Creamy Maple Bacon Dijon Chicken Pasta

Lately, Joe and I have been working on cutting back on our eating-out spending and putting more thought into our meal prep. One of our tried-and-true favorite inexpensive recipes is this maple bacon dijon chicken pasta! This pasta is made to be really sweet, although if you prefer the spicy bite of dijon, you can adjust the ratios to add more and take away some of the sweetness.

Something that I think is really important is that you do marinade the chicken overnight in the maple syrup and dijon mustard. I tried it with a quick 20 minute marinade before, and the flavor just didn’t soak in and stick as well, and the chicken seemed more dry. For juicier, more flavorful chicken, I always suggest an overnight marinade!

I do recommend bite-sized pastas… longer noodles make this a little stranger to eat. I prefer mini shells, orichiette, or penne, but regular elbow macaroni would work well too. Another thing that could easily brighten the meal up is to add fresh, shelled peas right into the mixture for the last 5 minutes of cooking… just enough to cook them through. I would have done this, but we didn’t have any fresh peas on us this week.

Recipe after the jump

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Blu Crabs // Columbus, GA

Coming from a small town on the coast of South Carolina and being raised in fresh, local seafood, Joe and I tend to be really picky and particular about our seafood. (Don’t even get us started on Red Lobster). So now that we are about 4 hours away from the coast, we have had a really hard time finding fresh seafood that tastes the way we enjoy. That being said, I am SO glad we stumbled upon Blu Crabs!

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Meatless Monday // Shiitake Mushroom “Unagi Don” with Cucumber Noodles

My husband and I both have a passionate food affair with Eel sushi when we go out to eat. We usually split a few rolls, and if it has the eel on it, you can bet we will get it! It’s such an interesting flavor and the eel sauce is the BEST!

For meatless Monday I was totally craving Unagi Don… basically the barbecue eel on a bed of rice. I decided to sub in shiitake mushrooms for the eel because it has a savory flavor and meatlike texture. The sauce was surprisingly simple to make as well, and it brought out a spicy, woody flavor from the mushrooms that was so delicious!

Recipe after the jump

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Meatless Monday // Meat-Free Sloppy Joe’s

Meatless Monday // Meat-Free Sloppy Joe’s

This post has been written by guest blogger Niamh from Cooking Veggie. She designed this Meatless Sloppy Joe recipe for me to make and feature as part of my Meatless Monday and my 23 Before 24 goals!

There were a few different options when it came to how to approach this recipe. Sloppy joes are essentially just 90% beef along with some green pepper, ketchup and seasonings. So the beef substitution had to be outstanding. I don’t like cooking tofu for meat eaters too much, as a lot of people find it quite scary. Also, to get tofu tasting delicious is can require a lot of effort; marinating, frying and simmering. I wanted this recipe to be accessible for everyone. Beans would have made things far too sloppy, so I went with lentils.

There is one ingredient that I would say above all else, cannot be omitted. It’s the secret ingredient I use in all my recipes that are trying to mimic meat and its the smoked chipotle pepper tabasco sauce.This stuff is amazing! Don’t be surprised if you end up using the half of the bottle while making these sloppy Joe’s. The key is to put a decent tablespoon of the bottle into the sloppy joe mixture while its cooking. Then, while everyone’s dishing up their Joe’s, have the bottle there for an extra lashing on top of the cheese. The cheese is optional but… come on. If you did want to go without the cheese though this would be completely vegan.

Also optional, but not really optional because it tastes SO GOOD is buttering on toasting your buns. Butter them and then throw them on a hot frying pan for a few minutes to get nice and toasty

This recipe is also great because it absolutely PACKED with veggies. The eggplant adds a richness to the sauce, where as the celery gives such a nice sweetness that I didn’t include the brown sugar that usually goes in to joes. Eggplant tends to soak up a lot of oil when you fry/bake it, so to keep this recipe healthy I steamed it instead. You don’t need any fancy equipment to do this. I just put a colander over a pot of boiling water with a lid on it and it worked perfectly!

Recipe after the jump!

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Meatless Monday // Baked General Tso’s Cauliflower

I was super sick last week and honestly wasn’t eating much of anything. BUT I’m back this week and cooking meatless again!

I found this recipe and did a sort of “cheater’s variation” (I used bottled sauce I got from Aldi) but I love subbing in Cauliflower for Chinese-inspired dishes! I also pan fried mushrooms, carrots, and spring onion with lemon juice for this dish.

Stay tuned for next week as I cook a meatless recipe designed for me by another blogger!



Meatless Monday // One Skillet Mexican Rice Casserole

It’s week 4 of Meatless Monday’s! So far my adventures in Meatless meal making have been super fun and delicious! This week I was feeling super in the mood for Mexican-Style cuisine, so I decided to throw together a meatless Mexican rice casserole!

Beans are an excellent source of protein already present in Mexican cooking, so honestly I barely at all missed the meat! One of my biggest tips for making a meal Meatless is not to skip out on the spices you would normally use to season the meat with! For example, I’d usually make this recipe with chicken or shrimp, seasoning the meat with chili powder, salt, cumin, and paprika. All of these I used to season my meal! It makes all the difference in keeping these dishes authentic to what you are used to while removing the meat component!

Recipe after the jump

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Metro Diner Columbus, GA Review

Disclaimer // This Post is sponsored by Metro Diner and Tilson PR. However, as always, all thoughts and views expressed here in this post and related social media posts by me are honest and my own. You can read more about my disclosure policy here. Huge thanks to Metro Diner and Tilson PR for sponsoring our meal for date night!

If the name “Metro Diner” sounds familiar, you may remember it from their feature on Guy Fieri’s hit show Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. The revival of Metro Diner has been open since 1992, with its original location thriving in Jacksonville, Florida. They have since branched out to other states and cities… and now their newest location is open here in Columbus, GA!

Joe and I actually noticed the advertising for Metro Diner at this location opening a month or so ago when we were at the Landings shopping center. We were curious about what it would be, but never gave it much thought. We figured we would check it out once it opened. Lo and behold I received a very exciting email that asked me to attend a dinner service with a guest and spread the word of Metro Diner’s opening in Columbus! We are so grateful to have had our date night sponsored by Metro Diner, and I look forward to sharing our thoughts on the food and dining experience with you!

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Meatless Monday // Week 3: Asian-Inspired Vegetable Noodle Soup

It’s that day of the week again! Week 3 and I’m still going strong on my goal for one meatless meal a week! This time I’m pulling out another Asian-inspired recipe. My husband and I are notorious soup people. We went a month last year where we just kept cooking soups every day. There’s so much variety you can do!

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Meatless Monday // Week 2: Chickpea Fried Rice

After the great success of my first meatless meal of the year, I was super excited to try another! One of my biggest weaknesses when it comes to food, especially when cooking at home, is Chinese takeout and Chinese-takeout-inspired foods. I figured that since I’m doing this meatless meal thing, I might as well try a meatless take on something!

We had a can of chickpeas in the pantry from when I was on a homemade hummus kick, so I did a little research and found out that they can do well with pretty much anything! I decided to keep it simple and just swap my favorite chicken fried rice recipe over to chickpea fried rice! Granted, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good chicken fried rice, but I think this is a fairly decent alternative. I won’t say it’s amazing, but it’s not bad!

Recipe after the jump.

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Meatless Monday // Week 1: Spinach, Broccoli, and Mushroom Quiche

As part of my 23 Before 24 goals, I’ve decided to make at least one meal a week meatless/vegetarian/vegan-inspired. I was feeling a little uninspired this first week since I’m fighting a cold, so I took to browsing some of my favorite blogs. From a few years ago on Liz’s blog, I found a yummy-sounding recipe for Broccoli Mushroom Quiche and knew it was just what Joe and I were craving for the day.

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