Gnocchi, Sausage & Kale Bake



Oh my gosh, this could be one of my most favorite Secret Recipe Club recipes ever!  This lovely recipe comes courtesy of Nicola from the Lemon and Cheese blog.  First of all, let's chat about this name.  I love it!  I'm really into lemon and as you all know, I'm about that cheese life.  Well, it turns out that Nicola is also down to hang out with lemon and cheese, which is why she used them in her blog name!  That's one smart lady (aka - I wish I had thought of that!).  Nicola is also a librarian in London (where I'm going next month on vacation! Woohoo!) and I find it super interesting to see what people in other parts of the world are eating!

I perused several recipes on Nicola's site and was really keen on making the Salsa Verde Quinoa Bake, Squash Sausage and Chard Pasta, and the Crab Macaroni and Cheese (Let me tell you that this one was STRONG contender and I would have made it as well if this past month wasn't so busy!).  However, I finally settled on the Squash Gnocchi, Sausage and Kale Bake.   I've been trying to incorporate more vegetables into my food recently.  I also haven't made anything with gnocchi in a while and I thought that now would be an excellent time to revisit this tasty treat.

Though I have made homemade gnocchi before, this time I went the store-bought route to save me a little time.  I figured that was acceptable since we are basically making a CHEESE SAUCE -- yes, that needs to be said in capital letters -- to pour on top of the gnocchi and the other ingredients.  This sauce was everything!  I definitely recommend making it an drizzling it over everything within reach.  It's truly that good.  Whip everything together, top with even more cheese, and bake until you have the most perfect lunch or dinner combination.  Nicola, you have outdone yourself!

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Turkish Borek


You're probably wondering how this works.

Basically, you invite friends over for brunch, even though you don't really have brunch food.  But you do have bacon, so OK, you're doing something well...Then you turn on the Spotify Hip Hop radio station while you decide you want to make something completely new (Turkish Borek!) and test it out on your unsuspecting friends.  Then you start to panic when you realize that brushing layers of phyllo dough while assembling the aforementioned recipe is taking about 3000 extra hours than you originally planned.  As your friends arrive, you continue to assemble the recipe which you thought would already be in the oven by now.  Your hand cramps up from brushing all those layers and you take a pause in order to slice up guavas that happen to be sitting on your kitchen counter (don't we all have guavas on our kitchen counters?).  You also reach into your junk food cabinet and pull out a container of Cadbury Creme Egg cookies that you got on clearance right after Easter and have been dying to try but had no good reason to open up an entire package of cookies that you know you would eat in one sitting.  Proceed to arrange these cookies on a tray and serve up.  Promptly eat 3 of the 6 cookies.  Oh, and you do have one and a half bottles of wine and two bottles of stout beer to offer as well.  Don't forget about those.  Classy.

As Tupac and Biggie harmonize in the background, you quickly finish assembling the Turkish Borek, pop it in the oven, and guzzle down a glass or two of wine.  Finally, you remove the Borek, pop in a baking sheet filled with bacon because you don't make bacon in a frying pan any longer, and then finally after another 200 years, you're ready to serve up a well-balanced meal of Turkish Borek and bacon.

Ghetto 90's Hip Hop brunch is served!

PS - This borek was delicious!  It reminds me of a Jamaican meat patty, which I grew up eating in the Bahamas.  Yesss!!!

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Chicken and Tortellini Skillet



The first thing you may notice is that the dish in the picture above is not in a skillet.

It all started out in a skillet.  But apparently this dish is larger than life!  Or really just larger than my largest saucepan.  Sooo...into a casserole pan she went.  "Make it work."  I think Tim Gunn says that.  It's true.  I don't show all the behind the scenes OMG moments but I can typically rescue a dish one way or the other.  In this case, the fix was an easy one.  I'm so glad I was able to make this work. 


This recipe was courtesy of this month's Secret Recipe Club, where I found myself paired up with the 2 Cookin' Mamas blog!  The premise behind this blog is that Linda, who lives in FL, and her daughter Christina, who lives in Atlanta, have joined forces to bring their readers quick and healthy meals (with an indulgence here and there!).  I share their same philosophy, although I sort of got there in a roundabout way.  Their blog is chock full of delicious goodies and I had the hardest time choosing what to make.  The crockpot ropa vieja and the Italian spaghetti squash were high up on my list of recipes to try, but I was truly won over by the Chicken & Tortellini recipe.  Who doesn't love cheese and pasta and more cheese!  No one.  No one doesn't love it.  This recipe was amazing and easily made it into my lunch rotation last week.

Also, fun fact bonus time!  2 Cookin' Mamas had my blog last month for the Secret Recipe Club and they made my Chicken Tinga recipe and completely nailed it!  Thanks so much for the love!

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Sausage & Kale Skillet

Someone had a birthday last Friday!! Yeah, it was me.  How did you guess?!

So now that I'm one year older, I'm trying to figure out if I'm also wiser.  I'd like to think so.   I can tell you for sure that I don't have any more patience.  If anything, my limited amount of patience is ebbing away as I write this.

In fact, this meal was whipped up due to my impatience (and also my never-ending quest to clean out my refrigerator and pantry).  I was looking for something quick and easy to make one day and this recipe called to me.  There's no reason not to love this dish.  There's sausage and cheese and marinara sauce, which is always a delicious mix.  It sort of reminds me of a pizza.

But wait! There's also super healthy stuff in here.  There are chickpeas and kale for your Brooklyn hipster side, if you want to indulge him or her.  I would personally suggest serving this with rice, pasta, or maybe even some spaghetti squash to make it more of a meal and less of a side dish.  But no matter what, I'm sure you're going to love this!

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One Pot Cheeseburger Casserole


My, my, how things have changed.

My old roommate visited me (and a bunch of other people in the NYC area) this past weekend.  Now, I don't usually go out and party as much as I did when I first moved to this area a few years ago, but seriously, I could not handle all the events and all the drinks of last weekend.  Note that by "all the drinks", I'm talking about two per day, for three days in a row.  I can't hold my liquor anymore.  And I get tired so easily!  Ugh.

Sooo, it looks as if I'm that girl now.  Well, not exactly that girl because that would imply that I got wasted and embarrassed myself.  I chose the classy way out by just downing as much water as possible after my second drink.  Let's just say that it was an eye-opening weekend.  I learned something about myself for sure.

What I also ended up (re)learning this weekend is that I love cheeseburgers.  I hardly ever order them when I go out to eat but when I whipped up this cheeseburger casserole, I fell in love all over again.  Aren't cheeseburgers a necessity during the summer?  It is super quick and easy to make this casserole and there is no actual grilling involved.  That's a must for me, seeing as my only direct access route to the outdoors is via my fire escape.  The Hoboken police generally frown upon grilling on those...

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Bubble Up Enchiladas

I'm really into colorful food photos right now.  I don't know why, but I think it has something to do with me being in a "Mexican food" phase lately.  I'm trying to branch out to other food genres and I think I'm getting there, but in the meantime...colorful photos of Mexican food.  Oooohhhh.

Speaking of this, why isn't there a season for Mexican food?  Granted, I eat Mexican food all the time so I could care less whether or not there is a season for this.  Still, I think this cuisine needs its own spotlight.  Just my personal rant.  As per usual.

On another note, remember when I made that Bubble Up Pizza that I still can't get out of my mind?  Yeah, it was insane.  I had made a last-minute decision to only make a half batch of that pizza, which meant that I still had another roll of refrigerated biscuit dough on hand.  Since I am a food blogger and clearly cannot make the same dish more than once (in most cases), I decided to put a different spin on my next "bubble up" dish.

That's when I found it.  My new holy grail Mexican dish: Bubble Up Enchiladas.  I completely heart enchiladas but I made them once before and I have never made them again.  They were completely wonderful and tasty, but the time it took to make the filling, fill and roll the enchiladas, then bake them really took away from my "lounge on the couch with a mug of spiked coffee" time.  And that's important too, you know!

This bubble up pizza variation was simple, quick, and did not interfere with any quality coffee and food magazine time that I had set aside for myself.  If you're interested (hint: you should be), check out the recipe below and let this become one of your new, quick weeknight meals.

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Bubble Up Pizza

Can we discuss how I've never heard of bubble up pizza before?  Where was I?  I can tell you where I wasn't.  I wasn't scarfing down this deliciousness.  That's what I wasn't doing.

Since football season is back in full swing, I could totally envision myself making this for friends who come over to watch the big game.  That is, if my friends would actually come to my apartment to watch the game.  Hint: they won't.  Why?  I happen to be living large in the land of the early 2000's and I am still hanging on to my 27" box television.  No HD in sight.  You may think that this troubles me.  It doesn't.  In fact, I still love my box television.  As long as it works I'm never getting rid of it  However, it does eliminate me as a host for the big game.  So I guess I'll have to make this wonderful pizza and take it to someone else's place for a good time.

This recipe came to me via Julie over at Little Bit of Everything.  I initially considered creating a spectacular fall (aka pumpkin) recipe for this month's Secret Recipe Club,  but when I came across this pizza I just knew that it was "the one".  And how could I resist anything which involves those refrigerated biscuits?  I ate those things countless times as a kid so of course I couldn't pass up this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make pizza out of them.

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Chili-Corn Casserole

Remember when I told you to save those few cups of Slow-Cooker Texas Chili for later?  Well, have no fear.  It is now later.  And we're about to make some magic by mixing this chili with corn, scallions, polenta, and cheese.

Get on this.  It is heavenly.

I shouldn't have to "note" this, but I will, just to make sure you know...You can use any chili you like in this dish.  You don't have to make the Slow-Cooker Texas Chili recipe.  You should make it because it's  delicious, but I realize it may not be for everyone.  So have at it with whatever kind of chili you want.

Now can we just jump right in?  Because I'm starving (as usual) and I need my sustenance.

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Potato-Portobello Gratin

I've been neglecting sides lately.

Entrees? Covered.

Desserts? I got you.  

But sides haven't been getting much love.  Enter the Potato-Portobello Gratin.  

The first gratin I made was a Broccoli Gratin, which was quite tasty.  Since then I've been interested in making another gratin, but I never quite got around to it.  I stumbled across this quick side dish a while ago so I finally made time to whip it up.

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Zucchini & Butternut Squash Bake

Walking through the grocery store a few weeks ago, I noticed that butternut squash is no longer being stashed in the back of the produce section. It's slowly but surely inching it's way into the spotlight. I love butternut squash and cannot believe that I have posted zero -- yep, zero -- blog posts which reference butternut squash. I love this squash variety and I just don't know how I've managed to overlook it for the past year and a half.

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