My birthday is tomorrow! Woohoo. I’ve reached the age where a birthday is pretty much just another day – BUT it’s a beautiful day where I can eat cake and carbs with ZERO guilt. I started the carb train a night early… so sue me.
ricotta and sausage stuffed shell in brown butter sweet potato sauce
1/2 lb Italian sausage browned and drained
1 package pasta shells
2 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 shredded parm cheese
1/2 teaspoon Italian seansonig
3 Tablespoons butter
3 cloves of minced garlic
1 Tablespoon AP flour
1 cup boiled sweet potatoes
1/2 cup water
1 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Boil the shells but don’t cook them all the way! About 9 minutes. Drain and cool and set aside.
In your ninja or blender – blitz potatoes and water! Set aside.
Mix cooled sausage, ricotta, 1/2 the parm, egg and Italian seasoning together. Set aside. (I like saying set aside. It’s like a check off a check list.)
Browned butter can be tricky but the key is DO NOT WALK AWAY FROM IT. Place your butter in a large skillet and melt the butter. Bubbles will begin to form as the butter melts, keep whisking the butter as it begins to turn brown. You’ll see the color change and smell the nuttiness.
Remove from heat and add the garlic, cook or about 30 seconds. Whisk in 1 Tablespoon of flour. Add the milk, sweet potato puree and pepper. Whisk well and slowly add the remaining parm. Poor this sauce into a baking dish.
Fill each shell with a heaping tablespoon of your cheese/sausage goodie then place in the dish. Bake off at 375 until bubbly! About 25 minutes. Top with grated parm and something green!
I love baking. But to be honest I am not great at it. I love the “pinch of this, dash of that” style of cooking. Which doesn’t work well with the chemistry required in baking. Today I got a wild hair to bake bread and in a crazy plot twist… I didn’t screw it up. It was crunchy on the outside and chewy inside. Dang, I’m good.
4 INGREDIENT bread
3 cups AP flour
1 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 packet rapid yeast
1 1/2 cup water
Tools: Cast iron coated dutch oven
Mix flour, salt and yeast together in a large bowl. Mix in the water and an ugly, loose dough will form. Plop that dough into a bowl that you have spritzed with cooking spay and cover with a cooking towel. Allow this dough to proof and rise at room temp until it doubles in size. Don’t think in terms of time- think in terms of is this ish 2x as big as when I started.
Once your dough has doubled preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Place your dutch oven in the stove for 30 minutes. While the pot is heating, punch down your dough and dump it out onto a floured surface. (Mine was hideous.. I was certain this was the end. Don’t give up.)
Dust the top with flour and kneed until a ball forms. Cover with the towel until the dutch oven is ready. (Mine looked legit. Still anticipated failure.)
Drop the ball into the dutch oven and put the lid on. Bake for 30 minutes then remove the lid and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
Poblano peppers are perfect. They have flavor and a subtle heat. They come alive when roasted and you can truly stuff them with anything. I’ve been trying to ease off the carb train (which is funny because I also have begun to bake bread) so I didn’t want to stuff them with rice. Clearly jicama is the next choice… said no one ever….
jicama and andouille stuffed poblano peppers
2 cups jicama diced
3 poblano peppers
2 andouille sausages diced
1/2 red onion diced
1 avocado diced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 dried cilantro (or 1T fresh)
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
Big pinch of salt and pep
Roast the peppers in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Allow them to cool before handling them! Slice in half and remove the seeds and pulp. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl mix jicama, sausage, onion, avocado and spices. Fill the peppers with your mixture and pop back into the hot oven. Cook covered for 20-30 minutes.
The jicama doesn’t completely soften but the texture is similar to the classic rice filling! Top with cheese, sour cream, salsa or cilantro!
I can’t honestly say that I have a favorite food because it changes daily. But I do have a favorite weeknight meal and it’s only recently gone into rotation. It’s flipping delicious and so quick!
spaghetti squash with bacon spiach and goat cheese
1 spaghetti squash
3 slices of thick cut bacon
3oz garlic and herb goat cheese
1 bag baby spinach
1 teaspoon reserved bacon renderings (aka grease of the gods)
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
Salt and Pep
1 egg (optional)
Halve the spaghetti squash and scoop out the seeds. Drizzle lightly with EVOO and place face down on a cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees until tender, about 25 minutes.
At the same time bake off the bacon and save one teaspoon of the grease. Crumble the bacon when cooked. Let your squash cool slightly before using a fork to scrape down the flesh to make the “spaghetti”. Set aside.
In a large skillet add the bacon grease, red wine vinegar and syrup. When it’s warm add the spinach, a handful at a time as it wilts down. Toss in the bacon and add the squash. Stir to combine. Add the crumbled goat cheese (just use your fingers to break it up), salt and pep and it’s ready to serve! I topped mine with a poached egg, because I’ve yet to find something an egg doesn’t improve. Also protein. Boom.
Sweet, smokey, creamy, crunchy, tart- this quick dish has it all. It’s even yummy cold for lunch the next day!
This little weirdo is a chayote squash. I got hooked on them in Costa Rica – my Mama Tica would use them in chicken soup and it was life changing. Slowly but surely they’re working themselves into local grocery stores. They’re yummy cook and raw! Tonight I had no clue where the recipe was going but spiralized chayote turned into an awesome dinner!
cOLD CHAYOTE & CHICKEN THAI SALAD
Serves one. #foreveralone
1 spiralized chayote (or thinly sliced)
1 roasted chicken breast (left overs for the win!)
2 Tablespoons sweet chili sauce
1 Tablespoon red wine vinagar
1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
Raman noodles, about 1/4 of the brick.
In a bowl toss together all you ingredients. That’s it. Can you really call that a recipe? I don’t know. But it’s good. I topped mine with sour cream and cilantro.
Jared claimed today that national guac day seems to happen 5 times a year (or monthly in my world) but I’m convinced today is the real one. So in solidarity with my favorite fruit – we celebrated. Avocados are perfect. I’ve yet to find a dish that avocado doesn’t improve. This single seeded berry is perfect in dips, salads, soups, cakes, ice cream, smoothies… the list goes on and on. But it’s famous for guacamole (I know guac is extra). Guac is not complicated and yet people love to complicate it. I keep it simple and let the avocado shine. Here’s a basic guac for you avocado purists like myself.
3 ripe avocados
1/2 fresh jalapeño diced (more or less on your spice tolerance!)
Halve your avocados and use a knife to score them into cubes. Scoop those green nuggets of love into a big ‘ol bowl. Add in lime juice, salt, garlic, cilantro and jalapeño and GENTLY stir together. If you squish all the cubes or blend it you’ve killed all the magic.
Boom. Unadulterated, pure, unplugged avocado.
Long live fake holidays in honor of my favorite foods. When is National Ranch Dressing Day?
Brie is one of those things that makes me feel fancy. It’s a quick snack with sparkle, perfect to end date night and even better when you don’t have to share a single bite. Here’s how I do it!
Baked Brie with Brown Sugar: serves 4 (or one)
One Wheel of Brie
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
Tops and bottoms!
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees!
Remove the brie from its wrapping but keep the cute wooden box! Cut off just the top portion of the rind. Drop the cheese back into ½ of the wooden box cut side up and top with brown sugar. Bake until golden and bubbly! About 15 minutes.
That’s literally it! Use apples, bagel chips, nuts, perverses, and chocolate to make each bite different.
Fall does funny things to me. I burn candles that smell like trees, pretend to be crafty, dress in too much flannel and buy everything pumpkin. I’m normally more of a sweet potato girl but come September 1st my loyalties shift. These cupcakes are the perfect bite of all things fall. I like them because it saves me making a pie crust and lets me use whipped cream like frosting – you’ll like them because they’re amazing and pretty dang simple.
Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes: makes 12
1 15oz can of pumpkin puree
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup evaporated milk
2/3 cup AP flour
2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or apple pie spice)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat you oven to 350 degrees! Line a muffin tin with foil cupcake liners and give them a spritz of cooking spray.
In a large mixing bowl mix pumpkin, sugars, eggs, vanilla, and evaporated milk until combined. Add in the dry ingredients and mix well! It will be runny, much like a pie filling. Fill your tins about 1/2 to 3/4 full. Bake for 20 minutes and then take them out – don’t poke them to see if they’re done. Just have a little faith.
Allow them to cool completely on the counter then pop them in the fridge for an additional 20-30 minutes. Top with whipped cream or cool whip and a dash of the pie spice!
I’ve only recently gotten into the french style of cooking. Fun fact: they know what’s up. French food is more than just flavors. The appreciation and patience involved in french cuisine lends itself to a passion for food that I have only just begun to explore. The concept of cooking en papillote or in paper is a classic french technique. It seals in moisture, flavor and he best part ZERO CLEAN UP.
lemon artichoke chicken with pesto en papillote
4 chicken boobs
1/2 cup pesto
3 roma tomatos sliced
1 can artichoke hearts chopped
1 lemon sliced into rounds
Pep (no salt! The cheese in the pesto is salty enough)
4 sheets of parchment paper or foil
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
On each sheet of parchment place one chicken breast. Spread 1/4 of the pesto onto each piece then top with artichokes, tomatoes and 2 slices of lemon. Crack some fresh pepper on top.
Seal up each sheet into a packet creasing the ends. Bake for 25 minutes!
Serve with rice, cauliflower mash or crashed potatoes. You’re practically French.
I fear fish that come in pop top can. But I love caesar dressing… quite the pickle, dill. Tonight I took a risk and popped open a can of anchovies. Please hold your applause…
Roasted Chicken Salad with Lemon Caesar Dressing
Hearts of romaine, washed and chopped
¼ cup parmesan cheese
2 egg yolks
Juice of one lemon
One clove of garlic
1 Tablespoon water
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
4 anchovy filets
Salt and Pep
4 chicken breasts (on per person)
I used my magic bullet to speed up the rodeo.
In your blender add in the mustard, egg yolks, lemon juice, fishys, and garlic – give it a few blitzes. Now- true chefs would have you slowly add the oil to make sure it emulsifies. Ya girl doesn’t have that kind of time. So dump it in and send it for a spin.
Once your dressing has come together stir in the parm! That’s IT. It’s so easy to seem so frilly
For the roasted chicken simply drizzle chicken boobs with EVOO, season each side with salt and pep. Pop them in the oven at 425 degrees for about 25 minutes.
Toss your lettuce in the creamy dreamy dressing – top off with warm chicken, fresh cracked pep and some more parmesan!