Anyone who knows me or has followed me for any length of time might categorize my cooking style as “throw it all together, add a lil of this, a lil of that, and pray it tastes good” and while that method has been remarkably successful for the most part, I fell into a rut recently and desperately needed to change it up and add some WOW factor to my kitchen creations. I mean, let’s be real, how many days in a row does anyone want to eat the EXACT same thing? Do NOT scroll back to my marathon training days or you’ll see the answer is me. ME is quite content eating fried eggs and baked sweet potatoes for literally months at a time!
So back to this rut I so desperately needed to climb out of…… My girl Robin pointed me to the Well Fed Wonderwoman herself, Melissa Joulwan, and told me she had a new cookbook out: “Well Fed Weeknights.”
First of all, this book is GORGEOUS! The photography is divinely drool worthy, and Melissa’s writing and cooking styles really speak to me.
I love that all the instructions are super easy to follow with helpful hints sprinkled in for good measure. Melissa spends a few pages giving you sage Paleo advice from a scientific and personal perspective, details some handy tools to make your kitchen a chef’s paradise, and even several weeks of sample menus! Once you dig into the recipes, each section is broken down into two parts- What I’d call the “Steps” and the “Specifics,” both sections vital to the success of your dish. I will repeat her pro-tip: READ THE ENTIRE RECIPE BEFORE YOU START COOKING; YOU’LL BE SO MUCH HAPPIER. While you know I don’t really follow recipes, I’ll admit, reading through for the sake of techniques, timing and cooking order saved me a shit ton of frustration, especially considering many of the techniques are new to me.
This book reads like you’re chatting it up with your bestie over beverages in the kitchen and it’s glorious!
Let’s get to it Okay!
This is MY version of her Hoisin Mushroom Chicken Velvet Stir-Fry
Please note: I did NOT revamp my entire pantry to ensure everything was paleo friendly so there were definitely some substitutions made. I’m also not going to post ALL the details for these recipes, because you really need to just go buy Melissa’s books! (Please note- this is NOT an ad, I am NOT being compensated in ANY way for sharing her links, I just truly LOVE this cookbook and when you love stuff, you share it, like a good human!)
Step 1. Velvet the meat. Ok, I totally scoffed at this step, but OH MY GOODNESS! It’s so stinking easy and it does its own thing while you’ve moved on to drink and step 2!
Step 2. Prep yo veg! I bought pre-sliced baby bellas from the 50% off section at HEB and didn’t bother looking for ANY other type because broke mama was broke…and hungry! aaaand I tossed a diced sweet onion in there too.
Steps 3, 4 and 5…sultry saucy aromatic magic…
Steps 6, 7, and 8….cook all the things, but in the right order so you can gleefully reach
Steps 9 and 10. Combine everything, add sauce and STIR-FRY like a boss!
Steps 11 and 12 (NOT included in the book, because I just added them) Plate, photograph and DEVOUR!
And THAT, my friends, is my dinner, inspired by one of the great kitchen goddesses of our time! THE Melissa Joulwan!
I’m curious, what’s your cooking style? Do you fly by the seat of your tastebuds like me or do you follow recipes down to the letter?
What’s your FAVORITE dish and favorite chef?