Category Archives: Recipes
My favorite recipes are here to share with you!
So, I took a long leave of absence, in case ya didn’t notice.
I didn’t even ask the bossman. I just did it. She let me come back graciously, but not without a little reprimanding.*Licks wounds*
Anyway, sorry to leave you all hanging like that. I needed a break. Work got crazy. I’m poor. It was too hot to blog. The cat scratched up my fingers so I couldn’t type. The dog needed to be let outside. [Insert more non sequitur excuses here].
The good news is, I’m back. You know, until there’s some emergency, like toenail painting or something.
Are we ready for a Meatless Monday recipe, my little veggies out there?! This week’s is all about the beets. The root veggies, not these ones:
I found a great beet burger recipe from veggie blog The Hearty Herbivore. She’s got some awesome stuff on her site. Take the time to check her recipes out.
Basically, she takes beets, shreds them up and mixes them with other yummy things, like barbecue sauce, peanut butter (yup, PB), onions, mustard and some herbs. You won’t miss the beef with these. And if you’re scared of beets, try them this way first before you eat them any other way. They’ll make you a beet believer.
Click here for the recipe and Happy Monday! It’s good to be back.
I had a great recipe lined up for you guys, but I’ve been a little under the weather and couldn’t stomach food the past couple of days. So my delicious meal went uncooked.
But fear not. It will make a glorious appearance next week.
Instead of a recipe this Meatless Monday, I’m giving you hundreds of recipes.
Did you all know that Meatless Monday has its own dotcom? Mmhmm. It’s that important.
It has plenty of information on the Meatless Monday Movement, articles and enough recipes to keep you busy for a while.
I want to encourage y’all to go check it out and try a recipe from there tonight. If I had to pick one for you (you indecisive little minion), I’d go with the spinach tart, for obvious reasons.
And if those reasons aren’t so obvious, here they are:
- it’s ridiculously easy to make
- you probably have most if not all ingredients on hand
- there’s spinach in it
- saying you’re having a “tart” for dinner is just fun
Thanks guys. Happy Monday! May this week be your best.
You all know Kate by now, right?
I ran the Color Run with her, she introduced me to her aunt who is a former Bon Appetit editor and she braved the homemade Cheez-it journey with me. She’s quite simply the best, if not for her accent alone.
You see, Kate hails from Ohio. Ask her to say any word with a short “o” sound and it will inevitably come out as a short “a” that lingers. You know what I’m sayin?
Kate cooks every night for her man (which happens to be Max’s cousin) and last week she whipped up some “Skyline Chili.” I just stared at her when she told me that because I had no idea what she’s talking about. Have you ever heard of this supposedly infamous Skyline Chili? Well you’re about to…
I’m Kate Sullivan and I’m honored to be contributing to the stellar Melissa’s Love of Food. Melissa and I have become PiYo (pilates, yoga and cardio, OH MY! But that’s for another day) enthusiasts together and before one of our sessions last week, I happened to be throwing together some Cincinnati Chili and mentioned it to her. We got to talking and I realized that there’s a lot to be said about the subject. Coincidentally, on Wednesday, Nicholas Lambrinides, the founder of one of the first “chili parlors,” passed away at the age of 88; and that’s when it was decided that an entry had to be made about this fantastical phenomenon that is Cincinnati Chili.
I was raised in the city of Cincinnati, Ohio and have vivid images of my dad insisting that every family and friend coming to visit eat one thing: Skyline Chili. Most visitors were a little weirded out by the thin, saucy thing that we call chili in Cincinnati.
It is said that this “Cincinnati”-style of chili originated with immigrants attempting to increase their restaurant traffic by branching out from their ethnic styles. The chili began as a sort of stew and was served over hot dogs and spaghetti in the 1920s. Empress Chili Parlor was the first to serve this type of Chili. Not much has changed about the recipe, but in 1949, Nicholas Lambrinides started Skyline Chili. And, I must admit, among the several different chains of chili parlors today, I’m partial to Skyline.
The three top dogs in the Cincinnati-chili franchise business are now Skyline, Gold Star and Dixie. Aside from its catchy radio jingle whenever you’re feeling good and hungry, it’s Skyline time… and friendly staff, it’s the tastiest. Skyline now has franchises throughout Ohio, Northern Kentucky and Indiana as well as a few in Florida, so the craze is spreading.
Skyline Chili is to Cincinnati what In-N-Out is to So Cal. There are some wanna-bes, some restaurants are new and some are incredibly nostalgic, but the style of eating is the same—it’s not just eating, it’s an experience (and they both offer drive-thru).
The recipe has a base of ground beef, water and some tomato but what really makes this chili unique are the spices, including, but not limited to: garlic, Worcestershire sauce, unsweetened coca, cayenne, cumin and cinnamon. Is your mouth watering yet?
Sure, there are “recipes” available on the internet and grocery stores now sell canned product (in local groceries) and even frozen Skyline but there’s just nothing like having it hot out of the pot at the restaurant. And, as the craze spreads, the menu becomes more extensive, including things like burritos and chili cheese fries, but stick to the basics. You’ll thank me later.
As if the chili itself weren’t unique enough, there are several different ways of getting this stuff in your belly, and we natives call them the 3-way, 4-way, 5-way and Coney. All of the ‘ways’ include a bed of spaghetti, a layer of chili and then the 3-way has a heaping pile of finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese, the 4-way has cheese and onions and the 5-way has cheese, onions and kidney beans. The cheese coney begins with a hotdog on a bun and a layer of the yummy stuff itself topped off with cheese and your choice of mustard or onions (neither or both). Ya dig? Now, of course, bowls of the stuff are available, but they’re reserved for the people we call boring.
So now that you have a preliminary education on the experience that is Skyline, you might be closer to understanding what a Cincinnati Native goes through living in Southern California (could you live without your In N Out?!) I hold this stuff in such high regard that I will not attempt to create it from scratch. Instead, during my trips back and forth from Cincy, I load up on packets of the pre-made spice combos.
From there, the job is easy. You simply beat a pound of ground beef with a fork into a couple cups of water and a can of tomato paste and add the packet of spice. Let that beautiful “stew” simmer for a couple hours and while that’s happening, you boil your pasta (following all of Melissa’s PERFECT spaghetti-cooking advice), chop your onions and rinse your kidney beans. It must be said that you’ll NEVER find the gloriously thin-shredded cheese they use in the restaurants, but I’ve gotten close by buying a brick of sharp cheddar and grating it myself using the teensy option on the grater. If you’re into dogs, this would be where you prepare the hotdogs (but I usually go the spaghetti route at home).
And, if you ever find yourself roaming through the Heart of it All, find yourself a parlor and have a four-way. Together, at last, it’s Skyline time.
Are you all itching to try Skyline chili, now? I’ve told Kate she’s gotta make it for me. If just for the fact alone that I can ask her for a three-way.
And a random poll, because it’s Friday:
You know I’ll find any excuse to work avocados into my meals.
So now that I’ve been washed clean of rainbow throw-up, I’m back in the kitchen whipping up a meatless meal that incorporates the green fruit.
Today’s Meatless Monday is a little bit different. I’m just supplying you with the heart of the dish, and what you do with the rest is up to you.
Succotash is usually made with kidney beans and corn, but I made my own variation with fresh avocado, black beans, onion and corn. It’s almost like a guacamole, but better. Because you can eat hoards of it and no one can blame you for eating all of the game-day dip. And you don’t get charged extra for it.
This stuff packs healthy fat (avocado), plenty of protein (hello, black beans), crunch (onions) and sweetness/color (corn).
I’ll give you the how-to for this stuff and you can pair it with whatever your vegetarian heart desires. I would suggest piling this high on:
- A bagel or English muffin
- Brown rice
- Veggie burger
- Your favorite lettuce
Be creative! You can even eat this straight out of the bowl with a fork. No one has to know.
Here’s what you need:
- 1/2 cup frozen corn
- 1 avocado, chunked
- 1/4 onion, minced
- 1/2 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
- Cumin, to taste
- Chili Powder, to taste
- Cayenne, to taste
- Salt, to taste
- Pepper, to taste
- Lemon Juice, to taste (about half a lemon)
- Drizzle some EVOO in a pan and toss in the corn. Saute until browned.
- In a bowl, combine the browned corn, avocado chunks, black beans and onion. Season with all seasonings, toss and taste. If it needs more seasonings, adjust to your tastebuds and toss again.
- Add the lemon juice and toss again to evenly distribute.
- That’s it. Seriously. You’re done. Go enjoy this “succotash” with some quinoa and feel good!
I’m back! After a week of Spring Breaking (i.e. working and not-cooking), I have returned to supply you with mediocre pictures of stellar food.
I missed you all. I missed blogging. I missed the instant gratification of someone pinning something from my blog.
But, alas, I’m back and Goat Cheese is making a return appearance with me. This sammy was inspired by what-we-had-in-the-fridge ingredients and when I saw goat cheese, well, you can’t just waste something like that.
I would’ve added spinach had we had some tucked away in the crisper, but beggars can’t be choosers. If you don’t eat cheese or don’t like it, substitute some fresh pesto for the spread!
Also, I was much too lazy to pull out the panini press. It is a Monday after all.
Roasted Red Pepper, Veggie and Goat Cheese Panini
Round ‘em up
- 2 slices of sourdough bread
- 1/2 zucchini, sliced thinly
- 1/4 onion, sliced
- 1/2 roasted red bell pepper, chopped
- Goat cheese, to taste
- 1/2 cup spinach (not shown), optional
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Crushed red pepper, to taste (optional)
- In a large, shallow pan, drizzle a little bit of EVOO (about a tablespoon) and throw in the sliced zucchini and onions. Cook down on medium heat for about 5 minutes.
- Add the roasted red bell pepper and season the pan contents with the salt, pepper and crushed red pepper, if using.
- Let cook for another 5 minutes, occasionally stirring.
- Meanwhile, spread the goat cheese on the inside of each piece of sourdough. If using a panini press, turn it on and get it up to medium-high heat.
- Once the veggies have cooked down and onions are softened, remove them from the pan and pile them high onto one slice of the bread. Top off with the other slice of bread, drizzle with EVOO and sandwich it into the panini grill until cooked, about 5 minutes.
- If you don’t have a panini press, simply stick the sandwich back into the same pan you cooked the veggies in and smoosh it down with a griddle pan or the lid of another pan. Make sure you put some EVOO on the top slice of bread so it doesn’t stick to the lid. Cook for 2 minutes, then flip over, squish again and cook for another 2 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Eat with your favorite kettle chips or pasta salad.
There you go! An easy and light Monday dinner that’s satisfying without the meat. Who says sandwiches are lunch-food only?
Make it Your Own
- Add spinach and cook it down with the rest of the veggies.
- Add artichoke hearts and kalamata olives for a mediterranean twist. You could even switch out the goat cheese for feta.
- Use peso instead of cheese.
- Use provolone instead of goat cheese.
- Try it with hummus or avocado.
- Add sprouts.
I wish I had time to prepare a blog post with a recipe for a Seder dinner staple, but this week has been busy for me and my friend Stef, who I would’ve asked to guest blog.
So instead, I’m re-sharing my deviled eggs recipe with you! (click here to view it). Two points for recycling!
For some reason, they’re an Easter food. I don’t know why. Someone wanna fill me in?
I hope everyone has a great Passover and Easter!
I got this dish as a request from a certain Cory Galano from Brooklyn. He thinks that because he’s from “New Yawk” he’s Italian. *insert exaggerated eye roll here* We all know “Galano” is Francais!
You can check out his blog on sports and film here. Don’t tell him I told you, but he’s actually pretty funny.
Anyway, I decided to humor Cory and make some “penne vodka” for ye olde blog.
I usually stay away from vodka sauce, even though it’s my SO’s fave. It’s usually pretty calorie-heavy and laden with so much cream you moo when you’re done eating it.
But then, I cogitated and quoted an inappropriate line from Risky Business (hint: it gave me freedom) and went to work.
I’ve never made a vodka sauce before so I went to the mattresses, or the webpages or something and found this recipe here. It got rave reviews and just needed a slight tweak with the cream. It was a hit out of the ballpark, I tell you.
I used whole wheat penne (cause I don’t have a pasta attachment for homemade penne yet) to make it somewhat healthier. And mushrooms added some meatiness to the dish.
I went cheap on the vodka 1) because I’m cooking it down and burning off the alcohol and 2) vodka is my least favorite alcohol. So the leftover stuff is going to be used solely for cooking purposes. No need to go expensive.
Make this for your family tonight and forgo the meat! And Cory, on days when you feel especially Italian, pull up this recipe and cook for your Ma.
Penne a la Vodka
Gather These Up
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion , chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 6 -8 fresh basil leaves, chopped or 1/8 teaspoon dried basil leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 8 tablespoons butter, divided
- 12 ounces fresh white mushrooms, quartered, about 3 cups
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes(to taste)
- 1/2 cup vodka
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 lbs whole wheat penne
- 1/4 cup dry Parmesan cheese, plus additional for the table
Turn it into “a la Vodka”
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan; when hot, saute the onions until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes to the saucepan.
- Stir in the oregano, basil, salt and pepper and simmer 1 hour to concentrate flavors.
- While the sauce is cooking, heat 4 T of the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Saute the mushrooms and hot pepper flakes until the mushrooms are golden.
- Carefully add the vodka and simmer for 5 minutes to cook off the alcohol.
- Add the heavy cream and bring to a simmer; pour the cream mixture into the tomato puree; stir to mix. Keep the sauce warm while cooking the pasta.
- Add the kosher salt to 6 quarts of water. Bring to a rolling boil. Add pasta to boiling water; cook uncovered until pasta is al dente, about 12 minutes. Drain well.
- Melt the remaining 4 T of butter in a large skillet. Stir in pasta to glaze, then add Parmesan cheese and mix thoroughly. Stir in 1/3 or the sauce and mix with the pasta; divide among plates. Top each plate with some additional sauce; pass remaining sauce and additional cheese at the table.
- 6 Tbsp. butter, softened
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsely
- Crushed red pepper, to taste
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix with the back of spoon.
- You can also mix all of these ingredients up in a mini-chop.
- Spread the butter on half a loaf of bread, that’s been sliced length-wise. Bake it at 400 degrees CLOSED for about 10 minutes or so.
- Open up the bread and bake for another 5-1o minutes, until bread is crusty and butter is completely melted.
P.S. Cory, are you impressed with all the movie and sports lines I’ve littered throughout this post?! Ok, so there was only like, three. But “A” for effort?
Remember when I said endorphins gave me creativity? I meant it.
They also make you happy and happy people don’t shoot their husbands. They just don’t! (You’re in luck, Max!)
So I told you I was making fish and here I am to share with you all what I did and how it turned out. (hint: it was da bomb!)
I don’t really have a recipe for you because I just threw stuff together without taking note of how much I used. I’ll guestimate for you and encourage you to just wing it, also.
I got two tilapia filets from the grocery store and seasoned them.
I melted about 3 Tbsp. of butter in a pan and sauteed two garlic cloves in it and squeezed in about half a lemon’s worth of juice.
I poured that over the fish, topped each filet with two slices of lemon and stuck it in the oven at 375 degrees until done (10 min? 15? I have no idea how long it took.)
Meanwhile, I cooked up a serving of jasmine rice that I made with veggie stock instead of water and I threw in some petit haricot verts into a pan with EVOO, garlic, lots of red pepper and salt and pepper. Once the green beans were cooked through, I squeezed a couple teaspoons of fresh lemon juice over them (*Note: this will change their color from bright green to browny-green. Don’t be put off by this. They taste GREAT with lemon juice.)
When the fish was done, I threw a whole box of spinach into a pan that had EVOO, garlic and sriracha. I tossed to coat and then put the lid on top to wilt it for about a minute. When it was done, I gave it a generous splash of balsamic vinegar.
Then I simply put a pile of rice on the plate, topped that off with spinach and topped THAT off with the filet. I served the green beans on the side and scarfed.
The whole dish had a nice level of spice, thanks to the red pepper flakes and sriracha and the lemon added a nice brightness. It’s a repeat offender, for sure.
Have you guys thought up of any great fish dishes lately? Share them with me below!
Did anyone lose sleep over yesterday’s missing Sneak Peek Sunday?
I didn’t think so.
I had a GREAT weekend filled with lots of friends, my SO and Lady Antebellum. I would post a video we took of the Lady A concert here, but it’s on SO’s phone. We had pit seats so we were up close and personal with the trio. It was fantastic.
And I missed a post yesterday because I was seeing Legally Blonde in downtown SD where the young girl I nannied for played a role. It was adorable and hilarious.
Anyway, we haven’t done our weekly shopping here yet, so my choices for Meatless Monday were limited. Until I read Young House Love and noticed pastina in their post. And you probably don’t remember, but I wrote a post about the beloved comfort food waaay back in 2009.
So it’s time to revisit it. Because it’s been rainy and chilly here in SoCal and pastina is one of those foods that gets you all warm and lazy.
Pastina is a tiny, star-shaped pasta. I used to only be able to find it at authentic Italian delis but now Vons sells it and has made me one happy shopper.
Isn’t it so cute?
While the final product may not look very appetizing (almost like porridge or cream of wheat) it’s so delicious. Better than chicken noodle soup. Or at least more comforting.
It’s also great because I always have the ingredients on hand. So when I’m lazy, sick or in need of something warm, this gets made.
Enjoy a taste of Italian comfort!
Classic Egg and Cheese Pastina (serves one)
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/4 cup pastina
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- Fresh ground pepper
- Bring 1 1/2 cups of water to boil in small saucepan.
- Add pastina and salt and cook until pastina is cooked, about 5 minutes.
- Turn off heat and stir in egg, letting it cook in the hot pasta
- Add butter, cheese and pepper.
- Savor bowl of comfort under a blanket, on the couch, with a good book.
Thanks for hanging in with me guys. I promise you an awesome recipe on Friday and next Monday!
You all know how I can’t bake, right? No? Well then go read my FAQs.
So I asked baking-lover Rachel to guest blog for me. I met Rachel through my BFF Pam and she’s got a thing for flour, baking soda and all that other scientific stuff.
She even whipped up a quick batch of buttercream frosting for Pam’s wedding favors. WITH NO RECIPE!
Are your mouths hanging open? Mine is. She wants to own a bakery one day and I’m pushing her to follow her dreams. I’m also pushing for some homebaked goods in the mail…
Anyway, here is Rachel’s breakdown of a homemade cake she made. May you learn a thing or two about baking from this extraordinaire (like, um “dirty icing” the cake!). I know I will! Enjoy!
*Note: any italicized quips are my annoying interjections.
This is how I make my cakes. Don’t pay attention to the ingredients’ measurements in the picture with the ingredients. For copyright purposes (or whatever it’s called) I just put everything in non-labeled utensils/objects so you will not get in trouble . (love it!)
Ok so for chocolate cake I take my sugar, flour, cocoa (unsweetened), salt, baking soda, baking powder and sift them all together.
This part is very important because it helps to keep the flour and cocoa bumps out of your cake. I also feel it makes them fluffier.
After the dry ingredients are sifted together I add the milk, oil, and vanilla. I use oil because again I find my cakes are fluffier as opposed to using butter. You certainly may use butter, but, they might turn out dense.
I mix with a hand mixer on low speed until combined. Then I move it up to medium speed and “whip” it into shape about 1 min.
After that I add my eggs. I beat them on med speed until combined.
After the eggs are combined I grease and dust my pan.
This is also an important step. It helps the cake from sticking! If you would like you can also use parchment paper to line the bottom of your pan; I didn’t have any so I used Pam (cooking spray, not our BFF!) and flour. In order to dust the pan if you have not done so before all you do is spray the pan with Pam and then add flour and bang the pan with your hand until the whole pan is covered.
*Editor’s note: If you’re making a chocolate cake, like Rachel, try dusting your pan with cocoa powder instead of flower to decrease the chance of white marks on your cake! Of course, if you’re frosting your creation, no need to.
I bake the cake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30-40 min. depending on the size of the pans. Since I used sheet pan 9×13 it took longer than two round 9-inch pans.
After it is finished baking I take it out and let it cool for 20 min. This is very important…you can’t remove the cake from the pan when it is fresh out of the oven because it will crumble. You don’t want to wait too long either because it will stick in the pan and you’ll be so out of luck . This is why greasing and dusting the pan is important.
After I remove from pans I move them to wire racks to cool. Once completely cool I saw the cake in half to put icing in the middle.
After the cake is cut I liberally add icing to the bottom half of the cake- that is set on its serving platter because once you frost you can’t move the cake from place to place. Then I add the top half to the bottom half. Next comes the fun part.
First I “dirty ice” the cake. This means you add a thin layer of frosting to the cake to set the crumbs in place. (Unfortunately I forgot to snap a picture of that) (We forgive you, Rach!)
After you “dirty ice” the cake, put the cake in the freezer for 10 min or so until the icing is set. Take the cake out of the freezer and continue decorating your cake.
I don’t have the cake recipe for you because if I’m going to open my own bakery someday I can’t give out all my secrets but I will give my frosting recipe that is homemade and very generic:
- Take ½ cup of butter (softened) and ½ cup of shortening and cream with 1 tsp. of vanilla.
- Then add about 1 lb. of powdered sugar 1 cup at a time making sure it gets mixed well after each addition.
- Then add 2 Tbs. of milk and beat till fluffy.
I make this recipe with a hand mixer as well and beat everything on medium speed. You don’t want powdered sugar flying everywhere. You can add coloring to the icing after you make the frosting but be sure to portion it out because you can’t recolor!
Also it is important to note that you must give your cake and icing plenty of QC (quality control) I always lick the batter for the cake and the icing!
And one more thing: don’t open oven while the cake is baking.
I know it’s hard with the enticing aroma, but try you must! The more you open the oven the higher your chances of your cake falling and that won’t be good either! I suggest putting the cake (whichever recipe you choose) on the least amount of bake time then check it and adjust baking time accordingly.
Did we all learn something about baking?! I learned like 10 things. I’m totally trying out that frosting recipe and I can handle quality control (baking involves…nay requires licking the spoon?! I think I’m warming up to the idea…)
Huge “thank you” to Rachel! I’m sending well-wishes and a bakery success your way. I need you to give me a tutorial on icing!