appetizer or dessert?

apple crisp baked brie

Are you ready for Turkey Day? I hope so! While it’s a given to have the bird and all the fixings ready to go as well as pies planned for dessert, do you also put out a little something to snack on before dinner?

apple crisp topping

I think the perfect appetizer bite is sweet and savory. These bacon wrapped dates do the trick. And Jessica’s stuffed mushrooms have the savory part down! This recipe for apple crisp baked brie definitely fits the sweet and savory bill. Part gooey melty cheese and part holiday favorite apple crisp, the combination is great on crackers or sliced baguette.

there is brie under there

apple crisp baked brie
printer-friendly recipe
recipe adapted from Betty Crocker
serves: 6

1- 16 ounce round Brie cheese
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 small to medium apples, diced

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease a 10- to 12-inch round pie plate or baking dish with cooking spray or butter. Place round of Brie in middle of pie plate. In a medium bowl, mix oats, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and pecans. Add butter, and use your hands to incorporate the softened butter into the dry mixture. (You just want everything to be moist.) Mix in the apples. Spread apple mixture over top of Brie and around sides. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the crisp topping is browned. Serve hot with crackers or toasted bread.

Posted in appetizer, cheese, random, thanksgiving, vegetarian | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

veggie tales

With Thanksgiving just a week away, I thought I’d put together a list of some vegetable-based side dishes that you might want to include this year. A previous round up post can be found here.

brown sugar pecan sweet potato casserole on quinoa stuffed mushrooms on fowl full of fall so sweet Roasted okra on twothirtyate.con sauteed kale with bacon Sriracha honey glazed squash on twothirtyate.con Green bean casserole on spiced roasted

My favorite veggie side dish at Thanksgiving is Brussels sprouts. I like them roasted or with bacon. This recipe is a new twist, adding a holiday favorite to these little baby cabbages.

cranberry brussels sprouts

cranberry brussels sprouts
printer-friendly recipe
serves: 4-6

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, halved and sliced thinly
1 pound brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and halved
Salt and pepper
1 cup fresh cranberries
2 tablespoons white or brown sugar or maple syrup
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, optional

Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook until translucent. Stir in the brussels sprouts and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook the brussels sprouts until they start to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the cranberries, sweetener and vinegar, if using. Cover the pan and cook until the cranberries start to pop, stirring occasionally. Taste for seasoning again before serving.

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someone’s grandmother’s recipe

brown sugar pecan sweet potato casserole on

Thanksgiving will be here before we know it and yet Jane and I haven’t really been rolling out the holiday recipes as per usual. Perhaps we’ve been thrown off by the unusually warm weather up until now. Either way, it’s coming and you should add this to the list of things you need to make.

cubes that look like rectangles

Our Aunt Loretta made this recipe once when I was visiting years ago and it’s stuck with me because it was so delightfully delicious. I asked for the recipe over a year ago because I wanted to share it with you. I was convinced that it was my grandmother’s, and when I asked about it, Aunt Loretta replied, “It’s from Better Homes and Gardens. I’m sure it’s someone’s grandmother’s but not yours”.


To whoever’s grandmother’s this recipe belongs to, thank you for sharing.


There are many sweet potato casserole recipes floating around in this world, but this one is topped with a brown sugar pecan crumble that basically melts into a praline on top of a buttery sweet potato layer. It’s sweet like a dessert and you won’t be able to get enough.


If there do happen to be leftovers, you may find yourself standing with the Tupperware in hand, refrigerator door open as you eat just one more spoonful.

Then another.

Then another.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

brown sugar pecan sweet potato casserole on

brown sugar pecan sweet potato casserole
makes 8-10 servings

printer-friendly version

1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup pecans
1/3 cup flour
2 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Peel and cube the sweet potatoes. Cook in just enough water to cover. Cook until fork tender, about 25 min. Drain and return to the pot. Add the sugar, milk, egg, butter, vanilla, and salt. Mash together with a spoon, leaving some of the potatoes chunky. Pour in greased 2 qt baking dish. Mix the remaining ingredients together with your fingers until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly on top. Bake in 350 degree oven for 25 minutes until set. Let cool slightly before serving.

Posted in dinner, eggs, meatless monday, side dish, thanksgiving, vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

the most comforting of all

beef and beer stew on

There are few things so supremely comforting as beef stew. Maybe it’s that it cooks for hours, creating a delicious melding of flavors or that it makes your house smell amazing while it simmers away. Whatever it is, as the chilly days are on their way, you’ll need a good beef stew recipe on hand for when the cold is just too much to handle.


Browning the beef is the most time consuming part, I promise. After that it’s lots of throwing everything in the pot and simmering. Lots and lots of simmering. It’ll smell delicious. You’ll want to just rush ahead and scoop some in a bowl, but leave it be and let it simmer.


pearl onions

I love the addition of the beer into the stew and the depth of flavor it gives the meal, but if you’re worried about it, just substitute more broth to take its place. Looking to add a little something extra when serving? A scoop of mashed potatoes would take this deliciously over the top as the most comforting meal ever.

ready to simmer

beef and beer stew
makes 6 servings

printer-friendly version

2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup frozen pearl onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 ounces dark beer (stout, lager, ale, porter)
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
3 cups beef broth
1 bay leaf
2 medium russet potatoes, cut in 1/2-inch cubes
2 carrots, cut in 1/2-inch slices
8 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 cups frozen peas

Trim any excess fat from the beef and make sure that it’s all roughly uniform in size, cutting any larger pieces you might have. Place the beef in a large bowl or a brown paper bag. Combine the flour, salt, and pepper and sprinkle over the meat. Stir or toss to completely coat the meat. In a large dutch oven or soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Shake and excess flour off of a few pieces of the beef and add them to the pot, making sure not to crowd too many pieces in at once. Brown the meat on all sides and set aside on a paper towel lined plate. Repeat until all the meat has been browned, adding a little additional oil to the pot toward the end if needed. Turn the heat to medium-low and add the garlic and onions. Sautee for a minute until fragrant. Add half of the beer to deglaze the pot, scraping anything from the bottom. Add the beef back to the pot and add the rest of the beer, the tomatoes, beef broth, and the bay leaf. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Add the potatoes, carrots, and mushrooms and continue simmering, uncovered, for 1 hour. Stir the peas, salt, and pepper to taste during the last 10 minutes of cooking. Serve hot.

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noodling about

spicy thai noodles

My next door neighbor (Hi Heather!) shared this delicious recipe for Spicy Thai Noodles with me. I think I’ve professed my love for noodles on this blog, but this super easy recipe is a new keeper around here. It’s easy to dress it up with chopped veggies– I used broccoli slaw this time, but you could use shaved carrots, bean sprouts or even sliced snow peas.

infused sesame oil

I also sauteed some shrimp to top our noodles, but shredded chicken or pork tenderloin would also be lovely additions to this versatile noodle dish. The best part is that you can get all of the ingredients ready in the time it takes to boil the water and cook the pasta. So good!

coated noodles

spicy thai noodles
printer-friendly recipe
serves: 4-6

1 pound linguine noodles
1/2 cup toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1-2 garlic cloves, smashed
1-2″ piece of peeled ginger root
1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes (more or less depending on preferred heat level)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon peanut butter
Optional toppings: broccoli slaw, shredded carrots, crushed peanuts, sesame seeds, bean sprouts, scallions, shredded chicken, sauteed shrimp, etc.

Cook the linguine according to the package directions. Meanwhile, combine the sesame oil, vinegar, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes in a small pan and boil for 2 minutes. Drain the infused sesame oil through a small strainer, reserving the oil. Whisk in the soy sauce, honey and peanut butter into the reserved oil to make the sauce. Toss the sauce with the cooked noodles and top with your choice of toppings.

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three ingredient fix

taco tuesday!

There used to be a show on Food Network called “5 Ingredient Fix“. The premise of the show was that you could make delicious dishes with five ingredients or less. Olive oil, salt and pepper were not included in the 5. Well, I’m going to do two better: THREE ingredient fix!

cilantro lime rice

But actually, these recipes are bases on which to build a Mexican meal. I’ve got crock-pot shredded chicken and cilantro lime rice for you guys, each with just three required ingredients! Use the chicken for tacos or the rice for burrito bowls. The meal options are endless with these easy basic recipes.

shredded mexican chicken

shredded mexican chicken [slow-cooker]
printer-friendly recipe
serves: 6-8

2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 jar of salsa
1 packet of taco seasoning

Combine all of the ingredients in the slow-cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4 hours, until the chicken is cooked through. Shred the chicken with two forks and use for tacos or your favorite Mexican dish.

nice rice

cilantro lime rice
printer-friendly recipe
serves: 4

2 cups long-grain white rice (I used jasmine)
Juice and zest of 1 lime
1/4-1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1 tablespoon butter, optional
Salt and pepper

Cook the rice according to the package directions. Once cooked, fluff the rice with a fork and stir in the lime juice and zest, cilantro, and butter (if using). Add salt and pepper to taste.

Posted in chicken, dinner, rice/grain, slow-cooker | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

gimme some of your tots

Homemade tater tots on

I’ve actually never seen Napoleon Dynamite, so the title of today’s blog means little to me. Alex, however, has said that phrase several times today while I made these. So…there’s that.

Homemade tater tots on
Homemade tater tots on

These homemade tater tots are so much better than you’d expect and super easy to make. Don’t be intimidated by the idea of shaping them. I managed to shape all of the tots before the oven preheated, so it just takes a few minutes. Also, it’s a great thing to have little kids help you with. Your hands get a little messy, but kids like that sort of thing…..right? I have no idea…

Homemade tater tots on

Why make tater tots instead of buying them previously frozen ones? Those ones aren’t all that much quicker and these are, honestly, pretty awesome. They’re light and fluffy on the inside and are made with minimal ingredients, which makes me feel much better about eating them.

Homemade tater tots on

homemade tater tots
makes 2 servings

printer-friendly version

4 small russet potatoes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
olive oil (optional)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Clean and peel the potatoes and place in a large saucepan. Cover with water and heat on high. Cook for 20 minutes or until they are fork tender. Drain and let cool until you can handle them. Grate the potatoes using the largest slot on a box grater or the shredding attachment of a food processor/stand mixer. Mix the potato shreds with the salt, garlic powder, and black better. Form the tater tots with your hands, rolling heaping tablespoons of the mixture into a ball in your hands, then adjusting the edges into a little log. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and drizzle or spray with olive oil if you’d like. Bake for 25 minutes, carefully flipping them over after 10 minutes and again every 5 minutes after so all sides brown. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Posted in meatless monday, paleo, random, snack, vegan, vegetarian | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments