Pappardelle with Chicken and Mushrooms

Fettucine with Chicken and Mushrooms

When I was growing up, our next-door neighbor Mike had an amazing Italian specialty shop in town called Gracie’s Ravioli, named after his mother. Gracie’s was devoted to selling authentic and delicious Italian ingredients and deli items. In high school, my dad and I used to go there to pick up sandwiches before every Yankees game we went to (which used to be a lot when we were season ticket holders!), and we all loved the shop’s roasted artichokes, delicious panini, and of course, their homemade ravioli.

Although Gracie’s closed a few years ago, Mike still maintains the legacy of his mom and his passion for Italian wine and cuisine through his blog, the eponymous Gracie’s Ravioli. He has tons of great recipes and wine recommendations over there, in addition to a few e-books I mentioned a while back that are definitely worth checking out.

Fettucine with Chicken and Mushrooms

I found this recipe from Mike’s blog that really stood out to me as having the potential to be seriously delizioso. Braised chicken, tomatoes, and mushrooms combine to make a sumptuous almost stew-like sauce that pairs perfectly with al dente pasta. Now the first thing you’ll probably be thinking is- wait a second, the above image clearly does NOT show pappardelle! Alas, our local store did not have any in stock, so we had to go with fettucine- which worked great, but if you want the authentic experience, try and find the pappardelle!

Check out the recipe below, e tutti a tavola a mangiare (did you know I spent a summer studying in Italy during college? Fun fact.)!

Pappardelle with Chicken and Mushrooms
 
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Author:
Serves: 6

Ingredients
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 small can (6 oz) tomato paste
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 large can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
  • salt and pepper
  • ½ lb sliced mushrooms
  • fresh parsley (for garnish)
  • 1 lb pappardelle pasta

Instructions
  1. In a large heavy-bottomed pot (I used a dutch oven), heat the oil over medium-high heat. Pat dry the chicken breasts with a paper towel to eliminate excess moisture, then carefully place in the pot. Allow chicken to brown, then remove to a plate. When cooled, shred with two forks and set aside.
  2. In the same pot, add the onions and garlic and reduce heat to medium. Allow onions to soften, stirring every so often about 3-5 minutes. Add the tomato paste, wine and water, and stir to combine. Add the canned diced tomatoes, basil, shredded chicken, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir, and bring everything to a boil over high heat.
  3. Once boiling, cover the pot and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30-45 minutes, then remove cover, add the mushrooms, and continue to cook for an additional 15 minutes.
  4. While the sauce is cooking, prepare pasta according to the box’s instructions. Ideally, use pappardelle for your base, but if your store doesn’t have that, fettucine or another wide long pasta is great too.
  5. Serve pasta in bowls and top with the chicken and mushroom sauce. Garnish with parsley and enjoy!

Fettucine with Chicken and Mushrooms

My fiance and I loved this, so much so we went back for seconds (and maybe thirds)… and as a bonus, this definitely makes enough for leftovers!

Happy Eating, and Happy Fourth! What are your plans for the holiday weekend?

mally

Banana Cupcakes with Cinnamon Frosting


Banana Cupcakes with Cinnamon Frosting

Happy first official day of Summer! I am so happy that we’ve finally fully shaken off the shackles of winter and the cold rains of Spring- Now is the time for beaches, frozen margaritas and flip flops!

It also means I’m getting into crunch time for the wedding planning (112 days to go, who’s counting?). The big decisions have all been made, but there’s still so much to do- if you’ve spent any time looking at wedding blogs or wedding photographer portfolios, it’s all about the details. Never before have I so thoughtfully considered what color napkins are appropriate, what good cardstock should feel and look like, or if it’s worth it to get these ridiculous yellow straws for the reception (no but seriously, I feel like these might be awesome? Maybe?)

But before I get all wedding-y again on everyone, let’s talk about these cupcakes.

Banana Cupcakes with Cinnamon Frosting

The folks at Coursehorse were generous enough to reach out to me and offer an awesome experience for my Meetup group, Food Bloggers in NYC. First off, if you are a food blogger in the area, I encourage you to join! We’ve got a LOT of exciting things coming up soon- and have already had a lot of fun events already.

Our last meetup on Wednesday was no exception. As mentioned, Coursehorse invited us to an amazing bloggers-only event- a cupcake class at the famous Butter Lane bakery in the East Village! People in the group jumped at the opportunity, and who wouldn’t? Tons of cupcakes, lessons on technique, and lots of interesting people- talk about a recipe (ha, ha) for success.

frosting

Olivia was our wonderful instructor from Butter Lane- she was extremely patient while she explained the importance of not over mixing your batter, the proper technique for frosting a cupcake the Butter Lane way (tap, tap, turn!) and how to make delicious custom frostings with just a few special add-ins to their staple flavors (chocolate, vanilla, and cream cheese). In total, we made 3 different kinds of cake (chocolate, vanilla, and banana), and 6 different frostings (in addition to the first 3, we also made raspberry, chocolate peanut butter, and cinnamon).

In return, we thanked her by tediously over documenting every single second of this awesome class with our D-SLRs and iPhones, using Instagram, Vine, Twitter, and Facebook, and of course our blog posts… whoops! That’s what you get when you invite a dozen food bloggers anywhere! 🙂

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Here is the authentic Butter Lane recipe for my favorite combination- their delicious banana cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting. The banana cake was so light and fluffy, and not dense at all. That comes from mixing everything on looow speed until just combined- a very important tip I picked up!

Banana Cupcakes with Cinnamon Frosting
 
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Author:
Serves: 36

Ingredients
For the cupcakes:
  • ½ lb butter
  • 2½ cups granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • splash of vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups buttermilk
  • 1½ tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 2 cups pureed bananas
For the frosting:
  • ½ lb butter
  • 1 lb cream cheese
  • 8 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • splash of vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon

Instructions
  1. Make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 300°F. Combine butter and sugar in a mixing bowl. Mix until sugar and butter forms a cream. Crack eggs into a separate bowl, and add vanilla extract, then add eggs to the mixing bowl. Mix on medium speed until mixture becomes light and fluffy. Combine baking powder, baking soda and salt with flour. Add half the flour mixture, followed by buttermilk, then add the rest of the flour mixture. Mix until combined, but be careful not to over mix. On a low speed, mix in banana puree. Mix for one minute, then remove from mixer and finish mixing by hand. Scoop cupcakes and bake for 23 minutes.
  2. Make the frosting: Combine butter and cream cheese in mixing bowl and mix on a medium speed for 5 minutes. While mixing at low speed, add sugar. Once combined, add a splash of vanilla extract and mix on medium speed for 3 minutes or until smooth and fully combined. Add cinnamon and mix again to combine.
  3. Frost fully cooled cupcakes and enjoy!

Recipe from Butter Lane.

Banana Cupcakes with Cinnamon Frosting

An immense thank you to CourseHorse and Butter Lane for hosting our Meetup! By far our most tasty one yet!

Happy Friday and as always, Happy Eating 🙂
mally

 

Cheesy Meatballs

Cheesy Meatballs

While there are a lot of great things about finding the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, there’s also a lot to consider when it comes to making that decision to take the plunge and go all in.

For example, what if your opinions differ on work-life balance? Do you both want kids? If so, how many? What about religion? And on the lighter (but I think just as important) side, are they neat or messy? Do they like the same movies and TV shows as you? When do they like to take their showers?

Relationships are about taking into account all these different preferences and quirks and creating a home life that is not just a compromise, but a well-oiled machine where both parties feel as though their needs and wants are being appreciated and valued. It is not easy. I am by no means an expert. But the fun of making a new life with your partner can often come through the discovery process about what works and what doesn’t. And of course, making time for the both of you to just enjoy being around each other is absolutely fundamental to any relationship.

One of my absolute favorite things to do with my fiance is going out date night at a restaurant. I don’t care if we just go to the bar down the street, or a 5-star steakhouse, or the taqueria downtown- I just LOVE going on dates (and not having to do the dishes…). We both have a wedding to think about so we are trying to save our pennies where we can, but there are nights where I just don’t feel like cooking- and all I want is a slice of pizza. Or a fish taco. Or chicken fingers. Or sushi. Or… ya get the idea.

We had an excellent date night last week (if I may say so myself) at a new Italian joint that opened a few blocks away from us in downtown Jersey City called Roman Nose. They are a cute little spot with outdoor seating and some of the BEST meatballs, pizza and pasta I’ve had in a while. We were able to get some info out of our waiter regarding the ingredients of their famous meatballs, which included a blend of ground beef, pork and veal, as well as the use of cheeeeeeese inside the balls! Similar to my favorite burger recipe, what’s not to love about including your favorite toppings inside the whole shebang to begin with?

Who said date nights couldn’t also be educational? 🙂

Cheesy Meatballs

So here’s my attempt at a little re-creation of these awesome balls… I loved using a combo of the ground beef and pork, and the cheese really brought the oomph flavorwise. I served these along side cavatappi pasta and my absolute favorite recipe for tomato sauce. Check out the recipe below!

Cheesy Meatballs
 
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A combination of parmesan and mozzarella cheeses transform these meatballs into a delicious treat alongside your favorite pasta and tomato sauce. Using a mixture of ground pork and ground beef really makes these something special for a flavorful classic dinner.
Author:
Serves: 2

Ingredients
  • 1 lb ground meat (I used half ground beef and half ground pork)
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a bowl, combine all ingredients except the olive oil, and mash together by hand or with a spoon. Form 6-8 2″-diameter balls and set aside.
  3. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. Gently place the meatballs in the skillet and cook until brown and crispy, making sure to flip the meatballs every 4-5 minutes to get all sides brown.
  4. Transfer the meatballs to an ovenproof baking dish and bake for another 5-10 minutes to make sure they are cooked through.
  5. Serve alongside pasta and a good tomato sauce. Enjoy!

What’s your go-to move for date night?

Cheesy Meatballs

 

Happy eating 🙂
mally

Deep Dish Cookie Pie… with a Healthy Twist!

Deep Dish Cookie Pie… with a Healthy Twist!

Oh boy, do I have a treat for you all today.

Imagine a decadent chocolate chip cookie, perfectly soft and delicious. The chocolate chips are super chocolatey, the texture is rich and comforting, and oh yeah, it’s as big as a pie.

Now imagine that that deep dish cookie pie has no flour, eggs, or butter in it. Dream bubble popped, right? How could that even be possible?

Well my friends today is your lucky day… because I have the key for you right here, all thanks to one humble little legume- the magnificent chick pea!

It turns out that when blended with oats, apple sauce, vanilla and yes, some brown sugar, chickpeas help form a “dough” that is nearly identical in taste and texture to regular cookie dough- and this one is gluten-free and safe to eat right out of the food processor!

I first made this for a Super Bowl party earlier this year, and again this week for a co-worker’s birthday. I can tell you not one single person guessed it was made out of chickpeas- in fact everyone was shocked when I told them after!

If only for the sake of curiosity, you have to try making this cookie pie- and with a recipe and ingredients as simple as these, there’s really no excuse!

Deep Dish Cookie Pie… with a Healthy Twist!

Deep Dish Cookie Pie… with a Healthy Twist!
 
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2 cans white beans or garbanzos (drained and rinsed) (500g total, once drained) 1 cup quick oats (or certified-gf quick oats) ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce 3 tbsp oil (canola, veg, or coconut) 2 tsp pure vanilla extract ½ tsp baking soda 2 tsp baking powder ½ tsp salt 1 and ½ cups brown sugar 1 cup chocolate chips
Serves: 8

Ingredients
  • 2 15.5 oz cans of chickpeas
  • 1 cup oats (use gf oats to make this recipe gluten-free)
  • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1½ cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Place all ingredients except the chocolate chips in a food processor and puree until the mixture is very, very smooth. Fold in the chocolate chips. Pour into an oiled pie plate or 10″ springform pan and bake for 35-40 minutes.

Thank you to Chocolate-Covered Katie for this amazing recipe! I’ve also tried it by pouring it into ramekins and baking at the same temp and time for individual servings (instead of a whole pie). Either way it’s fantastic!

Deep Dish Cookie Pie… with a Healthy Twist!

How easy was that? And I guarantee your friends and family will not know there’s anything healthy in there until you tell them- if my vegetable/all-healthy-foods-hating fiance didn’t notice, yours won’t either 🙂

Happy eating 🙂
mally

Mango Berry Shake

Mango Berry Shake

Hello! I’m finally, FINALLY done with traveling until later on this summer- after 3 straight weekends of travel I am so happy to finally be able to stick around at home for a little bit. That is, until I head to Montreal in about a month, and of course my honeymoon in a few months… ahh, who am I kidding! I love traveling!

This past weekend I had the most incredible opportunity to hang out at the BlogHer Food ’13 conference in Austin, TX. I was there to speak at my very own workshop, Blog on the Run, about the different kinds of apps food bloggers can use to maintain their blog and workflow on the go. It was a thrilling (and just a little bit nervewracking) experience and I literally cannot wait until next year’s conference. I was able to meet so many amazing bloggers and network with a ton of great folks.

bhf_13_blog_run

Photo Credit: BlogHer

One of the funniest things to happen during my workshop was when my dad texted me during the brief point where I actually had my phone hooked up to the projector. He said something like “How’s it going with your workshop?” I was so embarrassed until everyone started laughing- it ended up being pretty cute. It was only after that I realized my “Do Not Disturb” function on my phone was not enabled… whoops!

So after 3 straight weekends of basically being on vacation, I need a little break from overindulgence. While I love treating myself when I’m away, I always come back feeling like I need to cut back and get back on track with my nutrition. Since I have a lot of exciting wedding related things coming up, including my first dress fitting (!!!) and our engagement photos, I want to make sure I’m in the best shape I can be in.

Enter my long time favorite for breakfast- the smoothie! I know, it’s not Smoothie Sunday, but I wanted to share with you a new concoction I made with fresh mangos that my future mother-in-law gave me on Sunday night. Combined with frozen berries and a little liquid of your choice, this makes for a perfectly nutritious yet sweet breakfast.

Mango Berry Shake

Check out the recipe here:

Mango Berry Shake
 
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Author:
Serves: 1

Ingredients
  • 1 ripe mango, diced
  • ½ cup carrot juice, water, almond milk, or your preferred liquid
  • ½ cup frozen berries
  • 2 tbsp protein powder (optional)

Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

Mango Berry Shake

Thanks to Mommy Glo for the fresh mangos, and to all the BlogHer staff for an amazing conference!

Oh and in case you were wondering… it’s officially FOUR MONTHS TO GO until our wedding! 😀

Happy Eating 🙂
mally