Dijon Roasted Potatoes

Christmas is over and the New Year is right around the corner. I can't believe that it is almost 2018, where did 2017 go? My 2017 has been full of ups and downs, but mainly ups! I began the year on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe, lived in Santa Rosa and worked in Sonoma, and finished the year taking up residence with my mom in Stockton. The last few months of trying to grow and build a business have been amazing! I have learned so much and am so excited for 2018. I have catered dinners, lunches, done drop off meals, prepared meals in house, and made more caramels than I thought possible.

I am so excited to announce that I will be moving back to Nevada in the first week of January! I will initially be living in Washoe Valley with plans to move into Reno. Here's to fresh starts and new places! In 2018 I plan to showcase my culinary skills on this blog with savory recipes, focusing on dinner entrees and sides. But don't worry, lots of sweet goodies will be around too!

dijon roasted potatoes

The recipe below is one that I whip up almost weekly as a side for dinner. These Dijon Roasted Potatoes are a great side to pretty much anything! They are amazing with chicken and can usually share an oven for an effortless dinner. Roasted potatoes take patience but waiting is key! Waiting allows for them to get crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside.  

These are also a crowd pleaser because they are great for people with food allergies or preferences, they are vegan, gluten free, dairy free, and egg free!

roasted dijon potatoes
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Dijon Roasted Potatoes
Crispy potatoes with a creamy inside! The perfect side for any dinner.
Ingredients
  • 4 large baby red potatoes
  • 1 1/4 t olive oil
  • 1 3/4 t Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 t ground pepper
  • 1/2 t red wine vinegar
  • heaping 1/4 t kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/8 t garlic powder
  • Parsley, chopped (optional)
Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper. 2. Cut potatoes into 1/2" - 3/4" cubes. Place in medium sized bowl. Measure the rest of the ingredients and add to the bowl. Stir to coat with a large spoon. 3. Place potatoes on prepared sheet and spread them out. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn them over. Bake for another 30 minutes, turning potatoes every 10 minutes. Check doneness*. Continue cooking until potatoes are cooked through, 5-10 more minutes. 4. Take out of oven and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Cook for 5 minutes, garnish with parsley, and serve.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 2-4 servings
dijon roasted potatoes

Listening to: Houndmouth

Brownie Truffles + Thursday Thoughts

This recipe is quick, especially when using a boxed mix, but the product is amazing and people will think you spent hours making them. You can make these for any holiday but changing the decorations but they are great for Christmas because they are a reprieve from the dry and broken cookies that come with the holiday. 

Brownie Truffles

A quick post for a quick recipe!

Thursday Thoughts #5

·      For my podcast junkies: I have been loving the Creative Empire Podcast. The two hosts chat with guests about their businesses and business strategy

·      Need a cookbook for your favorite cook this Christmas? Here are some I love: Molly on the Range, The Pie Project, and anything by Ina Garten

·       Colder weather means more cuddling up and watching movies on Netflix! Some good ones that on streaming now: Spotlight, The Big Short, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (only if you've seen the first), The Jungle Book, The Imitation Game, and Trolls (if you haven't seen it, PLEASE watch it)

Brownie Truffles
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Brownie Truffles
Brownies dipped in chocolate and decorated for the holiday!
Ingredients
  • 1 batch baked brownies
  • 2 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Sprinkles, chopped candy, etc.
Instructions
1. Place a sheet of wax paper on a cookie sheet. 2. Using a tablespoon or scoop, scoop out a heaping tablespoon of brownie, excluding the crust. Roll the brownie in your hand until a ball forms. Place on the prepared cookie sheet. Complete until 16 balls are formed. There will be extra brownies left. 3. Place cookie sheet in the freezer for at least 20 minutes. 4. In a microwave safe measuring cup, melt the chocolate chips in 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval until completely melted. Don't rush this, it will burn.5. Take out chilled brownie balls and coat them in chocolate, one at a time. Place the ball into the chocolate and, using a fork, roll until completely coated. Place coated ball back on the wax paper. Sprinkle with desired topping, the truffles with cool very quickly so make sure to decorate between dippings. Re-microwave chocolate if needed. 6. Allow chocolate to harden before serving. Keep in airtight container for up to 6 days.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 16 truffles
Brownie Truffles

Weeknight Roasted Chicken + Thursday Thoughts

A non sweet item? Yes, you read that right. I am going to slowly creep some non sweet/dessert recipes and posts to help showcase that I can do more than bake. I love cooking dinner and have always found it hard to photograph food at night and write a recipe, I typically just throw things together. However, as part of what I want to do for 2018, I am going to slow down, focus on food and write down what I am doing. This recipe is a taste of that. 

This weeknight chicken is juicy, easy to throw together, and does not require pre bake searing! That's right, no burns from oil splattering or putting extra time into this dish. Just turn the oven on, put the ingredients in a pan, and bake. I served this over rice since there is so much delicious stuff and chicken and rice is an incredible combination. The recipe is easy to double and is a great winter meal! 

Weeknight Roasted Chicken

The recipe follows the Thursday Thoughts!

Thursday Thoughts #4

·      This past weekend I saw Lady Bird in theatres and was blown away. It is a unique coming of age story for a Sacramento high school senior who has a tough relationship with her mother. I highly recommend seeing it. Saoirse Ronan portrays the protagonist in such an authentic light. I also loved her in Brooklyn (another movie to add to your watch list).

·      I have been loving the Profit Boss Podcast these past few weeks. It is easy to follow and informative

·      I can't get enough fresh produce right now, I have been munching on pomegranates, kiwis, and clementines all week! Yay for winter fruit! Get some while it is fresh

Weeknight Roasted Chicken
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Weeknight Roasted Chicken
This easy to put together dish is perfect as a weeknight chicken dinner. Flavorful and juicy!
Ingredients
  • 1 t olive oil
  • 4 bone in, skin on chicken thighs, trimmed*
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 big pinch salt
  • 1 big pinch ground pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 C (approximately 10) pitted Castelvetrano olives
  • 1 t olive brine
Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 375 F2. In a small baking dish or cast iron skillet, drizzle the olive oil. Place the chicken thighs, skin up, in the dish. 3. Cut the lemon in half and juice one half. Pour juice over thighs. Cut the other half of the lemon into four slices, discarding the "butt end." Set slices aside. 4. Sprinkle salt and pepper evenly over the thighs. Place a slice of lemon on each thigh. Nestle the garlic cloves and olives in the dish. Add the brine to the dish. 5. Bake for 30-40 minutes until a meat thermometer reads 165 F (when placed in the chicken for 15 seconds). Take chicken out of oven and let rest 5 minutes. Serve hot.*Trimmed means cutting away excess fat. Chicken thighs are typically sold with excess skin on them. Leave skin on the top to crisp up. The easiest way to trim is using clean kitchen shears, make sure to clean them after as well.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4 servings

Russian Tea Cakes + Thursday Thoughts

Russian Tea Cakes? Mexican Wedding Cookies? Snowballs? Whatever you call them, they are seriously good. These little guys melt in your mouth, due to the obscene amount of powdered sugar, but also have a delectable crunch thanks to the chopped pecans. I have been familiar with these cookies for years and associate them with Christmas. However, in high school I worked at a bakery in Carmel-by-the-Sea that sold them year round. That is where I really fell in love with them.

Russian Tea Cake Mexican Wedding Cookie

Make these for your cookie swap or just for a treat with your coffee. You can swap out a different nut for the pecans but I prefer the pecans because they are have a more subtle crunch than, say, an almond. 

Russian Tea Cake Mexican Wedding Cookie
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Russian Tea Cakes
Melt in your mouth cookies coated in powdered sugar! Adapted from Williams-Sonoma.
Ingredients
  • 1 3/4 C all purpose flour
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1 C salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 C powdered sugar, divided
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1/4 t anise extract
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 C pecans, finely chopped
Instructions
1. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and cinnamon.2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until fluffy. Add 1/2 C powdered sugar and beat for 2 minutes at medium speed. Add extracts and salt and beat until combined. Add flour mixture and beat until just combined, scraping down sides as necessary. 3. Stir in chopped pecans. Cover bowl and place in fridge for 15 minutes. 4. Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats. 5. Using a tablespoon scoop, tightly pack dough into scoop place on prepared baking sheet. (A tablespoon can be used if no scoop is available). Continue with the remained of the dough. Place dough 1 inch apart. 6. Bake for 10-15 minutes until bottom of cookies are lightly browned and cookies do not fall apart at your touch. 7. Cool cookies on baking sheet for 7 minutes. While cooling, sift remaining cup of powdered sugar onto a plate. When cooled, roll each ball into powdered sugar. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 2 dozen cookies

These cookies are surprisingly easy to make but have a wow factor to them which makes them perfect for parties, potlucks, or as part of your Christmas Cookie gift. 

Read the Thursday Thoughts below to help you power through the rest of your week!

Russian Tea Cake Mexican Wedding Cookie

Thursday Thoughts #3:

·      I am loving the versatility of spaghetti squash! I know I am a little late to the trend but honestly, who cares? They are in season, they are local (for me), and they work in so many things. I have always enjoyed them as a substitute to pasta with spaghetti sauce, they are delicious when you fry them up as fritters, or when you use them in a totally new way! I loosely followed this recipe and was very happy with the result. Quick Prep: Roast one each Sunday and eat throughout the week

·      Cookie season is here! These cookies are on my list to make this season: Cookies and Cream cookies for my brother, Coconut Marzipan Cookies for my fellow marzipan lovers, and Confetti Cookies for the child in all of us. Now these are the cookies I plan to make again: Molasses Crinkle Cookies, Simple Christmas Cookies (the dough is made in the food processor!), and my Gingerbread people

·      I was at an event for the Eleanor Project this week and one of the women on the panel said something that is very apropos for the holiday season, and everyday, “You can’t make everyone happy, you’re not a margarita”

·      And apparently it wouldn’t be Thursday Thoughts without a little piece of financial literacy. Here we go ladies, some things to master now. Saving for retirement seem like too much as a 20 something? Nope, do it. Due to the crash of ’08 and many other factors, pensions are basically obsolete, 401k matching is hard to find, along with IRAs contributions. If you don’t start saving, who will?

Russian Tea Cake Mexican Wedding Cookie

Watching: The Office Season 4 Episode 3

Mexican Hot Chocolate Brownies

Now this is a recipe that is a little un-Christmasy but that is okay because many Christmas and holiday themed recipes and posts are on their way! I was inspired to make these after seeing a container of Abuelita hot cocoa disks in the store a few weeks ago. I used to inhale that stuff when I was younger. We would make it in our elementary Spanish class while singing songs about it. When I opened the package the smell whisked me back to those days.

A little bit of cinnamon brings that flavors forward without overpowering them. It’s basically a little mug of Mexican hot cocoa in a brownie. These are absolutely worth making if you are looking to change up your brownie game. I had my mom bring the remainder of the batch to her office and they were gobbled up in minutes.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Brownies

Now let’s talk about the consistency of these. There is an everlasting debate between cakey and gooey brownies. These are truly somewhere in between, They do have a cakey quality but are moist, and even a little gooey.

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Mexican Hot Chocolate Brownies
Cakey but moist brownies with the flavors of Mexican Hot Chocolate
Ingredients
  • 1/2 C salted butter
  • 1/4 of one Abuelita Mexican hot chocolate disk (about 0.8 ounces), finely chopped
  • 1 C + 1 T granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 C all purpose flour
  • 1/3 C dark chocolate cocoa powder (I use Hershey's special dark)
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon
Instructions
1. In a small pot melt the butter. As the butter melts, add the chopped hot cocoa disk. Whisk until butter is fully melted and chocolate is incorporated. Take off the heat and let cool for 3 minutes.2. Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare an 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper, leaving some hanging over the sides. 3. In a standing mixer with the whisk attachment, add the sugar. Add the butter mixture and beat at medium speed until incorporated. While beating at medium speed, add the eggs, one at a time. Continue beating and add in the vanilla, flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon. Scrape down the sides as needed. 4. Pour mixture into the prepared pan and use a spatula to spread it out evenly. 5. Bake for 25-30 minutes, checking doneness with a toothpick. When a toothpick comes out clean, they are ready. Cool for 5 minutes in dish then, using parchment paper, pull brownies out to finish cooling.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 8x8 inch pan
Mexican Hot Chocolate Brownies

Listening to: Christmas carols!