Simple Macerated Strawberries

Simple Macerated Strawberries. Who doesn’t love strawberries? My family certainly does. This recipe is a super simple go-to when I want to elevate my berries! Perfect for topping your family’s pancakes, waffles, and yummy desserts! Macerated is a technique that releases the juices from your fruit. And you can either do this with a simple syrup or simple syrup with alcohol. I opted for the simple syrup without alcohol for a more kid-friendly recipe. You can also change this up and add in whatever fresh herbs you have on hand. So easy and tasty! Share your favorite way to eat strawberries in the comments below.

Enjoy

Xo- Ayesha

Simple Macerated Strawberries

1-pint strawberries, hulled and sliced.
1/2 cup brown sugar (or white)
One tablespoon honey
Two tablespoon lemon juice (You could substitute with Grand Marnier)
One teaspoon mint, finely chopped (optional)
Pinch sea salt

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix gently.

Allow sitting room temperature for 20-30 minutes.

Serve as a topping for your pancakes, waffles, ice cream sundaes, cakes, and more! I could eat a small bowl just on its own.

Lamb Ragu

Lamb Ragu. Here is yet another simple and delicious meal to make. This rich and creamy, pasta is a spin on the traditional spaghetti sauce. Served over your pasta. Flavored with tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, and a little red wine. Perfect for lunch or dinner! You can’t go wrong. So gather around the table with your friends and family and enjoy this wonderful pasta dish.

 

Lamb Ragu

1lb ground lamb
2 tablespoons olive oil
1-28oz can whole peeled tomatoes (I used San Marzano)
2 cloves garlic, minced.
One small red onion, diced.
Three cups cremini mushrooms, sliced.
One cup full-bodied red wine (I used a cabernet)
One cup sour cream
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon Herbs de Provence
1 1/2teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/12 tablespoons brown sugar (Of course I’m going to use it!)
1lb box favorite pasta (I used fusilli pasta)
Grated parmesan cheese for garnish
Fresh basil or parsley for garnish

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Make sure to salt your water! Add the pasta and cook according to instructions. Drain pasta. And set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add your onion and garlic and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the ground lamb into the pan. Season with salt, pepper, paprika, and Herbs de Provence.

Break up your lamb as it browns. Letting all of the liquid evaporate in the pan until you see little bits start to stick to the pan. Add mushrooms.

Add wine and deglaze the pan by getting all those brown bits off the bottom of the pan. (So much flavor!!) Let the wine cook down to half its size. Add the whole tomatoes and gently break up, simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes. Add brown sugar and sour cream and mix well.

Serve over the pasta. Garnish with freshly grated parmesan and freshly chopped basil.

My kids loved this!

Enjoy,

Xo- Ayesha

Andouille Sausage Egg Rolls

The perfect Saturday night appetizer! One of my favorite dishes for my sister to make are her andouille sausage egg rolls. They are chock full of meaty and cheesy goodness. Crunchy and salty with a little sweetness. Andouille is a smoked slightly spicy sausage made using pork and is perfect for the egg roll. And certainly always a crowd pleaser. The only problem is she seriously can never seem to make enough for the group.

She came up with this recipe when one of her favorite places to eat closed down and all that was left with was the memory of this fantastic egg roll. And instead of tracking down the owners and demanding the recipe she recreated this dish and added some of her own flair to it. (Her method is definitely better.) So if you haven’t already tried to make this you definitely should! Just pick up a copy of my cookbook “The Seasoned Life” available at a book retailer near you. Have you already made this dish? Share it in the comments below. Thanks, Sis!

Enjoy!

Xo- Ayesha

Andouille Sausage Egg Rolls

*Find this recipe and more in “The Seasoned Life”. Available at a book retailer near you!

Some dreamy andouille.

Wrap it up.

I freeze leftovers for future use.

Fry Time!

Here Comes the cheese…

 

Yummm..!

My Sweet Tooth Smoothie

One of my favorite things to make when I’m craving something decadent is my “Sweet Tooth Smoothie”. It’s rich, thick, and creamy and gives me that sweetness I crave. Full of yummy and easy to throw together ingredients! Share your favorite and quick to make dessert smoothie in the comments below.

Thanks,

Xo- Ayesha

 

“Sweet Tooth” Smoothie

4-5 Pitted dates
1 cup Almond milk (You can substitute as needed)
1/4 Cup Sunflower Butter
1 Frozen Banana (be sure to slice and freeze for easier blending)
1/4 tsp Turmeric
1/2- 1 cup ice (depends on desired consistency)

Simply place ingredients in blender and blend. If the consistency is to thick for you simply add more of your liquid ingredients and continue to blend to your liking! So easy and so delicious.

Quick TIP: I love to put frozen banana and other fruit for my smoothies in Glad Freezer Bags at the beginning of the week for easy and convenient smoothie prep.

Enjoy.

Simple Sheet Pan Dinner With Balsamic Drizzled Chicken And Vegetables

Simple Sheet Pan Dinner With Balsamic Drizzled Chicken And Vegetables

Take the stress out of cooking for family and friends with this delicious sheet pan dinner. One of my all-time favorite meals to make. Chicken, sausage, brussels sprouts, and butternut squash with a balsamic glaze drizzle. Umm yes, please! Everything is seasoned to perfection and spread out before roasting away. This is one of the easiest dinners possible! I like to use chicken thighs as they are juicy, flavorful and get that delicious brown crispy skin when roasting. Such a simple process that takes only minutes to prep. It can even be made beforehand and stored in your refrigerator until ready to be baked.

You can also choose to cover your sheet pan with foil or parchment paper for a simple cleanup. I’m using my non-stick brown sugar sheet pan from my new home collection! So clean up was a breeze. Just toss your vegetables on a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil and seasonings. Top with chicken and pop it into the oven! It finishes cooking in less than 30 minutes. You can substitute in different fruits and vegetables like baby potatoes, sweet potatoes, thick chunks of apple, zucchini and more. Just make sure to cut them into uniform sizes for quick and even cooking. I hope that this makes your holiday entertaining just a little bit simpler. Share with me your favorite one-dish meals in the comments below.

Enjoy!

XO Ayesha

 

Simple Sheet Pan Dinner With Balsamic Drizzled Chicken And Vegetables

6 bone-in, skin on chicken thighs
1/2 pound (3-4 links) sweet Italian sausage links
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1lb brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved.
1lb butternut squash, cubed. (I love to use those pre-cut organic containers!)
One red onion, sliced.
4-6 garlic cloves, whole.
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Place Brussels, squash, onion, and garlic in large bowl and drizzle with half olive oil and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat.

Add spices to a small bowl and mix with remaining olive oil. Massage mixture over chicken. Set aside. Cut each of your Italian sausage links into four pieces.

Place vegetable mixture on a large rimmed baking sheet and spread into an even layer. Set chicken and sausage over vegetable mixture. Roast in preheated oven until juices run clear from chicken and vegetables are golden brown, about 25-30 minutes.

Tip: You can broil this dish during last few minutes if you love that golden brown crispy skin on your chicken. (Oversee it!)

Drizzle with a balsamic glaze (Can be bought in any store) over the top and serve immediately!

Yum!

Happy Mother’s Day

I want to wish all of the fantastic moms out there an extraordinary Mother’s day! Being a mother is the hardest but most rewarding job that there is. And yes there may be crying, whining, tantrums and endless messes. But the perks of sticky kisses, warm hugs, and unconditional love are priceless. Happy Mothers Day!

Now for any loved ones looking for an easy and thoughtful (DELICIOUS!) way to spoil your mother this year check out the recipe below. It’s an easy to make and stunning apple pie. No judgment zone. If you want to use store-bought pie dough then, by all means, do it. I’m sure mom will be happy either way. Whats your go-to mothers day dessert to serve? Share in the comments below.

Have a blessed weekend!

Xo- Ayesha

 

Easy Apple Pie

3 pounds apples, cored, peeled, and sliced. (Granny Smith apples)
Two tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces and chilled.
One tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup brown sugar
One teaspoon cane sugar, for sprinkling over top of the crust.
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch kosher salt (About one teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
Pie Crust (You can make your own or buy store-bought)
Egg wash (1 egg and 1 tablespoon water lightly beaten)
Flour for dusting.
Heart shaped cookie cutters (different sizes)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Lightly dust a clean area with flour. Roll out half pie dough for the topping. Use cookie cutters to make cutouts of the dough and set on a parchment lined pan. Refrigerate until ready to use.

In large bowl combine apples with lemon juice, sugar, flour, and spices.

Add the other half of your pie crust to a prepared pie pan and gently press into place.

Pour in your apple mixture. (Don’t pile it too high! Leave room for the crust.) And top with butter pieces. (make sure your butter is cold and cut into small pieces.)

Remove crust cutouts from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature.

Top apple mixture with dough cutouts by scattering them over the top.

Brush with egg wash before sprinkling with a teaspoon of sugar.

Place pie on a large baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 60 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.

Allow to cool and serve! (Hopefully with ice cream!)

Morning Roasted Pear Oatmeal

Morning Roasted Pear Oatmeal

Now I am always looking for ways to spruce up our household favorites. So I wanted to share with you a quick and flavorful take on an oatmeal recipe that the adults and kids will like this coming weekend. I pair Irish cut steel oats with a little cream and brown sugar and roasted pears. The house will smell like the holidays all over again as you roast your pears away! For the kids, I sometimes just take the roasted pear and just pour the yummy oatmeal over top. It’s like a pear bowl. The kids will love it. It truly amazes me all the things you can add and mix in to truly transform a plain old bowl of oatmeal. I hope that this becomes a new household favorite.

Xo- Ayesha

Morning Roasted Pear Oatmeal

3 cups water
1 cup steel cut oats
1⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup heavy cream
One tablespoon brown sugar
Pinch sea salt

Add cinnamon and oats into a pot and bring water to a boil. Stir well and cover. Adjust heat to low and simmer for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Do not overcook! Remove from heat and add butter, sugar, cream, and pinch of salt. Top with roasted pears and a drizzle of pear juice from the pan. Serve immediately.

Roasted Pears

Three pears, cut into halves.
Two tablespoons butter, melted.
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Quarter and core the pears. (Use a melon scooper or small spoon.)

Place pear halves in baking dish. Brush pears liberally with melted butter. Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon mixture on top evenly.

Bake for 10-15 minutes.

Allow to cool and transfer to a cutting board. (Reserving sauce in pan)

With or without skin on chop into cubes.

Serve over top of oatmeal.

Enjoy!

Jamaican Style Beef Stew

Jamaican Style Beef Stew

Hey everyone! I gotta say I’m in love with my “Instant Pot”! Not only is it incredibly convenient for this working mama but it takes some of the most time-consuming meals and cooks them in no time. I decided to make a spin on a beef stew with some of my favorite Jamaican ingredients. By using Jerk seasoning and curry powder which are always staples in my pantry. They pack a powerful punch and always give me that nostalgic taste I crave. Along with some coconut milk, scotch bonnet (habanero pepper most places) and ginger.

The stew meat turns out incredibly tender after just 20-25 minutes in the electric pressure cooker. Now anyone who has used a pressure cooker before knows that they can be incredibly intimidating and scary. But this makes it so easy. If you don’t have one, you can add all of the ingredients into a covered baking dish and do it the low and slow way. But I love that with an electric pressure cooker you can throw it all in and go and before you know it you have tender beef, carrots, and potatoes in a flavorful gravy. Yum!

Enjoy,
Xo- Ayesha

Jamaican Style Beef Stew

1 1/2 pounds beef stew meat
One tablespoon olive oil
1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
One large onion, roughly chopped.
4-6 carrots, peeled and sliced.
1 pound potatoes, cubed.
Two garlic cloves, minced.
1-inch ginger, peeled.
1 cup beef broth
One can coconut milk
Two bay leaves
One sprig thyme
2 tablespoons jerk seasoning
1/2 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste. (About one teaspoon each)

Set your instant pot to saute and once it blinks “Hot” add in your olive oil.

In a large bowl coat your beef in flour and seasonings.

Add garlic and seasoned meat into the instant pot and brown for about 2-3  minutes. Deglaze the pan by adding in broth. Making sure you scrape all of the bits and pieces off the bottom of the pan (So much flavor in that!). And add coconut milk and stir well. Now toss in your onion, carrot, potato, thyme, and ginger to the instant pot.

Make sure the lid and steam valve on the instant pot are closed.

Cook on pressure cooker function for 20 minutes then allow to sit for 10 minutes until it has released the pressure. If not thickened to your liking see the slurry note below.

* You can make a slurry to thicken your broth by adding 1/4 cup of the hot broth with 1/4 cup of cornstarch in a small bowl. Now stir into the stew for thickening.

Enjoy!

Fluffy Ricotta Pancakes With Strawberry Sauce

Pancakes. Soft and fluffy melt in your mouth clouds of greatness that are smothered with maple syrup and in my household some form of fruit sauce. These “Fluffy Ricotta Pancakes With Strawberry Sauce” are irresistible and surprising. When I think ricotta cheese I definitely don’t think pancakes. But try it and I promise to change your mind. And the strawberry sauce is simple and tasty and the perfect partner for this dish. You can always substitute others fruits instead of strawberries. I just happened to have a bunch on hand. My “Raspberry Sauce” in my book “The Seasoned Life” would also be perfect with this dish! Share your favorite pancake toppings in the comments below.

Enjoy,
Xo- Ayesha

Fluffy Ricotta Pancakes With Strawberry Sauce

1 cup ricotta cheese
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon juice, fresh.
One cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons dark brown sugar (You can substitute white sugar.)
2-3 tablespoons butter for frying

Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and brown sugar in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl add ricotta, buttermilk, eggs, vanilla and lemon juice and combine well.

Carefully add the dry to the wet ingredients until combined. Don’t over mix the batter. It should be slightly lumpy. And set aside.

Heat a large griddle or cast iron skillet over medium-low heat and add a tablespoon of butter. (Use about one tablespoon butter for each batch of pancakes you make.)

Scoop pancake batter onto the hot pan. (I use a 1/4 measuring cup to get the same sized pancakes every time.)

Cook until the edges are set and bubbles form on top of the pancake. Flip and cook until browned.

Serve ricotta pancakes warm and top with strawberry sauce and a little or a lot (no judgment here) of maple syrup!

Strawberry sauce

1 1/2 cups strawberries, chopped.
One tablespoon brown sugar
One tablespoon agave nectar
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
Pinch of salt

To make the sauce place chopped strawberries, sugar, and agave into a small saucepan. Coat well and add water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower heat and stir until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

Allow to cool and serve with pancakes!

Cooking with my Kids! -Star Patties

I love cooking with my kids! Riley has been helping me out in the kitchen for such a long time. And now Ryan is showing an interest as well. Inviting my kids into the kitchen to help me cook our meals is a way for me to create quality time together but also helps them to learn some kitchen basics and feel confident. I’m always trying to come up with delicious and kid-friendly dishes that still include all of the flavors that I would put into mine. And fortunately for me, my kids are willing to try almost anything that I put in front of them. Besides chocolate of course! Weird I know. These star patties are packed full of flavor with some nutty and sharp Parmigiano-Reggiano, teriyaki sauce, fresh basil, garlic, and parsley. Its rolled out on some parchment paper (Riley’s job!) before being cut into shapes and baked off. Super simple and delicious. And so much fun! Just remember that whenever you have kids in the kitchen your inviting some extra mess. But those messes can always be cleaned. So enjoy the moment! Share your favorite thing to cook with your family in the comments below.

X0- Ayesha

Star Patties

Star Patties

1 pound ground beef or lamb
3 Tablespoons Teriyaki Marinade & Sauce
1/4 cup breadcrumbs (I used Italian)
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated. (You can also use just plain parmesan)
1/4 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped.
1/4 cup Italian parsley, roughly chopped.
One garlic clove, finely minced.
One large egg, lightly beaten.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Parchment paper
Cookie cutter of your choice (My kids wanted to use a star)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl add in ground meat.

Add the egg, garlic, teriyaki, cheese, breadcrumbs, basil, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

Carefully mix. (You don’t want to over mix it)

Place the mixture in between two pieces of parchment paper.

Using either your hands or a rolling pin to flatten.

(I recommend letting it chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour before continuing.)

When your mixture is ready, you can remove the top layer of parchment paper and cut into shapes.

Place your shapes on a non-stick baking sheet and bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes.

serve with your favorite veggie and starch.

We used tomatoes and some Israeli couscous.

Enjoy!