Grown-up Grilled Cheese with Sherry Tomato Basil Soup


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Who doesn’t love grilled cheese and tomato soup on a cold wintery day? If you don’t, we probably can’t be friends. This grilled cheese is a result of LOTS of experimentation. I have a bit of a reputation because of these – and countless requests to finally get it posted. So here you go… now you can stop bugging me make your own whenever you like!

The soup recipe comes from the one and only Pioneer Woman. I mean, she puts sherry and cream in it. She can definitely be my friend.

Ingredients for Grilled Cheese

  • Any bread that can stand up to some weight. I personally love sough dough bread.
  • 1 slice of TWO of your favorite cheese (2 slices total – swiss ,cheddar, gruyere, etc)
  • 1 tablespoon whipped cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon grated parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon butter

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Chilaquiles Verde


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This may have become my new favorite Christmas morning tradition. I have never made chilaquiles and I was having a serious craving Christmas morning. But where to go? My kitchen was the only option.

What I love about this is how easy it is and yet it feel so decadent. I mean, you want a yummy breakfast on Christmas morning… but who wants to spend the holiday in the kitchen? The most labor intensive thing was making my own tortilla chips. Totally worth it though!

Because it was a holiday and I literally had to use what I had in my kitchen – I used Beekman 1802 Boys Salsa Verde – which is amazing! It’s very spicy so be prepared. But if you’d rather make your own – go for it! The beauty of this dish is that other than the chips and the salsa you can really put whatever you want on it. Not all chilaquiles come with eggs. You can even use red salsa or mole. You can add avocado or pulled chicken. The main thing that makes it chilaquiles is that the chips are both soft and crunchy from being tossed in the warm salsa. This dish is from Mexico and goes back hundreds of years – it was originally created to use up leftover chips and salsa and is eaten for breakfast after a “big night” and is a standard hangover cure.  Ole!

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Cheesy Asparagus Tart


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After all the filling holiday meals I decided to go vegetarian the week between Christmas and New Year’s. So l was looking for some creative ideas, as well as a way to clean out the freezer and unused veggies… I came up with this (Inspired by Carla Hall’s Acorn Squash Tart). It took all of five minutes to assemble and 30 minutes to bake – and I guarantee you everyone will ohh and ahh. I posted a photo on social media (because yes, I’m that girl) and my notifications blew up!

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Santa Fe Chili


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About five years ago, I began an annual tradition of making my first pot of chili of the season on Halloween night.  Typically, it’s a cool evening, I can invite a few friends over and we can enjoy a pot of chili as we pass out candy to the kiddos in the neighborhood.

I started a new job a few months ago, and it turns out that they have a annual tradition of having a chili cook-off on Halloween. How perfect! UPDATE: I won Best Chili Theme with this recipe – was told I was only one point away from taking Best Overall Chili. I wasn’t able to add the fried Hatch chili rings because they got soggy in transport – that would have clinched it for sure!

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Honey Walnut Shrimp


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I love Chinese food. Not only are they the masters of blending sweet and savory but I can make a meal out of nothing but the appetizers! I love variety and a Chinese menu gives me the opportunity to try many things. And I’m not referring to the fast food “Panda” or food court walkup. I’m talking a real sit down restaurant with a legitimate chef. 🙂

That said – my new found favorite is Honey Walnut Shrimp. It probably one of the more expensive items on the menu but you can make a pound of shrimp at home for under $15.00. I purchased tail off, peeled and deveined raw shrimp but you can save even more if you do the work yourself. Just be sure to devein them – poop tracks are No Bueno.

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Zuppa Tuscana (Rustic Italian Soup)


15EEEF22-B8D7-4479-A255-78F16653D8C9Apparently this is a soup at Olive Garden that people rave about – however, I’ve never had it there. I saw a similar recipe online and then tweaked it to make it my own. And. I. Love. It.

Now, this is not the most waist-friendly soup, what with the cream, potatoes and spicy sausage. But I figure the kale makes up for all of that and I’m willing to risk it! One step, you must not, I repeat, NOT skip is using the homemade garlic broth. It doesn’t taste the same if you just add garlic (clove or paste). So don’t skip it. Seriously. I’m not kidding here.

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Pineapple Agua Fresca


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So oddly enough I’ve never been a huge pineapple fan. But right after the long harsh winter we had this year – I was craving ANYTHING that even hinted at summer! So once again, I was perusing the aisles of my new favorite Mexican grocery and they had these big beautiful pineapples stacked in neat little rows… and they literally called my name. No seriously. They did.

I was watching one of my go-to cooking shows, Mexican Made Easy and Marcela made this delicious looking pineapple agua fresca (which simply means water with fresh fruit). So I made it and it is incredible! I give all the props to Marcela Valladolid – she’s never steered me wrong.

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Pico de Gallo


imageAs I mentioned in a previous post, I recently discovered a little gem of a Mexican market and I have since been frequenting their produce section. Yesterday I walked out with 3 bags of produce including a large pinapple and only spent about $6.00. Ole!

I don’t know about you but for me pico de gallo just screams summer!  Fresh tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, lime juice and cilantro. I want to put it on everything! Not only is it tasty and fresh – but it looks beautiful and makes everything much more appealing. You eat with your eyes first, I always say. So, yes… presentation can be everything. 🙂

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Sopa de Albondigas


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This was inspired by by sister from another mister’s mother… yes, you heard me right. My best friend’s mother, Josie, used to have a pot of soup or beans or something on the stove all the time… which was made living next door quite delightful! I recently discovered a genuine Mexican market up the street from me (which I’ve missed since moving to Nashville from Los Angeles) and I went a little crazy shopping. Seriously – support local vendors any time you can. I mean, FIVE limes for $1.00 and they’re .85 each at Kroger! With the exception of the seasonings (which I already had) I got every ingredient listed below at my new favorite market. Happy Cinco de Mayo!

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Vegetable Lasagna with Homemade Ricotta and Béchamel Sauce


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I love lasagna. I mean, it’s layers of cheese and pasta and assorted yummy things. How can you not like it? But this particular recipe is especially good – and was created rather “accidentally” as I just started putting things together. I had ordered some spinach and garlic noodles from Papardelle’s. I first discovered them at their booth at one of my favorite places in the U.S… Pike’s Market in Seattle, WA. And I have been ordering from their incredible selection of pastas and oils ever since. I knew I wanted to do a vegetable lasagna with the green noodle layers… and a white sauce would let you see the color of the noodles. So I mixed up a traditional bechamel with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Then I added my homemade ricotta mixed with my homemade pesto Genovese and then the magic happened. I took lots of photos of the preparation to hopefully help take the mystery out of it all! Bon apetito!

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