We are thick in holiday season and I couldn’t be more excited for the upcoming break. I’m excited to chill and cook leisurely in fluffy socks.
This recipe is on my to-make-again list because it is so good and chill to make. In the world of gratins and scalloped potatoes there is a lot of controversy as to how you make them. A lot of recipes call for simply adding the potatoes to a casserole dish and then pouring cheese and heavy cream on top of the potatoes. I disagree with this method in an incredibly strong way. While it requires an extra step and admittedly isn’t as easy, a roux (a.k.a. a cheese sauce) must be made. This way there is no coagulation, just a silky smooth and tasty cheesy experience.
I feel like the big thing during Thanksgiving cooking is oven space/availability. So I always suggest for people to make a few things that can be made on the stove top and a few things that can be made ahead. The timing is sometimes stressful but always doable. Not all of us have double ovens!
One dish I love at Thanksgiving (and honestly any other time, too), is macaroni and cheese. I actually prefer the stovetop variety because it’s usually creamier and faster to make.
For this post, I teamed up with French’s® Crispy Jalapeños. THEY ARE SO GOOD. You’re probably pretty familiar with their Crispy Onions, which I also love but their Crispy Jalapeños definitely deserve a place at your Thanksgiving table, too.
This blog post started off so innocently. I was all like, “I’m going to make some ultra fluffy mashed potatoes.” And then…cut to me, like, three recipes in and still not super satisfied with the results.
Here’s the thing that you learn with Googling “How to Make Fluffy Mashed Potatoes”: everyone and their mom has an opinion about the process, potato type, etc. So, I read a lot. And then I asked Josh, who also (surprise!) had a lot to say about potatoes.
Ahhh Italy (part 1)! This was my very first time visiting Italy and it was really, truly a beautiful and memorable experience. I loved Italian culture, the cobblestone streets, aperitivo time, old buildings, shopping and of course, the food.
The first stop on our trip to Italy was to Verona, a small town that literally looked like Epcot straight out of Disney World. As we were walking the streets, I was like this all sort of looks familiar! But this is the legit real thing!
Phew! We are on the home stretch with the kitchen, I just know it. The cabinets have been assembled and are being installed on Wednesday and I couldn’t be more excited. I feel like once they’re in, I’ll be able to see the kitchen come to life. After that it’ll be backsplash and then appliances. I feel like then it’ll start to feel real! I CAN’T WAIT!
What should I make in my new kitchen? I’ve been thinking about it for a long time? Should I make something ambitious like a pretty pie or should it be chill…like breakfast? That is TBD!
Let’s talk about this pot of dreaminess right quick.
I’ve been dreaming about lasagna roll-ups FOR A LONG TIME! Why…I have no idea. I think I’ve been spending a lot of time on the Pinterest and sometimes, when I’m really hungry and, like, haven’t eaten all day, I get mesmerized by those long pins. I saw one of lasagna roll-ups and while they might’ve looked a lil’ trashy, I still wanted them!
Here’s my version! I made an eggplant marinara sauce that was soooo tasty, I wanted to put it on spaghetti squash. I also took some ricotta and added some lemon zest and salt and Italian parsley (basically, I flavored it up!).
I took the cooked lasagna sheets and smeared a bit of ricotta on there, added a spoonful of marinara sauce, cheese and then rolled them up.
Honestly, I thought this was going to be a sloppy mess but the ricotta acts like a glue and makes them stay in tact, on their sides.
If for some reason, they slide around and are acting all loosey-goosey, you could easily just put them seam side down.
I added a baked ‘em and then added a bunch of cheese on top toward the end. They were magical and delicious and fun to eat and look at.
Meatballs might be my favorite food in the entire world. I strive to eat them ALL THE TIME. It doesn’t always work out but I really do try.
I eat healthy ones when I’m vibing that paleo/Whole 30 lifestyle.
I like legit ones that I like to think I would eat if I lived in the movie Goodfellas.
And then there are these fine things: eggplant veggie meatballs.
You can serve them to all your friends who don’t like meat but also don’t like fake meat. Also people who like meat love them too.
If you know me then you know that I was LATE to the eggplant game. I lived my life for years hating it but I love it SO much now. This sabich is still one of my favorite things to eat and the thing I love most on that sandwich is the deng harissa eggplant—it’s too good!
These meatballs come together pretty easily.
We do have an extra step and that’s cooking the eggplant down a bit and then blending it all up in a food processor with a bunch of other delicious things.
I like to use a non-stick pan for this so that I don’t end up with crumbly-broken meatballs. These are definitely more fragile than your traditional meatball.
I served this over cauliflower puree and pesto and it was the perfect healthy meal. If you’re looking to cut down on some time, serve it with store-bought pesto and some sautéed cauliflower rice.
Amelia’s favorite food is pizza. Whenever we walk in through the door with a big square flat box, she always gets SO pumped because she knows exactly what it is. We don’t feed her whole slices of pizza because we’re not monsters but Josh does give her a piece or two of the crust and she LOOOOVES IT.
I actually love making pizza at home because it’s super easy and I can make it exactly how I like it: on the lighter, healthier side.
There is still cheese. A lot of cheese. But I like the veggies I select. In this case: blistered cherry tomatoes, corn and lots of basil and crushed red pepper.
Instead of a normal tomato sauce, which you could totally still do, I made a quick arugula basil pesto with walnuts and smothered that on the pizza crust.
It already feels like the dog days of summer…you know those drawn out, loooong days where the sun feels like it’ll never go down and give us a much needed break from the sun. I’ve been living in sunscreen and a hat and sunglasses when I go for my sprints with Amelia because the sun is not our skin’s friend!
The past few weeks, with the weather heating up and all, I was sort of struggling to find new things that were interesting and healthy-ish. But luckily as I was griping to Joshua—my favorite brainstorming partner—and he suggested I make a sabich! I’d never had one before but once I did a heavy Googling session, I was totally sold.
Sabich is a Iraqi-Israeli sandwich (you can read about their history here—RIP Lucky Peach!) that consists of pan-fried eggplant, hard boiled egg, hummus…all eaten in a pita. It’s typically eaten for breakfast (hence the iced coffee pictured) and it is SO good. It’s totally acceptable to eat this breakfast, lunch or dinner.
For this post, I teamed up with Ozery Bakery. If you’re unfamiliar with their bread, it is SO good and soft.
My weekend was so fun! There was a lot of running around. I first arrived in Florida to spend a day or so with my mom and then I flew to Maryland for the day to visit some Jersey cows and then I returned to Florida to spend Mother’s Day with the fam, it was a lot. But it was worth it!
When I got back and checked the mail, I was super excited to see my friend Kate’s new book LOVE REAL FOOD. Do you know her blog? Whenever I need a delicious vegetarian recipe, I always go there. And Cookie (her dog) is so adorable, I want to squeeze her. If you follow Kate on Insta Stories/Snapchat you know that Cookie is as mischievous as Amelia and they very similar in their ambitions for stealing all blog creations. I don’t blame them.
This enchilada recipe is from her new book and it is SO good. I ate it for lunch yesterday and am eating the leftovers as we speak.
The filling is super easy to throw together because it’s roasted sweet potato and poblano peppers, mixed with canned black beans and a bit of sour cream. You could definitely use yogurt, if you wanted to make it a bit healthier.
The tortillas are whole wheat but you can absolutely use corn tortillas, if you like.
I feel like this week is my week of giving you practical thangs to eat (see: Monday and Wednesday)!
I love gawking at those crazy cheese boards all over Instagram but realistically most of us won’t make one of those. Or maybe we will but it’ll be for a big party or around the holidays when we have twenty people over.
But sometimes I want to eat a cheese plate for dinner but it’s just Josh and me. Or maybe it’s just for a girlfriend/dude friend and me. Or just me and my mom.
I could eat appetizers for dinner and do all the time (especially when Josh is working late or out with his friends and I’m on my own).
Seriously, me wanting to eat an appetizer for dinner is Josh’s worst nightmare. Nothing makes him give me a gigantic eyeroll more than when I tell him, “I’m not really that hungry, I kinda just wanna snack.”NO. He is a meal person. I understand. Most of the time I am too but sometimes I just wanna eat this!
For him, this type of situation constitutes as pre-gaming.
Regardless, I figured I’d share how I build a cheese plate perfect for two:
Ok, so the main objective when I go to the store for something like this is to NOT spend a million dollars.
1. Two cheeses. I like to pick two cheeses that are complementary but opposites. One soft cheese and one hard cheese.
For this plate, I went with a an awesome Irish cheddar (for an affordable/delicious option, I love Kerry Gold cheddar—so good!).
The one soft cheese is from Boursin (it’s another affordable/delicious option). But you could also do brie, goat cheese, camembert. (If you’re feeling baller-istic, I love Epoisses.)
2. Nuts. You only need really one kinda nut snack situation. My favorite are macrona almonds. They’re Spanish and fancy and delicious. The bulk-bin is perfect for the right amount of nuts.
3. Carbs. You need a vehicle for that cheese. On this particular day I had grissini/breadsticks so I included those. But these rosemary salted crackers were also a great option. I think one cracker and one bread item is good.
4. Something pickled. Or sweet. Or both. I went pickled on this particular day so that meant corichons, olives and sweet drop peppers (they’re SO GOOD!). The olive bar at a grocery store is your best bet because you can buy exactly the amount that you want/need.
Some sweet options would be dried apricot, honey, dried cranberries, fresh fruit (apricots, pears, etc.) and/or jams.