Tag Archives: make ahead

Greek Inspired Pot Roast in a Crock Pot

26 Oct

This dish is inspired by Youvetsi, a Greek stew often made with lamb or beef. It is traditionally served over orzo pasta.

Time: 15 min prep, 6 hour cook               Serves: 4


  • 1 2 pound + beef roast (I used eye of round, and allowed about 1/2 pound per serving)
  • sea salt & black pepper, freshly ground – to taste
  • olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 6 oz. tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp oregano, roughly chopped + more for garnish
  • 4 oz. feta cheese – for garnish

How to make it

  • Pour just enough olive oil into a large skillet (stainless steel or cast iron) to cover bottom. Heat over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, season roast liberally with salt & pepper on all sides.
  • Sear roast in hot pan on all sides. Remove and transfer to crock pot. Lower temperature to medium and add garlic. Saute for 1-2 minutes until softened – careful not to burn!
  • Carefully add 1/2 cup of beef broth and scrape up browned bits from bottom of skillet. Add remaining broth, tomato sauce, wine and oregano. Cook for about 5 minutes. Taste sauce & season with salt & pepper as needed.
  • Pour sauce over roast in crock pot. Cook on low for 6 hours.
  • To serve, shred if desired or slice into pieces. Top with crumbled feta and oregano.


Covert Apple Cranberry Crisp

3 Oct

Called covert because I used Northern Spy apples. Feel free to use another tart apple of your choice, but if you can get the Spies do – they are “a baker’s dream” 🙂 If you like a sweeter crisp, add a bit more sugar to your taste. Based off a recipe I found on Food & Wine’s site.

Time: 20 min prep, 55 min cook              Serves: 6


  • Filling

  • 4 medium Northern Spy apples (Granny Smith work too), peeled, cored and cut into 1/2 inch wedges
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup apple cider
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • Topping

  • 1/2 cup AP flour
  • 2/3 tsp cinnamon (more or less to your taste)
  • 6 tbsp butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt

How to make it

  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Filling

  • Put apples in a large bowl. Add sugar and lemon juice, toss well. Add cranberries, cider, and butter. Toss well. Spread filling into an 8×8 baking dish.
  • Topping

  • Place flour into a mixing bowl. Add cinnamon and incorporate. Add butter and cut with pastry cutter or your fingers until it starts to resemble a coarse meal. If needed, add a bit more flour at this point. Add oats, sugar and salt and mix to incorporate. Sprinkle topping evenly over the apples. bake in upper third of the oven for 55 minutes. Let cool slightly and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream if you have it.

Apple Cheese Danish

27 Sep

This is a recipe from A Cozy Kitchen blog with some minor adjustments made for our tastes and available ingredients. It’s impressive without being very difficult to put together.

Time: 20 min prep, 20 min cook                 Serves: 8


  • 4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp ricotta cheese
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice (about half of a lemon)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar, divided
  • 1 large apple, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch pieces – I used Northern Spy
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 sheet puff pastry, defrosted
  • 1 egg beaten + a splash of water (egg wash)
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • splash of milk
  • flour to sprinkle

How to make it

  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • Combine cream cheese, Ricotta, zest, vanilla, salt and 1 tbsp sugar and mix until smooth.
  • In a separate bowl combine apples, 1 tbsp sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice and toss to coat.
  • If pastry is folded, carefully unfold. Sprinkle a piece of parchment with flour and carefully transfer pastry to paper. (If your puff pastry is a circle, cut into a rectangle. Mine was from Trader Joe’s and came as a square.)
  • Slice off the top corners of the pastry sheet. Slice 1-inch strips into either side of the dough, leaving the center uncut. Do your best to cut the same length into each side. I had about 7 strips per side.
  • Spread cheese mixture evenly down the center (uncut) part of the pastry. Top with apple slices.
  • Braid the pastry by folding the strips over the filling, alternating sides, until you’ve worked your way down. Trim off any leftover strips or extra dough with your knife.
  • Transfer parchment to baking sheet and top with egg wash. Bake for about 20 minutes or until puffed up and golden brown.
  • Meanwhile, combine powdered sugar and milk and mix until smooth. Add more milk or sugar to reach desired consistency, should coat the back of a spoon. Drizzle top of danish and let set before serving.

Crustless Quinoa And Kale Quiche

15 Aug

Talk about a tongue twister. A protein-packed, vitamin rich dish that is very tasty! Easily customizable, add your favorite meat if you’d like. Goes great with Mild Italian Sausage. An idea I came across on Food52.

Time: 1 hour               Serves: 6-8


  • 1/2 cup Quinoa, cooked according to package instructions & cooled
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 oz. sliced mushrooms, optional
  • 1 large bunch kale, stems removed & chopped
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup shredded New Zealand White Cheddar
  • 3 oz. cream cheese OR 3 oz. spreadable white cheddar & sage cheese OR 2.5 oz Creamy Goat Cheese (TJ’s), softened on the counter
  • 4 large eggs
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan

How to make it

  • Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5-7 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper. Add garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  • Add mushrooms to skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add vinegar, water, and kale. Cover allow steam to wilt kale. Stir occasionally, cook for about 7-10 minutes until tender and dark green. Remove from heat and spread out onto a plate to cool. Place in fridge.
  • Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare a 9-inch round pie plate or similar with cooking spray.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs. Add cheeses and mix to incorporate. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
  • Add cooled quinoa and cooled kale to egg mixture. Mix to combine. Pour into prepared baking dish, making sure to smooth out the top so its even.
  • Cover with a piece of tin foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil, top with grated Parmesan and bake an additional 10 minutes. If top has not reached golden brown, place under broiler for about 2 minutes.

Zucchini Bread Granola

28 Jul

With zucchinis in abundance this time of year, a recipe I found on Tasty Kitchen for granola that incorporated them appealed to me. I tweaked it to suit my tastes and dietary needs. It smells just like zucchini bread while baking in the oven. Perfect to sprinkle on top of yogurt for a healthy, satisfying breakfast or snack.

Time: 40 minutes                Serves: about 8


  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups puffed rice cereal
  • 1/4 cup psyllium husk (optional)
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds (optional)
  • 1 cup finely grated zucchini (about 1 medium zucchini)
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • (or use 2 tsp pumpkin pie seasoning in place of cinnamon & nutmeg)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup chopped toasted pecans (may use untoasted, but add in with dry mix in first step)
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

How to make it

  • Preheat oven to 325F. Line on large or two small baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, rice cereal, psyllium husk, and fla seeds.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine zucchini, oil, honey, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and slat. Mix well to incorporate.
  • Add zucchini mixture to dry ingredients. Mix around and try to break up any clumps if any are present.
  • Put mixture onto prepared baking sheets, breaking up any clumps as needed. Spread evenly in a thin layer.
  • Bake for 10 minutes, remove and stir around.
  • Bake for 10 more minutes, remove and stir around. Add nuts, bake additional 5 minutes, remove and stir around.
  • Add chocolate chips and stir around. Place in oven for about 2 minutes or until just starting to melt. Remove from oven and give a good shake by lifting sides of parchment paper.
  • Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Burger Buns

23 Jul

For some reason, making bread at home still intimidates me. When I was a pre-teen I did a lot of baking, bread included, but haven’t made much bread since then. These turned out great, so I am slowly but surely gaining confidence. They were fairly easy to make, and just fabulous with a nice juicy burger sandwiched between.

Time: 45 min + rise                Serves: 6


  • Dough

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp (1 package/7 oz) active dry yeast
  • 2 tbsp butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder (optional)
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached AP flour, more on hand as needed
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • Topping

  • 1 egg beaten + splash water
  • 1 tsp poppy seeds, or seeds of choice or “everything bagel” topping (optional)

How to make it

  • Heat 1/4 cup water to lukewarm in microwave, about 20 seconds. Pour into a large mixing bowl. Add sugar and whisk to partially dissolve. Add yeast and let sit for about 10 minutes, until frothy.
  • Heat remaining 1/2 cup water with butter in microwave until lukewarm, about 30 seconds. Add to yeast mixture.
  • Add salt, onion powder (if using), and beaten egg. Mix to combine.
  • Add 1 1/2 cups flour. Mix well with wooden spoon. Add additional 1/2 cup flour. If needed, add more flour one tbsp at a time until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl but is still slack and relaxed.
  • Sprinkle your work surface lightly with flour. Turn dough onto surface. Sprinkle just enough flour so the dough doesn’t stick to the surface, or you. Knead for about 10 minutes.
  • Transfer to an oiled bowl, turning dough ball once to cover in oil on all sides. Cover with a dampened dish towel. Let rise until doubled, about 1 hour – or more as needed.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Gently deflate dough. Divide into 6 even pieces. Form each into a ball, then flatten into about 3 inch discs. Place on lined sheet about 1/2 inch apart. Cover with dampened dish towel. Let rise until doubled, about 1 hour – or more as needed.
  • About 15 minutes before ready to bake, preheat oven to 400F.
  • One by one, brush tops with egg wash and sprinkle seeds on top. Place in oven on center rack and bake for 15 minutes, until golden brown.
  • Remove from oven and transfer to cooling rack.

Horseradish Dipping Sauce

17 Jul

There is a restaurant about an hour away from where we live that serves sweet potato fries and “horsey” dip. This is my version and it’s pretty darn good!

Time: 5 min +chill           Serves: 6


  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp prepared horseradish
  • cayenne pepper, to taste

How to make it

  • Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.
  • Note: this does seem to increase in heat after refrigeration

Refrigerator Radish Pickles

10 Jul

This recipe came about when I had an abundance of radishes and a hankering for pickles.

Time: 30 min + chill    


  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 10-12 medium radishes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 medium or 1 large shallot, sliced thinly

How to make it

  • Place the vinegar, water, garlic, salt and sugar into a small saucepan.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes.
  • Remove from heat. Place radishes and shallots in a 24 oz. glass jar (or similar sized container that can be sealed airtight).
  • Pour liquid over top. Allow to cool to room temp before sealing.
  • Place in refrigerator and chill.
  • They stay crunchy and flavorful for up to one week.

Granola Bars

8 Jul

I’ve been meaning to try my hand at granola bars for some time now and I’m so glad I finally did! These were so easy to make, taste great, have just the texture and amount of sweetness (not too much) I look for. This is so versatile, use whatever fruit and nuts you want & this can easily be adapted for people with dietary restrictions in that they can be tailored to be nut-free, low on the glycemic index and are already gluten free and dairy free as the recipe is written.

Time: 30 min + cool              Serves: 16


  • 1 cup nut, roughly chopped (I used raw almonds)
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups puffed rice cereal
  • 1/4 cup psyllium husk (optional)
  • 1 cup dried fruit (I used cranberries & raisins)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup honey/brown rice syrup/agave nectar or combo
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

How to make it

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Line a 13×9 baking dish with parchment paper, with overhang on the sides.
  • Place nuts, oats, and flax seeds onto lined sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until fragrant & lightly browned. Remove & set aside to cool. Reserve paper.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine puffed rice cereal, psyllium husk, dried fruit, and cooled toasted nuts, oats and seeds.
  • In a small saucepan, combine oil and honey (or whatever you’re using). Bring to a light simmer. Add sugar, sea salt, and vanilla extract. Whisk to combine. Remove from heat.
  • Pour honey mixture into mixing bowl and work quickly to mix around so every part gets a bit of the sticky goodness.
  • Pour mixture into prepared baking dish. Smooth out with a wooden spoon or spatula (may spray with nonstick cooking spray but not totally necessary). Spread as even as you can, making sure to get all the way to the edges and corners.
  • Place reserved parchment paper over top and press down firmly with your fingers, all around, trying to compact the mixture as best you can paying attention to the edges & corners.
  • Remove top paper & allow to cool on countertop completely. Then, place in fridge to chill for 2 hours. Now they will be easier to cut.
  • Lift parchment up by overhangs and place entire thing onto cutting board or cutting surface. Using a long, sharp knife, cut the bars into your desired size. I cut horizontally down the middle and then into eight sections vertically.
  • These will last stored in an air-tight container at room temp for at least 2 weeks. You may also refrigerate these. I chose to wrap each bar in wax paper before placing in an air-tight container for portability with ease.

Italian Food

10 May

Italian Food, by Shel Silverstein, Every Thing On It

Oh, how I love Italian food.
I eat it all the time,
Not just ’cause how good it tastes
But ’cause how good it rhymes.
Minestrone, cannelloni,
Macaroni, rigatoni,
Spaghettini, scallopini,
Escarole, braciole,
Insalata, cremolata, manicotti,
Marinara, carbonara,
Shrimp francese, Bolognese,
Ravioli, mostaccioli,
Mozzarella, tagliatelle,
Fried zucchini, rollatini,
Fettuccine, green linguine,
Tortellini, Tetrazzini,
Oops—I think I split my jeani.

Me too! And if that wasn’t enough to choose from, check out some of my other Italian-inspired recipes: Spinach Ricotta Gnudi, Italian Wedding Soup, Pesto Chicken & Vegetable Pasta and stay tuned for my next post.