bowtie pasta with sweet sausage & tomatoes


This is one of my favorite, simple dinner recipes. It is yummy and hearty enough for a Sunday meal, but also quick and easy enough for a weeknight. Also, leftovers remain amazingly delicious! (Coming from someone who is generally not a huge fan of leftovers, that is high praise.)

This recipe actually originates from my parent’s neighbor’s friend — I know, it’s already passed through quite a few hands! I have not done much to adapt it as it really is pretty perfect as is. So, I give credit to my mom, my neighbors, and their friend for sharing this recipe – and now I will share it with you! Enjoy!

bowtie pasta with sweet sausage & tomatoes


  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1 28-oz. can plum tomatoes
  • 1 cup heavy cream (or half & half)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
  • Pecorino romano cheese, grated
  • 1 lb. farfalle pasta


Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Remove casings from sausage and add to skillet along with crushed red pepper. With a wooden spoon, break up sausage into bite-sized pieces. Cook over medium heat until browned. Add onion and garlic, cook 8-10 minutes until tender.

Coarsely chop the canned plum tomatoes and add to the skillet with the juices from the can. Add cream and salt. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened (~5-10 minutes).

Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil and cook pasta, al dente. Drain pasta and combine with thickened sauce (I like to transfer the pasta over to the skillet of sauce with a slotted spoon to get some of the starchy water in to thicken the sauce!). Top with chopped basil and pecorino romano to taste.

Recipe adapted from my parent’s neighbor’s friend

How I eat it: with A LOT of grated cheese (see below!)




spicy brussel sprouts with lemon and parmesan


I’ll admit it. I was always a typical kid who didn’t want to eat her brussel sprouts.  Actually, for a while I was one of those typical adults who didn’t really want to eat her brussel sprouts either. It was only a few years ago that I discovered that brussel sprouts actually can be delicious. And for those of you who are still skeptical of this veggie with a bad rap, I think I can turn you… if you try this recipe!

I am proud to take credit for this concoction myself. We had bought fresh brussel sprouts (don’t go for the bagged stuff) and we were unsure what to do with them.  Now putting bacon in the mix is always a good option, but in this case we were cooking kielbasa as the main so we wanted something lighter and fresher on the side.  I basically took a few of my favorite flavors, and things that we always have on hand and tossed ’em in a frying pan with the sprouts — super easy and super quick! Also, I like my veggies a little more al dente, and sautéing doesn’t get rid of that fresh crunch! And if you are a fan of more well-done vegetables, no problem — just leave them in the pan for longer over lower heat.

chopped up DSC_0887

spicy brussel sprouts with lemon and parmesan


  • 1 lb. fresh brussel sprouts, cleaned and quartered
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 5 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. red pepper
  • juice from half a lemon (~1/4 cup)
  • 2 Tbsp. freshly grated parmesan
  • salt and pepper to taste


Heat the butter and olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.  Once shimmering and before butter browns, add minced garlic.  Saute for one minute until garlic is tender; do not let it burn.  Add brussel sprouts and season with salt, pepper, red pepper, and lemon juice.  Cook until sprouts start to crisp up, 7-10 minutes. Top with parmesan cheese and serve hot!

frying em upHow I eat it: in bulk

A “no rhyme or raisins” original

freshly prepped

layered lemon cheesecake

ready to eat

Happy Father’s Day (yesterday) to all those wonderful dads out there! Especially my dad, my hero who I can always count on, who I am so lucky to have spent yesterday with.  Those who know me well, know that I am ridiculously similar to my dad. And I’m pretty proud of that because he’s absolutely awesome.  First of all (and most pertinent to my blog) he loves a good meal.  One of my favorite things to do with my Dad is hang out at The Shack eating shrimp cocktail and clams on the half-shell and enjoying a Corona.  Did I mention my Dad also has awesome taste in music? We’ve gone to concerts and acoustic nights together and he is always one to burn me an awesome mix. He basically is one of the most cool dudes to hang out with and I consider myself pretty damn lucky.

me & my dad <3

Anyway, yesterday really was a great day relaxing with both of my parents (my mom is just as cool) out in the unpredicted, beautiful weather.  Spending a sunny, summer Sunday with my family always makes me feel like I am on vacation — laying out in the yard/pool until 3:30 until cocktail hour starts at 4 PM, and my dad blasting the Jimmy Buffet Pandora station the entire time.  We usually wrap up the night with a nice grilled meal, and when it a special occasion, I prepare a dessert.  Here is a great summer dessert made with homemade lemon curd. It is lemony and fresh and great topped with any berries you have on hand.  Plus, the recipe makes more lemon curd than the cake calls for, which is perfect for a yogurt, granola, and lemon curd parfait the next day!

squeezed up those lemonscustard ready for storing


homemade lemon curd

  • 3 lemons
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 lb. unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 extra large eggs
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (3-4 lemons)
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

layered lemon cheesecake

  • 1-1/2 cups mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup prepared lemon curd
  • Kosher salt
  • 20 whole graham crackers
  • berries, for serving


For the lemon curd:

With a vegetable peeler, remove the zest of three lemons being careful to avoid the white pith. Put the zest in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add sugar and pulse until lemon zest is finely incorporated into the sugar.

Cream the butter and beat in the lemon-sugar mixture. Add eggs, one at a time, and then add lemon juice and salt. Mix until combined. Pour the mixture into a two-quart saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened – about 10 minutes – stirring constantly. Remove from heat and cool or refrigerate.

For the cake:

Line a 9 x 5 loaf pan with plastic wrap, allowing about 4 inches of overhang.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the mascarpone with the heavy cream at medium speed until smooth and firm. Fold in the lemon curd and a pinch of kosher salt with a spatula.

Spread 1/4-inch thick layer of the lemon cream on the bottom of the pan. Arrange a single layer of graham crackers on top, breaking to fit if necessary.  Repeat the layering, finishing with a final layer of cream.

Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours. Uncover, and invert cake onto a platter, removing plastic wrap. Serve with your favorite berries!

layering the cheesecake

Lemon curd recipe adapted from Ina Garten

Layered cheesecake recipe adapted from Food & Wine

How I eat it: with blueberries on top and a cup of coffee


happy holidays!


As always, it’s been a while! But, I just wanted to wish everyone happy holidays! 2013 has been a busy, but great year and I hope that 2014 brings everyone luck, love, & joy!

Here are some holiday season highlights…

treePresents under the tree on Christmas Eve

sushiFirst attempt at homemade sushi for Mike’s family Christmas party- made by myself & Mike’s mom!

mike family christmas eveMike & I being cheesy on Christmas Eve ❤

IMG_2533Alex making brie baked in puff pastry with raspberry jam, basil, & bacon – an awesome Christmas Day appetizer!

dessertsChristmas Day dessert table – brownies, seven layer bars, Oreo truffles, peanut butter cookies, chocolate covered pretzels and German apple crumb cake.  Later joined by a homemade birthday cake. My family isn’t really into dessert… uhhh NOT.

alex birthdayOut to dinner on the 26th for Alex’s 21st birthday!

There were plenty of delicious & wonderful memories not included in this post and I just want to thank all my family & friends for such a wonderful holiday season!

It wouldn’t be a real post if I didn’t share recipes, so here are the links to some of the recipes that I followed this holiday season:

Seven layer bars (made without walnuts)

Peanut butter cookies with Reese’s cups (definitely my favorite new cookie recipe!)

Oreo truffles

Homemade California rolls

Brie baked in puff pastry

Happy New Year!