Real cooking with Nicole Elizabeth at The Fresh Kitchen

I know I’ve talked about The Fresh Kitchen before, but I wanted to share again. My friend Nicole has really helped me grow as a home cook. I strongly believe in not only her cooking talents but her ability to help others, specifically moms like me. She really has taken the intimidation out of cooking for me. At one point in my life, I would never have cooked dishes that sound scary to me, like ratatouille or polenta. Turns out, a lot of things are easier to cook than I thought. And if they aren’t, Nicole talks me through them. If you have a cooking question, you can always ask on The Fresh Kitchen Facebook page!

Recently Nicole asked me and some other friends to come over for a dinner she’d prepared. I thought I’d share with you some photos of what she made. Some of the recipes are hers; others are inspired by Chef Yotam Ottolenghi, and Nicole has added her own take on the dish. If you’d like to know more about Nicole as well as view some of her recipes, check out her website

Homemade pita and hummus
Salad made with baby spinach, pickled red onions, pickled medjool dates, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, and toasted pita croutons made with butter, olive oil, sumac, Aleppo chile flakes, and kosher salt
Israeli couscous cooked in some of the chicken/apricot/tamarind braising liquid
Chicken thighs braised in apricots and tamarind
Roasted peaches over lemon pound cake with ginger ice cream and browned butter shortbread crumbs
What do you think? Which dish would you like to try?

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Fire up that grill! It’s a summer cookout round up. #july4th

We’re officially into summer! I don’t know about you, but after the rough winter we had, I’m enjoying this heat and getting outside every day.

One of my favorite parts about summer is grilling with friends and family. Sometimes it starts as a scheduled party, but quite often the grill makes it easy to have a fun, impromptu get-together!

To make your recipe hunt easier, I’ve gathered up a list of yummy-looking grilling recipes.

Summer Grilling Recipes on My Life: A Work in Progress
Photos used with permission
  1. Barbecued Spaghetti from Ottawa Mommy Club
  2. Grilled Honey Mustard Chicken Skewers from Ottawa Mommy Club
  3. Marinated Beef Skewers from Window on the World
  4. Perfectly Grilled Moist Pork Chops from Saving You Dinero
  5. Sweet & Cheesy Burger from Saving You Dinero
Summer Cookout Sides & Salads Recipes- My Life: A Work in Progress
Photos used with permission

And because you can’t stop with just the meat/entree, here are several of my favorite sides and desserts from The Fresh Kitchen. These recipes are sure to be a hit at any summer party!

  1. Mexican Corn Salad (Esquites) This is my favorite corn dish. The charred corn flavor mixed with Cotija cheese is amazing! 
  2. Mango, Lime, and Chile Salad
  3. Peach Basil Salad
  4. Roasted Strawberry Buttermilk Ice Cream
  5. Strawberry Ice Pops
Which dishes would you like to make?

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Buffalo Chicken in 3 Easy Steps with French’s Crunch Time Entrées


 Easy Buffalo Chicken with French's. Find out more on My Life: A Work in Progress

French’s sent me some of their Crunch Time Entrées to try out. My favorite was the buffalo chicken flavor, since I love hot sauce and all things spicy.

The Crunch Time Entrées come with the breading and sauce. You will also need an egg (lightly beaten), 2 tablespoons of flour (add to the breading), and 1.5 pounds of chicken breast (cut into strips).

The three steps are easy: coat it, bake it, and top it.

Some notes….

I used chicken tenderloins that I cut into two. I wanted them to be about the size of chicken nuggets, so they’d be more appealing to Baby J (the boy loves chicken nuggets).

Also, in the photos below, I’ve halved the recipe. Hubby is still away for Navy training, so it’s just Baby J and I. Half of the bread crumbs and half of the sauce went into jars that I refrigerated (well, the sauce, not the crumbs) for a later meal.

Finally, I left the sauce off a few of the chicken pieces, because I knew the buffalo sauce would probably be too hot for Baby J.

 Easy Buffalo Chicken with French's. Find out more on My Life: A Work in Progress
 Easy Buffalo Chicken with French's. Find out more on My Life: A Work in Progress

Simple, isn’t it? It was delicious too. Yes, I like to cook from scratch, but I like the idea of keeping a couple of Crunch Time Entrées in the pantry to have on hand for last-minute meals.

What side should I pair my buffalo chicken with?


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