy, satisfying, and full of flavor. Supermarket shortcuts make it even easier. #meandthemoose #sheetpandinner #quickdinner #healthydinner #healthyrecipes #easyrecipes #salmon
Sheet pan dinner: Mustard salmon with crispy lentils and green beans | Me & The Moose. This quick dinner is healthy, satisfying, and full of flavor. Supermarket shortcuts make it even easier. #meandthemoose #sheetpandinner #quickdinner #healthydinner #healthyrecipes #easyrecipes #salmon

This sheet pan dinner is fast, easy, and requires minimal prep. You can also make it even simpler by using some store-prepped ingredients. I’ve used pre-cooked lentils that are available at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and other grocery stores in the refrigerated aisle.

I also opt for haricots vert over of straight green beans because you don’t have to trim the ends. Haricot vert are just a thinner and smaller variety of green beans. They can be more expensive, but if time is the priority, it may be worth the extra $1 or $2.

A couple of notes:

  • There are two cooking times here: The salmon and veggies will be done after about 15 minutes and it is totally acceptable to stop cooking here and enjoy green beans with a little snap leftover and softer, creamy lentils. However, I prefer it when you cook the green beans and lentils for another 10 minutes so that the beans are tender and the lentils are crunchy.

  • If using frozen salmon, thaw it before cooking. If cooking from frozen, the fish releases a lot of water, which affects the final texture of the vegetables and lentils.

Sheet pan dinner: Mustard salmon with crispy lentils and green beans | Me & The Moose. This quick dinner is healthy, satisfying, and full of flavor. Supermarket shortcuts make it even easier. #meandthemoose #sheetpandinner #quickdinner #healthydinner #healthyrecipes #easyrecipes #salmon

Mustard salmon with crispy lentils and green beans

1.5 lbs salmon (about 4 medium fillets)
¾ lb haricot vert or green beans (if using green beans, trim the edges)
1 cup cooked lentils
2 large shallots (or 3-4 smaller ones) , cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp kosher salt
3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp grainy mustard
Zest of 1 medium lemon
1 Tbsp lemon juice (from ½ a lemon, reserve the leftover juice)
1 tsp coriander
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp plain Greek yogurt
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400.

On a large rimmed sheet pan (about 13x18), mix together the green beans, sliced shallots, and cooked lentils. Toss with olive oil and salt and push to the sides of the pan.

Place the salmon fillets skin-side down in the middle of the pan so that the skin is directly on the pan or parchment paper (if using).

In a separate bowl, mix together the mustards, lemon zest, 1 Tbsp of lemon juice, coriander, olive oil, and a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.

Cover the flesh side of the fish fillets with 2 Tbsp of the mustard mixture and spread evenly. Reserve the rest of the mixture for later.

Roast the fish and veggies for 12-15 minutes, or until the salmon flakes easily with a fork.

While the fish is roasting, finish the sauce. Add the yogurt and garlic to the remaining mustard mixture and stir well. Taste and add more lemon juice, salt, and pepper as needed.  

When the fish is done, increase the oven temperature to 450. Remove the fish, spread out the veggies and lentils, and return them to the oven. Cook until the beans begin to wrinkle slightly and the lentils begin to crisp, about 10-15 minutes more.

Serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings

Sheet pan dinner: Mustard salmon with crispy lentils and green beans | Me & The Moose. This quick dinner is healthy, satisfying, and full of flavor. Supermarket shortcuts make it even easier. #meandthemoose #sheetpandinner #quickdinner #healthydinner #healthyrecipes #easyrecipes #salmon
Sheet pan dinner: Mustard salmon with crispy lentils and green beans | Me & The Moose. This quick dinner is healthy, satisfying, and full of flavor. Supermarket shortcuts make it even easier. #meandthemoose #sheetpandinner #quickdinner #healthydinner #healthyrecipes #easyrecipes #salmon

Polenta, turkey, and kale casserole

Polenta, turkey, and kale casserole | Me & The Moose. This casserole requires one oven-safe pan, a few simple ingredients, and is an easy, fast, healthy, and delicious meal for any busy night. #meandthemoose #kalerecipes #polentarecipes #kalepesto #dinnerrecipes #onepotcooking #fastdinnerrecipes #casseroles

I don’t know if the abundance of sugar, salt, and fat change my tastebuds during the holidays, but I always struggle to live by the 80/20 rule in December. I indulge with the eating and drinking and then swear I’m going to be healthy the next day, but the healthy stuff never feels all that satisfying or tastes all that good. So I end up like a moth to a flame with the treats.

But you know what? I don’t have to toggle between bland salads and a dozen cookies. This polenta casserole may just be the middle ground: It’s still delicious and a little indulgent with a garlicky pesto and plenty of cheese on top, but it also features kale and ground turkey breast and is the perfect vehicle for any of those leftover veggies in your fridge that are about to go bad. Throw them in and see what happens!

I used my own kale pesto recipe, but cut down on the oil and nuts. But for ease, feel free to use any store-bought pesto that you can find. And to up the nutrition, add any veggies you have in your fridge. You may need to add a bit more pesto to cover the extra ingredients.

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Polenta, turkey, and kale casserole | Me & The Moose. This casserole requires one oven-safe pan, a few simple ingredients, and is an easy, fast, healthy, and delicious meal for any busy night. #meandthemoose #kalerecipes #polentarecipes #kalepesto #dinnerrecipes #onepotcooking #fastdinnerrecipes #casseroles
Polenta, turkey, and kale casserole | Me & The Moose. This casserole requires one oven-safe pan, a few simple ingredients, and is an easy, fast, healthy, and delicious meal for any busy night. #meandthemoose #kalerecipes #polentarecipes #kalepesto #dinnerrecipes #onepotcooking #fastdinnerrecipes #casseroles

Polenta casserole

1-2 Tbsp olive oil
2 lb ground turkey
Large pinch of salt
¾-1 cup kale pesto (recipe below)
1 log premade polenta
½ cup mozzarella, shredded
½ cup hard gouda (not the softer, smoked variety), shredded
¼ cup grated parmesan

Preheat oven to 425.

In a large oven-safe sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium flame. Turn the heat to medium-low and sauté the ground turkey until no pink remains and it has just begun to brown, about 7-10 minutes. Season with a large pinch of salt.

Turn off the heat and stir in the kale pesto.

Slice the polenta log into 1/4 –inch pieces and layer over the turkey and pesto.

Top with cheese and cook in the oven for 13-15 minutes, until the cheese is brown and bubbling.  

Yield: 4 servings

Kale pesto

4 cups packed chopped kale
1/4 cup toasted walnuts
2 garlic cloves
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
4 Tbsp olive oil

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and fill another large bowl with ice water. Wash and chop kale, leaving the middle stems.

When water is at a rolling boil, add the kale and swirl with a slotted spoon a few times. After 1-2 minutes, remove it from the boiling water and add it to the bowl of ice water. Drain the kale (gently squeeze out the water) and add to your blender or food processor.

Roast the walnuts in a 350 oven or toaster oven for about 5 minutes or until just lightly browned and starting to smell nutty. You can also toast them in a sauté pan on the stove top. When browned, add them to the blender or food processor as well.

Add the garlic, salt, and lemon juice and start to blend, slowly adding the olive oil in a thin stream. If using a small food processor or a blender without a top that opens, just add the oil with the rest of the ingredients and process together. Blend until you've reached your desired consistency.

Yield: about 1 cup

Polenta, turkey, and kale casserole | Me & The Moose. This casserole requires one oven-safe pan, a few simple ingredients, and is an easy, fast, healthy, and delicious meal for any busy night. #meandthemoose #kalerecipes #polentarecipes #kalepesto #dinnerrecipes #onepotcooking #fastdinnerrecipes #casseroles

Coconut creamed corn

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Creamed corn isn’t generally considered a “healthy” side. But swap in coconut milk for regular old dairy or a heavy bechamel sauce and you have a much lighter version of this classic that celebrates the beauty of late summer corn.

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This dish also comes together in minutes and is full of herbs and aromatics like garlic, shallot, ginger, lime zest, and basil. Add some quick sauteed shrimp, some grilled or roasted white fish, or a rotisserie chicken and you have a very quick dinner filled with healthy fats and real ingredients. You’re also free of gluten, dairy, sugar, nuts, and soy if you have corn leftovers for tomorrow’s lunchbox.

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Coconut creamed corn

½ tsp coconut oil
2 medium or 3 small garlic cloves, sliced or minced  
1 very large or 2 smaller shallots, sliced or minced
½-inch piece of fresh ginger, minced or shredded
3 large ears corn with kernels removed from the cob (about 2 heaping cups of kernels)
6 Tbsp coconut milk
Heaping ¼ tsp lime zest
15-20 basil leaves, chopped
¼-½ tsp flaky sea salt
Pepper

Heat the coconut oil over a medium flame and when hot, add the sliced or minced shallots. Saute for 1-2 minutes, until the shallots are translucent and starting to brown.

Turn the heat down to medium low and add the sliced or minced garlic. Saute for another 1-2 minutes until fragrant. If the onions or garlic brown too quickly, turn down the heat.

Add the minced or shredded ginger and sauté for one more minute.

Add the corn kernels and sauté for 4-5 minutes. Add the coconut milk and let bubble for one minute until the milk has reduced to more of a sauce than a milk, but don’t let it disappear.

Remove from the heat. Add the lime zest, minced basil, salt, and pepper and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning and adjust according to your taste.

Yield: 3 servings

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