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Top (Clearance at Burlington, similar here) // Jeans c/0 (ICYMI, I just got these in the mail and did a happy dance on Insta-stories, cos they’re soooooooo stinkin’ comfy! High-waisted + cropped leg makes yo’ legs look miles long, + they don’t gape in the back. Bless. They run TTS!) // Black tassel slip-on shoes c/0 (also come in white + charcoal grey! And also SO comfortable. I had wanted a pair o’ kicks for running around town that were still cute, and these fit the bill! Runs TTS). // Jade Petite Tote c/o (I have multiple bags by this brand and lovelovelove. Made SO well – will last you multiple seasons! – and organized fabulously within!)
If we were playing that word association game, “domestic” would *not* be the word that pairs with “Erica.” Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m not the savviest around a kitchen (yet). I don’t think I’ll ever live down that one time where I put a whole chicken into a pot of “chicken noodle soup,” or the time I poured liquids into a crockpot without the pot actually being in the crock…
Yup, there’s a reason CUR ain’t a food blog. 😉
I’m no Martha Stewart, but as a new wife and someone now fully immersed in this whole “adulting” thing, I like to at least embrace trying. My sweet hubs is basically a chef, (so basically I just got reaaaaally lucky, bless him), so we lovelovelove date nights in the kitchen with Cabernet and a cookbook. But both of our jobs have been…nuts, to be frank. We both have totally unpredictable, demanding jobs where we are in charge and fully in control of the state of the union, so to speak. So as much as we’d be all about romantic, homecooked, multi-course meals every night…ain’t nobody got time. Oftentimes, it feels just like it did when we were both in school; come home late from meeting after meeting and need to scarf something down quick so as to get some sorta nutritional content in there besides granola bars and Gushers before running off to another commitment or to-do. #exhausting
In school, I lived on take-out from on-the-way joints and anything microwaveable in my dorm room (I was an RA, so no nice apartment stove).
Now, as adults, our goal is easy meals that work at lightning speed without sacrificing flavor or all nutritional value (so, like, no more calling Easy Mac “sustenance”).
Here are 5 easy meals perfect for busy newlyweds (hollah) and busy millennials alike (hollah again!).
- Anything in a crockpot. HA. Really tho. The whole dump-everything-into-a-crock-and-come-back-6-to-8-hours-later thing really rocks. Any sorta meat in a crock with a good marinade works wonders right there. I’m also a fan of a good buffalo chicken dip (meaning I’m the girl at the party just sitting next to the dip bowl). Throw a rotisserie chicken (shred the meat first), 1 c plain Greek yogurt, 1 c cream cheese, 1 c hot sauce, 1 tsp white wine vinegar and lotsa low-fat Mexican cheese in the crockpot for an hour before yo’ next shindig and thank me later. 😉
- One-pot or one-pan stir-fry. Pasta, fresh veggies, and cheese (scale of 1 to #EXTRA, how’s my cheese addiction? HA) sprinkled on top = YUMMERS. Easy + ready in 20-30 minutes tops total! Also makes delish leftovers. #important
- Hella good sandwiches. I don’t mean to brag, but I make a MEAN sandwich. Really, yo. My sandwich-making skills make up for my lack of every other culinary talent. From a gourmet grilled cheese to the best dang breakfast sandwich you’ll ever taste (kudos to hubs for teaching me the latter), I’ve got a sandwich game. I strongly recommend nailing the art of a gourmet sandwich, cos there’s nothing like a happy surprise to make someone’s day. There’s just something magical about replacing a Kraft slice on wheat with a fancy French cheese blend, pesto spread, spinach and tomato on a grainy, wholesome bread.
- A casserole. They’re hearty, filling, and last for the week. Beans, meat, mac n’ cheese, hash browns, tuna, potatoes, broccoli, noodles…it’s like a big game of throw-whatever’s-left-in-the-fridge-in-the-oven-and-call-it-dinner. But somehow, they makes for easy meals that always turn out delish.
- Pierogies. I’m 50% Polish, so I’ve been living on pierogies for literally as long as I can remember. J is pretty Polish + loves pierogies, too, so obvi we’re a match made in heaven. 😉 At any given moment in time, GUARANTEED we have at least two boxes of pierogies in the freezer ready to go. Lately, we’ve been on a budgetary kick to see how far we can stretch our bucks, so we’ve been preferring getting crafty with what we’ve got over unnecessarily over-spending at the grocery store. Since we alwaysalwaysalways have pierogies on hand and they’re so dang easy to whip up on the fly, we’ve been particularly digging getting experimental with our favorites from Mrs. T’s Pierogies .
I had the chance to head to Spruce Street Harbor Park in downtown Philly with Mrs. T’s to taste test the new Mrs. T’s Pierogy masterpieces created by famed Philadelphia chef extraordinaire, Jose Garces. Oh my goodness, yo. I already had adopted the whole “Man cannot live on bread alone, but with pizza, pierogies, and good red wine, too” mantra, but Chef Garces really went above and beyond with these concoctions. I’ll let my facial expression upon first bite speak for itself:
These pierogies were hands down the best pierogies I’ve ever tasted in my entire 20-something years of life thus far. And I’ve had a helluvah lotta pierogies.
The coating was absolute perfection. My stomach can’t typically tolerate stuff that’s too greasy, so too much time on the deep-fryer feels heavy + gross. Chef Garces’ recipe tastes light and is JAM. PACKED. with flavor. In the moment, I guesstimated that they were seasoned with sea salt, pepper, chives, and cumin. The truth lies below. 😉 An order is $6 and comes with 5 pierogies, which is enough to share I think – so SO CHEAP in the grand scheme o’ things. $6 for a shared meal walking along the waterfront? Um, yes. Sign me up. And for the record, my photographer for the day was *floored*, and she’s 100% Polish. She’s already got a date to go back this week, cos they’re just. that. yummy.
They’re also served with a buttermilk ranch dipping sauce, and since I could eat ranch on pretty much anything, that works for me. Garces has a few of his restaurant stands at the park now, but these Mrs. T’s gems are at Froman’s (and these chicken-fried pierogies are only available until July 14th!). I’d recommend ordering up, then heading to any of the adjacent areas with these insanely cute (+ Insta-worthy) colored tables + chairs, the swinging hammocks by the trees, or the picnic benches near the water. Bonus: There are giant-size kids’ games (for kids OR adults 😉 ) near the colored tables, so it’s perfect for a fun date night, girls’ day out, or an adventure for the whole fam.
It might not always be sunny in Philadelphia, but the Spruce Street Harbor Park is a little ray of sunshine in and of itself right by the waterfront. So to have access to Garces’ culinary work right there to grab n’ go is a-maaaaaa-zing.
Even more amazing?
He spilled the recipe here for any of ya who can’t make it to the City of Brotherly Love this summer. Bless. 😉
Chicken-Fried Pierogies by Chef Jose Garces
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
1 (16-ounce) box Mrs. T’s Classic Cheddar Pierogies
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups flour dredge (see recipe below)
Canola oil for frying
Buttermilk Ranch sauce (see recipe below) or use your favorite premade Ranch dressing
Fried pickles (see recipe below)
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place pierogies in boiling water until they are no longer frozen in the center, about 2 minutes. Remove pierogies from the water and cool in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
- Place buttermilk, eggs and flour dredge and in 3 separate bowls. Working one at a time, dip the pierogies in the buttermilk, then in the eggs and lastly in the flour dredge. Once all the pierogies are dredged, fry at 350°F in canola oil for approximately 3 minutes until golden brown.
- To serve, place fried pierogies and fried pickles on serving plate. Serve with Ranch sauce.
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground white peppercorns
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon ground dried sage
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix until thoroughly combined.
Buttermilk Ranch Sauce:
2 cups buttermilk
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon hot sauce (Crystal brand recommended)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Whisk to combine and season to taste with salt.
1 cup flour dredge (recipe above)
2 large kosher pickles, cut into round slices
Canola oil for frying
Place flour dredge in a small mixing bowl. Dip the pickle slices in the flour dredge and coat thoroughly. Shake off excess. Fry at 350°F in canola oil for approximately 3 minutes until golden brown.
What’re your favorite easy meals when life is busy?
Have you picked up Mrs. T’s Pierogies before? Are you around Philly and/or have plans to come to the area this season where ya can hit up Chef Garces’ downtown stands?
Lemme know in a comment below, wouldja? J and I are ALL ABOUT finding more easy meals for busy nights, so I’d lovelovelove to hear your own personal favorites!
P.S. If ya can’t swing Spruce Street Harbor Park, Mrs. T’s Pierogies will be taking part in Philly Beer Week! On June 3rd, you can grab Chef Garces’ special Pierogies Picatta and Pierogies Poblanos recipes (bless up) with yo’ beer at Beer Under the Big Top. And on June 6th, at the Official Philly Loves Beer Garden, you can try special pierogy and sausage kebabes paired with allll different types of beer. SO YUM amiright????
P.P.S. You’ve still got just over a day to enter to win $700 CASH, so there’s that.
P.P.P.S. Enrollment for BossPitch is open until May 31st!! SO many amazing BossPitches have already joined, and I couldn’t be more stoked to personally help each and every one of ya nail yo’ pitching + (politely) persisting. Don’t miss it.
*This post is sponsored by Mrs. T’s. As always, all opinions and thoughts presented are entirely my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Coming Up Roses.