Ricotta-Spinach Dumplings

Light and airy, these ricotta-spinach dumplings are the perfect weeknight dinner after a weekend of splurges.

This dinner does take a little time but the end result is cheesy pillows on a bed of marinara.


To make the dumplings, defrost/cook a frozen package of chopped spinach.  I simply took the spinach out of the freezer, cut a slit on the bag and microwaved for 6 minutes.  Be careful though when squeezing out the liquid – the spinach is hot.  I used a dish towel to squeeze out the water over the sink.

While the spinach is cooking, add your dumpling ingredients into a bowl:  ricotta cheese, flour (I used a gluten-free all-purpose flour), salt, pepper, nutmeg, Parmesan cheese, 2 egg yolks plus a whole egg.

Now would also be a good time to bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Additionally, place the marinara in a large skillet over low heat for the dumplings to rest in after they cook.

Once the spinach is cooked and cooled enough for you to squeeze, add it to the dumpling mixture and mix until combined.

Make the dumplings by plopping (yes, plopping) a tablespoon of the dumpling mixture onto a floured baking sheet.  Gently roll into balls (they won’t be perfect – and that’s okay!).

Once the water comes to a bowl, reduce the heat to medium-low and drop 8 dumplings at a time into the water.  I cooked my dumplings for about 6 minutes.

Remove with a slotted spoon and add to the marinara.  Repeat with the remaining dumplings.

Serve the dumplings with the marinara sauce.

jalapeño-pineapple pizza with bourbon bbq drizzle

I’m not sure when Pizza Sunday became a tradition but I am sure that I don’t want it to end.  This particular pizza recipe comes from one of my favorite bloggers turned cookbook authors.  Her recipes are some of my favorites and I can always count on her for amazing appetizers and fantastic pizza recipes.

For this pizza, I used her favorite pizza crust recipe (also in the book but here’s a link to another pizza crust recipe of hers) subbing bread flour for all-purpose flour.  It was an experiment and it worked phenomenally.  The crust  was tender and doughy without being too thick.   This is our all-time favorite crust.

There isn’t a sauce for this pizza.  Instead the dough is drizzled with olive oil before piling on the caramelized shallots, shredded mozzarella, pineapple chunks, jalapeno slices, feta and a homemade bourbon-vanilla BBQ sauce.

Yes, you read that correctly.  Bourbon-vanilla BBQ sauce.  It was weird and totally fun to eat.  The base of the BBQ sauce is ketchup (duh!) and bourbon.  The secret ingredient is a splash of vanilla extract plus the seeds from a vanilla pod.  So much flavor.  And yes, this pizza is meatless but you totally won’t miss the meat.  And if you’re afraid you will, throw on some bacon or some shredded chicken.  Pepperoni would be tasty, too.

This pizza had so many flavors.  Spicy jalapeno, sweet pineapple, salty feta, bourbon-vanilla BBQ sauce that’s so weird yet so right.  And the perfect pizza crust.

Pizza Sunday, I love you.

Sausage, Cannellini and Tomato Ragout with Rosemary Polenta

It’s starting to feel a little like fall around here!  On Sunday morning, I woke up to cooler temperatures and dare I say, it put me in the mood for comfort food.  You know what I’m talking about, hearty, warm bowls of chili…steaming pots of soup…Dutch ovens full of delicious ingredients that make your house smell divine.

Sausage, Cannellini and Tomato Ragout with Rosemary Polenta is hearty and comforting enough for Sunday supper but it’s also ready in less than 30 minutes making it ideal for a weeknight dinner at home.  It also uses pantry staples (canned beaned, canned tomatoes, polenta) making it a wallet-friendly dinner, too.

I started by breaking up and browning the sausage (I used hot Ialian turkey sausage) in a large skillet.  Once browned, remove from the skillet.  Add in the olive oil and saute the onions for about 3 minutes.  Add in the tomato paste and garlic and cook some more, making sure to stir so that your garlic doesn’t burn.  I chose not to use any red wine in the recipe and instead deglazed the pan with 1/4 cup of chicken stock.  Add in the remaining stock and the rest of the ingredients.  Allow the “stew” to simmer for about 8 minutes (make your polenta during the time) and then add the sausage back into the pan along with the fresh oregano.

For the polenta, simply bring 3 cups of water to a boil.  Slowly stir in the polenta and reduce the heat to low while stirring constantly until thickened.  Remove from the stove and add in a dollop of Greek yogurt, salt and fresh rosemary.

Simply serve the ragout over a bed of polenta.

What are your favorite “fall” foods?


Ginger Garlic Steak Tacos with Pineapple Salsa

We kicked off this past weekend (yes, we’ll be playing catch-up all week) with a double-date!  Our friends Katie and Ryan just renovated their kitchen and during the renovation I proclaimed that I was going to cook in her new kitchen once it was finished.  Well this past Friday, the delivery of their fridge meant one thing – their kitchen renovation was complete.  Funny how the delivery of the fridge happened on the exact day we had planned to have a double-date.

All week I bounced dinner ideas off Big Guy and I finally sent Katie a list of three options.  Turns out we have similar tastes – my top picked ended up being their top pick:  Ginger Garlic Steak Tacos with Pineapple Salsa.  

The night before Big Guy and I prepped the beef marinade so that it would be full of flavor once it came time to fire up the grill.  The marinade is full of wonderful ingredients:

brown sugar
soy sauce
worcestershire sauce
and lots of ginger

The flank steak is sprinkled with salt and pepper before being added to the ginger marinade where it can hang out for up to 24 hours.

On Friday, the only thing I had to do once we arrived was whip up a batch of guacamole and prepare the pineapple salsa.

And I can’t lie – the pineapple salsa was my favorite part of the meal.

The steak was cooked to a perfect medium-rare (thanks, Big Guy and Ryan!) and the salsa was the perfect mix of sweet and savory.  A sprinkle of queso fresco topped each taco.  (Though I would personally use feta if I were to make this again.)

Such a fun double-date – and their kitchen is absolutely stunning – I might just have to invite myself over to cook again soon.



Brown Rice Bowl with Miso, Poached Egg, and Swiss Chard-Radish Slaw

I would never describe myself or Big Guy as “earthy” or “hippie.”  But that is exactly how we described the brown rice bowl with miso, poached egg, and swiss chard-radish slaw.  (p.s. longest recipe title ever.)  Let me set the record straight – “earthy” and “hippie” are not used negatively here.  Promise.

This bowl is creamy, crunchy, salty, savory, earthy (there’s that word again), nutty, bright, yet rich.

The greens (I decided to use swiss chard instead of kale), slices of radish, and green onions are tossed with a mixture of rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce (or tamari) and sugar before being set aside.

Garlic is sauteed in a mixture of butter and sesame oil (yes, your house will smell amazing) and then the rice is added and cooked until browned.

To the cooked rice, add in the veggie mixture.

Now let’s poach your eggs.  Eggs are cracked into a pan and immediately add 1/4 cup water.  Cover and let cook for about 2-3 minutes.  This takes practice – and I’m still perfecting my technique.

The egg is served on top of the rice and veggies along with the miso sauce (miso + rice vinegar + water), a sprinkle of sesame seeds and green onions.

I loved the flavors and the textures and the fact that every bite was different depending on what was on your fork.  Of course my favorite bites included the runny egg yolk and a little bit of the miso sauce.  So good.  So earthy.



Roasted BBQ Drumsticks with Cowboy Beans

All I have remaining on my list of “five things” are chocolate chip cookies.  And cookies are totally happening this weekend.  And they’re going to be chewy and full of chocolate.

I knocked out BBQ chicken earlier this week with Roasted BBQ Drumsticks.  I forget how much I love drumsticks – I typically opt for a chicken thigh.

And making these drumsticks couldn’t be easier.  Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper before roasting for 20 minutes at 450.  While the chicken is roasted, prepare the sauce which is a simple combination of tomato paste, soy sauce (I used tamari), sugar and pepper.  The soy sauce is the secret ingredient in my opinion.  Once the 20 minutes is up, brush one side of the drumsticks with the sauce and bake for 5 more minutes.  Then flip, brush with the remaining sauce and cook another 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

On the side, jazzed up baked beans.  Saute a chopped onion and bell pepper in a little EVOO until softened.  To the veggies you add ketchup, brown sugar, water, molasses, chili powder, salt and paprika.  Allow that to come to a simmer and then add in the pinto beans.  I also roasted up a few asparagus for a little green on the plate.


The chicken was simple but delicious – please use quality chicken – it makes such a difference.  And the beans were my favorite part of the plate.  Sweet yet savory.

Lemon Bars


Spicy Margarita

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Barbecue Chicken



Friday Favorites

After a two-day work week, I’m off again today.  I’m currently en route to one of my best friend’s wedding weekend in which I’m a bridesmaid.  Today I have the bridal luncheon and this evening will consist of the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.  Tomorrow is the BIG DAY!  Happy wedding weekend, Kat!!!!!

And on Sunday, I’m going to celebrate my birthday.  Not really sure what we’re doing but I do know that bubbles and delicious food will be involved.  I’ll share all the weekend fun with you on Monday!

{from town and country magazine}

Here are my favorites from the week:

Favorite Dinner:  Roasted Sweet Potato and Chickpea Salad.  I feel healthy just looking at this bowl of goodness.


Favorite DIY:  Shell Candles.  I think this is a project that I’ll complete the next time I’m with my Momma and sister.


Favorite Appetizer:  Whipped Mexican Grilled Corn Dip.  Boom.  I need this.  Now.


Favorite Wake-Up:  Breakfast Tart.  I know I just said brunch isn’t really my thing.  But if this was brunch, it may become my thing.


Favorite Update:  Chambray Tunic Softened Shirt.  I love my chambray button-ups.  And this polished version is a perfect summer to fall transition piece.  (though I’m still in denial that fall is coming)


Favorite Mouthful:  My Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwich.  I can only imagine the happiness I would experience upon taking a bite.


Favorite Sweet Tooth:  Milk Chocolate Cookies and Cream Cookies.  Please hand me a cup of milk.


Favorite Guideline:  77 Expiration Dates That You Should Know.  Big Guy and I don’t see eye-to-eye on the tossing of items in the house that are beyond their expiration date.  Especially those items that live in the kitchen.


Favorite Crave:  The Modern Cheese Plate.  Gosh, do I love a cheese plate.


Favorite Cocktail Hour:  Pineapple and Cilantro Moscow Mule.  I’m holding onto summer as long as possible.


Happy Weekend!!!