Beer Cheese

Beer Cheese

It’s been a while since we’ve had a German-themed night, but every now and then I have a craving for Beer Cheese. This finger-licking recipe is fantastic for potlucks…or just for yourself to smother on anything and everything.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 Tbsp unsalted buuter
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 0.5 cup beer (lager)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 0.5 tsp garlic powder
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 0.25 tsp crushed black pepper
  • 0.25 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese (~12 oz)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until combined, ~30 seconds.
  2. Whisk in beer, then milk, stirring continuously to eliminate any flour lumps.
  3. Simmer over medium heat, whisking often, until it has thickened.
  4. Stir in mustard, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper.
  5. Add in cheese, stirring until completely melted.
  6. Serve warm.

Fresh Cherry Bundt Cake

Fresh Cherry Bundt Cake with Icing

During cherry season, one of my favorite desserts to make is the Fresh Cherry Bundt Cake!

Fresh Cherry Bundt Cake in Pan

This cake is super moist, and I guarantee it will not last the week in our household!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice, divided
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 0.5 tsp baking soda
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 8 oz plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 14-16 oz fresh bing cherries, pitted and halved
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease and flour a 10″ bundt pan
  2. In a large bowl, combine 2.25 cups flour, baking soda, and salt. Add in the lemon zest.
  3. In another bowl, use a mixer to cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Stir in 1 Tbsp lemon juice.
  4. Alternate adding in flour mixture and yogurt. Do not overmix.
  5. Toss cherries in the remaining 0.25 cup flour. Then gently mix them into the batter.
  6. Pour batter into the bundt pan, then bake for 60 minutes or until a chopstick comes out clean.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool for 20 minutes. Once cooled, turn out onto a serving platter.
  8. Whisk remaining 2 Tbsp lemon juice and powdered sugar. Drizzle over top of the cake.

Empress Gin Sour

Empress Gin Sour

Not only does this cocktail have an absolutely gorgeous hue, the Empress Gin Sour is one of the latest cocktails I jones for after a long day at work.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 oz Empress 1908 gin
  • 0.75 oz lemon juice
  • 0.75 oz simple syrup
  • Egg white

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Place ingredients in cocktail shaker with ice and shake to combine.
  2. Double strain into a coupe glass.

Homemade Spaetzle

Homemade Spaetzle

Our dinner theme one night was German food, so we decide to make some Homemade Spaetzle to accompany our other dishes. There aren’t very many ingredients to this, but it’s a fantastic adjunct to other greasy or salty foods you’re eating.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • Parsley for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and salt.
  2. Add in flour and stir until well combined.
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. If you don’t have a spaetzle maker, press dough through a large holed sieve or metal grater. Work quickly until all the batter is cooking in the pot.
  4. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until floating to surface, then remove with slotted spoon and place in a large bowl.
  5. Toss with butter, white pepper, and nutmeg. Garnish with parsley.

Broccoli and Corn Quiche

Broccoli and Corn Quiche

There’s just something about quiches that appeals to me. Maybe it’s that they look like dessert, but are actually packed with savory goodness? Or maybe it’s that they are incredibly versatile because you can put whatever you want in them? Either way, the Broccoli and Corn Quiche is a good brunch meal to have in your back pocket! If broccoli is not your thing, try my Bacon, Corn, & Onion Quiche.

I use a homemade crust, and you can find the recipe here. Trust me, it’s good.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 0.5 onion, chopped
  • 1 large fresh broccoli floret (or 10 oz bag frozen broccoli), cut into smaller 1 inch florets
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 1 (8 oz) package shredded cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 (9 in) unbaked deep dish pie crust
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup milk

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat over to 375 F. Set aside your pie crust.
  2. In a large pan, saute the garlic and onion in 1 Tbsp olive oil for 30 seconds, then add in the broccoli florets. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until broccoli is vibrantly green.
  3. Add corn, cheese, and season with salt and pepper. Mix to combine.
  4. Spoon mixture into pie crust.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into pie dish, allowing it to combine with the rest of the ingredients. Sprinkle top with remaining cheddar.
  6. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until set in the center. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Empress Lemonade

Empress Lemonade

This colorful cocktail uses one of my favorite gins, Empress 1908. The hue of this gin gives the Empress Lemonade a gorgeous and vibrant layered look!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 oz Empress 1908 Gin
  • 1 oz honey syrup
  • 2 oz lemonade

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Combine honey syrup and lemonade into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until well chilled, and strain contents into a collins glass with fresh ice.
  2. Float the Empress Gin over the back of a bar spoon to layer the cocktail.

Homemade Refrigerator Dill Pickles

Homemade Refrigerator Dill Pickles

Every so often I crave pickles. And, no, I’m not pregnant! I just really love that tangy crunch you get from Homemade Refrigerator Dill Pickles! The best part is, no canning required!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 pickling cucumbers, sliced or quartered
  • 1/2 cup vidalia onion, sliced
  • 8 sprigs fresh dill weed
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp whole yellow mustard seeds
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Pack 2 pint-sized jars with sliced cucumbers, onion, slices, and dill sprigs.
  2. In a small pot, heat the vinegar, water, garlic, and all spices until it comes to a simmer.
  3. Cool down brine until warm, then fill each jar to completely cover contents.
  4. Refrigerate 24 hours before devouring.

Blueberry Cheesecake Cookies with Lemon Glaze

Blueberry Cheesecake Cookies with Lemon Glaze

You know when you buy the Costco-sized bucket of cream cheese, and then realize it would take you years to finish if used just for bagels? Have no fear! These Blueberry Cheesecake Cookies with Lemon Icing are perfect to chip away at the cream cheese tub!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 8 Tbsp butter, room temperature
  • 0.5 cup sugar
  • 0.25 tsp salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup blueberries (fresh is the best, but can use thawed frozen berries)
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a large bowl, blend cream cheese, butter, sugar, and salt with a hand mixer.
  3. Add flour and stir until fully combined.
  4. Add blueberries.
  5. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  6. Scoop cookies into a parchment-lined baking sheet. Press each dough ball to slightly flatten each cookie.
  7. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown on the bottom.
  8. While cookies are cooling, for at least 5 minutes, make the lemon glaze.
  9. Combine lemon juice, zest, and powdered sugar.
  10. Drizzle the cooled cookies with the lemon glaze.

Juillet

Juillet

The Juillet is a perfect cocktail to sip while dancing around the kitchen whipping up another fabulous meal. Or you could sip it while contemplating what New Years Resolutions you plan on not keeping this year.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 oz sweet vermouth (preferably Punt E Mes)
  • 1 oz dry vermouth (preferably Dolin)
  • 0.25 oz St. Germain
  • 1 oz sparkling wine
  • Lemon peel

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a shaker filled with ice, combine sweet vermouth, dry vermouth, and St. Germain. Use a cocktail stirrer to stir for 15 seconds.
  2. Strain into a coupe glass.
  3. Top with sparkling wine and finish with a lemon peel.

Creamed Spinach

Creamed Spinach

You know those times when you want to eat “healthy,” but you love all things creamy, so you fool yourself into thinking green means good? Well this Creamed Spinach is undoubtedly the most delicious and sinful side dish to your meal!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 20 oz spinach
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 0.5 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 0.5 cup milk
  • 0.25 cup heavy cream
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 0.25 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, blanch spinach for 30 seconds. Drain and place in a bowl of ice water. When cook, squeeze out as much water as possible.
  2. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook another minute until fragrant.
  3. Add milk, heavy cream, and cream cheese to the onions. Simmer until cream cheese is melted. Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne.
  4. Add spinach and Parmesan to cream mixture, stirring to combine.

Cottage Pie

Cottage Pie

In another installment of “How Do We Use Up The 10 Lb Bag of Potatoes from Costco,” we present the Cottage Pie! This savory pie is perfect for the cold nights in, when you want to snuggle under a blanket on the couch next to the fireplace.

INGREDIENTS:

Meat Filling:

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 cup frozen mixed peas & carrots
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels

Potato Topping:

  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 8 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup half & half
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Add oil to a large skillet on medium-high. Add onions and cook until translucent.
  3. Add in ground beef, breaking apart while cooking. Add parsley, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper. Cook for 7-8 minutes, or until meat is browned.
  4. Add in Worcestershire sauce and garlic. Stir to combine for 1 minute.
  5. Add flour and tomato paste. Stir until incorporated.
  6. Add broth, frozen peas/carrots, and frozen corn. Bring liquid to boil, then simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Place potatoes in a large pot, cover with water, and bring to boil. Cook until potatoes are fork tender, about 10-15 minutes.
  8. Drain the potatoes and return to the large pot. Add in butter, half & half, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese. Mash until well mixed.
  9. Assemble the casserole by pouring the meat mixture into a 9×9 inch baking dish. Spread out into an even layer. Spoon the mashed potatoes on top of the meat. Carefully spread into an even layer.
  10. Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Twice Fried French Fries

Twice Fried French Fries

We happened to get a 10 lb bag of potatoes from Costco, but that means we need to figure out how to use them up! Twice Fried French Fries are an easy way to devour the excess potatoes!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 lb Yukon gold potatoes (about 4 potatoes), peeled, sliced into 1/3-inch sticks
  • 2 quarts canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Soak sliced potatoes in a large bowl of water for at least 30 minutes (up to 24 hrs) to remove excess starch and to keep them from oxidizing.
  2. In a heavy pot, heat oil to 325 degrees F. A temperature thermometer makes this easier.
  3. Remove potatoes from water and pat dry. Add 2 handfuls of potatoes to the hot oil and cook until light brown, 5-7 minutes. Remove and let drain on rack. Repeat until all potatoes are cooked.
  4. Raise the heat of oil to 350 degrees F.
  5. Cook potatoes again, 2 handfuls at a time, until golden brown, ~2 minutes. Remove and let drain on rack. Repeat until all potatoes are cooked.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pineapple Whiskey Sour

Pineapple Whiskey Sour

Now that the weather is getting colder, I sometimes crave a tropical drink to remind myself of the warmer days. This Pineapple Whiskey Sour is the perfect cocktail for this!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 oz freshly squeezed pineapple juice
  • 1 oz whiskey
  • 0.5 oz lemon juice

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Add ice and all ingredients into a cocktail shaker. Shake until chilled. Pour over ice. Serve with a slice of pineapple and maraschino cherry.

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Andrew makes the creamiest Creamy Mashed Potatoes ever. This recipe is not for the faint of heart as there is a reason it tastes so good!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 lb Yukon gold potatoes, skinned, cut into 1-1.5 inch cubes
  • 8 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4 Tbsp whole milk
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Boil potatoes in a large pot until soft (you can poke a fork in and it comes off clean). Drain and mash with a potato masher or ricer.
  2. Add in butter and milk. Combine until smooth.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Spicy Garlic Basil Shrimp

Spicy Garlic Basil Shrimp

Some nights you just want a hearty meal that packs a punch, and this Spicy Garlic Basil Shrimp over rice does the trick! We used homegrown jalapenos from our backyard to add some heat, but feel free to omit or add a spicier pepper!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 jalapeno (to taste)
  • 1 lb large shrimp
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 Tbsp vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 cups basil leaves
  • Microgreens for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Blend the jalapeno, garlic, sugar, fish sauce, salt, and 3 Tbsp oil in a blender until smooth. Marinade shrimp with this, tossing to coat. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Heat remaining 1 Tbsp oil in a pan over medium-high. Add shrimp, cooking ~1 minute per side, turn once. Cook until lightly charred around the edges.
  3. Add basil and toss vigorously until wilted.
  4. Serve with white rice and garnish with microgreens.
  5. Devour!

Homemade Green Bean Casserole

Green Bean Casserole

A staple of every Thanksgiving meal we prepare is the Homemade Green Bean Casserole. It is easy to make, flavorful, and I must have it. Every year.

Mushroom Gravy

I think what makes this dish extra special are the fresh green beans providing a snappier texture and the mushroom gravy that gives it that homemade feel.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb fresh green beans, ends removed
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 12 oz sliced mushrooms (cremini or button mushrooms)
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 2 Tbsp flour (or cornstarch)
  • 2 cups fried onions (French’s)
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large skillet, heat butter over medium-high. Add onions and cook until caramelized, stirring often, about 7-8 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add in garlic and cook for another 1 minute.
  3. Sprinkle flour over mushroom mixture and stir to combine until flour is no longer dry, 1-2 minutes. Add the half and half, chicken broth, soy sauce, pepper, and nutmeg and bring to a simmer. Stir occasionally until sauce is thickened, 3-5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook green beans for 6-7 minutes. Drain and set aside until mushroom gravy done.
  5. Add green beans to the mushroom gravy. Add in 1/2 cup fried onions. Stir to combine, then transfer to a 9×13 inch baking dish.
  6. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and remaining 1.5 cup fried onions. Bake until golden brown and bubbling, 12-15 minutes.
  7. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. The sauce will thicken as it cools.

Zucchini Blueberry Bread

Zucchini Blueberry Bread

In the mornings, I love having my coffee with something not too sweet. This Zucchini Blueberry Bread is perfect with my morning pick-me-up. It’s super moist, and the tartness from the blueberries balance out the sweetness in the bread. Also, it’s hard to believe this is made from zucchinis!

If you’re caving something a little more sweet, check out my Zucchini Chocolate Chip Bread recipe!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup sour cream (option to substitute with Greek yogurt)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 whole zucchini, grated
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour + 1/4 cup for blueberries
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 9×5 inch loaf pan with floured cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together egg, sugars, oil, sour cream, and vanilla. Add zucchini and mix well.
  3. In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Slowly add flour mixture into liquid batter, stirring until just combine. Do not overmix.
  5. In a smaller bowl, toss blueberries with 1/4 cup flour. Then add the blueberries into the batter, stirring until just combine.
  6. Pour batter into pan. Sprinkle surface with a few extra blueberries. Then bake for 55 minutes, or until a chopstick comes out clean.
  7. Allow loaf to cool for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Chinese Tomato Egg Stir-Fry

Chinese Tomato Egg Stir-Fry

Chinese cooking has been passed down from our parents, and dishes as simple as the Chinese Tomato Egg Stir-Fry brings back wonderful childhood memories.

INGREDIENTS: (yields 4-5 servings)

  • 3 large tomatoes, diced
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 2 green onion stalks, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 0.5 tsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil, divided

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a large wok, add 1 Tbsp vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add in eggs and scramble. Remove from heat 1 minute before fully cooked and set aside.
  2. Heat remaining 1 Tbsp oil until slightly smoking. Add tomato and garlic, stir fry until fragrant.
  3. Add sugar, stir fry for another 30 seconds.
  4. Add back egg, green onion, and soy sauce. Toss for another 30 seconds.
  5. Serve over rice and enjoy!

Lychee Gimlet

Lychee Gimlet

Lychee is my most favorite fruit. What better way to enjoy this fruit than in a Lychee Gimlet cocktail!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1.5 oz gin
  • 0.5 oz Cointreau
  • 0.75 oz lime juice
  • 0.25 oz simple syrup
  • 2 oz lychee juice
  • 1 lychee, for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Combine ingredients into shaker, then add ice. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds.
  2. Double strain into a chilled coupe cocktail glass.
  3. Garnish with a whole, fresh lychee.

Babaganoush

Babaganoush

Babaganoush is an easy recipe to make if you’re planning a Mediterranean-themed night. Often served with pita bread, this vegetarian dish goes well with raw veggies or as a dip or spread!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 lb Italian eggplants
  • 4 gloves garlic
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 3/4 tsp salt, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • Pinch of smoked paprika, for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Halve eggplants and brush cut side with olive oil. Place cut side down and roast for 35-40 minutes. Once cooled, spoon out flesh into a food processor.
  2. Add in garlic, lemon juice, tahini, olive oil, and parsley. Blend until combined. Add in salt and cumin. Season to taste with more salt as needed.
  3. Transfer babaganoush into a serving bowl. Lightly drizzle with more EVOO and garnish with parsley and smoked paprika.
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