Archive of ‘Recipes’ category

Brunch Pad Thai

Life is stressful and sometimes, all you need is a warm bowl of noodles. Noodles of any form are what I consider real comfort food to me and I like ’em every which way! I was the kid on spaghetti night who preferred her spaghetti sans the red sauce and with the lovely addition of butter and parmesan cheese. My favorite part was biting into a huge forkful of pasta, not being able to fit the whole bite into my mouth,  and getting those cheesy, buttery noodle footprints  all over my face. I knew I was doing something right. Those same buttery delicious noodles get me through the hardest of days and longest of hours. Of course, I’ve traded in my green can of parmesan for the real deal. I love being a grown up! Well, other than the stressful part, of course. I tried to conjure up a few more Thanksgiving leftover recipes but honestly, I need a break from the holiday food for a sec. Feel me? Usually, Asian inspired dishes are what I turn to when I need a break from the usual rich and filling foods of the holidays. I introduce the Brunch Pad Thai! It’s a simple noodle dish made with the usual suspects of brunch: eggs and bacon. You could really eat this for any meal but isn’t it a fun thought to think of having a few friends come over for a unique brunch like this? All I know is that it’s delicious and I didn’t miss my eggs benedict…this week at least. (more…)

Our ingredient line up:

Asian rice noodles, beaten eggs, pea shoots, a mixture of tamarind paste, soy sauce, and fish sauce, mushrooms, bacon, sugar, garlic, crushed peanuts, and scallions.

The key here is to have a very hot wok or heavy skillet. We add our bacon and garlic. Be prepared. Your house is about to smell amazing.

This is how pad thai works; similar to stir fry. You cook meat and veggies on very high heat, remove, and repeat. You have to literally be on your toes during the whole cooking process so nothing burns. Here, we cook our eggs by swirling them in the pan so they cook fast and evenly. Burnt eggs equal gross so work fast!

Our noodles, pea shoots, and scallions are cooked. Our tamarind paste mixture is added. Tamarind paste is a must for yummy pad thai!

We kind of just throw everything else into the pan and toss! So much going on! So much flavor! Real talk: whatever you do, DO NOT overcook your rice noodles! This sweet little gal did and everything turned to mush! The horror!

Chaos. Perfect. Delicious. Chaos. You know what would be delicious with this? Cilantro and fresh lime juice! Don’t forget it at the grocery store like I did. Let me be the example. I hope you can find a calm moment in the midst of the holiday chaos and make yourself a nice bowl of your favorite noodles. Happy noodles making!

Ham and Gruyere Panini with Rosemary Onions

Is anyone else up to their elbows in Thanksgiving leftovers? My creativity to reinvent them is running thin and I don’t know if my stomach can accept anymore stuffing. But before I get entirely tired of the ham I made (my husband hates turkey), I always make this sandwich. Ham and I got off on the wrong foot 20 years ago when my parents made me eat some ham before I could be excused from the dinner table. It was the longest night of my life and I swore never to humor ham like that again. But as the years passed and my emotional scars from ham started to heal, I thought I would give it another shot. Ham ain’t so bad! It’s all about how you make it (brown sugar and Cognac glaze, anyone?). Plus, I do love having leftover ham sandwiches and when you adorn them with onions and rosemary, you’re in for a real treat! It’s perfect for a quick weeknight meal and it’s oh so comforting. It also gives you an excuse to dust of that panini maker you asked for on your wedding registry but barely use. The sweet, mustardy onions paired with the smokey ham and nutty Gruyere makes for the best panini. It just feels like the holidays all wrapped up in a sandwich. I’m sure this wouldn’t be so bad with turkey either. There’s only so many turkey pot pies you can make, ya know? Let’s get moving on our Ham and Gruyere Panini! (more…)

Our leftover ingredient line up:

Crusty bread, butter, fresh rosemary, gruyere, dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, ham, onions, and brown sugar.

Our onions are cooked until a luscious golden brown then we add more butter (surprise, surprise), brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and dijon.

The mixture is finished with a little chopped rosemary. If you have some thyme left over from Thanksgiving, feel free to add that instead.

Now, we layer! If you are at all a professional sandwich maker like myself, you know the layering process is incredibly important and should be taken very seriously. Grab your bread and out some ham on it. See what I mean? Precision is key! We top the ham with that delicious onion mixture.

Then, just as you thought things couldn’t get anymore complicated, we take grated gruyere and using all of the strength within us, sprinkle on top of the onion mixture. I know, I know. I’m asking too much of you but we will persevere!

Finally, our sandwiches are topped with a buttered slice of bread and some more rosemary is sprinkled on top. Whether you use a panini maker or a stovetop skillet, make sure there is some butter melted so the bottom of the sandwich gets plenty of love.

Wait for it…money shot! Just kidding. Sandwiches are a little camera shy but I wanted you to see the magic that is happening inside this sandwich. It’s buttery, it’s rich in flavor, and it’s the perfect way to use up your holiday leftovers. Happy panini making!

Chipotle Cranberry Sauce

You know how you always have an opened can of chipotle peppers in adobo hanging out in your fridge and you don’t know what to do with them? Oh you aren’t addicted to them like I am? Got it. Well, how about we throw them peppers into our cranberry sauce this holiday? Crazy. I might be. Lost my mind. A little. But when you are munching on that after Thanksgiving turkey sandwich with all the fixins’ and this chipotle cranberry sauce is the perfect condiment, you’ll be thanking my craziness. (more…)

There’s something magical about making your own cranberry sauce. It’s super festive and comforting. Your house smells like Christmas and you have control over what you want out of your cranberry sauce. Do you like it tart? Or sweeter than sweet? Maybe a little citrus boost? I opted for a little smokey with a little sweet. This cranberry sauce isn’t spicy by any means but has a little smokey kick to it. Perfect!

I think this is my favorite color scheme ever.

We got fresh cranberries (what beauties!), water, orange and lemon zest, sugar (I like mine sweet!), fresh orange juice, and the black sheep of the recipe: a chipotle pepper.

Everything is thrown into a pot and cooked down. The cranberries will pop creating the thick jelly-like sauce we all know and love (but not my husband). I like my cranberry sauce best cold and slathered on a croissant with butter. Or I wouldn’t judge you for adding a smidge of mayo for the best turkey sandwich condiment. This cranberry sauce would be perfect atop a brie wheel covered in puff pastry and baked to ooey gooey goodness. OR if you want to take a walk on the wild side, bake up your favorite batch of brownies and swirl this sauce in before they bake. Instead of a turkey sandwich, you could make enchiladas instead with the same ingredients and this cranberry sauce would be the perfect accompaniment. Whatever you choose to do with it, I hope you enjoy it. Have a Happy Thanksgiving loves!

Cheddar Chive Drop Biscuits

I was always the kid at any holiday table who would load their plate up with all the rolls and bread topped with salty butter before I even touched my turkey and gravy. What can I say? I love my bread and butter. The rolls were never homemade, always the store bought kind and I never demanded anything more. Growing up, I would hear of what my friends would have at their Thanksgiving table and I would think it was peculiar. Homemade biscuits, croissants, parker house or clover leaf rolls. Even recently, I’ve been okay with leaving the rolls to Giant’s bakery since no one really cared otherwise. (more…)

Most of us don’t include the bread portion of our Thanksgiving meal when we are making the meal from scratch or mostly from scratch. It’s too much to think about. Buying envelopes of yeast seems like a chore (or that’s just me), and getting flour all over my kitchen isn’t as exciting as getting butter splatters everywhere. Well, my friends, these biscuits will change your entire opinion on the latter. Drop biscuits are easy, no muss, no fuss, and turn out delectable every single time. They are just a simple combination of the 3 main food groups: flour, butter, and heavy cream. I made 2 kinds of biscuits for you but I’ll save the other one for after Thanksgiving. These Cheddar Chive biscuits are fluffy, buttery, salty, and have a slightly smokey flavor due to the paprika. Since you need cold butter to make these biscuits, you don’t need to wait around for the butter to soften, allowing these to be made in a pinch! I hope you venture out and try these lovelies!

Our ingredient line up:

Butter, chives, heavy cream, white cheddar, garlic powder, paprika, flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda.

We mix our dry ingredients then add the butter. Butter is broken down then we add our cheese and chives.

Our cream makes for a sticky dough and we use a measuring cup to make the “drop” biscuits. I used 1/2 cup measuring cup and it made large biscuits. If you want them smaller, use a 1/4 cup measuring cup. Bake and that’s it! Get ready for your kitchen to smell amazing!

This recipe makes HUGE biscuits, perfect for Thanksgiving dinner and sandwiches for leftovers! These biscuits are best served hot but can keep in the fridge for about 3 days. Confession: I might have made a bacon and egg sandwich on these suckers last night. No regrets! Happy biscuit making!

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Dip

This is how it usually goes: I down a protein shake half asleep on my drive to work (my husband is the driver so I can be half asleep). I get to work a little more awake and disheveled (is it the weekend yet?) and try to get my morning tasks finished before my customer service line is set on fire. Around 11, I’m starving; like “I could eat that chocolate chip cookie I threw out on Friday because I have that much self control” hungry. So trying to be an adult, I usually come prepared with a snack to get me through to lunch. Sometimes, it’s edamame crackers with a kale yogurt dip (shout out to Trader Joe’s). Sometimes, it’s my Larabar I usually save for the afternoon slump. Sometimes, it’s a piece of fruit that is hopefully in season. But I still feel like the healthy snack idea well runs dry and then I become bored, hence the thrown away chocolate chip cookie. (more…)

Real talk. The holidays are upon us and as my heart grows bigger with excitement for the festivities to come so does my waste line if I’m not careful. In an attempt to dream up decadent holiday recipes, I also have to think of things to eat that aren’t as calorie filled. I know you understand this predicament and I am here to tell you we will get through this! I love apples and peanut butter for a snack but peanut butter’s serving size is itty bitty compared to my appetite in the morning. In this dip, we stretch out peanut butter’s peanut butteryness and make it more cheesecake like. I know you don’t have a problem with that. The best part is you can make this dip as healthful or decadent as you want but make sure you serve it with a yummy dipper! For me, it’s apples.

Our easy peasy ingredient line up:

Top to Bottom: Creamy peanut butter (or chunky if that’s your flow), greek yogurt, honey, cream cheese, and cinnamon.

We throw all of our ingredients into a mixing bowl and whip it! Whip it good! I mean, look at that dreaminess. You could add chocolate chips or nuts or dried fruit. Whatever you want. As for me and my house, we will serve it just as it is!

This dip is posing all pretty for you. That fluffiness is all I need! You can serve this for the holidays but I think it should be kept our little secret for those hangry snack attacks. Happy dip making!

Sweet and Spicy Chili

Everyone has their favorite chili recipe and I won’t try to convince you this is the best chili you will ever have. First thing, I’m not from a place that I can earn the title of “best chili ever”. Secondly, I think chili is a personal thing: you make it how you like it. This is how I like my chili. Just a little bit of beans, a nice smokey, spicy kick, and a hint of sweetness. When my mom would make chili growing up, I would raid the cabinets for that Heinz chili sauce that was slightly sweet. When it came time for me to start making my own chili, I felt like a new world had just appeared before my eyes. I could make my chili any way I wanted to. Don’t want kidney beans? No big deal. Need a little more cumin? Done. Want to use ground turkey instead? Perfect. Among being very versatile and forgiving to particular tastes, chili is also a great make ahead meal, a freezer friendly meal, perfect for a crowd or for leftovers, and a great meal if you are on a budget. The cold weather is coming in full throttle so let’s embrace a bowl of chili! (more…)

Our chili ingredient line up:

From Top Left to Right: Ground beef, black and pinto beans, tomato sauce, a spice mixture of cumin, chili powder, paprika, and oregano, brown sugar, and fresh garlic. The perfect blank slate.

Now, before we dive into making our chili, I have this picture here to serve as both a lesson and a reminder. Every 6 months, change out your spices! I made an example of myself when I made this chili. Once I added everything into the chili, I tasted it to see where the spice was. After 3 tablespoons of chili powder, there still wasn’t any kick to the chili. I then tasted my chili powder and do you want to know what it tasted like? Nothing. I had to grab the Sriracha bottle to give the chili some heat. That is pitiful friends. Don’t let this happen to you. On a more positive note, Sriracha in chili is awesome.

Moving on to the reason we are all here: chili! Our meat is browned, our spices are added, our tomato sauce poured. This baby is checked for seasoning and is ready to simmer. If you don’t like beans in your chili, your labor ends here.

But, if you want some bean action, our beans are added after the chili has been simmering for a little while.

I always forget how good and comforting chili can be until I make a batch. I love having leftover chili because (say it with me): IT’S ALWAYS BETTER THE NEXT DAY.

Sour cream, red onion, and sharp cheddar are a must topping for my chili. How do you take your chili? Happy chili making!

Campfire Bark

Happy National Chocolate Day! I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate my birthday than to celebrate chocolate, too! Lucky me! In honor of the special occasions, I made you some chocolate bark; campfire bark to be exact! Have you ever made candy bark before? I’m addicted. I make a crunchy peppermint dark chocolate bark for Christmas so I thought Fall and Halloween deserved a bark all their own. This bark isn’t for the faint of heart, though. It’s incredibly sweet and chocolatey; a little bite goes a long way. The base is chocolate studded with crunchy cereal then topped with marshmallow and cookie butter. This is better than a S’more. Barks are super simple and fast to make! Plus, YOU get to choose what goes into it! It’s very versatile. I dream about which bark I can make next. Campfire bark is the perfect treat for any Halloween party; the perfect pick up and eat snack. Happy Halloween Week! (more…)

Our ingredient line up:

From Top Left to Right: Golden grahams cereal, cookie butter (this is from Trader Joe’s, if you don’t have a TJ’s near you, look for Speculoos in your peanut butter aisle), marshmallow fluff, and semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Over a make shift double boiler, melt your chocolate. You might be tempted to put your chocolate into the microwave but don’t. There are greater chances of it seizing on you and you will be back at square one. Heating it in a bowl over a pot of simmering water, will allow you to keep an eye on it as it melts. Once melted, mix in the cereal and spread on a baking sheet. Parchment paper or a silpat are key here.

Then, we get real fancy. Our heated marshmallow fluff is plopped down onto the chocolate. We use a tip of a knife to swirl the fluff into the chocolate.

Just when you thought this decadent madness was finished, cookie butter is drizzled over everything. Have you had cookie butter? I never buy it because I could eat it by the jar.

The bark needs to set in the fridge for a bit then we can break it into pieces.

Roasted Bacon Meatballs

The best meatball I ever had was in Boston. Chris and I had ventured there on a whim to get him a tattoo; 8 hours on a train, just to be in Boston for the day. My, we were adventurers back in our dating days! The day was spent strolling the busy and historic streets of the city, finding cozy little restaurants and sub shops in the most unexpected places. Getting down poured on with no spare clothing for the long trek home is also a nice memory. It was actually a great trip looking back (maybe because we don’t take as many trips nowadays). One of my favorite memories is aimlessly wandering the wet, shiny streets in hopes of a good meal. We love Italian food so that is what we always look for while in a new city. There was a small restaurant, tucked into a larger building. It was burnt orange and had cute little windows. I wish I remembered its name. Any who, after rushing around all day, mainly on foot, and being incredibly soaked, we walked in. We were seated up against a wall and almost uncomfortably close to the people sitting next to us. It was cozy and perfect. What made it more perfect was my dinner. I didn’t care about anything else but the meatballs on my plate. I want to be those meatballs when I grow up.
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Since it’s getting cold and all, I like to feature comfort food. We all could use a little more comfort. In my list of top 3 comfort foods, meatballs are definitely included. And the best part is: they are a cinch to make. I bake mine, making the process so much easier and less messy. I use bacon instead of just ground pork because it adds the perfect smokiness and richness for a meatball. Tons of pecorino romano and fresh parsley make these meatballs so cheesy and fresh tasting. I like to make a big batch and freeze them. Perfect cure for a busy, cold day! Please make these! Your life is about to change. Are you ready?
Our meatball ingredient line up: From Top Left to Right: Ground beef, garlic (lots and lots), parsley, eggs, cream, bacon (it’s finely minced so it just melts into our meatballs), onion, pecorino romano, basil, and fresh breadcrumbs.

This! This is all I need! So much yummy in one picture. Take a fork and combine all of that yumminess.

Get your baking sheets ready! I like to use a small ice cream scoop to measure out 2 tablespoons of mixture. You could obviously make them bigger, they just might need to cook a little longer.

While our meatballs are in the oven, we make our sauce! I like to use red wine in place of sugar in tomato sauces. It adds a sweetness and depth that sugar really just doesn’t have. Always fresh herbs here!

See that? All of that wonderful cheese has melted. I like to call them my little flat bottoms because they aren’t perfectly round since they are baked.

Eat them with your spaghetti, eat them in a sub roll, or serve them as an appetizer. You are going to love these! Happy meataballa making!

Thyme Chicken Pasta Bake with Mushrooms and Fennel

Pasta bake. I think it sounds a little bit more dignified than just a “casserole”. Not that there is anything wrong with a good casserole, they have just gotten a bad rap through the years. I don’t know if it’s because of the less than fresh contents inside of the casserole or just the thought of making it for one dinner and having leftovers for days. Growing up, my mom made a simple casserole we always looked forward to. It was mini pasta shells, canned tuna, a dash of cayenne pepper, and the liquid gold itself, velveeta cheese. I loved the spiciness and comfort of the dish. I also long for the days where the taste of velveeta overrides the guilt of eating something that isn’t actual cheese. Casseroles are great for the colder months but also great for families on the run. I’m all about the Make Once Get Two out of the deal meals where you make one for dinner and freeze the other. Just pop it in the oven whenever you get the hankering for a cozy but quick meal. Now, doesn’t that sound better? (more…)

Instead of opening a can of this, a container of that, and dumping it into a pan to be baked, I opted for a fresher take here. This pasta bake is inspired by one of our favorite dishes in Colonial Williamsburg. It consists of crepes stuffed with chicken and mushrooms and baked in a creamy sauce. It’s the perfect cure after a long and cold day of walking the cobblestone streets. Instead of making crepes, I substituted with pasta. I also added some licoricey (not a word, sorry!) fennel that sweetens as it cooks. Thyme makes everything a little bit better with it’s lemony yet slightly smokey flavor. It’s perfect for the cold months ahead and even more perfect with a glass of your favorite white wine!

The ingredient line up:

From Top Left to Right: Parmesan, garlic, shredded chicken (don’t get me started on my rotisserie chicken rant, it’s a life saver), milk, nutmeg, fresh thyme, breadcrumbs, onion, flour, fennel, cream, butter, and mushrooms. Somewhere in there is the pasta too. You just can’t see it. But it’s there. I didn’t forget it.

We make a rich, creamy sauce with our onions and fennel. Then, we just throw everything in. You won’t miss that canned stuff one bit!

Throw in our pasta. It doesn’t get easier. I love how the farfalle look here.

After a little oven time, the top gets brown and crunchy. Sprinkle with parsley to add a little color. I didn’t have any parsley… This is warm, comforting, and so simple to throw together. Perfect for the rainy, cold weather we will be having this weekend! Happy pasta making!

Oatmeal Cookie Apple Crisp

I know you’ve been apple picking and I know you are up to your ears in apples. I’m trying to help you. Just hear me out. Apple crumbles all day. Or apple crisps if you like. Or apple cobbler. Or apple brown betty. It’s up to you! One thing I want to put to rest today, though. The difference between the desserts I just mentioned. When I began my blogging adventure, I wanted to make sure I was being “politically” correct when titling my recipes. I know I wasn’t the only one confused so here ya go! It is one of those things that will be debated until forever but I’m going to stick to this explanation: The difference between cobblers, crisps, and crumbles. But in all seriousness, if you are baking delicious fruit with warm spices and making your house smell amazing, no one gives a rip what you call the thing. Just be sure to serve with ice cream. (more…)

This crisp was such a pretty lady. I took waaay too many pictures but she’s just so photogenic. Like, do you really want anything else? I know this crisp isn’t too original, except for its topping. Instead of the usual streusel topping we all know and love, I decided to melt my butter and make more of a cookie topping. Oatmeal cookies are so comforting and full of flavor, I thought nothing could be better atop bubbling, juicy apples. I had all of the pure intentions in the world of adding dried cherries (instead of raisins) to the topping but realized I had forgotten said cherries on my grocery list. Next time dried cherries. Next time.

Our crisp ingredients (pun intended):

From Top Left to Right: Apples (make sure they are full of flavor and are sweet), sugar, melted butter (maybe my guilt was trying to crop the butter out of the picture), spice mixture #1, walnuts, brown sugar, vanilla, flour, fresh orange juice (trust me), spice mixture #2 (can we pretend I didn’t say #2 on a food blog? K, thanks), and oats.

We mix our apples with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, sugar, flour, orange juice, and vanilla. That’s it for the filling! Wasn’t that easy peasy? You could just bake this if you wanted to without the cookie topping but why would you want to? Why? Oh and do you like how I didn’t peel my apples? I had a hungry husband and mother in law giving me the “if you take one more picture of food…” stare.

Our dry ingredients are mixed then made undry (sooo not a word), by our butter. I use salted butter whenever butter is needed so I didn’t add more salt here. If you use unsalted, add some salt for balance. The dried cherries would want it that way.

Then, all we do is use bowl A to top pie plate B. Get those clean paws ready for some dirty work!

Voila! Isn’t that so dazzling? It was right here I realized I didn’t use the full amounts of brown sugar and granulated sugar the recipe calls for. Wanna see what happens next? Click this link! Jk. Just scroll down.

I literally sprinkled the dang sugars over the cookie topping. What’s a desperate girl to do? Don’t be like me. Use the full amount of everything. Please and thank you. Isn’t it prettier, though? It looks as if it was kissed by a snow angel. Sorry I just said snow. Too soon?

We bake until, you guessed it, hot and bubbling. Use the sharp point of a knife to make sure the apples are soft. Serve in ridiculously adorable plates.

Do you know they make salted caramel ice cream that is sold in grocery stores? Well, I do. Happy crisp making!

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