I’ve been loving getting in the kitchen and creating lots of fun recipes for this season! Fall and the holidays are my absolute favorite and it really just doesn’t get any better than these next two months in my opinion! I was tasked with making healthy twists on classic comfort foods for this month’s issue of Austin Woman. I really love how these cauliflower mashed potatoes turned out! Well, I suppose it’s actually just cauliflower mash but it doesn’t quite have the same ring to it now does it? BMW loved these and I think they will be making their rounds at holiday parties this season!
It’s summer time and bright, fresh salads are on the top of my list for easy meals. This is one of my quickest, easiest go-to salads. I can eat it over and over and well I do haha! Especially when it is hot outside, I like something light and simple and that definitely does NOT require turning on a stove or oven. This salad definitely hits the spot!
Y’all, probably one of the best things I did in 2015 was build a picnic table with my boyfriend! Yes, for reals, we looked up a gazillion plans, went to Home Depot like we knew what we were doing, bought all the supplies and 18 hours later our first picnic table was born! Can you believe it?!? We are such proud parents. Many a wonderful night has been spent sitting around it enjoying long, delicious meals with friends. Bonus points, it is the absolutely most perfect background for showing off my pretty blue and white plates. I just love how they look on this table!
When it came time to shoot the April issue of Austin Woman Magazine, I knew immediately that I wanted my little picnic table to shine! I rounded up three of my most favorite spring recipes for you. Check them out below plus my tips for shopping at the farmers market this spring!
Hmm what to do with rainy weekend? Why make some homemade bagels of course! I truly love bagels, almost as much a breakfast tacos. But somehow they seem a little bit more indulgent and little more special. Is it because I can’t get them on every street corner in Austin at anytime of day? Is it because if I were to make them myself then they take a little more invest of my sweet weekend time? Maybe. Bagels were something I ate a lot more of as kid than I do these days. Maybe simply because growing up breakfast tacos weren’t much of thing were I lived. I still like to grab a bagel and cream cheese anytime I am in an airport. Not really sure why because of most of the time they are a bit of a disappointment. I think it’s just some sorta nostalgia I have for the gluttonous breakfast pastry! When I came across this recipe that says you can make these in less than two hours, well I knew what my weekend plans were!
I thought we should all start this day off by remembering the time that I noshed a chicken shish kebab from Phoenicia Bakery topped with lots of creamy tatziki like it was my job. My job. Yes! I love Mediterranean food! Maybe you remember that Lebanese dinner party!?! So fun. Or the greek gyro? Or the time my friend taught us to make lamb dolmas? Or the time I nailed a good homemade recipe for Grandma’s Hummus, yes THAT one! I love the freshness and herby goodness that often comes with Mediterranean food! In case you are as into this kind of food as I am, this weekend is the 83rd St. Elias Mediterranean Festival! You heard right that would make this the longest running festival in Austin. In town that loves it’s festivals, I think this one should get a little more recognition! So here I am to tell you about it!
I met up with Sandra Spalding from Twin Liquors earlier this week and she gave me a great tip for pairing food and wine at the festival this weekend, her favorite is a salty savory shish kebab, usually served with cooling yogurt pairs wonderfully with the full bodied elegant reds of Lebanon, specifically the Ixsir Red! Needless to say, I tried it out last night and indeed it’s delicious in case you were wondering!
So this is one of those posts that I have been sitting on for while. Mainly because of the holidays and this didn’t seem to quite fit into the holiday buzz. I got caught up and distracted with the fun and bustle this season. Although, to be completely honest this year was a bit scattered for me. My typical family gatherings were all different this year and most took place before the actual day, so I wound up spending a good chunk of my Christmas Day alone. I didn’t feel the magic and giddiness of the holidays like I used to. I say used to because last year (2013) I was a down right grinch. I blame that mostly on some questionable dating decisions I made earlier that fall. I really wasn’t feeling it last year. I didn’t even help put up the tree which is one of my most looked forward to days of the year. Typically, January is my least favorite month of the year. I get the post-holiday blues, it’s usually gray out and blah… I always feel like all the fun just left. This year is different though. I am feeling refreshed, work couldn’t be busier (which I love) and I have some exciting life changes on the horizon. More on those in another post. My whole point of this is that even when I was feeling down, I forced myself to do a little cooking. Which always makes me happy and feel more centered. I decided to try something new when I could have called for take-out or done something I am used to. And what happened when I tried something new was deliciousness. Deliciousness happened. It is funny how life works out, just when you feel like doing something the least is probably when you need to do it the most.
I’ve been playing around with eggnog a lot this year. It’s a flavor that I have never really gotten into to be honest. But this year I decided to change my tune a little and see what I could come up with. A culinary stretching exercise if you will, to get my into this beloved holiday flavor. I did Mini Eggnog Pies and those were a huge hit, so I decided that the rest of the eggnog just couldn’t go to waste. Enter Eggnog Cornbread. Heyo! Cornbread isn’t just for Thanksgiving y’all! The eggnog gives the mealy bread a nice lift and the candied pecans make it almost a dessert!
For this post, I partnered with my friends at H-E-B to use these Texas Grown Pecan Halves to top off this mighty fine holiday treat! One thing I love about this recipe is how few ingredients you need. If you need a last minute treat to take to a family gathering… here you go! Eggnog Cornbread works great as a sweet side dish or even with ice cream! Heck yeah, do it!
One package of corn bread mix
1 cup of eggnog
1/4 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of Texas Grown Pecan Halves
This is a great last-minute recipe because it doesn’t take long at all to bake. You can grab the ingredients at the store, go home make and bake this in less than hour! That’s what I’m talking about! Get one of those festive recyclable holiday bread dishes from the holiday aisle and you can take this to your party and never have to worry about bringing your dish back home.
One of the projects I’ve been working on hard lately is developing some recipes and menus for my friends at Cooking Planit. My recipes are always easy but teaming up with Cooking Planit, they helped really break them down step-by-step. Best of all, Cooking Planit helps the novice cook get all the menu items ready to be served at the same time! I put a few sneak peeks at my menus below. Download the Cooking Planit iPhone or iPad app or use the desk top version to get my recipes. Happy Cooking!
Cold Asian noodle salad and spicy edamame are perfect for summer! Full recipes here.
Try this simple salmon with spicy black beans and cilantro rice.
For the ultimate summer picnic, try this fried chicken, lettuce and tomato sandwich with crispy green beans and herb-y pasta salad.
Temperatures are rising… that means its time for summer and watermelon! I did a little summer remix of ceviche for my post on Brit+Co. this week. Juicy watermelon, salty mozzarella and some fresh herbs! Go check it out for the full how-to!
Perfect for a summer party!
What’s your favorite version of ceviche?
This salad is totally inspired by one the FoodFash posted here. It looked like the perfect summer salad, so I knew I had to make my own version!
1 1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt
1 cup chopped broccoli
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup diced cucumber
3/4 cup diced green bell pepper
1 ounce lemon juice
1 tablespoon garlic sea salt
3 tablespoons fresh dill (yeah I totally dill-ed out)
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon black pepper
Today’s post is inspired by simple goodness. I feel like I get busier and busier by the day, so quick and easy have become my go-to. These brussels and cauliflower work great as a side, or as a meal if you’re me!
For this recipe, you’ll need:
1 cup chopped cauliflower
1 cup quartered brussel sprouts
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic (or more!)
1/2 tablespoon curry powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Start by mincing and chopping everything up.
Looking for the perfect side for Easter this weekend? Or an upcoming spring meal? I took this Brussels Sprout and Leek Hash with Truffled Mini Potatoes to a potluck and it was a total hit! Yeah… I went there. I truffled those tiny little carb-filled morsels. It was delicious. The shredded brussels sprouts add a little green freshness, but served warm, they are comforting and the perfect compliment to any meal!
1 lb. mini potatoes
5 cups of shredded brussels sprouts
4 stalks or 2 cups of slice leeks (white part only)
1 stick of butter (sub 1/2 olive oil to make this vegan)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon garlic sea salt
1/2 tablespoon white truffle oil
Next, toss the potatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon kosher salt and 1/2 tablespoon of truffle oil. Place in a skillet and sauté over medium to medium-low heat for 35-40 minutes. Stir frequently.
Toss the diced brussels sprouts with the leeks. I sautéed these in a wok, because I love my wok, but a large skillet with high sides would work as well. Dice the butter, and add that and the garlic salt to the wok. Cook over medium heat for 20-25 minutes or until tender. Stir frequently.
Happy Valentine’s Day! According to all the posts, tweets, texts and instagrams, I think I was supposed to make you something sweet and pink and all cutesy for today. Oops.
It’s not that I don’t think love isn’t something worth celebrating, because it totally is. But I made these really delicious brussels sprouts last night and I couldn’t wait to share them with you! And that’s real life. Sometimes brussels sprouts doused with garlic sea salt, lemon and extra Parmesan cheese are perfect for celebrating. For real. Plus, if you haven’t planned what you’re making tonight, these would be a tasty and easy addition.
4 cups of whole, fresh brussels sprouts
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons garlic sea salt
Juice of one lemon (approx 2 tablespoons)
Parmesan Reggiano for sprinkling… You can get carried away here! It’s totally cool. I recommend at least 1/4 cup.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Warning: be careful not to over do it with the olive oil. Too much oil will make for soggy sprouts… Not sexy.
I served mine up alongside some pesto pasta and a glass of Malbec. I encourage you to do the same.
If there’s anything I can say about love, it’s that my moody, mop-headed, always ready-to-snuggle yorkie poo is the best little love bug. No else patiently waits while I hit snooze for 45 minutes every morning just to give me a face full of kisses the minute I open my eyes. No one else sleeps in my laundry basket all day waiting for me to get home. I can’t say enough about how much I love my little pup!
Who do you love most today?
Oh wow! Just realized my past two posts have been about sweet potatoes. Guess it’s that time of year. I have really come to like sweet potatoes over the past few years. I have to admit, I wasn’t always a fan. I do like to use them to give old favorites a new twist though. Plus, when they are in season, they are very affordable, which is always a plus.
As I promised at the beginning of this blog journey, I would share my ups and down. This recipe was a bit of a mixed bag, because I wound up really burning the bacon! Unfortunately, I didn’t have anymore bacon left and going to the store late at night wasnt going to happen… So I will show you what happens when you forget about your bacon.
About 2lbs of sweet potatoes
1/2 lb of bacon
1/2 cup of panko breadcrumbs
1/2 stick of butter
tablespoons of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of salt
I used a small baking dish, 4×8. This makes 6-8 servings.
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Begin by massaging about 1/4 cup of brown sugar into the bacon strips. Then place them on a foil lined baking sheet. Cook at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. This is significantly less time than I did.
Begin by layering the bottom of the dish with sweet potato slices. Then place thin slices of butter and cinnamon over the top. Layer another round of sweet potatoes slices on top of those, then sprinkle that layer with brown sugar and a little salt. Continue alternating layers until you’ve reached the top.
I left my bacon in the oven on accident for about 40minutes… Oops! Don’t get distracted in the kitchen or this could happen!
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Sprinkle the top with panko breadcrumbs and candied bacon pieces.
Bake for about an hour and 15 minutes or until potatoes are completely tender.
Last week I got invited to my very first all Lebanese dinner party! It was oh so much fun. Lots of food and new people. Upon the recommendation of the host Lynnsie, I made baba ghanouj using this recipe from Mama’s Lebanese Kitchen.
Roast the eggplants on a non-stick surface. For more details on the recipe, click here.
Lynnsie’s family recipe for Kibbeh. She promised to give me all the recipes one day. This dish had cinnamon and pine nuts, which gave it a different flavor. I really like it! It’s kind of similar to a meatloaf, traditionally made with lean ground lamb, ground beef can be substituted, and bulgar wheat.
Tabbouleh from Tarbouch.
Lebanese dolmas. You can get Hunter’s family recipe here.
These lima beans were far and away the BEST lima beans I have ever had. Seriously. And I don’t even like beans that much but these were just soo good. Lynnsie, I know Haley and I are dying for this recipe!
Are you all running around like a chicken with your head cut off too? Ok good. Glad I’m not alone there. Yesterday, I spent a lot of time perusing Pinterest for ideas about sides for tonight’s Friendsgiving I’m hosting. Then I spent all of last night grocery shopping and helping friends assemble dishes and casseroles for tonight’s feast. I’m making Granny’s Broccoli and Cheese Casserole! I can not wait to share that recipe with you all.
Luckily, I was able to pull off tonight’s Friendsgiving, mainly because its BYOB and everyone is bringing a side dish or dessert. But I still haven’t the faintest clue what I am going to make for my family on the big day. Although, I’m still not really allowed to cook for family yet. It’s Granny’s kitchen and I’m not supposed to get in the way! My Granny is a very sweet lady, but she still thinks I’m going to burn myself if I attempt to fry bacon or lose a finger if I dice an onion. Yes, I’m a 27 year old child in her eyes. So, my main job, is to taste test and clean up behind her. I still want to make something though, and I’m considering making one these yummy side dishes!
1. Heavenly Mashed Potatoes by Spoon Fork Bacon
2. Sautéed Acorn Squash by Cooking Planit
3. Creamy Fried Confetti Corn from Southern Living
4. White Cheddar Ancho Chile Grits adapted by me, originally from Bijouxs
5. Creamy Polenta from Cooking Planit
6. Quinoa with Butternut Squash and Pine Nuts from Cooking Planit
7. Green Beans with Creamy Mushrooms from Cooking Planit
8. Butternut Squash Gratin from Southern Living
9. Sweet Potato Bisque from Cooking Planit
10. White Cheddar Mac n Cheese from moi!
Let’s be real, it isn’t really Thanksgiving without loads of cheese and carbs! My two personal favorite food groups. What are you planning on making this year?
It’s almost Thanksgiving and I could not be more excited to go home for a few days and hang out with my family. Speaking of family, or ohana, as the Hawaiians like to call it, I made this delicious recipe for King’s Hawaiian .
You all know I love simple delicacies.
Don’t forget to go check out this recipe! Click here!
What are you thinking of making on the big day?
I am switching it up a little today and having my very first guest blog post! Heather from Kitchen Concoctions writes an amazing blog that I love, so I wanted to share her awesomeness with you all. Give her a warm welcome!
Hello Food Fetish friends!
I am Heather from Kitchen Concoctions ! I am so honored that Natalie asked me to be a guest blogger on her site.
My blog, Kitchen Concoctions, is where I share my passion for food through recipes, cooking tips and other food fun (sometimes I even share a little too much about myself, with silly stories and childhood memories). I hope you’ll stop by sometime and give a big ‘ole Texas howdy!
Fall is one of my favorite times of year! I love everything from fun and family friendly holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving, to wearing boots (confession: I have more boots than any other type of shoe, which doesn’t make sense, considering I can only wear them a few months of the year!), and slurping up Pumpkin Spice Lattes!
And even though we have to sometimes ‘fake fall’ here in Texas (today we almost reached a high of 90 degrees), I still love to enjoy fall to its fullest!
I especially love spending more time in my kitchen cooking and baking and indulging in fall flavors, like pumpkin, apples, winter squash and hot beverages.
A hearty batch of risotto is another comforting fall food! Not only is making a big pot of risotto such a therapeutic cooking process (just standing there stirring and thinking, stirring and thinking; seriously so effective for solving life’s biggest debacles); it can also take on any flavor profiles you desire.
Pumpkin Risotto is one of my favorites. It incorporates pumpkin, salty Parmesan cheese and a perfect blend of fresh herbs and spices, to create a fabulous bowl of creamy goodness that tastes just like fall!
By Heather Hunsaker of Kitchen Concoctions: www.kitchen-concoctions.com
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 25 minutes Serves: 4-6
5-6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
3 tablespoons butter
½ small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1½ cups Arborio rice
1/2 tablespoon fresh sage, minced (or ½ teaspoon dried sage)
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced (or ¼ teaspoon dried thyme)
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping if desired
¼ teaspoon each salt and black pepper, or to taste
In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a simmer.
Meanwhile, in a separate large sauté pan, melt butter. Add the onion and cook until tender over medium-low heat, about 5 minutes.
Add in the rice and cook until the rice is translucent on the outside and opaque in the center, about 3 minutes. Add in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
Add approximately 1 cup of broth to rice mixture and stir, scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Continue to stir until broth begins to absorb into the rice. Stir in additional broth (1/2-1 cup at a time) and repeat stirring and absorption process until broth is used and rice is tender, about 20-25 minutes.
Once rice is tender, stir in herbs, spices, pumpkin puree and Parmesan cheese; cook until heated through, about 3 minutes.
Remove from heat and season with additional salt and black pepper if needed. Serve immediately, topped with additional Parmesan cheese or fresh herbs.
I had a technology failure. I lost a bunch of the step by step photos for this creamy white cheddar baked mac n cheese. How sad is that? Maybe they are somewhere hidden on my hard drive. But somewhere between my camera and the computer, some of these photos disappeared.
I usually like to let the pictures do the talking, but for this post, instructions will have to suffice. The perfectionist in me wanted to scrape this whole post, but the foodie in me said no. Bubbly, creamy, comforting white cheddar mac n cheese is too good not to share with all of you!
1/2 lb noodles of your choice. I used whole wheat gemelli noodles
4 oz of heavy cream
16 oz of grated sharp white cheddar cheese
1/2 cup finely diced white onion
3 cloves of minced garlic
1/2 stick of butter
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
I suggest starting off by prepping all your ingredients so they are ready to go! Grate the cheese, mince the garlic and onion, measure out other ingredients. Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. By prepping before, cooking the meal will go much smoother and you’ll be less likely to forget things!
Begin by boiling the gemelli noodles until al dente.
After about 10-15 minutes of noodles boiling, sauté the onions and garlic with the olive oil for about 2 minutes over medium heat. Then melt the butter in. Next add the cream and stir for 2 more minutes. Stir in the flour. This will be your roux.
Drain the water from the noodles. Do not rinse the noodles. Put them back in hot pot, stir in the roux. Fold in the grated white cheddar cheese, reserving 1 cup for the topping.
Place the noodles into a small baking dish coated with non-stick spray. Cover the top with panko bread crumbs and the remaining cheddar cheese. Bake for 1 1/2 hours or until the cheese is bubbling and the top is golden brown.
Why do noodles that are already cooked take so long to cook more? I am not really sure. It seems way too long, but it is oh so worth it. I promise. The crunchy panko and bubbly cheesy are like a party for your taste buds.
Did anyone love last weekend’s rain as much as I did? I spent the whole weekend cuddled up in my house, not wanting to leave. I slept a lot, cooked a lot and watched a lot of Revenge. Don’t tell me what happens! We thought the DVR was set to record but it wasn’t! Blast! So, it gave me another excuse to keep watching the rest of season 1, instead of skipping ahead to season 2.
While cuddled up this weekend, I was craving cheese and carbs, typical. I scoured Foodgawker, and stumbled upon this gem of a recipe. This ancho chile butter really catches your eye! It’s a wonderfully cheesy, warm, smoky dish that will be perfect for many cool autumn nights.
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
2 tablespoons shallots, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 pint cream
2 cups white grits
1 1/2 cups grated White Cheddar cheese
2 ounces dried ancho chiles (1 package)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
This recipe is adapted from Bijouxs
Soak the ancho chiles in warm water for about 10 minutes or so, or until they soften. Cut off the stems and deseed the ancho chiles. Dice them up. Place the ancho chiles and about 1/8 cup of water into a food processor. Pulse until it forms a paste.
Serve the grits in a bowl or as a side. Plate the grits first and pour the ancho chile butter over top. Or you could stir all the ancho chile butter into the grits in the slow cooker. Either way will taste great, this one just looks prettier 🙂
This little Greek-inspired, grilled corn salad was a last minute throw together for a recent dinner party. I served it alongside these tender rosemary garlic lamb short ribs .
Chop the red onion, mince the fresh rosemary leaves and dice the feta. Or you can buy feta that is already crumbled.
Once cool enough to touch, slice the corn kernels from the ears. Toss together with the other ingredients in a mixing bowl.
I know the unofficial official start of fall is next week, buuuut I just couldn’t wait to get a jump on pumpkin season this year! Nothing says fall, Thanksgiving and football season to me, like burnt orange, pumpkin and my favorite pair of boots.
What better way to add a seasonal flavor to your favorite comfort food than pumpkin mac ‘n cheese! After searching through a few recipes, I decided to put my own twist on this favorite with extra pumpkin, no butter and spice it up with cayenne!
For this recipe, you’ll need:
2 cups of rotini or elbow macaroni (I used whole wheat)
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup low fat shredded mozzarella (or any cheese that melts well!)
1 cup pumpkin purée
1/4 cup crushed pecans
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon nutmeg
Salt and Black pepper
Makes about 6 hearty servings.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a separate pot, combine heavy cream, pumpkin purée and spices. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer for 5 minutes.
I’ve been hearing about Dinosaur Kale a lot lately, but what exactly is it?
Dinosaur kale is also referred to as Lacinto or Tuscan kale.
Image courtesy of The Healthy Writer .
Dinosaur kale is described as having dark blue, green leaves. It has a slightly bitter and earthy taste, although it is more delicate than curly kale.
Most of the recipes I looked up, cooked dinosaur kale down because of its hearty, embossed texture. Most commonly used in soups, stews and pastas, but can also be eaten in a salad.
What is your favorite way to eat dinosaur kale?
This flavor combo comes straight from the cooking class I took in Puerto Vallarta. I was so surprised to learn how much basil was used in the local food. Plus, mango and basil is an amazing flavor combination. If you haven’t tried it, here’s your chance!
For this mango basil salsa, you’ll need:
1 ripe mango
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
I served my mango basil salsa on top of tilapia fish tacos that I cooked in a bag .
This would be great over rice and beans or on top of a salad. I even thought about using this combo as the base for an awesome cocktail… The possibilities are endless! What do you think this would be best used as?
Sounds like an awesome combination to me! And it was! Don’t you just love an easy, tasty, yummy… Side? Ok good, me too!
1 large sweet potato
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons of garlic salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Bake for 20 minutes or until fries are tender. Turn fries half way through.
Good Morning lovelies! Here I go posting on a Saturday! These potatoes are a super easy side dish. They remind me a little of potato salad but use mustard as the base instead of mayo…seriously cutting out a lot of calories and adding a ton of flavor. I used Dijon mustard but a spicy or stone ground mustard would work great as well. This is super easy to make but delicious none the less. You can whip this up in no time to take a barbecue.
Drain the water from the red potatoes. Rinse with cold water.
This salad or side dish… whatever you want to call it is über healthy and combines 2 super foods. Perfect and light, easy to add to your normal routine and switch it up a bit.
Happy Friday Everyone!! Are y’all looking forward to this long Memorial Day weekend as much as I am? Before you head off to sun-filled adventures, take a look at these recipes from our girls night dinner and get some inspiration for your cuisine this weekend!
I brought this Cilantro Pasta Salad, so you’ll get the full step-by-step process for the other dishes, I got the recipes from the girls so you’ll have those!
Whole Wheat short pasta noodles (I used Rigatoni)
1 bunch of cilantro
1 bag of frozen peas
3 small tomatoes
6 oz of Chicken Breasts
1/2 a red onion
I used these roma tomatoes because they were fresh and on sale! Grape or cherry tomatoes would also work well in this dish. If you use larger tomatoes, like I did, use a spoon and scoop out the juicy insides and seeds. This will keep the pasta from getting watered down.
After the pasta is finished cooking, turn off the heat and throw the frozen peas into the hot water with the pasta. Stir around for about 2 minutes. The peas will cook in the water. Peas are tender and can easily be over cooked… which causes them to be mushy. So throwing them in the hot water for 2-3 minutes when the pasta is finished will cook them perfectly. Then strain the pasta with peas normally and boom, you’re done!
Now, onto the girls night! Here are some of the other scrumptious dishes!!
Casey Laine’s Sunset Tortellini
1 package (9 ounces) refrigerated cheese-filled tortellini
1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
1 medium bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces (1 cup)
2 cups chopped roma (plum) tomatoes (6 to 8 medium)
1 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise in half, then cut crosswise into slices (1 1/2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 Cook and drain tortellini as directed on package, using 3-quart saucepan. Wipe out saucepan with paper towel; wipe dry with paper towel.
2 Heat oil in same saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook bell pepper in oil 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until crisp-tender.
3 Stir in tomatoes, zucchini, Italian seasoning and garlic salt. Cover and cook 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until zucchini is tender.
4 Stir in tortellini. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until hot.
1 sm. bunch parsley, chopped
3/4 stick of margarine
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 (8-oz.) pkgs. cream cheese
2 lbs shrimp, drained and rinsed
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
Tony Chachere’s and Old Bay Seasoning to taste
Sauté parsley, green onions and shrimp in margarine. Add cream cheese, soup and seasonings. Cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Serve with chips, crackers or garlic bread.
*Crawfish can be substituted for the shrimp and it is equally as delicious!
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
3 cups quick-cooking oats
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1.In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, milk, butter, and cocoa. Bring to a boil, and cook for 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in peanut butter, oats, and vanilla. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto wax paper. Let cool until hardened.
Hope everyone has a fabulous Memorial Day weekend!!
Its been about 9 months since I started this blog. So I figured it was time for a “Best Thing I Ever Made” inspired post. There’s been quite a few meals made during this time so I wanted to share some of my favorites. Other things I could have done in 9 months:
Hatched a human
Finished 2 semesters of college
Made a trip around the world on a boat
But instead I decided to write about my culinary
adventures. Glad you all decided to come along on this adventure. My shameless self-plug: I am raising money for the Alzheimer’s association and am waaayy behind on my goal of $500… any donation is greatly appreciated! So go here and donate $5, $10, $15 if you can. A $25 donation gets you a ticket to the game on June 8th and entrance to the after party. Thanks for your support!
Now here are The 5 Best Things I’ve Ever Made:
5. Sourdough Stack
This breakfast came to be early on in my blog and you can see the progress I’ve made… especially the photography. Despite the photography, this dish was one of the more creative things I’ve made. I really like this one.
4. Snickerdoodle Cake with Brown Sugar Buttercream Frosting
The name explains why this is one of the best things I’ve ever made.
3. Buffalo Chicken Sliders with Ranch Coleslaw
I mean… seriously. These were AH-MAZ-ING! Sooooo deliciously spicy and good and perfect for any occasion.
1. Seared Tuna with Mango Salsa
Definitely the winner. Absolutely the Best Thing I’ve Ever Made. This dish was so fresh and the pineapple mango salsa could be used on so many other things. Searing tuna is not nearly as hard as it seems and is something I want to incorporate more often in my cooking rotation.
What is the Best Thing You’ve Ever Made?
Hello Monday. It’s great to see you again.
You don’t like Mondays?
I do. I like getting fresh start on a new week. I look forward to menu planning and my Monday workout class.
I also like Mondays because it means I’m going to do something good for my body. Like eat something healthy. Drink a ton of water. Generally try to rid my body of the poison I put in it this weekend. And I like to top it all off with a good nights sleep.
I decided to use mustard greens as a side dish to Sweet and Spicy Glazed Salmon after learning that mustard greens are common in a lot of Asian dishes and the salmon glaze had an Asian twist.
Second only to kale, mustard greens are packed with nutrients and they are super cheap. Only $0.88 for a bunch, so load up on them!
1 bunch of Mustard greens
1/2 of a large white onion
3 cloves of garlic
Sesame Oil (can substitute olive oil)
Drizzle some sesame oil over the onions and mustard greens. Turn the heat onto medium and begin to stir occasionally. I used sesame oil to give it an extra Asian flavor since I was serving these with an Asian salmon. Olive oil will also work just fine.
I’ve already had 3 songs about rain play on my Pandora station this morning… coincidence? Is Pandora linked up with the local weather station? Hhhmmm haha I’m such a conspiracy theorist!
In light of the slighty cooler weather and my current obsession with pasta… today I give you Brown Sugar Pecan Risotto. It’s surprisingly easy and great for breakfast or dinner! You can make it for your Momma this Sunday for Mother’s Day!
at time. Stirring continuously until it is absorbed then add 1/2 cup more until you have added about 3 1/2 cups or the liquid is absorbed and the risotto begins to become creamy.
After the last of broth is absorbed, add 3/4 cup of Ricotta. Stir that in until completely blended. Do a little taste test before serving… need more brown sugar? Maybe a little salt? Add just a sprinkle of either blend then taste again until you it suits you.
I served this up as a side dish to Sweet and Spicy Salmon.
This is one of my favorite, favorite Mexican sides. La Condesa makes an especially good elote and here is my copy-cat version. Elotes are pretty straight-forward and easy to make but still delicious. Try this version at home and then head down to La Condesa on Saturday for the Cinco de Mayo Block Party on 2nd Street and try out their version.
I served these elotes with Tequila Lime Chicken. Enjoy!
Have I told you about my love affair with sourdough bread? Well, it’s true, I love the stuff. A while back I made a Sourdough Starter. However, my first batch of bread I made didn’t turn out so well. It actually wasn’t bread at all, it was a huge sourdough biscuit. I mean it tasted great! But my bread fell flat. So, I tried aging using the same sourdough starter as before but a slightly different recipe for the bread. I combined the sourdough starter recipe from Joy the Baker and the actual bread recipe from Emeril Lagasse .
1 1/2 cups of sourdough starter
1 package of active dry yeast
2 cups of flour
3/4 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Sourdough bread is one of my favorites! I love it for paninis and grilled sandwiches. But I’ve always wondered what makes sourdough bread, well, sour? After some investigation, I realized that I’d need a sourdough starter. Basically how you make sourdough sour is literally souring flour and water. Sounds kinda gross but hey, gotta do what ya gotta do.
1 cup flour
1 cup warm water
A container w a lid, glass or plastic work best. No metal.
Throw out half of the mixture. Then add half a cup of flour.
Now, leave the lid ajar and place back in your warm spot and let sit. Repeat this every 24hrs for 3-5 days.The mixture will start to ferment and get a “sour” smell. This is what we want! Hence sourdough bread.
Continue feeding your mixture. You can move this into the fridge were it can live for a long time. Just remember to feed it once a week. Feeding it means throwing half of it out and adding half a cup of flour and warm water each. Mix and let sit.
That’s it folks! I will let y’all get started on these and post the bread recipe for sourdough in a few days!
Let me know how things are going!!
These may not look like much but they are one of my favorites! Kale chips are basically dehydrated pieces of kale, same principle as potato chips.
These are simple to make and satisfy that crispy, salty craving.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
flat on a baking pan lined with foil.
You could get really creative with spices and flavors to use! Paprika, garlic, lemon all sound wonderful to me! Start with the basic olive oil and salt and then go from there!
I guess the warm weather has me feeling fruity fresh! After a long and glorious weekend in Santa Barbara, CA I’ve been craving fresh produce and warm sunshine. I haven’t made a salad in a while and in a salute to bikini season, let’s get started on this delicious taste of spring!
I’ve seen these light and fluffy rolls but always wondered how they got that way. At first, I thought they must have yeast but then realized because they are hollow and thin that it must be something else. They are deceivingly easy to make and really fun to eat!
Divide batter evenly among the muffin pan. Bake for 30-35min until tops are golden brown. Do not open oven until the popovers are done or they will fall.
Have fun and enjoy these super easy popovers!
I made this little side dish to go along with Hunter’s dolmas. Not going to lie, this was my first time to try whole wheat couscous and it was a little bland. I would suggest heavily salting your water when boiling to help the grain absorb some flavor. The couscous was actually more flavorful the next day after melding with the other flavors in the fridge.
Do a rough chop of some garlic. Then you will cook the couscous according to the package directions. Usually 1 part couscous to 2 parts water. In a pot combine 2 cups water, 1 cup couscous, the chopped garlic, olive oil and a couple tablespoons of kosher salt.
Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer.
Here is yet another appetizer I brought to another potluck. Gotta say, I do love a potluck. Why? Because there is lots of sharing and you get to taste everything. Always my fav.
There are million different ways to prepare stuffed mushrooms and here is my take.
well, mushrooms are pretty dirty. The use a spoon to scoop out the stems. Set stems aside. We will use them for the stuffing.
Bake at 325 degrees for about 30min or until cheese is melted and a little bubbly.
I was pretty excited about making this dish! It’s warm (I’ve been craving warm food lately) and healthy so you don’t feel guilty about eating it, like say an Alfredo pasta. Plus, this is packed with tons of good for you veggies, so not only is it low cal but it’s actually healthy.
Originally, I intended to use barley risotto. However, upon my arrival at my regular grocery store, no barley risotto to be found. Considering the resolutioners were crowding up my store, I knew they’d be crawling all over the even healthier stores and I wasn’t in the mood to fight the crowds. So I settled on this quick cook, whole grain mix. It actually turned out working well because it gave the dish a little more variety in texture.
1/2 a butternut squash
3/4 a large white onion
2 cups of fresh kale
Several cloves of fresh garlic
1 cup of whole grains
2 cups of chicken broth (can sub vegetable broth and make this vegan!)
Fresh Parmesan, salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Wash and pat dry your kale. Remember to remove the ribs. If you need a reminder on how to do this click here. Scroll down and there’s a demo. Then slice the kale into smaller strips.
I, like everyone else it seems, could use a little detox after the holiday gorge fest. I get a little bored with regular old “healthy” type food and prefer to keep it real. As in real food, minimally processed that packs lots of nutrition and flavor. This the spring roll. Easy, healthy, and switches it up a little.
In a boiling pot of water, place a handful of rice noodles. You don’t need much and these cook pretty quickly! Some only require about a minute in the boiling water, depends on the width and thickness of the noodle.
Ok, it’s not perfect but definitely something I can work with. To do this, I dipped the rice paper in the water very quickly and had the plate right next to the stove. I laid it out as quickly as possible. Boom.
I’ve been drooling over carbs lately… I’m a totally carb lover. And I love love love baked Mac ‘n Cheese so of course when I made a batch this weekend I decided to spice up my normal Mac ‘ cheese! It got my super picky eater roommates approval with “the perfect amount of spice” not so hot you can’t keep eating but enough to give it a kick. Woohoo success!
2 cup of macaroni noodles
4 tbsp of butter
5 tbsp of flour
1.5 cups of milk
1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream
2 cups of shredded cheddar
2 cups of shredded Italian cheeses
Garlic powder (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil macaroni noodles in another pot until al dente.
Then start on cheese sauce.
Doesn’t this sound delicious? Well, it is. I just love mushrooms and the richness of orzo and fresh parmigiano make this a decadent but easy side dish.
Then add orzo and reduce to a simmer. Follow the directions on the orzo package but this should take 10 minutes or so. Stir frequently so the orzo doesnt stick to the bottom of the pot. Once all the broth has been absorbed, it’s ready to serve.
I have been seeing and hearing about brussel sprouts for a while now and have been pretty skeptical. I mean, aren’t they supposed to smell really bad or something? I figured if I’ve been seeing them everywhere then they must be good, right? I decided to give them a try this weekend. I went with garlic because, it can make anything taste good, right?
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place the brussel sprouts on a baking sheet lined with foil. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 min. This will make the brussel sprouts a little crispy on the outside and the salty flavor will start to come out.
I had to share all the awesome sides people brought to Friendsgiving last Sunday! This is not a complete list so if I left your dish off or I didnt get your recipe, please send those to me! I will keep updating this post for all you last minute Thanksgiving chefs!
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 cups uncooked quick-cooking grits
1 2/3 cups shredded smoked Gouda cheese
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Bring first 4 ingredients to a boil in a medium saucepan; gradually whisk in grits. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until thickened. Add cheese and butter, stirring until melted.
Buy a 7-ounce wheel of smoked Gouda cheese to get the right amount.
1 1/2 cups whole milk
4 (10 ounce) boxes boxes frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry; reserve 1/2 cup liquid
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Salt and ground black pepper
Combine milk, spinach liquid and garlic in a 1-quart microwave-safe measuring cup or small bowl covered with a saucer, and microwave (or heat slowly in a medium saucepan) until very hot and steamy. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes to soften garlic.
Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Whisk in flour. Add hot milk mixture all at once, then whisk until smooth. Stir in spinach; cook until sauce is thick and bubbly and spinach is tender but still green, about 5 minutes. Stir in cheese, nutmeg, and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Serve hot.
Mix in large bowl and place in a 9 x 13” baking dish. Top with ¼ c. melted butter and crushed corn flake crumbs. Bake 350 degrees for 50 minutes. Serves 12
1 pint grape tomatoes
italian bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste
6 large balls of fresh water mozzarella
olive oil fresh grated romano cheese
Blanch green beans. Add tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper to a casserole dish. Cover wil olive oil.
Drain green beans and add to tomato mixture along with bread crumbs. Slice mozzarella and cover tomato green bean mixture. Top with even more bread crumbs and fresh grated romano cheese. Bake uncovered for 30-40min at 375 degrees.
Laine Family Pumpkin Pie Recipe
1 unbaked Pillsbury pie shell
1 can (15oz) Libby’s pumpkin filling
3/4 cup Carnation evaporated milk
2 eggs (beaten)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
dash of salt
1. Preheat oven to 425F.
2. Roll out unbaked pie crust (at room temp) over ungreased dish.
3. Combine all ingredients and stir until uniform mixture.
4. Pour into pie shell.
5. Place pie in oven and lower temp to 350F.
6. Bake for 1 hour or until knife inserted into center comes out clean.
7. Cool on pie rack for 2 hours then serve or place in refrigerator.
8. Top with whip cream when served.
Another quick and easy post. I must say, I almost forgot to post today because I have been so busy cooking my first turkey! Dont worry that post will be coming soon… Until then, garlic feta pinwheels. Yup, I even used the garlic in the jar.
Feta (I used marinated feta)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Unroll the dough. It will work better if the dough is cold. I left mine out too long and it got kind of soft and harder to work with.
Spread garlic and sprinkle feta all over.
Then roll it back up.
Slice the dough.
I topped them with a little extra feta. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
I wanted to post something festive since its a gameday and all. The best I could come up with is Rosemay Carrots because they are burnt orange. I know I know, carrots, kinda lame right? Well, I must admit this post everyday for a month thing is harder than I thought! Coming up with new ideas and writing about them everyday is a bit of a challenge. Especially on Saturdays. So here goes… this might be the most simple side dish ever.
Wash and peel carrots. Then thinly slice.
This might be the easiest side dish ever. Put carrots in skillet. Drizzle with olive oil. Pick off rosemary leaves and put in pan. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Cook on medium to low heat for about 25min. You could cook on a higher heat and speed this up but I was trying to time this to come out same time as the soup. Also, I didnt want the carrots to be over cooked and become too mushy.
I mean seriously, so simple. But so good at the same time. Hook ’em!
I made these jalapeño cheddar cornbread muffins to go with Meredith Cranch‘s Dumbo Gumbo. We were celebrating LSU’s victory over Alabama and chicken and sausage gumbo with cornbread seemed just the thing!
This recipe is super easy!
Cornbread mix (I used two packages of corn kits)
1 and 1/3 cups of milk
Shredded cheddar cheese
** if you use a different cornbread mix the ingredients and baking times may vary. Use the directions on your package**
Combine the cornbread mix, eggs and milk.
Add a spoonful of jalapeños.
Add a couple handfuls of cheddar cheese.
Mix it all together.
Spray muffin pan generously with nonstick spray. Then put mix into pan.
Top with extra cheddar. Bake for 15min.
They will smell delicious!
I made these for yet another girls night dinner. Seem to be going to a lot of potlucks lately, so I will be writing about all my foods that are good for sharing. These were a great compliment to all the cheeses, breads and meatballs that everyone brought.
Place the halved mozzarella and halved tomatoes in the leaf of your choice. This makes a little boat when you insert the the toothpick horizontally. I also made some vertically by putting the tomato on the bottom, flat side down, then stacking the leaf and topping with mozzarella.
Drizzle with balsamic vinegar then fresh cracked black pepper, Italian seasoning if you want and sprinkle with kosher salt.
I wasn’t really sure what to call this yummy concoction, so I’ll take your suggestions. Basically, this what you get when you sit down at an Italian restaurant. I love bread and olive oil with balsamic vinegar and cracked pepper. Adding this pesto-y herb blend really takes it up a notch. I could literally make a meal out this with fresh sourdough bread and a glass of Cabernet. Seriously, what else does a girl need?
Fresh Italian Parsley
Fresh Sweet Basil
Cracked red pepper
Cracked black pepper
Sourdough bread (or whatever you choose as your vehicle of consumption)
Wash and pat dry all your fresh herbs. Chop them up a little, removing the bottom part of the stems from the herbs. For the rosemary, I peeled the leaves off the stem entirely.
Place into your food processor. Squeeze the juice of half of a large lemon in. Add a teaspoon or two of cracked red pepper, depending on how much spice you like. A few shakes of dried thyme, a teaspoon or two of kosher salt and a couple grinds of cracked black pepper.
Blend until your get a good consistency. The natural water in the herbs will make it moist, no need to add extra oil in this step.
Drizzle olive oil over your herb mix and plate with bread. Perfect to serve as an appetizer or if you’re like me… Add a glass of cabernet and call it a meal.