WIAW: Steak Gyros & Butternut Squash Ravioli with Spinach Pesto (Plated)

I’m not a good cook. I’m not even much of a baker. I do both to survive – the body needs food. Most of my “cooking” is simply putting things together without cooking it. This might be wraps, salads, or something simple.

But I love a good cooking show, especially “MasterChef” and “The Taste.” Gabe is so hot.

Lots of recipes require things I would have to buy solely for the one meal so when I got a sweet deal on Plated meals, I went for it.

I picked steak gyros. It came with everything except the salt and pepper.

I have no knife skills…

Non-fat Greek yogurt and cukes

Dill, red onions, and lemon juice

So delicious.

…and surprisingly easy.

The other meal I picked: butternut squash with spinach pesto.

This meal required my toaster oven, my blender, and a few pans. Too much for a regular evening meal.

Overall verdict

Pros:

  • Comes with everything but salt and pepper. May require some other items like olive oil.
  • Everything is labeled in case you can’t tell the difference between dill and basil.
  • Packed with ice to keep cold. I came home later and it was still cold.
  • Photo directions and gorgeous meals! Highly important.

Cons:

  • Requires too many pots and pans, bowls, a toaster oven, blender, etc.
  • Lots of clean-up.
  • Expensive. Meals run about $12 per plate with a minimum of 2 plates each meal, a minimum of 4 plates to order and then there’s shipping.

*Although I’m not sure if this is normal since I don’t really “cook” meals on a regular basis.

TRY OUT PLATED and let me know how it goes!

This has inspired me to cook more and made me more confident in my cooking. Each night, it took me about an hour to make dinner. I hear that’s normal.

How long does it take you to cook dinner on a weeknight?

WIAW: Bacon-Wrapped Mascarpone-Stuffed Dates (and Just Dinners)

Being on break has screwed with my sleep schedule and eating. I’ve eaten thinkThin bars, snacks, and darn good dinners. News: I haven’t felt the need for nighttime snacking thanks to my accidental intermittent fasting.

My cousin perfectly portioned out leftover turkey and veggies for me. 🙂

I brought this trio of apps to our family gathering: Tupelo Honey Cafe’s warm pimento cheese spread, mini sausages wrapped in bacon-wrapped mascarpone-stuffed datesThey were a hit!

I met up with Eddie & Paul, my fair co-workers, for dinner at Crow Bar + Kitchen. I had a beer and a meatlover’s flatbread.

After my AM workout, I drove in the rain all the way to a different county for a sandwich and a loaf of cinnamon chip bread from the newest and closest Great Harvest Bread Company.

Best bread ever and worth the 30 minute drive.

I found a stash of Kandy Kale on sale and have been eating this between watching TV and reading.

Are you watching more TV and reading more this season?

LA Food Blogger Cookie Swap: Peppermint Bark Cookie Bars

What’s this? Another cookie swap? That’s right y’all. This time I got to meet up with some bloggers in person! We met up at Blacktop Coffee in Los Angeles.

The LA Food Bloggers is run by Christine, Maryanne, and Ellen (who got sick that day).

We discussed melted and creamed butter, shared ideas, expressed our passions, and got to know each other in general.

Christine made lemon madeleinesI need a madeleine pan!

Maryanne made the perfect brown sugar chocolate chunk cookies with hazelnut and sea salt. They were not too sweet and went perfectly with the coffee at Blacktop Coffee.

Sarah of Honey & Limes brought walnut thumbprint cookies with a strawberry jam, and her roommate made Speculoos cookiesThey almost matched in size.

Veronica from Collard Greens & Caviar made her grandmother’s Bromont Avenue Tea Cakes.

I made peppermint bark cookie bars.

I can’t say this recipe is 100% original because I fell in love with the cookie bars from Chelsea, the blogger behind the KaTom blog.

You can pretty much put any kind of chocolate-y candy in this to spice things up. This time, instead of using Ghirardelli dark chocolate peppermint bark, I picked up some Dove Promises because they were cheaper.

Melt the butter. Add the brown sugar and vanilla. Then crack in the egg.

Mix in the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Butter a 8×8 or 9×9 square pan then spread the batter in. I used my hands to even it out. Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

Let it sit for awhile then cut into 16 squares.

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cookie Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup of broken peppermint bark *I used a Ziploc bag and a rubber mallet.
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Melt the butter in a microwave for 30 seconds.
  • Transfer butter to a medium-large mixing bowl. Use the residual to butter a 8×8 or 9×9 square cake pan.
  • Add brown sugar and vanilla. Mix with a rubber spatula.
  • Stir in the egg.
  • Slowly stir in the flour, 1/2 a cup at a time.
  • Sprinkle on the baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  • Fold in the candy pieces.
  • Press into the cake pan.
  • Bake for 23 minutes. Seriously.