Saturday, January 31, 2015

Pepperoni Bread

Superbowl Sunday is tomorrow!  Let the parties begin!  I know that everybody is always looking for new appetizers to bring to get-togethers because, let's face it, the buffalo chicken dip is starting to get old.  It's so delicious, don't get me wrong, but predictable.  I've been bringing homemade pepperoni bread to parties for about 4 years, and I swear it's always the first food to go.  Maybe it's because each loaf only yields 12 slices or so...but I like to think it's because the recipe is SO GOOD.   I've even had friends come a little early to my house when i'm throwing a party so they could make sure they get one of the first slices right out of the oven!  I love how it's a finger food that seems fancy, but only takes about 30 minutes from start to finish!  Try it tomorrow!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Portside Distillery & Brewery

Howie and I made the trek from Lakewood to University Circle last Saturday afternoon with full intent to ice skate  Wade Oval.  When you both forget to bring a hat, gloves and scarf and it's 27° outside, there is a 99.9% chance that you will end up eating copious amounts of Chinese food at Ninja City Kitchen & Bar instead.  At least that's what happened in our case, with a little trip to Coquette Patisserie for a sweet treat afterwards.  The amaretto macarons were the bomb!  We still wanted to do a little Cleveland exploration, so we decided to make a pitstop at Portside Distillery & Brewery on the way home because the public tasting room recently opened.  You have to hit it up one of these weekends!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Bananas Foster Pancakes

Yesterday morning, I made the most delicious pancakes for Howie and I!  You got to admit, there's no better way to kick off a relaxing Saturday then a big breakfast!  These weren't just any old pancakes, they were my sinfully sweet bananas foster pancakes.  I heat butter, brown sugar, vanilla extract, a pinch of salt, and a ripe banana together until it forms this melt in your mouth "syrup" that will make you never want to buy the store-bought kind ever again!  I came up with this creation a few years ago, back when I was in undergrad, but never really wrote my recipe down.  Told you guys that's my downfall with cooking...I love winging it and seeing what happens!  Yesterday I measured everything in this breakfast treat, and want you guys to be able to make it in your own kitchen too.  Let's just say I've come a long way since Flapjack Friday at the Miami University Architecture School!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Risotto alla Milanese and Arancini Bites

In case you missed my last post, a took an absolutely incredible culinary course at the Loretta Paganini School of Cooking over the weekend.  The course was called the Fundamentals of Italian Cooking, and it was taught by Loretta herself!  There was a ton of one on one direction, and I learned so many new flavor techniques and methods of cooking that I don't normally try on my own...I'm so excited to share them with you guys!

Loretta Paganini School of Cooking: Fundamentals of Italian Cooking

This past Saturday, I had the pleasure of taking a fantastic culinary course at the Loretta Paganini School of Cooking in Chesterland, about 35 minutes east of Cleveland.  It was the best day I've had in a while!  Not only did I learn so many useful tips and tricks that I've never heard or seen before, but I ate like royalty while I was sampling all of our creations!   My course was called the Fundamentals of Italian Cooking, taught by Chef Loretta herself.  She was raised in Bologna, Italy, about an hour from where I studied abroad in Florence.  The accent and delicious meals of that region definitely brought back a lot of great memories!  I would HIGHLY recommend taking a course or two or twenty like I'm planning on taking!  If you don't get to, no worries; I will share all the amazing recipes right here on my blog!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Grilled Cheese and 10-Minute Homemade Tomato Soup

Even though I cook all sorts of extravagant dinners, fancy desserts, and appetizers to please a crowd, there is nothing I like more than grilled cheese and homemade tomato soup.  I'm like a kindergartner!  Ask Howie, I even order it from any restaurant that has it on it's menu!  My record is having it 4 times in a 5 day period (if that isn't true love than I don't know what is)!  One of my favorite things about grilled cheese and tomato soup is how fast you can whip it up after a long day.  You know those days I'm talking about right?  The days when you wanted dinner a half hour ago and your stomach is eating itself on the drive home.  Good news!  You can forever ditch the crummy canned tomato soup that's loaded with sodium and preservatives and make my homemade version instead.  I promise, 10 minutes.  Well, maybe 15 if you include making the grilled cheese too!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Greek Mac & Cheese

A couple of summers ago, Howie's mom made the most delicious cheesy pasta bake I've ever had.  It was hearty, but not overly rich, filled with cherry tomatoes, olives, baby spinach and noodles that baked together in the oven with a cheesy feta and gouda garlic sauce.  All of this creamy goodness was topped off with Italian croutons that softened in the sauce and infused some of their seasonings into the dish.  Needless to say, it's an absolutely delicious dinner that can feed about 10 people.  I never asked for the recipe, and actually almost forgot about it until New Years Day 2015, when his mom told me she was making Greek Mac & Cheese for dinner.  I definitely didn't forget to ask for the recipe this time around!  It totally hit the spot, you have to try it!  Best of all, it's very versatile.  You can easily double the recipe for a large crowd, or make it for a couple of people and have leftovers throughout the week.  YUM!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Hawaiian Fruit Dip

The big Ohio State vs. Oregon game is on tomorrow night, and it seems like almost everybody I know is throwing or attending a party!  Definitely not a bad way to spend a Monday night!  I wanted to post a good recipe that you can easily whip up after work with minimal effort or ingredients.  Though I can think of about 25 deliciously unhealthy recipes that could please a crowd, I want to share one of my favorites that's fairly health conscious when compared to buffalo chicken dip or potato skins.  That's right, I got your back all you followers that are trying to eat healthier, work out more, drink less, etc!  It's called Hawaiian Fruit Dip, and it's my go to recipe for summer barbecues, brunches, and birthdays.  5 ingredients, 5 minutes, and you have yourself a great recipe that EVERYBODY will ask for.  When they do ask "where'd you find that recipe?", be sure to send them my way!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Lemon, White Wine and Garlic Roasted Chicken Breasts

If I could cook with any Food Network Star, it would be Ina Garten hands down!  Not only do her recipes include ingredients that most of us have on hand at any given time, but they're approachable twists on classics that we make all the time.  Take chicken breasts, for example.  My usual routine is to take boneless, skinless chicken breasts, season them generously with herbs and spices, and bake them in the oven until they're golden brown.  I wanted to try something new, so I made her marinade for the Lemon Roasted Chicken Breasts, and man oh man did she knock this recipe out of the park.  Well, anything that includes lemon, white wine, thyme and garlic is a home run in my books!  I added my own twist on her recipe by using bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts to give a fancy flair to a Saturday date night meal.  Add my Roasted Garlic Smashed Potatoes for the side, and you'll have one of the best dinners you've ever made!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Go Bills!

If there is one thing to know about Howie, it's that he's an avid Buffalo Bills fan.  He watches them religiously every Sunday of football season, and has been since he was old enough to understand what football was.  If you need a visual, he's the guy walking around the Browns opening day tailgate wearing a Bills jersey and matching Bills sunglasses when we have club seat tickets to the Browns vs. Saints game.  Yes, this actually happened in September.  I definitely wanted to incorporate this obsession into his Christmas present, and I decided that I should paint him an art panel with the team logo on it so he can rep the Bills all year long!  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year, New Smoothie: Triple Berry Green Smoothie

Happy New Year!  I thought I would start 2015 off right with a healthier recipe, since almost everyone's New Year's resolution involves eating better, losing weight, exercising more, or a combination of all three.  Back in August, I started making a smoothie for breakfast everyday because they were the most convenient meal to take with me on my 45 minute drive.  Little did I know, they would actually make me lose about 6 pounds without even trying!  It's definitely the best way to improve your energy, increase your protein and nutrient intake, gain lean muscle...and it tastes great!  I make all different types of smoothies depending on the fruit I have at the time, but this Triple Berry Green Smoothie has definitely become my favorite combination lately!