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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!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Dana reply

    your sister is also a resource for recipes! :)
    Anyways, couple goals.

  2. avatar Southern Newlywed – Something Pretty reply

    […] We had so much fun spending lunch time with Heather of Jake+Heather, who took these fun photos–we’re so happy to have professional shots in our first apartment, and I know we’ll always cherish them. Head over to see the full post here! […]

  3. avatar Rachel reply

    you guys are adorable! and your hair is so stunning!!

  4. avatar Love List – Something Pretty reply

    […] strangely the only way quinoa has sounded appealing to me during pregnancy. Photo above from this post by Jake + […]

  5. avatar How We Simplified Meal Planning – Something Pretty reply

    […] by Jake + Heather from our Southern Newlywed shoot last […]

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Since we cook dinner in my house almost every night, my husband and I are on a constant search for new recipes to try. And though we have our favorite indulgences, we try to make most of them on the healthier side! To help you in your own quest for lighter newlywed recipes, the Southern Weddings gals have rounded up a few favorites to share today, all tested and approved in our own kitchens. Whether you’re paleo, vegetarian, vegan, or just trying to eat a little better, we hope you’ll find something here to love!

1. 5-Ingredient Easy White Chicken Chili | I have been making this literally every other week since I discovered the recipe–it’s perfect on chilly nights, and it couldn’t be easier to throw into the crockpot in the morning! Be sure to use a good salsa verde (Frontera Tomatillo salsa is my favorite), and don’t skimp on toppings–I add cilantro, green onion, avocado, a dollop of Greek yogurt, and a sprinkle of cheese. – Lisa
2. Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken Breasts | I am a pretty big Gina fan and her recipes never disappoint (I got her fabulous new cookbook for Christmas). This one is healthy and easy–we’ve made it for ourselves, when we’ve had friends over, and even made extra and eaten leftovers for a few days! – Kristin
3. BLT Chopped Salad with Corn, Feta, and Avocado | This is my current favorite salad recipe–the combination of ingredients is so delicious! I love it for weekend lunches or light dinners. To make it even lighter, substitute pistachios for the bacon! – Lisa
4. Sweet Potato Burritos with Avocado Salsa Verde | This is one of the few meals where I don’t miss the meat AT ALL. I can serve this to anyone and they will love it! – Emily
5. Blueberry Oat Squares | My blueberry plants are usually late bloomers but when they finally yield some juicy berries, these granola bars are the berries’ first destination! – Morgan
6. Gluten Free Pizza Crust Mix | Kind of a recipe, and kind of an easy-peasy date night! This pizza dough is one of our absolute favorites: it’s quick, healthy, and rises like regular pizza crust. Add your favorite toppings, and you’re good to go! – Marissa
7. Paleo Meatloaf | Being married to an athlete, we have been hardcore Paleo, semi-Paleo, and everything in-between. During our “hardcore” time, we loved this meatloaf. Paired with green beans, it is our go-to healthy comfort food! – Marissa
8. Summer Macaroni Salad with Tomatoes and Zucchini | I always make a big bowl of this light and fresh macaroni salad before my family and I leave for our annual summer vacation. Chilled in a cooler, it makes the perfect beach day lunch! – Morgan
9. Broccolini Fried Rice | This recipe is almost painfully healthy, but it also happens to be pretty yummy, and easy to make. Good when you feel like you need a cleanse! – Emily
10. Blueberry & Raspberry Baked Oatmeal | Eating a warm (healthy) breakfast on a cold morning is a great way to start our day–my favorite part of this recipe is the fact that you can make ahead (on the weekend) and reheat individual servings each morning! – Kristin

What are your go-to healthy recipes, friends? Feel free to sound off or leave links in the comments – we’ll be checking back!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Heather reply

    These all sounds delicious! I was just looking for some healthy recipes to make this weekend (we’re trying to eat extra healthy before our wedding this summer!) and am going to try that chicken chili tonight!

  2. avatar Jenn reply

    This look so tasty!

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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At Southern Weddings, we’re big believers in family dinners–cell phone-free quality time spent at the table with your significant other. One of the best tools to have in your arsenal in order to make that happen? An inventory of delicious, healthy meals that can be prepared quickly and easily after a busy day of work. That’s why we love Dana and John of Minimalist Baker, and their commitment to sharing recipes that consist of 10 ingredients or less, use only one bowl, or take under 30 minutes to prepare. Their blog is a fantastic resource for making those family dinners happen, and we’re so excited to introduce this Kansas City couple to y’all!

Thanks so much to Whitney Knutson for these sweet photos!

By day: I’m a recipe developer, professional food photographer, and content creator for Minimalist Baker. John is the designer, technical guru, and brand strategist for Minimalist Baker, among many other roles.

How they met: We became familiar with each other through a group of friends who were in the same college church group in Wichita, Kansas (where we grew up). We first met at a dance party a friend of ours hosted. John says we locked eyes on the dance floor, but it wasn’t until months later that I fell for him and we began dating.

Their wedding: Our wedding was on a chilly day in March 2010, and it was simple and elegant. Since we were only engaged for a few months, the planning process went rather quickly. Friends and family watched us exchange vows at our church, and a dessert reception nearby followed. We may be biased, but it was kind of perfect.

Meal planning: I do the meal planning! Every Saturday, I plot out the week ahead and make a grocery run on Monday for everything we need. The grocery store is my happy place.

The cooking: That’s me again! John isn’t big on cooking, but thankfully, I happen to love it.

Favorite meal-related memory: There are so many, but I’d have to say eating sushi together during our trip to Bali, Indonesia last summer. We’d had a long day of lounging on the beach, and we got all dressed up and went out for dinner. I remember our time being particularly sweet, and John making me laugh a lot (which he does frequently).

Top ten favorite recipes:

1. My Favorite Vegan Pizza: I make this simple, healthy pizza every Sunday. It’s our favorite standing meal tradition.

2. Crispy Baked Peanut Tofu Stir Fry: I make some version of this dish every week. I love how bold the flavors are, and how it yields crispy, perfect tofu every time, even without frying!

3. Creamy Vegan Garlic Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes: This pasta gets thrown into our meal rotation at least every other week. I’m a sucker for white sauces, and this one satisfies my cravings every time, no dairy required.

4. Vegan Chai Ice Cream: Hands down the best ice cream I’ve ever made! I’m smitten with how creamy and perfectly spicy and sweet it is.

5. One Bowl Gluten Free Banana Bread: This is the most tender, moist banana bread I’ve ever had, and I love that it’s gluten free! I whip up a batch any time I have overripe bananas.

6. 5 Ingredient Detox Smoothie: I make some version of this smoothie most mornings for breakfast. It’s a simple way to squeeze more greens into our diet, and the tart-sweet flavor and creamy texture are near perfect.

7. Baked Herb and Pistachio Falafel: I’m a sucker for Mediterranean food, and this dish by Sara of Sprouted Kitchen satisfies my falafel cravings every time.

8. Chickpea, Spring Onion, and Tuscan Kale Panzanella Salad: I could eat this salad by Laura of The First Mess every day for the rest of my life and be one happy woman. Every time spring rolls around, I find myself reaching for this recipe as often as I can.

9. Shawarma Nachos: This recipe from My Name is Yeh looks like absolute perfection. This is technically cheating because I haven’t made it yet, but it’s on my menu plan for this week! I mean, look at all those flavors and textures! Amazing.

10. Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Pancakes: Hands down, my favorite pancakes of all time, and the recipe that started it all on Minimalist Baker. I whip them up whenever I’m craving pancakes (which is rather often). I love their moist, slightly dense texture and how they taste just like an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie, only healthier!

We’re so grateful to Dana and John for sharing their favorite meals with us! Be sure to follow along with them on their blog, Minimalist Baker, as well as on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

P.S. We’d love to hear from you! Our hope is to feature REAL couples in the South – your inspiring friend, super talented cousin, or neighbor with the cutest house – the kind of person everyone would love to “e-meet.” If that sounds like you or someone you know, take a peek at our Southern Newlywed submission page and shoot us an email!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Laura reply

    Love this and love Dana to bits. These photos are so wonderful!

  2. avatar Mandy volpe reply

    Love this and totally agree that dinners around the table are important. I think I will try those oatmeal pancakes!

  3. avatar Kathy Mader reply

    What a fun article. Minimalist Baker is my favorite food blog. I thought you were going to show us some wedding pictures, though :)

  4. avatar Best of September | My Recipe Network reply

    […] did an interview with Southern Weddings about how we met, what our wedding was like, and what our 10 current favorite recipes are. Check […]

  5. avatar Best of September 2014 | Minimalist Baker Recipes reply

    […] did an interview with Southern Weddings about how we met, what our wedding was like, and what our 10 current favorite recipes are. Check […]

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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