When I was down in Austin, TX for work last month I popped into Royal Blue Grocery for a quick bite in the morning, and tried a breakfast burrito for the very first time in my life. What was I thinking? Thirty years on this earth before I tasted a breakfast burrito! I managed to eat a new flavor combination every morning for the rest of my trip, and when I got back I was determined to recreate them at home. One of the best versions I ate had chopped up potatoes inside so I decided to take this concept to the next level: I used steamed tortillas to roll-up scrambled eggs, melted sharp cheddar cheese, chopped up fresh scallions, and some red-bliss mashed potatoes with lots of salt and pepper. Oh-em-gee are these tasty, and such a good way to use up leftover potatoes from dinner the night before. If you’re feeling really crazy try adding some chorizo too!

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Do you have one of those family recipes that is a given menu item at every gathering? My husband’s family always makes a special chocolate cake with chocolate sauce, our neighbors growing up always served rice krispy treats at every birthday party, and at our house that dessert item is Chocolate Chip Cake. This cake is the one that gets requested by everyone for their birthdays, and it’s such a crowd-pleaser. I think the sour cream batter is what makes it so addictive. It’s one of the recipes that’s been around forever — so long in fact that I wasn’t even sure where it came from. I had to call my mom, who in turn had to call my grandmother to find out. It turns out it was from a neighbor of my grandparents who made the cake for parties, no frosting meant it was less messy for the kids! And now it’s my turn to pass it along, full recipe below! (PS: see that lovely cake stand pictured? I’m partnering with the fine folks at AHeirloom to give one away on my instagram account this week — be sure to head over to enter to win!)Ingredients:

  • 1 stick of butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup of sugar, plus 1/4 cup for topping
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • 2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1.5 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • 1 package of chocolate chips

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Cream together 1 stick of butter, 1 cup of sugar, and 2 eggs with an electric mixer.
  • Add in 1 cup of sour cream and 2 tsp of vanilla extract, continue to mix together.
  • Sift 2 cups of flour, 1.5 tsp of baking powder, and 1 tsp of baking soda; stir dry mixture into wet ingredients.
  • Pour half of the batter into a 9×13 baking dish and then layer half of the chocolate chips on top.
  • Add second half of batter and top with the rest of the chocolate chips. Sprinkle the top with 1/4 of sugar.
  • Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, let the cake cool before cutting.

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Come football play-off season the pressure is really on for me. I’m not talking about being nervous or worked up about the actual games, I’m talking about intensely brainstorming game-day snack ideas. While everyone else is preparing their picks for the big game, I’m busy concocting up ideas for what I plan to stuff my face with. And good news: I have a buttery, carb-y, pepperoni-stuffed plan, my friends! When I hit a mental block thinking about what to bring to a football viewing party last weekend my husband offered me some sage advice. He said: ‘you usually do well by taking something big and tasty and turning it into a bite sized snack’ – of course! So I shrunk down my favorite flavors in pizzas and garlic breads into a super easy Pepperoni-Stuffed Garlic Knot bite. The full recipe is below for all of your Superbowl Party planning needs!  2015/01/img_5973.jpgGarlic Knot 1Garlic Knot 2Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Ingredients

  • Store-bought pizza dough
  • Pepperoni
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 4 Tbsp of butter
  • 1/4 cup of parsley leaves
  • 8-10 cloves of garlic

Instructions

  • Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Pull or cut 1″ round pieces of pizza dough and use your fingers to roll into a 1 to 2″ disc. Top the disc with a piece of pepperoni and a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese.
  • Roll the sides of the dough over the pepperoni and cheese filling and pinch the dough closed to seal it inside. Roll dough around in between your hands to round the shape and ensure the dough is fully sealed. Repeat until all of the dough is used up and arrange the dough balls into a pie dish.
  • In a food processor, combine butter, parsley and garlic. Spread the garlic herb butter over the dough, making sure that the mixture is evenly dispersed.
  • Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the garlic knots just begin to turn gold brown.  Serve with a side of marinara sauce for dipping.

Do you have one of those recipes in your back pocket that works for just about any occasion? Mine is so simple it’s almost embarrassing: Rice Krispy Treats! It’s the one thing that I always get asked to make for friends’ parties. For a recent holiday party I decided to add a fresh twist to my classic recipe and make a Neapolitan version with classic flavor layers of chocolate, strawberry and vanilla ice cream. It takes just a simple modification of the  traditional Rice Krispy Treat recipe, full instructions below:

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Following the traditional instructions to make Rice Krispy Treats, prepare the ingredients and press a layer of the classic flavor into a lightly greased baking pan. Work quickly to add the next layer so they don’t cool too much — the strawberry layer is exactly the same recipe as the classic Rice Kripy Treat, but when you’re melting the butter and marshmallows together you want to add in 4 drops of pink food coloring and 1 tsp of strawberry extract (you can usually find these near the vanilla extract in the baking aisle!). Press the strawberry mixture directly on top of the classic layer. Next, make the chocolate layer with the same classic recipe, but mix in Cocoa Krispies in lieu of Rice Krispies. Then, pour the Cocoa mixture on top of the Strawberry layer and cover with a large piece of parchment paper. Use a rolling-pin to roll over the parchment paper and press the layers down. Set them aside and let cool completely to solidify. When you’re ready to serve them, flip the baking dish upside down with the parchment paper on the table, slowly lift the dish up and reveal the compressed layers. All that’s left to do is to cut them up into squares with a serrated knife, and try not to eat them all in one sitting!

This weekend I was in major need of some comfort after a long string of holiday parties and maybe a few too many glasses of champagne (shh!).  My usual go-to comfort food is a bowl of pasta, but I decided to mix it up this time and try a savory chicken dish with a creamy sun-dried tomato sauce, lots of sautéed mushrooms and shallots, and a little crispy bacon and goat cheese just to amp up the richness. Full recipe below if you’re in need of comfort food too!
Cream Sun Dried Skillet Chicken Creamy Sun Dried Skillet Chicken 1 Creamy Sun Dried Skillet Chicken 2 Creamy Sun Dried Skillet Chicken 4 Creamy Sun Dried Skillet Chicken 3

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 large chicken breasts
  • 2 large Portobello mushroom caps
  • 2 small shallots
  • 2-3 slices of thick cut bacon
  • 6 sun-dried tomatoes in oil (reserve oil)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3/4 cup of light cream
  • 1 tbsp of goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup of freshly grated parmesan, plus extra for garnishing
  • 2 sprigs of fresh tarragon
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions:

  • Heat a large cast iron skillet on high and drizzle with olive oil.
  • Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper and brown in the hot pan on both sides.
  • While the chicken is browning, roughly chop mushrooms, shallots, bacon and sun-dried tomatoes; mince garlic.
  • Remove chicken from pan when cooked through,  add 1/2 tbsp of the sun-dried tomato oils  and 1 tbsp of butter to the pan, then toss mushrooms, shallots, bacon, garlic and sun-dried tomatoes and sauté mixture. (Scrape the pan to loosen any browned bits from the pan).
  • Lower heat to medium and stir in 3/4 cup of light cream, 1 tbsp of goat cheese, and 1/4 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese; stir continously to break down the cheese and incorporate the tomatoes flavors with the cream.
  • Add the chicken back to the pan while the sauce cooks and thickens.
  • Remove from heat, garnish with fresh parmesan cheese and torn tarragon leaves.
  • Try serving over pasta or a bed of spinach.