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We have been MIA for a few weeks now, sorry about that! Jess and I decided that the blog should always remain fun. So when life is crazy with life things, those come first.

Jess was in town two weekends ago, which was great! We did a lot of relaxing, which we both needed! We had every intention of making this recipe, but she had to jet out on Sunday to avoid the crazy snow storm that hit the next day. I didn’t want the bananas to go bad, so I decided to make it for my husband and I. I posted a pic to instagram (follow me @meljparrish)  and my followers/friends went crazy!! It was pretty spectacular if I do say so myself. Next time I would cook it for a little less, I love when it is under cooked. I would also add walnuts, chocolate chips, or both to take it to the next level. Happy baking!

nutella banan bread 3 nutella banana bread 4 Nutella banana bread

Recipe: Nutella Swirled Banana Bread - Original Recipe
Makes 2 loaves **I halved the recipe. 

Ingredients:
3 large or 4 medium (2 cups mashed) bananas, yellow with brown speckles
1 cup brown sugar, packed
4 oz. (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup milk
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. rum, optional
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup Nutella

**Next time around I would probably add walnuts or chocolate chips. I like having a crunch. 

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pans with butter, lined with buttered parchment. Mash the bananas with a potato masher, so they still have some small lumps, set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar, butter, milk, eggs, vanilla and rum. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the sugar/butter mixture, just until smooth. Add the bananas and mix just until they are combined. Place the Nutella in a bowl and microwave for about 20 seconds to soften it. If you don’t use a microwave, you can heat the Nutella over a double boiler for a couple of minutes. Drizzle 2/3 of the Nutella over the banana bread batter. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the Nutella into the batter, trying not to over mix, so you can see the swirls when it’s baked. Add the rest of the Nutella and swirl into the top of the batter. Bake for about 45 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.

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A snowy day calls for comfort food, and there is nothing more comforting than chicken pot pie. I had full intention of making grilled chicken salads. But after a viewing an episode of Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten had me scrambling in the kitchen to see if I had all of the ingredients. And I did! Better yet I had PUFF PASTRY! Now I could just bake the puff pastry plain and call it a day – but a recipe that really needs it?!

Chicken Pot Pie 4This was my first attempt EVER at chicken pot pie. The flavor was delicious. It certainly is not something to eat everyday (so  much butter), but it certainly was a nice treat.

 

Chicken Pot Pie 3

I should have put a little more flour to get a thicker consistency, but the flavor was oh-so-good!Chicken Pot PieChicken Pot Pie 2

 

Chicken Pot Pie by Ina Garten 

Ingredients ***I halved everything. 
3 whole (6 split) chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on
3 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
5 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
2 chicken bouillon cubes
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups yellow onions, chopped (2 onions)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 cups medium-diced carrots, blanched for 2 minutes
1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas (2 cups)
1 1/2 cups frozen small whole onions
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves

**I used Trader Joes Puff Pastry. If you are feeling ambitious enough to make the pastry yourself – GO FOR IT!

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the chicken breasts on a baking sheet and rub them with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cooked through. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then remove the meat from the bones and discard the skin. Cut the chicken into large dice. You will have 4 to 6 cups of cubed chicken.

In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock and dissolve the bouillon cubes in the stock. In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the onions over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the hot chicken stock to the sauce. Simmer over low heat for 1 more minute, stirring, until thick. Add 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and heavy cream. Add the cubed chicken, carrots, peas, onions and parsley. Mix well.

**I put into one corning ware bowl. Divide the filling equally among 4 ovenproof bowls. Divide the dough into quarters and roll each piece into an 8-inch circle. Brush the outside edges of each bowl with the egg wash, then place the dough on top. Trim the circle to 1/2-inch larger than the top of the bowl. Crimp the dough to fold over the side, pressing it to make it stick. Brush the dough with egg wash and make 3 slits in the top. Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour (Puff Pastry cooked quick 25 – 30 min), or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot.

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You may have noticed that this winter I have been slightly obsessed with some form of tomato soup in combination with grilled cheese. So my latest dance with this devil (this recipe) was never meant to reach this blog; just bypass the photo shoot and straight to the mouth. However, it was so delicious (and I may have run out of time to do another post) I had to share. So today I lack pictures, but trust that it is worth at least one turn on the merry-go-round.

Ingredients:

  • Approximately 16 plum tomatoes-just depends on how tomatoey you want the soup
  • 6 red bell peppers
  • 1 head garlic (roasted)
  • 1 onion (julienned)
  • 4-5 leaves fresh basil (finely chopped)
  • drizzle balsamic vinegar
  • drizzle extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 dash hot sauce or 1/4 tsp Crushed red pepper
  • dash salt (to taste)
  • 3-4 cups Vegetable broth
  • greek yogurt, goat cheese, sour cream ((optional))
  • crusty bread ((optional))

Directions:

  • Halve the tomatoes and quarter them
  • Cut the pepper into chunks. Make them as big as the tomato chunks so they roast at the same time
  • Arrange the tomatoes and peppers in two baking trays. Suggest roasting the garlic while everything is in there getting all roasty and what not
  • Drizzle them with balsamic vinegar, olive oil and add salt to taste
  • Turn your oven’s broiler on and broil both the peppers and tomatoes at 450º until they look charred. NYC apartments are notorious for having whack ovens, so this took an hour and half. Just be mindful of how everything operations and don’t start this at 10PM. mmmkkk?
  • While the peppers, tomatoes and garlic are roasting heat some olive oil in a saucepan and when it’s warm, add the onion and fry until fragrant
  • Add the tomato and pepper chunks, as well as the roasted garlic (you have to squeeze it), the basil and the vegetable broth
  • Simmer for 5-10 minutes
  • Add a dash of hot sauce/crushed red pepper and more salt if needed
  • Puree with an inmersion blender until desired consistency is reached

soup 2 big

Source

Sorry I had to borrow an image, so you could get the picture.

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It is a new year and like almost every January I start off trying to eat as healthy as I possibly can. This usually tapers off into cheeseburger tunnel vision by mid-February. However, while on our drive up and down the east coast (woof), my fiancé was listening to Alton Brown’s podcast, which pretty much made me terrified of meat. If you know anything about me, you know one of the top three loves of my life is meat-heartbreaking. So in an effort to each healthier, and my new fear of meat (let’s be honest, I will probably throw caution to the wind before the end of the month) I decided to make  this recipe for dinner. Honestly I am not mad at how it turned out, not one bit.

Ingredients:

  • 1 c uncooked brown rice
  • 1 large carrot, about 1/2 c diced
  • 1 small white onion, about 1/2 c
  • 1 and 1/2 c diced baby potatoes I used red potato type C
  • 6 c liquid ( 4 c vegetable broth, 2 c water)
  • 2 containers of tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 can Cannelloni beans
  • 2-3 cups fresh spinach

*This recipe calls for celery, which I despise, but feel free to add one stalk of celery diced if that is your jam.

Directions:

Begin cooking the brown rice in a separate pot. In recent history i have been burning my brown rice (the pot gets too hot, I am not watching, etc.), so I opted to try this new method. Never going back to the old ways.

Slice carrots into coins, and *dice celery and onion, into a soup pot with some olive oil- sautéing until soft (I got overly excited and accidentally put the potatoes in too- no biggie)

Add the vegetable broth and water, stirring until the cooked on flavor incorporates into the broth. Add cubed potatoes and cook on medium-low for 15-20 minutes or so until the potatoes are almost soft.

Add the chopped tomatoes and the white beans with their juice to the pot, mixing everything together.

broth

Add in spinach and let cook down until soft. Then the drained brown rice to the pot.

rice

Let it simmer for another 5-10 minutes. Season the soup with salt and pepper and add more water if you need additional broth liquid.

bowl

If you feel like putting the party into this dish top it with some Parmesan!

*Note to self, work on food photography*

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Today I am sharing a special recipe from my Lola (Filipino Grandmom) called pancit. It is a rice noodle dish chocked full of vegetables, chicken, and shrimp. It can be eaten as side dish or a main course. I was super nervous making this dish because nothing tastes quite like Lola’s. Luckily it came out wonderful, and I am excited to have learned how to make a dish that I can pass down to my children. I hope to learn a few more Filipino dishes this year to build up my repertoire.

Do you have any family recipes you want to learn? Would love to hear!

Pancit 2 Pancit

Pancit Recipe by Melissa’s Lola

Ingredients:

1/2 lb of Rice Noodles

1 lb of Chicken Breasts Shredded

1/2 lb Shrimp Cut into smaller pieces

2 Carrots cut into long pieces

2 Stalks of Celery Diced

Few Garlic Cloves

3 Pieces of Chinese Cabbage

Handful of Green Beans Chopped

Handful of Snap Peas

1 Medium Sized Yellow Onion

1 Small Carton of Shitake Mushrooms

Vegetable Oil

Soy Sauce

Lemon Wedges

Directions:

1) Boil the chicken for 20 minutes or until cooked through. Save the chicken broth! 2) Shred the chicken and set to the side. 3) Place the rice noodles in a bowl, add the hot chicken broth. **It took a long time (15-20 min) for the noodles to become soft. The package may say only 3 minutes, but you are not cooking the noodles again. If the water becomes cool, add hot (but not boiling) water. 4) Saute veggies in vegetable oil until cooked through, but still firm. Remove from heat. 5) Pan fry shrimp and cut up into smaller pieces. 6) Mix shrimp, chicken, vegetables, and noodles together. 7) To serve add soy sauce as desired and a squeeze of lemon – enjoy!

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So last week Melissa made a promise that we would be back and better than ever. Then I just went radio silent..I want to offer my apologies. For the past two weeks my fiancé and I have been driving up and down the East Coast of the United States (NYC->SC->NYC->VT->NYC), so I haven’t had a schedule of any sorts. There was a bonus to this madness; I did get to make a stop in DC to visit Melissa. Since we don’t get to see each other a lot, it is always nice to spend some time hanging out when we can squeeze it in.

Before we left for the leg of our Vermont trip, my fiancé was kind enough to whip up this  delicious recipe. We have been making more of an effort to eat a little less meat, and incorporate more vegetables in our diet (and in this case a mountain of cheese!)

Ingredients:

1 package no-boil whole wheat lasagna sheets
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound brussel sprouts, stems removed and sliced
1 shallot, diced
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
12 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms
12 ounces shitake mushrooms, stems removed
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 3/4 cups milk (2% or whole will work best)
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
8 ounces provolone cheese, freshly grated
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray baking dish (I used a 7×11 glass dish) with nonstick spray or coat using a dollop of butter.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the brussels, shallots and 1/4 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper, stirring to coat. Cook until the sprouts soften and become bright in color, stirring occasionally, for about 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and cook for another minute.

brussel sproutsRemove the sprouts from the skillet and set them aside in a bowl.

Using the same skillet, add the remaining olive oil. Add the mushrooms and garlic, stirring well to coat. Cook until the mushrooms are soft and juicy, stirring occasionally, about 6 to 8 minutes. Turn off the heat and add 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.

mushrooms

In a saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat.

brussel sprout lasagna butter

Once it’s sizzling, whisk in the flour to create a roux. Cook the roux for 2 or 3 minutes, until it becomes golden and fragrant. Whisking with one hand, slowly stream in the milk, stirring constantly as the mixture comes together. Cook the milk, stirring constantly, until it starts to thicken, about 5 minutes. Season the mixture with the remaining salt, pepper and nutmeg.

brussel sprout lasagna roux

To assemble the lasagna, add about 1/4 cup of the sauce to the bottom of the 9×13 dish. Add a layer or lasagna sheets, then top with 1/3 of the brussels and 1/3 of the mushrooms. Sprinkle on 1/3 cup of cheese and using your fingers, sprinkle on 1/4 cup of the ricotta. Drizzle 1/3 of the sauce on top. Repeat that layer two more times. Finish off the lasagna will any of the remaining cheese, the Pecorino and the remaining sauce, evenly drizzled on top.

brussel sprout lasagna final

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the top is golden and bubbly. Let sit for a minimum 20 minutes before serving.

Because we made this late night I passed out before it was cool enough to eat/take a final pic.

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new years delicacies

Well the  New Years is already upon us and I am plagued with what I should contribute to an New Years party. I mean there is the given booze and merriment, but as I get older I feel more responsibility to for contributing additional items-food items. So today I gathered a few recipes I am toying with to make for tomorrow; some of them are easy-peasy, while a few other require a little more TLC. What about you? Are you heading to a friend’s home for the New Years, if so what are you bringing?

1. Mini Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup- Tablespoon.com

2. Chorizo queso- How Sweet It Is

3. Hoppin’ John Parfait- Southern Living

4. Champagne Cupcakes- The TomKat Studio

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I bought a big Costco size container of coconut oil, and have been looking up different recipes to use it. Coconut oil offers so many health benefits, and it is so versatile. This past summer I made shrimp tacos and fried the shrimp in coconut oil – it was so good!

I have been wanting to try making my own granola bars, and finally bought all the ingredients to make it happen. Well, they turned out awesome, and I will never buy store bought granola bars again. I got some inspiration from Iowa Girl Eats and made a few changes of my own.

Homemade Granola Bars 2 Homemade Granola bars 3 Homemade Granola Bars

 

Homemade Granola Bars with Coconut Oil Inspiration from Iowa Girl Eats

Ingredients:
1 cup whole almonds
1 cup walnuts (can use pecan or other nut)
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup dried craisins
2 Tablespoons sesame seeds

3 Tablespoons of Chia Seeds

1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons honey
4 Tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
dash of cinnamon

**Optional chocolate chips – made with and without, both good.

Directions:

  1. Add 1/2 cup each of almonds,walnut, and old fashioned oats into a food processor. Process until fine (not too long or it will start to turn into nut butter!) then pour into a large bowl. Roughly chop the remaining walnuts and almonds, then add the bowl. Add remaining old fashioned oats, cherries, and sesame seeds, then mix well and set aside.
  2. Combine honey, coconut oil, salt, vanilla & almond extracts, and cinnamon in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the mixture melts, then foams, then cook for 15 seconds longer. Pour over nut mixture and mix thoroughly to coat all the ingredients. May find you need to add more of the wet ingredients. The dry ingredients should be evenly coated.
  3. Line a half sheet pan or 8×8 pan with enough saran wrap or parchment paper to let it hang far over the sides, then pour in granola. Press very, very firmly with your hands or something with a flat bottom (may need to spray it with non-stick spray.) Wrap the overhanging saran wrap or parchment paper up over the sides and refrigerate until firm, about 4 hours.
  4. Using a sharp knife, cut chilled granola into bars. Wrap individually in saran wrap and store in the fridge or freezer. The bars fall apart easily once they are taken out of the fridge. Which is fine by me – you never know what is holding your store bought bar together.

 

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I absolutely love this time of year in NYC, it is so magical and everything is covered in holiday lights. It seems everyone is busy dashing off to holiday parties, wearing an excessive amount of sequins (no judgment).  One thing I have noticed as of late are signature cocktails for parties. I am a huge fan of this concept; it helps everyone to get more in the holiday spirit with spirits! Here are some holiday themed cocktails which caught my eye. (Psst, I have had the apple cider margarita-it didn’t disappoint).

holiday cocktails

1. Apple Cider Margarita

Ingredients:

1 ounce Grand Marnier
1 ounce gold tequila
5-6 ounces sweet apple cider
orange segments and apple slices
cinnamon + cane sugar + coarse sugar for glass rimming
cinnamon sticks for garnish

*note this is for a single serving*

Directions:

Add a few spoonfuls of cane sugar, coarse sugar and cinnamon to a plate. Run an orange segment around the edge of the glass, then press into the cinnamon sugar mixture to coat the rim. Add a few orange slices in the bottom of the glass, fill with ice, then add the Grand Marnier, tequila and apple cider and stir to mix. Garnish with apple slices and cinnamon sticks.

2. Pomegranate and Rosemary White Sangria

Ingredients:

1 bottle of dry white wine
3/4 cup pomegranate arils
4 springs of fresh rosemary
1/4 cup simple syrup
the juice of 1 lemon
the juice of 1 orange
1/3 cup Triple Sec  
Directions:

In a large pitcher add everything together.
Refrigerate for 24 hours.
Serve over ice.

3. White Chocolate Peppermint Martini

Ingredients:

Crushed ice
4 parts Godiva white chocolate liquor (4 ounces)
2 ½ parts vanilla vodka (2 ½ ounces)
1 ½ parts peppermint schnapps (1 ½ ounces)
Red sugar sprinkles for garnishing the glass rim (optional)
Chocolate syrup for garnishing the inside of the glass (optional)
Small peppermint stick for garnish (optional)

Directions:

Fill a cocktail shaker half-way full with crushed ice.
Pour in all of the liquor ingredients and shake until well mixed.
Spread red sugar sprinkles evenly onto a large plate.
Wet the rim of a martini glass with water, then tip the martini glass rim into the sprinkles and spin the glass to coat the rim.
Drizzle a small amount of chocolate syrup in a spiral design inside the glass.
Pour contents of shaker into the martini glass.
Place a small peppermint candy cane along the edge of the glass.
4. Rosemary Infused Spritzer

Ingredients:

Rosemary Simple Syrup
Cranberry Grape Juice
Prosseco
Vodka

Directions:

In a shaker add 1 oz vodka, 4 oz grape juice, 1 teaspoon simple syrup & shake.
Pour into champagne coupe & top with prosecco.
Garnish with rosemary sprig.
* To make rosemary simple syrup- In a quart pan add 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar & 2 sprigs of rosemary. Simmer until sugar is completely dissolved & strain into glass jar.

Happy Holiday sipping!

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I love leftovers, especially Thanksgiving leftovers. We were lucky to celebrate several Thanksgivings over the holiday weekend, and brought home lots of goodies. My dad let me keep the turkey carcass so I could make soup. It was so delicious and a perfect dinner after eating ridiculous amounts. I did go a little overboard with the orzo, so next time I will use half. What do you make with your leftovers?

Turkey and Orzo Soup

turkey and orzo soup 2

Turkey and Orzo Soup Recipe by Melissa Parrish

Ingredients:
-Leftover turkey
-Turkey Stock
-Carrots
-salt and pepper to taste
-Onions
-Celery
-Garlic.
-Orzo
-Parley
-kale

1) Make homemade stock with turkey carcass by putting bones in a pot cover with water. Add carrots, onions, garlic, and celery (all cut into bite size pieces). Simmer for an hour.
2) Remove bones. Skim off fat from top.
3) Bring to boil and add half box of orzo. Add kale, chopped up turkey, and parsley.
4) cook 9 minutes and season to taste.

KATE WANDERS

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