A New Post? Whaaaaaa?!

So, it seems to me that I’ve been gone for a quick minute….almost. I’ve been so busy with school and work I haven’t had time to update my blog, BUTTTTTT I have been on Pinterest.

That could only mean one thing….come find me and follow me. I have over 15 thousand pins (I can safely admit I have a problem) and over 42 thousand followers. I have lots of cooking/baking boards as well as drink boards because every one loves a good beverage now and again. Plus there’s lots of other things I love!

Click the following link to check out my pinterest. If you have a pinterest you want me to check out comment below with the link. Also leave your personal pinterest and I’ll follow you ūüôā

Nicole’s Pinterst ūüôā¬†

Grilled Tomatoes with Cheese, Prosciutto and Basil

Courtesy of All Day I Dream About Food¬†( best blog name EVER) here’s a nice recipe for grilled tomatoes with cheese, prosciutto, and basil. Check out their site and the recipe below:

4 Servings

 Ingredients:
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¬Ĺ tsp salt
  • ¬ľ tsp pepper
  • 4 large beefsteak tomatoes
  • 8 slices LAND O LAKES¬ģ 4 Cheese Italian Blend
  • 8 slices prosciutto, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped

Instructions:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper.
  2. Cut tomatoes in half vertically from top to bottom and cut out stem. Lay tomatoes cut-side down on preheated grill and cook 3 minutes. Carefully flip tomatoes and brush cut-side with oil mixture. Cook 3 more minutes.
  3. Cover each tomato half with one piece of cheese. Cover grill and cook for 1 more minute, until cheese is melted.
  4. Remove from grill and sprinkle each with prosciutto and chopped basil. Serve immediately.

Grandma Betty’s Meatballs

Pasta. Sauce. Meatballs. It’s essential. Here is a recipe I came across on The Parsley Thief‘s blog. Not only do they give you their grandma’s recipe, but a homemade sauce recipe as well. Check out their site as well as the recipe below:

Makes 16 – 2″ meatballs, and enough sauce for 1 lb. of pasta

For the Meatballs:

  • 1 3/4 cups fresh¬†bread crumbs (3 3/4 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup¬†milk
  • 2 pounds¬†ground beef
  • 3/4 cups freshly grated¬†Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 2 large¬†eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped¬†flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon¬†sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper (about 10 grinds)

For the Sauce:

  • 2 (28 ounce)¬†cans of whole, peeled tomatoes¬†(I like to use¬†San Marzano tomatoes)
  • 1 large clove¬†garlic,¬†smashed
  • 4 tablespoons¬†butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon¬†sea salt,¬†or to taste

Directions:

  • Begin a double, modified batch of¬†Tomato Sauce with Onion & Butter¬†{or your favorite Marinara Sauce recipe} by adding all of the ‘Sauce‘ ingredients listed above to a large, heavy saucepan, and bringing the mixture to a boil, over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and cook, uncovered, for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Begin the meatballs by preheating the oven to 350 degrees. Add the bread crumbs to a large mixing bowl, and pour in the milk. Toss to coat the bread crumbs, and let them soak for 10 minutes.
  • Add all of the remaining ‘Meatball‘ ingredients to the bread crumb mixture, and mix gently, using your hands. You want to mix just until all of the ingredients are evenly distributed, but¬†try to avoid over-mixing.
  • Using your hands, shape the mixture into 2″ balls, and lay them out on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, then use tongs to transfer the meatballs to the sauce. Simmer the meatballs in the sauce for another 10-15 minutes. Serve with your choice of pasta, topped with an extra sprinkle of grated Parmesan.


Some Notes/Options [Straight from The Parsley Thief]

  • Store-bought, dry bread crumbs can be used in a pinch, but making your own is worth the effort, whenever possible.To make your own fresh breadcrumbs, process sliced bread in a food processor until evenly ground. Or, you can cube fresh, or day-old bread {crusts removed} by hand. Any type of sandwich bread will do – you can even use whole wheat, if that’s your preference. I have given the proportion of bread crumbs by dry measure, and by weight, to make this easier.
  • ¬†For the sauce, I like to use a modified version of Marcella Hazan’s¬†Tomato Sauce with Onion & Butter¬†because it’s the best tomato sauce I’ve ever tasted! I’ve modified it, ¬†because as written I find it to be too rich for serving with meatballs {but fantastic alone with pasta}. You can also substitute your favorite Marinara Sauce recipe, or even use your favorite jarred sauce –¬†I won’t judge, and have been known to do so myself on many a pressed-for-time, weeknight dinner occasion!¬†My most favorite jarred sauce is¬†‘Michael’s of Brooklyn’¬†Marinara – which is expensive, but worth every penny!
  • If you use extra-lean ground beef {i.e. ground sirloin, or 90% lean} you’ll need to line your baking sheet with parchment, or give it a quick coating of non-stick cooking spray, to prevent the meatballs from sticking.¬†
  • Over the years, I’ve made many a ‘fried’ meatball. Your Italian grandmother may tell you this is the only way to go, and there’s no question it’s delicious! But it also creates a big mess, and requires much more time standing over a hot stove. Not to mention, baking them is healthier.¬†However, if you’d prefer the frying method, simply follow the instructions as is, but to cook the meatballs¬†–¬†Heat¬†a tablespoon of oil¬†in a heavy skillet, over medium-high heat. Add some¬†flour¬†to a shallow plate, or bowl, and roll each formed meatball in the flour, tapping off any excess. Fry the meatballs in batches, until evenly browned on all sides. Transfer the meatballs to a paper towel lined plate when done. Add the browned meatballs all at once to the sauce, and let them simmer until cooked through, about 30 minutes for 2″ meatballs.
Enjoy! xo

S’mores Dip

S'mores Dip

Now, I love s’mores more than anything (well, maybe not anything, but I do loooooove it). Courtesy of What Megan’s Making¬†here is her recipe for s’mores dip. Make sure you check out her site as well as the recipe below:

Ingredients:

1 14oz can sweetened Condensed Milk
1 1/2 cups Chocolate Chips
1/2 cup marshmallow cream
Graham Crackers, for serving
Directions:

In a small microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips and condensed milk on High 1 – 2 minutes, stirring about every 30 seconds, until chips are melted. Mix well. Pour into 9-inch glass pie pan, spreading evenly. Drop marshmallow creme by tablespoonfuls randomly over chocolate mixture. Microwave on High about 30 seconds or until marshmallow creme is softened. Immediately make several swirls through marshmallow and chocolate, creating a marbled appearance. Serve immediately with graham crackers for dipping.

S'mores Dip

Enjoy! xo

Happy Belated National Devil‚Äôs Food Cake Day!

(Okay, for those who actually care yesterday, the 19th, was actually National Devil’s Food Cake Day. But I love cake, so I don’t care!)

Devil's Food Cake

In lieu of ¬†Devil’s Food Cake day, here’s a recipe from The Skinny Chef. Make sure you check out their site as well as the recipe below:

Serves 10

Ingredients

1 cups ‚Äúwhite‚ÄĚ whole wheat flour, plus flour for dusting pan
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
1 cup low-fat 1% buttermilk
1 cup strong brewed coffee, chilled
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla
non-fat cooking spray

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350¬į F. Coat a 9-inch cake or spring-form pan with non-stick spray. Dust with flour; shake off excess. Over a large mixing bowl, sift both types of flour, cocoa powder and baking soda. Set aside.
  • In another bowl, whisk the brown sugar, buttermilk, coffee, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla. Gradually whisk in the flour mixture until just combined.
  • Pour the batter into the pan. Bake 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Serve warm or cool completely before icing with¬†chocolate sour cream icing

Enjoy! xo

One Day I’ll Win The Lottery …

I’ve decided that once I win the lottery (that is once I start buying a lottery ticket) I’m going to insane with all my money … insane in my kitchen.

I’d live in a house like this:

Wrap around porch

But also have a second house like this:

Dream house

Where my kitchen would look like this:

love

And have this as the back splash behind the stove:

kitchen, chalkboard paint

My kitchen would be filled with these:

Kitchen Aid

Kitchen Aid mixer Kitchen Aid mixer Kitchen Aid mixer

(This one is my absolute favorite since I LOVE purple)

Make perfect muffins, round pancakes, and more without all the mess. Just add batter and press down top. Guides help you measure out the right amount, every time! Ideal for cookies and crepes, too, top-rack dishwasher-safe plastic dispenser features easy-to- read wrap-around measurement guides; holds about 2 1‚ĀĄ2" cups of batter (a standard muffin mix) $17.98

Decorating Pen Set $10

Wow.

Honestly, my wish list could go on and on … but I’ll end it right here. If you could have your dream kitchen; what would you want in it?

Happy National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day!

Oh¬†glorious¬†day! It’s one of my favorite days of the year (besides my birthday and Christmas of course)! Here is a recipe for¬†Paula Deen’s Three Chocolate Cookie. Check out her site and enjoy the cookies!

Servings: 3 dozen
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 12 min
Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients

1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3   large eggs
1 3/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1   (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate morsels
1 cup milk chocolate morsels
3   (1-ounce) squares bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup almond brickle chips

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease baking sheets.

With an electric mixer, beat butter and shortening at medium speed until creamy; gradually add sugars, beating until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, beating well.

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until blended. Stir in chocolate morsels and almond brickle chips. Drop cookies by 1/4 cupfuls about 3-inches apart onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for 11 to 12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let cool for 2 minutes on baking sheets. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Three Chocolate Cookies

Enjoy! xo