Simple Potato Gratin <3 Olivia

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Hi! First post since December for me… been in a pretty major cooking slump. Anyway, this is from the Smitten Kitchen (one of my favorite cooking blogs). We had this for Christmas dinner and it was delicious.

Simple Potato Gratin:
– 3-4 tbs. butter
– 1 1/2 yukon yellow potatoes (peeled)
– 1 cup half & half (or milk or cream)
– approx 1/2 cup shredded cheese (gruyere or parmesan)
– salt & pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
1. Slice the potatoes thinly (use mandoline if possible)

2. Grease a 9×12 glass dish with butter/oil. Place a single layer of sliced potatoes on the bottom of the pan, and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Place 1/3 of the shredded cheese over the first layer.

3. Repeat the layering process, til you end up with 3 layers– but don’t put cheese on top of the final layer, you will do this later.

4. Pour the half & half into the dish, it will come up to the third layer–add more if needed. Place in the oven.

5. After about 30 minutes, remove the dish and press down the potatoes with a spatula so the potatoes are kept moist. Place back in the oven for another 30 minutes. 15 minutes before it is done, sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

eat & enjoy 🙂

Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies <3 Olivia

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Christmas cookies… I have been on a sweets binge and it is mostly due to the huge amount of yummy cookies that my mom made. This recipe is from Martha Steward and they were soo delicious. The chocolate thumbprint stays soft and fudge-like. This recipe makes about 50 cookies.

Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies:

– 1 cup and 3 tbs. butter, at room temperature
– 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
– 1/4 tsp. salt
– 2 tsp. vanilla extract
– 2 & 1/2 cups flour
– 3 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, chopped
– 1 tsp. corn syrup

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
1. In a large bowl, beat together 1 cup butter, the sugar, salt, and vanilla on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. You could probably do this without the electric mixer. Slowly beat in the flour.

2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Form dough balls with your hands, using about 2 tbs. of dough per cookie. Place the balls on your baking sheets about 1 inch apart from one another. Place in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.

3. Once the cookies are cool enough to touch, press a deep thumbprint in each cookie. Return cookies to the oven and continue baking until the edges begin to brown, about 7 more minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

4. In a very small pot, combine the chocolate, 3 tbs. butter, and corn syrup and heat on low, stirring constantly until it is combined and melted. Once it is melted, remove from heat.

5. Pour a small spoonful of chocolate into each thumbprint mold.
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Enjoy 🙂 Olivia

Butternut Squash Risotto <3 Olivia

Another thing with butternut squash… I use it all the time but that is because it is delicious and good for you. The texture of this dish is great, I really enjoyed it. Risotto is time consuming because you need to constantly stir, so make this when you have 30 minutes to spend by the stove. I forgot to take a picture of this one but you should try it.

Butternut Squash Risotto:

– 1 large squash
– 3 or so cups chicken broth
– 1 cup water
– 6 tbs. butter
– 1 yellow onion, diced
– 4 cloves garlic, minced
– 1 bunch fresh sage, finely diced (about 4-5 tbs.)
– 1 cup arborio (risotto) rice
– 1/2 cup white wine
– 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
1. Cut the squash in half, vertically. Scoop out the seeds and reserve for roasting into a nutritious snack. Peel one half of your squash and dice into 1 inch cubes.

2. Lay out the squash half (face side down) and the diced squash pieces on a baking pan with olive oil. Place in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until tender when pierced. Toss once halfway through roasting.

3. Once the squash is done, remove it from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Place the diced pieces in a large bowl. Scoop the squash from the vertical half and place in the bowl with the diced pieces. Set aside.

4. Heat the chicken broth and water in a medium pot over medium heat on the stove. Bring the mixture to a simmer.

5. In another large sauce pan, melt your butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, add the garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes, or until fragrant.

6. Stir in your risotto (to the butter mixture) and add the wine. Stir constantly until the wine is absorbed. Stir in the chicken broth and water mixture (that is still simmering on the stove) into the butter mixture 1/2 cup at a time. Wait until the risotto absorbs the broth before adding more. Continue to stir constantly and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the risotto is tender but still al dente.

7. Stir in the roasted squash that you set aside earlier. Stir in the parmesan cheese and sage. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Enjoy ❤ Olivia

Deviled Eggs with Bacon <3 Olivia

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Mmmm. I love deviled eggs. I wanted to get down a reliable recipe for deviled eggs that I can use in the future, and experiment with different additions to the eggs. This time I topped the eggs with bacon, but that is totally optional. Chives or jalapeños would also make a great topping. This recipe is very easy… the only part that was tough for me was mixing in the mayonnaise (but that is because I really do not like mayo… except in deviled eggs!). I think this is more of a texture issue for me than anything else. ANYWAY! Here it goes. This recipe makes 18-22 deviled eggs (1/2 egg each) but you can easily just add or take away from the recipe to make what you need.

Deviled Eggs with Bacon:
– 9 eggs
– 1/3 cup mayo
– 1 tbs. dijon mustard
– 1/8 tsp. white wine or rice vinegar (plus 1tbs. more for cooking)
– paprika, for dusting
– 2-3 strips bacon
– salt and pepper, to taste.

1. Gently place the uncooked eggs in a pot filled with water. You want the water about 1 inch above the eggs. Add 1 tbs. vinegar to the water, it can help make peeling the eggs easier. Heat on medium-high until the water just begins to boil. Turn off the gas/heat and allow the eggs to remain in the hot water for about 12 minutes.

2. While the eggs are cooking in the hot water, you can go ahead and fry your bacon slices to the desired crispiness. Chop into small pieces and put aside.

3. Once the 12 minutes has passed, submerge the eggs in ice water and allow to fully cool. You can now peel the eggs and cut in half. Place the cooked yolks in a small mixing bowl.

4. In the small bowl with the cooked yolks, add the mayo, mustard, 1/8 tsp. vinegar, and a dash of salt and pepper. Mix well, being sure to mash up the egg yolks so there are no lumps. You can also use a food processor for this stage but I did not want to clean that so I just mixed in a bowl. If you have relish (I don’t) that would be a great addition to the mix.

5. Fill each egg half with a spoonful of the yolk mixture. Top each egg with a few pieces of chopped bacon. Sprinkle with paprika.
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Enjoy. ❤ Olivia

Sweet Potatoes with Walnut Brown Sugar Crumble <3 Olivia

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Love sweet potatoes with a brown sugar crumble for Thanksgiving. I used walnuts, but you can definitely use the more traditional pecans instead. The recipe is very easy to make!

Sweet Potatoes with Walnut Brown Sugar Crumble:

Filling:
– 4 sweet potatoes
– 1 egg
– 3 tbs. milk
– 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
– 2 tbs. sugar
– 1/4 cup brown sugar
– 2-4 tbs. butter, melted (depending on how indulgent you are feeling, anywhere in the range works)
– 1/4 tsp. salt
Crumble:
– 1/2 cup brown sugar
– 1/2 cup flour
– 1/4 cup butter, softened and cubed
– 1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts (or pecans)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees
1. Place sweet potatoes in oven and cook until soft, about an hour/hour and fifteen minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.

2. In a large bowl, scoop out the soft, cooked sweet potatoes. Mix in all of the ingredients for the filling and mix well.

3. Smooth out your mixed filling in an 8×8 glass baking dish.

4. In a medium size bowl, combine all ingredients for the topping and mix well so the butter forms clumps with the sugar and flour, and there are no big butter pieces left uncoated. Pour out the crumble on top of the filling and cover evenly.

5. Place back in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Remove and let cool slightly. Yum!
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❤ Olivia

Stuffed Mushrooms <3 Olivia

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Yummm! These were very good and I am definitely making them again. I served them as an appetizer, but next time I want to try using a portobello mushroom and serving it as a main course. This is perfect as a thanksgiving side.

Stuffed Mushrooms:

This recipe is for about 18-22 baby bella mushrooms. Adjust according to how much you want.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
– 1 yellow onion, chopped
– 18-22 baby bella mushrooms
– 1/3 bag of frozen spinach (about 6 oz) (or 12-16 oz fresh)
– 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
– 1/2 stick butter, softened
– 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, crumbled
– 1/3 cup italian breadcrumbs (I used regular, panko is ok too)
– 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
– 1 tbs. olive oil
– salt and pepper, to taste
*If you want a lighter meal, use olive oil in place of butter, and only use enough to coat the breadcrumbs (step 6)

1. Clean your mushrooms and remove the stems. Once you have the caps cleaned, arrange in a lightly greased glass baking dish. Place in the oven for about 10-15 minutes (shorter or longer, depending on how cooked you want the mushrooms to be at the end. They will go back in the oven with the stuffing, but don’t rely on that time if you want a very soft, roasted mushroom). Keep the oven on. I took mine out when they were pretty soft, like this:
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2. Pour out the water that has collected in the mushroom caps during cooking. Now you are ready to make the stuffing.

3. Heat a sauce pan/frying pan to medium-low heat. Add olive oil. Once heated, add the onion (chopped) and cook for about 5 minutes, or until soft. Add the garlic (finely chopped) and spinach (if you are using fresh spinach) and continue cooking for 2 minutes, or until spinach is soft and garlic is fragrant. Remove from heat.
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4. If you are using frozen spinach, go ahead and thaw that in the microwave now. Mix together the onion/garlic mixture and spinach in a bowl. Add in the shredded mozzarella, mix well.

5. Stuff each mushroom cap with a spoonful of the mixture:
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6. In another bowl, combine the softened butter, breadcrumbs, and parmesan cheese. Press a small spoonful of the topping on each mushroom, on top of the garlic/onion/spinach mix.

7. Place the stuffed mushrooms back in the oven. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until the topping is beginning to brown. Let cool slightly and enjoy.
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Caramelized Pearl Onions with Bacon <3 Olivia

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Delicious little pearls of goodness. This is a really simple side to make for thanksgiving, or any day, and literally takes hardly any time or effort. Here it goes!

Caramelized Pearl Onions with Bacon:
– 1 bag frozen pearl onions
– 3 strips bacon
– 1/4 cup water
– Salt, pepper, garlic powder, to taste

1. Cook the bacon in a pan/skillet to the desired crispness, set aside on a paper towel. Chop the bacon into small pieces when cooled.

2. Using the same pan that you cooked the bacon in, heat to medium heat and add the water. Once water is hot/almost bubbling, drop the pearl onions on the pan and cover. Cook, covered, for about 5-10 minutes, or until soft. Remove the cover and continue cooking, until the water is evaporated and the onions begin to brown and caramelize.

3. Once the onions are beginning to brown, turn down the heat and add bacon, salt, pepper, and garlic powder (to taste). Give it a good mix together, remove from heat. So easy.

Enjoy ❤ Olivia