ALL POSTS TAGGED "recipes"

  • Tell Your Friends

I’ll be embarking on my 7th journey to sunny Mexico in three weeks (eek!), so I’m currently obsessed with all things taco and tequila. But to be honest, I adore everything about Mexican culture; the people, the crafts and of course, the food. So needless to say, I’ll be going all out for my Cinco de Mayo celebrations on Tuesday with a full day of cooking and eating. Join me in celebrating with these fiesta-worthy recipe ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and more!

BREAKFAST: PIONEER WOMAN’S HEARTY BURRITOS

Image courtesy of Food Network

¡Buenos días! Get your day going with a hearty breakfast burrito that’s just spicy enough to wake you up. This recipe from The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, kicks off the festivities with hot sausage, Monterey Jack cheese, jalapeños and crispy potatoes. Get the recipe here >>

LUNCH: CARNE ADOBO SKEWERS + AVOCADO FRIES

Carne adobo skewers and avocado fries

Set the patio table and gas up the grill for a lunch of fresh carne adobo skewers paired with some crispy avocado fries — a unique take on Mexico’s most famous fruit.

APPETIZER: QUESO FUNDIDO

Quick and easy queso fundido recipes

Switch up the plain queso this year with these three easy and flavorful queso fundido dips that will satisfy meat lovers, seafood fans and vegetarians alike. Simply serve them with warm tortillas chips. Get the recipes here >>

Tortilla chips also pair great with this go-to guacamole >>

More Fiesta-Worthy Bites

  • Tell Your Friends

You’re never too old to decorate Easter eggs! So, while the kids are having their fun, you can have yours — cocktail in hand.

CHERRY PEEPS COCKTAIL

Cherry Peeps Cocktail Recipe

Photo and recipe by Michelle Edgemont

An unexpected take on a dessert cocktail, this creamy beverage is garnished with your favorite Easter treat — Peeps!

Get the recipe >>

DEW DROP COCKTAIL

Easter Dew Drop Cocktail Recipe

Photo and recipe courtesy of Jung Lee and Clos du Bois

Serves One

  • 4 ounces Clos du Bois California Chardonnay
  • 2 ounces gin
  • 2 ounces grapefruit juice
  • 1-2 ounces simple syrup
  • grapefruit slice, for garnish

1. Create a simple syrup by adding water and sugar to a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Stir until the sugar completely dissolves, then remove pan from heat.

2. Shake all ingredients with ice, and serve in champagne coupes or vintage tea cups. Finish with a grapefruit slice.

4 More Spring Concoctions to Try

  • Tell Your Friends

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, party people! I couldn’t pass up this holiday without sharing some downright mouthwatering cocktails that just happen to be — you guessed it — green. (Or, topped with green sprinkles at least!)

SOMETHING DECADENT

Irish Root Beer Float Recipe

Photo and recipe courtesy of Elegant Affairs

  • 1 ounce Root Beer Schnapps
  • 1 bottle root beer soda
  • 1 ounce Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • 3 scoops vanilla ice cream
  • ice
  • whipped cream, for garnish
  • green sugar crystals, for garnish

1. Mix all of the ingredients in a blender, except for the soda.

2. Pour into a frosted beer mug or an Irish coffee mug, then pour in the soda.

3. Top with whipped cream and green sugar crystals for a sweet and festive touch.

SOMETHING REFRESHING

Lucky Leprechaun Cocktail Recipe

Photo and recipe courtesy of SVEDKA Vodka

  • 2 ounces SVEDKA Vodka
  • 3/4 part fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 part simple syrup
  • 4 mint sprigs
  • green sugar crystals, for garnish

1. Create a simple syrup by adding water and sugar to a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Stir until the sugar completely dissolves, then remove pan from heat.

2. Muddle mint at the bottom of a Pilsner glass and build your drink on top over crushed ice (except for bitters, mint and sugar crystals).

3. Agitate with a spoon (or swizzle), making sure not to disturb the mint at the bottom.

4. Top with ice, rim with green sugar crystals and garnish with mint.

SOMETHING HEALTHY

Green Leprechaun Kale Cocktail Recipe

Photo and recipe courtesy of Sakara Life

  • 4 ounces tequila (or any spirit you prefer)
  • 1 ounce ginger juice
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup kale juice
  • 1/2 lime
  • ice, for shaking
  • frozen pomegranate seeds, for garnish

1. In a cocktail shaker, combine ice, liquor, ginger juice, pineapple juice, kale juice and lime.

2. Shake until all ingredients are mixed together and drink is chilled from the ice.

3. Strain and pour into a cocktail glass.

4. Top with frozen pomegranate seeds and an extra squeeze of lime.

What festive recipes are you whipping up today? Let us kn0w (aka share your yummy secrets!).

  • Tell Your Friends

I love food holidays. I’m not talking about those cold-weather holidays where you gain 10 pounds in the course of a month. I’m talking about that random rainy Tuesday that gives us National Peach Cobbler Day, and that sunny Saturday that celebrates National Doughnut Day. Or, that very special day that I happily toast to every morning: National Coffee Day. (I love you, java.) In short, every day is a food holiday and I’m happy to celebrate them all (well, mostly the sweet ones).

Today, we’re honoring National Pancake Day with a trip around the world. Get your pan and spatula ready for these tasty breakfast treats.

North America: Buttermilk Pancakes

Pancakes Recipe

Photo and recipe from FoodNetwork.com

Classic American pancakes are best when they’re fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside. Keep them classic by topping with butter and drizzling with warm syrup. Or, take your pancakes to the next level by mixing in a variety of fresh fruit, chocolate chips, bacon, spices, nuts and more. Get the recipe at FoodNetwork.com >>

Venezuela: Corn Cakes With Cream or Cheese (Cachapas)

Corn Pancakes With Cheese

Photo and recipe from Food.com

Corn griddle cakes are popular in Venezuela and Colombia. They’re often served for breakfast with a topping of queso fresco. Get the recipe at Food.com >>

France: Blueberry-Lemon Crepes With Custard Sauce

Blueberry Lemon Crepes Recipe

Photo and recipe from FoodNetwork.com

Crepes are thin, delicate pancakes typically made from wheat or buckwheat flour. The beauty of crepes is that they can be filled and topped with anything you like. From sweet to savory, the possibilities are endless. And making them at home is easier than you think. This sweet breakfast or dessert crepe features a fruity filling with a custard “dipping” sauce. Get the recipe at FoodNetwork.com >>

More Sweet Treats to Try

  • Tell Your Friends

After being iced indoors most of last week, all I can think about is being somewhere warm. No, HOT. I want sand between my toes and condensation on the glass of a tropical drink. Speaking of which, today is National Margarita Day! It may be frigid out, but I’m not passing up a frozen concoction (that helps me hang on).

Raspberry Margarita Recipe

Photo + Recipe Courtesy of Casa Noble Tequila

Raspberry Margarita
Serves 1

  • 1 1/2 ounces Casa Noble Crystal Tequila
  • 3/4 ounce raspberry simple syrup*
  • 1/2 ounce ginger liqueur
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • rosemary sprig, for garnish
  • black pepper

Combine tequila, lime juice, ginger liqueur, agave and simple syrup into a cocktail shaker, and shake well. Pour over ice into a Collins glass, and sprinkle fresh ground pepper on top. Garnish with a rosemary sprig.

*For the Raspberry Simple Syrup: Combine 1/4 pound of raspberries with 1/4 cup of sugar and bring to a boil. Strain and push through a fine sieve. Reserve.

More recipes to try:

How are you celebrating National Margarita Day? With an ice-cold margarita … indoors … sheltered from the snow? Or maybe you’ll be hanging from a hammock somewhere warm with a bevvy in hand? Tell us below!

  • Tell Your Friends

One year I’m dressed up, sipping cocktails and crying during acceptance speeches, and the next year I’m eating popcorn in my PJs like, “Who is that? What are these movies?” In 2014 I was an avid moviegoer, so I can’t wait to see who goes home with that golden statuette in hand. If you ever needed an excuse for throwing a party (and dressing up!), the Oscars is it. Here are our essentials for ending award show season in style.

Oscar Night Party Ideas1. ModCloth 2. Amazon 3. Cocktail, HGTV 4. Decor, HGTV 5. Recipe, HGTV 6. DIY, HGTV

1. Wear This: Dancer’s Delight Dress. This LBD is perfect for holding champagne flutes and twirling for no reason. Plus, it’s the ideal outfit for judging all the designer ensembles strutting down the red carpet. Hey, if you can’t be there in Vera Wang, you might as well be the Fashion Police, amiright?

2. Listen to This: Guardians of the Galaxy Soundtrack. Star-Lord has incredible taste in music. If I were defending the universe, I’d probably keep some nice background tunes going, too. If you haven’t popped this mix in, it’s filled with the unique 1970s tracks that are featured throughout the film as part of the plot line. Good luck not dancing.

3. Sip This: Fizzy Lizzy Cocktail. Champagne is essential on Oscar night. The celebs will be drinking it, so you should, too. Transform your basic bottle of Champagne by mixing in homemade margarita mix. Rim the glass with raspberry sugar and drop in some raspberries. Pop! Fizz! Clink!

4. Decorate With This: Oscar Party Elements. Gold, glitter, tinsel, confetti and sparkle say “Hollywood Glamour.” We say, go glitter crazy.

5. Eat This: Feta, Mint & Watermelon Bites. Keep it simple. Fresh watermelon and feta appetizers flavored with red wine vinegar and mint pair well with your champagne cocktail. Plus, they look gorgeous, too.

6. Make This: DIY Glitter Nails. Who has time to hit the salon these days? (Maybe my priorities are all wrong. Lookin’ at you, Netflix.) Give your nails a chic, salon look without the cost by using materials you likely have in your craft drawer. Paint your nails with clear polish, and while they’re still wet, cover liberally with fine glitter. Once dry, shake off to remove any excess glitter, then apply a top coat of clear polish to seal in the glitter. Lastly, show off throughout the night.

More Oscar Inspo:

  • Tell Your Friends

Happy Fat Tuesday, everyone! Today marks the last day of the Carnival season, but the party is just getting started. Parades have been flowing through the streets of New Orleans since early this month, and floats are still making their way through with trinkets and treats in tow. Today’s final night of celebrations will surely be filled with lots of beads, booze and King Cake. (Jealous!)

If you’re stuck, well, not in the Big Easy, then we have eight delicious ways to bring the taste of N’awlins to wherever you may be. Just grab some beads, mix up a hurricane and (mentally) head down South.

Cajun-Style Gumbalaya

Take a trip to New Orleans with this Cajun-inspired dish. It’s a cross between gumbo and spicy jambalaya that’s perfect for those who just can’t decide which Louisiana entree they want. Get the recipe >> 

Shrimp Gumbo

Shrimp Gumbo Recipe

This spicy Cajun gumbo gets most of its flavor from the dark roux and its thickness from the herb file. Onions, celery and green peppers, major ingredients in both Creole and Cajun cooking, add flavor and substance to the shrimp and sausage stew. Get the recipe from FoodNetwork.com >>

More Big Easy Bites

  • Tell Your Friends

No matter how you plan to spend Valentine’s Day (or with whom), it’s probably fair to assume there will be chocolate involved. Make it dark chocolate for a healthier sweet treat you’ll L-O-V-E.

Dark chocolate and cocoa are packed with antioxidants, a powerful agent against free radicals, which have been linked to serious conditions such as cancer and heart disease. So indulge in these dark chocolate recipes with your beau or a friend, and they could help protect your heart, even if it gets broken.

Smoldering Heart Dark Chocolate Cookies

heart shaped chocolate cookies

Image courtesy of The View From Great Island

These heart-shaped cookies stand out among the rest. Ditch the pink icing or red sprinkles, and opt for a more “smoldering” dark chocolate look. Cayenne powder in the shortbread cookie adds just the right amount of heat, and smoked paprika on the icing spices things up even more.

Get the full recipe at The View From Great Island

Dark Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookie Bars

oatmeal chocolate bars

Image courtesy of Half Baked Harvest

This treat may be having an identity crisis: Is it a bar? A cookie? A brownie? But, who cares! They are healthy thanks to filling fiber in the oats, those antioxidants in the dark chocolate, and the recipe calls for coconut oil (jury still out on the potential benefits, there). Plus, they’re done in just 30 minutes flat!

Get the full recipe at Half Baked Harvest

Dark Chocolate Zucchini Cake

chocolate cake

Image courtesy of Heather Christo

Looking at this decadent dark chocolate cake with chocolate-espresso icing you’d NEVER be able to guess its secret ingredient. Zucchini helps keep the cake super moist, and it’s a sneaky way to meet your veggie quota.

Get the full recipe from Heather Christo

Chocolate Dipped Fruit

chocolate dipped fruit

Image Courtesy of Marla Meridith

It wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day without a chocolate covered strawberry or five, but don’t discriminate against other fruit that taste equally delish dipped in the good stuff. Create a different kind of bouquet by dipping various berries in melted dark chocolate—blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries were all used here. Stick them on the end of a skewer, and place in a vase for easy access to healthy snacking.

Get the full recipe at Family Fresh Cooking

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bites

chocolate covered banana and peanut butter

Image Courtesy of Smile Sandwich

I personally love a recipe that calls for items you likely have in the cupboard already. Enter these bite-sized treats that have just four ingredients. Potassium from the bananas, protein from the nut butter, and antioxidants from the dark chocolate come together for a unique homemade sweet to share with whomever you choose.

Get the full recipe at Smile Sandwich

  • Tell Your Friends

In case you’ve somehow missed the near-constant barrage of jewelry, chocolate and flower commercials: Valentine’s Day is this Saturday! And, if you’re like me, any excuse to indulge my sweet tooth is a good one so I say Bring. It. On.

While store-bought treats are certainly delicious, nothing shows the depth of your affection quite like homemade goodies. Unleash your inner foodie and whip up one of these five decadent delights that are sure to make this Valentine’s Day your sweetest yet:

These artful cookies look time-consuming but decorating them couldn’t be easier. Get Marianne’s easy-to-follow video tips for icing like a pro plus her cookie recipe.

How to Make Beautiful Valentine's Day Sugar Cookies

Mmmmm…..chocolate! Truly, is there any flavor more craveable, more decadent? Well, not to me at least. Topped with homemade vanilla and strawberry frosting, these Neapolitan Bonbon Cupcakes are *almost* too pretty to eat.

Neapolitan Bonbon Cupcakes Recipe

If a hot-from-the-oven pie is the surest way to your sweetie’s stomach, give the crust a creative treatment with one of these 8 pro pastry ideas:

9 One-of-a-Kind Pie Crust Ideas

And, although, I personally can’t relate: Some folks don’t like chocolate (I know, the horror!) so this sweet-meets-tart mouthful may be just the ticket.

Homemade Lemon Cupcakes

When whipping up homemade goodies, don’t forget your furry best friend! These crunchy biscuits topped with cream cheese frosting are sure to get tails waggin’!

Homemade Dog Treats Recipe

MORE VALENTINE’S DAY INSPIRATION:

  • Tell Your Friends

From Boston to Seattle and everywhere in between, Super Bowl Sunday will have parties filled with fans, football, and oh yeah, food. Many of the traditional game-day dips are high in calories, high in fat, and highly likely to put you in a food coma.

That’s why we rounded up some simple swaps that are still delicious but better for you. There’s no need to “cheat” on any diet to enjoy these dips. Let’s leave that kind of controversy to the NFL.

Skip: Spinach Artichoke Dip
Get: Creamy Avocado, Artichoke and Kale Dip

artichoke dip

Image courtesy of Blissful Basil

Gooey cheese, though delicious, is one of the easiest ways to add saturated fat and calories to a recipe, and it’s the star of most spinach and artichoke dips. When superfood spinach and antioxidant-rich artichokes are mere sidekicks, though, the health benefits get overshadowed. Not the case in this recipe for Creamy Avocado, Artichoke and Kale Dip. The veggies take the spotlight, and not a cheese is in sight. It’s the avocados, loaded with good-for-you fats, that create the creamy texture we love so much. We bet you’ll never be able to look at the classic version the same way again.

Get the full recipe over at Blissful Basil

4 More Skinny Dips

  • Tell Your Friends

persimmon pomegranate salad

Disrupting a traditional Thanksgiving menu with new recipes can be a tricky proposal. This year, make an effort to slip in a few non-traditional sides to perk up the table and bring your holiday meal into the modern era. Using savory flavors and seasonal produce such as persimmon, pomegranate, and blueberries will help usher in dishes that compliment the classics with ease. Don’t believe me? Take on this simple Persimmon, Pomegranate, and Herb Salad and refreshingly different Farro Salad with Pickled Blueberries and Fennel. The tastes will match your holiday favorites and make just enough to fill up the extra corner of space left on the plate after helpings casseroles and such have been dished.

Persimmon, Pomegranate, and Herb Salad

Makes 6 servings

  • 1 ½ lb.Fuyu persimmons (about 5 medium size)
  • ¾ cup pomegranate seeds
  • ¼ cup loosely packed parsley leaves, torn
  • ¼ cup loosely packed mint leaves, torn
  • 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Remove stems from persimmons and cut into ¼-inch thick slices. Arrange slices on a platter and top with pomegranate seeds, parsley, and mint. Drizzle with vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste just before serving.

Norm’s Note: Sideboard Boost

Pickled Blueberries and Fennel are also great nestled along side turkey in lieu of cranberry sauce. The mixture offers a combination of crisp, sweet, and tart flavors that cleanse the palate in between forkfuls just as well as the favorite American chutney. To serve the quick pickled bounty, simply drain both the blueberries and fennel from the brine and combine in a small bowl. Reserve a couple tablespoons of the brine and stir in a tablespoon of olive oil. Toss the brine mixture with the blueberries and fennel and season with freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Pickled Blueberries and Fennel

Makes about 1 ½ cups blueberries and 1 ½ cups fennel

  •  1 ½ cups white vinegar
  • ½ cup cold water
  • ½ cup turbinado sugar*
  • 2 Tbsp. kosher salt
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1 ½ cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 medium-size fennel bulb, thinly sliced

 

1. Bring vinegar and next 6 ingredients to a boil over medium heat in a small saucepan.

2. Place blueberries and fennel in separate bowls and divide vinegar mixture evenly among the two bowls. Let stand a minimum of 1 hour before serving or cover and chill up to 1 week.

*Light brown sugar may be substituted.

farro salad with pickled blueberries

When farro’s tender yet hearty grains are paired with tangy pickled blueberries, sticky sweet dried cranberries, and fresh herbs a festive treat emerges.

Farro Salad with Pickled Blueberries and Fennel

Note: Cooking farro is very simple. All that is required is a lengthy simmer in water or flavorful broth over low heat until tender. However, if you are a farro novice the quick cooking variety, although little hard to find, truly saves you time and is almost as foolproof as minute rice.

Makes 6 servings

  • 2 ½ cups vegetable broth
  • 1 (8.8-oz) package quick cooking farro (such as Trade Joe’s 10 Minute Farro)*
  • 3 Tbsp. pickling brine, reserved from Pickled Blueberries or Fennel
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • ¾ cup drained Pickled Blueberries
  • ½ cup drained Pickled Fennel
  • ½ cup sweetened dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup sliced green onions
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • ¼ cup chopped roasted salted pecans
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

1. Bring broth to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and keep hot. Cook dry farro in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly, 2 to 4 minutes until toasted and fragrant.

2. Add hot broth to farro and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes or until tender. [Note: if using regular farro increase cooking time to 20 minutes.] Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and stir in reserved pickling brine and olive oil; let cool.

3. Toss cooked farro, Pickled Blueberries, Pickled Fennel, and next 4 ingredients together in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

*1 cup regular farro may be substituted.

  • Tell Your Friends

Steak Frites

Steak frites may be the perfect meal. Think about it; rich beefy goodness paired with salty crunchy potatoes and topped with a delectable sauce. What is there not to love about that? In my opinion, this combo is great any way it’s prepared, but this version is currently my favorite way to cook up the classic. I took advantage of a super sale on primo beef from my local butcher and picked up center cut filets rather than my beloved strip. The filets are pepper crusted on one side and drizzled with a savory red wine sauce to complement the cut. I upgraded from sticks to circles and fried up a crispy potato chip that easily swabs the plate picking up every last drop of precious sauce. The meal is completed by adding a quick green salad of peppery baby arugula and sliced green onions that are lightly dressed with olive oil, red wine vinegar and a pinch of salt (no recipe needed, just make it to personal taste). This is really a dinner (or lunch) for two, so it’s okay to spend a little extra on your steak and be a little indulgent as you take on this culinary classic.

Get the Recipe

  • Tell Your Friends

Crispy Chicken

Here is a skillet supper that truly uses one pan to create all the components of a great meal. Crispy Chicken Breast Filets, flattened to quicken the cooking process, are paired with sweet corn medallions, bulb onions and fresh tomatoes. It’s a delicious party menu that utilizes peak seasonal ingredients to keep the flavor high and costs low. Outside of the pan, I’ve also included a dessert of Cherry Cream Pie which is a revelation in contrast to the recipes found on the back of cream cheese packets.

Norm’s Notes: Seasoning Salt and Blends

In today’s culinary world, salt and pepper reign as the undisputed kings of flavor enhancement. The numerous variants of sodium chloride and pungent berries are prized among cooks who often adjust and combine different types to meet specific uses. However, store-bought seasoning salts and blends, popular with most home cooks, often get no love. Since many peoples’ cabinets are littered with half full cylinders of them, I think salt and pepper elitism needs to be addressed.

Seasoning salts and blends are great because they will go with just about anything you can think of, quickly enhancing the taste of foods with little effort. The main problem is many of the seasonings lose potency and pungency over time. So that seasoning you bought for that one recipe you made, for that thing, two years ago, may be past its prime. A good rule is if you haven’t used it within the current calendar year, it probably needs to be discarded, but check the expiration date to be sure. My advice is to use seasoning salts and blends often and boldly. Shake a bit on fresh cut veggies, salad, eggs, grits or anywhere you would use salt and pepper or hot sauce. If anyone sticks their nose in the air about your love of seasoning salt and blends, smile at them, shake on more, and enjoy.

Get the Recipe

  • Tell Your Friends

Greek Style Baby Artichoke Salad

Baby artichokes are one of those farmers’ market purchases many people commit to due to a persuasive salesperson or solely based on their attractiveness, but soon regret the purchase when left pondering “how do I cook these?” To solve this common problem, here is an illustrated guide on the bare necessities to preparing those prickly pears into something delicious. Included are 4 simple ways to serve these babies to your friends and family.

Norm’s Notes: Trimming Baby Artichokes in 3 simple steps

STEP 1:

Trimming Artichokes Step 1

Pluck away any leaves attached to artichoke stem. Remove tough outer layer covering the stem with a vegetable peeler or paring knife.

STEP 2:

Trimming Baby Artichokes Step 2

Cut away top ¼ portion of leaves, leaving a flat surface, cut artichoke in half lengthwise.

STEP 3:

Trimming Baby Artichokes Step 3

Examine each artichoke half to see if the choke (the fuzzy parts right above the heart and just below the purple line ends) is a bit overgrown (the fuzz will tend to stick out from the cut side if overgrown). If they are, carefully scrape away choke with the tip of a paring knife.

Artichoke Recipes

  • Tell Your Friends

Noodle Bowl

Noodle bowls of all types are having a moment in the spotlight. Although known by different names and varying styles and tastes, most noodle bowls have a few things in common: a rich flavorful broth; cooked noodles; and toppings of vegetables and various sauces. They are ideal for feeding a crowd as each serving can be adjusted to personal tastes and are quite filling. Host your next summer gathering featuring this robust and savory chicken version that is flavored with fresh ginger and chiles and dried mushrooms.

Noodle Bowl Setup

Disposable chopsticks are a must for this party. I found a pack of 40 for around $1 at a local Asian market.

Norm’s Notes: Oodles o’ Noodles

Asian-style noodles come in just as many varieties as Italian-style pasta. However, Asian noodles are far superior to keeping their shape in hot liquid thanks to the addition of alkaline substances (such as baking soda) in the recipe. I recommend taking a trip to a local Asian market and browsing the variety of noodles available (It will be a lot, trust me). Don’t be intimidated by the stylish characters that adorn the fronts of the packaging. Usually, on the flip side, there are picture directions that show proper cooking techniques and times. Pick a few different styles and cook them up to see which you prefer.

Packages of Noodles

Three of my favorite noodles: Japanese-style Udon, dried Soba and mushroom egg

Dried Noodles

Noodles out of the package

Cooked Noodles

Cooked noodles (Left to Right): Japanese Udon, Soba and Egg

Japanese-style Udon noodles are fluffly and toothy. I like to use them because they have a bit more body than the dried version making them very filling. Those unfamiliar with their texture may rate them as soggy and rubbery, so buyer beware.

Soba noodles are more hearty in texture and earthy in taste thanks to a buckwheat flour base. I like them because they tend to soak up the flavor of the soup better than any noodle. Also, they are great served cold and tossed with a light coating of soy sauce, sesame oil, fresh grated ginger and ground fresh chili paste.

Egg noodles are the user-friendly option. Most people are familiar with the texture (think Chinese Lo-mein) and they are the easiest to find in your local supermarket. You can buy them fresh or dried and in flat or round shapes. Where to find them in the supermarket: In fresh form, look in the produce section usually along side egg roll and wonton wrappers. In dry form, check the international isle where you may also find dried versions of Soba and Udon noodles.

Get the Recipe

  • Tell Your Friends

Perhaps it is the warm weather that is causing us to flirt with lighter fare, or perhaps it’s simply the season for veggies. One thing is for sure, however, zucchini squash is definitely seeing its 15 minutes in the spotlight — all for good reason.

The almost ridiculously versatile vegetable has been a long standing favorite of mine in everyday cooking. Not only is it insanely healthy — with only 20 calories per cup it’s almost FREE — it has light sweetness to it that keeps me coming back. It also helps that zucchini squash is easy to prepare, not like that pesky butternut squash I had to deal with all winter.

Lately, I’ve been seeing zucchini pop up in the most creative and innovative preparations. From pasta to cookies (Zukies?) We can’t seem to get enough of this healthy indulgence.

Check out these recipes and get inspired to feature this summertime squash on tonight’s table.

Ricotta and Zucchini Omelet Cake

What better way to start off Food Trend Friday than with breakfast — I’ve made no attempts to keep my affinity for breaki a secret. This recipe from Rachel Ray, whose recipes have stolen a lot of my attention lately, looks too good not to try.

Ricotta Omelet
With a generous helping of eggs this recipe provides ample protein to get the morning started. The zucchini, chilies, and peppers are wonderfully healthy but can also be substituted for almost anything you want. The ricotta spikes these omelet cakes with a creamy sweetness that makes the dish seem far more indulgent than it actually is.

Zucchini Boats

zucchini boats

What an easy and fun looking recipe to try. To prep the zucchini all you need to do is cut it lengthwise and hollow it out. Then fill your boat with as much of the called-for-guts you desire and bake! The walnuts play nice with the zucchini’s subtle flavor while the breadcrumbs, garlic, and tomato give the dish a substantial savory side. You can also switch out the toppings; try a red onion with tomato or even add mushrooms. The possibilities are endless!

Crispy Parmesan Zucchini Chips

Zucchini Chips

For the frying fanatic — this healthier alternative is the perfect substitute for your usual potato chips. With a buttermilk batter, amped up with oregano and thyme, these panko plated zucchini chips are light enough to let your inner snack monster take the reigns. If you’re having friends over, gain some Guy Fieri cred and serve the cool Garlic Aioli dip as well and finish the plate with a shower of Parmesan or white cheddar shavings.

Sunny’s Spicy Baked Zucchini

sunny Squash
This side had my eye immediately. It calls for zucchini — my fav — and breadcrumbs — which are carbs and are also my fav — but also Hungarian paprika: a gentle but pronounced spicy kick in the mouth. If you aren’t one for fire but need something to stir up this veggie dish, I suggest smoked paprika which will give the zucchini a more robust profile sans the burning sensation.

Goat Cheese Grilled Zucchini

Goat Cheese Zucchini

This recipe screams summer — it’s super light and gives you an excuse to light up the grill. Grilling is such a fun pass time for me and I can’t wait to try this at my next patio party. A great gluten free and diet friendly option as it doesn’t require breadcrumbs (for any of the other recipes simply opt for GF breadcrumbs) or a heavy dressing. But don’t think that means that these veggies will be plain — the feta and herbs pack a powerful punch.

ZUKIES!

Zukies

Finally! What I have had you guys clawing at the edge of your chairs for since I started this post: cookies! With just a hair more then 65 calories apiece, these are worth trying. Trust me. The warm spices pair seamlessly with the brightness of the orange to hint at fall flavor while keeping to the current season. Take my advise and add carob chips.

If you’re a dedicated zucchini lover like myself, these recipes might give you some new spins and updates on your existing repertoire. However, if you’re a novice at this particular vegetable, these recipes are easy as pie and taste just as good. Try them all, or just try one (Zukies!) but be sure to tell us how it turned out.

It seems as though the whole staff here at Design Happens has zucchini fever. Norman just posted an incredible recipe for a Summer Veggie Sandwich and Kayla’s recipe list looks pretty great as well!

If you’re planning a barbecue, try this simple Zucchini-babes recipe!

  • Tell Your Friends

I found out a little late that today is National Chocolate Chip Day which means I didn’t get to aggressively eat chocolate chips all day. (I can’t decide if that’s a good thing or a bad thing yet.) But it has given me plenty of time to browse some drool-inducing recipes for later. Tonight may be a dessert first kind of night. Here are my favorite picks, with first place going to the chocolate chip banana bread. That glaze — I can’t stop staring.

Chocolate Chip CookiesGanache-Dipped Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe >>

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake BrowniesChocolate Chip Cheesecake Brownies Recipe >>

Chocolate Chip Banana BreadBanana Bread With Chocolate Chips and Chocolate Glaze Recipe >>

3 More Recipes!

  • Tell Your Friends

If you’ve read my Design Happens bio, you know that I’m slightly obsessed with pie. So, it’s no surprise that I couldn’t let the annual day devoted to pie pass by without a mention. Okay, March 14 is actually devoted to Pi (3.14159, the mathematical constant). But, the best way to pay tribute to the ratio of a circle to its diameter? A slice of pie, of course. (Learn more about the math side of this holiday here.) Here are 3.14 ways to enjoy a slice today.

Celebrate Pie Day With Pie

1. Pi-Shaped Pie: This impressive tribute in the shape of the Greek letter for Pi is stuffed with cherry compote and topped with a lattice crust. Math has never looked so delicious!

Blueberry Pie Recipe

2. Blueberry Pie: If you can’t commit to a custom-shaped pie, how about a classic blueberry model? Use fresh blueberries, and don’t skimp on the lemon zest!

Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Pie

3: Chocolate-Peanut Butter Pie: Chocolate lovers, take note: This candy bar-inspired pie is studded with caramel, peanuts, peanut butter and pretzels.Yes, PRETZELS.

Mini Apple Pies

And what’s the .14, you ask? An itsy, bitsy mini pie. Try these petite apple pies, complete with a tiny lattice crust. Or, you know, just snag another sliver of your full-sized version.

Happy Pi Day!

  • Tell Your Friends

With Thanksgiving around the corner and the holiday season in sight, ’tis the season for fresh cranberries. Sure, they make a mean cranberry sauce or upside-down cake, but if you’ve tried one straight from the bag, you know cranberries are nothing short of pucker-inducing. So, I was skeptical when I first heard that sugared cranberries made a great snack. As the kitchen investigator I try to be, I had to see for myself.

You guys. These things are addictive. Soaking cranberries overnight in a maple-scented simple syrup transforms them from pucker-worthy to perfectly sweet-tart. Rolling them in superfine sugar adds a satisfying crunch. As pretty as they are tasty, they make a great cake or cocktail garnish. Make a double batch and wait for the rave reviews.

Sugared Cranberry Recipe on HGTV.com

GET THE SUGARED CRANBERRIES RECIPE

  • Tell Your Friends

There’s nothing like a classy beverage to make a holiday party feel more festive or to whet everyone’s appetite for small bites. My husband and I are cocktail enthusiasts, but as much as I love drinks with lots of exotic ingredients and elaborate garnishes (hello, flaming limes!), we’ve found it’s best to keep it simple behind the bar when you’re entertaining for a large group. It’s also a good idea to keep drinks on the low-alcohol end of the spectrum so guests can sip the night away without feeling the negative effects the next morning. So, what do you mix when you’re looking for something simple, low-alcohol, festive and tasty? Enter the shim!

The Pleasant Evening cocktail on a tray

TWO TASTY COCKTAIL RECIPES TO TRY

Latest Pins on Pinterest

  • Get the Look: Cool Blue Fireplace >>

  • Get The Look: Nautical Living Room >>

  • Get The Look: Eclectic Green Living Room >>

  • Summer Festival Style: DIY Galaxy Print Shoes >>