Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Lucious Lemon Ricotta Muffins


So I had extra ricotta from the lasagna I made Sunday and I had no idea what to do with it. I searched for recipes and found these little babies. I adapted these from Giada's De Laurentiis's recipe. Her recipe had almond extract,which I love,but I didn't have any. I did however have lemon extract. I love lemon and there was already lemon zest in it so it was perfect. I used that instead. I also didn't have almonds so I omitted. whatever- cook with what you have right? I also ended up cutting the amount of sugar in half. They tasted great without it. I also added this awesome strawberry preserves from the Loveless Cafe ( what's up Nashville????)The combination of lemon and strawberries was delish. If you have fresh fruit by all means add it in! Can I just say these may be my new guilty pleasure. They are a cross between a scone and a muffin. The lemon extract was a nice added touch to the batter. To bump the yum factor up a notch I made a lemon icing with confectionary sugar and lemon juice. People- make this icing. Tart.Smooth.Delicious. These are great for breakfast or a brunch for a crowd. They would be cute as mini muffins also. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pork Meatball Bánh Mì (Translation: Awesome Asian Meatball Sandwich)

Ain't that a pretty Picture...

A Banh Mi is a yummy delicious sandwich that have been rising in popularity in the past few years in the U.S. I have seen them on food trucks and cooking shows on the Food Network. Banh Mi basically means Vietnamese baguette sandwiches. They usually have pickled carrots and cucumbers, cilantro and thinly sliced meat. I saw a recipe for pork meatballs on a baguette in a sort of "Banh Mi" style. I had never tried this so I figured I would go for it. The ground pork happened to be on sale at Whole Foods ( Score!!) and I had most of the condiments at home already. Toby and I found this awesome baguette at Whole Foods so this was starting off successful.

Monday, November 28, 2011

One of THE BEST Lasagnas I have Ever Made


So I racked my brain all day Sunday trying to figure out meals Toby and I can eat together. To some of you this may sound crazy. To others that know my husband ... well.. you get it. The problem isn't eating together necessarily.... We eat together almost every night if we are at home together. The problem is eating the same thing at dinner time. Toby could eat the same thing every day, three times a day for a year and he probably wouldn't care. He likes what he likes ( pizza, cheese steaks, steak, salmon etc) and I am ok with that. I am always wanting to try new recipes, but he isn't really into my likes ( HOLY MEXICAN!)We are both used to making dinners for one from living on our own and we know what we like. Being newlyweds, I really want to make an effort to cook more dinners Toby likes so we can eat the same thing.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

What to do with Thanksgiving Leftovers? Potato Croquettes

My Family's Favorite Leftover
So this has to be one of my family's favorite thanksgiving leftovers. Potato Croquettes! Use leftover mashed potatoes in these fried balls of goodness. You can also add yummy things to these for a surprise center- pieces of left over cheese, prosciutto, bacon,scallions. Whatever you want.

Friday, November 25, 2011


Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! I would love to talk to you all about my family's thanksgiving dinner. We had 2 turkeys this year, brussel sprouts and bacon, glazed carrots, mashed potatoes, cheesy potato casserole, sweet potatoes, etc. I mean seriously? That is alot of food. We were so stuffed when we left. Here is some of what I ate!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving- Appetizer Time Asparagus Crostini

Well, this was another almost thanksgiving disaster.

Thanksgiving- Appetizer Time! Stuffed Mushrooms


Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! This is one of my favorite holidays because it involves mashed potatoes. One of my favorite all time meals. My job this Thanksgiving was to make the appetizers. And what a wild ride this took me on. I waited until the last possible moment to buy the groceries. By the last possible moment I mean THANKSGIVING MORNING. I drove around for an hour to 5 different super markets and all were closed. I have my sister on the phone calling up other local markets and finally I found one small specialty shop that was open. THANK GOD. The only problem was that they had nothing that I wanted to make my appetizers with. Ok- time to improvise. I felt like I was on that show Chopped. So I quickly gathered groceries and ran home because I only had an hour to cook!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Breakfast for Dinner- Nutella Stuffed French Toast

Best ingredients EVER
Ok- I know breakfast for dinner is not an inventive idea. Plenty of people enjoy breakfast for dinner. I have never been one of those people. I like breakfast, but I am not in love with the idea of breakfast. I invited Kait over for dinner Sunday night and I thought about what I could make all day. For some reason nothing was sounding good to me. It was possible I was being lazy, but nothing was coming to me. Then- I Had It!!! Breakfast for Dinner. I had been craving french toast lately, but I only had regular wheat bread. Bleh. Good for sandwiches, but not french toast!I toyed with the idea of cream cheese and strawberry stuffed french toast. That idea led me to- Nutella Stuffed French Toast. So maybe this isn't even breakfast for dinner. Dessert for dinner? Probably closer to what we ate. Kait and I stuffed ours with strawberries also and it reminded me of the nutella and strawberry crepes at the Creperie. Love the combination.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Appetizers Under 100 Calories!! Eat calories elsewhere!

So I have been in charge to make appetizers this year for Thanksgiving and I came across this Cooking Light article. I love this magazine and love their recipes. I find that many of them are just as good as their full fat counterparts. Check these out and see if you will make any on Thursday!Let me know if you do! I will have a full report of what I make on Thursday( with pictures!)

My Mom’s Equally as Famous Gravy (no not Brown Gravy)

I find this picture HILARIOUS
 So when I say gravy I mean tomato sauce…... like served on top of pasta.  People always fight over whether you call tomato sauce gravy or sauce etc. Most Italians I know call that red, velvety goodness served with pasta gravy. I grew up calling it gravy so gravy it is. Yes I call the brown gravy served with turkey in just a few more days gravy also (incase you were wondering.)

On Sunday when my Mom and I made our meatballs we also made a gravy. This sauce was enough to for about 16 meatballs in it and two pounds of pasta- Just enough to serve a small army probably. My Mom said it is just as much work to make a small sauce as it is a large one so it is easier to make one large sauce and freeze the rest for another time. It makes sense. I will use that advice. Also- I prefer a lot of sauce with my pasta because I love it, but traditionally in Italy pasta is not drenched with sauce. Go with what you like.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The World's Best Meatball Recipe ( From my Mom!)

My Awesome Mom!

So my mom's meatballs are my favorite in the world. I know many other people feel the same way. I have never had a meatball that was better either in a restaurant or at someone's house.Growing up ( like many other Italian kids) my mom made meatballs every Saturday. I would wake up to the smell of meatballs that were being fried up with love. That would be my breakfast - and I loved it.  I thought this would be a great time to do some cooking with my mom and share her recipe with everyone that way you are able to make great meatballs like her. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Outside the Kitchen: Nick's on Broadway...again

Since I have not stopped talking about Nick’s on Broadway since I went a few weeks ago Darci, Jen and I decided to have an after work outing there so they could experience it for the first time. It was another rainy day in Rhode Island, but we didn’t care. We were determined to make it to the restaurant and eat an amazing meal.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Most Amazing Tortilla Soup

Warm & Delicious!
 I was super excited to try this recipe because ,well like you all know I love Mexican food and since it is getting colder a warm soup seemed to be the best way to stay warm and cozy.

I already had a good amount of the ingredients for this in my pantry and what I had to buy at the market wasn’t expensive at all so that was perfect. I omitted chicken because I don’t love chicken in soup, but the original recipe had it. I wish I added one more can of black beans so if you don’t use any meat I would suggest using two cans of beans. I went a bit crazy at Trader Joe’s when I was shopping for this and got an awesome guacamole kit, which I am hoping to buy every week. It had everything I needed and it was so cute all in one package. I also bought a mirepoix mix because I was too lazy to chop up onions, celery and carrots. The recipe didn’t call for it, but I thought it would make a nice addition. Like almost all recipes I use I just add whatever I have on hand that makes sense and make substitutions when necessary. 
Seriously- how cute is this??

Crispy Chicken Parmesan for Jon's Birthday Celebration

 I have had a long standing promise to Jon Pereira since June that I would make him Chicken Parmesan and have yet to fulfill my promise. Jon reminded me that it was his birthday yesterday and that it was the perfect time to make him this amazing Chicken Parmesan. I’ve been dragging my feet to long on this so Jon will have Chicken Parmesan on his birthday. What a great birthday present!


Monday, November 14, 2011

My New Favorite Sinful Drink

My new favorite winter treat I tried this weekend has to be Starbuck's salted caramel hot chocolate. Holy crap. This is simply devine. It is chocolatey and the caramely ( yeah I know that's not a word ). The slight sprinkle of sea salt totally puts it over the edge. And for all those people who don't like drinking their calories (except for alcohol of course) I got this "skinny" which means it was made
with sugar free syrup and skim milk. You can't even tell the difference. Calorie counters rejoice!

Spinach & Artichoke Mac and Cheese

I LOVE mac & cheese. It is one of my go to meals mainly because you can add whatever you like to it or whatever you have on hand and it will turn out awesome. I made this recipe the night before because I was having dinner with Brittany ( my best friend, almost sister, wife in a past life etc.) I haven't seen her in awhile so I was excited to see her new pad, new dog Marley and to eat this yummy concoction.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Wine Tasting Weekend with the Girls in Long Island,New York

So this weekend I made the trip from Rhode Island to Long Island,NY for a weekend of food and wine tasting. Friday morning I loaded up my suitcase ( brought a big luggage because I knew I would be coming home with more than what I came with. ) I caught the Ferry from New London,CT and an hour and twenty minutes later I was in New York! This part of Long Island was beautiful. A quaint, beachy town that is bustling in the summer and sleepy in the winter.
My First View of Long Island

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Easiest Caramel Corn Recipe (Made with stuff from your Pantry!)

Look at that sweet goodness!

Toby woke up Sunday morning with a hankering for caramel corn. Seeing I now have this awesome blog we figured we would attempt to make it ourselves. Trying to use whatever we had in our pantry we found a recipe that fit exactly what we had and Boom! We had Caramel Corn. I didn't realize until half way through the recipe was for honey popcorn, but it tasted just like caramel corn and hey it uses no corn syrup so health nuts rejoice! Toby has become somewhat famous for his home made popcorn. I cannot tell you the last time we bought microwave popcorn. To be honest this is 1,000 times better!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

The Finished Product! Delish!

Need I say more? I like red velvet in any form. Much like Mexican food, if I see it on the menu at any restaurant there is a 99% chance I will eat it. Red velvet cupcakes,red velvet cake. This is the first time I have seen red velvet brownies and what better time like the present to make these babies. I saw them on Stumble Upon and for those of you that have not been on this website. Stop now. Don't sign up. You can spend hours "stumbling" and it is horrible for productivity. However- If you do happen to join stumble upon please stumble my humble blog ( shameless plug.)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Slow Roasted Pork Carnitas

I recently discovered using a slow cooker  to make meals ( thanks Renee!) Well really, I stole the slow cooker that Toby got for Christmas..... hey he can use it still. I am newly obsessed with the food blog "What's Gabby Cooking thanks to my Zite app on my iPad. We oogle her recipes at work all the time and she makes about 50 different types of guacamole. This chick is good in my book.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Mario Batali's Fried Zeppoles

Fried Zeppole with Chocolate Espresso Sauce

Happy Monday Everyone! I saw Mario make these little babies on The Chew a few weeks ago. They looked so great and reminded me of little donut holes. The chocolate espresso dipping sauce didn't hurt either. The process to make these started Saturday when I was already in dough making mode from our pasta making. I made this in my kitchen aid mixer,which made this fairly easy. You are supposed to let the dough sit overnight in the fridge so if you are going to make this please plan for that. The dough is very loose so it needs time to set overnight.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Fresh Pasta Making 101

Our Pasta !

I got the idea to make fresh pasta from a class I went to with Jen and Darci at Trio Restaurant in Narragansett,RI. We made butternut ravioli and they were amazing. This class totally inspired me and made it look easy to do( or easier than I thought it would be anyway.) So this weekend Toby and I embarked on a new era in our cooking. Fresh Pasta. The dough was the part I was most worried about. The chef at our class made it clear if it was too wet it would not bind and too dry it would taste good, but would be hard to handle. Geez- Dammed if you do,dammed if you don't.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Outside the Kitchen: Spark

Toby & I started Friday night date night when we got married and so far it has been such a blast. We switch off every Friday with who plans the date. We keep it a secret until we get to the place which always keeps it exciting! So if you don't know it is Newport Restaurant Week November 4th to the 13th. I planned last night's date and decided to try out Spark. I have heard rave reviews( thanks Darci) and figured it would be a great time to check it out. During restaurant week you get a three course meal for $30 per person. This makes it a great time to check out restaurants you have never been to or more expensive ones you usually don't go to ( 22 Bowens anyone??)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Outside the Kitchen : Nick's on Broadway

So can I just say how excited I am to blog about where I went to dinner last night? My friend Kaitlin and I had a date at Nick’s on Broadway in Providence, RI. I have wanted to eat here for so long and just never made it to the dining room. Might I add I did some reading on Nick’s website today and I found out that recently, Nick’s has been named “One of the Worlds Best Restaurants” by Fodor’s International Travel Guide for the third year in a row. One of the WORLD’S best restaurants in the smallest state in the United States! I don’t know about you, but I am proud. Let’s not forget that the head chef Derek has been nominated (twice) for a James Beard Rising Star Award.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Four Years of Happiness

On Our Honeymoon in Australia

Just Became Mrs Johnson

I wanted to take a quick moment to wish my husband "Happy 4 Year Anniversary!" ( Of being together, not married since we just got married two months ago yesterday.) We were laughing about this last night, but our first date was to the Olive Garden. We chose the Olive Garden because when we first met we both said we have ever gotten one thing there- The Garlic & Herb Chicken Con Broccoli. So we went there on our first date and we both had it. :) Toby, thank you so much for supporting me every day ( especially with this blog) and thank you for putting up with me taking pictures of food every day and making you help! Love you!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Amazing Mozzarella & Strawberry Jam Grilled Cheese

Messy,but delish. 

Toby said this picture was creepy. I like it so I included it! 

The perfect side to tomato soup is of course... Grilled Cheese! There are so many different ways you can make a grilled cheese. Some of my favorite combos are:
  • Brie and Apple
  • Sharp Cheddar and Tomato
  • Fontina,Pear & Prosciutto 
  • Spinach,Artichoke and Swiss

Chef Michael Symon's Spicy Tomato & Blue Cheese Soup

I love foods that make us warm when the weather gets increasingly colder. Since Rhode Island has had snowfall already (it wasn't even November yet?!?!)  I figured I would add a recipe that I made from The Chew. Chef Michael Symon made this amazing spicy tomato soup ( spiced up with Sriracha ), but you could use regular ole hot sauce or whatever you want or if you don't like spicy things don't use it at all. A great contrast to the hot sauce is the blue cheese that you stir into the soup and crumble on top. As I ate it I thought crumbled bacon would have been a great addition. How did Michael Symon not come up with that? He is all about Pork. Oh well.. anyway I like this recipe because it is super easy to make. 

Quesadilla Casserole

Quesadilla Casserole before cutting

My Piece ( I had two)  :)

So there is one thing I like as much as pasta. MEXICAN. I love Mexican food. My husband Toby makes fun of me because I could literally eat it at every meal and if we are out to breakfast and there is a breakfast burrito on the menu there is a 99.9%  chance I will be getting it. I don't know what I like most about Mexican Food- maybe its the gooey cheese, the spiciness of the meat or the crispness of the tortillas. Whatever it is I love it.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Mario Batali's Spaghetti alla Carbonara

My Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Ok so I am Italian ( some may say Uber Italian) and I love pasta. I could eat it every day for multiple meals. Low Carb is simply not in my vocabulary. So I have always wanted to make Spaghetti Carbonara, but have always been too intimidated by the raw egg and it has stopped me from ever trying to make it. Cut to last week and I decided enough was enough after watching my new obsession - ABC's The Chew. They have amazing recipes and tips every day from great chefs like Mario Batali ( Italy's Food Ambassador) and Michael Symon (Ambassador to Bacon.)

Welcome to my Blog!

Hello Foodies Everywhere!

I am super excited to introduce myself to all of the people out there who LOVE food as much as I do. Many people have told me I talk about food day and night- what I am cooking and eating and where I am dining (no food subject is safe). I love new food experiences and trying new things. I have even started photographing food I have eaten while traveling. Hey you never know when you may want to look at the picture you took of that killer cupcake in London that you devoured in 30 seconds (it really was amazing.)

Food is my passion and what I truly love doing. I want this blog to be about amazing recipes that everyone can make and delicious dishes I have tried at local eateries and from my travels. I especially want to thank my friends and amazing husband for supporting my love for food and encouraging me to start this blog. This is the start of something really great. Let's get cooking!!