Tag Archives: risotto

Last Minute Thanksgiving Sides & Desserts Roundup

Thanksgiving is 3 days away – are you ready? If not, no worries- there’s still tons of time to make this special holiday shine. I wanted to provide a brief rundown of my favorite Thanksgiving sides and desserts, all of which are available here on Total Noms.

These are dishes that to me, practically ooze holiday warmth whenever I have them. I sincerely hope they add some of that warmth to your table as well!

Loaded Mashed Potatoes

To kick off the sides, let’s hand everyone a scoop of bacon and roasted garlic-loaded mashed potatoes. These are surprisingly easy to make, and loaded with amazing flavors.






Seasoned Fanned Potatoes with Cheese

… or perhaps you’re more of a cheesy Hasselback potato kind of family? These spuds are fun to make and customize and make all your own. Plus who doesn’t love some cheese with their taters?






Roasted Brussels Sprouts

When it comes to vegetables, you cannot beat my favorite roasted brussels sprouts. I think these are the best possible preparation for these often underrated vegetables, and will really make your holiday dinner something special.





Butternut Squash Risotto with Crispy Sage and Brown Butter

Nor should you overlook this delicious seasonal butternut squash risotto. I LOVE squash around this time of year, and I think the brown butter that’s infused throughout the risotto makes this one of my most favorite ways to serve rice as a side.






Now onto my personal favorite part of Thanksgiving: the desserts!


Sweet Potato Pecan Tartlets + #PiePartyGE

These are absolutely perfect treats for a Thanksgiving feast- with a pecan crust and a hint of bourbon, you need to check out these Sweet Potato Pecan Tartlets!






Mini Blueberry Crumble

Blueberry Crumbles are such a fun and easy way to give everyone at your table their own individual sweet treat. These are also a cinch to throw together and prepare beforehand, and heat in the oven while you’re devouring turkey so you have dessert ready right away!







apple crisp

Come on, there is nothing more American than this delicious and deceptively easy dessert. Apple Crisp is one of my favorite desserts of all time, and it only gets better when apples are in season right around this time.







Chocolate-Dipped Pumpkin Clouds

These chocolate dipped pumpkin clouds are the ultimate Thanksgiving cookie- sweet, soft and chewy cookies topped with deep, dark chocolate shell. A perfect way to top off a perfect feast!








As for the main event, I always HIGHLY recommend Alton Brown’s brined roast turkey recipe. I made it last year and while it does involve some extra legwork and time in making the brine, it’s so worth it for perfect turkey.

What are your favorite sides and desserts?

Happy Eating 🙂

Caprese Risotto with Roasted Tomatoes

Caprese Risotto with Roasted Tomatoes

Last week, I hit up a local farmer’s market here in Jersey City. Well, OK. I didn’t exactly go on purpose… My original plan was to get tacos nearby and go home. OK, fine, my original original plan was to go to the gym, but who’s judging?

Anyways, I got out of the train station after leaving work, and emerged to find there was a bustling farmer’s market going on right around the plaza where the station lets you out. And yeah, there turned out to be a taco truck there (I indulged, obviously, going through some serious #tacolife right now). But there were so many other yummy things, I had to look around while waiting for my tacos to be made for me. In the 5 minutes I had to scout around, I picked up an eggplant and a nice handful of locally grown Jersey plum tomatoes.

It took me a little while to figure out what to do with the tomatoes (I ended up just frying the eggplant in a bout of weekend hunger) but I finally settled on making a twist on the classic caprese salad, this time in a creamy, decadent risotto. I roasted the tomatoes to get as much flavor from them as possible, used fresh mozzarella, and beautiful fresh basil. I have to say this came out even better than I expected- I never have used fresh mozzarella in risotto before, and it added a nice creamy and melty texture to the whole dish that made it really something special.

I think that’s the magic of a caprese salad any way you make it- it always ends up being a dish that is more than the sum of its parts. Using the best ingredients you can find will definitely improve the quality of the dish, and I’ll be surprised if you can keep yourself from having seconds! 🙂

Roasted Tomatoes

Caprese Risotto with Roasted Tomatoes
Prep time

Cook time

Total time


Serves: 4

For the Roasted Tomatoes:
  • 4 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise with cores and seeds removed
  • 4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • kosher salt
For the risotto:
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 1 shallot, chopped finely
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 3½-4 cups chicken or vegetable broth, warmed over low heat
  • ½ cup fresh mozzarella
  • ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • fresh basil for garnish

  1. Make the roasted tomatoes and garlic: Preheat oven to 450° F. Arrange halved, cored tomatoes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle tomatoes with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over each tomato. Rub the garlic cloves in olive oil and place on the pan with the tomatoes. Roast for 30 minutes, rotating the pan once in between. When tomatoes have shrunk and are cooked through, remove them and the garlic cloves from the oven and allow to cool while you make the rest of the risotto.
  2. Make the risotto: In a large pan, heat 3 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped garlic, shallot, and thyme, and allow to cook for 3-4 minutes until the shallots start to become translucent. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
  3. Add the rice, and stir to coat in the oil. Season with salt, and allow the rice to “toast” for 2 minutes- this is adding a lot of flavor directly into the rice itself. Add the wine, and stir to loosen up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Allow to cook until wine is almost fully absorbed. Add ½ cup of the warmed broth and stir again. Continue to add broth, ½ cup at a time, once the previous addition is almost fully absorbed. Make sure you are stirring every few minutes or so as well.
  4. While the rice is cooking, carefully chop up your roasted tomatoes into ¼ inch pieces, and peel the roasted garlic and chop that up too.
  5. Once you feel the rice is cooked to the desired consistency (not crunchy, but somewhat creamy with a bite), add the roasted tomatoes and roasted garlic and stir. Add your mozzarella and parmesan, and stir again. The mozzarella will start to get stringy, but just keep stirring until everything is incorporated and it’s a lovely mess.
  6. Garnish with fresh basil, stir once more, and serve!

Happy Eating 🙂

Butternut Squash Risotto with Brown Butter and Crispy Sage

Butternut Squash Risotto with Crispy Sage and Brown Butter

If you read this blog or know me at all, you know that I love, love, love risotto. It’s such a rustic, yet delicious dish that welcomes with open arms any rejects in your fridge. Scallions, carrots, and thyme- why not? Asparagus and mushrooms? Don’t mind if I do. So when I had half a roasted butternut squash in my fridge, alongside some gorgeous fresh sage leaves, I got to work!

If you haven’t made risotto before, don’t get worked up- it’s not nearly as hard as it’s made out to be. Just be sure to stir from time to time, and if the rice is getting dry, then add more liquid! It’s as easy as that. The other trick to great risotto is to use great ingredients that pack a lot of flavor. That’s why you’ll see every addition to this dish is designed to pack a great punch in the taste department- from the cheese, to the wine, to the squash, to the garlic, to the…. wait, I’m getting hungry here! Continue reading

My Thanksgiving Menu Plans

I apologize for the lack of Thanksgiving menu items on my blog this week- that’s because I’ve been so busy prepping that I haven’t had a chance to whip up much in the meantime!

I do want to share what’s on the menu though- if you’re in a jam this late in the game, feel free to try any of these awesome tried and true recipes!

My boyfriend’s brother and sister-in-law are bringing the Andouille stuffing and mashed potatoes, his mother is making her famous lumpia (delicious Filipino spring rolls that I LOVE), and my parents are bringing the pumpkin cheesecake, along with a large folding table (and tablecloth- thanks mom)! I am so excited to share this holiday with so many special people!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone 🙂

Happy Eating 🙂

Risotto with Asparagus and Mushrooms


This is the story about a turning point in my life as a (very) amateur chef. Believe it or not, before I learned how to make the following recipe, I relied on ramen, dorm cafeteria food, and 99 cent pizza for sustenance after I graduated high school and shipped off to college. Total noms indeed.

I was taught how to make this creamy, savory rice dish when I was studying abroad one summer in Perugia, Italy. I was guilty of spending most of my euros on pizza, gelato, and other Italian treats, and rarely took advantage of Perugia’s markets and local groceries. But really, could you blame me?

One of my apartment-mates was a girl from England, Lucy, who took pity on me and my lack of culinary skill and pried me away from an admittedly expensive reliance on restaurants and pizzerias. She had been a live-in chef at some rich people’s Swiss ski chalet (tough life), so one night, she decided to teach me how to make this, the most decadent yet surprisingly simple of rice dishes.

The rest, as they say, is history. A foodie was born.

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