make-ahead [or day of] breakfast

mixed-berry baked oatmeal

this easy baked oatmeal honestly turned out way better than i expected it to and my kids were both big fans. especially delicious with a dollop of homemade whipped cream (or out of a can), it’s sure to be a crowd pleaser. this oatmeal can be made ahead and thrown in the oven the next morning, but honestly it’s super quick to whip up in the morning and takes only 35 minutes in the oven. i know a lot of people are in the camp of sugar is sugar, but i also love that this recipe uses coconut sugar, it makes me feel like i’m using a little bit of a more natural/less processed sugar option. i love the fresh burst of sweetness from the berries, but you could totally make it without them or substitute another fruit like peaches, apples, etc. it’s also really good warm or room temp. let me know what you think!

ingredients

3 cups old fashioned oats
1/2-3/4 cup of coconut sugar or brown sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup frozen mixed berries
1 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

instructions

preheat your oven to 350 degrees and prep a 9×13 baking dish by spraying it with cooking spray, or coating with butter on the inside. whisk together the oats, coconut sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. add in the mixed berries and combine. in a separate bowl whisk together the milk, eggs, melted butter and vanilla. add in the wet ingredients to the oat mixture and mix until fully combined. pour the whole mixture into the 9×13 baking dish and bake for 35 minutes, or until fully set. serve warm or room temperature. enjoy!

restaurant-style at home

bbq beef flatbread with pickled onions and guacamole

i’ve been dreaming about something similar to this ever since i got a pulled pork pizza with guacamole at a restaurant we visited in tampa when i was pregnant with emmett. it was so good that i finished all the leftovers when we got home that night… this recipe is easy in that you just throw the beef in the instant pot and let it do its work. there are a few steps, and you can always skip the onions and DEFINITELY use store bought guacamole if that’s your thing. i would recommend not skipping the onions though because to me, they make it 🙂 you can check out my reels on instagram for my method! i always use this recipe for quick pickled red onions from cookie + kate, and i love them. you can use them on burgers, tacos, flatbreads, quesadillas, etc. and they always add that little extra something. the barbecue sauce recipe is a modified version of this one from south your mouth, and this is the recipe and method i use every time i make barbecue chicken. always a hit with the family. and no need to fire up the grill. you will see i have modified a few of the ingredients to get a more barbecue flavor and leave out the spice since i have littles eating it. josie refuses to eat meat, but emmett loved this beef and equally likes the barbecue chicken. hope you enjoy this as much as we did!

ingredients

2-3 lb chuck roast, cut into 4 equal pieces
half a beer – any kind, i used sapporo because that’s what i had in the fridge
your favorite homemade or storebought guacamole recipe
storebought flatbread or naan
storebought bbq sauce
shredded cheese, any kind
bbq sauce
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon worcestershire
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
pickled onions
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt or kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

instructions

mix up the barbecue sauce by whisking together the honey, ketchup, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, garlic, worcestershire, and mustard. cut the chuck roast into four equal pieces, then heat a non stick pan to high heat, and sear the meat on all sides until brown and crusty, about 3-4 minutes per side. you could also do this on the sautĂ© setting on your instant pot, but i find it doesn’t work as well or as fast as just doing it on the stovetop. place the meat into the instant pot along with the barbecue sauce and half the beer, just to add more cooking liquid. set on manual setting for 50 minutes. meanwhile, slice up your red onions and place them in a glass bowl or large jar. heat the water, vinegars, honey, salt, and red pepper flakes in a small pot over medium heat until everything is dissolved and the liquid is simmering. pour over the red onions and let it cool at room temp for at least 30 minutes. also if you are making your own guacamole, do this now! preheat your oven to 425. when the meat is finished, let the pressure release naturally for at least ten minutes, then you can manually release it. using two forks, shred the meat, and remove the larger chunks of fat. i usually don’t remove it beforehand because i’m lazy… put together your flatbread by spreading some of the storebought bbq sauce on your flatbread, arrange the beef and top with shredded cheese. place right on the oven rack until the cheese is melted and the bottom of the flatbread is a little crusty, about 7-10 minutes. keep your eye on it! then, remove it onto a pan using a fork and top with the pickled red onions and guacamole. cut into pieces and enjoy as an app, game day snack, or meal!

weeknight skillet dinner

chicken broccoli skillet with rice-a-roni

this semi-homemade skillet is so so easy and quick for a weeknight dinner, and it’s definitely a new family favorite. chicken and broccoli are perfect add ins for the wild rice rice-a-roni mix, and it’s ramped up with white wine, garlic, heavy cream, and cheese. chicken thighs would also be really good in this, and i think would retain a little more of their moisture. instead of the white wine, you could use a white wine vinegar or sherry vinegar (about 2 tablespoons), which i’ve also tried in the past and it turns out delicious. feel free to use any shredded cheese you prefer, but i tried the grated gruyere and swiss from aldi and it’s amazing! this meal is also totally toddler and baby approved, but my kids both love broccoli, it’s definitely their favorite vegetable. you could also add some mushrooms which emmett also loves but hubby isn’t a huge fan so i left them out here. hope your fam enjoys this one pan skillet meal as much as mine does!

ingredients

2 chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
1 large head of fresh broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces (or 2 smaller ones)
2 cloves of minced garlic
1/2-3/4 cup of shredded cheese (depending on how cheesy you like it)
1/3 cup white wine (or a couple tablespoons white wine vinegar or sherry vinegar)
1/3 cup of heavy cream (or half and half)
1 2/3 cups of chicken broth
1 box rice-a-roni wild rice mix
1 tablespoon of butter
salt & pepper
smoked paprika
onion powder
2 tablespoons of olive oil + 1 tablespoon olive oil, separated

instructions

preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and then start by cutting the chicken breast into bit sized pieces. if you’re using thighs i think you could also just leave them whole and arrange the broccoli and rice around them. cut up the broccoli into bite sized pieces and set aside in a bowl. if you are mincing your own garlic i would also prep this and set aside in a small bowl. but if you’re lazy like me and use pre-minced garlic… you don’t have to worry about this. heat an oven safe skillet to medium-high heat, and add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and half the chicken pieces. sprinkle the chicken with salt, pepper, onion powder, and the smoked paprika. just a pinch of each. brown on all sides, then transfer to a plate and do the same with the next batch. i do it in batches so it doesn’t crowd the pan and to make sure it browns instead of steaming. lower the heat to medium and add the last tablespoon of olive oil and broccoli into the pan for about 3-4 minutes just to get a little color on it, then add the garlic and cook for about another minute. transfer this all onto the plate with the chicken. with the pan on medium-low heat, add in the wine to deglaze and scrape all the brown bits up using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. then stir in the heavy cream until everything is combined, and then the cheese. add the chicken and broccoli back into the cheese mixture and coat everything. you can turn off the heat or leave it on very low while preparing the rice. prepare the ricearoni by adding the rice, the seasoning packet, the tablespoon of butter, and 1 2/3 cup chicken broth to a medium sized pot and bring to a boil. once it has come to a boil, pour the entire thing over the broccoli and chicken mixture in the oven safe pan. use your wooden spoon or spatula to evenly distribute the rice around the pan, and then pop into the oven for 30 minutes. the rice should come out perfectly cooked, but if there were any pieces of rice on top of the chicken and broccoli, and not in the cooking liquid they may be crunchy. if you don’t like crunchy rice, just make sure it is all pushed down in the crevices in the cooking liquid. then enjoy your one pot meal! this would also be good served with a nice, crusty piece of bread 🙂


sourdough saga

poppyseed-golden raisin sourdough

this is something i’ve been working on for a while. i am honestly super proud for following through and finally keeping up with my sourdough starter and not letting it go bad, or just tossing it because it seemed like too much work. it’s actually been working so well i’ve decided to name it…. bread-ie mercury. obvs. we’re still working on perfecting the actual loaf, and playing around with oven temps, recipes, etc. i’m having a consistent issue with burnt bottoms, so if anyone knows a foolproof method… please comment and let me know! currently i’m using the no-knead sourdough recipe from sylvia fountaine at feasting at home and it’s been going really well. it’s so easy because you literally whip up the dough the night before, it proofs on the counter overnight and is ready to bake by the morning.

i’m not posting a recipe here because i’m really still working on this but just wanted to share my journey with sourdough so far, and a few pics of this delicious loaf. i decided to add golden raisins and poppyseeds and it is a hit. feasting at home’s post has completely walked me through my first few loaves and i definitely recommend following her instructions, and i also used her tips for starting my sourdough starter as well.

bonus… if you really want to take your bread to the next level, top it with this cultured butter from ny times. so so easy, and way better than store bought butter, imo.

savory breakfast pie

egg and potato pie

i made this for the first time last christmas… josie was a newborn and it was our first christmas as a family of four. i prepped it the night before, added the eggs the next morning and popped it in the oven. it’s super easy to put together and store in the fridge overnight until ready to use or even just prep the morning of. great for breakfast or brunch, and usually a hit with the whole family (except my children who decided today they don’t eat potatoes or eggs).

ingredients

3-4 large yukon gold potatoes
1/2 yellow onion
6 large eggs
1/2 cup half and half
shredded cheese of choice, about 3/4 cup
1 tsp kosher salt, plus 1/4 tsp separated
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp ground mustard
1/8 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp olive oil
butter or cooking spray to oil pan

instructions

preheat your oven to 350. wash and slice the potatoes thinly. a mandolin would make this step much easier but i don’t have one so i just sliced them by hand. thinly slice the onions, or dice them, whichever you prefer, and saute them over medium heat with the tablespoon of olive oil and 1/4 tsp salt until they soften and begin to turn golden brown, about 5-7 minutes then set aside. spray a pie pan with cooking spray, or butter and layer the sliced potatoes, onions, and cheese, making sure to end with potatoes then cheese on top. in a medium sized bowl whisk together the eggs, half and half, salt, pepper, ground mustard, and smoked paprika. pour the egg mixture evenly over the layered potatoes, cover with foil and bake at 350 for 1 hour. then increase the heat to 375, remove the foil and bake for 15 more minutes. the top should start to turn golden brown, and check the potatoes in the middle with a fork to make sure the potatoes are soft. if they are still crunchy, check after another 10 minutes.

easy overnight breakfast

overnight oatmeal bowls with roasted strawberries

honestly… my kids didn’t go for the roasted strawberries and ended up having theirs with golden raisins. more for me 🙂 i am not an oatmeal person and every time i try to make myself eat it i end up hating it even more. however, i can do overnight oats if i eat them cold like cereal, and have yummy fresh toppings. the kids like theirs warm, so i just popped their serving in the microwave for a few seconds. this bowl is topped with juicy roasted strawberries mixed with a little strawberry jam, creamy peanut butter and some crushed up cheerios for a nice crunch. i would have done granola, but it’s what we had on hand. turned out amazing and super filling!

ingredients

overnight oats
2 cups old fashioned oats
2 cups milk of choice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of kosher salt
honey to taste (i used about 1.5 tablespoons)

roasted strawberries
1 lb of strawberries, all green parts removed and sliced in half
1 1/2 tablespoons coconut sugar (or regular granulated sugar)
1 teaspoon olive oil
pinch of salt
squeeze of lemon juice (about half a lemon)

instructions

mix together the oats, milk, cinnamon, salt and honey in a medium sized bowl the night before, cover tightly and put in the fridge. so easy! i also roasted my strawberries the night before so they would have time to cool in the fridge. mix together the strawberries, olive oil, coconut sugar, salt and lemon juice, and spread over a sheet pan covered in parchment or foil. roast them at 375 for about 15-20 minutes and store in an airtight container. in the morning enjoy the oats cold, or heated up with whatever toppings you like!

instagram-worthy chocolate cookies

olive oil chocolate sugar cookies via jessie sheehan

i saw this recipe on an instagram reel by jessie sheehan, and had to try them for myself. mainly because they looked super easy, i had all the ingredients in my pantry, and my toddler could help. emmett loves to help bake cookies, and these proved to be toddler friendly (you only need two bowls, a whisk and rubber spatula) and delicious. i made a couple of changes only because i didn’t have the exact ingredients (dutch process cocoa powder, and light brown sugar), but they still turned out amazing. find the original recipe here!

ingredients

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour 
⅔ cup cocoa powder (recipe calls for dutch process but i didn’t have it so i used regular)
1 tsp baking soda 
1 tsp kosher salt 
¾ cup olive oil (recipe calls for Colavita specifically, but i didn’t have this brand)
1 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract 
1 large egg, room temperature (totally didn’t let my eggs get to room temp because im a mom of toddlers and forgot – still turned out :))
2 egg yolks, room temperature 
Granulated sugar for rolling the cookies

instructions

whisk the flour, cocoa, salt, and baking soda together in a large bowl. whisk the sugars and olive oil in a medium sized bowl until combined, then add vanilla and eggs one by one. original recipe calls for all light brown sugar. i only had dark, so i used one cup of dark brown sugar and 3/4 cup of regular granulated sugar. keep whisking until mixture lightens and becomes thicker and ribbony. add wet ingredients to dry, and fold together with a rubber spatula until everything is just moistened. the original recipe calls for using an ice cream scoop (1/4 cup) to make giant cookies. i opted for a normal sized cookie scoop since i was feeding them to toddlers. use whatever you prefer! i scooped the dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet and put them in the freezer for 20 minutes. then remove cookie dough balls and roll each one in granulated sugar and place back in the freezer for 1-2 hours until completely frozen, or ready to bake. preheat oven to 350, and bake cookies for 15 minutes, rotating halfway through. slightly press each cookie with a spatula after removing from the oven. enjoy!

easy peasy chicken dinner

easy two-pan spanish chicken

i wasn’t sure if this would turn out how i imagined it in my head, but basically i threw this semi-homemade “spanish” chicken together from random things i found in the freezer and pantry since we traveled to buffalo for christmas and didn’t want to buy a bunch of crap for meals at the store. soooo it was delicious. and i used rice-a-roni. yes. rice-a-roni. that i dug out of the very back of our pantry, standing on a chair to reach it. so easy and so quick to pull together for a weeknight dinner, especially if you have kids running around. love a meal you can just throw into a skillet, pop in the oven, and it’s ready. so much less cleanup for mom 🙂

ingredients

6 bone in, skin on chicken thighs
1 box rice-a-roni spanish rice
14 oz whole peeled tomatoes – the boxed rice calls for diced tomatoes, but i love the cento whole peeled italian style tomatoes so i used these instead
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
2 cups of water
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
salt
pepper
paprika or smoked paprika
ground coriander
ground cumin
1 tbsp sherry vinegar (you could also use balsamic or white wine vinegar)

instructions

preheat your oven to 400 degrees. season both sides of the chicken thighs with a sprinkle of the salt, pepper, paprika, ground cumin, and ground coriander. heat a high sided skillet or dutch oven (must be oven safe!) to medium-high heat, add the olive oil, and sear both sides of the chicken until browned, about 3-5 minutes each side. meanwhile, prepare the rice-a-roni in a separate medium sized pot according to the directions on the package. first, take about half the can of whole peeled tomatoes (mine came in a 28oz can), plus the sauce and cut them up, or break them up with your hands. then melt the 2 tablespoons of butter in your pot over medium heat, and cook the rice mixture until toasted. add the water, spice package, tomatoes, peas, and the teaspoon of sugar and bring this to a boil. once the chicken is done browning, turn down the heat to low, discard about 2-3 tablespoons of the grease, and add the vinegar to the pan. once the rice mixture is boiling, pour it over the chicken, and spread out the rice and peas around the chicken so they’re not all clumped together in the middle. put the whole skillet in the preheated oven and cook uncovered for 30 minutes. enjoy!

semi-homemade baking

triple-chocolate salted caramel brownies

do you guys remember sandra lee on food network? well semi-homemade food is my jam 🙂 more importantly, the lady loved a cocktail. anyway, these are super easy, since a boxed brownie mix takes the work out of measuring out all the ingredients, but homemade caramel from sally’s baking addiction, extra white chocolate chips, and some maldon sea salt add a little extra flair. great for busy moms or anyone who aint got time for making homemade brownies. the caramel can also be made in advance which saves you being in the kitchen too long. my husband said he couldn’t stop eating them, so fudgy and addicting. enjoy!

ingredients

your favorite boxed brownie mix (i used the specially selected “double chocolate” boxed mix from aldi)
1/2 cup white chocolate chips (recommend ghirardelli)
1 egg
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil (or any other oil of choice)
maldon sea salt (or any other flaked sea salt for sprinkling)
caramel
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons salted butter, cut into pieces and at room temperature
1/2 cup heavy cream, room temperature
1/2 tsp kosher salt (sally’s recipe calls for 1 teaspoon, but i’m also sprinkling sea salt on top of the brownies, so didn’t want to overdo it)
1/2 tsp vanilla (sally’s recipe doesn’t call for this but i like the flavor it adds to the caramel)

instructions

make the caramel first by heating the sugar over medium heat in a medium sized pan, constantly stirring. the recipe here calls to use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula but when i make it again i’ll probably use a whisk, because i feel like it worked better. keep working the sugar until it is completely melted and a golden brown color. be careful not to burn it! as soon as the sugar is completely melted and golden brown, immediately stir in the butter and keep whisking to combine it. if the butter separates from the caramel, follow sally’s instructions, and take it off the heat and whisk vigorously until it comes back together. honestly, i always just thought caramel was ruined if this happened, but it actually worked for me. then return it to the heat and once the butter and sugar is all combined let it cook for 2 more minutes. slowly whisk in the heavy cream, it will bubble up since the cream is colder than the caramel mixture. let it boil for one more minute, then remove it from the heat and stir in the salt and vanilla. pour the caramel into a heat safe bowl to cool a little before using, it will also thicken up. her website also has a great video if you are confused by any of the instructions.

then, start preparing the brownies according to the directions on the box. preheat oven to 325 degrees, and mix together the brownie mix, 1/2 cup of white chocolate chips (hence the triple chocolate), water, egg, and oil until all combined. spray a 9×13 or 8×8 pan with cooking spray (your preference, or just follow the instructions on your box mix), and pour the brownie mix in and spread it evenly into the pan. drizzle desired amount of caramel over the top of the brownie mix and then take a toothpick and swirl it around. bake the brownies according the package directions for the size pan you are using. this will also vary depending on if you like your brownies to be more done, or more gooey. mine were in for about 30 minutes and i used a 9×13 baking dish. sprinkle them with sea salt after taking them out of the oven, let them cool then slice and serve.

easiest christmas treats ever

dark chocolate grahams with white chocolate and sea salt

these are seriously the easiest “cookies” or treats for christmas or any late night chocolate craving. i have a weird obsession with graham crackers but paired with chocolate and sea salt, they are over the top. they are so great for kids to help decorate, because all it takes is a little melted chocolate and sprinkles. believe it or not, emmett (2 year old) did most of the white chocolate drizzle on these… future cake decorator! he had the best time decorating and eating sprinkles and this is just a really easy and fun activity for toddlers and then *bonus* they get a sweet treat after. plus not a ton of clean up for mom.

ingredients

honey or cinnamon graham crackers
semi sweet chocolate chips
white chocolate chips – my favorite are ghirardelli
1/8 tsp coconut oil
flaked sea salt – i used maldon
optional – sprinkles to decorate

instructions

melt semi sweet chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl in increments of 20-30 seconds, checking and stirring frequently until they are mostly melted. then stir them vigorously until all the chocolate chips are uniformly melted. add a tiny bit of coconut oil into the white chocolate chips and melt them the same way as the semi sweet chocolate chips. spread onto the graham crackers, sprinkle with toppings and pop them into the freezer for a few minutes to set them. they will harden at room temperature, but i always stick them in the freezer because i just can’t wait to eat them 🙂