Michelle Billions is a mom of three who owns and co-owns two of Springfield’s staple businesses. Owning and operating The Coffee Ethic - Specialty Coffee Bar and Roaster and co-owning Cherry Picker Package + Fare - Restaurant, Coffee & Cocktail Bar selling food, packaged wines, and liquor. Whether she’s cooking a meal for her family or roasting your coffee beans, she takes pride in quality over quantity. She’s a believer in indulging in what you want but making sure it’s worth it. Meaning, no wasted calories and the quality better be excellent. Eat with the intention of enjoying what you are putting in your body rather than feeling guilty about it. Want the full fat ice cream? Go for it, but take a moment and relish in the sweet flavor. There’s enough in the world to get you down… food shouldn’t be one of them. We think she’s on to something.
Food Mantra: Eat the hell out of what's in season and have no wasted calories.
Style of cooking: Style? Hmmm. I would say healthy, quick, simple and eclectic. I love to try new recipes and have enjoyed exploring Indian food as of late.
Your food inspiration: Food that is in season, great restaurants, dinner club with my girlfriends, & my current cravings.
Grilled Cheese with Soup
Breakfast for Dinner
Lemon Pepper Garlic Chicken with Angel Hair Pasta
Fiesta Chicken with Poblano Peppers & Rice
The Saigon Peanut Chicken over Noodles and Greens
Lasagna with Salad and Crusty Bread
Chicken Masala or Curry with Rice
Chili of all kinds
Chicken Noodle Soup
Truth be told, I have really enjoyed treating our family to "Hello Fresh" or the "Blue Apron" deliveries. I have been doing this for about a year now because I realized I was really slacking in the meal-making department. I get two meals every other week to keep cost down and these meals 1. Teach my kids how to cook, 2. Provide us with plenty of leftovers, 3. Keep waste to a minimum (which I despise), and 4. You can pick healthy.
Organizing your fridge/pantry to suit your needs: Nothing ingenious! I just like to have the items I use most at eye level. I like to clean & organize (my kids help a lot with this as well), periodically so I don't get that special surprise from the furry moldy friend(s).
Tricks you have learned to maintain a healthy diet with a busy lifestyle: Balance is Queen. I very rarely buy anything super unhealthy. If it's not in my house, I (we) am not tempted to partake. Even with the fluctuating research on what constitutes a healthy diet, I have learned over time to choose what makes me feel healthy/good while understanding the importance of moderation & balance. That being said, I am not going deprive myself or my kids of culinary bliss on occasion just because it's "unhealthy". I don't eat what I call "wasted calories", meaning I try to eat only food that is worthy of the calories I'm about to put in this middle-aged body. We all deserve to "treat ourselves" and is a crucial part of the balance piece. I try to have snacks in the house that are not only healthy but easy to grab and go. Usually lots of fruit, veggies, cheese, salami, nuts, and granola bars. One last thing, I have always exercised and am 100% sure this has helped maintain the balance both mentally & physically.
Food you make that you can’t live without: Eggs (over easy) with Avocados.
In the fridge: Eggs, milk, cheese, fruit, veggies, yum-yum sauce, jelly, plain Greek yogurt, butter, cream cheese, some pickled items, a couple of craft beers, and flavored water.
Cookbooks: Joy of Cooking, Family Binder- a collection of our favorite recipes.
Kitchen tools: A couple of sharp knives, coffee grinder & brewer (we use a Ratio coffee maker), non-stick small pan for eggs, tongs & a favorite spatula.
Snack food: Toasted Pecans with Ghee and salt.
Best grocery store: In SGF: Hy-Vee & Aldi. Otherwise: Trader Joe’s.
Best brand/item at store: Aldi has great avocados and it's hit or miss on fruit, and grass-fed ground beef at a great price. Trader Joe’s: Cornbread Mix, Clusters Granola, wine.
Best place to eat: Give me some of that: Rama Thai, Caesar's Old Mexico, Progress, Tortilla Perches, The Order, Golden Girl, Druff’s, Greek Belly & St. Michael’s.
Best meal at a restaurant: Ozarks Benedict from The Order or Moussaka from Greek Belly.
MICHELLE’S KITCHEN TO YOURS:
Lemon Pepper Chicken
3 Chicken Breasts
4 T Lemon Juice
4 T Olive Oil
Lemon Pepper Spice
Angel Hair Pasta
1 C Parmesan Cheese
Veggies of Choice
Start a large pot of salted water on high heat.
Take chicken breasts and cut into bite-sized pieces to marinate in lemon juice, olive oil and garlic for 30 minutes.
Put chicken and marinate in a pan and cook over medium heat.
Douse the chicken with lemon-pepper spice, salt, and pepper.
Once the water is boiling, add the angel hair pasta to cook (3 minutes).
Drain water out of pasta and add the chicken mixture (after it's cooked through) to the pasta. Add about a cup of parmesan cheese and mix thoroughly. If you want to add veggies, spinach, basil, and broccoli seemed to be acceptable to my kids. OR make a side dish of broccoli or spinach. Enjoy!