ramblings from my little kitchen

Olive Tapenade


I LOOOVE olives.  as does my child.  She would literally eat 10 of them if I would let her.  I made this the other night to go on some grilled Cod.  It was super tasty!  The bitter capers mixed with the salty olives and sweet basil leaves made such a wonderful flavor combination.  Make it and enjoy.  It takes no time at all and is a perfect topping for any grilled seafood and I also think it would be great on chicken.

Olive Tapenade

  • 10 kalamata olives, diced
  • 8 green olives, diced
  • 1TBS capers
  • 1/2 TBS diced sun dried tomatoes
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 8-10 basil leaves, chiffonade
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp (or less) red pepper flakes

combine all ingredients and serve 

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Black Bean Burgers

Matt frequently gets burger cravings.  While I don’t eat meat, I don’t mind preparing it for him.  However when I told him I was going to make a veggie bean burger for myself, he quickly said that he wanted one too!  These were really delicious. I used cornmeal as my filler, but I think I would like these even more using panko. They were slightly spicy, had a ton of good flavor and a lovely crunchy crust.  The corn relish added a bit of heat and another layer of flavor and the avocado cream acted as the glue to hold it all together.


Black Bean burgers

  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed divided
  • 1 cup white or brown rice, divided
  • 2 roasted red bell peppers, divided
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 chipolte seasoning cube
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 – 2/3 cup cornmeal, breadcrumbs, or panko
  • salt and pepper
  • Canola oil

Place 1/2 can of drained black beans, 1/2 cup rice, 1 coarsely chopped red pepper, oregano, cumin, garlic, and chipotle seasoning in a food processor. Pulse process until combined.

Finely dice the remaining red pepper. In a bowl, mash the rest of the black beans and rice.  Add the diced red pepper, onion, lightly beaten eggs and the mixture from the food processor.  Season with 3/4tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper.

Stir in the cornmeal/breadcrumbs a little at a time, and mixing until the mixture firms up. Place the mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Heat a nonstick skillet with a little canola oil over medium heat. Add the mixture in patty form in batches and cook until done, flipping halfway through (about 5-6 minutes total for small patties and 8-12 minutes total for bigger burgers).

Corn Relish

  • 2 tsp. canola oil
  • 2 cups corn
  • 1/2 small red onion finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 seeded jalapeno, minced
  • 15 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 TBS lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat a pan over medium-high heat and add the canola oil. Stir in the corn, and let it sit for about 1-2 minutes before stirring. Continue to saute until lightly browned.

Stir in the garlic and jalapeno, just until fragrant – about 30-60 seconds. Remove from heat and add the tomato, lime juice, cilantro, and salt and pepper to taste.

Avocado Cream

  • 1 and 1/2 avocado, pitted
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup cilantro

Puree all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

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Brie, Basil and Asparagus Pizza

MMM. good.

This is quick, easy, healthy, and delicious!  To quote matt “this is one of your more excellent creations.”

for the pizza:


Pizza Dough (i make my own, recipe to follow, but you can use store bought)
1 Brie Wheel
5-6 basil leaves
10 stalks of fresh asparagus
1-2 TBS olive oil
1-2 TBS balsamic vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper


preheat oven to 450

stretch pizza dough onto a lightly oiled pan. drizzle dough with olive oil, paying special attention to the edges so that they brown and sprinkle with half the salt and pepper. cut asparagus into 1.5 inch chunks and spread evenly over dough. slice brie into 1/4 inch slices and cover the asparagus. tear basil leaves and sprinkle over pizza. drizzle the vinegar then sprinkle the remainder of salt and pepper.

bake for 13-16 minutes until edges start to brown and the cheese is bubbly.

Basic Pizza Dough

3 1/2 to 4 cups flour (I typically use half AP, half whole wheat)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/4 tsp yeast (or 1 packet)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 cups water, 110 degrees F
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 2 teaspoons

put the sugar and yeast into the warm water and allow to bloom, approx 5 mins. place the flour and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and combine. While the mixer is running, add the warm water and 2 tablespoons of the oil and beat until the dough forms into a ball. If the dough is sticky, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together in a solid ball. If the dough is too dry, add additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead into a smooth, firm ball.

Grease a large bowl with the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil, add the dough, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in a warm area to let it double in size, about 1 hour. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Cover each with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let them rest for 10 minutes.

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Chicken Stew with Biscuits

Matt Requested comfort food the other night and I went to trusty Ina Garten.  Her recipes are full of fat and full of comfort.  This didn’t disappoint. Warm, salty, comforting. Make it on a cold night and enjoy!


Chicken Stew with Biscuits


6 chicken breasts

3 tablespoons olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

5 cups chicken stock

2 chicken bouillon cubes

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter

2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)

3/4 cup flour

1/4 cup heavy cream

2 cups medium-diced carrots (4 carrots), blanched for 2 minutes

1 10-ounce package frozen peas (2 cups)

3/4 cup frozen corn

3/4 cup frozen edamame

1/2 cup minced fresh parsley

For the biscuits:

2 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon sugar

6TBS  cold unsalted butter, diced

1/2 stick cold diced vegetable shortening

3/4 cup half-and-half

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan and rub them with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 30-35 minutes, or until cooked through. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then shred.

In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock and dissolve the bouillon cubes in the stock. In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the onions over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the hot chicken stock to the sauce. Simmer over low heat for 1 more minute, stirring, until thick. Add salt and pepper to taste, and the heavy cream. Add the cubed chicken, carrots, peas, onions, and parsley. Mix well. Place the stew in a 10 x 13 x 2-inch oval or rectangular baking dish. Bake for 15 mins.

Meanwhile, make the biscuits. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is the size of peas. Add the half-and-half and combine on low speed. Mix in the parsley. Dump the dough out on a well-floured board and roll out to 3/8-inch thick. Cut out twelve biscuits.

Remove the stew from the oven and arrange the biscuits on top of the filling. Brush them with egg wash, and return the dish to the oven. Bake for another 20 to 30 minutes, until the biscuits are brown and the stew is bubbling



Today’s post is brought to you by long naps.  I LOVE lasagna.  but it takes a really long time to make.  I usually only brave it for company. 

Vegetarian (mostly) Lasagna


pack of lasagna noodles- cooked al dente

16 ounce container of ricotta

lots of mozzarella

lots of parmesan

marinara sauce (always make your own, so easy and so much better)

1 onion, sliced

2 peppers, sliced

1 extra large container of fresh spinach or one bag of frozen

2 eggs

1 container mushrooms

Italian sausage (hot or mild)

2 TBS olive oil

2 TBS butter

salt and pepper



preheat oven to 350

1. start by cooking sausage in a little bit of olive oil until browned on both sides.  remove from oil and place them in a small pot of marinara sauce so they soak up all the tomatoey goodness. add in peppers and onions to oil/sausage fat and cook until softened and starting to brown.  put to side.

2. cook mushrooms in same pan after other veggies removed.

3. mix spinach, ricotta, tsp salt and pepper and eggs in a large bowl, set aside

4. grate a ton of mozzarella and parmesan cheese, once you think you have enough, do a little more.

5. next comes the layering.  put some sauce on the bottom of your extra deep baking dish then place a layer of noodles. cover the noodles with ricotta mixture, then a layer of veggies, then a layer of marinara, last a layer of grated cheese- to glue it all together.  Repeat, 2-3 times depending on how deep your dish is.  for the final layer, put the noodles over the last layer then put a little marinara over them and a LOT of grated cheese.  dice the butter and sprinkle over the top.

6. put dish on another pan in case of spillage and bake for 45 mins to an hour until the top is golden brown and bubbly. 

serve with garlic bread, extra marinara and sausage for the meat-eaters. 

yummy yummy


Garlic Bread


1 loaf french bread, sliced in half lengthwise

1/2stick butter, softened

1/4 cup olive oil

basil, parsley, oregano, salt, pepper

2-3 cloves garlic, minced


mix all ingredients together (except bread) then spread over sliced bread.  bake at 350 for 20 minutes until the edges are browned and crusty.

*as far as herbs/spices go.  i always use fresh basil and parsley because they taste so much differently and so much better than dried.  and i usually use equal parts of each (2 TBS minced).  oregano is really strong fresh, but yummy, so if you have it, use 2 tsp.  if not, dried is fine and use about 1-1.5 tsp.  salt and pepper are to taste.  but 1/2 tsp of each should get you there. 



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Chicken Taco Salad

This is a super quick and easy supper.  I have really been craving mexican with this pregnancy, so lucky for matt we get to eat it a lot!


2 diced chicken breasts

bag of frozen peppers and onions (or freshly sliced, but this is all i had on hand)

1 tsp chipotle seasoning mix- i used Knorr, but there are many available

2 tsp cilantro

1 clove garlic- finely chopped

1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne  pepper

2 TBS mayonnaise and greek yogurt

salt and pepper

1 TBS oil

lettuce of choice

garnish- sour cream, pepper jack or cheddar cheese, avocado, and salsa (my version below)

fried tortilla shells (i got mine at taco bell)-  you could do it yourself if you are really fancy.


1- heat oil in large skillet, meanwhile sprinkle diced chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and cayenne.  Saute chicken until slightly browned.

2- add garlic and sliced veggies and continue to cook for a few minutes until chicken is completely cooked through.  mix in mayo and greek yogurt to act as salad dressing and sprinkle with cilantro.

3- fill salad shells with lettuce and top with chicken mixture.  garnish to your liking with sour cream, salsa, cheese and avocado.

4- scarf!  serve leftovers the next morning with a poached egg- amazing.


homemade salsa:

2 cans rotel tomatoes

1 small onion diced finely

1 small jalapeno diced very finely

1 TBS chopped fresh cilantro

salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, cumin

mix all ingredients, add spices according to taste.  i like just a dash of each because i like the taste of the cilantro and tomatoes. and the rotel has a kick- especially if you get medium or hot!

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Marsala Risotto

Risotto is easy, it just takes a little time.  The fun part is it’s a meal on its own.  Last night I made this served with a yummy green salad and a piece of veggie sausage.  Try it sometime.  It is way better than rice and a fun change from pasta.


2 cups chicken stock

1 cup marsala wine

1 cup arborio rice

1/2 onion

1 TBS olive oil

1TBS butter

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

1/2 cup frozen peas

1/4 cup fresh parsley


1- Heat olive oil in medium sized pan and add diced onion.  season with salt and pepper and saute until onion is softened. 

2- Add rice and cook for 2 minutes over medium heat. Start warming stock/wine mixture in another pot.

3- Add 1 cup of stock/wine at a time allowing the rice to soak up liquid contents with each addition.  Constantly stir the rice.  This step takes about 30 minutes.  Don’t get mad.  Just turn on some rap music and have a dance party with your toddler, or by yourself.  No judgement.

4- Add the peas and allow them to warm through.  Then put the butter and cheese in the pan and stir rapidly, almost whisking to create a little volume.  Finish with fresh parsley.  

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Cheeseburger salad

Oh YUM!  I mean I am pregnant, so most food is delicious.  But this was so good I hardly had time to take a breath between bites.  And it is super simple.  


1/2 pound lean ground turkey

1/2 yellow onion, sliced

1TBS olive oil

salt and pepper

1TBS ketchup

1TBS dijon mustard 

2tsp BBQ sauce

1TBS pickle juice

romaine lettuce

Diced dill pickles

Cheddar Cheese

White bread


Heat olive oil in medium skillet add sliced onion and cook until softened. Add pinch of salt and pepper.  Place ground turkey into pan and add a smidge of salt and pepper again.  Cook for 2 minutes then add ketchup, mustard, BBQ sauce and pickle juice.  Stir until meat is browned and cooked through. Serve over chopped romaine lettuce then sprinkle with tons of cheddar cheese and as much dill pickle as you like.  I turned the white bread into croutons by cooking them over high heat in some melted butter and salt.  But you could just toast it and serve on the side as a scooper to help shovel this delicious meal into your mouth. Enjoy!

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is perhaps my favorite thing to eat, next to anything made with chocolate and peanut butter.  This I managed to whip up in a few minutes and it was really good!

Campanelle with Cheesy Turkey Sausage


1/2 pound campanelle pasta

1 tbs olive oil

1tsp fennel seed

1/4tsp ground sage

1/2 tsp fresh thyme

1/2 pound lean ground turkey

salt and pepper

2 tbs butter

2 tbs flour

1 cup whole milk

1/2-3/4 cup shredded gruyere cheese

fresh parsley to garnish



Start by boiling 6+ cups of salted water.  Once to a boil, add campanelle and cook for 8 minutes until al dente.  Meanwhile, put olive oil in pan over medium-high heat and add ground turkey, sprinkle in all spices (1/4tsp salt and pepper, also).  Saute until cooked through.  Set sausage aside.  Using the same pan, put butter in and cook over medium heat until melted.  Sprinkle flour over butter and immediately start stirring.  Cook for a few minutes to get rid of the raw flour taste.  Some people say you need to scald the milk before adding it to the butter-flour mix, but I never do because I hate needlessly dirtying things.  So, add the milk (warm or straight from the fridge) and stir until the mix begins to thicken.  Add the shredded cheese and salt and pepper to taste.  Stir until a uniform cheesy consistency has formed.   Put sausage in with cheese mixture and stir in pasta noodles.  Garnish with fresh parsley and serve with yummy french bread.

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Chick Pea and Kalamata Olive Dip


1 cup chick peas

1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives

2 tbs marscapone cheese (or cream cheese)

1/4 cup feta cheese

1/4 cup fresh parsley

1/4 cup olive oil

1/8tsp each salt and pepper


place all ingredients in the food processor and pulse until combined.  I think i also put in a few leaves of basil, but I am already drawing a blank. Trust me, this will be good either way.  Yummy, salty, tangy, cheesy, fabulous. Serve with blue corn chips and call me later to thank me for creating something so good.

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