Steak Sandwiches – Cooked by the Fiance!

So I’ve been a little stressed lately. And a little overwhelmed.

So this post is brought to you by my wonderful fiance who kicked an amazing dinner the other night. I actually admitted that it was better than some of my dinners.

This is inspired by something we saw Giada make on Saturday morning.

So, here it is, the steak sandwich recipe inspired by Giada and brought to you by the best man on earth.

Chop 3 onions


and put in pot with olive oil, salt, pepper, a little sugar and herbs to provence.  turn on medium heat and let them caramelize.


slice 2 green peppers in half, remove seeds, and place on tray, skin side up.
 broil for 10-15 minutes.
cover with aluminum foil after removing from the oven for another 15 minutes to cool and steam.
them remove the skin using your hands.
slice the peppers and add them to the onions with 2 cloves of chopped garlic
cook for another few minutes till peppers soften
remove everything and put on a plate.
slice up a slab of steak (I used skirt steak b/c it has good fat and flavor, but you can use rib eye for the same reason) into strips.
add a little olive oil to the pot, and fry the steak
until brown with a little salt and pepper
add the onion and pepper mixture back into the pot and let simmer on low stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.  then ready to serve.
serve on rolls – hollow out the rolls a bit, spread some marinara sauce on the roll and add a slice of provolone.
microwave or broil the rolls for a minute to melt the cheese,
add the steak mixture
close the sammich and press down to meld flavors.
the end.

Sweet Potato Fries


I have been neglecting the blog lately, not because I don’t want to share with you what’s coming out of my kitchen, but because there hasn’t been anything coming out of my kitchen.

I had a crazy couple of days at work followed by a family dinner that left me stuffed, so it was takeout and salads at our place.

That always leave me feeling yucky. And then because I feel yucky, I start to get anxious and stressed.

And that I get overwhelmed at the thought of cooking.

Cooking? I need to buy groceries? I need to cut and prepare and season?

I suffer slightly from kitchen amnesia at times.

A few days away from the kitchen and I can’t remember how I ever managed to prepare anything.

And then I take a few deep breaths and I think basic. And then I think comfort.

One of my favorite super easy and super comforting sides is sweet potato fries. These are baked, so no bad for you frying, and way less oil than all that take out we’ve had recently.

And these are insanely simple and can help you ease back into the kitchen. Some hot dogs or burgers with these as a side? You’re on your way back to homemade dinners and healthy eating.

All you need is one large sweet potato per person, vegetable oil, salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 400 and line a cookie sheet with foil. This is a no clean up side.

Peel the potatoes and cut them into thick wedges. Think steak fries. I usually cut the ends off the potato to give you a flat surface, then cut the potato in thirds, lengthwise and then into strips.


Lay the strips out and drizzle with vegetable oil and salt and pepper. Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes.




Pesto is something that should be in your itty bitty city kitchen arsenal.

It’s a super simple sauce to whip up to toss over pasta or to use as a sandwich spread. Hello tomato, mozzarella and pesto for lunch!

It’s even great to set out in a bowl with some crostini for a cocktail party.

I’ve posted before about parsley pesto, but I haven’t made the traditional basil one yet.

You can make pesto out of any leafy thing really. I’ve done spinach, parsley, mint,  and various combinations. On my to try list is a mushroom pesto I saw in a cook book.

I think one of the points of debate when it comes to pesto is nuts. Do you put them in at all? And what kinds do you use? The traditional approach is to add pine nuts. But I’ve also seen a lot of people use walnuts. I used pistachios in my parsley post.

I don’t really like pine nuts, so I leave them out of my basil pesto.

I love basil and I love the clean crisp taste it has, so I like to do as little to it as possible.

Basically, add a bunch of basil, two garlic cloves and some olive oil into the food processor and buzz away.

Look at that color!

Sprinkle in some parmesan and give it another quick whir and you are in business.


Boil up some water and toss in your pasta of choice. I like bow ties with pesto because the sauce can get stuck in all the little folds.

A little trick: if your pesto is too thick, add a spoonful or two of pasta water to thin it out. The starch in the water will prevent the sauce from getting too runny.


Quick lunch idea




I don’t want to give the impression that I find it within me to cook every single night. Because I don’t think anyone can.

Except Martha Stewart. And maybe Nigella Lawson.

But I am a mere mortal. I have not ascended to the domestic goddess ranks.

What I can do, is try to make sure I at least eat something healthy and homemade every day. This just takes a bit of planning ahead.

One of my favorite quick little things to mix up and toss in the fridge for the week is this little salad. A can of cannelini beans, rinsed and drained, two stalks of celery, chopped and a few teaspoons of tahini make for a fantastic little addition to some lettuce for an interesting salad for lunch.


French Bistro at Home – French Onion Soup

There are few things in life for which I have patience.

French Onion soup is one of them.

It’s not a particularly complicated recipe, but it’s one you can’t rush. I’ve tried to speed up the process of browning the onions, or have not browned them for a sufficiently long enough time, and the results are just not the same.

If you really give it the time it needs in the pot, you will be comparing yours to the best bistro’s in town.

It’s a recipe that’s made from very simple ingredients, but that have a huge impact when cooked properly.

You will need

  • 5 yellow onions, sliced into thin strips
  • 4 cups chicken broth, low sodium so you can control the salt
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • herbs de provence
  • a teaspoon of sugar (trust me)

Break out your heavy-bottomed soup pot. You’ll notice that I use this pot a lot. It’s one of those things that’s worth investing in up front because it will more than pay for itself in the long run. I actually got mine at Home Goods for a super reasonable price. So there are deals to be had.

Drizzle the bottom with olive oil. Resist the temptation to dump all the onions into the pot. Add only about half.


Let them start to cook and turn translucent and sweat a bit. Once they’ve released some liquid, sprinkle with half a teaspoon of sugar. The sugar will help the onions brown and caramelize – the key to French onion soup.


When the onions have cooked down some, as in the above, toss in the remaining onion ribbons. Give the pot a big stir so the new onions are on the bottom of the pot.


Give another sprinkle of sugar and stir again.


You’re going to want to stir every once in a while so the browned onions are brought to the top, allowing the rest of the onions to brown on the bottom of the pot.


Not going to lie, this takes some time. You want the onions to take on the rich dark brown color you see below.


Once they are that lovely color, season with salt, pepper and herbs de provence and pour in the chicken stoc k. Stir and let the pot simmer for about thirty minutes.


Top off your bowl with crusty bread and a healthy sprinkling of gruyere.


And there you have it – French bistro food you can eat in your pjs.


I’ve come to a theory recently about cooking. If your mother is a fabulous cook, you either 1. learn all her secrets and turn out to be an equally fabulous cook or 2. you avoid the kitchen at all costs – your mom’s a fabulous cook you will never compare.

I wouldn’t say I fall into the second camp, but I will say it took me a bit longer to blossom into a cook myself because mom’s food was so good, why would I want to make something for myself?

Now that I’m on my own, I cook with reckless abandon. But I do find myself a little hesitant when it comes to the traditional family recipes.

My mom makes the best meatballs and gravy.

I’ve been trying to replicate hers, but haven’t been able to get the texture quite right. Something’s different. I don’t know, maybe it’s the pot.

So instead of recreating her meatballs, I decided I’d go my own way and come up with a meat sauce recipe or bolognese.

I don’t remember, growing up, mom ever making something like this, so I am relieved of the fear of my dish not standing up to hers.

You will need

  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 stalk of celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 28oz can tomato puree
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper

Drizzle a heavy bottomed pan with olive oil and toss in the carrot, celery and onion.


Let the veggies cook over medium heat for about 10-15 minutes. You want them to soften and for the onions to turn translucent. When this happens, add in the garlic and let cook for anothe rten minutes or so.


Add the ground beef to the pot, breaking it up with a wooden spoon and incorporating the veggies into the meat.


Let the meat thoroughly brown. This should take maybe another ten minutes. Be sure to stir so the meat browns on all sides. Season with salt and lots of black pepper.


Pour in a can of tomato puree. Give a big stir and add more black pepper. Let this bubble for about 15 minutes. You can let it go for longer if you want to make this in the morning and serve for dinner later.


When you’re ready to serve, boil up a pot of water and cook a good sturdy pasta. I used rigatoni. You can use fettucini or penne or any other pasta with a bit of heft. This is not the dish for angel hair.

Top the pasta with the meat sauce


And of course it wouldn’t be a pasta dinner without a sprinkle of parmesan.


Sunday Morning Pancakes



What says Sunday morning more than pancakes?

Maybe bacon.

But for me, it’s the smell of melted butter, warm maple syrup and coffee brewing that just says hang out, relax, and settle in for a Sunday of hanging out and eating.

Everyone should have a great pancake recipe in their back pocket. You really can’t compare homemade pancakes with the ones from the box. Don’t get me wrong, in a bind, box mix is totally fine. But on a lazy Sunday, it’s worth it to make the mix yourself.

You will need

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 and 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup melted butter (plus more for the skillet)

In a large bowl, whisk together your dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.



In a smaller bowl whisk together the eggs, butter and buttermilk.


The reason for mixing the wet and dry ingredient separately is we want to mix the batter as little as possible. Over mixed batter = tough pancakes. Nobody likes tough pancakes

Pour the wet into the dry and mix until just combined. The batter will a little lumpy.


Break out your skillet and heat over medium. Let a pad of butter melt.


If anyone is still sleeping, they may start to wake up now.

Using a ladle, scoop out the batter onto the butter-covered skillet.



The batter will start to bubble and the butter will start to crisp the edges. Here, let me show you.


If anyone was still snuggled in the covers, they will definitely be awake now.

Flip the pancakes when the edges are all bubbly and cook until golden brown on both sides.


Plate them up and drown them in maple syrup. If there are still some sleepy heads in the house, place the pancakes on a foil lined cookie sheet and let them stay warm in a 200 degree oven.


Shrimp Feta and Fennel

I’m still all blushy and glowy from all the love yesterday from the SITS community! You ladies all rock and I’m looking forward to taking the time to drop by all of your blogs.

After all the gushing about some of my recipes, I got a little nervous today.

Dinner tonight wasn’t just about me and my fiance. Now, it was about all of you, too.

I didn’t want to disappoint.

I opened up some of my favorite cookbooks and riffled through all the pages torn from magazines.

My palms started to sweat. I started twirling my hair. Bad signs.

And then, I went back and looked over some of the comments you all left me. And one really stood out. Mo at Mocadeaux (check out her blog here) wrote that she loves high impact and low effort recipes.

I started to breathe more evenly. High impact. Low effort. The hallmarks of itty bitty city kitchen cooking.

Then I remembered something the Barefoot Contessa made that we had wanted to try. A super simple, one pot meal that’s packed with high impact ingredients.

I have a tendency to discount any recipe that has more than 10 ingredients. I get overwhelmed. It gets expensive. And, o  yea, I don’t have the space.

So dishes like this that rely on a few key, really good ingredients, are a standby.

You will need:

  • 1 pound of shrimp, peeled, tails on
  • 1 fennel bulb, chopped
  • 1 28oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • feta

Preheat the oven to 400.

In an oven-safe shallowish pot or skillet, drizzle olive oil and add in the garlic and fennel. Cook over medium until softened.


Pour in the diced tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and stir. I added a splash of Pastis to bring out the anise flavor. It’s not necessary. You can add a splash of white wine instead if you want. Totally up to you.


Let the sauce cook and bubble for about 10 minutes so the flavors come together. Next up, the shrimp.


I used one pound for the two of us. I also went with mediums. I noticed that the large have a tendency to come out tough sometimes.

Nest the shrimp, tails up, in with the tomatoes and fennel.


Sprinkle the mixture liberally with Feta. Bake for 15 minutes.


The shrimp will turn pink and be cooked perfectly. The fennel will still be slightly crunchy. The tomatoes will create a broth perfect for dunking the shrimp or the bread. And the feta adds the salty bite the dish needs.


Spoon out into a bowl. Pick up a piece of shrimp, take a bite and then scoop a spoonful of tomato and fennel into your mouth. Grab a piece of crusty bread and soak up all of those anisey tomatoes juices.


This is the perfect one pot meal for a Saturday night in.

Happy SITS Day to me!

Today is my 100th post! It’s also my SITS day!

What a lovely coincidence.

If you’re not familiar with SITS, you should be! Check them out here.

It’s a fantastic community of women who offer blogging tips and advice and who support their fellow female bloggers. I’ve found some incredibly inspiring stories, some killer recipes and lots of giggles on the pages of the blogs of these ladies.

I was never one of those girls with lots of girl friends.

I was always really close with my dad (I still am), and with all my boy cousins, I grew up very much a tom boy.


I’m incredibly lucky to have a dad who will watch movies or a football game with me and then come help me pick out my wedding dress. I’m thankful to him for teaching me how to throw a perfect spiral – I never ever threw like a girl. And having such a solid relationship with my dad has definitely helped me have such an incredible relationship with my fiance. Your dad’s the first guy who loves you.

The relationship with my dad is probably why I always hung with boys. All through high school and college, I was always the one girl with the guys. I didn’t understand girls. They seemed catty and sometimes downright mean. My guy friends were fun. And things were just easy with them. It was about laughs not about makeup.

I mean, check out my guys below. Don’t they just look awesome?


But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to see the value in those female friendships. When you find a few good women in your life, you really *get* what girlfriends are all about.

My first friends were my parents. I think as an only child you just get a different relationship with your parents than you would if you had siblings.

My mom is the person I tell everything. As I’m about to get married, I know my fiance will become more and more my number one confidante, but sometimes, you just want your mom. She gets that when I’m crying, it’s because I’m angry, not upset, and she knows when to push and when to keep her mouth shut (most of the time). I was always baffled when some of the girls I grew up with said they didn’t really talk to their moms. I can’t imagine not talking to her or not sharing everything with her.


I’ve told you I’m an only child, but I never really felt like one. I have a ton of cousins, so I wasn’t like totally isolated from kids. I also grew up with a very close friend, who is as close to a sister without being blood as you can get. I’ve known her since first grade. She’s Jill and I’m Jack. We were definitely meant to be a twosome! She is a beautiful person inside and out.


And we’ve grown up together and changed and gotten married and gotten engaged and moved around, but we’re still Jack and Jill.


And every girl needs a partner in crime. I met mine in high school and she is the nonfat milk in my coffee. We’ve been separated by distance and higher learning (only she knows what that means) but it hasn’t stopped Romy and Michelle. Getting into concerts without tickets is a fine art that we have mastered.


I’m also really excited to have some new wonderful ladies in my life.


My fiance’s brother has a lovely girlfriend, Sam, who is incredibly talented, smart and fun. I’m so so so lucky to have a great relationship with her and with my future-brother-in-law.

And having heard so many mother-in-law horror stories, I’m even more lucky to be friends with my future mother-in-law. She is an incredibly fun and funny woman who should start her own blog. Patty P. has been loving and caring since the day I have met her and has always made me feel like family.

I guess every woman reaches a stage in her life where she realizes that she needs some strong females she can call on as backup, as comfort and as friends.

I’m not just saying Happy SITS to me, but to the women who have helped make me who I am.

Shakshuka – Or peppers and tomatoes and fried eggs, oh my!

This is another dish coming to you from my kitchen courtesy of Cooking Light magazine.

Seriously the latest issue was packed with brilliant ideas and quick fix meals.

We have a fondness of eggs for dinner, so any dish that gives us a new twist on runny yolks on dinner plates is usually a winner in our book.

This one is super simple and super yummy.

You will need

  • 1/2 a white onion, chopped,
  • 2 green peppers, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 stalk of celery, chopped
  • 1 large can of diced tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • paprika
  • eggs

Drizzle olive oil in a large pot and toss in the onions, peppers, garlic and celery. If you look up the recipe on Cooking Light you’ll note that celery isn’t listed. Neither is tomatoes. Well, they say to use marinara. I’m making my own marinara as I go rather use store bought. Remember, it’s all about adjusting recipes to suit you.

Season the vegetables with salt and pepper and simmer over medium until the vegetables have softened.


Pour in the can of diced tomatoes and add a few sprinkles of smoked paprika. Stir and let the mixture bubble and the flavors meld for about 10 minutes.


Ladle onto plates and top with fried eggs.



Tomatoey goodness, runny yolk? Screaming for crusty bread to mop it all up.