Tuesday, December 15, 2015

2015 Best Dinners of the Week

Last year, I had a lot of fun compiling the 2014 Best Dinners of the Week, so I thought I'd continue the tradition this year!  I didn't post as many recipes this year as I would've liked.  In fact, I didn't cook as much as I would've preferred.  I don't know if it had something to do with work, pregnancy, or life, but this year just absolutely flew by, and the dinners flew by along with it.

However, here are some of my favorite, 30-minute or less recipes from this year!  Hope you enjoy them as much as we do.
Fettuccine Carbonara


When we don't have any food in the house, we make carbonara.  It's easy to make, filling, and can serve a whole crowd.  Better yet, you can add or remove ingredients as much as you'd like -- just so long as you've got pasta, parmesan cheese, eggs, and some sort of veggie on hand, you can't go wrong (and saving some bacon in the freezer doesn't hurt, either!).

Campfire Dark Chocolate Orange Brownies


Every year, Evan and I go "camping" in our backyard -- complete with tent, camping gear, and our fire pit.  We prepare all meals exclusively by campfire, and have a lot of fun coming up with recipes that will work.  This spring, we chose to pour brownie mix into hollowed-out oranges to create dark chocolate orange brownies.  They are incredibly decadent, and the leftover scrapings of the orange and orange peel infuse into the dark chocolate, creating an ultimate treat. It certainly doesn't feel like camping when you have desserts this good!

Spicy Shrimp Empanadas


Empanadas are the perfect comfort food to me. They make for a delicious dinner, a great little snack, and the best appetizer to pass around at summer BBQs. I concocted this shrimp empanada recipe recently and it's one that I'll make again and again. This recipe is extremely versatile, for the shrimp can be substituted for any kind of meat (or go vegetarian!) and the spice level can be taken down a notch if you are faint at heart. But if you love shrimp and hot peppers as much as I do, you will absolutely love this recipe as-is.

Campfire Orange Cinnamon Buns


Another trial run with our backyard camping adventures were these cinnamon buns, which we made on the inside of orange.  They turned out perfectly gooey, and the cinnamon really played well with the orange-infused flavor.  And, best of all, since these oranges are to be emptied before you grill them, you can save the pulp for fresh-squeezed orange juice!  We loved this easy camping breakfast.

Chipotle Lager Cheese Fry Chorizo Burgers


My number one pregnancy craving this year has been cheeseburgers, which is amusing because I never liked them until now!  Here's one of our favorite recipes on how to make a chorizo burger, which is amped up with a homemade Chipotle lager cheese sauce. As if that's not enough, it's served with fries over top, as a nod to the Primanti Bros sandwich shops in Pittsburgh. This burger is fantastic for BBQs -- can grilling season come back, please?
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I can't wait to experiment with additional easy recipes in 2016, and am looking forward to sharing my favorites with you as future Dinners of the Week. Stay tuned for more, and Happy Holidays to you and your family!

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