Thursday, June 28, 2018

Hot Crab Dip

Here's where I see myself for the rest of the summer:

Evening time, dining outside with good friends, eating a big dish of this Hot Crab Dip with crostini and celery for dipping, plus a chilled glass of white wine to wash it all down.

Yes, seriously. This dip is the real deal. Bring it to your next potluck or BBQ or game night and watch it disappear.

Like any good dip, this one is creamy and cheesy, melty and bubbly. Fresh lump crab meat is mixed into every bite. I amp up the flavor with a few sprinkles of smoked paprika, a glug of Worcestershire sauce, and a shake of celery salt. 2 types of cheese give this dip a little something extra-special: parmesan, for a salty nuttiness, and muenster, for the ultimate meltiness (YES, cheese. I know we aren't supposed to be combining cheese and seafood but for some reason, hot crab dip is a very delicious exception to this rule).

Besides the fact that this dip is so. ridiculously. delicious, it is also sure to become one of your all-time favorites because of how super simple it is to make! Just mix it up, spoon into a casserole dish, sprinkle with parm and bake until golden brown and bubbly. That's it. A few stirs and a little patience is all that stands between you and a perfect summer dip :-)

Here's what you need for Hot Crab Dip* (Print Recipe!)

8 ounces lump crab meat
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 green onions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 cup grated meunster cheese
1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon celery salt
cracked black pepper to taste
crostini and veggies for serving

Here's what you do

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients except 1/4 cup of parmesan and stir until well combined. Pour into a small casserole dish and spread smooth. Sprinkle remaining parmesan on top and bake for 25-30 minutes until bubbling and golden brown. Garnish with additional green onions or paprika if desired and serve with crostini and vegetables.

Note - depending on the size of your casserole dish, you may want to place the dish on top of a sheet pan to prevent oven spills. This may add 5 to 10 minutes to your cook time.

*Adapted slightly from Will Cook for Smiles

Monday, June 25, 2018

Fried Goat Cheese Salad

Sooo, 3 of my last 5 recipes have included goat cheese. I'm just a tiny bit obsessed...

This, however. THIS is the recipe for only the BIGGEST lovers of goat cheese. Those of us who order a dish at a restaurant simply because there's goat cheese in it. Anyone who can make a meal of crackers with goat cheese and fig jam. Someone who understands that the funky tang and creaminess of goat cheese is something you can't get anywhere else.

This is a Fried Goat Cheese Salad and it is basically everything I have ever wanted. It is tangy, tart, sweet, and crunchy. Although there is a little bit of work involved to bread and fry the cheese, it's an elegant appetizer or meal that can be made in no time at all with just a bit of planning.

Besides the goat cheese, which, no doubt, is the star of this dish, this salad is made up of some very simple but very delicious ingredients. I like mixed field greens as the base, topped off with a sliced green apple, toasted walnuts, dried cranberries, finely crumbled feta, thinly sliced scallions and your favorite balsamic vinaigrette. If goat cheese doesn't tickle your fancy, this salad base would be just as delicious with grilled chicken or shrimp!

To be sure the goat cheese fritters stay together, keep their shape and don't melt all over the pan, you want to be sure to freeze the cheese at 2 different intervals. First, after slicing into rounds and then again after breading. I did notice that the egg at times would slide right off the goat cheese round. The best way to avoid this and get a really strong breading is to beat the egg vigorously until totally combined. Beyond these minor modifications, if you've ever breaded chicken before - you can absolutely make this! And you should! Seriously, I am soooo obsessed with this recipe! I hope you are too!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Zucchini, Goat Cheese and Potato Frittata

This here is a very fine frittata recipe that is sure to be in our breakfast, lunch and dinner menu rotation all summer long!

There are many reasons to love frittatas, and at the top of that list for me is:

They are easy and delicious.

They are customizable--a perfect clean-out-the-fridge meal.

They feed a crowd, and on a budget to boot!

This Zucchini, Goat Cheese and Potato Frittata is simple yet elegant. It's the kind of meal you can throw together in no time, plus any leftovers will make a spectacular breakfast the next day! The key to making a frittata exciting is adding layers and layers of flavor, and believe me when I say there is no shortage of that here!

We'll start by sauteing diced onions in a bit of butter and olive oil to start. I cut the zucchini and red potatoes into thin rounds and saute them with the onions to soften the veggies and develop a beautiful golden brown color (which translates to flavor!) The egg mixture is also getting an extra boost of tastiness thanks to freshly grated parmesan cheese and lots of freshly chopped parsley. Let's not forget the goat cheese--creamy, tangy goat cheese AKA my food love language. It's such a simple addition but trust me when I say it brings the whole dish together!

As for cooking vessels, my preferred choice for frittatas is a well-seasoned 12-inch cast iron skillet. I love the slight brown crust the cast iron creates, and it is naturally non-stick. If you don't have a cast iron, any oven proof skillet will work -- just be sure to use a good amount of butter and olive oil to prevent sticking. Also, letting the frittata sit for about 5 minutes after baking will help prevent any additional stickage!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Creamy Sausage and Roasted Cauliflower Pasta

Hello, beautiful!

This is a pasta dish we must talk about right now.

This is my Creamy Sausage and Roasted Cauliflower Pasta and it is about to be your new favorite. It's comfort food which means it's meant to soothe your soul. We aren't apologizing for eating pasta because we love it and it's delicious. This particular dish also has plenty of vegetables packed into each bite, so this is a well-rounded meal you can feel happy serving to your whole family!

Let's talk about cauliflower quick. A few weeks ago, I had a moment where I was like, "wait a I not like cauliflower?!" Every time I made a dish with cauliflower in it, I was sooo disappointed and wished I was eating anything else. This comes after years of never having any sort of aversion to it. After thinking about it for a bit, I realized that what I actually didn't like was frozen cauliflower...I wanted cauliflower that still had a bite to it. Roasted cauliflower that had a few charred bits to it, well - THAT'S really what I wanted, and that is exactly what I'm mixing in to this dish.

To compliment the cauliflower, I am browning up a bit of sweet sausage. Something about pasta and sausage - it just makes SENSE to me. We'll then make a quick, creamy sauce, wilt some fresh spinach in it, load it up with freshly grated parmesan and chopped parsley and finish it with a sprinkling of red pepper flakes. I mean, what is there NOT to love?!

In terms of the actual pasta, I used a whole wheat rotini. This was actually O Organics brand and I think it's my favorite rotini. The spirals are really tight and hold up well even after being cooked. It was the perfect shape to trap all that luscious sauce! But, really, any small cut pasta will do. You do you!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Kale, Mushroom and Goat Cheese Pizza

Wow, hey guys! I've been MIA, huh?

It's been a busy few weeks that has overlapped with a bit of a cooking rut. I've been making plenty of food but I've had a hard time feeling inspired by the meals I've made. I'm hoping to turn that around this week and bring you some yummy spring recipes!

I've historically found that when I find myself in a rut, the best thing to do is to make something that is familiar and undeniably delicious no matter what. For me, that food is pizza. Put anything on a chewy crust and cover it in gooey cheese and, well, we're back in business!

This Kale, Mushroom and Goat Cheese Pizza is made on my favorite, no rise crust which makes this a quick, easy and delicious meatless Monday meal! The edges of the kale get an amazing crispy char to them while the creamy goat cheese melts just slightly over the sauce. Mushrooms add a meaty element that really rounds out (ha!) the dish.

As with nearly any recipe I put out here on the internet, this is the perfect base pizza recipe that you can add and adjust to your heart's desire. Add some crispy ground sausage because OMG sausage, kale and mushrooms are the ultimate trifecta. Want more veggies? Throw 'em on! Just remember not to overcrowd your toppings because it risks making your crust soggy and that would be sad.

I see your cooking rut and I raise you one quick, tasty, wonderfully composed pizza recipe. Ahh, it feels good to be back.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Chili Mac


This is #dinnergoals right here!

Oh, did you guys hear? There is some kind of football game this weekend that is very big and very important and requires lots of delicious foods while you watch. I have the perfect dinner for the occasion.

My recipe for Chili Mac is a mash up of a beef chili and a creamy, cheesy pasta dish. It is a little spicy and will keep you coming back for more. The chili becomes a robust, tex-mex type of meat sauce that kiiiind of puts regular marinara to shame.

To compliment that spicy goodness, we need something creamy (and, duh, cheesy because we are talking CHILI after all, so some sharp cheddar is very much needed). After the chili is cooked up, I add a bunch of hot pasta along with some of the pasta cooking water along with some sour cream to help melt that glorious cheddar into the chili/sauce. It's sort of magical and very tasty.

Now, as with most recipes I bestow upon you, it's worth mentioning that you can customize this to you and your family's liking! Prefer black beans over cannelini beans? Great! Want to tone town the spice factor? Use a bell pepper instead of the poblano. Like it a little extra spicy? Try shredded pepper jack instead of shredded cheddar! Where does it end?! (just FYI, it doesn't end until your plate is licked clean :-D)

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Chicken and Dumplings

Comfort food alert!

We had a little warm up around these parts, but let's be honest. It's still winter. It's still cold. We need some comfort food to stick to our bones. And this recipe is a kitchen classic you'll be enjoying for years to come.

I was thinking one night about how I could do some kind of fun twist on Chicken and Dumplings when I realized I just wanted pure, classic chicken and dumplings. And that's EXACTLY what this recipe is. You can make this dish in no time at all, with ingredients you likely already have hanging in your pantry and fridge.

The thing about chicken and dumplings is it's essentially like eating a big bowl of delicious chicken soup and dunking a yummy piece of bread in it...but the BREAD has already been dunked for your eating pleasure! It's genius really. The bread "bakes" in the hot soup, soaking in the delicious flavors. How great does that sound?! Mmm, I'm craving another bowl right now!