One Pot Pesto Carbonara

One Pot Pesto Carbonara. This one pot pasta recipe incorporates asparagus, mushrooms, eggs, bacon, and pesto! Perfect for spring! | hostthetoast.com

Looking outside, I can hardly tell it’s spring. The sky is grey, the grass is brownish, and the trees are still barren. O Sunshine, where art thou?

We get less and less “spring weather” here in Jersey every year, it seems. Is it like that everywhere? Do you feel like it’s either scorching hot summer or freezing cold winter all year round with like a week, max, of spring and fall in-between?

One Pot Pesto Carbonara. This one pot pasta recipe incorporates asparagus, mushrooms, eggs, bacon, and pesto! | hostthetoast.com

At least our produce around here is keeping up with the season. I walk into Wegman’s and BAM! green everywhere. The herbs are fresh and bouncy, the asparagus stalks are bright, the rows of fruits and vegetables seem to finally have a life to them that makes me want to stock my fridge up with everything I can fit in my shopping cart. (And by want to, I mean I do this.)

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Chipotle Ranch Chicken & Avocado Potstickers with Cilantro Lime Dip

Chipotle Ranch Chicken & Avocado Potstickers with Cilantro-Lime Dip. Asian dumplings get a Tex Mex filling that's big on flavor in appetizer-sized servings. | hostthetoast.com

Crispy bottoms and chewy tops make potstickers one of my favorite ways to eat appetizers. I don’t just mean Asian-inspired appetizers, either; People typically think of potstickers as being filled with gingery pork, scallions, and cabbage, but you really can put anything in them! This time, I decided to go with a Tex Mex flavored filling of chipotle ranch ground chicken and creamy avocado.

Chipotle Ranch Chicken & Avocado Potstickers with Cilantro-Lime Dip. Asian dumplings get a Tex Mex filling that's big on flavor in appetizer-sized servings. | hostthetoast.com

I’m picky with warmed avocado, but when it is mashed with lime juice and salt before cooking, it retains its taste while taking on an even butterier consistency. The chipotle ranch chicken has just enough spice to kick things up a notch, and the cilantro-lime dipping sauce finishes off the flavor for an appetizer that will fly off the plate.
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Slow Cooker Thai Chicken and Noodles

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken and Noodles. The chicken and noodles cook right in the sauce in this flavorful crock pot dish! | hostthetoast.com

When I was in college, if you asked me what I’d like to eat, the answer was always “Thai food”.

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken and Noodles. The chicken and noodles cook right in the sauce in this flavorful crock pot dish! | hostthetoast.com

There was a little restaurant in the corner of a strip mall that was tucked behind the highway, with a big sign on the front window that boasted “The Best Thai Cuisine in Town”– rightfully so, I might add. I don’t remember how found out about it, but that hidden gem became my obsession for the 3 remaining years I lived in the area. I loved the bowls brimming with jasmine rice, the savory peanut sauces, and the spicy dishes that had so much heat that it made your nose run. I loved the music they played that sounded like a mix between Thai pop and elevator music. I loved the mismatched decor, and the waiter who topped off my water every few minutes despite being the only waiter who was ever on-shift. But most of all, I loved their chicken and rice noodles.

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Sofritas Tofu Burrito Bowls

Sofritas #Tofu Burrito Bowls. Even better than the ones at #Chipotle, and easy/cheap to make at home! | hostthetoast.com

As a lover of bacon, pulled pork, and burgers, a lot of people find it surprising when I say that I also adore tofu. Or maybe I should say I adore good tofu. Tofu gets a bad wrap from the many people who don’t know how to properly prepare the wiggly soybean curd, leaving a lot of people to think of it as bland, boring, and mushy. Bleh. But the thing is, when done correctly, tofu should be the opposite! It should be super flavorful (it takes on the flavor of anything you cook it with), it should be soft and bouncy inside, and it should have a nice crisp exterior. Tofu can be good. Tofu can be amazing.

Sofritas Tofu Burrito Bowls. Even better than the ones at Chipotle, and easy/cheap to make at home! | hostthetoast.com

For example, when you cook tofu in a mixture of spices, smoky peppers, and fresh tomatoes, you get ultimate bliss.

Ultimate bliss which, by the way, is chock full of protein and pretty inexpensive! Oh tofu, I love you, and I don’t care what anyone thinks!

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French Onion Soup Drop Biscuits

Fluffy, tangy, cheesy, oniony, and buttery.

No kneading, no cutting in butter, no folding, no mess.

French Onion Soup Drop Biscuits. No kneading, no cutting in butter, no mess. These only take 25 minutes from start to finish!| hostthetoast.com

My love affair with drop biscuits began, predictably, with a trip to Red Lobster. After one cheddar and garlic loaded biscuit, I was hooked. After a basketful, I was dead set on making them at home. Mind you, back then I wasn’t much of a baker (read: I did not bake at all, and me embarking on such a mission was risky / a fire hazard).

I wasn’t met with disaster though, much to everyone’s surprise. I actually pulled the biscuits off– and if I could pull off drop biscuits back then, anyone could. I really do mean anyone. 

Ever since then, I’ve been tweaking the recipe (and using every excuse possible to make a batch) until reaching my ultimate of all ultimate quick biscuits: French Onion Soup Drop Biscuits. If you thought Red Lobster’s were good, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

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