Site Suggestion

Hey guys!  Just thought that I would share with you one of my favorite blogs.  Titled ‘Cup of Jo”,  It’s got absolutely everything on it but I thought it was especially appropriate to post here because she collects some seriously awesome recipes.  She also posts about fashion, family and even dating.  Give it a click!

http://www.onabags.com/store/shoulder-bags/the-brooklyn.html?color=chestnut#chestnut

Keep thinking and clinking!

-C

 

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Against All Odds…

I have found a way to prepare brussel sprouts that won’t have you gagging at the dinner table.  Even better news?  It’s literally the simplest recipe known to man.  My roommate and I have become devout eaters of the little mini cabbages and we make them at least three times a week.  Even on nights when we have no time at all, we’ll buy a roasted chicken from the grocery sore, make some uncle Ben’s 90-second rice, and finish with these veggies and before we know it we have something that at least resembles a well cooked meal our mothers would be proud of.  Suspend your disbelief, follow the recipe, and let your preconceived notion that brussels are nasty, bitter little bulbs melt away.

Grocery List:

  • One package of FRESH brussels
  •  4 Tbsp of butter
  • 1-2 Tbsp of Olive oil
  • Salt and peper (amount is at the discretion of your taste buds)

How To:

  1. Cut the ends of your brussels off and then cut them in half length wise.  Remove the outer layer of the leaves.  Some of the other leaves will just fall off but keep them!  They get all crispy and buttery and wonderful.
  2. Put your olive oil and 1 Tbsp of your butter in the bottom of a fairly large pan and cook over medium-high heat until the butter melts in to the oil.  Why both oil and butter you ask?  The combination together makes sure that neither one will burn off and, in turn, burn your veggies or whatever else you try to cook in the pan.  (definitely something to keep in mind when searing sea scallops!)
  3.  Once the oil and butter have mellowed out together it’s time for the main act.  Add in your brussels, salt and pepper the green lovelies, and nest your remaining 3 Tbsp of butter in the sprouts.Image
  4. Let the butter melt and coat the brussel sprouts as the sprouts them selves soften up.  You want to wait until the sprouts are fork tender which usually takes about 15 minutes, but keep taste-testing them every now and then just to make sure.  Once they’ve gotten a little brown on the outside and totally tender, it’s time to serve!Image

These veggies have a pretty bad rap, but I promise you that if you give this recipe a try, you won’t regret giving these greens the opportunity to redeem themselves.  Keep thinking and clinking!

-C

Holiday Helper

I know how difficult staying in shape during the holidays can be and fortunately so does my best friend and fellow-blogger at Vogueology. Whether you’re trying to get a head start on those New Years resolutions or just want to keep the calories at bay so that you can eat another biscuit or holiday cookie and not become guilt-ridden, follow the link and head over to vogueology with a plethora of crazy helpful tips!

http://vogueology.wordpress.com/

Totally Roasted

Okay, if I were ever to be put in some kind of god-awful situation in which I was only allowed to own one appliance (with the exception of the fundamentals : over, microwave, stove, fridge) for the rest of my life if would be… A CROCK POT.  It’s a tiny little time savor that practically makes dinner for you.  This little wonder will have you on your way to chicken and beef that melts like butter in your mouth and perfectly stewed vegetables that are fork tender.  What’s better, is the crock pot is something that you actually can set and forget.  It cooks by itself all day and just when you stomach starts sending you those “feed me” signals, your meal is conveniently cooked to perfection.  My favorite crock pot creation is a pot roast.

Grocery List:

  • 3 1/2 to 4 lb chuck roast
  • 1 Large white onion
  • a couple liberal handfuls of baby carrots
  • 3-4 larger red potatoes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 dried Bay leaves
  • 1/4 of white cooking wine
  • 2 Tbsp of Olive oil
  • 1 can of beef broth

How To:

  1. Take your crock pot pan (not the heating plate) and put it directly on the stove, and get a little bit of olive oil going in the bottom of it.  Once the oil easily coats the bottom of the pan, place the roast in.  Let each side sit for about a minute so that each and every side gets a little bit of a browning thing going on each side.photo-21
  2. Take your roast off of the heat and let it sit while you chop up all of your onions and potatoes.  Toss in your carrots and one or two bay leafs (whatever the cooking spirits are telling you at the time) and empty out that can of beef broth over your soon-to-be-perfectly-roasted roast.

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3. Once you’re done all of the above, take the crock pot, place it on the heating platform and cover it with its lid.  Depending on how large the roast is, I usually stack a text book or two on top of the lid handle just to make sure that none of the heat escapes.

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4.  Depending on how much time you have set the roast on setting 6 (the highest setting) if you’re aiming to eat in 4-5 hours and set it on more of a mid level heating if you’re going to be gone all day (6-8 hours).

5.  By the time you come home, your masterpiece should look a little something like this:

 

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6.  I usually like to serve these up with some brussell sprouts sautéed in butter and olive oil with a little salt and pepper but absolutely any green veggie works perfectly fine with this dish.

 

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Oh, and a little wine is always a good idea too.  I hope you all give this ridiculously easy and delicious dish a try.  It’s a huge time saver, not to mention, it’s the dish that keeps on giving.  Sandwiches and soup for days to follow.  Keep clinking and thinking!

-C

 

 

 

 

Travel Time

After a long (and by long I mean REALLY long) I’m finally homeward bound for the holidays. I write to you from my layover in New York to ask, what are your favorite holiday treats? Any meals you particularly look forward to during the holidays? Share your recipes with me please!
I absolutely love this time of year. I love getting cozy with a book by the fire, drinking some home made hot chocolate, and getting creative with egg nog and spiced rum. That reminds me, post your favorite holiday happy hour must haves. I’m throwing a big new ears party and I want to quench the thirst of my guests with something nice n creative! Keep thinking and clinking!

-C

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I swear I haven’t stopped eating…

It’s just I’m in the throws of that terrible thing called final exams.  If there’s one thing that helped me get through the weekend it would be easy go to meals dressed up with a little bit of wine. In case all of you couldn’t tell, I’m a pasta girl through and through.  Here’s a go to meal that you can play with as much or as little as you want (serves 3-4… or gives you 3-2 days of left overs):

Grocery List:

  • One box of Pasta
  • One can of your favorite pasta sauce
  • One package of your favorite kind of pre-cooked sausage (you know, the kind you only have to heat up)
  1. Cook the pasta as directed and drain.
  2. Slice all of your sausage links in half long-ways.  From here you can either choose to sear them up really quick in a pan or you can just nuke ’em in the microwave for about 30-40 second.
  3. Pour can of tomato sauce and sausage over drained pasta and stir!

I told you it was easy.  Ooh and a bit of this lovely cup cake wine never hurt either.  To those of you in the same boat as me, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.  Those of you that are much more fortunate and sleeping much more often, enjoy every bit of it and more food will follow soon!Image

(Meat)Ballin’

Nothing like a good old fashioned meatball, right?  Right.  Well here’s a slightly healthier spin on your every day meatball.  

Grocery List:

  • 1 Tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp of butter
  • 3/4 of an onion, sliced n diced
  • 1-2 Cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • Salt n Pepper
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 package of 98% lean ground turkey meat
  • 1 egg
  • 2-3 liberal handfuls of ground bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp of garlic powder 
  • 1 tsp of poultry seasoning
  • 1 tsp of Italian seasoning 
  • 2 Tbsp of Ketchup
  • 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese

 

How To:

  1. Heat up your butter and your olive oil and let them get to know each other white you cut up your onion and your garlic and then add them to your pan.Image
  2. Once the fantastic smell that can only come from simmering onions and garlic starts to waft through your home add in your thyme and let them cook down all together.  Right before the onions start to brown, take them out of the pan and put them in a bowl off to the side to cool down.
  3. Now on to meatier and messier things.  It’s time to play with your food!  Get out a medium sized bowl and place your lean n mean ground turkey in the bottom and knead it with your hands.  Work the meat into a solid ball so that it looks like the bare beginnings of a meatloaf.
  4. Let’s get cracking.  crack one egg into your meat and continue to knead the egg in until it’s completely incorporated.  
  5. Add your bread crumbs, salt, pepper, garlic powder, poultry seasoning, Italian seasoning and ketchup.  It’s usually best if you start out with one handful of bread crumbs at a time.  If you add to much your meat balls will be too mealy and resemble more of a soggy round crouton. Nothing appetizing about that.  Add the bread crumbs as necessary because it is just the crumbs and your egg that holds the guys together!
  6. Get rolling.  Line an oven-safe dish with some parchment paper and roll the meat into balls about the size of ice cream scoops.  Place them in your dish. 
  7. Once you’re done grate some parmesan across the top and cover with cellophane for at least an hour.Image
  8. Get a little olive oil into your pan and bring it to a nice and hot temperature.  Place the meatballs in your pan and let them hang out for a hot minute.  ALSO, preheat your oven to 350′.Image
  9. Once they start to look like they’re getting beautiful, golden-brown, almost-cripy-but-nowehere-near burned, spheres of deliciousness:Imagetake them out of the pan and place them back into the oven-safe dish.  Bake them for 35-40 minutes.

And that’s all there is to some most excellent meat balls.  I chose to serve them with Fettuccine and a sweet basic and orated garlic tomato sauce but these are guaranteed to be excellent in any pasta dish or even in sandwiches.  

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Gnocchi with White Wine Cream Sauce and Prosciutto

I’m a pasta girl through and through.  To me there is nothing like curling up with a small bowl of pasta and a good glass of wine with a good movie.  I have never met a noodle that I didn’t like but if I had to choose, gnocchi would win time and time again.  It’s unique shape just begs for a sumptuous sauce and it’s texture adds that little extra something.  Here’s my go to gnocchi dish:

Grocery List:

  • 1 package of gnocchi
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp of Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 3/4 of an onion finely chopped
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 2 small handfuls of chopped green onions
  • 3-4 sprigs of thyme
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 oz. of prosciutto shredded
  • 2-2 1/2 cups of heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup of white cooking wine
  • 1/2 Tbsp. of flour

How To:

  1. Start out by chopping up all of your fresh ingredients, this will make it so much easier so you can just throw it all into the pot once it’s time.  Image
  2. Get your olive oil and butter going in a skillet at medium heat, once the olive oils starts thinning out and coating the bottom of that pan as you move it about, add in your chopped onions.  Stir them up and make sure they all get some equal loving from the olive oil then add some salt and pepper to taste.
  3. About 3-4 minutes in add your chopped garlic and your thyme leaves and continue to stir every now and then.
  4. Once your kitchen starts to smells phenomenal, throw in your green onions as well!
  5. As soon as your onions are looking transparent and your green onions have gotten well acquainted with the other ingredients in your skillet add in the prosciutto.  (If you prefer feel free to substitute pancetta or even bacon.)
  6. Once your prosciutto begins to brow, it’s time to get saucy.  Add in your cream.  Feel free to salt n pepper it up again.
  7. Give all the ingredients a good stir and let the cream simmer a bit.  After a couple of minutes it’s time for the fun stuff: WINE.  If you want to add a white wine you have in your fridge, feel free.  As a college student I ration my drinking wine sparingly and instead opt for cooking wine.  Add your choice of dry white wine into your sauce as well as the flour.  The flower acts as a bit of a thickening agent before you bring on the big heat to really thicken up your sauce.Image
  8. Time to get the main act going and boil the water for your gnocchi.  Don’t forget to show the pasta water some love and salt it.  I usually throw in some olive oil too, but to each their own. Throw on the lid and wait for the bubbles.  Now is also the perfect time to turn up the heat to about medium high on your cream sauce.  Keep storing the sauce and watch the thickening begin.
  9. Once your water has boiled your final product is not far off.  One of the best things about gnocchi is it take minutes to cook.  Put your gnocchi in the boiling water and wait for the perfect little potato pastas to float to the top.  Once they start to bob to the surface, they’re done!
  10. At this point your sauce should be at a fairly high heat and thickening up nicely.  Don’t forget to taste!  Want a little more garlic? wine? throw it in.  There are no rules.  Well there are a few: Don’t start fires, love the wine, taste all the food.
  11. As the pastas are ready, skim them from the top and introduce them to the sauce equivalent of their soul mate.
  12. Stir the pasta.  Plate the pasta.  Pour the wine.  Wow the tastebuds.Image

Homemade pasta sauces are way easier than people realize.  Give this sauce a go and I promise you’ll make jars of Ragu and Bertolli a thing of the past.  

Looking for Culinary Perfection?…

If the answer is yes then I urge you to continue on your gastronomical journey.  I hail from no prestigious culinary arts institution and alas, I’m still an undergrad with an electric stove.  What I can promise you is good food, good drinks, and some good company.  Cooking is the small haven that comes to me at least once a day– kind of like meeting up with a friend for a daily decompression session.  There’s something about the right number handfuls of that and the perfect pinches of this that come together to create something that makes you appreciate all the small things that went into it.  To me food isn’t just fuel for the body, it’s fuel for the soul.  So without further adieu, let’s get cooking.