Roasted Beet Salad with Pistachios & Goat Cheese

When I was a kid, I had such a thing for pickled beets. Sweet. Sour. Totally my jam. I still love some pickled beets, but I also really, really love roasted beets! They’re so good – a little meaty, a little earthy, just a hint of sweet and 100% satisfying.

As the weather has started to break, I’ve been very into salads. This one is just so simple, and you can roast beets to enjoy for the whole week. AND it’s elegant enough for entertaining – win win in my book.

I also think it’s very possible that I love beets because they make such a wonderful vehicle for salt. And y’all should know how much I love salt by now – I mean, I bring it back from every vacation we take! I love beets with a sel gris. It gives a little extra briney flavor that I just can’t get enough of. Plus, like the pistachios, it gives you a crunch to the buttery soft beets.

Creamy Roasted Garlic Hummus Recipe

I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve made hummus and it just hasn’t worked. I mean, it worked because blending chickpeas, tahini, garlic, salt and olive oil together forms a dip. But it didn’t work, ya know? My hummus just was never as smooth as I wanted it to be and didn’t have as much flavor as I wanted it to have.

But I think I’ve figured out a few tricks to get us that much closer to really flavorful and creamy hummus! For sure, roasted garlic is a must. Roasting the garlic imparts so much flavor to the hummus, but also grating 1 small raw garlic clove (or more depending on your preference) is key. But in my world, you can’t have too much garlic!

How to Roast Garlic

Oh, how I love roasted garlic! And I promise you, it is incredibly easy! Roasted garlic can be used for so many things, from just using it as a spread on a piece of bread to tossing it into a homemade hummus, it’s a great little extra to add to the table. I’ve even put a head of roasted garlic on a grazing platter – it’s great on a cracker!

You don’t even need a muffin tin for this! But it does help keep them from rolling all over and the way I tuck the foil around them, it makes it a little easier to check. But all you need to roast garlic is heads of garlic with their tops cut off and olive oil. Okay, also foil and an oven. But that’s it!

French Olive Tapenade Recipe

I am so excited to share this recipe with you today! It’s one that you could always have the ingredients for in your pantry and be ready to throw together in just a few minutes. Who doesn’t love a recipe that’s impressive yet fast to throw together?! And there’s something really elegant about a Provencal tapenade recipe. Makes ya feel fancy!

You all know how much I love salt, which I think is why I love a tapenade recipe – it really is quite salty! You want to serve this with plain baguette or butter crackers so that you don’t compete with the flavor (read: salt) of the tapenade.

Mussels in a Mustard and Saffron Sauce Recipe

There’s something so simple-yet-elegant about a pot of mussels. A few summers ago, hubby and I went to dinner with friends at Madame Claude’s in Jersey City. We sat outside with some wine, and pots of mussels, and simple fries and crusty bread for dipping, and it was just heavenly. This girl became an instant fan of les moules!

I love a dish that feels simple and elegant, and honestly, one that results in a sauce that you just want to dip bread into. Even better if the sauce is so good you want to bottle it up; the best if you swear you could just drink it. I think you’re going to want to drink this sauce, y’all. It’s just that good!

This mustard and saffron sauce can be made ahead (and don’t worry, you can leave out the saffron if you don’t have any or if it’s out of your budget), which makes it a really easy dish for entertaining. You’ll make the sauce a few hours ahead, then reheat it, drop in the mussels and in like 3 minutes this dish will be ready!

How to Make French Onion Soup

Before this attempt, I had only tried to make French Onion Soup – soupe l’oignon – once. It’s my favorite soup, so you’d think after failing, miserably, once I’d try to make it again. So finally I did! I’m so happy my first failed attempt didn’t haunt me my entire life. Our trip to Paris felt like a calling for me to move there. Someday. But lately I’ve really been missing Paris and wanting to visit again just for the comforts of things like croissant and coffee in the morning, french onion soup for lunch. And this, friends, really tastes like the soupe l’oignon in Paris.

I also feel like I learned a whole lot about french onion soup this time, which includes:

  • Yep, beef broth is definitely the way to go.
  • Butter. Lot’s of butter with those onions.
  • Yep, you really do need that splash of red wine.
  • Nope, don’t need to add sugar.
  • And, the size of the bread relative to the size of the crock is how they get the cheese to stay on top of the soup and not sink to the bottom.

Learn from me, friends, learn from me! Get the right size bread and the right size crock. I really should have added three slices of bread to each of these crocks to keep the gruyere cheese from sinking to the bottom.

3 Tips for Crispy Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings

You didn’t think I was going to talk about football eats without talking about buffalo wings, did you?! I think wings might be one of my top 10 favorite foods – they really take me back to college, being dragged out of my sorority house to go watch football at Buffalo Wild Wings. The good ‘ol days, eh? I particularly love this wing recipe because they’re baked, have no butter, and are still super crispy and really hit the spot.

I mean, look at these! Don’t you just wanna jump in and grab one? Too bad they were gone in like 4 minutes flat – hubby couldn’t wait for me to be done taking pictures of these.

The on going debate in our house, though, is drumstick vs. actual wing. Hubby prefers all drumsticks, and occasionally even asks for all drumsticks when we’re out. I actually prefer the wing!

How to Make a Stromboli with Chorizo & Pepperoni

I’ve been working on our menu for the big game for a few weeks now, and when I asked my husband what he thought I should make, “stromboli!” was the first thing he said. Exclamation point included. I think secretly stromboli might just be his favorite food. I thought it was a great idea since stromboli is so easy to make and can be made ahead of time. So come February 2nd, I’ll be baking up a stromboli to be reheated and served again on Sunday. All about that make-ahead-party-prep!

This is yet another you do you boo situation – don’t you love those?! You really can put anything you want in a stromboli. This one I made with chorizo and pepperoni, honestly, by accident. I thought at the grocery store I grabbed a package of Italian sausage and it ended up being chorizo. It worked out, though! We loved this combination, definitely for the spice-lovers.

As long as you don’t pre-slice your stromboli, it will be really easy to reheat. You don’t want to cut it and let all of the fillings out!

Buffalo Chicken Dip with Shredded Chicken

When I think of a big football game, I think of everything Buffalo flavored – am I alone here? Buffalo wings, buffalo chicken dip, sign me up! Each year since we’ve had our house, we’ve hosted a party for the Big Game and every year I can’t skip the Buffalo Chicken Dip! It basically tastes like football to me.

I really love spicy foods, and I love that you could really make this dip with any spice level you want! You can opt for a hotter-than-buffalo flavor, if you want, or swap in absolutely any flavor wing sauce you like. You could even make two, one for the spice-haters and one for the spice-lovers! I love that a buffalo chicken dip is also just way easier to eat than regular wings, but you get all the flavor. I like to serve up this dip with celery and tortilla chips – you could even add carrots (but I’m having a carrot sensitivity all of the sudden, so I left them out!).

How to Make Simple Guacamole

When I was getting ready to make this guacamole, I realized I didn’t have any tomatoes! Can you imagine my horror? Then I remembered an episode of TSC’s podcast where they interviewed Dr. Steven Gundry. Now, I don’t want to go down this rabbit hole of the Plant Paradox and what veggies are OK and which aren’t. But, he said in the episode that traditional guac does not have tomatoes. Never knew that! So, I remembered that moment from the podcast just in the nick of time before I ran out to buy a tomato to make guacamole.

I think part of me loves guacamole so much, and really avocado so much, because it’s such a good vehicle for salt. And y’all know how much I love salt! But really, I would encourage you, unless you have a health reason not to, to up the salt on your guac! It brings all the flavors together. I start with about 1/4 tsp of salt per avocado, mix all the ingredients up and then I taste with a chip. I think the key is to taste with whatever dipper you are serving, because if it’s a salty tortilla chip you have to account for it in the guac. Just taste as you go!

I love how a homemade guacamole tastes fresh – don’t you think? And it’s really so much better than a prepackaged guac from the store. I will say, though, if you don’t have the time or you can’t find ripe avocados (or yours haven’t ripened yet), the store-made Whole Foods guacamole is so, so good. I am game for buying their guac any day. Don’t buy the stuff that’s vacuum sealed in plastic, it’s not the same. Just make it!