Friday, December 7, 2018

Bacon Wrapped Pork Roast with Roasted Potatoes and Sauteed Spinach

Make your holiday dinner special with this flavorful bacon wrapped pork roast served next to perfectly roasted potatoes, garlicky  sautéed spinach
and an inviting glass of  Santa Cristina Rosso Toscana
A scrumptious combination of flavors!
This post is sponsored by Santa Cristina Wines in collaboration with Honest Cooking Magazine. All opinions are mine. #ad
I love this time of the year! I really do. But let's be honest here for a minute. Holidays can get a little pull-your-hair-out nerve wrecking at times. There is seriously so much to do. From festive decorations to pretty Christmas cards. From crazy gifts shopping to attending (and organizing) numerous parties. And for each party I have to worry about a cute dress, matching shoes, fancy hair-do, perfect makeup, shiny nails...I'm hyperventilating just writing it down ;)
So how about for this year let's try and take it easy?!? Let's keep it all simple. Starting from wearing my favorite little black dress with glittery lip gloss (sparkling lips can go a long way!) and planning a holiday meal that will wow my friends and family, but that's easy, quick and stress-free. All at the same time. Who is with me?!?

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Quick Italian Pasta e Ceci (Pasta and Chickpeas Soup)

        This hearty Pasta and Chickpeas Soup is the perfect last-minute dinner that’s ready in less than 30 minutes.
        This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Knorr®. The opinions, recipe and text are all mine.
Here is one of my favorite, quick and easy, go-to dinner recipes, that’s perfect for these chilly winter nights. It's scrumptious and wholesome. It's creamy and flavorful. It's sure to fill your stomach and warm your soul. 
This recipe has short pasta mingled in a dense and creamy chickpea soup, exploding with bits of sautéed onion, celery, carrots, and garlic. It also has a touch of rosemary and oregano, and a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. 
What more could you ask for?!? 

Oh yes! It's a one-pot and a one-dish dinner, ready in less than 30 minutes. Ha! I know this will become one of your favorites now, too.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

How to Make Penguin and Polar Bear OREO Cookie Balls

Bring on the Holiday Season with these adorable, irresistible and easy to make penguin and polar bear OREO cookie balls

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CookieBallCountdown #OREOCookieBalls #CollectiveBias

Have you started with your Christmas cookie baking yet?
If not, here is something festive, eye-catching and sinfully delicious. Something that will make you want to run to the store to buy OREO cookies and the few other ingredients, and rush to your kitchen to whip these out!
And I promise, it will instantly get you in the holiday spirit.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Fresh and Healthy Chickpea, Carrot, Cucumber and Celery salad

Crispy, fresh and super healthy salad bowl
This post is sponsored by Milk and Eggs. All opinions are mine.

Good news! 
If you are reading this it means you survived - the busy week of planning, the countless hours of cooking up a storm in your kitchen, followed by a whole afternoon of indulging in the amazing dishes you created.
So today I say - enough with the pies ... I never thought my mouth would ever utter these words! But yes, enough with the pies and bring on this colorful super healthy salad bowl. Fresh and crunchy, light and filling. Made with rainbow carrots, crispy celery, pieces of cucumber, a handful of chickpeas, and a sprinkle of  crumbled feta cheese if you feel like going a little crazy ;)
All drizzled with a citrusy vinaigrette.  
Trust me. Your running pants will be thankful ;)
 

Monday, November 19, 2018

The Perfect Ending to your Thanksgiving Feast

There's no better time than the holidays to show off your baking skills and impress your guests with your delicacies.
Have a fantastic and delicious Thanksgiving!

Holidays are for baking. What is your favorite dessert to bring to your holiday's table? With so many alternatives to choose from, and all so delicious, it can be hard to pick just one.
Here are some ideas to inspire you. All easy, made-from-scratch, step-by-step recipes. And don't forget to look at my short instructive videos too, especially if it's your first time experimenting with the recipe.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Sausage, Spinach and Bacon Hash Brown Nests

How about one of these sinfully delicious spinach, cheese and sausage hash brown cups to start your holiday in the right direction?!? 
It can't get any better than this!


If you are looking to outshine any other bite at your holiday brunch table, look no farther. These hash brown nests have it all. Not just the perfectly cute and un-sharable two-bite size. But also an irresistible sausage and cheesy spinach filling, served over a crispy-at-the-edges scrumptious potato cup. And for the top: perfectly grilled pieces of bacon which will make tastebuds scream in delight, and your kitchen smell like heaven. And wait, that is not all! The best part?!? 
Drum-roll please ...
These hash brown nests are easy, and can be made ahead of time. Just bake and have them ready to be warmed up right before serving. 

I simply love recipes that work on my schedule. Especially around the holidays when things can get a little hectic. 

Now, let's talk potatoes for a second. For this recipe I made hash browns from scratch. Yes, you heard me!I made it from actual potatoes :)
Of course you can use frozen ones, but it's really not that big of a deal to make it yourself, especially if you have a food processor with a shredder blade. 
Here are a few tips for you before you ran to peel the potatoes: I recommend cutting the potatoes in half before shredding in the food processor, so that the pieces  won't come out too long. Make sure to put the just-shredded hash brown in a bowl full of cold water immediately, so they won't turn reddish/brown. Rinse thoroughly to remove the starch, or as much as you can. For this, I recommend placing the shredded potatoes in a colander and run under cold water, turning the potatoes with your hands. After that, you'll need to remove as much water as you can. Squeeze the potatoes with your hand, or use a potato ricer (do not rice the potatoes, just press to get the water out). Whatever you do, get ALL THE WATER OUT!!!! Sorry for the yelling, but I get really passionate about my hash browns!
If there's too much water in the potatoes, they won't turn out crispy and crunchy. But more soggy and ... blah! 
Now look at my nests!

Look wonderful right?!? Even better when filled with the rest of the ingredients! 
One last suggestion: if you are planning to have a lot of guests over for brunch, make sure to double up the recipe, and bake a lot of these. Trust me, these hearty and cozy bites will go quickly!

INGREDIENTS:

YIELD: 12 nests, 4-6 servings
    • 2 lb (900 gr) of Russet potatoes (about 4 medium potatoes)
    • 1 1/4 cups (150 gr) of shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
    • 6 pork links (6 oz, 170 gr) 
    • 3 slices of classic bacon
    • 5 oz (140 gr) of fresh baby spinach
    • 2 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
    • salt and pepper to taste

PREPARATION:

TIME: about 1 hour
    Preheat the oven to 450℉ (230℃).
    Peel the potatoes, cut in half, and shred using a food processor (or a grater if you don't have one).

    Place immediately in bowl full of cold water (or they will turn reddish/brown in color).
    Rinse thoroughly under water to remove the starch. You can place in a colander and run under cold water turning the shredded potatoes around with your hand.

    Remove as much water as you can from the potatoes. You can squeeze them with your hand, or press them in small batches in a potato ricer (do not rice the potatoes, just press till the water comes out).

    Place in a paper or kitchen towel, and dry them well.

    Place the shredded potatoes in a bowl, add 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and about 1 teaspoon of salt. Toss.

    Grease 12 muffin cups with cooking spray. If you are using silicone mold like I am, there's no need to grease. Divide the hash brown mixture evenly in the 12 cups, and with your fingers or the back of a spoon press and pack the potatoes down and up the edges.

    Bake at 450℉ (230℃) for 20 minutes until the edges brown a little.
    While you wait prepare the rest of the ingredients.
    Cook the bacon following the direction on the package. I placed the slices of bacon on a baking sheet, in one layer and baked in the oven with the potatoes also for 20 minutes.
    Pat dry to remove excess grease when ready, and cut in pieces.

    Follow the directions on the package to cook the sausages. I placed them on small pan, add one tablespoon of water, covered the pan and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, turning once or twice. Remove the lid, brown the sausages on all sides for about 10 minutes.

    Remove from the pan and cut in four pieces each.
    In the large pan add the fresh spinach with one tablespoon of oil. Sautee' the spinach for a couple of minutes while turning until wilted.

    Remove the hash brown nests from the oven and lower the oven temperature to  325℉ (165℃).
    If necessary, pack the hash browns around the cup some more with a spoon.
    Add two pieces of sausages into each nest. Top with the spinach (divide equally in the 12 cups).


     Top with about one tablespoon of shredded mozzarella cheese.

    Top with a few pieces of bacon, and bake for about 15 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the hash brown fully cooked.

    Wait a couple of minutes to remove the nests from the mold, and serve.
    Buon Appetito!


      

    Wednesday, November 7, 2018

    Traditional Italian Torta della Nonna (Grandma's Cake)

    Make your day sweetly amazing with this crumbly and soft pastry
     filled with rich and delicate custard cream, and topped with tasty pine nuts

    I know I know, I've posted this recipe before. But it was back in the spring of 2016. Given that the holidays are approaching quickly, and we are all in a baking-frenzy mode (...I'm sure it's not just me!!) I thought: why not share this again?! 
    I bet this torta della nonna would look really good on your holiday table.
    Just look at THIS!! Wanna make you grab that little fork and dig in, right?!? 
    Photos can speak louder than words sometimes.