Category Archives: Recipes

Caesar Salad with homemade croutons

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Sometimes I try to imagine what I will be like as a pregnant lady. I’m YEARS away from finding out (PROMISSSSE) but the images still float through my brain when I think about my eating habits. When I made this dressing… I knew. It became crystal clear. I will not be one of those women who asks her husband to go out at 3am for McDonald’s or who starts to eat oranges with every meal. I will be the woman who can’t shake her need for homemade dressing, and who tiptoes to the kitchen at 1am when she can’t sleep to make a triple batch of caesar dressing and then proceeds to eat it with crackers/a loaf of bread/fingers.

I’m more THAT woman.

Even if you’re not a complete psychopath, you will love. this. dressing. I’m not kidding, The BF said this is the best thing I’ve ever made and that he could drink it with a straw. I’m not ashamed to say we ate 3 bunches of romaine and an entire loaf of white bread worth of croutons because of this dressing… it was straight out of National Geographic.

So… try it. That’s all.

On the menu:
Caesar dressing
Makes 2 cups

2 anchovy filets
2 garlic cloves
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup half and half
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (or the juice from half a lemon)
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
Extra milk for thinning

In a small food processor, blend together the anchovies and garlic. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until the mixture is completely blended together. If it’s too thick for your taste, add milk a Tbsp at a time to thin it out. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving. For best results, let refrigerate over night.

On the menu:
Garlic croutons
Makes approximately 3 cups

1 small loaf of freshly made bread (day old from a bakery is best)
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, halved
2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Slice bread into one inch cubes (tip: freeze bread first to make it easier to cut and reduce crumbs). Melt butter and garlic cloves together in a small bowl in the microwave. In a large bowl, toss the bread cubes with the garlic butter until the bread is coated.

Spread bread cubes on a baking sheet. Sprinkle cubes with salt. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes, flipping halfway through, or until croutons are browned on all sides (careful not to burn!)

To make the salad: Grill a plain chicken breast with plenty of salt and pepper, and once cooked slice into thin strips. Wash and chop romaine lettuce into bite-sized pieces, top with chicken, fresh croutons, caesar dressing, and a grate of fresh parmesan cheese.

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Tips for Throwing a Holiday Brunch (plus sweet fruit dip!)

BrunchToday’s post is the last in the holiday brunch series, and I thought I’d offer up just a few more tips on making your brunch a success.

1. Finger foods: Never have I ever seen a holiday home brunch where every single person sat down at a nice, long table complete with place settings and a solid surface to cut their food on. Where’s the fun in that? Keep your food small and finger-friendly, and if you must use utensils, limit it to forks. That way everyone can still eat even if they’re standing, and everyone has a free hand for a cocktail. Duh.

2. Keep it small: No one shows up to a holiday brunch ready to eat their faces off. Okay, MOST people don’t. During the holidays, everyone is up to their ears in cookies from co-workers, sweets at home, and candy cane colored everything. The last thing people want is to be force fed your giant culinary mess. I also like to keep things small so that it’s never apparent how much any one person has eaten. Maybe somebody wants only one slice of apple. Maybe somebody else wants eight pounds of hasbrown casserole. No judgment.

3. Balance the sweet and the savory: One year I attended an office potluck holiday party where someone brought chicken wings… they disappeared in about 3 minutes and at the end of the night there were more cookies and cakes leftover than you could shake a stick at (that’s how that saying goes… right?). The moral of the story is that one cannot live on sweets alone… trust me. I’ve tried. Make sure for every sweet dish, you have a savory.

4. Loosen up: No one cares if your plates match or your house is spotlessly clean. They care that they’re all together under one roof, oftentimes for the only time that year. Forgive the spills, laugh off the food flops, have another cocktail, and remember: brunch is an early meal so you can be asleep by 8. Amen.

The last dish on the brunch menu is one I am a tiny bit embarrassed about… it contains Fluff. That’s right. That disgusting, sticky, white spread that my mom wouldn’t let me have when I was a kid but I would sneak at friends’ houses (sorry, mom). It’s gross. But you know what? It makes a damn fine dip for fruit. And when I started researching “fruit dip” this one came up more than I care to mention. So should you dare to add one of those vintage-labeled jars to your cart at the supermarket, you won’t be disappointed. Cross my heart.

On the menu:
Sweet Fruit Dip
Makes 2 cups

1 7-oz jar of Fluff
1 8-oz package of cream cheese, softened
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, optional

Add Fluff and cream cheese to a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, blend the mixture together. Pour into a bowl and top with a sprinkle of cinnamon for decoration if you wish. Cut up fruit to serve alongside, such as pears, apples, and grapes.

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Mini Ham and Gruyere Frittatas

Mini frittatasEggs are by far one of the most difficult dishes to make for a brunch. Unless you hire someone to work an omelet station, you’re probably going to resort to a frittata or quiche to serve to a group. But even then, you have to slice and serve it… and I was kind of aiming for little to no work during this brunch, you get me? Enter personal sized frittatas.

These are hilariously easy, and although gruyere is on the pricey side, it has that decadent flavor that makes this dish taste way more high end than it actually is.

On the menu:
Mini ham and gruyere frittatas
Makes 12 frittatas

8 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup grated gruyere
6 oz. smoked ham, diced into small chunks

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, pepper, and salt until foamy. Fold in the ham and gruyere. Pour into the muffin tins until the cups are almost full.

Bake for 12 – 15 minutes or until the eggs are puffed up and slightly browned. Serve hot.

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Pomegranate Cranberry Bellinis

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What would brunch be without a fancy cocktail or ten? I had it in my head to make a pomegranate bellini so I found a recipe to build on, and when I was finished making it… it didn’t look super appetizing. Don’t get me wrong, it was a beautiful shade of berry red and it smelled incredible but it was thick and looked almost like you should eat it with a spoon or over ice cream (and you should). But then I tasted it. And I didn’t want to change a darn thing.

So on the morning of brunch I bought cranberry juice and orange juice to mix with champagne in case everyone was scared of the fruit puree. And you know what? Nobody touched that juice.

On the menu:
Pomegranate Cranberry Bellinis
Makes roughly 24 cocktails

1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup cranberry juice
Zest of 1 orange (about 1 Tbsp)
1 cup water
1 cup sugar

Add all ingredients to a large pot that has a fitted lid and bring to a simmer. Cook for around 10 minutes, or until the sugar dissolves. Cover pan with the fitted lid and cook for 10 minutes. Once the cranberries burst, remove lid and simmer for another 10 – 15 minutes. Use an immersion blender (or pour into a standing blender) to blend the liquid for 1 minute. Pour through a strainer to remove seeds and excess pulp.

Let puree chill in the refrigerator for at least a few hours so that the puree is cold by the time you’re ready to make your cocktails.

To serve: pour 2 Tbsp of puree into a champagne glass and top with champagne or prosecco. And then drink. your. face off.

Note: Don’t worry if your puree is too thick to pass through a fine mesh strainer. It’ll mix with champagne just fine. And if it doesn’t, you drink the champagne on the top of the glass, and THEN you pour the rest over ice cream and eat it with a spoon. Bon appetit.

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Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin breadPumpkin bread is one of those dishes you can make for a brunch last minute in case, say, the bread you planned to make that took you 2 hours the night before, the bread you created specially so that your friend who can’t eat gluten could still enjoy every dish at your brunch, the bread that made your whole apartment smell like incredible grapefruit-scented-vanilla cake for an entire day … yes… that bread… came out like a fat, gooey, undercooked, flat brick.

Womp womp.

So I threw this bread together and told my gluten-free-friend to stay far away. But everyone else swarmed in like vultures. #Success

On the menu:
Pumpkin bread
Makes 1 loaf

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda. In a medium bowl, mix together the pumpkin puree, vegetable oil, eggs, water, and spices. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients just until incorporated (careful not to overmix).

Grease a 9 x 5 x 3 loaf pan with butter and pour in the batter. Bake for 50 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then remove and let cool on a rack.

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Holiday Brunch from A to Z

Hashbrown casserole
Growing up, I lived in a neighborhood where all the families were very close. One family’s kids babysat for the younger families’ kids, cups of sugar and milk were always being lent out, and when it came to Christmas time, all the families gathered in one house on Christmas Eve to enjoy brunch and the holidays together. Those brunches are some of my favorite memories, and it was never about the food (of which there was always tons). I decided to host my own little brunch this weekend in the spirit of the holidays… and of day drinking. Now that I’m older, I realize everything is more festive with champagne.

This week I’ll provide you with recipes and tips to host your own holiday brunch that allows you to truly enjoy the company of friends and family without spending the entire party in the kitchen slaving over the stove. First on the week’s menu list is a delicious, decadent, cheesy potato casserole that you can make the night before and pop into the oven the morning of brunch. Little work plus even less time? Hey favorite new recipe. Hey.

On the menu:
Cheesy hashbrown casserole
Serves 8 – 10

1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
2/3 cup sundried tomatoes, whole and oil packed
6 cloves of garlic, minced
9 large eggs
3 Tbsp dijon mustard
1 cup milk (preferably whole or 2%)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
6 cups (roughly 1 1/2 pounds) shredded or cubed frozen hashbrown potatoes

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a skillet, melt the butter over medium heat just until the butter starts to brown. Add diced onions, garlic, and sundried tomatoes and cook until the onions are translucent. Pick out the sundried tomatoes with tongs and discard. Turn off the heat.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and mustard. Add the milk, salt, and pepper and whisk thoroughly. Fold in the cheddar cheese, frozen potatoes, and vegetables from the skillet. Mix until combined. Pour mixture into a greased 9 x 13 pan. At this point, you can refrigerate the casserole for up to 24 hours.

Bake for 35 – 45 minutes or until the top and sides are a golden brown. Serve hot.

NOTE: the original recipe from The Kitchn calls for thinly sliced sundried tomatoes that you do not pick out of the onions. I like the flavor they bring to the dish, but I’m not a fan of chewy sundried tomatoes… and neither are most people I know. The flavor is still there if you pick them out, but it’s not overwhelming. Done and done.

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Bacon, Spinach and Chicken Stew


One of the (many) pitfalls of being unemployed is that now the weather is cold and gloomy and I have even less motivation to leave the apartment than I did before (which is truly frightening). One of the fantastic things about being unemployed is the colossal amount of time I have on my hands to dream up and cook delicious things. I’m like Jerry Seinfeld. It all evens out.

I’ve been dying to make soup lately and this was easy and used up lots of things I already had in my house. You could use this recipe if you still have leftover turkey from Thanksgiving, or bookmark it for Christmas leftovers.

On the menu:
Bacon, Spinach and Chicken Stew
Serves 4
Adapted from this recipe from The Kitchn

1 large chicken breast, cooked and shredded
4 strips of bacon, diced into thin slices
3 cloves garlic, minced
10 oz. baby spinach
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
4 – 5 cups chicken stock
Freshly grated parmigiano reggiano

Heat a large stock pot over medium-high heat and add bacon. Cook until most of the fat is rendered and the bacon is almost crisp. Add garlic and stir, cooking for 1 minute. Add baby spinach and stir until completely coated in bacon fat. Sprinkle spinach with salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder. Cook for 5 – 7 minutes or until spinach is wilted down. Add cooked chicken and stir to coat in fat. Cook for 5 minutes until mixture is completely heated through. Add chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Cook for 15 – 20 minutes at a simmer.

Serve in big soup bowl and sprinkle grated cheese over the top.

Note: The sandwich in that picture is a delectable prosciutto with melted mozzarella and balsamic marinated cherry tomatoes on challah rolls. And yes… it was as good as it looks.

Last Note (promise): I don’t know why this is a stew and not a soup, but to me it’s a stew because there’s more stuff than broth. You feel me? Ok good.

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