Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Spinach Mac and Cheese

Alas, a recipe that doesn't involve sugar.

I decided it was time to do something other than bake.

When I was making this, I was reminded how much I hate our stove. Of the four burners, the two big ones, you know that you use for almost everything, have one temperature. High. Hot. Hot. Hot. It's fine if you're cooking pasta. The water boils in about 2 minutes, you ready to eat in 10. Not so fine when you're trying to thicken a milk-cheese sauce at medium low heat.

But it's not the first time we've dealt with faulty appliances. Last year our oven cooked things in half the time, which in theory sounds dandy for us impatient ones, but really throws you off when you're trying to bake and constantly have to check to make sure your creation hasn't become a dry mess.

Anyway this mac and cheese is super simple to make, super cheesy and takes no time at all to make. Perfect for a weekday meal.

Spinach Mac and Cheese
source: Everyday Food

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion, minced
/4 cup all purpose flour
4 cups whole milk, room temperature
coarse salt and ground pepper
2 bunches of spinach (about 1 3/4 pound) cut crosswise into 1/2 inch thick strips
5 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (about 2 cups)
3/4 pound elbow macaroni, cooked according to package directions

1. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 6 minutes. Whisk in flour and cook, stirring frequently until mixture is pale and golden, about 2 minutes.
2. Whisking constantly, add 2 cups of milk. Add remaining 2 cups of milk and turn heat to medium-high, whisking until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, whisking constantly until sauce comes to a boil, 8-10 minutes. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, 13-15 minutes.
3. Add spinach and cook, stirring constantly until wilted. Add cheese and stir until melted. Add cooked macaroni and stir to combine. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

M&M Cookies

I'm not sure why but this year it seems as though the only times I'm in the kitchen crafting something new is when I'm baking. Usually my baking is getting sent off or hand delivered to Maine (last week someone got two treats in one week....)
Tonight I had to run some errands (aka go to the liquor store and buy wine..for real people,like not for me to consume before a night out..that was a fun sight, me wandering like a lost puppy at the never ending selection of wine. And go to Wegmans, for the second time in 3 days..sorry daddy :-) and I decided I wanted to bake cookies because why not!

These whip up super quick, especially when you have a cute little helper named Tree. Who likes to eat the batter by the spoonful until she gets a tummy ache............

M&M Cookies
slightly adapted from: Dinners, Dishes, Desserts

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups M&Ms

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Cream together butter, shortening and sugars until smooth. Add vanilla and eggs.
3. Beat in flour, baking soda and salt until well mixed.
4. Using a spatula fold in chocolate chips and M&Ms
5. Scoop small balls of dough onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes until slightly golden brown around edges.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

The Monday after my birthday celebration I was about to walk out the door to ship J his thank-you treats when I got a text from him saying I'm employed I'm a real person! I was so excited for him I think I told everyone I know. I was so excited and it wasn't even me, when I become a real person it will clearly have a week long party to follow the news at this rate.

I wanted to do something for his first day but had no idea what and I just so happen to be going to visit Friday and his first day was Monday so it would be silly if I showed up Friday with a good luck at your big kid job a week in. I found the cutest idea but still was iffy on sending something if I'd be there so soon and Tess reminded me you only start your first job once so it's a must.

I found a fun little idea on Pinterest of paper bags dressed up with a tie and bow tie, and even though J doesn't have to wear such clothes to work, business casual clothes wouldn't have had quite the same affect.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies
slightly adapted from: My Baking Addiction

2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups old fashion oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup craisins

1. Preheat oven to 350, line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and salt.
3. In a large bowl, cream  butter and sugars until fluffy. Add pumpkin, egg and vanilla.
4. Add flour mixture and white chocolate chips and craisins and mix until well incorporated.
5. Drop rounded teaspoons on baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes!

These were super easy to make and so, so good. Super soft and the perfect combination.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Sausage Puttanesca with Bocconcini

Thursday I went home for the night to get my laundry done for a doctor's appointment Friday morning, naturally the first thing that was discussed when I decided to come home was what's for dinner. Since it's open house season, catching my mother at dinner time was impossible so it was just me and daddy-o.

He's been trying to perfect his italian sausage recipe all summer and he thought he found a jack pot and wanted me to try, now I'm not a huge fan of italian sausage plain so I thought we should have it in pasta. We sent emails back and forth of recipes and decided on said recipe, and it's a darn good thing we did because it was delicious. So delicious. Puttanesca is one of mom's best dishes and she makes it with shrimp and scallops so I was intrigued to see how this one varied. The sauce was definitely thicker but paired with the italian sausage it was perfect.

My father was in charge of getting the ingredients and made the mistake of asking if I needed anything. Well, yes thank you for asking. Bread? Garlic tuscan. Dessert? Anything chocolate. Pie or Cake? You pick. Pasta shape? Fettucine or anything thick. I was deemed needy. But I think he already knew that :-)

Sausage Puttanesca with Bocconcini
adapted from: Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound italian sausage (removed from the casing)
1 large yellow onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 anchovies, mashed
1 tablespoo dried italian seasoning
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons capers, drained
1 cup pitted olives, chopped (mix of kalamata and green)
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
1 pound pappardelle
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
8 ounces bocconcini, chopped in half
Parmesan cheese, grated

1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat; add sausage, onion, garlic, anchovies and italian seasoning. Break apart the sausage as it cooks into bite size pieces.
2. Once sausage is browned, add tomatoes, capers and olives. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Simmer, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes.
3. Cook pappardelle according to package directions. Mix fresh herbs and bocconcini into sauce and toss immediately with drained spaghetti. Serve with plenty of fresh parm.

Saturday, September 29, 2012


I'm still slightly in disbelief that I'm actually 21. I feel as though September 19th would NEVER come. But sure enough it came and went in the blink of an eye. Celebrations started Tuesday, well technically Sunday when I met momma at the outlets for some shopping and then dinner with Al and Mrs. G. Happy day to see best friend. And load up on homemade goodies from momma including sauce for Tuesday's birthday dinner. Mariah made pasta and meatballs, pretty sure t polished off 10 in one sitting. Then that was followed by the best.chocolate.cake.ever with salted caramel buttercream. Drooling thinking about it. (blurry pics because I was tooooo excited to eat)

Wednesday night was so surreal. We went to Faegans which I had never been to, they are rather strict with the whole ID thing so we just stayed away. Kitty dropped us off and first thing the bouncers said when we walked up was "Whose got the fake??" naturally, as obnoxious as possible I yell IT'S MY BIRTHDAY and flash my ID. Wednesdays at Faegan's is flip night so essentially you order, the bartender flips a coin, you guess heads or tails, you get it right free drink, you guess wrong ya gotta pay. I'd say 2/3 isn't too shabby.

Probably one of my favorite nights thus far this year.

Thursday was the longest day of classes ever because the whole time I knew J was on his way and I was so excited for him to be here. Poor kid did not know what he was in for, he's only been here with 3 as maximum girl capacity, surpirse all 6 of us are here now. Thursday night was mom-dad-daughters night. J and I unoffically- officially became parents to Taylor this summer, and newly adopted Teresa and us three girls love to tell him this and he freaks out.


Friday was just even more exciting because Kevin came, and we were all anticipating that so much. I think everyone had a countdown to when Jared and Kevin were going to be here, we're all a bit in maaaaaajor withdrawal from our boys. Me, t, Mariah, J and Kevin went out to dinner (where I ordered my first legal drink at dinner, woohoo!) and then continued on with birthday festivities. (with a little pin the tail on the mariah left over from her birthday)

Saturday momma and daddy came and cooked everyone a feast and everyone was more than loving life being waited on and eating their hearts out. thanks momma & daddy!!!
and more festivities saturday..
Sunday we went out to breakfast before the boys had to depart.

I couldn't have asked for a more perfect birthday and I am so, so, so grateful for everyone who made it so wonderful. I love, love, love alllll of you.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Oddly enough I have been wanting fall to be here for a few weeks, coming from the girl who lives for the sun and warmth. September 1st marks the beginning of 1. my birthday month (SO close to being legal) and pumpkin season! I think I love pumpkin so much because pumpkin bread was (and still is) my absolute favorite. When I eat it now it reminds me of my momma and home and my childhood. We used to cut slices and slather them with butter then cut them in half and devour. yummmmmmmmmmmmmmy.

Last weekend I took a spontaneous trip to Maine to spend some time with J because it's been like foreverrrrr and I just did not want to wait until he comes here next week for my birthday so spontaenously bought tickets to see him without him knowing, then surprise hi! see you friday. Obviously needed to bring treats and since it was September I deemed it appropriate to make a pumpkin flavored treat.

It's a miracle any made it to Maine with the hungry little mouths in this house.

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
source: Sweet Pea's Kitchen

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 3/4 cup sugar, divided
2 sticks butter, softened
1 large egg
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 400 and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Cream butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg and beat until combined. Add the pumpkin purball, ee and beat at medium speed until combined.
3. Add dry ingredients and beat at low until just combined.
4. Place remaining 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon for rolling in a shallow bowl.
5. Roll a heaping tablespoon of dough into 1 1/2 inch ball, roll the ball into the sugar mixture and place it on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, spacing about 2 inches apart.
6. Bake the cookies for about 10-12 minutes until soft and puffy.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Honey-Mustard Salmon

I think this was the first meal I cooked in forever this summer. One weekend I was here alone, Tay and Kitty deserted me to go home and I had to work so I was stuck here all alone. My mom, dad and Lootie came for a visit and came bearing the new Everday Food so obviously I had to check it out and snap pics of recipes I wanted to try. Super easy and quick weeknight meal!

Honey-Mustard Salmon
source: Everday Food

2 teaspoons honey
4 teaspoons dijon mustard
3 tablespoons champagne or white-wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 pound boneless, skinless salmon filet, cut into 4 pieces

1. Preheat oven to 450.
2. Whisk together honey, mustard, vinegar and oil. Season with salt and pepper.
3. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss onion with 2 tablespoons vinaigrette and bake 5 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, stir 1 tablespoon vinaigrette into breadcrumbs. Coat fish wih 1 tablespoon vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper. Top the fish with breadcrumb mixture and add to sheet. Bake until fish is cooked through, about 7 minutes.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

White Chocolate Snickerdoodle Blondies

It's not real to me that school starts in a little over a week. Summer actually flashed before my eyes, but I actually did quite a lot this summer. I feel like half the summer was spent on driving back and forth between home and school and in the air (now I know what my father's life is like).

It started off with my journey to Italy, then road tripping to New Paltz, then off to Maine then Ohio then finally NYC with various trips home in between and visits from J. On top of all that, took 3 classes, had an internship and a job. I'm tired just thinking about it.

Both J and I headed overseas this summer, me in the beginning and him at the end. He comes home from Israel Sunday (no more 7 hour time difference and only talking when he has wifi..which Israel isn't exactly full of wifi like America) and I thought it would be nice for him to come home to a surprise package, naturally treats would be included. Also, now that I have all this free time, I don't know what to do with myself, it's wonderful.

I wrote this post before I made the blondies and I whipped up a batch this afternoon, super easy and there is two left...Soooo I ran to the store tonight and whipped up a double batch so any snackers that made their way into the kitchen wouldn't eat them all!

White Chocolate Snickerdoodle Blondies
source: Life As A Lofthouse

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1 Tablespoon sugar & 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, mixed together

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8x8 baking pan with non-stick spray.
2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy and light. Beat in salt, egg and vanilla until combined. Stir in flour until combined, and then stir in white chocolate chips. Batter will be very thick like cookie dough.
3. Spread and press batter evenly into pan. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the top.
4. Bake for 28-30 minutes, or until bars are set and edges are lightly browned. Let cool completely before cutting.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Roast Chicken Chimichangas

A few weeks ago J came to visit and usually I am prepared. Prepared as in have the whole menu planned out for his visit, dessert included. This visit I was not prepared in the least, so when it came for dinner on Wednesday night I threw some cookbooks at J and said you pick. It's a good thing I picked a boy who likes food just as much as me and always offers to help me cook, even if I'm a little bossy :-)

Roast Chicken Chimichangas
adapted from: the best of Cooking Light everyday favorites

2 1/2 cups shredded roasted, skinlessm boneless chicken breasts
1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled queso fresco cheese
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 garlic clove, minced
1 (4.5 ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
1 (16 ounce) can fat-free refried beans
6 (8-inch) flour tortillas
cooking spray
1/2 cup bottle green salsa

1. Preheat oven to 500
2. Combine the chicken, cheese, green onions, oregano, garlic and green chiles in a bowl and toss well.
3. Spread 1/4 cup beans down the center of each tortilla. Top each tortilla with 2/3 cup chicken mixture, roll up.
4. Place rolls, seam side down, in a 9 x 13 pan coated with cooking spray. Coat tops with cooking spray and bake for 7 minutes.
5. Top with extra cheese and serve with guacamole and salsa.

(we had guac too, but I forgot it in the picture)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Butterbeer Jell-O Shots

I'm alive. Much to all of your dismay I have been MIA for almost a month. I'm not so sure where the month went to be honest with you.

Well that's false, it's been consumed with work, interning, class, trips to New Paltz and Maine and minimal sleep. Leaving me zero time to play in the kitchen, thus lack of updates.
This past weekend I did get to escape the madness of life and go home for the weekend for momma's birthday and Zach& Amanda's wedding celebration at the house.

Poor mom thinking I would be some great help...my only contribution to the party was jell-o shots. Oh, and sleeping until 12:30, missing out on all the fun prep work for the day.

Butterbeer Jell-O Shots
adapted from: Tablespoon

1 cup creme soda
2 envelopes plain gelatin
1/3 cup vanilla vodka
2/3 cup butterscotch schnapps

1. Pour soda into a medium sacue pan and add the gelatin. Let soak for a minute or two.
2. Heat the soda and gelatin mixture over low heat and stir constantly until gelatin is dissolved. About 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
3. Add the vanilla vodka and butterscotch schnapps. Pour into 3 inch plastic cups and refridgerate until fully set.
4. Serve! And don't let anyone convince you they need a spoon to get it out.

Also, have you ever seen someone take a jell-o shot that has never before done one? Get ready to laugh. With them, of course.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Lasagna Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

This whole working girl thing?

Totally not.my.thing.

I prefer to eat dinner in the hour of 5 or 6. Not 8 or 9 or 10. I am quite terrible a creature of habit and this whole work thing is changing my daily schedule.

But like these mushrooms make for a quick dinner so when it's 10pm and I'm starving, these are ideal. And they are good. I mean its stuffed with cheese. Three kinds to be exact: mozzarella, parmesan and ricotta. In Italy we cooked with ricotta. Like real life ricotta. Not that stuff we get here in the plastic container. Maybe if I ever get around to blogging about Italy, you'll get what I'm saying about we cooked with ricotta.

Lasagna Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
source: Elly Says Opa

2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. Italian seasoning, divided
2 tsp. olive oil
2 portobello mushroom caps
1/2 cup ricotta (I used part skim)
2 Tbsp. Parmesan
2 Tbsp. shredded mozzarella cheese (I used part skim)
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
2 Tbsp. breadcrumbs
1/2 cup marinara sauce, divided

1.Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, and scrape the gills out of the mushroom caps.
2. In a small bowl, combine half the garlic, 1/8 teaspoon of the Italian seasoning, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Brush the inside and outside of the caps with the mixture, and roast cap-side down for about 10 minutes. If the mushroom gives off water, blot it up with a paper towel.
3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl stir together the ricotta, remaining garlic and Italian seasoning, Parmesan, 1 Tbsp. mozzarella, basil, and breadcrumbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Spoon about 1 Tbsp. marinara into each mushroom cap, then stuff with the ricotta mixture. Spoon another 1-2 teaspoons of sauce over the ricotta, then sprinkle the remaining Parmesan and mozzarella over the sauce.
5. Bake 10-15 minutes, or until the filling is heated through and the cheese has melted.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Rolo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

Back up to Monday real quick. Waking up at 6:15 to be out the door by 7 to drive back to Syracuse (for the second trip home and back in one weekend), sitting in bumper to bumper traffic on 690 aka miserable, sleepy Meli. Couldn't really tell you what I did at my internship because all I could think about was coming home to my bed.  Got my nap in and headed to the gym where I was on my dreaded last five minutes of my work out, so close yet so far when I got a text from J. Thinking nothing of it I assumed it was him responding to whatever mindless thing I had previously told him. Instead this happens:
If you ask my roommates (or our neighbors for that matter) I have a tendency to screach, squeal, flat of scream when I'm excited or for no apparent reason. It just happens, not on purpose, they just come out. Our new neighbors are in for a treat. Nevertheless this is one of those times where squeals were going to happen. But the girl next to me at the gym did not look like she'd enjoy me squealing so I scurried through my work out and ran to my car. Maybe squealing all the way there.

After 10 minutes of not believing him I finally realized that it was real life and my 17 day countdown until Maine just turned into a 2 day countdown until he'd be here. Naturally next course of action was to bake him treats he could bring on his journey back to Maine..a zillion hours in a truck calls for a perfect excuse to eat cookies all day.

Rolo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies
slightly adapted from: My Baking Addiction

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
30 rolos, frozen at least 2 hours

1.Heat oven to 350°F.
2. In large bowl, beat butter, sugars, vanilla and eggs with electric mixer on medium speed or with spoon until light and fluffy. Mix in flour, baking soda and salt. Mix in chocolate chips.
3. Measure dough to about 1.5 tablespoons. Roll into a ball and then flatten in the palm of your hands.
4. Place a frozen Rolo in the centers of the flattened dough balls and form dough back into a ball around the Rolo.
5. Place Rolo stuffed dough balls into the freezer for 15-20 minutes before baking.
6. On cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, place dough balls 2 inches apart.
7. Bake 11 to 13 minutes or until light brown (centers will be soft). Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack.

These are so dangerous. I ate like ten too many. Also my nails are the color of bubble gum.