comfort food

Restaurant Redo: Mac & Cheese

Hey everyone! I'm Alix, Jessi's (former) intern. Let me just say that it has been an AWESOME experience working with Jessi. I can only hope that my first post in first person will even slightly rival her on point weekly posts.

(Jessi here - I swear I'm not paying her to say this).

My direct inspiration for this Restaurant Redo? A combination of three things:

  1. My and my roommates’ love for late night snacking
  2. The cauliflower craze (ever heard cauliflower is the new kale?)
  3. The BOWLS and BOWLS of Mac ‘N Cheese I sell to guests every shift at Cafeteria Boston (the restaurant I work at as I finish up my senior year at Boston University). 

The great (and not so great) thing about this menu option is that you can order it all kinds of ways... lobster, chicken, or shrimp; lobster, chicken and shrimp; scallops, peas and carrots... you get the picture.

I have learned by now that the guest looking up at me has either ordered the same dish 100 times over, or they have newly discovered the pot of gold on the menu. In the second case, I ALWAYS tell them that they won’t finish the whole bowl. They usually challenge me, but I win every single time.

Bottom line? The unbelievable gooey, noodley goodness is worth of salivation from just walking by it. But, how do you think they get it that way? Yup, lot's of pasta, heavy cream, and four kinds of cheeses. It's worth every bite, but definitely not something to indulge in on a daily basis.

I couldn’t live without being able to come home and satisfy a craving that had been building up for hours at work, but I wanted to do it the right way. So, here we have it: Chicks & Cheese. Instead of refined pasta noodles, heavy cream, and 4 kinds of cheeses, we have a complete meal made without any refined carbohydrates, but still loaded with hearty flavors and a creamy texture.  


Chicks & Cheese

  • 1 head (or 1 lb) cauliflower, use different colors to liven up the dish!
  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked
  • 1 cup chickpeas
  • ½ cup goat cheese
  • ½ cup shredded fresh mozzarella
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • ½ cup almond flour (you can make this my pulsing ½ cup of almonds in a food processor).

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Meanwhile, in a medium pot, bring 2 cups water to a boil. Add quinoa, cover, and let simmer. 

While the quinoa is cooking, cut the head of cauliflower in half, cut the stem off, and chop the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces. In a saucepan, heat 1 tbs of coconut oil. Add the cauliflower, chickpeas, oregano, salt, and pepper. Saute until tender and light brown on the surface.

Once the quinoa is done cooking, pour the contents of the saucepan into the pot. Break up the goat cheese and stir it into the mixture. Add additional salt, pepper, and oregano to taste.

Scoop out the mixture and place in an oven-safe container. Sprinkle the cheese and the almond flour . Place in the oven for 5-10 minutes (depending on how crispy you like it). Remove from heat and serve warm. You can also add chicken, or shrimp for extra protein. 


Fall Comfort Foods: Butternut Squash & Barley Bowl

Fall is upon us which means its time for hearty, warming comfort foods! I don't know about everyone on the west coast, but here in New England, when Fall roles around I go into full blown hibernation mode. I cook cozy dinners, live under my yellow blanket, and wear lots of scarves.

Here's a delicious dinner I came up with last week and it was just the heartiest, most satisfying fall meal. The best part? I made a HUGE batch and ate it for lunch throughout the week with a side of rotisserie chicken.

Butternut Squash & Barley Bowl

  • 1 cup pearled barley
  • 1 small butternut squash, halved length wise
  • 1 head purple kale, deveined and chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp chopped sage
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup crumbled sheep's milk feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup roasted salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

Preheat oven to 400 F.  On a parchment lined baking sheet, place squash cut side down.  Bake for 45 minutes or until fork tender.

Meanwhile, bring 3 cups water to a boil, add barley and simmer until all of the water is absorbed.  When the squash is finished, peel off the skin, scoop out the seeds, and roughly cube (tip: its MUCH easier to peel and scoop out the seeds of a cooked squash).  Stir in with cooked barley, kale, parsley, sage, olive oil, and feta. Top with pepitas and enjoy (tip: only add pepitas when ready to serve to preserve the crunchiness). Salt and pepper to taste.

What is your favorite fall comfort food?