shredded chicken vegetable soup (starring kale)

Whole30 day 2! Still feeling pretty good, but I heard that’s going to change around the 1 week mark when the body really gets into detoxing… Anyway, for dinner tonight we have an easy one-pot protein and fiber packed meal!



  • chicken breast and thighs (thighs optional)
  • chicken stock
  • carrots
  • onion
  • celery
  • kale
  • salt
  • green sauce, recipe follows

In a large pot, pour in enough chicken stock to cover the chicken. If you run out, just add water until the chicken pieces are fully submerged. Bring the soup to a boil before quickly lowering to a simmer. NEVER let meat boil in liquid – the rough action will cause the meat to become tough and cloud the stock!

While the soup is simmering, peel, chop and add in the carrots, onion, and celery. Allow the soup to gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through, 30 to 45 minutes from when the chicken was added. Skim and discard any scum that collects on top of the soup. When the chicken is cooked through, use two forks to shred the breast. Add in the kale and allow to cook for 5 more minutes until the kale is slightly softened. Season with salt and top with a few dollops of green sauce if desired.

To make the green sauce: Crush garlic into a paste. Add in minced basil and parsley leaves. Drizzle in olive oil. Squeeze in some lemon juice. Mix everything together well and add salt to taste.

vegetable rainbow nest with a poached egg

Kicked off the first day of May with the Whole30 challenge! Why? Well, because I need to hit the reset button on my body. Ever since I started working at The Food Network, I’ve managed to gain back all the weight (and then some ><) that I’d lost while hustling as a line cook in The NoMad Hotel kitchen. No surprise there since the smell of sweet and salty temptations waft through the halls of our Chelsea Market office every. Single. Day. And apparently, at least according to my scale, I’ve been “tasting” one too many “small-bites” of every creation coming out of the FN Kitchen…

For this colorful recipe here, a stroll through your local farmer’s market will most likely provide you with all of the ingredients you need! If you don’t have one, I do recommend purchasing a mandoline to help slice all of the vegetables. Alternatively, a vegetable peeler could work as well.



Carefully pass the carrots, radish, and asparagus through the mandoline to get them into thin slices. Arrange in a circular shape on a plate to form the “nest.” Place the poached egg in the center of the nest. Drizzle the flavored olive oil from the poached shiitake mushrooms in olive recipe over the visible parts of the nest, being sure to drop a few shiitake slices and roasted garlic. Serve with a crack of freshly ground black pepper.

poached shiitake mushrooms in olive oil with roasted garlic, sage, and peppercorn

Slowly, ever so slowly, roasting the garlic in olive oil until they reach a lightly golden hue before adding in the sage leaves, whole peppercorn, and shiitake will give you an earthy condiment (is that what this is?) that is a pleasure to toss with veggie dishes for an umami pop.




  • olive oil
  • whole garlic cloves, peeled
  • whole black peppercorn
  • sage leaves
  • shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • salt

In a small saucepan, pour in olive oil until the garlic cloves are just submerged and allow to slowly roast over low heat. When the garlic cloves are lightly golden, add in the whole black peppercorns, sage leaves, and shiitake mushrooms. Allow the shiitake mushrooms to poach in the olive oil mixture, stirring occasionally, until they are cooked through.


unagi don w/ a poached egg & cucumbers

This post that I have for you today isn’t so much a recipe as it is a how-to guide to plate the dish I have pictured for you below. All you need to make this happen is a ring mold!



  • white rice, cooked
  • cucumbers, coined
  • pre-grilled and vacuum-packed Japanese unagi in sauce, steamed to heat up
  • poached egg
  • salted seaweed sheets, sliced into strips
  • bubu arare rice cracker

Once you have all of the above ready, it’s a simple matter of layering! First put your ring mold down on the center of your plate and fill with white rice. Remove the ring mold and top the rice with the cucumbers, a slice of the unagi, and a poached egg. To the side, sprinkle a handful of the seaweed sheets followed by the rice crackers.

In the future, I would place the unagi and a spoonful of its sauce directly on top of the rice so that the rice can soak up the sauce. The cucumber ended up being an unwanted barrier that I picked out and ate first!

endive taco w/ New York skirt steak

It was a Tuesday night after work, and I was strongly feeling the “Taco Tuesdays” vibe.



  • New York skirt steak
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1/4 cup diced red onions
  • 1/4 cup diced mini heirloom tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup diced mini bell peppers
  • 1/4 cup diced cucumber
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 small lime, zested and juiced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, the good stuff
  • 2 jalapenos, sliced, for serving
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese, for serving
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds, for serving
  • 2 endives, leaves separated and washed, for serving

Season the New York skirt steak on both sides with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat a medium skillet over high heat and melt the butter. Place the skirt steak into the skillet and toss in the garlic cloves. Sear until desired doneness. 4 to 5 minutes on both sides will get you in the ballpark of medium-rare. When the meat is done, remove from the heat and let rest.

Meanwhile, begin dicing the vegetables and herbs for the salsa! When everything is diced, in a large bowl combine the red onions, mini heirloom tomatoes, mini bell peppers, cucumber, chopped cilantro, the lime zest and juice, olive oil, and salt to taste.

Slice the meat and serve with the salsa, jalapenos, goat cheese, pomegranate seeds, and endives. You can put the endive tacos together in advance to serve your guests, but I’m more about letting the guests serve themselves however they like.

We only had goat cheese in the house at the time, but you can use any type of cheese you prefer with your tacos. Same goes for any of the garnishes!

easy weeknight lasagna featuring TJ’s no-boil lasagna noodles

So you know how lasagnas are usually reserved for dinner on weekend nights? Well, not anymore! TJ’s recently (or maybe not, who knows? I just recently noticed it on the shelves so it’s recent to me) came out with sheets of No-Boil Lasagna Noodles that can be layered right into the baking pan without having to be boiled first. So although it’s not the best lasagna that I’ve made in my life, it’s still pretty good. But more importantly, and here’s the selling point, it’s one less pot to wash on a weeknight which makes it a YES in my book.



  • Trader Joe’s No-Boil Lasagna Noodles
  • 1-pound ground beef
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 28-ounce can San Marzano peeled tomatoes
  • Tomato paste
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Ricotta
  • Parmesan
  • Basil, chiffonade plus whole leaves for serving

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In the meantime, brown the ground beef in a saucepan over high heat. When the meat is browned, add in the onions, garlic and entire can of San Marzano peeled tomatoes. Lower the heat to medium and let everything cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down. Add in the tomato paste, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Continue stirring and cooking down the sauce until it reaches your desired consistency.

Now it’s time to layer your lasagna! Grab your baking pan and spread enough sauce to cover the bottom of the pan. On top of that goes your first sheet of lasagna noodles. Then sauce again, followed by ricotta, Parmesan, chiffonade(d?) basil, and lasagna noodles. Repeat with as many layers as will fit in your baking pan, leaving about 1/2-inch at the top to prevent overflow. Bake the lasagna in the oven until cooked through, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven, slice, and serve with an optional basil leaf for garnish.

Hopefully you have enough sauce to get you through! I didn’t make it, as you can see by that dried-out piece of noodle peeking through the cheese on my top layer ><.

pan-seared salmon w/ oven-roasted asparagus

Looking for a quick and easy recipe on a Monday night? I’d recommend you give my pan-seared salmon with oven-roasted asparagus dinner a try! From the time you pop the asparagus into the oven, you can count on sitting down to a delicious dinner in under 30 minutes.



  • asparagus
  • salmon fillet
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • half a lemon, for serving, optional

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. In the meantime, rub enough olive oil to coat each stalk of asparagus and season with salt and pepper. Line them in a single layer on a baking sheet and pop into the oven until cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes.

While the asparagus is roasting in the oven, heat a pan over high heat. Season the salmon fillet on both sides with salt and pepper. Add about a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and sear the salmon (presentation side down first) on both sides until desired consistency. For me, about 4 minutes per side for a 1.5 inch salmon is perfect. Plate with half a lemon, optional for the asparagus, and enjoy!

bacon-wrapped enoki mushrooms

The strong bacon-y (seriously can’t think of another adjective right now…) flavor of the bacon is complemented by the mild sweetness of the enoki mushrooms in this crowd-pleasing (unless your guests are vegans) appetizer!



  • Enoki mushrooms, washed and stemmed
  • Bacon slices, halved
  • Soy sauce, for drizzling

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Separate the enoki mushrooms into small bundles and tightly wrap each bundle, starting at the base, with half a bacon slice. Lay each bundle on a baking sheet, leaving an inch between each one. Drizzle the tips of the enoki mushrooms with soy sauce and transfer to the oven. Bake until the bacon is crispy, 15 to 20 minutes.



brunch quesadilla w/ bacon, eggs, tomatoes, peppers and cheese

Make a colorful and filling breakfast-inspired quesadilla for your next Sunday brunch! Yes, this recipe does include bacon (because what’s brunch without bacon?), but you can choose to omit that ingredient for a healthier version.


Ingredients: (Yields 1 quesadilla)

  • 2 strips of bacon
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tortillas
  • cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 jalapeno, small dice
  • 1 small red pepper, small dice
  • 1 small orange pepper, small dice
  • 1/4 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
  • goat cheese

Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Slice the bacon strips into smaller cuts and add to the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan and drain on a paper towel lined plate.

In the pan with the oil and reserved bacon fat, scramble the 2 eggs over low heat to your desired consistency. When done, remove the eggs and set aside on a plate.

Wipe the skillet clean, and lay down one tortilla over medium-high heat. On top of the tortilla goes the cheddar cheese, followed by the jalapeno, red pepper, orange pepper, grape tomatoes, cooked eggs, cooked bacon, and goat cheese. After you’re done layering the ingredients, top-off with the other tortilla. Be careful not to take too long layering the ingredients or the bottom tortilla will burn!

I didn’t keep an eye on the time (my apologies!) when making the quesadilla this morning, but lift an edge of the bottom tortilla up to check on color and flip when it looks and feels the way you like! After a bit, repeat the peeking process to ensure that both sides of the quesadilla are cooked evenly before serving.

chocolate flavored overnight oats

Good morning everyone! Now that the last major storm of Winter (fingers crossed) is over in NYC, I’m feeling super excited for Spring and the weather warming up – even if it does include a good amount of rain and worms coming out of the ground. Mornings for me just FEEL so much better waking up to hints of the sun’s rays beginning to light up the sky as opposed to dreary gray hues or darkness. Anyway, feeling a tad bit of sweet tooth last night, I put together this chocolate flavored overnight oats mix into the fridge for breakfast this morning. As far as toppings go, your pantry is your oyster 😛



  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate powder
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup milk (can substitute milk alternatives such as soy, almond, etc.)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Mix all of the ingredients thoroughly together in a bowl and let sit covered in a refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight. When ready to eat, feel free to add any extra toppings! I topped mine off with some coined bananas and raw almonds.