Fall Harvest Meal

Well I had a very fun class recently that gave me the perfect excuse to pull out some of my very favorite Fall recipes and make a night of it! After doing so, I wanted to share the recipes along, I hope you enjoy!!

A great start to a fall dinner is a fall cocktail, of course! I have made this Apple Cider Sangria many times & it checks all the boxes for me – Refreshing, delicious and not too sweet!! I find that if you have the space in your refrigerator & can throw it together a day ahead, the flavors really pop!!

Ingredients

This appetizer is always SUCH a hit! I have spent hours and hours preparing intricate appetizers for events and parties, alongside this gem only to have everyone rage over the one that took all of 20 minutes…after nursing my bruised ego, I realized the win, took the advice and I just keep making this instead of spending unnecessary time on other fancy frills!! My household is nut free, so I omit the pecans (or sub for pumpkin seeds), but when able to I add them in for some lovely crunch – toast them first for even bigger flavor!

Salted Caramel Brie with Toasted Pecans

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Bake brie on parchment lined baking sheet for 15 minutes at 350. While it is baking, make your caramel!
  2. Use a medium sized saucepan, when you add the heavy cream at the end, the fat reacts to the hot sugar and rises quite a bit – you want to make sure it doesn’t overflow in the pot!
  3. Pour the sugar into your saucepan and turn the heat on medium. Stir constantly as your sugar melts, and continue for about 5 minutes or so until the sugar takes on an amber, or caramel color.
  4. Stir in the butter and continue to stir while it melts. Once completely melted, add in the salt & heavy cream (a little dash of vanilla is option, but lovely!) Stir this mixture constantly while it boils, for 1 minute.
  5. Take the caramel off of the heat and stir in the pecans. Let the caramel sit for about 5 minutes & then pour over the brie – serve immediately – YUM!

And now for one of my FAVORITE salads of all time, and definitely my favorite fall go to! I love this because of the warmth of it. The flavors are just beautiful & it is a nice hearty salad, so I make it into a meal, well, as often as I can!!

Roasted Vegetable & Greens Salad with Maple Tahini Vinaigrette

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Toss your veg with ample olive oil and seasonings – roast for about 25 minutes, or until tender and a little crispy.
  3. Add all dressing ingredients to a blender or food processor, until pureed. Taste and see if you might like to add a bit more vinegar or lemon, maybe salt – everyone’s preferences are different, but I often need a bit more acid or salt to balance the flavors. If you have time and can let it sit an hour or so – even better!!
  4. Serve over greens & enjoy!!

The main dish for this menu is a lovely dinner to make for a crowd, as long as you have a pot big enough to fit it all!! Much of this entire menu can be prepared mostly ahead of time, which is why it is great for entertaining. For our pasta dish, the squash can be roasted ahead, sausage cooked, and as long as your ingredients are premeasured, the rest comes together in a snap!

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400. Toss cubed butternut squash with some olive oil, salt & pepper & roast for 30-40 minutes, or until fork tender.
  2. Bring pot of salted water to a boil & cook pasta.
  3. While pasta is cooking, make your cream sauce. Add 2 T olive oil to a large skillet or dutch oven. Saute garlic at meidum heat for 2 minutes & add heavy cream – bring to a quick boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add parmesan and season to taste. Stir in sausage & spinach & remove from heat.
  4. Strain pasta & scoop butternut squash. Mix all together & enjoy!!

We finished off this lovely meal with an apple cider donut cake! SO good. We ended up using a bit of our extra caramel on top and that really was the ‘icing on the cake’! If you do not have caramel, I do suggest some fresh whipped cream, as the cake is a little plain on its own and could use a bit of sweetness:). I used this recipe below for the cake, but I made my own mix vs using a boxed cake mix – you can do whatever you want!!

Apple Cider Doughnut Cake – Princess Pinky Girl

Weeknight Meals on a Budget

Weeknights are busy, but we still want to get a warm, semi healthy meal on the table! I put together a week’s worth of meals for a family of 5. 1 shop list reusing several ingredients, just a little prep on Sunday and you should be in and out of the kitchen in about a half hour each evening, all for around $100! Food prices are going up and up, so planning is our best strategy to keep our grocery bill from doing the same! Most of these dishes should leave you with some leftovers for lunches, as well as some leftover ingredients to throw together another dish or 2.

This past week I teamed up with Maureen Kyle of WKYC’s Mom Squad and we hope that this helps you to get delicious food on the table faster! Let me know if you have any questions, enjoy!

Grocery List:

  • Basil (I recommend freeze dried, so that you can keep it up to a month in your fridge and continue to enjoy it in future dishes)
  • 1 Baguette
  • 16 oz Monterey Jack Cheese
  • 2 Cans or 1 Jar Enchilada Sauce
  • Chicken (Package of 2 Chicken Breasts-alternately a Rotisserie Chicken)
  • Corn Tortillas
  • Cilantro
  • 1 lb White Rice
  • 1-8 oz Can of Tomato Sauce
  • 3 Jars Marinara Sauce
  • 16 oz Ditalini (or other small pasta)\
  • 1 Bunch Kale (Baby Kale=No Prep:)!)
  • Parmesan Cheese Block
  • Onions (3)
  • 3 Cans Cannellini Beans
  • 1 Pkg Kielbasa
  • 2 lb Carrots
  • 2 Crowns Broccoli
  • 1 pkg Cherry Tomatoes
  • 2 Zucchini
  • 1-2 Pkgs Udon Noodles (I prefer the fresh ones that are precooked)
  • Fresh Ginger
  • Fresh Garlic

Here is a quick list of items that I normally have on hand, but if you do not, you will want to grab as well:

  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Dried Oregano
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Cumin
  • Soy Sauce
  • Sugar
  • Olive Oil
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Stick of Butter
  • Lemon
  • Sesame Oil
  • Sriracha or Garlic Chili Paste

Sunday Prep:

I always like to chop a few onions and package them up for the week, it makes things so much easier. Between my cutting board not tasting like onions right away, and just having them on hand! I often will chop up some garlic as well. Many of these recipes will have us using a microplane to grate the garlic and save time as well.

We also want to precook our chicken. From fresh or frozen, you can poach your chicken on the stovetop to prepare it. Bring water to a boil, and add in chicken breasts. Turn down to a simmer and cook for about 25 minutes. It will be ready for chopping or shredding and using all week! Alternatively, you can purchase a rotisserie chicken and shred the breasts for our meals, and use the rest for sandwiches and lunches!

I also recommend cutting your vegetables ahead of time to save on prep. Cut the broccoli into small florets, cut zucchini in half lengthwise and into 1/2″ slices & cut 3-4 carrots into 1/2″ slices. All of this should only take about 30 minutes & we are ready for Monday!!

Chicken (or Vegetarian) Enchiladas

Prep time: 15 minutesCook time: 25 minutesTotal time: 40 minutes

Description

Delicious enchiladas are a great weeknight option. Add a side of Mexican rice and some chips and salsa and you’re in business! If you would like to add in some extra nutritional value, I like to mash up a baked sweet potato and spread a bit of that on the inside of each enchilada before stuffing. (You could add baking a sweet potato to our list of Sunday prep, if you are doing the full menu).

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Sprinkle 2 T of cheese, and some chicken to the center of a tortilla & roll up. Lay into a 9 x 13 pan, seamside down. Repeat. Over and over and over again! You want to pack them in fairly tight to fit as many as possible
  3. Once you have your pan completely filled (give a count and make sure it is the amount you think your family needs – I would say about 15 for a family of 5 is good)
  4. Pour the sauce to completely coat the top of the enchiladas. (Any open areas can dry out.) Cover with foil and bake for about 25 minutes. You can top with cheese if you have any extra. Ready to serve, while they are baking, start your rice!!

Notes

  • While the enchiladas are in the oven, start your Mexican rice.

Mexican Rice (Note, double this recipe, if you would like to serve it with Sheet Pan Dinner on Wednesday)

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil on medium heat. Add the dry rice and sauté for 1 minute while constantly stirring.
  2. Add all dry spices (I suggest premeasuring them together into a bowl, so your rice doesn’t burn.) & garlic, sauté 1 more minute.
  3. Pour in water & tomato sauce. Bring to a boil.
  4. Once boiling, stir and lower to a simmer. Add sprigs of cilantro on top & cover with lid. Simmer for 20-25 minutes, then it is ready to serve!

Tuesday: Pasta Fagioli with Baguette & Lemon Butter

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Begin by sautéing onion in 2 T olive oil over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Season with Salt & Pepper.
  2. Add in garlic & saute 1 minute. Pour in all liquid ingredients.
  3. Add remaining ingredients, except for basil, and let simmer about 30 minutes. While it is cooking, make lemon butter!

    For Lemon Butter:
  4. Place softened butter in a bowl, grate lemon zest and garlic over the top.
  5. Add basil, salt & pepper & mix thoroughly. It is ready to spread on Baguette!!
  6. Taste soup for seasoning, top with grated parmesan cheese & serve with bread & butter, yum!

Wednesday: Sheet Pan Sausage & Vegetables

A Sheet Pan Meal with Some Different Veg:)

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat Oven to 375
  2. Toss together the sausage & veggies in a large bowl.
  3. Coat with olive oil & toss with seasonings
  4. Bake on parchment lined sheet tray for 25 minutes, serve over rice!

Thursday: Asian Noodle Stir Fry

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Sauté onion in 2 T vegetable oil over medium heat for 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add all vegetables and cover – let cook 2-3 minutes, until veggies have softened a bit.
  3. Add sauce and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes
  4. Toss in noodles & chicken and cook 2-3 minutes, until heated through. Check for seasoning – add more soy or heat as needed. Stir in herbs and enjoy!

Friday: Calzones

Here is an opportunity to use up leftovers!!

Cut your premade dough into equal parts. Roll into circles, using a floured surface. Once rolled out, add in marinara, cheese and any toppings of your choice. Seal the edges and bake at 400 on parchment lined trays for 10-12 minutes, checking for doneness. Enjoy!!

Can Also Make Personal Pizzas!!

Grilling Season!

Grilling season is upon us! We sure had a lot of fun welcoming the season with a big grill event at Home Appliance! Smokers, sous vide, and grill marks, oh my! Here are the recipes for all of the dishes (and cocktails) that we served, as well as some tips & tricks while you’re firing up your outdoor kitchen. Please let me know if you have any questions & enjoy!

For our cocktails, we served, ‘Hot Honey Summer’ – A grilled lemon & rosemary spiked lemonade sweetened with hot honey. And ‘Smokin’ Oldies’ – Smoked Cherry Old Fashioneds.

Ingredients:

1 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice

1 Cup Hot Honey

8 Cups Cold Water

Lemon Slices & Rosemary

Directions:

Grill the lemon slices & rosemary, set aside to cool. Mix together all ingredients & serve over ice!

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup Fresh or Frozen Cherries

1/2 Cup Simple Syrup

Bourbon

Angostura Bitters

Orange Peel

Directions:

Cold smoke your cherries for about 45 minutes, or until you have the amount of smokiness that you would like. Soak half of them overnight in the simple syrup. To serve, pour 2 ounces of bourbon & 2 tsp simple syrup over ice. Add a few dashes of bitters, a smoked cherry & an orange peel. Enjoy!

For a fun simple app, definitely try these! Start by grilling peach slices and allowing them to cool. Cut them into equal pieces with fresh mozzarella. You can add fresh basil to your skewers or serve with fresh pesto. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, & drizzle with balsamic glaze!

Ingredients:

1/4 Pineapple, Grilled & Diced

3 Roma Tomatoes, Diced

1/2 Red Onion, Diced Small

1/2 Cup Cilantro, Minced

1/2 Jalapeno, Minced

Juice of 1 Lime, Salt & Pepper to Taste

Such a great alternative to store bought!! Cut pineapple into planks. Brush them with vegetable oil & grill. While they are cooling, prepare other ingredients. Toss together all ingredients & season to taste.

Chef Andy Dubyoski’s Famous Grilled Mushrooms with Chili Crisp!!

Grilled mushrooms with Chili crisp and fresh ramps

6 large portobello mushrooms

4 fresh ramps (use scallions if ramps are unavailable)

Lao Gan Ma chili crisp to taste (I would use 3-4 TBS for mine)

Marinade:

¼ C Soy sauce

2 TBS Black Vinegar

2 TBS Toasted Sesame oil

1 Tbs Mushroom Dark soy sauce

1 Tbs Shaoxing Wine

1 tsp 5 spice

1 TBS Sugar

Marinate over night.  Grill. Garnish.

Ingredients:

3 # Yellow Potatoes – Steamed & Grilled

4 Ribs of Celery, Chopped

1/2 Yellow Onion, Chopped

Dressing:

1 1/2 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt

1/2 Cup Mayonaise

2 T Olive Oil

1/2 Cup Fresh Basil

1/2 Cup Fresh Dill

1/2 Cup Fresh Parsley

Juice of 1/2-1 Lemon

3 Cloves of Garlic

1 tsp Garlic Powder

1/2 tsp Salt

Fresh Ground Pepper

Directions:

For the dressing, place all ingredients in a blender and puree. Steam potatoes until for tender, slice into planks & grill. Once cool, cut into chunks and toss with the rest of ingredients and the dressing!

Chef Andrew Dubyoski’s Smoked Baba Ganoush

Baba Ganoush

2 lbs of Eggplant (about 2 small to medium eggplants)

1/3 C Tahini

1 Head Roasted Garlic

¼ C Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Plus 1-2 Tbs for garnish)

½ tsp Smoked Paprika (plus more for garnish)

½ tsp Cumin

Sumac for garnish

Juice of 1 Lemon

Zest of 1 Lemon

Kosher Salt

Fresh Black Pepper

Cut eggplant in half lengthwise.  Rub with olive oil.  Season with salt, pepper, cumin, and paprika.  Smoke until tender.  Whip tahini and roasted garlic in food processor till smooth.  Add eggplant with skin removed, lemon zest and juice and pulse several times.  Finish with extra virgin olive oil, adjust seasoning.  Garnish with more extra virgin olive oil, smoked paprika, and sumac.

Chef Andy at The Grill!

Ingredients:

1 Cup Unsalted Butter, Softened

1 Cup Brown Sugar

1/2 Cup Sugar

2 Eggs

1 T Vanilla Extract

2 3/4 Cups Flour

1 t Baking Soda

1 t Salt

1 Cup Chocolate Chips

Smoked Sea Salt

Cream butter and sugars together for 3-4 minutes in electric mixer. Add 1 egg at a time and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Gradually add them until just combined and toss in chocolate chips. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes (they will look a bit underdone), and sprinkle with a bit of sea salt. Enjoy!!

Cinco De Mayo

Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Battle of Puebla in 1862, when Mexico came out victorious over France. In the United States, it has evolved over the years as a celebration of Mexican culture & heritage. For me it is my wedding anniversary as well! We are eager to join in the festivities & enjoy the beautiful colors, incredible flavors, & absolute merriment of the fiesta! Here are some of my favorite recipes to help celebrate the day, or any day, at that! Enjoy!!

Street Corn Salsa

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Fresh Corn off the Cob, or Thawed Frozen Corn
  • 1/2 Cup Finely Chopped Fresh Cilantro
  • 1/3 Cup Finely Chopped Red Onion
  • 2-3 T Finely Chopped Jalapeno
  • 1 T Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1 T Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 Cup Cotija Cheese, Crumbled

Directions

  1. Stir together 1st 7 ingredients, season to taste & sprinkle with cheese. Enjoy!

Pickled Red Onions are the perfect addition to any street taco, Click here for my recipe!!

Shrimp Tacos

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Shrimp, Peeled & Deveined
  • Zest of 1 Lime, plus 1 T Juice
  • 3 T Vegetable Oil
  • 2 tsp Chili Powder
  • 2 tsp Cumin
  • 2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • Salt & Pepper

Directions

  1. Toss Shrimp in vegetable oil.
  2. Mix all the spices together in a separate bowl.
  3. Toss all together and spread in a single layer onto a parchment lined sheet tray.
  4. Roast at 425 for 6-8 minutes.

Cauliflower & Chickpea Street Tacos

Ingredients

  • 1 Head of Cauliflower, Broken into Florets
  • 1 Can of Chickpeas
  • 3 T Vegetable Oil
  • 2 tsp Chili Powder
  • 2 tsp Cumin
  • 2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • Salt & Pepper

Directions

  1. Toss florets & chickpeas in vegetable oil.
  2. Mix all the spices together in a separate bowl.
  3. Toss all together and spread in a single layer onto a parchment lined sheet tray.
  4. Roast at 400 for about 25 minutes.

Avocado Crema

Ingredients

  • 1 Avocado, Peeled & Pitted
  • 1/2 Cup Sour Cream
  • 1/2-1 Jalapeno, Seeded
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • 1 T Lime Juice
  • 1 Cup Fresh Cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 T Olive Oil

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients to food processor & puree until smooth. Season to taste. ******alternatively, if you do not have an avocado, or they are rock hard (like the ones I got!!), you can substitute to avocado for 1/2 cup of mayonnaise…it adds the necessary fat to make it good and creamy and serves as a stand in when we can’t wait for the avocados to ripen!!

Mexican Rice

Ingredients

  • 2.5 Cups White Rice
  • 3 T Vegetable Oil
  • 12 oz Tomato Sauce
  • 1/4 Cup Cilantro (Stems & All)
  • 1 tsp Salt, Pepper to Taste
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
  • 5 Cups Water or Broth

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan on medium heat & add garlic. Add your rice, coat in oil and let toast for 2-3 minutes
  2. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.
  3. Lower heat to a simmer, cover pan & let cook about 25 minutes, or until cooked through. Season to taste.

Cilantro Lime Slaw

Ingredients

  • 3 Cups Thinly Shredded Purple &/or Green Cabbage
  • 1/2 Jalapeno, Chopped Finely
  • 1/2 Cup Cilantro, Chopped Finely
  • 3 T Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 2 T Lime Juice
  • 1 T Orange Juice
  • 1/4 tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Salt

Directions

  1. Toss together all ingredients & let sit for at least an hour before serving.

This is a quick video with my recipe for Pickled Red Onions…I think they are a MUST on a taco and honestly on so many other things too!! They last for a few months in your fridge, just place into a jar and cover them in pickling liquid!

Sopapilla Cheesecake

This is the recipe that I use for Sopapilla Cheesecake, and it is delicious!!

Now for that Margarita Bar!!! All sorts of exciting items on this table, and some are my absolute favorites!!

I think using a syrup for adhering you ‘rim’ to the glass is much more effective than water or lime juice. For our margarita bar, we used a dandelion syrup & a ginger syrup. Both of these are just infused simple syrups (equal parts sugar & water, simmered until the sugar has dissolved and steeped with a flavoring agent). Pour syrup onto plates just as the rims are and start there!

Rims:

Basil, Cinnamon, & Sugar – Pulverized in food processor. I used 1 cup white sugar to 1/3 cup of basil and 2 tsp cinnamon

Smoked Sea Salt

Lime Zest, Hot Pepper, & Salt – Lime zest should be air dried before mixing in. 1 cup sea salt to zest from 3 limes and 1.5 tsp crushed red pepper flakes – pulverized in food processor.

Tajin

Lemon Sugar – zest from 2 lemons to 1 cup of sugar, pulverized in the food processor.

Mixers:

Classic Lime – 1 cup fresh lime juice, 1.5 cups simple syrup (3/4 cup of sugar & 3/4 cup water – gently simmer until sugar is dissolved – let cool), and 1.5 cups cold water – mix and serve!

Spicy Pineapple – 2 sliced habaneros – let steep in 1/2 gallon of fresh pineapple juice. stir in 1/2 cup of fresh lime juice.

Hibiscus Lemon – Make a strong hibiscus tea using flowers or tea bags & 2 cups of water. Add to 1/2 gallon of lemon juice and 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice.

Have fun, & Fiesta like there’s no Manana!!!

Spring is In The Air!!

I can’t say that Spring is my favorite season, but it is certainly the one that stirs the most excitement. I know that may not make a lot of sense but living in Northeast Ohio, there is nothing more hopeful than those first tastes of Spring. The sun on your face, a flower bud, the perfect green grass poking through after months of ice and snow. And all of the fresh flavors! We have spent the winter eating California & Florida produce and can finally enjoy some native wild foods as well as watch the farmer’s markets come to life with our local bounty.

The recipes below are just a handful of favorites. Ways to enjoy some of the very first items to ‘spring’ up first, this season. If you have any questions, please let me know, enjoy!!

Mint Pea Soup

Serving Size:
4
Time:
30
Difficulty:
Easy

Ingredients

  • 1 Onion, Chopped
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, Chopped
  • 4 Cups Vegetable Broth
  • 4-5 Cups Green Peas (I used both Fresh English Peas, simmered in the broth, & Defrosted Sweet Peas)
  • 1/3 Cup Fresh Mint
  • 1/3 Cup Fresh Parsley
  • 1/3 Cup Fresh Basil
  • Zest & Juice of 1 Lemon
  • Salt, Pepper, Good Olive Oil, Creme Fraiche & Parmesan for Serving

Directions

  1. Begin by heating up a little olive oil & do a quick sauté on your onion & garlic. Season these with salt & pepper.
  2. Add this & other ingredients, up to the garnishes into your Vitamix, or high-powered blender. Blend for 5 minutes on high, until heated. Taste for seasoning. I tend to add a bit more salt, pepper & lemon at this step.
  3. serve with a drizzle of olive oil, a few dollops of creme fraiche, a few shaves of parmesan and a couple of cracks of pepper, yum!
Ramps (Wild Garlic)

Ramp Butter

Serving Size:
6
Time:
10
Difficulty:
Easy

Ingredients

  • 1 Stick of Unsalted Butter, Softened
  • 3 Ramp Bulbs, Chopped
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • 1/4 Cup of Parsley, Chopped
  • Salt & Pepper

Directions

  1. Mix together all ingredients. Place onto plastic wrap in the shape of a log. Roll plastic wrap around the butter and shape into a cylinder.
  2. Place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or freezer for 1/2 hour. Open and slice into medallions to serve over your food. Can be frozen (double wrap and bag it) for up to a year. Enjoy!

Sous Vide Steak & Asparagus Risotto

Serving Size:
4
Time:
3 Hours total, 1 Hour Active
Difficulty:
Moderate

Ingredients

  • 4 Steaks, 4 T Olive Oil, 4 Cloves of Garlic sliced, 4 Sprigs of Rosemary, Salt & Pepper
  • 2 Cups Arborio Rice
  • 6-8 Cups Chicken or Vegetable Broth (warming on the stove)
  • 1/2 lb Asparagus, Steamed, Cut into 1 inch Pieces
  • 2 Shallots, Chopped
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, Chopped
  • Thyme, from 4 Sprigs
  • 1 Cup Sauvignon Blanc
  • 2 T Butter
  • Zest & Juice from 1 Lemon
  • 1 Cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/3 Cup Fresh Parsley, Chopped
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Basil, Chopped
  • Salt & Pepper

Directions

  1. Begin by setting your sous vide circulator to 130. Next season and vacuum seal your steaks into individual bags with all of your aromatics. Let come to temperature over the course of about 1.5 hours.
  2. For risotto: Heat up a few T of olive oil and sweat your shallots for a few minutes, then add garlic & thyme.
  3. Toss your rice in with an additional 2 T of olive oil. Stire to coat and let your grains toast for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Pour in wine and let reduce by half.
  5. Making sure that you are no higher than medium heat, begin adding 1/2 cup of broth at a time. Stirring continuously, when your broth no longer pools in the center of the pot, add the next scoopful.
  6. Continue to stir, add, stir & add for about 15 minutes. At this point, you can watch/taste for doneness of the rice.
  7. When you are getting close with the rice, it’s the perfect time to remove the steaks and get a quick sear on each side. Set them aside to rest.
  8. Add in the remaining risotto ingredients, tasting as you go, so as to not over season. Serve with steak & ramp butter on top, enjoy!

Pie Crust Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 Cup Flour
  • 2 T Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 Stick of Cold Unsalted Butter, Cubed
  • 4-5 T Ice Cold Water
  • Cinnamon Sugar Mixture

Directions

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, place the 1st 4 ingredients. Using the pulse feature, pulse the mixture until the butter resembles gravel or is the size of green peas.
  2. 1 T at a time, begin to drizzle the ice cold water through the tube while pulsing. Add only enough to bring it together, you do not want it to be sticky or dry.
  3. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate for about an hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 375. Roll out dough and cut into shapes. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and bake for 6-8 minutes!

Strawberry Rhubarb Sorbet

Recipe from Sur La Table

Serving Size:
6
Time:
2 hours Total
Difficulty:
Easy

Ingredients

  • 1 2/3 Cup Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Cups Water
  • 1 lb Rhubarb, Cut into 1 inch Pieces
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 lb Fresh Strawberries, Hulled & Sliced
  • 2 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the water, sugar, rhubarb, vanilla & salt. Simmer until rhubarb softens and the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.
  2. In a blender, combine all ingredients and puree until smooth. Strain over a fine mesh strainer and churn to sorbet in an ice cream maker. Enjoy!

Italian Dinner Party

Who doesn’t love a home cooked Italian meal? The epitome of warm & comforting. The aromas of a sauce that’s been simmering for hours, fresh basil & grated parmesan cheese have the power to draw anyone in.

I love hosting dinner parties, but I don’t want to be tied up in the kitchen once guests arrive. An Italian meal can be a perfect solution and this menu checks all the boxes:

  • House smells AMAZING
  • Gluten free entree
  • Versatile appetizers
  • Make ahead dessert

A great starter for an Italian themed dinner party is an antipasto platter (or individual platters). No big fuss, just a great assortment is all you need! ours donned some sliced fontina cheese, sharp white cheddar, marinated artichokes and banana peppers. Crackers, olives, cured meats & peppadews. Some fun additions, as in the photo below, are wrapping prosciutto around breadsticks and making your own marinated mozzarella. Having something out and ready to snack on takes a lot of pressure off of you, the host, & makes the timeline on serving the meal more casual.

Individual Antipasto Plates

Another important item to have ready to go when guests arrive is a delicious cocktail! For our Italian night in, we made Limoncello spritzers with homemade limoncello! Although limoncello normally takes 30 days (!) to infuse, our ‘Last Minute Limoncello’ is perfectly done in a whopping 2 hours with the help of one of my favorite kitchen tools, my sous vide wand. (Note that you can ABSOLUTELY purchase a bottle of limoncello at the liquor store as well:)).

Serving Size:
1 Liter
Time:
2 Hours
Difficulty:
Easy

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Vodka
  • 6 Lemons – Peeled
  • 1 1/4 Cups Sugar
  • 2 Cups Water

Directions

  1. Start by setting your sous vide to 135. Alcohol doesn’t cook off until 172, so 135 is a perfect temperature for a lovely infusion
  2. Peel each lemon, taking care to avoid as much of the pith as possible. (The pith is the white part of any citrus fruit & is very bitter.)
  3. Add the lemon peels & vodka to a mason jar & submerge into the sous vide. Let it sit in the water for 2 hours.
  4. While the jar is in the water, make your simple syrup. Place sugar into a large saucepan & add water. simmer on medium low until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside and let it cool.
  5. Once the vodka has been in for 2 hours, strain & mix it with the simple syrup. Allow to cool, and it is ready to use!
  6. For a great limoncello cocktail, pour 1.5 ounces over ice & top with 3 oz of prosecco & 3 oz of sparkling water, enjoy!

Once your guests have enjoyed some appetizers and have a cocktail in hand, you can slip away to put the finishing touches on dinner.

A sauce that can be made ahead and simmering on low until ready to serve. Delicious, creamy polenta that only takes a few minutes to finish off. I suggest, along with having the sauce simmering ahead of time, set your polenta liquid to boil.

Ragu Sauce Over Creamy Parmesan Polenta

Ingredients For Ragu

  • 2 T olive Oil
  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 1 Lb Ground Sweet Italian Sausage
  • 2 Carrots, Small Dice
  • 4 Celery Ribs, Small Dice
  • 1 Onion, Thinly Sliced
  • 2 T Tomato Paste
  • 1/3 Cup Dry Red Wine
  • 1 Can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 Cup Chicken Stock
  • Red Pepper Flakes & Sea Salt to Taste

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil & add both beef & sausage. Cook them until browned. Strain out fat and reserve meat.
  2. Add onions, carrots & celery and cook for 5-7 minutes, until softened.
  3. Continue to sauté with tomato paste for 2 minutes & add wine. Cook until the wine has reduced by half.
  4. Add crushed tomatoes & stock, season and let simmer.

For Creamy Parmesan Polenta

Ingredients

  • 4 Cups Water
  • 1 Cup Whole Milk
  • 1 1/4 Cup Polenta (or Cornmeal)
  • 3/4 Cup Grated Parmesan
  • 4 T Unsalted Butter
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste
  • Chopped Parsley and Parmesan Block for Garnish

Directions

  1. Bring the liquid to a boil. Gently sprinkle in the polenta, while whisking. Continue to cook, while stirring occasionally.
  2. After 15 minutes, check to see if the polenta is cooked to your liking. Season to taste (including adding more parmesan, if you would like.)
  3. Serve with Ragu sauce over, and top with shaved parmesan and chopped parsley. Enjoy.

Dark Chocolate Espresso Budino

Ingredients

  • 8 oz Chopped Dark Chocolate
  • 2 T Unsalted Butter
  • 6 Egg Yolks
  • 1/3 Brown Sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp Espresso Powder
  • 2 T Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 Cup Whole Milk
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Directions

  1. Mix together egg yolks, sugar, espresso powder, cocoa powder, cream, milk, salt & vanilla in a medium saucepan.
  2. Whisk together while cooking over medium heat until thickened.
  3. Strain out any cooked egg bits and stir in chocolate & butter.
  4. Pour into ramekins and chill at least 2 hours before serving.

Whipped Cream

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar
  • 2 tsp Vanilla

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients to mixer with whisk attachment (or do by hand with a whisk – will take about double the time). Whisk together until it reaches the perfect consistency. Add a dollop to the top of your budino and enjoy!