Chocolate Cake with Mocha Frosting Recipe Challenge

Chocolate Cake with Mocha Frosting

This week I made Contessa Garten’s Chocolate Cake with Mocha Frosting. This cake is too delicious. I am warning you, do not make it. You will eat as much of it as you can so that other people cannot have any. It will become your precious. You have been warned. I am going back to the kitchen to shovel more cake in my face. I wish I was kidding. Read more

Middle Eastern Salad Recipe Challenge

Middle Eastern Salad

My cousin broke her leg roller skating. It was such a bad break she was a minor celebrity at her orthopedic surgeon’s office. You do not ever want to be a minor celebrity because you broke your bones in a truly spectacular way. She’s been stuck in her bedroom for weeks. Her husband has been an outstanding caregiver but even he needed a break so I went over to babysit her for a few hours last Friday.

Since I can’t do one thing at a time, I decided to make one of my recipe challenges and have her try it.

She was so bored she readily agreed even though she knows for a fact that I am a hit or miss cook.

I made Contessa Garten’s Middle Eastern Salad. Read more

cherry pistachio biscotti recipe challenge

Cherry Pistachio Biscotti

As I write this, Felicia and I are eating these for a late breakfast in our hotel room. We are back to traveling for Persistiny. We gave up our office space. More on that later.

These cherry pistachio biscotti are easy to make and delicious. The only thing to really remember is make sure when you slice them they are only an inch thick. Read more

Lemon Chicken Recipe Challenge Fail

Lemon Chicken

When planning on making a recipe for your blog, read the recipe through at least once because then you will see that the recipe recommends that you marinate the chicken for at least 6 hours. I was planning on making this while Six was at school but it is sitting in the fridge, marinating.

I, on the other hand, am stewing. Why is this challenge so challenging? I have been making food for other people for decades. But planning for and executing a recipe every week has been very difficult. And they aren’t difficult recipes. The lemon chicken is lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, and dried thyme. And chicken. And it’s taken me forever to get it done. Granted, I have a cold and people in my family keep moving and Older Son graduated college and I sold my house so there is escrow… Read more

Five Cheese Penne Recipe Challenge

Five Cheese Penne

This recipe taught me something. I prefer my pasta sauce to lean more toward tomato than cheese. Unless we are talking about boxed mac and cheese and then of course I want that weird orange powder. No judgment. Safe space.

So if you prefer cheesy to tomato-ee then I highly recommend this recipe. I switched out some of the cheeses since there was no way Six would eat Gorgonzola and I waited so long to make the recipe the ricotta turned into a science experiment gone horribly wrong. Read more

Israeli Couscous and Tuna Salad Recipe Challenge

Israeli Couscous and Tuna Salad

I got sidetracked from making this last week but I gave it another go this week. As you can see the basil leaves are a little wilted but all in all this is a yummy and very easy recipe. I made it for dinner and it was very satisfying. Because it was after 5pm I didn’t feel bad washing it all down with some wine.

The recipe is very easy, I made it exactly as directed with only 2 changes. One, I couldn’t find roasted red peppers in a jar or capers, so I grabbed a random jar of spicy pickled vegetables from Trader Joe’s and it worked great. Second, I thought I had plain Israeli couscous but I didn’t. I had a mix that had couscous in it with some other stuff but it was good, too. Contessa Garten’s recipes are very forgiving. I never worry that I don’t have the exact ingredients (except when baking, everything has to be exact or it’s a disaster.) Read more

Campari orange spritzers

Campari Orange Spritzers

Campari is a beautiful color and tastes like cleaning solution. But, if you mix it with orange juice and fizzy water and drink it over ice with your friends it is delicious! Let’s make Campari orange spritzers!

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Homemade mashed potatoes and gravy

Homemade Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Originally, I was going to make a turkey meatloaf to go with the homemade mashed potatoes and gravy. There were a few reasons why I didn’t. One, my younger son developed a horrible cold that lasted a week and a half and I never had time to go shopping for all the ingredients and make the entire meal. Two, I already have a turkey meatloaf recipe I like. I think meatloaf is a lot like love in that there is no accounting for taste. What one person adores another will think is a sociopathic jerk. Three, I wanted to make the mashed potatoes and gravy for a very personal reason so I kept that portion of the challenge and let the meatloaf portion go. Four, Contessa Garten’s version of meatloaf calls for 5 pounds of meat. It would take my little family weeks to eat that much. All that being said, we will include her recipe for meatloaf since it looks delicious and maybe you are both in need of a meatloaf recipe and you have a large group of humans that need feeding.

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Easy Tomato soup

Easy Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons

Alright, I have to confess something here. Once a week (at least) Six and I eat tomato soup with toasted cheese sandwiches for dinner. However, the soup and sandwiches we consume are not this absolutely beautiful easy tomato soup and delightful grilled cheese croutons.

Nope. The tomato soup comes from Trader Joes and the sandwiches are two pieces of bread and two pieces of cheese that are put into something called a toaster bag (brilliant invention that lets you melt cheese onto bread in your toaster without setting fire to your toaster). We usually eat baby carrots and apple slices as side dishes. And that was my weekly grilled cheese and tomato soup meal. It took ten minutes from start to table and it was edible. Read more

Sidecars with dried cherries and crackers

Sidecars with Dried Cherries and Crackers

Oh by gosh, by golly!  It’s time for cognac soaked dried cherries!  We drank so many sidecars I was a wee bit hungover the next morning, but they tasted so good I didn’t care. Sidecars with dried cherries and crackers is an excellent way to spend an evening.

I urge you to make these drinks with your friends. Heck, make them with your enemies and they might become your friends. We made the sidecars exactly as directed and they were delightful. Read more