The not-so-fun parts of food blogging are the recipe-fails that happen along the way to get to recipe-successes that actually make it onto the site. I had an idea for this berries and cream baked breakfast treat all the way back over the holidays last year. I originally tried this idea as more of a french-toast casserole and I just couldn’t get the proportions right, it was too dry or too sticky or not quite what my flavor vision had been when I thought it up. With Mother’s Day coming up this weekend, and Memorial Day just around the corner, I decided to give my idea another try after taking it back to the drawing board for a new approach. I ditched the french toast technique and instead used some good ol’ fashioned Pillsbury biscuit dough baked like a monkey-bread in a bundt pan. I layered some of the berries and cream cheese in the middle of the little cinnamon-sugar biscuit bites and then finished it off with a fluffy cream cheese frosting topping and more fresh berries. It took me 6-months to get it right, but the testing was worth it! Scroll down to get the full recipe: read more

If I open a restaurant menu and see Mexican street corn listed as an option there is a 100% chance I’ll be ordering it for meal — it’s one of my favorites. I included a recipe for it in my cookbook, and a few years ago I made a dip-version of this dish for a dip potluck party I hosted (one of the most fun get-togethers I’ve ever thrown!). I thought I would resurrect the dish and give it a new twist, this time using fire-roasted corn which I always snag in the frozen food aisle at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. This version gets tons of flavor from the fire-roasted corn, spices and citrus, and the crumbly cotija cheese. You can make the corn dish and serve it as a dip, but I wanted to up the presentation game and spooned heaps of it into scoop-shaped chips for individual servings. These little corn bites practically disappeared when I made them, so make sure you pop a few in your mouth before you share them with guests  — get the full recipe below:
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The fiesta-inspired recipes are rolling in this week and this is one of my favorites: Crispy Avocado “Fries” with a chipotle dipping sauce. I was testing this recipe recently while my brother was visiting and after the avocado fries came out of the oven we unintentionally shared the whole tray, hovering over the kitchen counter and going back for bite after bite. They’re addictive! A simple seasoned breading and a few minutes in the oven are all it takes to make these little bites;  while they’re cooking I mixed up a dipping sauce with spicy chipotle adobo flavors, tart lime juice and sour cream to balance the heat. Make sure to serve these fiesta “fries” with a margarita, it’s the perfect pairing. Get the full recipe below: read more

I have a couple of posts this upcoming week that cover one of my favorite party themes — fiesta! — just in time to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. One thing is for sure, it’s not a fiesta until the margaritas are served. I’ve never met a margarita I haven’t liked, it’s one of my favorite drinks and I decided to mix up a batch with summery twist for this new recipe. This sparkling strawberry basil margarita starts with a homemade strawberry simple syrup for sweet berry flavors, and then gets combined with tart lime juice, tequila and muddled basil. To give it that sparkling touch (and in my opinion, a really refreshing feeling) I topped each glass off with a splash of Topo Chico with lime. If you can’t find Topo Chico another lime-flavored sparkling water will do; and feel free to scale this recipe up to make it in a pitcher for bigger batches — just wait to add the sparkling water until you’re ready to serve! Get the full recipe below: read more

I am making plans for our vegetable garden this summer and just added all of the first farmer’s market dates to my calendar because I’m so excited for peak produce season! Once it’s spring and summer veggie time I’m so much more likely to get in my greens, whether it be grilling them up or tossing them in a bowl of pasta. This recipe is an easy weeknight-dinner version of the noodles-and-veggies classic: pasta primavera. I make quick work of it by tossing some of the vegetables (peas and asparagus) into the water to cook at the same time as the pasta, and sautéing everything else (like carrots, broccoli, squash and mushrooms) in one big pan where I make the sauce before tossing it all together. You can mix and match any of the vegetables in the recipe to customize it with your favorites, or use up leftovers in the fridge. To give it an extra fresh and bright flavor I’ve made this version with a lemon-basil twist. The citrusy zest, a final squeeze of lemon juice, and tons of fresh chopped basil really liven up the sauce and cut through the cream and parmesan that coats the fettuccini. Get the full recipe below! read more

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: sometimes you just need a big bowl of pasta. This recipe uses one of my favorite pastas, tortellini, and crispy little bites of pancetta balanced with fresh spring veggies — english peas and sautéed leeks. Pasta is one of the meals I love to fall back on for busy weeknight dinners because you do so much with it in a short period of time! A few shortcuts I use are cooking the peas in the same water as the pasta (just add them in during the last few minutes of cooking time) and buying the pre-diced pancetta package at Trader Joe’s for perfectly cut cubes that crisp up fast in the pan. I even used some leftover chicken cutlets to top this dish to add in some protein; you could prep the chicken in advance to cut down on time. Get the full recipe below: read more

If you’re read this blog, or skimmed my cookbook, you know that I’m a big, big fan of streamlining prep work and building efficient menus when it comes to entertaining. My goal is always to spend less time in the kitchen and more time with my family, while still sharing a really tasty meal when we’re together for celebrations. This easy Easter menu has a few little tricks in it to get dinner on the table in record time! read more

I love asparagus because it cooks quickly, looks beautiful on the table, and is extra fresh and tasty in the spring! We eat it a ton for our weeknight dinner veggie, just roasted quickly with some salt, pepper and olive oil. For a special occasion though (like Easter!) I like the idea of dressing it up with a bright, crisp sauce. The idea for this sauce actually came from a salmon recipe I shared last summer, I updated it just a bit and it paired perfectly when drizzled over the top of the asparagus. The Dijon flavor also paired well with the ham I served it with, and brings out the tiny hint of Dijon I sneak into my mac and cheese sauce. All of the dishes work together seamlessly, which is what you want on a heaping Easter dinner plate! Scroll down for the full recipe: read more

A few months back I took a poll about new content you guys wanted to see here, and I got a big response to one of my ideas: Trader Joe’s hacks. I shared my first one (sheet pan cauliflower gnocchi!) and was amazed by the response — holy moly did people love it! It was one of my most shared posts ever (in 10 years of blogging!), so I’m back today with another recipe that makes use of some tasty Trader Joe’s ingredients for a quick-fix dinner. read more

We are going to talk all-things Instant Pot today! I have been meaning to write this post for a while now because every time I share a recipe that involves my Instant Pot I get tons of questions like: “is it worth it?” and comments like: “I have one and I’m scared to use it!”  We bought ours more than a year ago and have made dozens of recipes in it, so I thought I’d share an honest review of what I like about it, what I don’t, and our go-to meals we use it for! read more