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Italian Croissant Sandwich by @UpsideDownPear

I have been wanting to buy these specialty Italian meats from Costco for a long time now. They’ve always tempted me to make some sort of sandwich out of them (or even just put on top of crackers). Well I finally broke down and got them along with some croissants when I saw someone eating a croissant sandwich. I said, enough! I need both of these right now, and they need to be together.

Italian Croissant Sandwich by @UpsideDownPear

Voila, I give you this crazy huge and amazing Italian croissant sandwich. Not really a sub, but still amazing. I added lettuce, cheese, and tomato to round it out, but you can other favorites if you’d like. The cheese can stay or go (I can’t believe I just said that). It does add something to it, but the meats are so flavorful that you don’t really need the cheese for that. I do, however, recommend not leaving the tomato off…even if you’re not a fan of tomatoes. This is a bit hard to describe, but the tomato gives a nice bit of juice/liquid to the sandwich. The meats are on the salty side being that they are cured, so the juice from the tomatoes helps to cut that just enough.

Italian Croissant Sandwich by @UpsideDownPear

I will admit that this sandwich is intense. And while I will be eating it again, it will be a while.   Both the richness of the croissant and the richness of the meats have left me satisfied.

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Spinach Salad by @UpsideDownPear

I had a spinach salad at a restaurant the other day, and I mention this for a couple of reasons. One, I don’t normally buy a salad before my meal, and two, it was so delicious that I had to recreate it. The waitress totally convinced me to try it when she mentioned that there were dried cherries and goat cheese on it. I mean, I’m a sucker for goat cheese.

Spinach Salad by @UpsideDownPear

I’m not usually a fan of raw baby spinach, though I have been eating it more often lately and this salad is definitely a great way to get your greens. It’s also a perfectly light and fresh flavor for these warming months. This salad has walnuts for crunch, dried cherries for a bit of sweetness, and goat cheese for that hint of tang. The goat cheese is similar to feta, but creamier. It’s usually in the specialty cheese section, near the feta sometimes.

Spinach Salad by @UpsideDownPear

At the restaurant, they used a balsamic vinaigrette dressing, but I decided to use a raspberry vinaigrette at home. Either works well with the flavors, and you could even use a cream based dressing if you desire. I just felt that the cream based ones were a bit heavy for this, and wanted to keep it lighter. This salad takes almost no time to put together and is super satisfying. I’ll definitely be having this for quite a few lunches.

Spinach Salad by @UpsideDownPear

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Shepherd's Pie by @UpsideDownPear

We’re going to back track a bit and bring back the Irish. This shepherd’s pie is packed full of flavor and will definitely fill you up. I’ve made this at least twice in the past month, that’s how much I love it. It’s seems like a lot of work, but it’s really not too bad. It’s mostly just a bit time consuming since it will need to bake for about 30 minutes in the oven. The majority of it comes together in roughly an hour. I like to make this on a Sunday, and we have lunch (or dinner) through Wednesday.

Shepherd's Pie by @UpsideDownPear

You can add whatever veggies appeal to you, but I like to use onion, carrots, peas, and corn. I usually double the amount of corn to peas as peas aren’t really my favorite and I think a little goes a long way. The corn and carrots are absolutely amazing in this and help to add a bit of sweetness to this dish.

Shepherd's Pie by @UpsideDownPear

I’d also recommend using Yukon gold potatoes as they are just incredibly buttery and creamy without needing to use any actual butter. You just need to add a bit of milk and an egg and you’re all set. They really are my favorite type of potatoes for mashing (or steaming). Otherwise I like the red potatoes for roasting. If you’re hosting an Easter dinner, you could make this the day before all the family visits and pop it in the oven to warm it up. This heats up very nicely, and feeds quit a large number of people. Forget the ham, and start a new Easter tradition!

Shepherd's Pie by @UpsideDownPear

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Spicy Chinese Pork @UpsideDownPear

I know that I call this Chinese, but then use a Korean ingredient in it. Just roll with me. The end result tastes (at least in my opinion) must more like a dish at your favorite Chinese joint rather than something that came out of a Korean kitchen. I will say that you’ll probably need to hit up your Asian grocery store for a few of the items, though I have seen more of the bigger grocery stores carrying most of these ingredients.

Spicy Chinese Pork @UpsideDownPear

You can add your favorite veggies to this. The first time I made this, we added broccoli. The next time, we had run out of broccoli but we did have mushrooms and bell peppers. So naturally, in they went. We also add quite a bit of spice. We didn’t find it to be a burn your mouth off type of spice, but more of a nice slow burn. However, if spice isn’t your thing, then you can even take out the pepper flakes and add less of the gochujang.

Spicy Chinese Pork @UpsideDownPear

The only thing I wouldn’t change is the soy sauce. You really do need to find a light and a dark (which I think is the regular kind). Light does not equal low sodium. It’s mostly a color difference and gives the dish a deeper flavor. Using only the regular soy sauce makes the dish overly salty and too heavy. Out of everything, finding the light soy sauce might be the hardest. I never would have thought to use this had I not come across the blog The Woks of Life. It’s a super awesome blog by a cute Chinese-American family. The mom, dad, and two daughters all contribute recipes which look amazing. If you like Chinese food (though they do have more than just that), I highly recommend checking out their site.

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Slow Cooker Chili @UpsideDownPear

Now I’m not in New England or anything, so I don’t have to tunnel my way out the front door. On the other hand, it’s been in the single digits and below for far far far too long. Why is it that the closer we get to spring, the colder it gets outside? Doesn’t Mother Nature know that’s not how this works?

Slow Cooker Chili @UpsideDownPear

Well, it’s a good thing that we have this amazing chili to help keep us warm while the negative windchill keeps on dropping! The beauty is that after cooking the meat on the stove, everything else happens in the slow cooker. All you need to do it put everything together in the pot and then let it do its thing.

Slow Cooker Chili @UpsideDownPear

Because you cook it for at least four hours, the meat becomes super tender and just begins to fall apart. It’s a nice change from the ground beef or chicken that you could use for chili. I also like to add lots of veggies to my chili. Not only does it help to give some body to the dish, but you also feel like you’re being totally healthy. We like to make up a big batch and then freeze half of it for later. It becomes a great time saver when your schedule leaves no time for cooking…or the weather is so cold you don’t feel like getting out of bed.

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