Cranberry Walnut Cookies

DSC02529 2I spent a very snowy Saturday afternoon baking these white chocolate,  cranberry and walnut cookies for two holiday parties.  My mom often makes a similar recipe this time of year, so there is something about cranberries and white chocolate that always reminds me of Christmas. Walnuts or macadamia nuts (your choice) add the perfect amount of texture and savory to this recipe.  The below recipe yields roughly 2 dozen cookies. I doubled it, and highly recommend baking a larger batch if you can bring them to work or another event, as they go fast!

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You Will Need:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup walnuts or macadamia nuts, chopped
  • parchment paper

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Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. With an electric mixer, cream the butter and both sugars together until smooth. Add the vanilla and egg, mixing well.

3.  Sift together the flour and baking soda. Spoon the flour mixture gradually into the creamed sugar mixture.

DSC025244.  Stir in the cranberries, white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts. Drop by heaping spoonfuls, about 2 tablespoons, onto the prepared baking sheets, 2 inches apart.

DSC025265.  Bake until lightly golden on top and the edges are set, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on the sheet about 5 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

6.  Eat and enjoy! If baking ahead of time, be sure to store cookies in an airtight container or bag.

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Happy Holiday Baking! xo

*Recipe adapted from Food Network

Southern-Style Baked Beans with Braised Pork Belly

We’ve had quite the chilly week up in the northeast, with temperatures only guaranteed to get colder over the coming weekend. If you’re looking for a warm and filling meal with little to no prep time, look no further.

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You Will Need:

  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 1 can (425 g) navy beans or other white bean, rinsed and dried
  • 1 can (425 g) red kidney bean or other red bean variety, rinsed and dried
  • 1-2 lbs pork belly, skin removed and cut into small 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2/3 cup of molasses
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 1/2 cup water

baked beans

Directions:

  1. Set oven to 325˚F.  In a large oven-safe pot (a dutch oven is ideal for this), add EVOO, onion, garlic, and pork belly over medium high heat.  Cook until pork belly is slightly browned on all sides, and onions are translucent, about 5 -7 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, mix together molasses, brown sugar, black pepper, mustard powder, chili powder, cloves, and paprika.  Add the mixture, as well as the beans, to the dutch oven or pot.  Pour the water over the top to make sure the meat and beans are covered, and stir everything together well so that the sauce is well integrated.
  3. Place the pot into the oven covered and cook for 2 hours.  Remove lid, stir, and cook for an additional 30 minutes uncovered.
  4. Serve with warm bread or on its own and enjoy!

 

Wishing you all a warm and happy weekend! xo

Cowboy Casserole

We’ve had quite the chilly week up here in the Northeast, with temps in the city only reaching into the 50s most days.  Without any travel plans, Josh and I decided to spend our Saturday having a  scary movie marathon at home.  We took to Pinterest to decide our dinner menu, knowing we wanted to find a recipe for something warm and comforting.  This “Cowboy Casserole” caught Josh’s eye, as “Cowboy” is a childhood (and into adulthood) nickname of his affectionately coined by his father.  I added a couple ingredients like the peppers to give the recipe a bit more kick, but this was definitely a winner that we will make again.

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(Serves 4-6 people)

You Will Need:

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 small green jalepeno peppers, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 can whole kernel corn, drained (I actually only used about 2/3 of the can)
  • 1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 4 tbsp sour cream
  • 1 package (30 oz) of tater tots (we used “crispy crowns” – sort of round flat disc shaped)
  • Black pepper and kosher salt

Directions:

  1. Let tater-tots thaw for about an hour before you begin prep to ensure they cook through.
  2. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Add onions, peppers and garlic to a large sauté pan with 1 tbsp EVOO over medium high heat.  Simmer about 2-3 minutes, until onions become translucent.  Add beef, and cook until browned.
  3. Meanwhile, mix milk, sour cream, and cream of mushroom soup together until fully integrated and smooth.
  4. Drain meat mixture and set aside in a bowl.  Add corn, 1 cup of cheddar cheese, salt & pepper to taste, and mushroom soup mixture to the meat, stirring well. cowboy3 (I’ll admit, it doesn’t look too appetizing at this stage, but hang in there!)
  5. In a greased casserole dish (ours was an 11 x 7 dish, but a 9 x 13 works too), cover bottom of dish with first layer of tater tots, add a layer of the meat and cheese mixture, followed by another layer of tots and repeat, ending with a final layer of tater tots.  I ended up with two layers – tots, meat, tots, meat, tots.  Finish by adding the final cup of cheddar cheese sprinkled over the top. cowboy1
  6. Cook the casserole for about 30 minutes covered with foil.  Remove foil and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes.  I ended up cranking the heat to 400 for a final 5-10 minutes to get the tots on top extra crispy.
  7. Serve and enjoy! We used a bit of our favorite hot sauce on top to really boost the flavor, but it’s definitely not needed.

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Wishing you all a lovely day, xo!

Recipe adapted from Key Ingredient

Tomato, Lemon & Caper Salmon with Cauliflower Mash

dinner1Hello all! I’ve missed you all, I really have.  Luckily, I had a bit of time this week to plan a meal and share with you all! Last night, I tried out this delicious salmon recipe (modified from Giada DeLaurentiis’s here)  and low-carb mash recipe for Josh and me.  Although he seemed to be a bit off-put by the cauliflower mash initially (rather than his regular starchy potatoes), I think in the end he loved the healthier option! The salmon came out so tender and juicy, and Josh and I agreed the capers really made the dish. Both recipes are easy and healthy, making it the perfect weeknight combo.  I will definitely be making both of these recipes again.

 

FOR THE SALMON:

Ingredients

You Will Need:

  • 1 (5 ounces each) salmon fillets
  • 1 tbsp EVOO
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp of Capers
  • 1 chopped shallot
  • Juice from 1 squeezed lemon
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400˚F.  Dice tomatoes, and combine tomatoes, capers, lemon juice, EVOO, salt, pepper, thyme and oregano.  Ingredients2
  2. Place each filet of salmon in the center of your foil square, wrapping the ends to create a boat or canoe shape.  Spoon mixture over the top of fish inside the foil, then wrap the foil loosely over the top of the fish, sealing all ingredients inside. Don’t wrap too tightly though – make it a loose canopy over the fish so that there is room for the fish to steam.  spoon and wrap
  3.  Place foil fish boats onto a baking sheet, and cook in the oven for about 20-25 minutes.  Carefully unwrap fish and serve!

 

FOR THE CAULIFLOWER MASH:

You Will Need:

  • 1 head of cauliflower, with the florets chopped off
  • About 1/4 cup of milk, cream, butter, or whatever you generally use in mashed potatoes to make them your way
  • Salt and black pepper
  • I add a few pinches of garlic powder

 

Directions:

  1. Steam or boil cauliflower until a bit overcooked and very tender.  I use my pasta-pot insert as a steamer, putting about 3 cups of water in the bottom of the pot with a bit of EVOO and salt, and then placing the lid over it.  cmash1
  2. Once cauliflower is cooked, use either a potato masher or a food processor to blend and mash the potatoes with the cream, cheese, butter, and seasonings as you please.  I started with a potato masher, but then ended up bringing out the cuisinart to finish the job and get the creamy texture I was looking for.   cmash collage

 

And that’s that! I told you it was an easy meal 🙂  Serve, and enjoy!

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I hope you all have a lovely weekend, xo!

 

Homemade Croutons

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Hello all! Sorry it’s been a little while.  We’ve had quite the full calendar these past few weeks, with no end in sight for the rest of September.  Between the Jewish holidays, birthday parties, bar mitzvahs, and weddings, we’re quite the busy pair! That being said, I truly hope this doesn’t feel like it’s a cop-out post to anyone.  I know I owe you a REAL blog post soon, but this staple recipe will have to suffice for now.

Shockingly enough, last night was the first time I EVER attempted to make croutons at home! They are so easy and quick to make, I’ll never use store-bought again.  To make the croutons, I used leftover challah bread from the weekend (for Sunday brunch we ate toasted slices of challah with our eggs-over-easy to sop up the gooey goodness, and then made paninis using challah with turkey, bacon, tomato and cheddar – it’s such a versatile bread to have around the house!).  You don’t need a lot of bread at all for this recipe, and French bread would also make great croutons.

You Will Need:

  • Day-old bread
  • EVOO
  • Freshly ground S&P
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Garlic powder

Directions:

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I hope you’re all enjoying your start to September! xo