Mom’s Sweet Potato Casserole: A Thanksgiving Staple

Pretty much anyone you talk to will tell you what their non-negotiable Thanksgiving dish is.  For some it’s pumpkin pie or mashed potatoes.  For me it’s Stovetop stuffing (original recipe).

And for my mom it’s this sweet potato pudding.

Mom's Sweet Potato Casserole, her must-have for Thanksgiving. None of that marshmallow nonsense here.

And I have to admit, it’s pretty doggone good.  None of those nasty marshmallows here.  No, sir.  This is creamy and warm but not too sweet—the only really sweet part is the topping, which has a great crunch to it.  It’s really easy to put together and is always a crowd pleaser. [Read more…]

Lemon Shallot Chicken

I literally don’t know what to call this chicken.

lemon-shallot-chicken

Sure, it has lemon juice.  And chopped shallots.  And garlic.  And paprika.  And brown sugar.  And chopped rosemary.

lemon-shallot-chicken-rosemary

It’s…complex.

lemon-shallot-chicken-shallots-chopped

And ugly.  Sorry, this dish won’t photograph well no matter how hard I try.  But it is really easy, unique, flavorful, and makes great leftovers.  So despite its ugly appearance, that’s a win in my book. [Read more…]

“Crack” Beef & Cabbage Stir Fry

This was my first “back on the healthy train” recipe since coming back from quite a bit of travel over the past few months—including a week and a half inhaling pastries on the French Riviera.  So I didn’t need normal healthy, I needed SUPER healthy.  A sort of food detox, if you will.

Beef & Cabbage Stir Fry...healthy, easy, yummy

What I didn’t expect was for this to be SUPER yummy as well.

beef-cabbage-stir-fry-green-onions

And cheap and easy.  Fast, cheap, healthy, easy, and yummy is like a unicorn of a recipe.  I mean, it’s no mac and cheese, but it’ll do.

beef-cabbage-stir-fry

This is going into my regular rotation of uber healthy meals.  It’s got a ton of fiber from all the veggies, is surprisingly satiating, and still has just enough protein from the beef.  You could definitely use a whole pound of beef instead of a half-pound (or substitute turkey, chicken, pork, whatever), but I didn’t feel cheated by the amount of meat, and it lets you stretch your meat further.  This was lunch leftovers all week for me, and I didn’t get sick of it, which is a miracle in and of itself. [Read more…]

Tex Mex Breakfast Casserole

It is a truth universally acknowledged that I am a super lazy breakfast casserole maker.  Which is why I basically refuse to try new recipes, because they all have, like, a billion ingredients (which makes them expensive) and require way too much prep work.  So it’s pretty unusual for me to take on this recipe on a Thursday night for Friday morning department breakfast.

But boy, am I glad I did.

Easy Tex Mex Breakfast Bake

While this requires a tad more prep than my usual recipe (mostly cooking up the potatoes), it was super yummy and totally worth it.  The prep probably only took 30 minutes total, and I was also getting a coffee cake in the oven as well so I could have cut that down a bit with some focus.  The spice mix is awesome, and the tortillas add a great texture along with the black beans.  This is definitely going into my regular breakfast rotation.

tex-mex-breakfast-casserole-potatoes-onions-peppers-cooking-closeup

It’s also worth nothing that this is really doggone healthy as well.  Full of protein and fiber, and weighing in at around 100 calories per serving (assuming a 15-serving pan…probably more like 130 calories per serving if you have hungry people).  It was super filling and stuck with me all morning.  I had a second helping for a late lunch, in fact.

Tex Mex Egg Casserole

I made a few changes to the original recipe, including omitting the bacon out of laziness—also, turkey bacon doesn’t quite have the same effect.  I considered adding ground beef instead, but I was both lazy and cheap.  And honestly it doesn’t need it.  I also left out the cilantro (meh) and added cheese because…duh.  There’s a lot of flexibility in this recipe, so if there’s something you’re dying to add or substitute, go for it.  I’m not the boss of you. [Read more…]

Clean Eating Banana Muffins (gluten-free)

*womp womp*  After the last couple months of travel gluttony, it’s time to get back on track, and these muffins at least have the consolation of being delicious as well as super healthy.

Clean Eating Banana Oat Muffins

In the interest of full transparency, to be truly clean eating you’ll need to omit the chocolate chips from the recipe and use one of the other mix-ins instead (nuts, dried fruit, etc.).  But unless you’re completely following a clean eating diet, the mini chocolate chips do really add something to the muffins so I’d recommend leaving them in.  Because, duh.

clean-eating-banana-oatmeal-muffins-chocolate-chips

I made these on a Sunday night on a whim, and brought them to work the next day.  They were scarfed by my co-workers within a few hours, and got rave reviews.  They’re moist, flavorful, and—best part—insanely fast and easy to make.

clean-eating-banana-oatmeal-muffins

They’re the kind of healthy breakfast that gives you the fiber and protein you need, but still makes you feel like you’re getting a bit of a treat to start the day.  That’s a win in my book.  Add a couple strong espressos and you’re all set.  Bring it on, Monday. [Read more…]

Birthday Vanilla Spice Coke Cake with Salted Peanut Butter Frosting

Every year (minus last year), I make myself a special birthday cake.  I try to pick something that’s really captured my imagination, that seems a bit fancy and more complex than I’d usually convince myself to tackle.  Something special.

This year, for reasons I can’t even quite explain to myself, I made a vanilla spice Coca-Cola cake with salted peanut frosting.

Vanilla Spice Coke Cake with Salted Peanut Frosting

Yes, you read that right.

It’s kind of conceptual…while I’m not a fan myself, boiled peanuts in Coke is considered a Southern delicacy.  Consider this the deconstructed cake version.  But without the weird texture issues.

vanilla-spice-coke-cake-with-salted-peanut-frosting-sliced

It was really a gameday decision.  I’d pored over my whole Pinterest dessert board and nothing was really jumping out at me.  But then I finally got it into my head that this vanilla spice Coke cake was going to be my base.  I’ve never had a traditional Coca-Cola cake, but my understanding is that it’s almost always chocolate.  When I ran across this recipe from Local Milk, I was intrigued…the way the flavor profile was described so beautifully, and as an interesting transition into fall,I decided it had to happen.

vanilla-spice-coke-cake-with-salted-peanut-frosting

But the frosting that went along with it was just way too finicky for my exhausted and busy self to deal with.  I looked at tons of different recipes but nothing really felt right, until I saw this salted peanut frosting.  Since I love all things peanut butter, I was on board right away, and I thought that it would be a fun complement to the cake.  While this was a bit overly sweet for my tastes (or maybe that was because I also ate a gallon of queso, so I felt a bit ill), the flavor was bomb and the cake was insanely moist.

I’ll definitely be revisiting this recipe down the road, and not just for a special occasion—the cake base itself (minus frosting the layers) was super easy and fast.  As you can tell, frosting cakes is not my particular skill set.

So happy birthday to me, and cut yourself a huge slice of cake and pour a Coke! [Read more…]

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Banana Bread

Most normal people would look at a recipe for double chocolate banana bread and think, “hey, that sounds pretty amazing!”

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Banana Bread done

But as we all know, I’m not normal.  So my first thought was, “You know what would make this so much better? Peanut butter chips!”

(weirdly, this is a fairly normal question/answer I have with myself…)

double chocolate peanut butter chip banana bread chips

Healthy?  Nah.  But amazing?  You betcha.

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Banana Bread slice

This is super moist, almost fudgy, and the peanut butter chips take this to a whole new level.  It’s not unhealthy (in fact, most of it’s not bad for you at all), but the peanut butter chips take this over the edge into dessert territory and up the calories and sugar quite a bit.  Totally worth it in my world, though.   [Read more…]

Apricot Linzer Torte

I don’t mind admitting when I’m wrong. And BOY, was I wrong about this.

Apricot Linzer Torte

See, for the past two or three years, basically every time I’ve gotten with my friend Shalya for dinner, the conversation has eventually turned to food (okay, fine, it’s on food 92.5% of the time), and every single time she’s begged me to make a linzer torte.

Apricot Linzer Torte slice

Every single time.  And I always told her she was a weirdo, because who is obsessed with linzer torte, but fine, yes, I’ll make a linzer torte if she comes to my house.  But that day finally came.  And it was glorious.

Apricot Linzer Torte closeup

See, in my (limited) experience, linzer torte is basically just a simple buttery pastry crust with some jam in it, and a lattice topping.  Something that’s fine adorning a bakery case somewhere, but not something that anyone ever really chooses.  Fine, and sturdy, but not setting the world on fire.  Which just goes to show, I have been eating the WRONG LINZER TORTE all my life.

Apricot Linzer Torte slice closeup

This linzer torte recipe is anything but “fine”.  The dough basically punches you in the face with a combination of spices so aromatic my house smelled like heaven.  Pair that moist, tender spiced crust up with slightly chunky apricot jam, and you have a simple and perfect match made in heaven. [Read more…]

Jam Streusel Coffee Cake

This coffee cake is like the Sound of Music in real life.  It’s all about my favorite things.

Jam Streusel Coffee Cake slice

Jam?  Check.  Streusel?  Check.  Excuse to eat dessert for breakfast?  Check.

jam streusel coffee cake jam swirls 2

Coffee cake is kind of a perfect food.  It is easy to whip up and throw in the oven, leaving you to focus on other things.  It can be made the night before if you’re on a tight schedule in the morning.  It’s fancy enough for a brunch or shower.  It CAN even be a dessert.  And this recipe is particularly great, in that the cake itself is lovely and light and moist and fluffy—helped along by the buttermilk, greek yogurt, and extra egg yolks. [Read more…]

Creamy Sweet Corn & Chicken Sausage Pasta

It’s sweet corn season!!!

Creamy Sweet Corn & Sausage Pasta

I was so stoked when my CSA box this week included four ears of sweet corn.  Fresh corn is the best.  It can be a side dish, elevate even the most mundane pasta, and even become a dessert (and yes, you better believe this is happening in the near future).

creamy sweet corn & sausage pasta corn sliced

In fact, I was so excited about the first corn of the season that I actually cooked on a Saturday night.  That may not sound earth-shattering, but anyone who knows me knows that Saturday night is reserved for Chinese food.  Specifically, one of three dishes from House of Chan five minutes from my house.  I call at around 5:02, pick it up 15 minutes later, and am comfortably ensconced on my couch shortly thereafter.  So for me to choose cooking on a Saturday night is pretty major.

Creamy Sweet Corn & Sausage Pasta finished

And this pasta is totally worth it.  The sweet corn, summer squash, and onions meld with the mascarpone, Parmesan, and starchy water to make a comforting yet not heavy-feeling chunky sauce that covers the noodles and sausage for the perfect pasta marriage.  Add a little fresh basil and I’m in heaven.  The fact that it all came together in less than half an hour?  Even better. [Read more…]

%d bloggers like this: