Beer-Braised Chicken Tinga Tacos

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It’s Taco Wednesday over here.  Why should taco days be restricted to only Tuesdays?

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There is so much flavor packed into these tacos.  Beer-braised, tender shredded meat, coated in a thick, spicy red sauce with all the fixins’.  Use dark meat for more flavor and forgiveness during the long cook, or breasts if you’re a breast person (I won’t judge).  You may need to adjust the recipe a bit for breasts, as the cooking time will likely be longer.  I was watching America’s Test Kitchen one day and this recipe caught my attention and I had to go make it ASAP.  I don’t really remember why…maybe because it reminded me a little of my favorite tacos from a local restaurant, maybe just because TACOS in general.  Who knows anymore, but I didn’t regret it.

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Side note: I’m so excited because this is the last of my so-so photographs (I hope you agree!).  Because I work quite a bit ahead to have a pile of recipes and pictures ready to go, sometimes what you’re seeing today is something I created weeks ago or possibly even longer.  I’ve been super-focused on improving my food styling and photography and the improvements are noticeable.  I can’t wait for you to see!


Beer-Braised Chicken Tinga Tacos

Yield: 4 to 6 servings


2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 onion, halved and thinly sliced

3 to 4 garlic cloves, finely minced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

One 14.5-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes

1/2 cup light beer (pale ale, pilsner, etc.)

1/4 cup low-sodium chicken stock

3 tablespoons chipotle puree or minced chipotles in adobo

1/2 teaspoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon grated lime zest

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice


3/4 cup Mexican crema or sour cream

2 to 3 tablespoons chipotle puree, plus more to taste

Juice of 1 lime

Kosher salt, to taste


6-inch corn or flour tortillas, warmed

Avocado, halved, pitted and cut into small pieces

Crumbled Cotija cheese

Green onions, sliced on the diagonal

Picked cilantro leaves

Thinly sliced jalapeno

Thinly sliced radishes

Limes, quartered


Preheat a large, heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Pat the chicken dry and season generously with salt and pepper.  Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil; when hot, brown half of the chicken for 3 to 4 minutes per side.  Remove from the pan and repeat with the remaining chicken.


Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil.  Add the sliced onion, sprinkle with salt, and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and light golden in color, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, cumin and cinnamon and allow to bloom in the oil for about 1 minute more.  Add the beer and bring to a boil, using the back of a wooden spoon to scrape up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan.  Add the chicken stock, chipotle puree, and brown sugar, stirring to combine.  Bring the liquid to a boil and return the chicken to the pot.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, flipping the chicken once to ensure both sides are covered in sauce.  The meat should register 165° for breasts and 195° for thighs when done.  Remove the chicken to a bowl.  Transfer the cooking liquid to a blender and process until smooth, about 15 to 30 seconds.  Return the liquid to the pot.


When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred using your hands or two forks.  Return the meat to the pot and simmer over medium-low heat for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and coats the meat.  Stir in the lime zest and juice.


For the Chipotle-Lime Crema: mix all of the ingredients to combine.  To serve, spoon some of the chicken and sauce onto the center of a tortilla.  Top with any or all of the accoutrements.


Inspiration: Shredded Chicken Tacos (Tinga de Pollo) on


Parker House Rolls

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You will probably dream about wrapping yourself in one of these buttery, pillowy-soft rolls on a cold day.  Ok, maybe you don’t dream about food like I do, but I hope you will make these and fill your house with the scent of freshly baked bread and butter taking a snooze in the oven together.

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I made these so many times trying to perfect the recipe.  I burned the bottom of the rolls EVERY SINGLE TIME.  Likely from the quantity of butter and baking the rolls too close to the bottom of the oven and overbaking them…so many variables.  I started by tucking a little knob of butter inside each roll because I randomly read somewhere that you were supposed to do that; all that accomplished was melting out, creating a frying pan full of butter in the bottom of the pan armed and ready to burn my rolls.  I gave up on this idea eventually and settled for buttering the rolls after they were baked, which is obviously better anyway because the butter stays where it’s supposed to and you actually taste it.

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But one day, I finally did it!  They were not burnt, but had the most perfect golden-brown, slightly crisp bottom that made me want to cry with joy and pride.  (This was also the day I didn’t overcook a prime rib, too.)  The folding technique can be a little tricky, so I recommend using these instructions to give you some visuals on how to do it.  I accidentally made them with the fold upside-down, but it honestly does not matter one bit.  Make them your own! The shape will be perfectly imperfect, but they will be so golden-brown, warm and inviting that no one will notice when you serve them.  And make sure you serve with pleeeenty of butter for slathering.

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Yield: 16 rolls



3 cups (361 grams) all-purpose flour

2-1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

3 tablespoons (39 grams) sugar

1-1/4 teaspoons salt

1/4 cup (50 grams) potato flour

3 tablespoons (43 grams) butter, at room temperature

1 cup (227 grams) milk, warmed slightly

1 large egg, at room temperature

5 tablespoons (50 to 57 grams) melted butter, for brushing

Flaky sea salt, for topping



In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine all of the ingredients except the melted butter and sea salt.  Knead the dough for 7 to 8 minutes until it’s smooth; it may still stick to the bottom of the bowl but should pull away from the sides.  Lightly flour a work surface and turn out the dough, kneading by hand just until it comes together.  Transfer to a lightly greased bowl, cover and let rise for 90 minutes.  It may not look like it’s rising much at first, but will pick up speed towards the end.  It may not quite be doubled in volume.

Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with melted butter.

Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured work surface.  Divide in half and pat one into an 8 x 12-inch rectangle.  Brush the dough lightly with the melted butter.  Divide this rectangle in half lengthwise to have two 4 x 12-inch rectangles.  Fold each rectangle on top of itself lengthwise, leaving a 1/2-inch border of with just one layer of dough.  Cut each rectangle into 4 equal pieces.  Transfer the 8 rolls to the prepared baking dish.  Repeat with the remaining dough half to form another 8 rolls.  You should have 4 rows of 4 rolls in the baking dish.  Cover the pan and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the dough has puffed.

Preheat the oven to 350° and place a baking rack in the middle of the oven.  Brush the dough with remaining melted butter and sprinkle with flaky sea salt.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown and set to the touch.  Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving.  Brush with additional melted butter and sprinkle a little more salt on while still warm.


Inspiration: Parker House Rolls,



Creamless Cauliflower Gratin

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Here’s a *slightly* lightened up version of a classic that’s typically doused in cream-so much cream that you probably won’t even be able to taste the rest of the ingredients.  I’m not saying anything is wrong with that since cream is one of my 5 main food groups, but sometimes you just need something a little lighter, ya know?

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I don’t remember how I stumbled upon this recipe from America’s Test Kitchen, but I served it for several meals around the holidays and it became an instant hit.  It truly lets the cauliflower shine through as the star because instead of your typical béchamel sauce,  the forgotten-and-often-tossed cauliflower stems and core are repurposed into a creamy, creamless sauce, further amping up the cauliflower flavor.  We still need this to be a little decadent and creamy, so some cheese is thrown in for good measure.  Top it with buttery, Parmesan-y bread crumbs and some fresh chives to give it a pop of color amidst the beige.  You’ll never miss the cream.

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Creamless Cauliflower Gratin

Yield: 4 to 6 servings


1 head cauliflower (about 2 pounds)

5 tablespoons butter

2 to 3 garlic cloves, peeled

1/3 cup panko bread crumbs

2 ounces Parmesan cheese, finely grated

2 ounces Gruyere cheese, coarsely grated

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3/4 teaspoon dry mustard

1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg

Pinch of cayenne pepper, to taste

1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 teaspoon water

2 tablespoons minced fresh chives


Preheat the oven to 400°.

Pull off the outer green leaves of the cauliflower and trim the bottom 1/2 inch of the stem.  Using a paring knife, cut around the core to remove from the head of cauliflower.  Trim off any green parts of the stem and discard; thinly slice the stem.  Slice the head into 1/2-inch-thick slices.  Cut stems out of the slices, leaving the cauliflower florets.  Thinly slice the stems and reserve with the sliced core.  Break the florets into smaller pieces. (See note.)

In a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven, combine the reserved stem and core slices, 1 cup of the florets, 1-1/2 cups of water, garlic cloves and 3 tablespoons of butter.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  If you have a steamer basket, place the remaining florets inside and place the steamer basket in the Dutch oven.  Cover and reduce heat to medium.  Steam the florets until tender and the stems can be easily pierced with a paring knife, about 10 minutes.  Remove the steamer basket and drain the florets.  Recover the Dutch oven and reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook for 10 minutes longer, until the stem mixture is very soft.  Alternatively, if you have a steamer pot, you can use this to steam the cauliflower florets; reserve the water in the bottom to thin the puree if necessary.

While the cauliflower is cooking, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a small skillet.  Once melted, add the panko bread crumbs and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown and crisp, about 3 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Set aside to cool.  Once cool, add 1 ounce (about 1/2 cup) of the Parmesan and stir to combine.

Once the stem mixture is tender, transfer to a blender with all of the liquid it was cooked in.  Add 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, dry mustard, nutmeg, cayenne, remaining 1 ounce Parmesan and 2 ounces of Gruyere.  Puree until completely smooth, about 1 minute.  Taste for seasonings and adjust if necessary.  With the blender running, add cornstarch slurry.  The mixture will be thick but pourable; add some of the reserved cooking water from steaming the florets, if necessary to thin the mixture.  Combine the steamed florets and puree in a medium mixing bowl; transfer the mixture to a 9 x 13-inch baking dish or gratin dish.  Scatter the bread crumb mixture over the top.  Bake until the sauce bubbles around the edges, about 15 to 20 minutes.  Let stand for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.  Scatter the chives on top right before serving.


NOTE: You can watch the video following the link below (you may need to register for an free account if you don’t have one with America’s Test Kitchen) to see how to prepare the cauliflower, like I did (several times).  The written instructions alone can be hard to understand and follow.


Inspiration: Modern Cauliflower Gratin, America’s Test Kitchen


Asparagus and Cheese Dutch Baby with Spicy Herb Oil

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“Spring is coming, spring is coming” is the daily chant I’m using right now to keep myself sane.  We’ve had flashes of it with some 55-degree days, and it hasn’t been a hard winter in the Midwest, but I’m in need of sunshine, flip flops, eating dinner on the deck, drinking on patios, farmers markets, warm-months produce and consistent walks for my lab who desperately needs to learn how to walk on a leash.  But I digress: ASPARAGUS SEASON IS COMING.  This is how I truly know it’s spring, when this starts popping up in grocery stores and it’s NOT $4.99 a pound.

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A Dutch baby is a cross between a popover, Yorkshire pudding, Gougere, and custardy pancake (all the puffy things).  This one is filled with asparagus and melty, crusty cheese and topped with just enough spicy herb oil to give it some freshness.  This would be a great brunch dish or might I suggest this for an easy dinner with a salad on the side?  No matter the time of day, this will be a welcome addition to your menu.

Asparagus and Cheese Dutch Baby with Spicy Herb Oil

Asparagus and Cheese Popover with Spicy Herb Oil

Yield: 6 to 8 servings



8 ounces asparagus, tough ends removed

4 large eggs

1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 ounces coarsely shredded Fontina cheese

1 ounce finely shredded Parmesan

2 tablespoons butter

Coarse flaky sea salt, for garnish


1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon fresh basil, cut into chiffonade and chopped (about 2 large leaves)

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 teaspoon finely chopped chives

Pinch of red pepper flakes, to taste


Preheat the oven to 425°.  Place a 10-inch cast-iron skillet in the oven to preheat while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.


Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.  Once boiling, prepare an ice bath.  Add the trimmed asparagus and cook for 1 minute, until the asparagus is very crisp-tender.  Remove from the boiling water and immediately place in the ice bath.  Once chilled, drain on paper towels to remove excess water.


Mix the eggs and milk together in a medium mixing bowl.  Slowly whisk in the flour until it is completely incorporated and no lumps remain.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stir in 3 ounces of the shredded Fontina.  Remove the skillet from the oven and put the butter in, stirring to allow it to melt completely.  Pour the batter into the skillet and arrange the drained asparagus over the top. Grind some fresh pepper on top before placing in the oven.  Bake for 13 minutes, until puffed and the edges are golden.  Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining 1 ounce shredded Fontina and 1 ounce grated Parmesan, ensuring you sprinkle cheese all around the crust, allowing it to touch the skillet.  This will create a deliciously cheesy crust around your popover.  Return to the oven for 3 minutes to melt the cheese.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.


Combine all of the ingredients for the spicy herb oil in a small bowl.  Spread over the finished popover.  Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  You can grate a little fresh Parmesan over top, if you need more cheese.


Inspiration: Asparagus and Cheese Popover with Spicy Herb Oil on




Blood Orange Coffee Cake

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Hurry friends, because blood oranges will soon vanish from our grocery stores and it will be a long, sad few months until they come back to us.  While they’re still around, YOU MUST MAKE THIS CAKE.  Like go out and buy all the ingredients and do it now!

Blood Orange Coffee Cake

I used to stay away from coffee cakes because I always imagined them being too dense and dry and the word ‘coffee’ was my arch-nemesis and represented everything that was gross to me in the world until about two years ago.  It’s funny how many things I used to think were disgusting that have now become a regular part of my diet or at least an occasional craving.  I just bought a package of olives, intent with eating one every day until I learned to like them.  That lasted one day, but I’m not giving up.

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This cake is everything you didn’t know you wanted or needed-a moist and tender sour cream cake, a probably too-much-cinnamon, crunchy streusel and orangey-ness x1000 from the zest and juice.  Baked in a cute Bundt pan and topped with a cute pink glaze that makes it look soooo feminine and slightly annoying but necessary (sorry, guys-you should still make this cake!).  It’s hard to decide which part of this recipe is the star.

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My heart skips a beat when I see the inside of this beauty-that streusel layer waiting to be discovered plus the crumbly streusel at the bottom.

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True Life: I Made This Three Times in One Week coming right up.

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Yield: 8 to 10 servings




1/2 cup (107 grams) light brown sugar

1/2 cup (60 grams) all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1/2 stick (2 ounces) cold butter, cut into small cubes


2 sticks (226 grams) butter, at room temperature

1-1/2 cups (297 grams) granulated sugar

2 tablespoons freshly grated blood orange zest

3 cups (360 grams) all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons (8 grams) baking powder

1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) baking soda

Pinch of kosher salt

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon Fior di Sicilia, optional

1 cup (8 ounces) crème fraiche or sour cream


2 to 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed blood orange juice

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon Fior di Sicilia, optional

1-1/4 cups (142 grams) powdered sugar



Preheat the oven to 350°.  Butter and flour the inside of a 9- or 10-inch Bundt pan (do not use nonstick spray!).


To make the streusel: Combine the brown sugar, flour and cinnamon and stir to thoroughly combine.  Using your fingers, work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles sand.


To make the cake: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy.  In a small bowl, combine the sugar and blood orange zest.  With your fingers, rub the zest into the sugar.  Add the mixture into the butter and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Scrape down the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl throughout the batter preparation.


Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium mixing bowl.  Set aside.


Once the butter and sugar has creamed, add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each additional.  Add the vanilla extract and Fior di Sicilia, if using, and mix to combine.  Add the crème fraiche and mix again to combine.  Add the flour in two batches, mixing on low speed to combine.  Once the flour is almost fully incorporated, stop the mixer and finish incorporating by hand with a spatula.  The batter will be very thick.


Add half of the batter to the prepared Bundt pan, using a spoon (or your fingers) to spread out.  Sprinkle half of the streusel mixture all over the batter.  Top with the remaining half of the batter and finish with the remaining streusel.  Transfer to the oven and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove the cake from the oven and let cool in the pan for 15 minutes.  Invert the pan onto a wire rack and allow the cake to cool completely in the pan.  Gravity will do its job and will drop the cake from the pan when it’s ready.


To make the glaze: Combine all of the ingredients until smooth.  Drizzle over the cooled cake.  Slice and serve.


Inspiration: Blood Orange Coffee Cake on


Potato Chip-Crusted Chicken Fingers with Honey Mustard-BBQ Dipping Sauce

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Sometimes we just need to transplant ourselves back to our childhoods with some crispy chicken fingers.  But then we remember we’re adults so we coat them in potato chips and make some homemade dipping sauce and we feel better about what we just did.

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Dare I say that this honey mustard-BBQ dipping sauce is a close approximation to that eponymous sauce from that much-loved, closed-on-Sundays fast-food chicken place.

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Make some of these chicken fingers-and some Kraft Mac ‘n’ Cheese if we’re being serious- invite your best friends over, pull out your diaries and yearbooks, or if you’re THAT young that your childhood memories were captured on Facebook and Instagram, grab a computer and look through your old albums.  Hopefully you still have those AIM conversations printed out to reminisce with too.  I’m not crying, you’re crying.

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Potato Chip-Crusted Chicken Fingers with Honey Mustard-BBQ Dipping Sauce

Yield: 4 to 6 servings


1 stick butter, melted

2 cups finely crushed potato chips (about one 8-ounce bag)

1 cup finely crushed cornflakes

2 pounds boneless skinless chicken tenders

Seasoned salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1/4 cup honey

Scant 1/4 cup Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon coarse Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 to 3 tablespoons of your favorite BBQ sauce, to taste

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 400°.


Put the melted butter in a shallow, medium-sized bowl.  Place the potato chips and cornflakes in another shallow, medium-sized bowl; season with coarsely ground black pepper and mix to combine.  Dip each chicken tender in the melted butter, allowing the excess to drip off.  Coat with the chip crumbs, pressing the crumbs in to coat.  Place the coated chicken on a large baking sheet (don’t line with foil or parchment) and continue with the remaining tenders.  Season with seasoned salt and coarsely ground black pepper.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the crumbs are golden brown and crispy.


For the dipping sauce: mix all of the ingredients together, stirring to thoroughly combine.  Serve with the chicken tenders.


Inspiration: Potato Chip Chicken, Half Baked Harvest Cookbook by Tieghan Gerard



Soft Breadsticks


Soft Breadsticks-2Anybody out there love Pizza Hut breadsticks as much as I do?  I CANNOT cannot go anywhere near a Pizza Hut without getting breadsticks, which is a horrible addiction to have because Pizza Hut and Target are pretty much married and I’m at Target every other day-also a bad addiction.

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I never thought I would be able to get close to them at home, but these are a worthy imitation.  And guess what?!  They are the easiest yeasted dough I’ve ever seen or made…your hands-on time is less than 10 minutes.  Be generous with the olive oil-you need these to have that golden-brown, crunchy fried bread quality to crust.

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The only sad part: the dough makes a mess of the hand mixer and beaters because the dough is so so so sticky (worth it in my opinion, but beware).  You could probably use a stand mixer with similar results and less mess, but sometimes I don’t feel like lugging that beast out, ya feel me?  The beauty of this recipe is the simplicity and lack of heavy lifting.  I’ve posted the metric measurements with the recipe because I’m slowly trying to work you all into weighing your baking ingredients.

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Dunk them in some tomato sauce and pretend you’re sitting in the food court at Target or the World’s Largest Truck Stop (my other favorite place to eat them)…or in your car, balancing the sauce on your center console, dipping and driving.  I haven’t done this.

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Pizza Hut, I’m coming for you.


Soft Breadsticks

Yield: 12 breadsticks


1-1/2 cups (340 grams) lukewarm water (100 to 110°)

3 tablespoons (35 grams) olive oil, plus additional for preparing the pan and drizzling

1-1/4 teaspoons kosher salt

3-1/2 cups (418 grams) all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon instant yeast


1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/2 teaspoon pizza seasoning

1/2 ounce Parmesan cheese, finely ground


Generously grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with olive oil, ensuring the bottom and sides are coated in oil.


Combine all of the dough ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and beat on high speed for 1 minute with a hand or stand mixer.  Scoop the batter into the prepared pan, and with greased hands, spread the dough as close to the edges as you can get it.  Score the dough into approximately 1-inch-wide strips, ensuring you don’t cut all the way through the dough.  This will help form the breadsticks and make it easier for you to cut them once baked.  Cover the pan loosely with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and allow to sit at room temperature for 60 minutes, until the dough has risen and is puffy.


Preheat the oven to 375°.  If necessary, re-score the dough once it has risen to form your breadstick shapes again.  Combine the Italian and pizza seasonings and sprinkle generously over the dough.  Bake until very light golden brown, about 25 minutes.  Transfer the bread to a wire rack and allow to cool.  Brush a little more oil over the top and, working quickly, sprinkle with the grated Parmesan cheese.  When cool enough to handle, using kitchen scissors, cut into breadsticks along the scored lines.  Place the breadsticks back in their baking pan, on end, touching if necessary.  Return to the oven for 5 minutes.  Serve with marinara sauce to pretend you’re at Pizza Hut!


Inspiration: Soft Bread Sticks on


Spicy Smoked Mozzarella Meatballs

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Who doesn’t love a good meatball?  Okay, maybe a few people, but certainly not me and my crew.  My mom doesn’t eat a lot of carbs (despite loving them), so these are a great meal that we can all be happy about.

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I have this obsession with trying to figure out how restaurants get their meatballs so uniform and compact.  I suspect it’s by overworking the meat, which is exactly what EVERY RECIPE TELLS YOU NOT TO DO.  Even though they don’t really describe what overworking the meat means exactly so I say whatever to that, and slightly overwork my meatballs but you figure out you like.

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Eat these on their own with a little tomato sauce, serve over spaghetti or put in a delicious meatball sandwich the next day if you have any leftovers.  Make a double batch and throw some in the freezer for an easy and quick meal when you don’t feel like cooking.  The original recipe calls for half beef, half veal, but I love using the holy meatball trinity by adding some pork.  Feel free to use whatever you like.

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And here’s a little secret: you’re going to tuck a piece of smoked mozzarella in the middle of each ball to surprise the sh*t out of everyone with a gooey, melty, cheesy center when they cut into it.  Because that’s the best kind of surprise possible.  Tuck these babies into some sauce, sprinkle with some Parm and prepare for glory.

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Spicy Smoked Mozzarella Meatballs

Yield: approximately 24 meatballs


One 6-ounce onion, grated on the fine side of a box grater

1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/3 cup panko or Italian-style bread crumbs

1 large egg

2 tablespoons ketchup

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 ounces ground beef

4 ounces ground veal

4 ounces ground pork

2 ounces smoked mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes


To make the Meatballs, in a large mixing bowl, combine the onion, parsley, Parmesan, bread crumbs, egg, ketchup, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  Using your hands, combine all of the ingredients.  Add the beef, veal, and pork; using your hands, mix the ingredients together.  You don’t want to overwork the meat, but you do want a homogenous mixture and shouldn’t see any pockets of a single ingredient.  Using a small ice cream scoop, shape the mixture into meatballs.  Press a cube of the cheese into the center and reform the meatballs to cover completely.  Place on a large baking sheet.  Once formed, refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to firm up the mixture. 

When ready to cook, preheat the broiler on high.  Drizzle or brush a little olive oil on the top of each meatball.  Broil for 7 to 9 minutes per side, flipping once to brown the bottoms. 

Alternatively, you can bake in the oven; preheat to 400° and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until cooked through. Preheat the broiler to high and broil the meatballs for 3 minutes per side, flipping once to brown the bottoms. Serve with your favorite tomato sauce!


Inspiration: Bucatini All’Amatriciana with Spicy Smoked Mozzarella Meatballs on


Tomato Sauce with Butter, Onion and Garlic

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This is the sauce that makes me literally stand over the pot, eating spoonfuls as it cooks (and barely tasting it because it is so hot, but it’s such a sweet burn).  You need to make this because we’re going to make some meatballs on Wednesday and they must be paired with this sauce.  No exceptions.

Okay, okay.  In the nature of the Ina memes we’ve all seen, if you can’t make it yourself, store-bought is fine.  But I highly encourage you to give this a try when you have a little extra time.  This is very hands-off, you barely have to chop anything and the sauce cooks away on the stove with little intervention from you.

This recipe is inspired by the rightly famous and classic Marcella Hazan recipe for Tomato Sauce with Butter and Onion (a quick search of the Internet should find you many sources for the original).  It is so perfect in its simplicity and flavor and is my go-to tomato sauce recipe.  Any recipe I make that requires tomato sauce is sure to get this one.  I must always add garlic to anything I possibly can and a pinch of red pepper flakes never hurt anyone.  I know the ENTIRE STICK of butter may scare you, but hey, if Marcella Hazan says to do it, you do it.

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Tomato Sauce with Butter, Onion and Garlic

Just a perfect tomato sauce!

  • Author: Amanda
  • Yield: about 4 cups of sauce
  • Category: Sauces


  • Two 28-ounce cans whole San Marzano tomatoes
  • 2 small onions, halved
  • 5 to 6 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
  • 1 stick high-quality butter
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes, to taste
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat.  Using your fingers, crush the tomatoes into a chunky sauce.  Add the onion halves, whole garlic cloves, butter and a pinch of red pepper flakes, to taste.  Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, and cook until the flavors have melded and the sauce has reduced and thickened, 45 minutes to one hour.  Taste throughout the cooking process and season with salt and pepper as needed.

Featured · Recipe

Country French Omelet

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Omelet woes, begone!  This is one ANYONE can make.  More frittata than omelet, it’s baked in a skillet in the oven to make your life easier.

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We’ve previously discussed my omelet issues, right?  (We have, look here.)  My three kryptonite in the kitchen: omelets, perfectly cooked medium-rare steaks and Scotcheroos.  I WILL CONQUER THEM ALL.

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Let’s get back to this beauty.  Tender, creamy eggs filled with crisp bacon, potatoes and cheese.  YUMMMM.  Apparently, Ina gets this omelet the second she lands in Paris.  Being the ultimate Francophile, and Ina-phile, I had to make this for myself.  It’s a quick, hearty breakfast or dinner for two…or you can double the recipe and serve a bigger crowd.  The options are endless for adding whatever tickles your fancy.

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Make this, pour some champagne and imagine you’re sitting at a cafe in Paris.

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Country French Omelet

Yield: 2 servings


4 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup (about 1 large or 2 medium) Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

6 large eggs

3 tablespoons whole milk

1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping

1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons chives, finely chopped

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 350°.


Heat a 10-inch oven-safe, nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add the bacon and cook for 4 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned but not crisp.  With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper-towel lined plate.


Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the skillet with the bacon fat.  Add the potatoes and season with salt and pepper.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 11 minutes, until tender and golden brown.  Transfer the potatoes to the same plate with the bacon.  Discard the fat in the skillet.


In a small mixing bowl, beat the eggs, milk, Parmesan and salt and pepper, to taste, until well combined.  Add the butter; once melted, pour the egg mixture into the skillet.  Sprinkle the bacon, potatoes and chives on top of the eggs.  Grate a little extra Parmesan on top.  Place the pan in the preheated oven and cook for 8 minutes, until the eggs are just set.  It may look like they are not quite done, but the omelet will continue to cook when removed from the oven, so don’t overcook it!  Cut in half, sprinkle with a few extra chives if desired, and serve hot or at room temperature.


Inspiration: Country French Omelet on