Thursday, December 10, 2015

Pear, Pomegranate, Spinach Salad

I know I have said this before, but I can't stress enough how much better homemade dressing is. Tonight I topped this festive pear, pomegranate, and spinach salad with an apple cider vinegar, honey, dijon mustard concoction and it was delightful! It's not too late to add this salad to your holiday menu!

P.S. you can find my OXO Salad Dressing Shaker for under $10 at Target, Williams Sonoma, Sur La Table, or Kohl's. It is the perfect holiday gift idea if your new years resolution involves adding more greenery to your diet.  I hope you love it as much as I do!

Dressing Ingredients:

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons EVOO
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Wok Wednesday

Happy Wok Wednesday! To celebrate the occasion, I am sharing this amazing teriyake sauce recipe. Pre-make in large batches on prep day for an easy and delicious mid-week lunch or dinner. It pairs well with any combination of protein and veggies. I know this sauce requires lot of ingredients to make but I guarantee it will give PF Changs a run for it's money! 


1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 teaspoons corn starch pre-mixed with 2 teaspoons water


Heat in pan until it comes to a boil. Set aside to thicken. Use as marinate and sauce.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

Raspberry Kicker: 2 shots raspberry vodka, 4 shots cran-raspberry juice, a splash of Chambord, and fresh raspberries

Delicata Squash with Caramelized Shallots and Sherry
1 large Delicata squash
2 tablespoons EVOO
¼ cup dry sherry
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup thinly sliced shallots
4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Peel the squash, leaving some skin on the crevices. Trim the ends, slice in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds, and slice the halves crosswise in 1/4 inch thick slices. In a skillet, heat a tablespoon EVOO and cook squash until brown then transfer to a baking dish. In the same skillet, heat another tablespoon on EVOO and caramelize shallots. Remove from heat transfer shallots to baking dish and add sherry and sage. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Before serving, salt and pepper to taste.

Cranberry Honey Turkey Glaze: 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, ½ cup honey, ¼ cup rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves

*My Thanksgiving recipes are from the magazine The Best of Fine Cooking Cook Fresh, Fall 2014 (Yes, I have been waiting a whole year for this!)

Brussel Sprouts with Toasted Hazelnut Butter

For the butter:

1/3 cup hazelnuts

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 teaspoons of finely grated lemon zest

1 ½ teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped

½ teaspoons honey


For the brussel sprouts:

¼ cup EVOO

6 cups brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved

½ cup chicken broth

1 tablespoon lemon juice


Make the butter

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Roast hazelnuts on a baking sheet for 5 to 6 minutes. When cooled, rub nuts with a clean kitchen towel to remove skins then finely chop. In a small pan, add butter, lemon zest, thyme, and honey and heat. When liquefied add hazelnuts. Set aside.


Cook the brussel sprouts

In a 12 inch skillet, heat ¼ cup EVOO. Add brussel sprouts to skillet face down so you can get a good browning on them. After about 15 to 20 minutes add broth and immediately cover the pan to steam the brussel spots for 3 to 5 minutes. Add butter mixture to skillet, toss well, and season with salt. For a little extra light and citrusy flavor, add a tablespoon of lemon juice.

Red Potato, Cabbage, Bacon and Gruyere Gratin favorite Irish staples all in one dish! Perfect pairing with roasted chicken, sausages, turkey, or pork! Even better reheated. Serves 8.

For the topping:

4 strips, thick cut bacon, diced and fried to crisp

1 ½ cups fresh breadcrumbs made from ciabatta bread

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


For the gratin:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

5 cups savory cabbage, chopped

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

¾ cup chicken broth

½ cup heavy cream

4 medium red potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 cup gruyere cheese, grated


Prepare the gratin

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Over medium low heat melt butter in pan which bacon was cooked. Add cabbage, season with salt and pepper, and cook until cabbage is wilted and beginning to brown. Add the garlic and stir and cook until fragrant. Add chicken broth and heavy cream and stir. When the heavy cream is evenly distributed remove from heat.

Assemble the gratin

In a large bowl mix the potatoes, cabbage mixture, and gruyere cheese. Add to a non-stick baking dish. Cover with breadcrumb topping and bake until top is well browned and potatoes are just tender enough to poke through with a fork, about 1 hour. Let cool for about 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Cumin and Coriander Pork Ramen

Say goodbye to your college day’s stigma of ramen noodles. I like to refer to this version as “fancy” ramen. Since moving to Kansas City, I have discovered that ramen can be highly addictive and it can add some nutritional value rather than just insane amounts of salt intake. Imagine that?

After countless nights out spending $15+ for a bowl of ramen, I decided to give it a shot myself. When it comes to a good bowl of noodles, the most important component is the broth and meat flavoring. My goal for my first take at my own ramen dish was to attempt making this dish myself without immediately turning to an online recipe.

I spent some time trying to think of what kind of meat I wanted to make and remembered how easy and cheap it was to slow cook pork shoulder. I added equal parts cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper to season. I knew these four spices would add just enough brine to my broth. After a quick brown, I transferred the pork to my Le Creuset which contained a chopped yellow onion, chicken broth, orange and lime juice, sherry vinegar, and bay leaves. The meat was very fragrant and falling off the bone after about 3 hours on 350 degrees F.

Shitake mushrooms, purple cabbage, shredded carrots, and egg were my healthy additives for the dish. All I did to prepare the veggies was to steam them for a few minutes. To make a perfectly poached egg for ramen, the key is to only fill up the pan with about an inch and a half of water and boil with white wine vinegar. Rather than cracking the egg into the pan try slowing pouring the egg into the pan from a small bowl to keep the egg yolk from dispersing. You only need to cook the egg for 4 minutes before its ready to be mixed into your noodles. And don’t forget to garnish your bowl with cilantro.

I am telling you, do not attempt to make ramen unless you want to get addicted. I can’t stop thinking about it! It is so good!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

BBQ Chicken Naan Pizza

Nothing beats homemade pizza crust. Okay, except maybe laziness does. Next best thing? Naan. This leavened oven baked flatbread is so versatile and perfect for a personalized pizza slice. When baked in the oven it will give you that desired exterior crunch while keeping the inside dough nice and soft.

Today I wanted to share my rendering of the very popular BBQ chicken pizza. I’ll admit I am usually not a huge advocate for pizza with anything other than a marinara sauce base but I changed my mind after I subbed in my favorite spicy BBQ sauce by Jack Stack. So if you were a BBQ chicken pizza skeptic like me, grab your favorite BBQ sauce and see if your favored sauce makes a difference.

I topped my slice with shredded chicken which I slow cooked the night before in my crock pot. You could also opt to use rotisserie chicken to save some time and energy. For the cheese, I chose shredded mozzarella but I think adding a bit of Gouda to the mix would have be awesome!

Next, I threw on some red onion, corn, pineapple, and zucchini spirals. To add some additional spice I sprinkled some red pepper flakes on top. If I were to add anything else to this creation it would have been cilantro just for a little bit more zest!  So go ahead, empty out those extra veggies in your fridge and give naan pizza a try.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Orzo Stuffed Peppers

Vegetarian stuffed peppers are the perfect pair with grilled chicken, steak, or white fish.


Skip the extra boring side of rice and add some grain to your peppers instead. I added an addition of orzo which is simply just rice shaped pasta.


This recipe will fill your body with high levels of Vitamin K and Vitamin C from the red pepper and kale. Did you know red pepper has twice the Vitamin C content of green peppers?


It’s true! So next time you find yourself thinking about making stuffed peppers remember the brighter the better!  


Oh, and don’t forget a dollop of Daisy! Sour cream or the healthier option of Greek yogurt are always a good topping for stuffed peppers especially if you mix with your favorite spice! (Try basil, oregano, parsley, rosemary, or dill too)



½ cup whole grain orzo

2 large red bell peppers

1 zucchini

1 garlic clove, minced

½ cup cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed

3-4 kale leaves, stems removed, chopped

⅓ cup crumbled feta cheese

1 small lemon, juice and zest

⅓ cup Greek yogurt or sour cream


Fresh chopped fresh mint

Red pepper flakes

Salt & pepper


-Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

-Cook orzo in salted boiling water until al dente.

-Meanwhile, roast your bell peppers. Slice in half, drizzle with EVOO, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place cut side up and roast for 20 minutes or until golden brown around the edges.

-In a large glass bowl combine 1 tablespoon of EVOO, garlic, kale, chickpeas, and zucchini. When your orzo is done cooking go ahead and drain the water and add it (warm) to the bowl and toss. Stir in the feta, lemon juice, lemon zest, mint, red pepper flakes, and a generous amount of salt and pepper.

-Fill the red pepper halves with orzo salad and serve with herbed yogurt sauce. Mix Greek yogurt or sour cream, mint, lemon juice, salt, and drizzle with EVOO.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Crockpot Sausage, Spinach, and White Bean Soup

We are only a few days away from the start of Husker football, which means my favorite season is almost here! FALL!!! I am anxious to pull out my sweaters, scarfs, and boots to watch the leaves change color. I also can’t wait to make endless pots of SOUP!!! This Andouille sausage, spinach, and white bean soup is hearty and I have been told it pairs well with a large cozy blanket and a book for a long lazy Sunday. Let me know if you agree and GO BIG RED!!! 

1 tablespoon EVOO
1 package of smoked Andouille sausage, thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
2 cans Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon dried oregano
4 cups chicken broth
3 cups baby spinach
Salt & pepper

-Heat EVOO in large skillet over medium high heat. Add sausage, and cook, until browned, about 3 minutes per side.
-Place sausage, garlic, onion, carrots, celery, beans, oregano, and bay leaves into crock pot. Stir in chicken broth and 2 cups of water until well combined, salt and pepper to taste.
-Cover and cook on low heat for 7-8 hours.
-Right before serving, stir in spinach until wilted. 

Skinny Shrimp Scampi with Zucchini Noodles

           Over the weekend, I purchased a fun new kitchen gadget: A spiral cutter by Microplane. I bought it so I could substitute veggies for pasta. This specific tool has two razor barrels, which accommodate both slim and wide vegetables. With a simple twist, the spiral cutter creates colorful ribbon vegetable strands. It is perfect for summer squash, cucumber, and carrots.

            For its first use, I decided to make a skinny shrimp scampi and replaced traditional angel hair pasta for yellow and green zucchini noodles. I also elected to omit the butter calories. Cooking the zucchini noodles and shrimp with white wine, lemon juice, and minced garlic gave the dish a light, citrusy flavor. Surprisingly, I really didn’t leave the meal craving crabs.

            I am going to use my spiral cutter to make cucumber sunomono next (one of my favorite sushi side dishes), which is just a combination of Japanese cucumbers, salt, rice vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, and sesame seeds. Seems easy enough! Now if I could only work up the courage to make homemade sushi roles to pair it with...

2 tablespoons EVOO
12 jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
¼ cup white wine
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 medium zucchini, cut into noodles
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

-In large sauté pan over medium-low heat add EVOO and heat for 1 minute. Add garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute stirring constantly.
-Season shrimp with salt and pepper and add to pan and cook until pink. Transfer using a slotted spoon to a bowl leaving any liquid and excess garlic and red pepper flakes in pan.
-Increase heat to medium, scrape any brown bits from bottom of pan, and add the white wine and lemon juice. Cook for about 2 minutes then add zucchini noodles and cook for another 2 minutes stirring occasionally. 
-Return shrimp to pan to toss, season with more salt and pepper, garnish with parsley and serve immediately.