Just Like Mom Used to Microwave
We’re each uniquely a walking paradox, darlings, and what we feast on is no exception. I’d like to tell you that I feast on ramps, truffle oil and gold dust all day-every day, but it’d be a lie. Sometimes, my taste buds want to slum it a bit and indulge in a guilty dalliance of the frozen variety. Stouffer’s has a bevy of these treats that beckon me when I’m too tired to cook. Yes, I can make far more comforting versions of mac and cheese, stuffed peppers, swedish meatballs and veggie lasagne. And yes, my grabbing one of those little red boxes is incongruous with my love of all things wholesome and lovingly prepped with ingredients that I can select and choose. So how does an evolved home chef tow the line and make peace with her guilty pleasures? She figures out a copy cat recipe that gets the job done.
Continue reading Stouffer’s Tuna Noodle Casserole Recipe
You Mean Black Tar Heroin Bars?
Full disclosure: these gems don’t even pretend to be good for you. But alas, sometimes you just need a little trouble to get by. Though I am far more salty than sweet, this recipe is the perfect amalgamation of all that I love in a good dessert. The usual suspects of butter, vanilla, chocolate chips and brown sugar are all present, but what makes this one truly special are the flecks of sea salt crowning the golden bars. Once you mix the majesty together, sprinkle some sea salt for good measure, and bake, you are treated to fudgy decadence. Gooey, salty-sweet glory that you will scrape out of the pan to steal bite after bite.
Continue reading Sea Salt Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars
String Cheese for G-Strings
The weather’s getting warmer and you want to fill your tummy without working on that muffin top. If stripper aerobics classes don’t put the sparkle in your crystal heels, you might want to shave off some calories another way.
When I first saw the shockingly seductive pics of baked treats using wonton and eggroll wrappers on Pinterest, I was skeptical. Could some cooking spray and a quick trip in the oven beget lacy, crunchy appetizer happiness? I ran the first test on my classic crab rangoon recipe and was literally floored – each light and crispy bite was greaseless and guilt-free. Plus, my kitchen wasn’t covered with a sheen of oil from manning a deep fryer. Continue reading Baked Mozzarella Sticks with Butternut Squash Marinara
Your Cans Totally Rock
Let me teach you guys a magic trick. How’d you like to learn how to take some old cans in your pantry and elevate the contents to heavenly bites of goodness? This white bean bruschetta is downright dirty in its simplicity – crack open a can of white beans, toss with a fresh vinaigrette of lemon, rosemary and garlic, and slather the deliciousness on toasted crostini. Continue reading White Bean Bruschetta with Rosemary and Lemon
Time got the best of me this year, and damned if I live for a party, it seems that my schedule has me working for the weekend where I’ll work some more. Eddie Money is shaking his head at me right now. So what’s a girl to do? Call it quits, tune out, and plan to join in on the festivities? Hell.to.the.no. I’m going to attack every last starstruck moment out of this life of mine like Joan Crawford with a wire hanger. And I’ll look damn good doing it, even if it means haute couture pajamas as the dress code.
When my panties are in a bunch and I need culinary majesty fast, I usually turn to the glory that is the crostini. There is something so delightful about a portable snack – just a little bite of something assembled with care and made from bright, fresh ingredients. I find that of the things that I make for friends, bruschetta and crostini seem to go the quickest – people appreciate a bit of goodness. The toppings are just as important as the vehicles – crusty breads, crisp crackers, buttered toasts sprinkled with sea salt, even a potato or plantain chip all make for great bases for a crunchy bite. Continue reading Last Minute Oscar Party Action
Recipes for a Cure
This saucy dish is part of a collection of recipes written to benefit the National MS Society. In 2008, my sister Lexi (then 21 years old) was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. We formed a team of friends and family called MS is BS (Mind Strong is Body Strong), and each year we raise thousands of dollars for MS research. This recipe was written in tribute to a generous donation towards my $1500 fundraising minimum for the 2013 Capital Challenge Walk, a two-day 50K walk through Maryland, Virginia and DC. Learn more about team MS is BS on our website at http://msisbs.org
Brunch Buddies 4 Life
Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t take ages to forge a friendship of worth. Case in point, take my BFF Tara – we met as sketchily as a Craigslist missed connection (not that I know what those are all about…) Back in 2010, my homegirl discovered Adesina’s Kitchen through our fave food blogger hub, FoodBuzz. After hitting me up for my thai dumpling recipe, I meandered over to her site What We Chow, and found that we enjoyed waxing poetically over luxe ingredients, price tag be damned. I was enamored at the prospect of making her virtual acquaintance, but had no idea that shit was going to get real. Pronounced: rull. Continue reading Truffled Eggs with Pancetta, Arugula and Fontina Flatbread
Put Jelly in the What Now?
I like to pretend that I am in the know when it comes to what makes for a delicious dish and what makes for a dish worth open-hand throwing across the room. If someone told me that the secret to killer crockpot meatballs was a jar of grape jelly, I’d probably spit out my filet mignon and make a mental note to never trust a single recommendation that person ever made. And yet! And yet! Turns out those cocktail meatballs that I swooned over at every single potluck and holiday party were made with (you guessed it) grape ‘effin jelly. That same vile stuff that I eschewed as the evil mistress of peanut butter in the PB and J. And yes, I hate PB and J, but that’s for another day. Continue reading Sweet and Savory Crockpot Meatballs (Grape Jelly Meatballs)
Let Me Take You Down, Cuz I’m Going to…
Today I want to talk about straddling in the kitchen. You know, working the line between flavors, textures and temperatures to your own advantage. Juxtaposing ingredients to ensure that every bite is both sassy and class. It’s similar to the way that a chocolate-covered pretzel or a good and salty margarita scratch some primordial itch that occasionally pops up and leaves you clawing the walls for the smallest taste of the intoxicating combination. And if you don’t scratch said itch, you feel a need to indiscriminately throat chop everyone around you, until someone plies your greedy mouth with a salted caramel cupcake. I totally approve – desperate times call for desperate throat chops, and I’d kill a man for salted caramel. Continue reading Strawberry and Goat Cheese Crostini with Chocolate Olive Oil
I Really Meant to Name This “Shrimp in Crack Sauce”
I live for the moments in life where a mere bite of a particular dish makes me giddy. Stupid giddy. Giggling to myself like a goddamn lunatic in between bites and watching my plate like a sentry making sure that no one tries to sneak a bite. The first time that I tasted this deceptively simple dish of shrimp swimming in garlic, cream and herbs, I was actually depressed. Not because it didn’t elicit the effect that I described above. It was because my sister fucking ordered it, not me, and she felt as strongly about the shrimp as I did. With a butter knife poised to stab me in the hand if I tried to steal a bite. Ugh. Dining FAIL. Continue reading Jumbo Shrimp in Cilantro Sauce (Camarones en Salsa Verde)
Shred Me to Pieces
I was born for sexy, sultry heat, which maybe has a lot to do with why I adore the kitchen. And when the humidity cranks the knob a notch higher, my knickers turn a tizzy for a taste of something tropical. The combinations of salty, sweet and spicy are so dizzyingly addictive, I want to break out into a salsa and shake my shit until it falls off. Okay, maybe not until it falls out – I don’t really feel like dropping a co-pay for too much of a good time. What I really want is a mess of this shredded beef simmered with bell peppers, sweet onions and a sexy-as-hell tomato garlic sauce to bind it all up. And I want it with fluffy white rice and beans as dark as my intentions after too many pitchers of sangria. I want some ropa vieja. Stat. Continue reading Easy Ropa Vieja (Cuban Braised Beef)