Coconut Curry Chicken

You may have seen if you follow my personal Instagram or read from a recent post that Cole and I just spent the last week moving into our very own house! Granted, we are still renting it but does it even matter?! You guys, this house is a literal dream. We keep talking about how we don't feel like we actually live there yet and we're just guests in a cute little Airbnb. But nope. I keep waking up each day to this cozy, cute "vacation home" and it's apparently ours!  

Arguably the best part of this house (even though it's seriously hard to choose a "best" part because I have 12,000 favorite parts of the house) is the backyard. This beautiful, magical, perfect backyard down below. 

Is that not the prettiest picture you've ever seen? All it's really missing is me in it with a glass of rose in hand and Cole firing up the grill for some grilling and chilling. 

Speaking of grilling and chilling, I cannot tell you how happy it makes me that this backyard is the perfect setting for such activities! While we've had our grill for a few years, a tiny balcony is no place for a grill and chill sesh. With this new backyard, our grill has been born again and I'm all sorts of ready to prep some tasty foods for some backyard barbecue action. 

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Garlicky White Bean Dip

There are two types of people in this world: people who are meh about garlic and people who love garlic.

The first type of people, the people who are meh about garlic are ok with anywhere between 0-1 garlic clove per recipe. Giada de Laurentiis, who inspired the very recipe I'm talking about today, is one of these people. Sure, she's great and has some delicious recipes I've tried over the years. But if there's one critical flaw I've noticed in Giada is that she's "ok" with using 1 clove of garlic per recipe, if any garlic at all. And you know what I have to say to that? LAME. 

As for the people that love garlic, that's a whole other story. These are my people! They're the people that read a recipe for 1-2 cloves garlic and immediately double if not triple that amount. They're the people that prefer their garlic to taste so strong that it almost tastes spicy. They want their garlic to be the star and they want it to put a little hair on their chest, as all the best foods should. 

This very recipe for super garlicky white bean dip is an example of a recipe that was inspired from a non-garlic lover and turned into an instantly better dish from the addition of more garlic. This recipe is one of my entertaining go-tos because a) it's extremely easy to make, even in a last minute pinch – just a few zips in the food processor is all it takes, b) it's takes merely 5 ingredients and c) it's addictively tasty, with bright lemon, punchy garlic, rich olive oil and fresh parsley.

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Corn, Heirloom Tomato and Burrata Pizza with Basil

Whenever I need cooking inspiration, I like to get myself out of the kitchen and into someone else's aka a restaurant. That's right, not only does going out to eat please my belly and spirits, but it doubles as a prime research opportunity! Multi-tasking at it's finest. 

My latest dining out slash research venture was made possible by a recent work trip down to LA. I ate so much amazing food, thanks to my impeccable Yelping skills and the natural ability to seek good restaurants in a new place (because there's nothing I hate more than wasting time or money on a bad meal). And while there are many dishes I had that left an imprint on my mind, it was burrata and I that really began a love affair. From having it served cold with marinated apricots, shiso and grilled bread to melted and bubbly on a wood fired pizza with squash blossoms and heirloom tomatoes, I knew burrata and I were going to become BFFs real soon after our encounters in LA. 

While I'm still on a mission to recreate the burrata with marinated apricots and shiso with smoky, grilled bread (because it was absolutely amaze balls), I knew immediately I wanted to recreate a burrata pizza at home using my mad pizza making skillz. The squash blossom pizza in LA was dynamite, to say the least. But I knew I wasn't easily going to get my hands on squash blossoms or a wood fired pizza oven anytime soon (wah wah). However, the creamy, mild burrata would also accentuate fresh, summery flavors like heirloom tomato, grilled corn and fresh basil. And just like that, I had my next all star homemade pizza recipe in the bag, courtesy of eating out in sunny Los Angeles. 

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Salty Chocolate Rice Krispie Treats

I'm no Martha Stewart, but if there's one thing I know about entertaining it's that you know you've succeeded when your dishes disappear quickly. It doesn't matter if your house is a mess or if your beautiful presentation took a few hard hits on the way over to the potluck; if it's devoured within minutes and then subsequently made the hot topic of conversation at the party, you know you've hit it out of the park. 

Because I'm always eager to please, whenever I'm heading to a party or hosting my own, I resort to only my best, tastiest of dishes that I know will be a huge crowd pleaser. [Insert plug for my curry deviled eggs, smoked salmon spread and Dr. Pepper pulled pork]

But this post is not about those other recipes which, frankly, fair insubordinate to those recipes (no offense, other also very delicious recipes). This recipe is about the decadent, salty, sweet chocolate rice krispie treats that you're going to fall head over heels in love for. 

To put it in perspective of just how delicious and popular these babies are, I took these to barbecue recently. Within the hour of me showing up with a huge platter of them, I not only heard from no less than three people how delicious they were but saw with my own eyes the disappearance of them. Guys, they were eaten before the entrees were even served. So, THAT good. 

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Carne Asada Tacos

It's safe to say that tacos are one of my favorite foods. No matter how hard I try to shake up my weekly dinner routine, tacos somehow end up in the rotation in some way, shape or form. But that right there is the beauty of tacos! There are infinite ways to cook and eat them that you could quite possibly never end up bored. 

When it comes to finding my next favorite taco recipe, my mind wanders to the authentic tacos I've tried straight out of taco trucks. To me, there's really nothing better than having some greasy, delicious tacos from something as modest and simple as a food truck. Some of my favorite tacos are carne asada tacos served simply with lime juice, white onions and cilantro on a corn tortilla where the juicy, flavorful carne asada is the true star. Served on a paper plate with a horchata to wash it down, it's best enjoyed standing up and in a convenient store parking lot. 

While I wish I could eat straight from a food truck every day of the week (because I honestly could), I thought I'd bring the food truck home in my next taco making venture with my own spin on juicy carne asada tacos. 

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Mandarin Orange and Goat Cheese Salad

I'm back peeps, I'm back! Yes, I've been on a brief hiatus due to all things life, but I have to say life has been pretty good! Here's a brief snapshot of what's new in the life of Hungry Ali: 

  • Cole and I are counting down the days (literally) until we move into a house (yes, house) in the heart of Fremont! The house comes complete with a backyard, washer/dryer (hallelujah), not one but two bedrooms, not one but two bathrooms and the ability for us to finally (wait for it) adopt our own pug…!!!! I know. I am quite literally dying from excitement. More to come on this exciting life update, including pics, in the next few weeks! 
  • Work and life are keeping me busy with lots of fun happenings like Mariners games, graduation parties, brewery outings and wine tastings. Nothing to complain about here!  
  • I just returned from a work trip from LA where my work wife and I spent three days soaking up lots of relevant info at a national event planning conference. When we weren't at the conference, we were immersing ourselves in the LA culture complete with copious amounts of delicious food, drink and cool scenery. Hashtag blessed. 

With all of these things going on and more, it's not hard to see why I've been slacking on my blogging/cooking game! But I'm happy to say that life will be settling down for a hot minute and I can finally return back to my happy place. 

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Lemon Garlic Roasted Shrimp

 It was a Saturday morning. My favorite kind of Saturday morning, in fact! After spending a solid unproductive hour in bed, I finally rolled out and put on my slippers only to resume lounging on the couch, with a blanket and a cup of coffee. I turned on the tube, flipped on Food Network and tuned into Ina Garten. 

Is it just me or does this scenario not sound reminiscent of heaven?!? 

But back to the important bits. I was watching Ina Garten, which is really the most important part you need to know. Contrary to what you might think, I actually have not tuned in to Ina Garten in awhile. For one, she had not aired new episodes in some time and you already know I've seen every single Barefoot Contessa episode at least two times. And secondly, I just hadn't indulged in the luxury of turning on Food Network on a Saturday morning in some time. So when I did turn it on this particular Saturday morning I was not only pleased to see my role model, Ina, on the boob tube, but it was a brand new episode airing! 

When I watch Ina Garten, I immediately get transported to my happy place. Cole was actually making fun of me watching it the whole time because whenever Ina added an ingredient or talked about what effortlessly fabulous dish she was going to whip up next, I was mutter things like, "Oooh" or "Oh that sounds good," or "Yes please!" under my breath all whilst my eyes were temporarily glued to the TV in awe. There's a reason why they call it food porn, people….

After a solid hour of watching Ina make her usual elegant yet simple recipes like Roasted Shrimp, Salmon Tacos and Lemon Pasta, I quickly realized that Ina had done it again; she worked her culinary magic on me and I too felt compelled to "cook like a pro." Mission accomplished, Ina! 

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Buttermilk Ranch Dip

I am a firm believer that a party cannot be considered a party without food. Bonus points if there's food and adult beverages, but food is first and foremost. Now that it's summer and practically every day is an excuse for a party full of grilling and chillin', it's time to break out all the fun, crowd-pleasing party foods! 

I certainly have a few go-to favorite party snacks. Sausage stuffed mushrooms, sweet and spicy pecans and curry deviled eggs rank right up there with the best in my book. But probably the most underrated party snack out there that everyone inevitably gravitates towards, especially if it's a good one, is a veggie tray.

Don't get me wrong, veggies on their own are a crisp, fresh and delicious reprieve in a sea of savory snacks at a party. But let's be real: nobody ever fell in love with a veggie tray just because the cucumbers were on point. Veggies are merely a vehicle for dipping. Which is why I believe no veggie tray is complete without a delicious ranch dressing dip!

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Sausage, Kale and Potato Frittata

I can pretty much count on one hand the number of times I've skipped breakfast in my life. And the times I have skipped breakfast, let me tell you, it was not intentional. Like the time I started a new job and was completely out of my element, filling out paperwork and partaking in new employee trainings and tours. Fast forward to noon where my tummy made some embarrassingly loud noises and I realized the only thing I had consumed all day in my flurry of new experiences was drip coffee. Talk about a very out of character moment! 

You see, eating breakfast in the morning comes as natural to me as putting on clothes every day. Which is why I've never understood why people would intentionally skip breakfast or not like to eat breakfast aka the best meal of the day! From the moment I wake up, my mind goes to breakfast (ok, maybe coffee first, but breakfast followed closely after). And you best believe that I make a game plan for a hearty and tasty breakfast to get me all pepped up and ready to go. 

Since I'm just a big ol' planner, I love having breakfast prepared for me in advance so all I have to do in the mornings is grab something from the fridge and/or pop something in the microwave. From the Pinterest favorite egg muffin cups, smoothie packs and even mason jar parfaits, I've pretty much covered my bases with all things breakfast meal prep. But what I've really been feeling lately are frittatas! 

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Bacon Honey Mustard Potato Salad

I'm gonna level with you all real quick: when the sun comes out, I turn into a real lazy cook. Gone are the days when I actually want to slave away over the stove making soups or roasting vegetables. Because I'm not trying to sweat anymore than I have to, ja feel? 

So when the sun comes out to play in Seattle, it's all about turning the oven off and turning the grill on! And in case you've been living under a rock, I sort of kind of like to grill things

But what I love almost more than delicious grilled meats and veggies on the grill in the sunny weather are cold summer salads. The kind you make a big batch of early in the week, stick it in your fridge to let the flavors marry and become even more delicious over time. The kind that make dinner time a real lazy effort because you're merely throwing something on the grill and eating a cool summer salad straight from the bowl. We're talking minimal effort here, friends!

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