One-Bite Mini Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Guys, I really love pumpkin spice. The day that the PSL becomes available, I feel like the fall season truly kicks off. Bring on the sweaters and scarves, and #pumpkinspiceeverything. But – I do not like pumpkin pie. But – I love these pumpkin pies!

I think the crust-to-pie ratio makes me like these minis, but I also love how silky the filling is. How quickly these come together doesn’t hurt, either!

Some of my friends and family aren’t really fans of pumpkin pie either, and I’m definitely more known for my apple pie. But there’s something magical about these little one-bite pumpkin pies that seem to be a crowd pleaser. Topping them with a bunch of whipped cream doesn’t hurt either!

Whipped Goat Cheese with Pomegranates & Jam

I can’t remember exactly the first time I had goat cheese with fig jam, but I remember thinking, “wow I could eat this every day for the rest of my life.” Goat cheese, I’ve noticed, can be a little polarizing, but if you love it then you’ll love this “recipe.” It’s literally my go-to anytime we have company, and comes together in 3 minutes. Okay, 5 if you count the time to get it to the plate and open a box of crackers and get them on a plate.

If you’ve been here for a while, you know how much I love a customizable, you-do-you-boo kind of recipe. This is 100% one of them. Top the cheese with seasoning, like Trader Joe’s Everything Bagel Seasoning, or herbs, like chives. I always serve whipped goat cheese with a seasonal jam. I know, I’m always going on and on about Trader Joe’s but it’s my favorite, for so many reasons. But I can tell you one of those reasons is seasonal jam! Recently, I’ve been serving this with the sugar plum and it’s awesome. But I’ve also done the Apple Cider Jam, Peach Bellini Jam, Fig Butter, etc. Basically, grab any jam-like jar from their shevles and you are all set, my friend.

An Easy Kale Salad for Christmas Eve

Getting the menu right for a holiday is all about balance. I try not to, for example, have too many carb-heavy dishes because you don’t want your guests to feel bloated. Plus, I’m really all about the sides. Plus, the sides can be so colorful! I love the sweetness and the crunchieness of this salad paired with the creamy bolognese pasta I’m serving up on Christmas Eve.

Can I let you guys in on a little secret? I don’t like kale. Well, I didn’t. And I was like, “you have to massage your kale? Too much work.” This coming from the girl who goes to 4 grocery stores every weekend just to shop for the week. I mean, really? So anyway, I made this salad, and I massaged the kale, because nobody has time for bitter kale, and I actually apparently really like it!

90 Second Cocktail Sauce Recipe

T-minus 5 minutes to guests’ arrival and you’re putting out the shrimp cocktail and realize – there’s no cocktail sauce! Or you just want to be a show off and be able to say you made your own cocktail sauce. Either way. This 90 second cocktail sauce recipe is perfect for shrimp cocktail and, I gotchu.

You know I love recipes that you can customize yourself, I’m all about that you-do-you-boo-life. So, scroll down, grab the recipe, memorize the proportions and then you do you!

Peanut Butter Pumpkin Dog Treats Recipe

What does one get the dog who has everything?! Or really, what does one get a dog for Christmas? Homemade dog treats!

Can I just start by telling you, our dog, Mudbrick (named after our favorite winery in New Zealand), was freaking out over these treats? He was air sniffing, offering up every trick he knows to try to score one, and doing this little growling thing he does when he wants something.

These are so fast and easy to make, you’ll be dishing out treats for every single dog in your life! And the ingredients are really quite simple, just make sure you use an all natural peanut butter. There are some with add ins that doggos’ stomachs can’t process.

I of course made pretty boy sit patiently and wait while I could snap a few pictures of the dog treats packaged up for his neighbor pals!

Bourbon Glazed Turkey Thighs for Thanksgiving

This one is for all my pals that like to do things with an unconventional flare. Might I propose turkey thighs for Thanksgiving dinner instead of a full roasted turkey? They cook faster, and let’s be honest, everyone loves the dark, moist meat anyway!

Okay, if not for Thanksgiving, for Friendsgiving Dinner. But make these. They’re incredible.

Bourbon Glazed Turkey Thighs

Yield: 6 servings | Time: 1.5 hrs

Ingredients

6 bone-in turkey thighs

Salt & pepper

For the glaze:

1 c bourbon

1 c ketchup

1 1/2 c brown sugar

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

2 tsp paprika

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp garlic powder

salt & pepper to taste

For garnish:

Roasted garlic heads, pomegranate seeds, parsley

 

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a roasting pan (very, very well) with foil. Might I suggest spraying the roasting pan with cooking spray BEFORE lining it and after? You’re welcome.

Dry the turkey thighs with a paper towel, season with salt and pepper.

While the oven is preheating, over medium heat, combine all glaze ingredients. Bring to a boil and then simmer, whisking until all the ingredients are well combined. Taste, carefully, for salt and pepper. Reserve some glaze for the serving.

Rub half the glaze over the turkey thighs. Cover the thighs with foil, piercing the foil with a fork to allow for venting holes. Roast for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove foil, basting the thighs with the glaze again. Roast for another 30-40 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

Allow the thighs to cool for 10 minutes, drizzle with reserved glaze and serve. Garnish, if you like, with parsley, pomegranates and roasted garlic.

 

Spicy Sausage Stuffing for Thanksgiving

I know I said it about mashed potatoes, but really, is it Thanksgiving Dinner (or Friendsgiving Dinner) without a stuffing on the table?

It’s so hard to pick a favorite Thanksgiving side dish, so I definitely love a mashed potato, and I’d just like to call the stuffing the main dish. K? I wanted to do something a little different with this stuffing recipe, so I used spicy sausage instead of sweet sausage, and it definitely shook it up a little!

I love to take a dish that you expect to taste a certain way and just ever so slightly change it up for a more surprising experience.

This stuffing is a little savory, a little sweet, and has a little bit of heat! It’s so simple, comes together so quickly, and can totally be made ahead and just reheated.

Also, I mean, the leftovers are pretty amazing.

 

Spicy Sausage Stuffing

Yield: 12 servings | Time: 1.5 hrs

Ingredients

One loaf of bread, cubed into desired size

1.5 c sweet onion, chopped

1 c carrots, chopped

1 c celery, chopped

1 tbsp thyme

1 tbsp rosemary

2 tsp salt

2 tsp black pepper

1 lb spicy sausage (either a pack of ground sausage, or a pound of sausage links with casing removed)

1/2 to 1 stick of butter

1/2 c dried cranberries

2 3/4 c chicken broth

parsley, for garnish

 

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray or lightly with butter. (I vote butter, friends!)

Line a baking sheet with foil, spray lightly with cooking spray. Bake the cubed bread, if fresh, for about 7 minutes, just to take the moisture out of the bread. Set aside in a large bowl.

Meanwhile, heat up 3 tbsp butter in sautee pan. Once melted, add onions, carrots and celery. Sautee until soft and onions are translucent, about 8 minutes. Add butter if the pan gets dry.

Add herbs and salt, pepper to your mirepoix mixture. Add 1 tbsp butter and the sausage. Brown the sausage, about 8 minutes. Add butter as needed to keep the pan from drying out.

Remove from heat and add the sausage and vegetable mixture to the bread along with the broth and cranberries. Mix well and place in prepared baking dish. Cover with foil and bake 25 minutes.

Remove foil and continue to bake until bread is golden.

To serve right away, just add chopped parsley to garnish.

To make ahead, allow the stuffing to cool completely, cover with foil and place in the refrigerator. Take out of the fridge for at least 25 minutes before reheating at 350°, for about 10 minutes.

 

 

 

Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes

What would the point of Thanksgiving be without mashed potatoes?

YASSS, as they say. These goat cheese mashed potatoes are my all time favorite. If you’re not the biggest fan of goat cheese, just stay with me here. I promise you don’t really taste it – the goat cheese adds a little tang and a lot of creaminess to the potatoes.

It’s also important to toss two little pats of butter on the top, ya know, to get all that melty goodness in there for a finishing touch. Also, chives, which I apparently forgot, look lovely on top of the mashed potatoes!

So just how many potatoes do you need? This recipe accounts for 8 people, but you can increase the proportions easily! It’s 1 medium potato per guest and 1 oz of goat cheese per guest. Easy!

 

Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes

Yield: 8 servings | Time: ~60 minutes

Ingredients

8 medium yukon gold potatoes, of similar size

8 quarts of water, or enough water to cover the potatoes by at least 1 inch

8 ounces of goat cheese

1/2 cup of whole milk or cream

4 tablespoons of butter

Salt & pepper to taste

Garnish: chives or parsley; pat of butter

 

Directions

Bring pot of water to a boil.

Add salt, like you would salt a pot of pasta, and whole potatoes.

Boil for about 35 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork.

When the potatoes are ready, dump into a collander and allow to drain. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, gently peel the potatoes. I like to leave some skin on!

Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in the same pot, turn the heat off and add the potatoes. Pour milk or cream over the potatoes and start to mash until it’s just about the consistency you prefer. I like some chunks in my potatoes!

Add in the goat cheese and stir until just combined. Don’t over stir or you’ll basically end up with really delicious cement. Salt & pepper to taste.

Tip 1: You can make this ahead! Just reheat with a little milk/cream and taste as you reheat. It may need more butter, goat cheese, salt & pepper.

Tip 2: Boil your potatoes in chicken broth! I add some bullion to the boiling water, I’m convinced it makes these goat cheese mashed potatoes even better.

4 Ingredient Cranberry Sauce Recipe

When it comes to Thanksgiving, there are few things better than: 1. a recipe you can make ahead of time and 2. a recipe that comes together in 15 minutes.

Enter: cranberry sauce. Though I hate to admit it, I was most definitely a canned cranberry sauce kind of gal – you know, the one that still maintains the shape of the can when you dump it on a plate. But a few years ago, I finally made my own cranberry sauce after learning just how easy it is. It’s actually one of the few recipes I can just hold in my head and repeat year after year.

Perks of fresh cranberry sauce: it just tastes SO fresh. You don’t really need anything special for this recipe, though a citrus zester is handy for the orange peel garnish. It’s a $10 tool and certainly one I reach for at least once a month.

You’ll also want a pot with pretty high sides – I use my stock pot to make this cranberry sauce – because it WILL foam up. And if you’re pot is too small…well…you know.

Also. Even if you don’t love cranberry sauce, it still looks festive on your table! Breaks up all the brown, ya know?

 

 

4 Ingredient Cranberry Sauce

Yield: 2 cups | Prep Time: 2 minutes | Cook Time: 10 minutes + cooling time

 

Ingredients

1 lb bag cranberries

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

Juice of 1 orange

Orange zest, for garnish

 

Directions

Combine all ingredients except orange zest in a pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Watch the pot the whole time and continuously stir to help break up the cranberries. When the cranberries start to foam, lower the heat very slightly and watch that your pot does not overflow. Once the foam subsides and cranberries are a mix of jelly-like liquid and crushed cranberries, remove from the heat and allow to cool. Transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with orange zest!

 

 

Butternut Squash & Apple Soup Recipe

I love the idea of leaning into a meal with a soup (okay, a salad right after, too, because I’m 100% extra when I start cooking and planning an experience for friends & fam). This Butternut Squash & Apple soup is so, so good. It’s cozy and hits all the notes you want a soup to hit in the fall. It comes together relatively quickly, once you’ve roasted up your squash and can be made a day or two ahead.

You start with roasting up your squash with fall spices and while that’s roasting, you get your mirepoix going (it’s easy, promise!). Once that squash is nice and roasted, you combine in a pot with your mirepoix, add some broth, hit it with a stick blender, taste for S&P and you’re done.

 

Butternut Squash & Apple Soup Recipe

Yields: Serves 8-12 | Prep Time: 20 minutes | Cook Time: 1hr

Ingredients:

For the Squash:

3 lb butternut squash, peeled, and cubed

2tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp salt

1 tsp freshly ground pepper

1 tsp each: cinnamon, allspice, chili powder

For the Mirepoix:

1 chopped medium sweet or spanish onion

2 chopped medium celery sticks

2 chopped medium carrots

1 chopped sweet apple, such as gala

2 tbsp butter

 

You will also need:

Salt & Pepper, to taste

4 cups of chicken broth

2 cups of water

 

Optional, for garnish: pecans, pepitas, goat cheese crumbles, freshly ground pepper.

 

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400°.  Prepare a pan with foil & oil spray, or a silpat.

Peel & chop your squash into cubes. Tip: they don’t have to be perfect, but will roast more evenly if you keep them about the same size.

Place the cubed squash into a large mixing bowl and add olive oil, S&P, spices.

Toss the squash to coat evenly with oil and spices. Tip: your hands are the best tool in your kitchen!

Bake your squash 30-40 minutes, until easily poked with a fork.

 

While your squash is baking, prepare your mirepoix ingredients.

Melt butter in a pot large enough to hold the squash and 6 cups of liquid. (Might I suggest at least an 8 qt pot?)

Once the butter is melted, add your mirepoix and sautee until soft and onions are translucent, about 8-10 minutes.

When the squash is finished, add to the pot and top with broth and water. Stir to combine.

 

Remove from heat and use a stick blender/immersion blender to blend until smooth. Alternatively, you can add your mixture – carefully – to a blender. Allow to cool or serve immediately.

If making ahead of time, allow the soup to cool completely, before transfering to an airtight container and refridgerating. Bring to room temperature and reheat on the stovetop, adding some liquid to thin the soup again.

To serve, top with some nuts and cheese, such as pecans or walnuts, pepitas, goat cheese.