Dave and I are almost ten months into our marriage, and one thing that has been unexpected, but so wonderful, is how much we’ve grown to enjoy making dinner together. Chock it up to the fancy kitchen tools our loved ones so generously gifted us from our registry, our growing list of go-to healthy recipes, or our George Strait Spotify playlist (a must in our kitchen!), but regardless, coming home from work and spending time together cooking has become such a special part of our daily routine. I hope you enjoy this little peek into our kitchen, and you find some new dishes to try in our list of favorite recipes!
Thank you so much to the sweet Heather of Jake + Heather for these fun photos!
By day: Dave is a financial analyst at Cisco and Lisa is an editor at Southern Weddings.
How they met: We first met in January 2010 on my first day of my study abroad semester in Austria. Dave had studied abroad the semester before, and was an RA for the spring semester, so my first memory of him was being a little excited when I was assigned to the cute RA’s group for an orientation meeting! We became great friends, but the timing wasn’t right for anything more. After that semester, I transferred and we didn’t keep in touch, but three years later, mutual friends brought us back into one another’s lives at the perfect time. Deep down, we both knew after that first phone call of catching up on the last three years that this was it. We got engaged ten months later!
Their wedding: We were married on the prettiest spring day in our new home city of Raleigh, North Carolina. Family and friends from across the country and around the world joined us as we said our vows in our beloved church, were whisked away in my dream classic getaway car, and then celebrated surrounded by twinkling lights and all of my favorite spring flowers. It was magical!
Who does the meal planning? I do, with Dave’s help. We plan about four days at a time, and meal plan after looking at both of our schedules and discussing anything we’re in the mood for. The vast majority of the recipes we make on a regular basis are on my Healthy Food Pinterest board, so that’s always our starting point! To keep it organized, I comment on my pins of any recipes we’ve tried and enjoyed, and delete any recipes we don’t love.
Who does the cooking? We work together! Thankfully, Dave loves the part of cooking that I don’t particularly care for (chopping), so armed with the fancy chef’s knife from our registry, he does all of the prep work for the recipe we’re making each night. Then, I do the actual assembling and cooking, which I really enjoy. It works out perfectly for us, because we get to spend time together in the kitchen, and dinner comes together much more efficiently.
Favorite meal-related memory: Definitely the first night of our honeymoon! Since some of our first memories together are from Italy, we returned there on our honeymoon, and spent the first few days in one of our favorite cities in the world: Rome. We arrived in the late afternoon, and after taking a jet-lagged nap, we asked our hotel concierge for the closest place to get really good pasta. Just a block away was the coziest little restaurant, complete with an adorable garden dining area and the best bucatini all’amatriciana either of us has ever had!
Favorite meal-related disaster: Three words: cauliflower crust pizza. We made the mistake of trying this trendy dish out on an evening three weeks before our wedding, when I had about a bajillion other things to do than food process cauliflower for over an hour. And it didn’t even taste good at the end! Never again.
Lisa and Dave’s 10 favorite recipes:
1. Caprese Quinoa: This is our favorite way to get tasty Italian flavors without eating a heavy pasta or pizza dish. We often add some chicken seasoned with Italian seasoning to the bowl to make it a more complete meal, and it’s one of our favorites for busy weeknights.
2. Five-Ingredient White Chicken Chili: We can’t sing the praises of this crockpot chili enough. It is so darn delicious, healthy, and QUICK. I timed us one morning and it took us less than five minutes to prep everything and throw it in the crockpot!
3. Tortilla Soup: This is my mom’s go-to tortilla soup recipe, and even though there are countless variations out there, I never bother with any of them because I like this one so much.
4. BLT Chopped Salad: Avocado, feta, corn, bacon…this is a perfect salad, in our opinion! We cook the bacon in the oven (game changer, if y’all haven’t tried it!) while we chop up the other ingredients, and dinner is ready in 20 minutes.
5. Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas: Dave professes his love for this meal literally every time we make it. We were skeptical (enchiladas with no meat or cheese??), but it quickly became one of our favorite dishes. Bonus, we always have plenty of leftovers!
6. Smoky Grilled Chicken Pita Flatbreads with Creamy Feta: This chicken marinade is amazing! We made this meal for Dave’s parents one night when they were visiting, and loved that it was easy to put together, but impressive and delicious enough to serve to guests.
7. Clean Turkey Chili: We both love snuggling up with a hot bowl of chili during the colder months, and this recipe is our go-to. I love that it’s healthier than many chilis, and Dave loves the heat from the Serrano peppers.
8. One Pan Mexican Quinoa: We run together a few days a week, and this is one of our favorite post-workout meals. It’s quick, clean, and hits the spot after a tough workout! We add a dollop of Greek yogurt to make it a little creamy.
9. Hot Date, Cold Noodles: I picked up the Glamour cookbook in college, and this was the first recipe I tried from it. It’s easy to throw the sauce together while the noodles are cooking, and we love it because the flavors are totally different than what we usually eat (though we do get to use cilantro and green onions, which we often have leftover from our frequent Mexican dishes!).
10. Fudgey Chocolate Chunk Brownies: I try not to bake too often, but when a serious chocolate craving hits our house, this is what we make. They’re definitely the best brownies I’ve ever had!