It was a celebration week at our house, which meant a greater than normal amount of desserts, so get excited!

Smothered Pork Chops

We’ve tried a few different recipes for pork chops, but I think this one is my current favorite. The pork chops were very tender and flavorful. We dished it up with mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus.

Inventing Room

Our daughter, Ellen, turned 9 this last week. I’m a sucker for celebrating birthdays, but also wanted to do something relatively COVID-safe as we’ve been very cautious for a year now and with a vaccine on the horizon for Noel and I it seems like the wrong time to give up. To celebrate, we booked a science of dessert demonstration and invited a small crew to join us (two households, 7 people). The glow in the dark cotton candy and nitrogen sundaes were a huge hit. If you’re local, I highly recommend you try The Inventing Room when they’re open to the public again. If you’re not, they do have a fun online shop. (This is in no way sponsored, I just think they’re a really fun shop and I want them to stick around!)

Kung Pao Chicken

After all that sugar, we needed something with vegetables and substance. This is my favorite Kung Pao recipe. I’m still working out what the right number of peppers is for our family, but I love the flavor (even the times it’s been underwhelming spicy).

Overnight Sourdough Waffles

The birthday girl wanted waffles for breakfast and then she dressed hers up in style. We make these waffles, probably too often. They are so airy and crisp and everything else that’s good in the world. It’s a great recipe if you need to feed your sourdough starter.

Gnochi Al Forno

The birthday girl chose gnocchi al forno with spinach for her birthday dinner. This kid loathes vegetables, but she inhales this gnocchi. It’s also incredibly quick and easy to make. It’s a regular in our kitchen.

Strawberry Chocolate Amaze-Balls Cake

There was a bit of drama with this cake. I shared some details on Instagram, but basically I only had enough parchment paper for one of my cake pans and the layer in the non-parchment pan was not okay. I got creative and pulled out something pretty amazing. If you want to know more about the great cake save, let me know and I can write a post up about it. The chocolate layers are from this recipe and I paired it with this strawberry buttercream. Using freeze-dried strawberries for the frosting was a total game changer – great taste and no-gloopy frosting. Despite the drama, this was one of the best tasting cakes I’ve every made. Topping cake with cake balls might become my new thing.

Impossible Tater-Tot Casserole

I mentioned in another post that we are fond of Beyond Burgers, but we’ve never tried their competitor, Impossible. Our Kroger store carries both and I had a coupon, so it seemed like it was time. I used it instead of ground beef in this tater tot casserole recipe. It had a really good flavor that was a really good substitute. I don’t think the kids even knew it wasn’t meat. Next, we’ll have to do a side by side taste test of Beyond and Impossible. For research purposes, obviously 😉 I’m a sucker for tater tot casserole and really like this grown-up, completely homemade version.

Grilled Chicken

Grilled chicken is another essential meal at our house. This was served up with rice, grapes, and vegetables from the freezer section. Pro tip: frozen veggies taste better steamed on the stove than in the microwave.

Skillet Cookie

Yesterday, was our 14th wedding anniversary. This is our second anniversary that has been touched by the pandemic. A lot of things about it didn’t go as planned, but this skillet cookie went 100% right. The base is my favorite browned butter chocolate chip cookies from Brave Tart. We topped it with Tillamook french vanilla ice cream, easy magic shell sauce, roasted almonds, and maraschino cherries. That will turn around almost any bad day.

That sums up the highlight of last week’s meals. (I left out the night we ate popcorn and smoothies for dinner, but yes that did happen.) If you have any questions, requests, etc. leave them below!

Written by Audrey

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