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Showing posts from 2020

Cinnamon Buns

  It’s Christmas tradition! This recipe is a re-print of the one I made December 25th, 2017. In this bizarre world of 2020 when a lot of Christmas traditions aren't being observed, this one is a great comfort to me.  I bake a batch of cinnamon rolls once a year on Christmas morning. (I have to impose this limit on myself; I can eat a whole pan by myself. They are my very favorite thing). I make the dough the night before, then pop them into the oven in the morning. There is nothing like a cup of coffee, a warm cinnamon bun, and opening your presents on a snowy Christmas morning. These make an excellent addition to a Christmas (on non-holiday) brunch. If, by some miracle, you have leftovers that go stale, make them into decadent french toast or phenomenal bread pudding. If you are like me, however, you will turn into a cinnamon-roll-itarian for a few days and they will disappear before you can think of using them in something else. So if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for fourths.  Ing

Text Mex Chicken and Rice

 I love a recipe right before the holidays that is healthy, easy to cook, and provides leftovers. With all the holiday baking and prepping, it is a welcome relief to have a warm, healthy and easy to make meal that you can enjoy a few days in a row. For Christmas, I am making brownies, Mexican wedding cookies, cinnamon rolls, sticky buns, brie en croute, smoked salmon, spiral ham, home-made gnocchi with butternut squash, fried sage and cheese sauce, and a goat cheese spinach walnut strawberry red pickled onion salad with balsmic vinaigrette. For new years, we have crab cakes, corn chowder, grilled pepper jack cheese sandwiches and a black forest cake. I NEED something easy and delicious and good for me! This is that recipe. Inexpensive and yummy, it takes under thirty minutes to cook. Chicken thighs, rice, green bell pepper, spice and a creamy sauce topping? Sign me up. Enjoy! Ingredients: 1 pound chicken thighs, diced into 1/2 inch cubes 1 green bell pepper, diced into 1/2 inch cubes 1

Ravioli Pizza

  Do you ever want to combine two of your favorite foods and see if they get even better? In the case of pasta and pizza, the answer is yes. Cheese ravioli with pepperoni, delicious marinara, broiled with more cheese on top? It's THE food for the end of the semester. Yum. Sprinkle over some scallions for the obligatory pop of green and you have a meal for the gods. Ingredients: 1 half stick of pepperoni, chopped into small pieces 1 pound bag of cheese ravioli 1 tablespoon oil 1 ounce fontina, shredded 1 ounce parmesan, shredded 1 ounce pecorino, shredded 1 garlic clove, minced 8 ounce can tomato sauce 2 plum tomatoes, diced 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar pinch red pepper flakes salt and pepper, to taste Method: Preheat the oven to broil. In a large skillet, oil the oil and pepperoni to the pan over medium high heat. Cook until the pepperoni is crispy and has rendered its fat; about 4 minutes. Remove to another pan. Add the ravioli in a thin layer in the

Chicken fajitas

It's the first snow of the season and it's a whammy. We are supposed to get 6 to 10 inches of snow today. After teaching, what I want is something easy to make and warming. Chicken fajitas were a favorite of mine growing up and I still love them. They are super easy to make and the perfect spicy comfort food. I like to make my own guacamole as a fresh topping to go alongside (I am one of those people for whom cilantro tastes like soap, so I always make my own guac and omit it). Since dinner is so healthy, I imagine spiked hot chocolate and fresh-baked cookies are my dessert on this snowy day....  Ingredients: 1 garlic clove, minced 1 red onion,  thinly  sliced 1 bell pepper, thing sliced 1/2 pound chicken breasts 2 teaspoons taco seasoning Cayenne, to taste 6 six inch flour tortillas salt, pepper, oil guacamole, for serving Method: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and peppers; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, u

Leftover Cranberry Sauce Cookies

Like many of you, I made an entire Thanksgiving Day feast for only my husband and I. As such, I have an inordinate amount of leftovers. Expect my blog to largely star ways to dress up leftovers, because I have freezer meals of Thanksgiving day to last a lifetime. In this recipe, I was looking for a way to use up cranberry sauce and leftover walnuts from my apple crisp. Cranberry sauce drop cookies seemed the perfect thing to make; enjoy it with a cup of hot cocoa. I plan on gifting some to my parents; a way to break bread near the holiday without breaking protocols. Enjoy!  Ingredients: 3 3/4 cup all purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 2 sticks of butter, softened 1 1/2 cups sugar 3 eggs 1 cup cranberry sauce 1 teaspoon vanilla 1/2 cup chopped nuts Method: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Set aside a rimmed baking tray. Whisk together all of the dry ingredients in a medium bowl; set aside. With an e

Chorizo Potato Hash

Do you know, I think breakfast might be my favorite meal of the day. Or rather, the foods we Americans normally consider breakfast foods are my favorite. I very rarely actually eat breakfast, mostly opting for tea or coffee and a snack of fruit mid-morning. My appetite waits until the afternoon to make its ravenous appearance.  Therefore, in order for me to enjoy my love of breakfast foods, I turn breakfast into dinner (brinner, being of course, the better of the br meals. Brunch is nice, brinner is the winner). Bagels, pancakes, crepes, waffles, eggs, omelettes, and the ever deliciously carb-tastic potato hash make an enviable brinner. Add some spicy chorizo sausage and you have the perfect twist on a classic. Enjoy!   Ingredients: 2 russet potatoes, diced 2 medium red onions, wedged 1 bell pepper, diced 1/2 pound Mexican chorizo sausage, uncased 1 tablespoon taco seasoning salt and pepper to taste olive oil 4 eggs Method: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Toss the diced potatoes in

Breakfast puff pastry two ways

 Some Saturday mornings, after having applied for you Doctorate in Musical Arts at a very prestigious conservatory, you want to celebrate with a delicious brunch but you also don't want to choose between sweet or savory. So you don't! The salami/thyme/cheese egg cups are the perfect savory brunch bite. Salty, creamy, cheesy and perfectly flavored with onions, garlic and thyme; this is a breakfast celebration must! Who doesn't love bananas foster? Add puff pastry and pecans for crunch, a dollop of whipped cream on top, and you have the perfect sweet treat to pair with your favorite coffee beverage.  YUM. Ingredients: 1 sheet of puff pastry 1 quarter salami, sliced 1/4 cup diced cheddar 1 clove garlic, minced 1 onion, diced 1 tablespoon oil 1 teaspoon butter 1/2 teaspoon thyme pinch salt, pepper 4 eggs 1/8 cup whole milk 2 bananas sliced 1/4 cup pecans, diced 1/4 cup butter 1/3 cup brown sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla pinch salt Whipped cream Method: Spray a muffin tin with baking

Eggnog panna cotta

It's eggnog season. Well, kind of. Yes, we are pre-Thanksgiving but once the clock turns over from Halloween to November, I feel like being in a Christmas spirit. This year, I especially require the comfort of eggnog. I have 5 students applying to college and am helping them record their pre-screenings, 12 students participating in an upcoming musical theater competition, and 10 students in college getting ready to sing their juries. I myself am finalizing my DMA application, including recording 45 minutes of music, and am taping a holiday concert and organizing an Opera/ Musical Theater virtual event. I want dessert. This dessert is stupid easy to make. I have made it with both homemade and store-bought eggnog. I have chickens so I am always looking up recipes that involve a lot of eggs, so eggnog is an easy thing for me to whip up. However, if you have a fave brand of store-bought nog, go for it! I like texture, so I sprinkle a fun nut toffee on top of this for contrast between t

Blueberry peach cobbler

This has to be the easiest cobbler to make while still delivering on flavor in spades. Somehow the individual and backwards layers of butter, batter and fruit bake to form the most wonderfully warming and delicious desserts. It's a perfect treat to make on a weeknight when you have a craving, or for last minute guests. Enjoy!  Ingredients: 6 tablespoons butter 1 cup flour 1 cup sugar 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon vanilla 3/4 cup milk 12 ounce can peaches 16 ounce can blueberry pie filling Method: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Melt the butter and pour it into a 9 by 13 inch pan. Meanwhile, stir together the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Add in the milk and vanilla and mix until just combined. Pour the batter into the buttered pan. Open the cans of peaches and blueberry pie filling. Dollop evenly over the top of the batter. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes until golden brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool 10 min

Teriyaki Glazed Meatballs with Green Beans and Rice

  Is there anything more adaptable than a meatball? Italian style surrounded by tomato sauce, Swedish bathed in gravy, and these delicious bites glazed in teriyaki sauce. And the best pairing for anything teriyaki? Fried rice, of course. Feel free to add whatever vegetable you have on hand and beef up the recipe with an egg if you wish. I think asparagus might be a lovely twist. I like to add a sprinkling of red chili flakes at the end for an extra kick, but this meal is delicious as is. Enjoy! Ingredients: 1/2 cup jasmine rice 1 1/4 cup water 2 large cloves of garlic, minced 1/2 pound of green beans, sliced into thirds 12 ounces ground beef 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs 1 bunch scallions, sliced 1 egg 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce salt, pepper, oil Method: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In a medium saucepan, add the rice, pinch of salt and 1 1/4 cups water. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce to a simmer. Cook for fifteen minutes or until the rice is tender and all the water is absorbed; set asi

Lousiana-Style Shrimp and Rice

  The weather is turning rainy and cold. I rally don't mind inclement weather; they give me a wonderful excuse to curl up with tea and a book, or hot chocolate and a scary movie, or make a delicious and spicy dinner.  I am still adjusting to spice; I grew up not being able to tolerate much more than black pepper, to be honest. I have since welcomed in jalapeƱo and cayenne, and developed a love for Indian curry spice blends. Still, despite having a lower heat tolerance than most, I really like spicy foods (just need to be able to control the level). So here is my Louisiana-inspired shrimp and rice starring creole seasoning and cayenne pepper in a tomato sauce with garlic, bell pepper, and scallions. Simple, spicy, delicious. Enjoy! Ingredients: 1/2 cup rice 1 red bell pepper, diced 1 ounce scallions, sliced- reserve the dark green for garnish 1 clove garlic, minced 1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined creole seafood seasoning, 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne to taste 1 8 ounce can tomato s

Chicken and Biscuits

Today is a day for comfort food and relaxation; today is my first day off in 7 weeks. I have been going pell-mell with a schedule of 7-8 hour teaching days every day, an impromptu outdoor concert, a filmed indoor concert, amassing judges for Musical Theater NATS competition, planning Opera on Tap Maine events, prepping my DMA paper and audition recital, and hosting 2 masterclasses while still keeping up on my own coaching and lessons. Today is a lazy day of sweaters, blankets, reading, hot chocolate and chicken and biscuits. The filling is classic chicken pot pie; creamy, filled with peas, carrots, potatoes and perfectly browned chicken thighs. Instead of pie crust, please find the vastly superior drop biscuits. Buttery, golden-brown on top and dumpling-tactic on the bottom. As it is my vacation day, I am def going back for seconds.  Ingredients: 1 garlic clove, minced 1 russet potato, diced in 1/2 inch pieces 8 ounces of carrots, diced in 1/2 inch pieces 5 ounces of peas 1 pounds of c

Birthday - Strawberry Cake Repost

  Reposting in honor of my birthday! Here are some updated photos of my grown up Bodhi and new additions, Bigwig and Blackavar:  Strawberry Cake! I dearly love strawberry-flavored treats- strawberry milk, strawberry ice cream, strawberry macaron, strawberry cakes- delicious. The pink color, the strawberry flavor- perfection. A real strawberry cake made from scratch is hard to come by- most from scratch strawberry cakes are really vanilla cake with strawberries dotted within the frosting or diced into the batter. “Real” strawberry cakes use strawberry gelatin to achieve the color ad flavor. What’s a baker to do when she wants to make a real strawberry cake without resorting to strawberry gelatin? Science to the rescue! Freeze-dried strawberries pack an intense strawberry flavor and color and don’t dilute cake batters. Combined with fresh pureed strawberries, I knew I had a solution to my strawberry cake dliemma. However, cake after cake I baked failed. Why? Happily, my online baking gur

Italian Burger Stuffed with Fontina and Parmesan Fries

The many variations of burgers and fries delight me. Today, I am feeling Italian-inspired, so the cheese is fontina, the herbs an Italian blend, the buns buttered and toasted, and the fries topped with Parmesan. Yum! This is the perfect meal to enjoy with a sparkling water and watch a student’s online recital. That is perhaps the benefit of being primarily online; I can enjoy my kid’s recitals in comfy clothes and while eating something delicious. Always look on the bright side!  Ingredients: 2 potato buns 2 Tablespoons Italian seasoning 10 ounces ground beef, split into 2 equal portions 2 ounces of fontina cheese, split into 2 equal portions 1 ounces of shredded Parmesan cheese I Russet potato, sliced into fries Olive oil Salt and pepper Butter Method: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Toss the fries with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on a rimmed baking tray. Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the beef , Italian seasoning, 1 1/12 teaspoons salt, and

BBQ Pork Tenderloin with Broccoli, Peppers and Corn

  On to week four at the university! Today marks my 21st day of work with no break; when I returned home on this beautiful fall Sunday, I wanted something classic and comforting. Pork tenderloin is a meat that can be dressed up in all kinds of flavorful ways; paired with buttery corn, roasted broccoli and spicy green peppers, I have a meal that is hitting the spot perfectly and refreshing my body and mind. In less than 30 minutes, I had my meal on my plate and ready to be enjoyed. It's a perfect autumn meal; enjoy! Ingredients : 1/2 cup corn 1/2 head broccoli, cut into florets 1 green pepper, cut into strips 2 5 ounce portions of pork tenderloin 2 teaspoons BBQ spice blend 1 teaspoon sugar 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar 2 tablespoon oil 1 garlic clove, minced 1 tablespoon butter salt and pepper Method : Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Pat the pork dry and rub lightly with oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 6-7 minutes. Meanwhile

Coconut Ramen Curry with Soft Boiled Eggs and Snow Peas

  Ramen is such perfect comfort food and endlessly customizable. I had a long teaching day today and then I hosted an Opera on Tap Maine: Opera Debuts event. In the hour and a half free time I had, I whipped up this bowl of yummy goodness and enjoyed it with a glass of white wine.  Sweet snow peas with a curry coconut broth, jammy eggs and ramen noodles, all topped with the allium sharpness of scallions and the heat from red chili flakes?  Simple, delicious and just what I (and you) need. Ingredients: 1 12 ounce can coconut of milk 2 ounces soy sauce 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 scallion, sliced 4 ounces of snow peas, sliced 6 ounce package of ramen noodles 2 eggs 3 1/2 teaspoons curry powder 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and oil Method: Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add in the two eggs and bowl for 7 minutes. Plunge into an ice water bath. Add salt to the pot and add the ramen noodles, cooking for 2 to 3 minutes. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the cooking wa

Ravioli in fresh tomato sauce with olives and capers

Here is a fast and furious riff on pasta Puttanesaca.  Here we toss out the anchovies and add in cheese ravioli. The sauce is fresh and flavorful while the ravioli are hugely satisfying. After a long day at work, it was a wonderful thing to throw together and enjoy with a glass of red. Ingredients: 12 ounce package of cheese ravioli 1 bunch parsley, chopped 1 ounce parmesean, grated 1 ounce Kalamata olives, roughly chopped 1 tablespoon capers 1 large garlic clove, minced 2 plum tomatoes, diced into 1/2 inch pieces olive oil, salt, pepper Method: Bring a heavily salted pot of water to a boil. Add the ravioli and cook according to package instructions. Reserve 1/4 cup cooking water, drain the ravioli and set aside. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of oil on medium high heat in a large skillet. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Add in the tomatoes, 1/4 cup water, and salt. Bring to a summer and cook, mashing the tomatoes with a potato masher, until the sauce is smooth and re

Shrimp Fajita Bowl

 This is oddly going to be my busiest fall ever. I will be teaching 2 classes at the local college, and private lessons seven days a week. I am still planning to take my own lessons and coaching, find time to ride horses, perform virtually, audition, and prepare for my DMA application. I am going to rely on fast and delicious dinners to get me through to the Thanksgiving break.  This meal is stupid simple to make. I love shrimp as a protein because it cooks in literally no time at all, adapts so well to nearly any flavor profile, and I always seems to have some in my freezer. Pair that with my favorite and floral jasmine rice and we are off to the races. I chose to make this spicy; my new obsession seems to be cayenne pepper and taco seasoning, but this base would also work well with lemon and garlic, or teriyaki and ginger. Nice to have a dinner that I can be eating 30 minutes after I start preparing it. After a long day at work when my brain is fried, I am sure I will appreciate simp

Meatball Tacos with Garlic-Lime Crema

I adore meatballs. I like traditional Italian meatballs, Swedish meatballs, meatloaf meatballs, cheese-stuffed meatballs, Greek meatballs, and these Tex-Mex spiced meatballs. Combined with beautiful four tortillas, crispy romaine, spicy salsa and garlic-lime crema, this meatball taco might be my favorite new recipe of the summer. I like foods that are portable; in the summer, I like being able to eat single-handedly. It makes it a lot easier to et outside. My husband and I have set up an at home outdoor theater. I already had a projector and screen set from my travel lecturing days, so we simply added a bluetooth speaker, a fire pit, some chairs and an outdoor blanket with outdoor cushions. We set the screen against my chicken's fenced in enclosure, and wait for the sky to darken. This is a perfect night-time movie meal. Dessert? S'mores roasted on the fire pit, of course! Ingredients: 6 six inch flour tortillas 4 ounces salsa (medium hot) 1 heart of romaine lettuce 1/4 cup sou

Cherry Cream Cheese Galette

It's been a while since I made a dessert. I was bound and determined today to make something easy, delicious and creative. Inspired by my recent re-watch of the Great British Bake Off series, I opted to put a twist on a cherry pie. I wanted to make a cherry cheesecake flavor profile with a free-form tart finish. Voila! Cherry Cream Cheese Galettes. The hardest part making these is waiting for them to cool down before eating them! Ingredients: 1 can cherry pie filling 1 9 inch pie crust (homemade or store-bought is fine) 1 egg yolk 8 ounces softened cream cheese 1 teaspoon lemon juice 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 3 tablespoons sugar Egg wash, sugar Method: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut out four 4-inch diameter pie circles from your rolled out pie crust. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate until ready. Beat together the egg yolk, lemon juice, vanilla, sugar and cream cheese until smooth. Dollop 3 tablespoons of cream cheese mixture per pie circle. On top of these,

Feta and Sun-dried Tomato Meatloaf with Roasted Veggies

 Meatloaf is a great love of mine. I love traditional meatloaf, with or without the ketchup glaze. I like adding bacon strips on the top when I am feeling ultra-decadent. Something, I put cheese in the center as a fun surprise. Other times, I change the seasoning up; Tex-Mex meatloaf stuffed with pepper jack is a fun and spicy twist on the classic.  With this meatloaf, I am attempting a more mediterranean flavor profile. Full of tangy feta cheese and sweet-tart sun-dried tomatoes, this meatloaf is put over the edge with roasted veggies and a balsamic dressing. Serve it with a glass of red wine and a green salad, and you have a weekend meal that is low on effort but huge on flavor.  Ingredients: 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs 10 ounces ground beef 1 red onion 1 large garlic clove, minced 2 large carrots, sliced into 2 inch sticks 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped 1 egg 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar salt and pepper to taste Method : Pr

Broccoli and cheese calzone

I just finished watching "Park and Rec" on Netflix, and I loved it. I certainly have the Tom Haverford "treat yo'self" mentality, and Leslie Knope's drive and passion. But, and this is very important,  I share Ben Wyatt's undying love of calzones. This calzone is a variation on my classic meat and cheese. In pepperoni's place, you will find my favorite roasted vegetable, broccoli. Add some delicious cheeses, and you have that portable pizza alternative that delights me and a fictional television character. Enjoy! Ingredients: 4.5 ounces of ricotta 1 head of broccoli 1 ounce of parmesan, grated 1 large minced garlic clove 1 pound pizza dough Flour for dusting salt and ground pepper olive oil Method: Preheat the oven to broil. Toss broccoli with olive oil, salt and pepper and spread on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast under the broiler for 3-4 minutes until the broccoli is tender a browned in spots. Remove and set aside. Lower the oven t

Brown Butter Tortelloni with Spinach

I take after my late grandma in many ways, but the one attribute that I encounter daily that reminds me of her is our shared love of butter. In the same way people are teased, "Do you want some coffee with that cream?" we were teased about butter. A muffin crumb deserved an extra spreading of butter. It can be no surprise, then, that I love brown butter pasta dishes. I adore pumpkin ravioli with fried sage, parmesan and brown butter in the fall, but I wanted something fresh and light for summertime. Add green baby spinach and lift the whole thing with the sweet bright acidity of lemon, and you have a pasta dish perfect for a summer's eve. Ingredients: 5 ounces baby spinach 1 12 ounce package cheese tortelloni 1 large garlic clove, minced 1 ounce Parmesean cheese, grated Zest of a lemon 3 tablespoons butter salt and pepper Method: Bring a heavily salted pot of water to the boil. Cook tortellini according to package instructions; drain and reserve 1/2 cup

Cherry clafoutis

Clafoutis is a kind of delightful eggy cake made with a thick, crepe-like batter. The word derives from the French verb "clafir" which means "to fill." Since this batter fills every crevice between the red, sweet cherries, I would say it lives up to its etymology. I like the flavor of almond and cherries together, which is why I add a touch of almond extract to this breakfast cake. A splash of rum adds a lovely edge to the finish of this morning dessert. Serve this with a cup of coffee and you are in business. I found that Netflix has "Twin Peaks" on offer, and I have been watching it for the first time. Agent Cooper adores cherry pie and black coffee, and so I was inspired. He also advises Sheriff Truman "Every day, once a day, give yourself a present. Don't plan it. Don't wait for it. Just let it happen. It could be a new shirt at the men's store, a catnap in your office chair, or two cups of good, hot black coffee.” Thus, desser

Pulled Pork Gyro

I love pulled pork; when I make it, I make a ton of it and freeze it. Most of the time, I make BBQ pulled pork sandwiches and vinegary coleslaw with my pulled pork. If I am feeling adventurous, I might turn it into a BBQ pulled pork pizza. Today, however, I felt particularly daring. Do you have a spice in your pantry that you never use? I have many, and I am aiming to remedy that situation. My plan today was to use Ras al hanout, a Moroccan spice blend that has no particular recipe but may include the following:  cardamom, cumin, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, allspice, dry ginger, chili peppers, coriander seed, peppercorn, sweet and hot paprika, fenugreek, and dry turmeric. I thought it would be perfect to use with my pulled pork in gyro. Add a simple garlicky white sauce and crunchy, vinegary salad, and we are in business. Enjoy! Ingredients: 1 heart of romaine, chopped 2 pitas 1 tablespoon Ras el hanout 1/4 cup sour cream 1 large garlic, minced 1 plum tomato, diced