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Recipes to Tame Your Sweet Tooth

With the holidays coming up it seems the line at the grocery store is always too long, you hit every red light on your way home, and there is never enough time in the day to get everything done. Below I have 2 different desserts that are so easy and quick, but that leave everyone wanting more! Each dessert’s main ingredient: OREOS! Because who doesn’t love Oreos? Sign up to bring the dessert for your next party and give yourself more time to get other things done with these recipes.


The first recipe is definitely one that tastes better than it looks. This is just a fun recipe if you are feeling inspired to try something new and have the extra time. I don’t recommend taking this to a party but it tastes so good that I had to share it with you!fullsizeoutput_2291

Cookies ‘N Creme Brûlée

(Serves 8)

16 Oreo Cookies

4 Cups heavy cream

2 Tsp Vanilla

6 Egg Yolks

1/2 Cup of Sugar

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 300° F/150°C. Start by separating the cookie, putting the filling in a bowl and the cookies in a plastic bag. Crush the cookies until they are fine and set aside.fullsizeoutput_2281

Step 2: Heat 4 cups of heavy cream and filling in a saucepan, over medium heat, and whisk until the filling has melted down but stop before it comes to a boil. Add vanilla and remove from heat. Cover and set aside.

Step 3: In a bowl, whisk 6 egg yolks and 1/2 cup of sugar. Add the cream mixture one cup at a time, tempering the egg yolks until it is all incorporated. (If you add it in all at once it will cook the eggs)fullsizeoutput_2283

Step 4: Place ramekins on a baking pan and fill to the top with the mixture. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the cookie crumbs over each ramekin.

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Step 5: Fill the pan with hot/boiling water and bake for 45 minutes at 300°F.

Step 6: Remove the pan and cover the ramekins. Careful they are hot! Chef Tip: Remove them with a spatula so you don’t burn yourself. Let them refrigerate for 2 hours. I know bummer…

Step 7: Once they have set, add 2 teaspoons of sugar to the top as a layer. Shake each dish to make sure the sugar is even and then broil or torch until caramelized.fullsizeoutput_228e

Step 8: My personal favorite step –  Enjoy!!fullsizeoutput_2290


fullsizeoutput_2294Cookies ‘N Cream Rice Krispy Treats

This is your basic Rice Krispy Treat recipe jazzed up with Oreos!

6 cups of Rice Krispy’s

20-25 Oreo cookies- chopped

5 cups of mini marshmallows

4 Tbsp butter

1 cup of white chocolate – melted (optional)

Step 1: Grease a 9X13 dish with cooking spray or butter.

Step 2: Chop the Oreos in half, putting them in a large plastic bag. Then smash them into different sized chunks. Add the cereal to the bag of Oreo’s.fullsizeoutput_2286

Step 3: In a medium/large saucepan melt the butter slowly. When it has almost completely melted, add the marshmallows. I use the mini ones because they melt faster but you can use a bag of the original ones if you’d like.

Step 4: Once this has melted entirely combine all the ingredients together in the pan.

Step 5: After it is all mixed, put the mixture in the dish and flatten as needed.fullsizeoutput_2287

Step 6: Let it cool. Once it is cool you can melt the white chocolate and drizzle on top for an extra, little added touch. You can also crush up a few more Oreos and add them to the top or even sprinkles for some color.fullsizeoutput_2293

The Oreos and white chocolate drizzle give this classic recipe a new twist that everyone will love!

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Oreo Treats

They might look like brownies… but don’t get confused!! These are a mouthful of delicious Oreos.

2 packages of Oreo’s – crushed

5 cups of mini marshmallows

4 Tbsp butter

Step 1: Grease a 9X13 dish with cooking spray or butter.

Step 2: Chop the Oreos in half, putting them in a large plastic bag. Afterwards, smash them into different sized chunks.

Step 3: In a medium/large saucepan melt the butter slowly. When it has almost completely melted, add the marshmallows.

Step 4: Once this has melted entirely, add in the Oreos and mix it in completely.

Step 5: Pour the mixture into the dish and flatten as needed.

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Step 6: Let it cool and enjoy! You can add some sprinkles to the top if you want to add a little more color.

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The last 2 dishes are fairly quick, and relatively easy to make. They will wow your guests, leaving their sweet tooth satisfied. Perfect for holiday gatherings, or even just for a special treat, these desserts will not disappoint.

Try these delicious treats and let me know what you think! Subscribe, if you haven’t already, to stay connected and updated. Stay tuned for another exciting blog post in the near future! Don’t forget to share!

 

 

 

 

It’s All Gravy!

fullsizeoutput_227fComing from a family where multiple members love to cook definitely has its benefits. Last week my cousin Adam and I got together to create this dish on the fly! We are both pleased with how it turned out so I am sharing it with the rest of you if you’d like to give it a shot. Adam is an expert on gravy so I had fun picking up some tips from the pro! We did a three part meal but it is a bit time consuming and you have to watch each step carefully. So with that being said you can omit some of the components – like just do a risotto for dinner, make the risotto and just chicken no gravy, or do the chicken and gravy and not make the risotto. But if you are brave and want to branch out I dare you all to give it a try!

Risotto Ingredients

1 bunch of asparagus

1 bag of Arborio rice

2 Cloves of garlic

Light olive oil

2-3 boxes of chicken broth

Mushroom Gravy Ingredients 

1/3 lb (10-12 Mushrooms, we used chanterelle )

1-2 Boxes of Chicken Broth

1 Chicken Bullion

-Wondra Flour

-Olive Oil

Breaded Chicken Ingredients 

1/4 tsp Thyme

1/4 tsp Basil leaves

2 dashes Ground cumin

1/4 tsp Oregano

1/4 tsp Black Pepper

1/4 tsp Salt

3/4 cup flour

1 cup Olive Oil

1 lb Chicken Thighs


Vegetable Risotto

Step 1: For this dish you start by making the risotto because you have to watch and stir it the entire time. Put 1 tbs of olive oil in the bottom of a hot pan and add 1 1/2 cups of rice. Lightly brown the rice – stirring often. Add in 2 cloves of minced garlic at the end and put it on medium heat.

Step 2: Rake the rice out into an even layer and add enough chicken broth until floating – not covered. Now you will constantly stir the rice as it absorbs the broth.fullsizeoutput_2278

(This is the rice floating – not completely covered)

Step 3: Once you see the broth become creamy, add more of the broth and bring it to a boil. Continue to add the broth as it cooks down, constantly stirring. Taste the rice to see if it is the consistency that you like. If it is too hard, continue to add broth and cook down.

Step 4: Add in your chopped asparagus and continue to cook down the rice. (3-5 minutes)fullsizeoutput_2279

Step 5: Once the rice is done add 2-3 tbs of butter and about 3 tbs of Romano cheese. We used the Romano but you can use whatever cheese you want. If you want to add more cheese, go for it!! Now you can remove the risotto from heat and cover it.

Tip: If your asparagus is underdone for your liking you can add them in sooner but asparagus will continue to cook until they are room temperature!

Mushroom Gravy

Step 1: Heat your pan and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Once that is hot add your mushrooms in and let them heat up for about 15-20 seconds. Then add in 1/2 cup of chicken broth. fullsizeoutput_227a

Step 2: Let the broth come to a boil and then stir. Reduce the broth down and then empty the contents into a bowl and set aside.

Step 3: Add an entire box of chicken broth and reduce it down to 1/3rd of the pan. Then add in the chicken bullion. Once this is reduced down and completely stirred in add the stock to the bowl you set aside.fullsizeoutput_227b

Step 4: To make the roux to thicken your gravy add 6 tbs of olive oil to the hot pan. Heat this up for about a minute and then add 6 tbs of flour. Stir on medium-high until it gets  light brown.

Step 5: Add the mushroom broth into the roux and set aside.

Breaded Chicken

Step 1: Get a large Ziploc bag and add in 1/4 tsp of thyme, basil leaves, oregano, black pepper, and salt. Then 2 dashes of ground cumin. Then add in 3/4 cup of flour and mix it all together.

Step 2: Wash and dry the chicken and then pound out the chicken thighs. Add the chicken piece by piece into the bag lightly coating the entire surface of the chicken.

Step 3: Coat the bottom of a hot pan with olive oil on medium-high. fullsizeoutput_227d

Step 4: Cook the chicken until brown and then flip and brown the other side, about 15 minutes total.

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Step 5: Remove the chicken and place it on a plate with a paper towel to get the excess grease. Cut it into slices.

Once you have completed all the necessary steps you are ready to plate. This all depends on personal preference but I put the risotto on the bottom and then added the chicken sliced on top, covering it with the gravy last. fullsizeoutput_2280

It’s always great to have people in your life that share your love for food and cooking. Special thanks to my cousin, Adam for teaching me a new recipe and making cooking fun!

Think you’re a top chef? Give this recipe a try and leave feedback with the results. Don’t forget to share!

Check back next week for a sweet new recipe just in time for the holidays!

Healthy Chicken Potstickers

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Part of the joys of cooking is having the ability to try new foods and recipes. Sometimes it is beneficial to branch out with new types of cuisines. One of my favorites is Asian. If you have ever been to restaurants for Asian food then you know that traditional dishes can be pricey and often times full of unnecessary sodium. I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t always have to be that way. You can create delicious and healthy Asian meals at home for half the cost. Below, you will find a step-by-step guide for a recipe I created on how to prepare delicious Chicken Potstickers.

Background: Chinese dumplings are commonly eaten in East Asia and are most popular during Chinese New Year. They typically consist of ground meat and/or vegetable filling wrapped into a thinly rolled piece of dough then sealed with the edges pressed or crimped together.

Chicken Potstickers

Recipe for Potstickers

2 tbsp Ginger minced

¼ – ½ cup of red onion minced

3-4 green onions – 1/8” chop

1 lb ground chicken

4-5 garlic cloves minced

1 egg

One package of Gyoza/Potsticker wrappers

Recipe for Sauce

½ cup Soy Sauce

¼ cup Rice Vinegar

1 tbsp garlic minced

1 tbsp ginger minced

1 green onion chopped

Sugar to taste

2-3 more green onions for garnish

Step 1: Prep your ingredients. It’s easier to chop and mince everything all at once. Start by peeling and mincing your garlic, about 8 cloves altogether. Next, peel and mince fresh ginger. Then, chop the green onions, about 6 of them. Lastly, mince about half a red onion. After you have done all this you can portion it out. In all honesty you don’t have to break out a measuring cup or spoon just guess when portioning.

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Step 2: Get a gallon sized Ziploc bag and put in ¾ of the garlic and ginger you minced. Then, add in all the red onion and ¾ of the chopped green onion. Add the pound of ground chicken into the bag and mix everything together. You can put the remaining green onion, garlic, and ginger into a medium bowl.

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Step 3: Prepare your kitchen counter if you want to. I don’t like putting anything directly on the counter even if it is clean. You need a lot of space so I line my countertop with saran wrap. Lay out the potsticker wrappers on the counter. Take an egg and whisk it in a small bowl. After it is stirred completely paint the outside edge of each potsitcker wrapper. This recipe will make about 35 potstickers.

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Step 4: Take a spoon and put about a spoonful (teaspoon, don’t overfill like I did in my photos) of the chicken mixture in the center of each wrapper. Fold the wrapper over and pinch the middle, then work your fingers from the bottom to the middle pinching each side shut. Don’t allow any holes in the wrapper or the mixture will come out.

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Step 5: Once you have completed step 4 with all the chicken filling you are ready to make the sauce. Add the soy sauce and rice vinegar to the same bowl you put the other ingredients in.  Then, slowly add in sugar while tasting to make sure that it has the flavoring you like. You can add some pepper if you want, but no salt as soy sauce is salty enough already.

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Step 6: Time to cook your potstickers. I do it the healthy way with no oil. Put a sautee pan on medium high and allow it to heat up – nonstick is best if you have one. Then add in each potsticker one by one, as you put them in the pan bend them to make a cresent shape. Once you have added all the potsitckers add in a ½ cup of water and put a lid on the pan. Allow the potstickers to cook for about 4-6 minutes and once the water has evaporated they should be done.

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Step 7: Put your cooked potstickers on a plate and cover them with the sauce. You can garnish the potstickers for presentation with green onion. Pro Tip: If you put the onion in ice water it will curl up like the one in my photo!

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Step 8: Eat them!!

Best part about this meal? It is easy to double or triple the recipe and they freeze well. Not to mention they can be cooked right out of the freezer without defrosting!

Eating out every now and again can be a nice treat; however, it is just as rewarding to create delicious and impressive dishes at home for a lower cost both money and health wise. Potstickers are easy enough to make in your own kitchen and really wow guests for dinner parties. With less sodium than typical restaurant servings, they are both tasty and better for you. Stepping out of your comfort zone is sometimes necessary, just like I did when creating this recipe and trying new foods and recipes can be beneficial for everyone. Try your hand at making this traditional Chinese dish; the recipe is sure to stick with you.

Know someone that loves cooking, food, recipes, and helpful kitchen tips? Don’t forget to share and leave feedback! Would love to see what others think about this recipe! 🙂

Check back next week for an exciting new recipe!

Work Smart, NOT Hard!

As promised, below are a few more helpful tips and tricks designed to make your time in the kitchen less frustrating and more fun. Don’t be shy, give them a try!

Reheating pasta: Reheating leftovers can be a pain because the outsides are sizzling and the inside is still cold. A better way to heat up leftovers is to position your pasta on the plate with a hole in the middle, like a donut. This way the entire plate is heated and you won’t have to make several trips back to the microwave.

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Vanilla Extract Trick: A lot of baking recipes will call for vanilla. If your bottle of vanilla extract has a cap, then you can use that cap to measure out a teaspoon.

Egg Freshness: When determining if your egg is still fresh, the easiest way is to place the egg in a bowl or glass of water. If the egg floats to the top, then the egg is no longer fresh. If the egg remains at the bowl of the water, then you can still use it.

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Proper leftover storage: A lot of people put their leftovers away in the refrigerator right after dinner. A safer way to store your leftovers is to let them cool for at least 30 minutes while you are cleaning up. Then, when you are ready to store them you should put the food in the shallowest containers that you have. For instance, if you made a large pot of spaghetti sauce you should not put it in a big, deep container. Instead, you should portion it into smaller containers. When you do finally put it in the fridge, you shouldn’t cover it completely right away; it’s best to loosely cover the Tupperware so that the middle is able to completely cool. If there is condensation on the lid of the container, then you covered it too soon. When you store hot or warm food it is a breeding ground for bacteria and you can make you and your family sick without realizing it.

Avocado Ripeness: It isn’t always easy finding the perfect avocado. A quick way to tell if your avocado is ready is to remove the stem off the outside and look at the color. If brown is displayed then it is too ripe. However, if you see green underneath you know it is just right to eat and enjoy!

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Pounding meat: A quicker and cleaner way to pound different types of meat that need to be tenderized is to put the meat in a plastic Ziploc bag. This way you are not pounding it directly on the kitchen counter where you will be prepping the rest of your meal. You can also put the meat on a cutting board and cover it with saran wrap, but the Ziploc bag is easier if you have them.

Extra Kitchen Space: If your kitchen resembles anything close to mine, then a little extra work space couldn’t hurt. Placing a cutting board over open drawers will provide more counter space. This is an easy way to give yourself a little more room for food prep and helps to combat cross-contamination with different ingredients. For the cutting board placed on the counter, put a wet towel underneath it to prevent any slipping.

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Cooking is meant to be fun and enjoyable. Although it can have its downfalls at times, the end product is always worth the effort. The kitchen hacks mentioned above are designed to help combat those frustrating cooking moments; less hassle leaves you more time for the joys of cooking. Most importantly, easier cooking and less prep time means you are able to focus on what really matters… good food!

 

Check back next week for a new recipe that will really stick with you! Don’t forget, sharing is caring!

 

 

 

Restaurant Quality Meal At Home – Blue Apron Style

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A lot of trends come and go, while others like to stay awhile. The newest fad in the food industry is companies that deliver ingredients to make your own meal at home. Blue Apron and Hello Fresh are two of the top companies that deliver the ingredients right to your door, but there are also several other smaller companies that provide the same service. Of course with anything there are pros and cons. I had to find out for myself what the latest and greatest had to offer, so I signed up for a trial of Blue Apron and put my skills to the test.

One of the best meals I received and rave about to everyone is the: Blackened Chicken with Zucchini Rice, Corn and Cherry Tomatoes. This dish has the perfect balance of heat, complimented by fresh veggies and refreshing lime crema. If you want to really wow your dinner guests this is one to add to your repertoire! Below is the list of ingredients, followed with the step by step meal prep.

DISCLAIMER: This dish says the prep time is 15 minutes… HA! Yeah right. It takes a lot longer to prep all the separate veggies in this dish. I would say the prep time is more like 35-45 minutes long and the cook time is not 25-35 minutes, it is closer to 60 minutes. There is a lot to juggle all at once when making this meal so it might be easier for some to focus on one component of the meal instead of trying to make them all at once like the recipe tells you to do.

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INGREDIENTS:  The ingredients above are for a 2-person meal and you will not have any leftovers. If you have more than two people eating it is easy to double the recipe, or if you do have two and want some leftover, this is a great dish that you can reheat the next day!

INSTRUCTIONS:

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I used 1.5 limes for this recipe. I used 3 wedges in the crema to get more flavor and 3 wedges in the rice later on. Personally, when I use cilantro I do not use the stems just the leaves. I also used 5 cloves of garlic… No reason I just like garlic! 🙂

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This is part of the process that you have to watch carefully. I let the zucchini cook for 5 minutes before adding the water and rice. It depends on how you like your veggies, I prefer my zucchini a little softer so I added some time onto the clock for this step. However, don’t let them cook for too long because they will become mush in the rice. The flavors in this portion really blend together nicely and makes your kitchen smell divine.

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I didn’t cover my chicken with tin foil, I used a normal lid that goes with my pot. It still tastes amazing and was very juicy. In some other reviews, people mentioned their chicken was too dry; maybe that is due to them using tin foil?screen-shot-2016-10-24-at-7-09-49-pm

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I added extra time to both steps of this process. I like my vegetables a little more on the well done side.

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Almost every step of this dish has you adding salt and pepper. I would be careful because I added a little too much pepper to mine especially since the chicken is seasoned with Ancho Chile powder.

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This dish really makes you work for it! But in the end it is well worth it. The sweet flavors of the vegetables compliment the heat you get from the chicken and the crema pulls it all together for a savory meal that everyone can enjoy.

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Although, it may call for a little more attention to detail and more developed cooking skills, this meal is great to have and share at home for that authentic restaurant feeling. Overall, companies like Blue Apron and Hello Fresh make life easier when you don’t have time to run to the store for groceries and takes the hassle out of looking up new and exciting recipes to try. The food is delivered to your door on the day of your choice with clear instructions. If you aren’t afraid of branching out, then try the dish shown above and sign up for your trial.

To view the full recipe: Click here!

https://www.blueapron.com/recipes/blackened-chicken-zucchini-rice-with-sauteed-corn-cherry-tomatoes

 

Make sure to check back in next week for more helpful kitchen tips and tricks! Don’t forget to share with fellow food enthusiasts!

Egg-citing Kitchen Hacks!

Cooking isn’t easy. It’s time consuming, and can sometimes be downright difficult. Tell me if you can relate… You are reading over a new recipe that you are excited to try. You have all the ingredients, already put on your favorite apron, and have picked the best spatula. As you’re scanning over the steps, you see the dreaded words “thinly grated cheese”, “soften but don’t melt butter”, “separate egg whites from yolk”, or anything requiring an avocado. Suddenly, you are already discouraged and exhausted. Cooking just became a chore. You’re no longer excited about this recipe that you’ve been dying to try. We’ve all been there. The last thing you want to do is spend more time preparing the ingredients before you can even begin to start cooking them. Well, I’m here to solve some of your cooking and preparation woes. I’m providing a few tips and tricks that I have picked up along the way that are designed to save you from a headache and more lost time.


Tips and Tricks

1. Separating an egg: Many recipes call for just the egg yolk or just the egg white. For some, the process can be a daunting task but I have a fun trick to save time. You start by cracking the entire egg onto a plate. Then you take an empty water bottle and squeeze it over the yolk, it will instantly be sucked into the water bottle. And tah-dah you have your egg separated and can use the part of the egg that you need for your recipe. Fun fact: this is also a great party trick and helpful for impressing or entertaining any guests lingering in the kitchen. I’ve posted a video below to watch it in action!        

https://youtu.be/g8jNSn25Ns4  

2. Softening butter: This tip is for when you don’t have an hour to wait for the butter to soften and you don’t want to completely melt it. A faster way is to either cut the butter into eights so that there is less surface area, which helps it to soften faster. You can also grate it with a cheese grater or put it in a Ziploc bag and roll it with a rolling pin.screen-shot-2016-10-17-at-8-30-31-pm

3. Grating cheese: This is for when you are grating cheese, especially soft cheese like fontina or mozzarella. Freeze the cheese for about 30 minutes before you are ready to grate it, this will make the process a lot easier.

4. Avocado pit: The only bad thing about avocados is getting the pit out and trying not to cut yourself while doing so. For years I was cutting the avocado in half and trying to squeeze the pit out, but I learned that if you cut it into fourths it is a lot easier to get it out without a visit to the emergency room with a severed hand. screen-shot-2016-10-17-at-8-28-40-pm

5. Storing Knives: If you keep knives or other sharp utensils, such as scissors, in a drawer, putting wine corks on the end will keep you from being poked/stabbed when opening and reaching into the drawer. This is especially helpful if you keep your knives with your silverware. Make sure the tip of the knife is wedged far enough into the cork to keep it from falling off, but not too far that it splits the cork in half. Great way to keep knives safe if there are children in the household.


See, now wasn’t that a lot less painful? It truly is the little things in life that can be the most pleasurable. Be sure to check back next week for a review on a “Blue Apron” recipe. 

Can’t get enough helpful kitchen hacks? More tips and tricks will be posted for viewing pleasure in two weeks! Like what you see? Share this post with your friends, family, neighbors, and any passing strangers on the street!

Not Your Grandma’s Gnocchi

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A traditional Italian dish that my Bisnonna (Italian for Great Grandmother) and Nonna (Italian for Grandmother) have perfected is Gnocchi (Pronounced noh-kee in English). Gnocchi can be describes as, “hearty potato-based pillows of heaven.” It is typically made with potatoes and served with the sauce of your choice; however, I came across a recipe that I had to try and hope that you will too! Instead of the traditional potato recipe, this one is made with carrots. It is a very colorful and healthy replacement and it tastes amazing! Warning: Prep and cook time is about 2-2.5 hours the first try. 


Recipe for carrot gnocchi in a butter sage reduction sauce:

Two cups of peeled and chopped carrots
Two egg yolks
A pinch of salt
½ cup of grated Parmesan
1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
½ stick of butter (4 oz.)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
¼ cup of sage leaves julienned

Step 1: Place the carrots in a medium pot of boiling water and continue to boil until the carrot are fork tender. (It takes about 30 minutes after the water has come to a boil.)

Step 2: Drain the carrots and transfer to a large bowl where you will mash them until smooth.img_2419

Step 3: Stir in the egg yolks, salt, and Parmesan cheese.

Step 4: Add in the flour slowly while you are mixing the combined ingredients. Once all the flour is mixed in the bowl, the mixture should be slightly sticky. Depending on the texture of the carrots, you might need to slowly add a little more flour to get the right consistency.

Step 5: On a lightly floured surface, roll the carrot dough into a log approximately ¾ of an inch thick, then cut the dough into 1 inch pieces.img_2439

Step 6: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add small batches of the gnocchi into the pot. Remove the gnocchi once they rise to the top of the boiling water (about 3-4 minutes).

Step 7: In a sauté pan melt the butter over medium heat. Cook the butter until it turns slightly brown, stirring constantly. (This process takes about 6 minutes.) Add the garlic and the sage then cook for another minute or two.img_2461

Step 8: Add the drained gnocchi into the sauté pan and toss with the sauce, and then season with salt, pepper, and more Parmesan to taste. Serve immediately.img_2475


Wine Pairings:

If you prefer red wine over white I would suggest a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Syrah. These are both bold red wines that pair well with a butter sauce. The flavors of the blended grapes cleanse your palate after the sweeter flavors of the carrot and richer flavors of the butter sauce.

If it is warm outside and you are looking for a cold white wine then Chardonnay is the way to go. You want to pick one that is on the dry side and full bodied so that it doesn’t overpower the sweetness of the cooked carrots.


If this recipe interests you then try it out and please leave feedback on what worked for you and what improvements can be made! Then don’t forget to check back next week for some kitchen hacks on how to make your life easier! Please follow my page to get the updates as they come and make sure to share it with your friends and family so they can try it too! 🙂