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19 Aug 04:01

Zingerman’s Black Magic Brownies

by Michelle

Zingerman's Black Magic Brownies | #recipe

A couple of weeks ago, a reader, Wendy, asked me on Facebook if I had ever made Zingerman’s Black Magic Brownies. I had to admit that I’d never heard of them! They are apparently one of the most raved about recipes to come out of Zingerman’s, a conglomerate of food stores in the Ann Arbor, Michigan area. Midwest Living magazine has declared this recipe one of the top 20 recipes of all time. High praise, indeed. So far as I can tell, there are two versions of this brownie – Magic Brownies, which include toasted walnuts and Black Magic Brownies, which omit the nuts. While I love walnuts in baked goods like banana bread and date nut spice bread, I don’t really appreciate them in things like brownies or fudge. The Black Magic version was it! Wendy was sweet enough to email me the recipe, and gave me the a-okay to share it with all of you. Thank you, Wendy!

Zingerman's Black Magic Brownies | #recipe

I measure pretty much all brownies against my beloved Baked brownies, and these might be the first to really stack up. They’re very dense, but just a smidge less fudge-like, and just a bit more cake-like (due to the long beating of the eggs and baking powder), although not cakey, if that makes sense. I actually think that these are the perfect compromise between completely fudge-like brownies and cakey brownies. I hate cakey brownies, and while I’ll always eat a fudgy brownie, sometimes it can be too much. The black magic brownies are fantastic middle ground.

Zingerman's Black Magic Brownies | #recipe

The recipe calls for cutting these into 15 squares (which are described as “wallet-size”), and that’s pretty huge. I did this for the photos so you could see the true size, but next time I would probably cut them into my usual 24, which I think makes for a little more reasonably sized brownie.

So, to recap, love, love, love these brownies! They rank a close second, near tie, with the Baked brownies as far as I’m concerned. I think you’re going to love them!

Zingerman's Black Magic Brownies | #recipe

One year ago: Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes
Two years ago: Shrimp Nacho Bites
Three years ago: Zucchini-Pineapple Cupcakes with Orange Sour Cream Frosting
Four years ago: Chewy, Chunky Blondies
Five years ago: Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Squares
Seven years ago: American Apple Pie

Zingerman's Black Magic Brownies

Yield: 15 enormous brownies or 24 regular-size brownies

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 25 to 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

The famous brownies from the Ann Arbor, Michigan food shop. The original recipe calls for 1½ cups of all-purpose or cake
flour. I used equal parts of both, but feel free to experiment with what you have on hand.


13 tablespoons (184 grams) unsalted butter
6½ ounces (184 grams) unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
¾ cup (90 grams) sifted all-purpose flour
¾ cup (85 grams) sifted cake flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups (397 grams) granulated sugar
4 eggs
1¼ teaspoons vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 13x9x2-inch baking pan and line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides; set aside.

2. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and chocolate, stirring constantly, until the mixture is completely melted and smooth. Set aside to cool.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder and salt.

4. In a large bowl, beat the sugar and eggs with an electric mixer on high speed for 5 minutes, until lemon-colored and fluffy, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Add cooled chocolate mixture and vanilla. Beat on low speed until combined. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined, then give it a final stir by hand with a rubber spatula. Spread the batter in the prepared pan.

5. Bake until brownies appear set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with some moist crumbs attached, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack. Cut the brownies into squares and store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. The brownies can also be frozen (wrapped individually and placed in a resealable freezer bag) for up to 2 months.

14 Aug 15:59

raspberry swirl cheesecake

by deb

raspberry swirl cheesecake

It’s been a little quiet around here this week and I bet you already know why: moving out is the easy part! Moving in, hoo boy. You walk into an empty new home with freshly painted walls and there’s nothing but possibility. You run from room to room, whee! Then your stuff arrives and the pristine landscape is forever compromised. The first boxes aren’t so bad: you prioritize bedding, toilet paper, toothbrushes and whiskey (um, just play along here.) The next few boxes are pretty doable too: glasses go where they always have, books go in bookcases and lamps go on tables. But then, eventually, you get down to the last six boxes and you look around and you realize that the closets, cabinets, dressers and shelves are all full so where does this go? Then, if you’re us, the great unraveling begins: how did we get to a place where we had so much stuff? I thought we were going to resist the siren call of consumption (says she who just purchased what can only be considered a luxury ice cube tray). How did I get to a place in my life where I had 125 cookie cutters, 9 shades of sanding sugar and cupcake wrappers in at least 7 patterns that I can neither bring myself to throw away or justify the space they will take up? The last 6 boxes take forever to unpack; you’ll be glad you prioritized the whiskey.

trying a new chocolate wafer
chocolate crumbs

So, right on top of all of this, something else happened: my husband — who has the audacity to look younger and more handsome every year — turned 40. If you heard me freaking out (just a little) over our move being delayed a week, it was because the one thing we were trying to avoid was having people over for drinks and then going out to engage in vodka encased in ice blocks and tableside-prepped chopped liver but 24 hours after moving, which is exactly what happened, and of course, it was no big deal and, if anything, forced us to make quick work of the first half of the boxes. Happy birthday, baby: don’t you feel young after a few days of moving furniture around and schlepping boxes?

new york state raspberries

... Read the rest of raspberry swirl cheesecake on

© smitten kitchen 2006-2012. | permalink to raspberry swirl cheesecake | 132 comments to date | see more: Celebration Cakes, Photo, Raspberries

07 Jul 15:39

sticky sesame chicken wings

by deb

sticky sesame wings

On the very long list of things that I am convinced that other people do effortlessly while I typical flail and fail in the face of — dancing, running, walking from one room to another without forgetting what they were looking for — making dinner on a regular basis with a minimum of brow sweat and complaining is near the top.

roasty, roasty

It likely doesn’t help that I often spend my cooking hours chasing some very specific idea (a star! a pretzel-y pretzel!) of what I want to cook next, and that this item may or may not amount to dinner, leading to countless days when I realize at 5 p.m. that I have an incoming hangry preschooler and very little plan for what to feed us. A domestic goddess, I hope you never mistake me for.

i reduced the run-off, because, why not

... Read the rest of sticky sesame chicken wings on

© smitten kitchen 2006-2012. | permalink to sticky sesame chicken wings | 130 comments to date | see more: Photo, Poultry, Quick, Weeknight Favorite

26 Jun 04:01

Roasted Strawberry & Buttermilk Ice Cream

by Michelle

Roasted Strawberry & Buttermilk Ice Cream | #recipe

I can’t believe that it’s already the end of June and this the very first batch of homemade ice cream I’ve churned up so far this year! I’m way, way behind on my ice cream game. I’ve been eating fresh fruit by the boatload for the last month, and wanted to make an ice cream that took advantage of the awesome produce we have right now. I have had the Jeni’s ice cream book on my shelf for well over a year now, and had yet to make a recipe from it, so I turned there first. As soon as I stumbled upon the roasted strawberry and buttermilk version, I knew I was in business.

Get the Recipe:Roasted Strawberry & Buttermilk Ice Cream

© Brown Eyed Baker

25 Jun 04:01

Cheesy Portabello-Tomato Appetizer

by Michelle

Marinated and Baked Portobello-Tomato Appetizer |

Quite a few years ago (maybe 10!), we had a family cookout for 4th of July at my mom’s house and my aunt showed up with this appetizer. Even though it was gorgeous outside, we all huddled around my mom’s kitchen island and shoveled in baguette slice after baguette slice until the entire pan was empty. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I was not at all sorry for eating too much, or missing out on sunshine outside. I’ve thought about that appetizer ever since, and recently have been wanting to make it again, but was so bummed that I didn’t have the recipe. When I asked my aunt about it, she only vaguely remembered. Then, fate stepped in. I was going through old papers and organizing and there, from one of my very old recipe files that I kept, was the recipe.

Get the Recipe:Cheesy Portabello-Tomato Appetizer

© Brown Eyed Baker

12 Jun 14:00

The Essence of Fatherhood: 6 Simple Lessons

by zenhabits
By Leo Babauta

I’ve been a father for more than 21 years, and have 6 kids altogether, and have loved every messy minute of it.

And now I have a young brother who’s becoming a father this month, and is deeply scared by the prospect of fatherhood. He’s not sure if he’ll do a good job, worried he’ll fail.

I can tell him this: being a father is the scariest thing I’ve known in my life. All of a sudden, I was 19 and in charge of a fragile human life, so precious and dear but so flickering and easily put out. And I was completely unprepared — no class in school taught me what to do, and I had very few life lessons by that time.

It was the most terrifying experience ever. And it’s been the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.

More rewarding than getting married, than running an ultramarathon, than starting a successful business, than helping thousands of people change their lives through my example.

But to be honest, I sucked at it at first.

My biggest problem, apart from a dreadful lack of knowing what the hell I was doing, was a sense of entitlement. My child should do what I say, behave a certain way, grow into the person I want her to be. That’s ridiculous, I now know, but it caused me all kinds of conflict in the beginning.

I now see a father not as a shaper of clay, but a herder of cats. A father isn’t molding a child into the perfect ideal of a human being he’d like her to be … he’s trying to keep her alive, and feel loved, as she grows into whatever she already is.

So for young men who are becoming fathers, and young women becoming mothers as well (because there’s not much difference other than anatomy) … here are my thoughts on herding cats. Just know that I’ve violated all of these ideas repeatedly, and learned these lessons the hard way.

Your first job is to love them. And to be there for them. This is above all other duties. Of course, we need to keep them safe and fed and clothed and change their diapers — keep them alive — and that’s important. But let’s consider that the baseline — it’s not hard to keep a child alive into adulthood. Anyone can do it with a smidgen of effort.

What’s important is whether the child grows into an adult who is loved. This is trickier, because in our entitlement to having the child behave the way we want her to behave, become who we want her to become, we tend to push, to judge, to expect, to scold, to drive wedges between our heart and hers. But in the end, all of those things just get in the way of the main duty: to have her be loved.

If at the end of your life you can say that you were there for your child, and she or he felt loved, then you’ve succeeded.

Your example is more important than your words. We often tell the child to be considerate as we yell at him, and so he doesn’t learn to be considerate but to yell (only if he’s the more powerful in the relationship). When we punish, they learn how to punish and not whatever other lesson we think we’re teaching. When we put them on restriction, they aren’t learning to share like we think they are.

If you want the kid to grow up healthy, you should exercise and eat healthy foods. If you want the kid to find work that he’s passionate about, do that yourself. If you want the kid to read, then turn off the TV and read. If you don’t want the kid to play video games all day, shut off your computer.

A hug is more powerful than punishment. A hug accomplishes your main duty (to love), while punishment is the example we’re setting for the kid (to punish when someone makes a mistake). When a child behaves badly, this is a mistake. Are we adults free from mistakes? Have we never been upset, never behaved badly, never given into temptation, never told a lie? If we have done any of these things, why are we judging our child for doing them, and punishing her for them?

What’s more important than judging and punishing, when a child makes a mistake and behaves badly, is understanding. Empathy. Put yourself in her shoes. What would help you in that situation? Have compassion. Give a hug. Show how a good person behaves, though the example of a hug. And yes, talk about the problem, get them to understand why the behavior wasn’t so great, get them to empathize with the person they’ve hurt, but learning to empathize must start with your example.

Trust them. Let them take risks and fail, and show them that it’s OK to fail, it’s OK to take risks. Don’t give them the neuroses of being afraid of every little risk, of worrying constantly about safety, of making a mistake and getting punished for it. They will fail, and your reaction to that failure is more important than the failure itself. You must show them that the failure is just a successful experiment, where you learned something valuable.

If you trust them, they will learn to trust themselves. They will grow up knowing that things can go badly but trust that all will turn out OK in the end. That’s a trust in life that’s incredibly valuable.

Let them be who they’re going to be. You aren’t in control of that. You might care deeply about something but she doesn’t. You might think what she cares about is trivial, but that’s who you are, not who she is. Let her express herself in her way. Let her figure out things for herself. Let her make choices, mistakes, take care of her own emotional needs, become self-sufficient as early as she can.

Read with them. Play ball with them. Take walks and have talks with them. Gaze up at the stars with them and wonder about the universe. Make cookies with them. Listen to their music and dance with them. Greet them in the morning with a huge smile and a warm, tight embrace. Do puzzles together, build a robot together, get into their blanket forts, pretend to be a prince or a Jedi with them, tell them stories you made up, run around outside, draw together, make music videos together, make a family newspaper, help them start a business, sing badly together, go swimming and running and biking and play in the monkeybars and sand and jungle.

Each moment you have with your child is a miracle, and then they grow up and move away and become their own person and figure out who they are and get hurt and need your shoulder to cry on but then don’t need you anymore.

And so in the end, fatherhood is being there until they don’t need you to be there, until they do again. And it’s not a thankless task, because they will thank you every day with their love, their presence, their smiles. What a joyful thing, to be a dad.

10 Jun 18:15

Sautéed Corn and Tomatoes

by Beth M

I used to really dislike corn, but I think that’s because I never had it prepared in a decent way. Ever since learning to roast corn in my oven, I’ve kind of fallen in love. I don’t always have time to roast it, but frozen corn makes a great quick fix alternative. It still has all the sweetness and juicy snap of fresh corn, but with only a fraction of the prep needed.

These Sautéed Corn and Tomatoes are fast and full of flavor. The acidic tomatoes, rich butter, savory garlic, and sweet corn all balance perfectly to create a side dish that is has summer written all over it. You can eat it plain as a side, or scoop it over grilled chicken, or baked fish. This recipe makes four small side dish sized servings, but can easily be doubled or tripled, if needed.

Sautéed Corn and Tomatoes

Sautéed Corn and Tomatoes

5.0 from 1 reviews
Sautéed Corn and Tomatoes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Total Cost: $2.27
Cost Per Serving: $0.57
Serves: 4
  • 1 Tbsp butter $0.15
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes $0.89
  • ½ tsp dried basil $0.05
  • ¼ tsp salt $0.02
  • Freshly cracked pepper (15-20 cranks of a pepper mill) $0.05
  • ¼ tsp sugar $0.02
  • 2 cups frozen corn kernels $0.93
  • handful fresh parsley (optional) $0.10
  1. Mince the garlic and sauté it with butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat for one to two minutes, or just until softened.
  2. Add the diced tomatoes (with juices) to the skillet, along with the basil, salt, pepper, and sugar. Stir to combine and turn the heat up to medium. Allow the skillet to simmer for about 10 minutes, or until most of the juices have evaporated and the mixture has thickened.
  3. Add the frozen corn to the skillet (no thawing needed). Stir to combine and heat through (3-5 minutes). Taste and adjust the salt if needed. Sprinkle with a handful of fresh chopped parsley if desired.

Sautéed Corn and Tomatoes


Step by Step Photos

Sauté GarlicMince two cloves of garlic and then sauté with 1 Tbsp butter over medium-low heat in a large skillet. Sauté for 1-2 minutes, or just until the garlic has softened.

Diced TomatoesAdd one 15-oz. can of diced tomatoes. I used plain diced tomatoes, but you could use fire roasted, or tomatoes that are already seasoned with garlic and basil for more flavor.

Herbs and SpicesAlso add 1/2 tsp dried basil, some freshly cracked pepper (about 15-20 cranks of a pepper mill), 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp sugar. Stir the ingredients to combine, turn the heat up to medium, and let it simmer for about ten minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Simmered TomatoesYou want it to simmer long enough so that the juices are no longer watery. There is still some sauciness that will coat the corn with flavor, but it’s not really “juicy”. As you can see, when I drag the spoon through the mixture, it doesn’t run back into the empty space. It has reduced and thickened.

Add Frozen CornAdd 2 cups of frozen corn kernels (no thawing necessary), stir to combine, and heat through (3-5 minutes). Taste the mixture and adjust the salt if needed.

Sautéed Corn and TomatoesI added a small sprinkle of fresh parsley on top, but that’s optional.

Sautéed Corn and TomatoesSweet, savory, and Oh So Good!

Sautéed Corn and TomatoesIt’s great on its own, but it’s also fabulous spooned over some grilled chicken or fish! I put mine on top of my Blackened Tilapia. SO GOOD.

The post Sautéed Corn and Tomatoes appeared first on Budget Bytes.

09 Jun 04:01

Vidalia Onion Dip

by Michelle

Vidalia Onion Dip | #recipe

I have been sitting on this recipe for nearly 10 years now, yowza! A good friend of mine gifted me with this recipe back when recipe swaps (on actual written recipe cards) were all the rage. It’s been sitting in my binder of “appetizer recipes” ever since, and while organizing and purging this weekend, I realized that I’ve never shared it with you. Doh! If you’re a dip person (and, really, who isn’t?), then this is definitely going to make your day.

Vidalia Onion Dip | #recipe

As far as recipes go, this one couldn’t be much simpler. Only four ingredients, and the same exact quantity of each – 2 cups each of chopped Vidalia onions, mayonnaise, shredded Swiss cheese, and Parmesan cheese. Mix, bake, eat. I love the sweet bite of the Vidalia onions paired with the cheeses; it’s totally and completely addicting. Once you try it, you won’t be at all surprised by the fact that my Chief Culinary Consultant and I ate it for lunch yesterday. Yes, just dip and pita chips. Nothing else. Lunch. Done.

Vidalia Onion Dip | #recipe

The recipe as given to me says to serve with pita chips or breadsticks (I feel like the pita chips recommendation was so ahead of its time 10 years ago!), but this would also be fabulous with pretzels, tortilla chips or baguette slices. Basically, any and all carbs are welcome at this party.

Do you have a favorite simple staple recipe from ages ago? Feel free to share it in the comments below!

Vidalia Onion Dip | #recipe

Two years ago: Sausage, Mozzarella & Basil Stuffed Peppers and Hot Fudge Sauce
Three years ago: Grilled Corn
Four years ago: Blueberry Boy Bait
Five years ago: Pizzelles
Six years ago: New York-Style Crumb Cake

Get the Recipe:Vidalia Onion Dip

© Brown Eyed Baker

03 Jun 04:01

Grandma’s Roasted Potatoes

by Michelle

My grandma's legendary Sunday roasted potatoes | #recipe

I’ve talked quite a bit in the past about my grandma’s Sunday dinners. It was a tradition for our family growing up, and one that provided my sister and I, and our cousins, with so many wonderful memories. I have such vivid memories of many of the staple items she would make on Sundays, and potatoes is high on that list. Along with at least one type of pasta, meat, and salad, my grandma made roasted potatoes. They have since come to be known simply as “Grandma’s potatoes”. Most Sundays she would have to make two batches because they’d disappear so quickly.

There was nothing inherently fancy about these potatoes – my grandma would hold a potato in one hand and cut off pieces with a paring knife, throw some olive oil in the pan, a little bit of seasoning, and then put them in the oven until they were nice and crispy. I can’t tell you how many fights were had over that bowl of potatoes. Everyone seemed to pick through to get to the super crunchy, slightly burnt ones. More than a few hands were slapped in the name of finding the best potatoes.

My grandma's legendary Sunday roasted potatoes | #recipe

Those potatoes were one of the things that everyone missed the most once my grandma couldn’t cook anymore and eventually passed away. Since then, my sister has resurrected them and she does the best job of replicating them. Hers look just like my grandma’s – irregular shaped and all. She has made them on Christmas Eve for everyone to munch on while we wait for dinner to be ready, and for some random family dinners as well.

I was well past due to work on perfecting my grandma’s potatoes, and a couple of weeks ago I found myself craving them, so I got to work. My sister said that my grandma used gold potatoes and that they work the best, so I started there and used olive oil and the seasonings my grandma added, put it all under high heat and hoped for the best.

My grandma's legendary Sunday roasted potatoes | #recipe

I don’t think mine looked like hers (I have an aversion to holding and cutting in the air since my knife incident last summer), but oh boy, did they taste like hers! The baking time could vary depending on how thick or thin your pieces are and if your oven runs hot or cold. As you can see, my pieces are no uniform, so I just check them periodically until they get nice and crisp on the bottom and are golden on top.

I absolutely love recreating my grandma’s recipes, but I really do wish she were still here to make them. I’m sure she’s happy that her food traditions are still alive and well :)

My grandma's legendary Sunday roasted potatoes | #recipe

One year ago: Better Than “Anything” Cake
Two years ago: Fresh Fruit Tart with Pastry Cream
Three years ago: Creamy Cucumber Salad
Four years ago: First Birthday Party Smash Cake
Six years ago: French Chocolate Brownies

Get the Recipe:Grandma’s Roasted Potatoes

© Brown Eyed Baker

02 Jun 04:01

Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars

by Michelle

Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars | #recipe

There are few desserts I cherish more than a fabulous cheesecake. I fell in love with those dense, creamy desserts as a teenager and have been enamored with them ever since. I don’t really discriminate as far as flavors go – plain with fresh strawberries, pumpkin, or loaded up with things like Oreo cookies, Snickers bars, or peanut butter. I love them all and will devour each with abandon.

Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars | #recipe

Last year, I found my favorite basic cheesecake recipe, and I have been wanting to replicate an easy version of a cheesecake bar for those times when it’s easier to cut them up and serve them for a more casual get-together. When I think of bar desserts, I always think of summer. Picnics and cookouts are the perfect reason to forgo the fancy plate and fork desserts for the simpler, handheld bar desserts.

Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars | #recipe

As we usher in summer (I can’t believe it’s June!), I thought a basic cheesecake bar with a swirl of seasonal flavor like strawberries would be fabulous. For these, I used a very basic cheesecake bar recipe and swirled in seedless strawberry jam. The perfect combination of flavors and a super simple bar for picking up and nibbling!

Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars | #recipe

Two years ago: Black Bean Salsa and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Billionaire Bars
Three years ago: Fruit Dip
Four years ago: Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Five years ago: Cinnamon Raisin Bagels

Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars

Yield: 16 bars

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 47 to 55 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Rich and delicious cheesecake bars with a swirl of strawberry jam.


For the Crust:
7 whole graham crackers, crushed (about 1 cup of fine crumbs)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt

For the Filling:
16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
⅔ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
¼ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons seedless strawberry jam


1. Make the Crust: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8-inch square baking dish with aluminum foil, allowing excess to hang over the edges of the pan; lightly grease the foil.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, flour and salt to combine. Drizzle the melted butter over the mixture and use a fork to mix it until the entire mixture is moistened. Turn the mixture out into the prepared pan and press into an even layer. Bake until the crust to starts to brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

3. Meanwhile, with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the cream cheese until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the granulated sugar and beat until it is completely incorporated. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition until well combined. Add the sour cream and vanilla extract and mix until incorporated. Pour the batter over the baked crust.

4. Using a spoon, drop dollops of the strawberry jam all over the surface of the cheesecake batter, then use a toothpick or skewer to gently swirl the jam into the batter. Bake until the edges are set but the center still jiggles slightly, 35 to 40 minutes. Allow the cheesecake to cool completely on a wire rack, about 2 hours. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 3 hours. Lift the cheesecake out of the pan and slice into bars. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator, in an airtight container, for up to 3 days.

(Base cheesecake recipe modified from America's Test Kitchen Holiday Cookies 2010)

© Brown Eyed Baker

28 May 23:07

Baked Eggs with Spinach and Tomatoes

by Beth M

Have you ever noticed that the fewer ingredients a recipe has, the more elegant it seems? Lucky for me, that also usually means it’s pretty easy and, depending on the ingredients you choose, very inexpensive. This super simple baked egg dish is just that. Simple, elegant, inexpensive, and delicious.

This might seriously be the easiest “real” breakfast dish ever. All you do is layer the ingredients in a casserole dish, pop it in the oven, and take it out when it’s done. Then it’s ready to spoon over an English muffin, or serve with toast for dipping. If you want to impress someone for breakfast or brunch, MAKE THIS. (And hey, no one said that person you’re trying to impress can’t be you!)

Baked Eggs with Spinach and Tomatoes

This is also a great “sweep the fridge” dish. You can add all sorts of leftovers to the mix. Leftover artichoke hearts? Yes ma’am. A sprinkle of feta? Okey-dokey. Extra shredded chicken or sausage? Toss ‘em in there! Got a garden with fresh herbs? Oooh, you’re the lucky one. Sprinkle those fresh herbs over top and experience an extra fancy pants breakfast. You deserve it.

I only made four eggs because I failed to check my egg stash before I went to the grocery store, but with a couple slices of toast and maybe a little fruit, one egg per serving would be plenty. You could easily up the servings to two eggs per person by using eight eggs and only add about 20 cents per serving. If you want two eggs per serving, keep the other ingredients in the same proportions, but use eight eggs instead of four. The baking time may increase slightly. If you want to double the recipe for eight people, use a larger dish and double all of the ingredients and use either 8 or 16 eggs.

Baked Eggs with Spinach and Tomatoes

Baked Eggs with Spinach and Tomatoes


4.7 from 6 reviews
Baked Eggs with Spinach and Tomatoes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Total Cost: $3.40
Cost Per Serving: $0.85
Serves: 4
  • ½ lb. frozen spinach, thawed $0.78
  • ⅛ tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • ⅛ tsp red pepper flakes (optional) $0.02
  • Salt and pepper $0.05
  • 2 medium Roma tomatoes $0.80
  • 4 large eggs $0.86
  • 2 Tbsp cream or half and half $0.24
  • ½ cup shredded cheese $0.63
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 2 quart casserole dish with non-stick spray or coat with butter. Thaw the spinach and squeeze out most of the moisture (no need to go overboard here, just make sure it’s not dripping).
  2. Cut the tomatoes into chunks and place them in the bottom of the casserole dish. Sprinkle the spinach over the tomatoes. Season the tomatoes and spinach with the garlic powder, red pepper flakes, a pinch of salt, and some freshly cracked pepper (about 5 cranks of a pepper mill).
  3. Crack the eggs on top of the spinach and tomatoes. Drizzle the cream over everything in the dish, then top with the shredded cheese. Bake the dish in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the whites are opaque, but still soft and moist (they should jiggle slightly when you shake the dish). The exact cooking time will depend on the size and shape of your dish, so begin checking for doneness at around 15 minutes.
To increase the servings to two eggs per person, simply keep all of the other ingredients the same and add 8 eggs to the dish instead of four. Baking time may increase.

You can use any type of shredded cheese you like, although creamier cheeses work best.


Baked Eggs with Spinach and Tomatoes


Step by Step Photos

Thaw SpinachBegin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Thaw 1/2 lb. of frozen spinach, then squeeze out most of the moisture. I like to use the spinach that is frozen loose in a bag like this, rather than the kind that is frozen in a block. It is usually sold in 1 lb. bags, so I just estimate half of the bag.

Layer tomatoes and spinachCoat a 2 quart casserole dish (small, like an 8×8 inch dish) with non-stick spray, or smear it with butter. Cut two Roma tomatoes into chunks, then place them in the bottom of the dish. Lay the squeeze spinach over top. Season the vegetables by sprinkling 1/8 tsp garlic powder, 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (optional), 1/8 tsp salt, and a little cracked pepper over top (maybe five cranks of a pepper mill).

Add EggsCrack four (or eight) eggs over top of the vegetables. This size dish and this amount of vegetables could have easily handled 8 eggs, but I didn’t have that many left. Doh!

Cream and CheeseLastly, drizzle 2 Tbsp of cream or half and half over the dish and then top with 1/2 cup shredded cheese. The cream is really important here, so don’t skip it. It helps keep the whole dish moist and creamy. I may even be tempted to use 1/4 cup next time. I used an Italian cheese blend, but you could use just about any shredded cheese. Creamy cheeses (unlike the blend I used) are actually better, but this was still amazing!

Baked Eggs with Spinach and TomatoesBake the eggs in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes. The exact cooking time will vary greatly depending on the size of your dish and how many eggs you use, so just keep an eye on it after about 15 minutes. The eggs are finished with the whites have just solidified and turned opaque, but are still fairly soft. The yolks should still be liquid. If you giggle the dish, the eggs should wobble slightly.

Baked Eggs with Tomatoes and SpinachI scooped my egg and vegetables right onto a nice piece of bread and ate them like an open faced sandwich. SO DIVINE. This would also be amazing with an English muffin. THIS is how you make your day off special!


The post Baked Eggs with Spinach and Tomatoes appeared first on Budget Bytes.

15 May 04:01

The Best Twice Baked Potatoes

by Michelle

The Best Twice Baked Potatoes | #recipe

I’m sure I’m not alone when I tell you that I have been a huge fan of the potato, in all of its glorious forms, basically since the time I began eating solid foods. Roasted potatoes, French fries, baked potatoes, mashed potatoes… you name it, I’ll eat it and enjoy the heck out of it. At some point when I was younger, my mom surprised us with a “special” dinner that included twice-baked potatoes in place of regular ol’ baked potatoes. Oh my goodness! I tap-danced over the fact that I was essentially eating mashed potatoes in a baked potato. I loved it, and from then on, anytime I had a twice-baked potato, it felt extra-special and a little fancy.

The Best Twice Baked Potatoes | #recipe

My mother-in-law makes twice-baked potatoes fairly often and, oh my, they’re amazing. When I finally asked for the recipe, I realized why! They are loaded with all of the good stuff – butter, cream cheese, sour cream, cheddar cheese, and plenty of seasonings. I took the recipe and made just a couple of little tweaks of my own… I swapped scallions for chives and added bacon, because, well… I don’t actually need a reason to add bacon, do I?

Loaded baked potatoes meet mashed potatoes, and I could totally make a meal of just these and a salad.

Every night of the week.

The Best Twice Baked Potatoes | #recipe

Get the Recipe:The Best Twice Baked Potatoes

© Brown Eyed Baker

05 May 04:01

Queso Fundido

by Michelle

Queso Fundito | #recipe #CincodeMayo

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Are you celebrating today by drowning yourself in chips, salsa and guacamole? Maybe a margarita or two? All perfectly good options, I think. If you’re in a festive mood, but are unsure of what to make, check out my Cinco de Mayo roundup from last week, or… make queso fundido!

I can’t believe that it took until I was 33 years old to discover queso fundido. I mean, it’s a big pan of melted cheese with spicy sausage… How could this have not been on my radar sooner?

Queso Fundito | #recipe #CincodeMayo

It so happened that Ree and Gaby made this within a week of each other prior to the Super Bowl this year and I became obsessed with it. Traditionally, this is actually a flambéed dish (fancy!), believe it or not. I found a ton of different variations on this dish, and I finally threw together my own spin, complete with spicy chorizo sausage, jalapeños, and three different types of cheese. Pile it all into a cast iron skillet, bake it, then dig into the ooey, gooey, spicy cheesiness.

Grab a big bag of chips… you’re going to need them! Cheers!

Queso Fundito | #recipe #CincodeMayo

Get the Recipe:Queso Fundido

© Brown Eyed Baker

23 Apr 21:33

One Pot Sausage & Mushroom Pasta

by Beth M

I’m really digging these one pot pastas lately. It’s so nice to just cook everything in one pot and have less to wash (especially when you don’t have a dishwasher, like me!). Not to mention they’re super quick and cooking the pasta in the sauce/broth just adds so much flavor.

This one pot pasta is just slightly more involved than my “wonderpots” because I’ve added the step of browning the sausage before throwing all of the ingredients together in the pot. The few extra minutes needed to brown the sausage translates into a lot more flavor. This is a fairly basic “pasta with red sauce” recipe, but it’s definitely quick and easy, which is perfect for people with a small kitchen or just not a lot of time on their hands. If you want to make it a little more special, you can try adding in some other fun ingredients like: black olives, artichoke hearts, spinach, roasted red peppers, or a splash of cream to turn it into a creamy red sauce. The sky’s the limit, so have fun!

One Pot Sausage & Mushroom Pasta

One Pot Sausage Mushroom Pasta

5.0 from 3 reviews
One Pot Sausage & Mushroom Pasta
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Total Cost: $9.23
Cost Per Serving: $1.15
Serves: 8
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 2-3 links Italian sausage $1.99
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 1 small onion $0.52
  • 8 oz. button mushrooms $1.99
  • 1 (28oz.) can crushed tomatoes $1.00
  • 1 tsp dried basil $0.10
  • 1 tsp dried oregano $0.10
  • 4 cups vegetable broth $0.52*
  • 1 lb. rigatoni $1.89
  • ¼ cup parmesan $0.41
  • handful fresh parsley (optional) $0.23
  1. Add the olive oil and sausage links to a large pot and cook over medium heat until they are browned on the outside and firm enough to slice into rounds. Remove the sausage from the pot with tongs, slice into rounds, then return them to the pot and cook for a few minutes more, or until fully browned.
  2. While the sausage is cooking, slice or mince the garlic and slice or dice the onion (depending on how big you want your pieces). Slice the mushrooms.
  3. Once the sausage is browned, add the crushed tomatoes, onion, garlic, mushrooms, basil, and oregano to the pot. Stir to combine and to dissolve any browned bits off the bottom of the pot.
  4. Add the vegetable broth and pasta, then stir to combine. Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to high, and bring it to a rapid boil. As soon as it reaches a full boil, give it a stir, replace the lid, turn the heat down to low. Let the pot simmer on low for 15 minutes. Stir it every five minutes or so while it's simmering. Make sure it's simmering (bubbling) the whole time. If it is not, turn the heat up slightly.
  5. After 15 minutes of simmering, the pasta should be tender and most of the liquid should be absorbed. If there is still too much liquid, let it simmer without a lid for a couple more minutes. Stir in the parmesan and top with fresh chopped parsley, if desired.
*I use Better Than Bouillon brand soup base to make my broth.


One Pot Sausage & Mushroom Pasta


Step by Step Photos

Italian Sausage

I had some leftover Italian sausage in my freezer that needed to get used up, so that was the basis for this recipe. I had used half of this 19 oz. package previously and had the remaining 2.5 links left. You can use 2 links, you can use 3 links, or you can just use the whole package (5 links). It’s up to you!

Cook Sausage

First you need to cook the sausage a bit to make it firm enough to slice into rounds. Just put it in a big pot with 2 Tbsp of olive oil and cook over medium until it’s nice and brown on the outside (about 5 minutes).

Slice Sausage

Then remove it to a cutting board and slice it into rounds. It’s not completely cooked through yet, but that’s okay because it’s going right back into the pot…

Brown Sausage

Cook it a little more or until the sausage has browned and there is a nice golden coating on the bottom of the pot (that’s where the flavor is at!).

Slice Vegetables

While the sausage is cooking, slice your vegetables (1 small onion, 2 cloves of garlic, 8 oz. mushrooms). You can slice or dice the onion and slice or mince the garlic, depending on how big you want the pieces to be in the finished dish. They both cook down considerably, so I left them in slices.

Sauce and vegetables

Once the sausage has browned, add one 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes, the sliced onion, mushrooms, and garlic. Also add 1 tsp dried oregano and 1 tsp dried basil. Give this mixture a good stir to dissolve the browned bits off the bottom of the pot.

Broth and Pasta

Finally, add 4 cups of vegetable broth and one pound of rigatoni. Stir to combine.


Cover the pot and turn the heat up to high. Let the pot come to a full, rapid boil. Once it reaches a full boil, give it a stir to loosen any pasta that might be sticking, replace the lid, and turn the heat down to low. Let the pot simmer on low for 15 minutes, giving it a stir every five minutes or so.

Cooked Pasta

After 15 minutes, the pasta should be tender and most of the liquid should be absorbed. If it’s still too liquidy for you, just let it simmer for a minute or two without the lid.

One Pot Sausage & Mushroom Pasta

Stir in 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan to add a little body to the sauce, then top with some fresh chopped parsley (optional).

One Pot Sausage & Mushroom Pasta

Super easy! And who doesn’t love pasta with red sauce? WHO? (I know, now I’ll get someone who says otherwise in the comments… ;) )

The post One Pot Sausage & Mushroom Pasta appeared first on Budget Bytes.

15 Apr 04:03

Strawberry-Pistachio Semifreddo

by Michelle

Strawberry Pistachio Semifreddo | #recipe #Easter

It’s Easter week! Depending on how early or late the holiday falls, it usually means I’m either still buried under blankets and half-hibernated, or I’m throwing open the windows and ushering in spring with open arms. We’ve had some fantastic weather here in Pittsburgh the last few days, which definitely calls for the latter. The appearance of warmth and sunshine also gets me in the mood for light and fresh desserts, and I can think of few things better than a dessert that combines fresh fruit and ice cream.

Strawberry Pistachio Semifreddo | #recipe #Easter

Semifreddo isn’t technically ice cream; it’s considered more of a frozen mousse, since it’s a combination of custard and whipped cream. However, frozen desserts are frozen desserts, and I can’t wait for my first big frozen custard with sprinkles this year. In the meantime, this dessert totally hit the spot.

A pseudo-custard is whipped until light and thick and then combined with soft whipped cream. Half of the mixture is combined with fresh strawberry puree, while the other half is folded into chopped pistachios.

Strawberry Pistachio Semifreddo | #recipe #Easter

I absolutely adore the combination of pistachios with fruit, and this frozen dessert highlights both the freshness of the strawberries and the flavor and texture of the pistachios. It really is spring perfection.

If you’re in the market for a light Easter dessert that is still full of flavor, I highly recommend this semifreddo. The best part is, you can make it days ahead of time and stash it in the freezer until you’re ready to serve it!

Strawberry Pistachio Semifreddo | #recipe #Easter

Get the Recipe:Strawberry-Pistachio Semifreddo

© Brown Eyed Baker

11 Apr 15:56

dark chocolate coconut macaroons

by deb

truffle-like dark chocolate macaroons

2014 has been mostly about the chocolate thus far, which is the kind of thing that happens when you outsource what-to-cook-next decisions to my husband and his Mini-Me. We bounced from Chocolate Hazelnut Linzer Hearts to Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake before landing on a Double Chocolate Banana Bread which, even a month later leads to the weekly “accidental” purchase of way more bananas that we’d ever eat, so we “have” to make more, no violins necessary. Thus, it would be easy to blame the boys in my family for what I did to an innocent coconut macaroon — that is, saddling it with not one but two types of chocolate, until it was intensely fudgy and brownie-like with an almost gooey center, seriously why aren’t you baking these yet? — but guys, this was all me.

grind the coconut
unsweetened chocolate wins

Because although I do not share my family’s perspective that if it’s not chocolate, it’s not worth eating, I feel adamant that if you’re going to eat chocolate, it should really, really taste like chocolate. And, pitifully, every chocolate coconut macaroon I’ve had, along with some other cookies that will no doubt cause you to storm out of here in disgust once and for all, failed this test.

dark chocolate coconut macaroon batter

... Read the rest of dark chocolate coconut macaroons on

© smitten kitchen 2006-2012. | permalink to dark chocolate coconut macaroons | 177 comments to date | see more: Chocolate, Coconut, Cookie, Gluten-Free, Passover, Photo

10 Apr 20:07

The Science of Happy Relationships

by Corey

What do we know today about happy relationships?

A lot actually.

This infographic from the happiness training app Happify sums up several important findings from studies on what makes couples happy.

For example, happy couples have 5 positive interactions for every negative one, versus the 0.8 positive interactions for every negative one that divorced couples go through.

And how about this tidbit:

When it comes to strengthening your relationship, studies show the most crucial factor is how you celebrate your partner’s good news. In one study, people who did this 3x a day for 1 week increased their happiness and felt less depressed afterwards.

Here’s to becoming happier.


The Science Behind a Happy Relationship | Happify

The Science of Happy Relationships is written by Corey from: Simple Marriage

31 Mar 04:01

Brownie Pudding

by Michelle

Brownie Pudding | #recipe

When I’m in the mood for dessert (which, who are we kidding, is every night), 99 times out of 100, I want chocolate. Sure, if there’s leftover cheesecake or pie, I’ll totally eat that, but otherwise, I’m definitely a chocolate-for-dessert gal. The richer, the better, and if it’s something that I can throw vanilla ice cream on top of, well, that’s the icing on the cake. Enter this baked chocolate dessert that’s part brownie, part pudding and completely decadent.

Get the Recipe:Brownie Pudding

© Brown Eyed Baker

30 Mar 14:01

Parsley Pesto Potatoes

by Beth M

I don’t want to rub it in your faces, but here in New Orleans SPRING IS HERE! That means that I want a lot of bright, vibrant flavors.

These roasted potatoes with parsley pesto are about as vibrant as vibrant flavor gets. They’re a great side for grilled meats (because spring = grilling season!) or you can warm them up and top them with a soft boiled egg like I did for breakfast this morning. You could even stir in a bit of mayonnaise for a pesto potato salad type dish and serve it along side sandwiches. However you serve them, they’re a side dish that is seriously bursting with flavor thanks to the garlic, lemon, and Parmesan cheese.

I used my budget version of pesto for this recipe. Instead of fresh basil I used fresh parsley. Sure, the flavor is very different but it still gives it that nice pop of fresh green flavor. I also skipped the nuts and went light on the olive oil. The fresh garlic gives the pesto a really great spicy bite and the fresh lemon adds a tart zing. It’s a pretty bare bones version of pesto, but OMG, it still has tons of flavor! (you may want a breath mint afterwards, raw garlic can be harsh).

Parsley Pesto Potatoes

Parsley Pesto Potatoes

5.0 from 1 reviews
Parsley Pesto Potatoes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Total Cost: $4.84
Cost Per Serving: $0.81
Serves: 6 (1/2 lb. each)
  • 3 lbs. small Yukon Gold potatoes $2.29
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil $0.08
  • Salt & Pepper $0.05
  • 1 bunch flat leaf parsley $0.75
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled $0.16
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan $0.82
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (about ½ lemon) $0.35
  • ¼ tsp salt $0.02
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 1 Tbsp water $0.00
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the potatoes into one inch cubes. Place the potatoes in a large bowl and toss with the vegetable oil until well coated.
  2. Cover one or two baking sheets with foil and coat lightly with non-stick spray. Spread the potatoes out over the sheets so that they are in a single layer and not piled on top of one another (you may need two baking sheets if your sheets are smaller). Season lightly with salt and pepper, then roast in the oven for 45 minutes or until golden brown and crispy on the edges.
  3. Meanwhile, rinse the parsley with cool water and shake off as much excess water as possible. Tear the leaves from the stems and place them in the bowl of a food processor (it's okay if some of the stems get in, you don't have to be very precise). Also add the Parmesan, salt, lemon juice, and peeled garlic. Pulse the mixture until it is finely chopped.
  4. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and slowly add the olive oil through the chute while pulsing. Scrape down the sides again and add one tablespoon of water while pulsing. The pesto should be a thick, almost creamy texture at this point. Taste the pesto and adjust the oil, salt, and lemon according to your liking (depending on the size of your parsley bunch, you may need to adjust the other ingredients).
  5. Once the potatoes are golden brown and crispy, remove them from the oven and transfer them to a bowl. Serve the pesto spooned over top or toss the potatoes in the pesto until they are fully coated.


Parsley Pesto Potatoes


Step by Step Photos

Cubed Potatoes

Cut 3 lbs. of Yukon Gold potatoes into one inch cubes. You can use a different variety of potatoes, but I like the dense, waxy texture of Yukon Gold for this.

Seasoned Potatoes

Toss the potatoes with 2 Tbsp of vegetable oil until they are well coated. Spread them out over a baking sheet that has been covered in foil and lightly coated with non-stick spray. Make sure the potatoes are not piled on top of one another. You may need two baking sheets if your sheets are on the smaller side. Even though the potatoes are coated in oil, that thin layer of non-stick spray really helps to keep them from sticking. Trust me. Season them lightly with salt and pepper (just sprinkle some on top, no measuring needed). Roast these potatoes in a preheated 400 degree oven for 45 minutes.

Pesto 1

While the potatoes are roasting, you can make the pesto. Rinse one bunch of flat leaf parsley, then shake off as much of the water as possible. Pull the leaves from the stems and place them in the bowl of a food processor (I use this one). You don’t have to be super picky about getting the leaves off of the stem – it’s okay if some stems make it in the bowl. Also add 1/2 cup Parmesan, 2 cloves of garlic (peeled), 2 Tbsp lemon juice, and 1/4 tsp salt.

Pesto 2

Pulse that mixture until it is finely chopped. (OMG it looks so good already). Scrape down the sides with a spatula.

Pesto 3

Add 2 Tbsp of olive oil through the chute as you pulse. I wanted my pesto a little bit runnier, so I also added a tablespoon of water. You can add more oil if you’d like, but this method kept the cost down a bit. It also produces a sharper, more pungent flavored pesto. Oil helps mellow the flavors some.

Roasted Potatoes

After 45 minutes, the potatoes will be golden brown and crispy on the edges. Transfer them to a bowl.

Parsley Pesto Potatoes

You can either serve the pesto spooned over top like this…

Parsley Pesto Potatoes

Or toss the potatoes until they’re fully coated in the pesto. I had some leftover pesto, but it DEFINITELY won’t go to waste. You can use it as a sandwich spread, add it to an individual pizza, or just dip some things (anything) in it!

The post Parsley Pesto Potatoes appeared first on Budget Bytes.

17 Mar 16:33

double chocolate banana bread

by deb

double chocolate banana bread

I have a theory that Mondays are for repentance, for undoing whatever damages to your liver, psyche or saddlebags you’ve done over the weekend. They’re for getting back on the gym horse, resuming those eight daily glasses of water, and going to bed early. They’re for kale salad; they are not for chocolate cake. But, guys, those bananas that are one day from fruit flies are not going to eat themselves, and they must be addressed, which brings us to this.

what you'll need
mashed bananas

I joked earlier this year that I had a new mantra to address all future cooking indecisions: WWAE (What Would Alex Eat?), because my husband rarely chooses wrong. Thus far, it’s had spectacular effects: hazelnut-nutella linzer hearts, a chocolate-peanut butter cheesecake, and a dijon and cognac beef stew. (Don’t worry; my interests haven’t been fully occluded, see also: fennel and blood orange salad and stuck-pot rice — you know I can hear you snoring, right? — oh, right, and morning bread pudding with salted caramel.) And for years, he’s been angling me to put chocolate in my banana bread. “But why?” I’d demand to know. “Banana bread is perfect the way it is. Can’t there be one dessert that’s not improved by the addition of chocolate?”

melted butter

... Read the rest of double chocolate banana bread on

© smitten kitchen 2006-2012. | permalink to double chocolate banana bread | 380 comments to date | see more: Bananas, Chocolate, Everyday Cakes, Photo

02 Mar 07:37


01 Mar 11:23

Rainy day excerpt: Best Women’s Erotica 2014

by Violet Blue

I hope those of you who have read my new book are enjoying it, and each of its vivid, arousing, and complex time-capsule stories. But if you haven’t picked up or borrowed a copy of Best Women’s Erotica 2014, I hope you do and that you love it as much as I continue to, three months after publication. (I keep revisiting the stories, and am still stunned by the talent and richness imparted by the authors I got to work with).

The unbiased, independent review by Peep Scoop managed to both win my admiration as an editor by unpacking the male characters in Best Women’s Erotica 2014, but also won my attention as a new fan of their reviews with a writeup that is a compelling and clever read on its own.

What I like about collection as a whole, is how many of the women demand what they want and aren’t afraid to speak their own truths, define their own boundaries, and get what they want—while remaining vulnerable enough to easily identify with.

“Monsoon Season” tickles the part of me who is obsessed with the paperboy scene in A Streetcar Named Desire (the play, not the film). Not for narrative similarities but for the arrangement of power. An older woman and her young submissive and feelings and age and all the things that both tend to complicate our relationships and provide the tension which makes them so sexy all at the same time.

What struck me overall were the male characters in Best Women’s Erotica 2014. Where insecure, “I’m-so-broken-and-tormented-please-fix-me-but-you-can’t” male archetypes abide in mainstream romance and erotica, BWE offers male characters who are assured, curious, vulnerable, and mindful. They also manage to escape the bland generalizations that sometimes occur when authors try to create good, feminist male characters. Some are submissive, others dominant, some blending these designations, others trying new things, speaking up for what they want but feel ashamed about. These characters make for a really refreshing read. (…read more,

Sex blog Kinkly recently published a story from the collection, Nyotaimori. It seems like a perfect treat on this rainy day (it’s -finally- raining here in San Francisco, buckets). Even if it’s not raining where you are, I recommend snuggling up under the duvet today with this sublime little treat. Pretend it’s raining, pretend the rug is lava, just imagine any reason at all to lose yourself into Rose De Fer’s exquisite short story, and I promise you won’t regret it:

I am lying as I have been trained. On my back, perfectly still. My knees are bent, my legs open and rotated out to the sides by 180 degrees. My feet are pressed together, sole to sole. Red silk ropes bind my ankles and wind gracefully around my knees to where they are fastened underneath the table, keeping me open, exposed. My arms are crossed in the small of my back and bound beneath me. The position forces my back to arch, pushing my chest up and out.

I feel like a butterfly, pinned and displayed for a discriminating collector. A connoisseur. They have given us all Japanese flower names and I am secretly pleased with mine: Oniyuri. It’s the word for tiger lily, my favorite flower.

The table beneath me is warm, but the food presented on my naked skin is not. A rainbow of sashimi is fanned across my belly: salmon, tuna, mackerel and yellowtail. Across my ribs is an array of sushi. Between my breasts are cuts of eel, drizzled with rich teriyaki sauce. And carefully arranged around my nipples are clutches of salmon roe, the eggs vibrant and bursting. Soft purple orchids frame my sex, and in the diamond formed by my spread and angled legs is a painted flask of warm sake.

I breathe slowly, shallowly, so as not to disturb the presentation of food. The smell is intoxicating and I long for a bite of fish, the tingle of ginger and wasabi on my tongue. But for now I am merely a decoration, an attractive display for the artfully arranged delicacies. In other rooms, other girls are bound as I am, their bodies serving the same erotic aesthetic. From somewhere I can hear the melancholy notes of a shamisen being played by one of the hostesses.

I feel the cool touch of Ayame’s fingers as she gently lifts the flask from between my legs. My body heat has warmed the sweet wine and I close my eyes, listening to the soft splash as she fills each guest’s cup. The sleeve of her silk kimono brushes my skin as she moves past me. When she is done she replaces the flask, pressing it firmly up against my sex.

(…read the whole story,

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01 Mar 05:01

The Weekend Dish: 3/1/2014

by Michelle

Happy Saturday, and Happy March!

As the saying goes, it appears as though March is going to come in like a lion this year. We’re supposed to get a bear of a storm tomorrow and Monday, and I won’t lie… I’m going to hunker down with my fleece blanket and enjoy what will likely be the last big snow of the year. I absolutely love the whole notion of “seasons” and love living somewhere that gets to experience all four in totality. As a result, I totally embrace each and every one of them, including the blustery cold and snow storms. Stay safe and keep cozy if you’re getting bad weather this weekend!

As always, you’ll find a recap of what was posted to the site this week as well as some bookmarked recipes from other blogs. Enjoy!

On Brown Eyed Baker This Week

Fluffernutter Milkshake – A recreation of a fantastic milkshake that I had at a local burger and shakes joint. Peanut butter, marshmallow creme, Nutter Butters and vanilla ice cream!

Fluffernutter Milkshake

Double Vanilla Ice Cream Cake – My Chief Culinary Consultant’s birthday cake, complete with a chocolate fudge frosting.

Double Vanilla Ice Cream Cake | #recipe

Paczki (Polish Doughnuts) – I celebrated Fat Thursday with traditional Polish paczki – jam-filled doughnuts rolled in powdered sugar.


8 Favorite Mardi Gras Recipes – A roundup of my favorite recipes on the site for celebrating Mardi Gras; Fat Tuesday is right around the corner!

8 Favorite Mardi Gras Recipes

Friday Things – Puppy snuggles, Buzzfeed quizzes, the Oscars, not playing with Barbies, and a few more things…

Friday Things

Most Viewed Post This Week: Top 10 List: Favorite Cupcake Recipes

Most Pinned Post This Week: Paczki (Polish Doughnuts)

Most Facebook Shared Post This Week: Guinness, Whiskey & Irish Cream Cupcakes

Most Emailed Post This Week: Guinness, Whiskey & Irish Cream Cupcakes

Most Tweeted Post This Week: Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

What I Bookmarked This Week

Recipes and posts from other blogs that I thought looked especially delicious and that I thought you would like, too:

Beignets Tiramisu with Chocolate Ganache (Half Baked Harvest)
This is a show stopper of a dessert if I’ve ever seen one. Absolutely stunning presentation!

Big Soft M&M Cookies (Pinch of Yum)
I firmly believe that everyone needs at least one “big soft” cookie recipe in their arsenal; this one looks fantastic. Plus… M&Ms!

Coconut Cake (Cooking Classy)
Such a beautiful cake for springtime and a perfect Easter dessert.

Pina Colada Cheesecake (Blahnik Baker)
This cheesecake has me daydreaming about the beach :)

Roasted Mushroom and Gruyere Toasts (Two Peas and Their Pod)
Total comfort foods. Sometimes you just want some toast and melted cheese. (At least, sometimes I do!)

Have a delicious weekend!

26 Feb 05:01

Paczki (Polish Doughnuts)

by Michelle

Paczki [Polish Doughnuts] | #recipe #FatTuesday #MardiGras

I first heard of paczki last year around the beginning of Lent, and noticed them at the grocery store around the same time. I did a little digging and found that they are Polish pastries similar to a jelly doughnuts and that they are traditionally made and eaten on Fat Tuesday and Fat Thursday, which I didn’t even know existed! Apparently, Fat Thursday is a traditional Christian feast marking the last Thursday before Lent. Traditionally, it is a day dedicated to eating, when people meet with friends and family to eat large quantities of sweets, cakes and other meals forbidden during Lent. I couldn’t really find anything that spelled out a discernible difference between Fat Tuesday and Fat Thursday, except that it seems certain regions and religions tend to celebrate one or the other. The concept is definitely the same – indulge as much as possible right before Lent!

Now, back to the paczki… The difference between these and a basic doughnut is that paczki are made with a very rich, sweet yeast dough consisting of eggs, butter and milk. Sort of like a brioche doughnut, only better, if you can imagine!

Paczki [Polish Doughnuts] | #recipe #FatTuesday #MardiGras

I made a mental note of paczki last year and definitely wanted to make them when the time rolled around again, and here we are! Tomorrow is Fat Thursday and Fat Tuesday is just around the corner. Let’s get frying!

Paczki [Polish Doughnuts] | #recipe #FatTuesday #MardiGras

When I started to poke around for recipes, I called my grandma (who is 100% Polish) to see if she had a recipe for paczki. Sadly, she did not, but said that her mom used to make them. Bummed, I started Googling “paczki recipe” and then got smart and revised it to “grandma’s paczki recipe”. I wanted something really authentic and I found more than a handful of recipes originating with someone’s grandma. While all of the ingredients were the same, the quantities and methods varied from recipe to recipe, so I hacked together what I thought sounded delicious and started on my way.

Paczki [Polish Doughnuts] | #recipe #FatTuesday #MardiGras

The most traditional paczki recipes call for filling the doughnuts with fruit preserves or prune butter, while others said their grandma never used a filling. Some say they must be rolled in powdered sugar, while others say they had always been rolled in granulated sugar. I did a batch of each: filled/powdered, filled/granulated, unfilled/powdered, and unfilled/granulated. For the filled ones, I did half raspberry and half apricot preserves.

Paczki [Polish Doughnuts] | #recipe #FatTuesday #MardiGras

My Chief Culinary Consultant and I taste tested all of them and both came to the conclusion that the unfilled ones rolled in granulated sugar were the bee’s knees. Jelly doughnuts were never my thing, so I wasn’t surprised that I preferred the unfilled ones. As for the sugar coating, both tasted good, but I love the crunch of granulated sugar on the outside of a doughnut. So hard to beat it!

If you’re planning to celebrate Fat Thursday tomorrow, or Fat Tuesday next week, you neeeeeed to make paczki part of your menu!

Paczki [Polish Doughnuts] | #recipe #FatTuesday #MardiGras

One year ago: Sesame Chicken and Macadmia Nut, Coconut & White Chocolate Blondies
Two years ago: Beer Battered Cod and Capirotada (Mexican Bread Pudding)
Three years ago: Grilled Fish Tacos and Fig, Date and Almond Granola Bars

Paczki (Polish Doughnuts)

Yield: About 20 to 24 paczki

Prep Time: 2 hours

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Traditional Polish paczki - yeasted doughnuts filled with fruit preserves and rolled in sugar, popular on Fat Thursday and Fat Tuesday.


2 cups whole milk, warmed to 110 degrees F
4½ teaspoons active dry yeast (2 packages)
¾ cup + 1 pinch granulated sugar, divided
5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 egg
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1¼ teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Peanut oil, canola oil or lard, for frying
Fruit preserves, for filling
Powdered and granulated sugars, for coating


1. Pour warm milk into bowl of a stand mixer. Stir in the yeast and a pinch of granulated sugar. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes, or until it has become bubbly.

2. Add 2 cups of flour to the mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until a smooth batter forms. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm spot for 30 minutes. The mixture should have risen and be very bubbly.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg and egg yolks until pale yellow and frothy, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar, vanilla extract and salt, and whisk until combined and smooth.

4. Attach the dough hook to the mixer, add the egg mixture to the dough and mix on medium-low speed until mostly combined. Add the melted butter and mix to combine. Gradually add 3 more cups of flour to the mixture and continue to knead until a very soft dough comes together. (It will not clean the sides of the bowl or form a ball; it will be rather slack and a bit sticky.) If necessary, add up to another 1 cup of flour, a spoonful at a time, until the dough forms.

5. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set in a warm spot until it has doubled in size.

6. Remove the dough from the bowl and turn out onto a floured work surface. With your fingers, push down the dough into an even layer. Sprinkle flour on the dough and roll it out to ½-inch thickness. If the dough doesn't hold its shape and springs back, cover with a damp towel and let rest for a few minutes and try again.

7. Use a 3-inch biscuit cutter to cut out rounds of dough. Transfer the dough rounds to parchment-lined baking sheets. Gather scraps of dough and again roll out and cut until you have used up all of the dough. Cover the baking sheets loosely with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft-free spot until almost doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

8. Meanwhile, heat at least 1½ inches of oil in a heavy-bottomed pot or deep skillet (I used a 12-inch cast iron skillet) over medium heat to 350 degrees F. Carefully lower about six paczki into the oil at a time (be sure not to over-crowd the pan) and fry until the bottom is golden brown. Carefully turn them over and continue to fry until the other side is golden brown. Use a spider strainer or slotted spoon to remove them to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain. Allow the oil to come back to temperature, then repeat until all of the paczki have been fried.

9. Allow the paczki to cool until you are able to handle them easily. Using a filling tip, pipe fruit preserves into the sides of the paczki, then roll in sugar. The paczki are best the same day they are made, but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

20 Feb 05:01

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

by Michelle

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake | #recipe

Anyone who grew up in the 1980′s has at some point consumed a cookie cake, am I right? They definitely weren’t the typical go-to for birthday cakes, so when they made an appearance, everyone was insanely excited. One of my aunts, in particular, had a definite thing for them, so anytime one of my cousins had a birthday, I knew we would be eating cookie cake. It’s amazing how one gigantic chocolate chip cookie can incite so much giddiness in a bunch of kids. I have a feeling it’s less about the cookie, and more about the notion of something different and out of the ordinary. That is the same reason I still love cookie cakes as an adult!

I haven’t had one in years, but within a week’s time, I had a reader email me to ask if I had a recipe for one, and one of my best friends texted me to ask me the same question. It felt like the universe was trying to tell me that it would be a good time to make a chocolate chip cookie, so I obliged.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake | #recipe

I immediately thought of my favorite chocolate chip cookie that doesn’t require the dough to be refrigerated (thick and chewy chocolate chip cookies), but they tend to be a bit on the ooey and gooey side. While that’s absolutely perfect for cookies, it wouldn’t work as well for a “cake” that needs to be sliced and served. After slightly increasing the flour and adding playing around with baking powder and baking soda, I had a perfect combination of flavor and sturdiness.

You could serve this plain, with ice cream, or decorate the top with some buttercream icing for a party. Or you could do what I did – keep slicing off a little sliver at a time until it’s ALL.GONE. When it comes to food, I’m definitely still a kid at heart.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake | #recipe

One year ago: DIY: Homemade Nutella
Two years ago: Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Three years ago: White Chocolate-Coconut Brownies
Four years ago: Oven-Fried Onion Rings with Dipping Sauce
Six years ago: Chicken and Dumplings
Seven years ago: Maple-Hazelnut Oatmeal

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 to 25 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Who doesn't love a throwback chocolate chip cookie cake?!


2¼ cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan, then line the bottom with a round of parchment paper; set aside.

2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.

3. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and sugars together until thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed just until combined. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the chocolate chips.

4. Turn the dough out into the prepared cake pan and use your fingers to press into an even layer. Bake until the cookie cake is light golden brown and the outer edges have started to harden, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and plan the pan on a wire rack to cool completely. Use a metal spatula to loosen the sides of the cake from pan, then turn it out and place on a serving plate or platter. Serve or decorate as desired. Leftovers should be wrapped in plastic wrap and kept at room temperature for up to 5 days.

19 Feb 05:01

Cheesy Lasagna Bolognese

by Michelle

Cheesy Lasagna Bolognese | #recipe #pasta

So far this week, we’ve talked legendary meat sauce and fresh, homemade pasta. Now I’m throwing the two together, along with a béchamel sauce and lots of cheese, and turning it into a fabulous lasagna.

I have a confession. It wasn’t until a short time ago that I found out there was a difference between regular lasagna and lasagna bolognese. In my estimation, most “regular” lasagna recipes include layers of ricotta filling, along with sauce and some mozzarella cheese. By contrast, lasagna bolognese does not use ricotta, but instead layering noodles with a chunky meat sauce, a béchamel sauce and some additional cheese.

As it turns out, I spent the better part of my life eating lasagna bolognese. On the Sundays that my grandma served up lasagna, it never, ever had ricotta cheese in it; in fact, I was surprised the first time I had lasagna somewhere other than my grandma’s and I found ricotta! Her lasagna was a simple layering of whatever sauce she had simmered that particular day, noodles, and lots and lots of cheese. We all loved it and happily devoured it. While I will gladly eat a lasagna with ricotta, I have a large soft spot in my heart for lasagna made without it, especially when I found out this sans-ricotta version usually includes a creamy béchamel sauce. Be still my beating heart… This lasagna was made for me!

Cheesy Lasagna Bolognese | #recipe #pasta

I was all sorts of inspired after seeing a recipe for this extra cheesy classic homemade lasagna over on Half Baked Harvest. I seriously wanted to jump through the screen and eat lasagna for days on end. I used her cheesy béchamel sauce and paired it with my father-in-law’s meat sauce, homemade pasta, and lots of cheese!

It made a perfect Friday night dinner and I gobbled up the leftovers for days. While you can certainly make this with store-bought lasagna noodles, there is such a difference in the taste and texture of fresh, homemade pasta. It just melds right into the sauces and the cheese; pasta perfection.

Cheesy Lasagna Bolognese | #recipe #pasta

I wish I could have served this up to my grandma; I have no doubt she would have finished every last bite.

Don’t forget to grab a fresh loaf of crusty Italian bread to serve alongside the lasagna. I couldn’t imagine a pasta dish without a fresh piece of bread to wipe up all of the leftover sauce on the plate :)

Cheesy Lasagna Bolognese | #recipe #pasta

One year ago: Jewish Rye Bread
Two years ago: Creole Shrimp and Grits
Three years ago: Blueberry Bagels
Four years ago: Pumpkin Scones with Spiced Glaze
Five years ago: Ham and Split Pea Soup
Six years ago: Almost Fudge Gateau

Cheesy Lasagna Bolognese

Yield: About 8 servings

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

A wonderfully cheesy lasagna made with alternating layers of meat and béchamel sauces.


For the Béchamel Sauce:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2½ cups milk
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup shredded provolone cheese
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste

5 cups your favorite meat sauce
1 pound lasagna noodles (fresh or store-bought)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided


1. Make the Béchamel Sauce: In a medium saucepan placed over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until the flour turns light brown and emits a nutty aroma. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly. Once all of the milk has been incorporated, whisk in the nutmeg, and allow the mixture to come to a simmer. Once simmering, cook for 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat, and add the shredded provolone a handful at a time, stirring until it melts. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper, then set aside and let cool to warm room temperature.

2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

3. Assemble the Lasagna: Spread 1 cup of the meat sauce on the bottom of a 9x13-inch pan. Place noodles in a single layer on top of the sauce (if you are using store-bought lasagna noodles, this should be 3 noodles; if you made fresh pasta, you'll probably use 2 sheets and can cut to fit as needed). Spread 1¼ cups of the meat sauce over the noodles. Drizzle one-quarter of the béchamel sauce over the meat sauce. Sprinkle ¼ cup Parmesan cheese and ¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese over the béchamel sauce.

4. Place another layer of noodles on top of the cheese. Top with another 1¼ cups of meat sauce, a quarter of the béchamel sauce, ¼ cup Parmesan cheese and ¼ cup shredded mozzarella.

5. Place another layer of noodles on top of the cheese. Top with another 1¼ cups of meat sauce, half of the remaining béchamel sauce, ¼ cup Parmesan cheese and ¼ cup shredded mozzarella.

6. Place the final layer of noodles on top of the cheese. Pour the remaining béchamel sauce over the noodles and sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup Parmesan cheese and ¼ cup shredded mozzarella.

7. Cover the lasagna with a piece of aluminum foil that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake, covered, for 1 hour. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let stand for 15 minutes before serving. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Note: This lasagna can be assembled, covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days before baking. It can also be frozen for up to 1 month. If the lasagna was cold, bake it covered for an additional 15 to 30 minutes, checking to ensure it is heated the whole way through.

[Recipe adapted from Half Baked Harvest]

17 Feb 23:39

One Pot Beef & Mushroom Stroganoff

by Beth M

Guess what time it is? Comfort-food-o’clock!

This is yet another “better than the box” meal. It’s like hamburger helper stroganoff, but homemade. And guess what? It’s still super fast, easy, and requires only one pot.

I used half ground beef and half mushrooms just for fun (the beef was actually less expensive per pound than the mushrooms), but you could do all mushroom or all beef if your heart so desires. If you’re doing a vegetarian version with all mushrooms, you can use mushroom or vegetable broth to replace the beef broth.

So, let’s just get straight to it because I’ve got some delicious, creamy, and savory noodles waitin’ for me in the kitchen!

(please excuse the blurry pics, it was super dark and rainy the day I made this.)

One Pot Beef & Mushroom Stroganoff

Beef & Mushroom Stroganoff

4.7 from 30 reviews
One Pot Beef & Mushroom Stroganoff
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Total Cost: $6.21
Cost Per Serving: $1.55
Serves: 4 (about 1 cup each)
  • 2 Tbsp butter $0.24
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • ½ lb. ground beef $1.94
  • 8 oz. fresh button mushrooms $1.99
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour $0.01
  • 2 cups beef broth $0.30*
  • 8 oz. wide egg noodles $0.90**
  • ⅓ cup sour cream $0.67
  1. Mince the garlic. Add the garlic and butter to a large pot or skillet and sauté for one to two minutes over medium heat, or until the garlic is soft and fragrant. Add the ground beef and continue to sauté until it is fully browned.
  2. While the beef is browning, slice the mushrooms. Once the beef has browned, add the sliced mushrooms and continue to sauté until they are soft. Add the flour and sauté for about two minutes more. The flour will coat the bottom of the pot and this is okay.
  3. Add the beef broth to the pot and stir to dissolve the flour off of the bottom. Add the uncooked egg noodles. Place a lid on the pot and allow the liquid to come up to a boil. As soon as it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to low and allow the pot to simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the noodles are soft and most of the liquid has been absorbed (keep the lid on while simmering). You’ll need to stir every few minutes to prevent the noodles from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Make sure the liquid is simmering the entire time. If not, increase the heat slightly.
  4. Once the noodles are tender, stir in the sour cream. Serve hot.
*I use Better Than Bouillon brand soup base to make broth instead of buying canned or boxed broths.

**Using regular pasta instead of egg noodles may produce different results. Egg noodles are not quite as thick or heavy as regular pasta.


Beef & Mushroom Stroganoff


Step by Step Photos

Garlic and Butter

Begin by sautéing 2 cloves of minced garlic in 2 Tbsp of butter until soft (1-2 minutes). You can use a large pot or large skillet, as long as it is big enough to hold all of the pasta AND has a lid (the lid will be used later).

Brown Beef

Next, add the ground beef and continue to sauté until it is fully browned.

Slice mushrooms

While the beef is browning, slice the mushrooms. At my local grocery store they sell 8 oz. packages of whole or sliced mushrooms, both for the same price. I prefer to slice my own because the pre-sliced variety are too thick and you’ll get more mushroom pieces if you slice them thinner.


Once the beef is browned, add the mushrooms and continue to sauté until they are soft. Once the mushrooms are soft, add 2 Tbsp flour and continue to sauté for one to two minutes more. As you’re stirring and cooking, the flour will begin to coat the bottom of the pot. This is A-OK because it will dissolve off in the next step. Just make sure the heat is not so high that the flour begins to burn. That is bad.

Beef Broth

I know I sound like a big commercial for Better Than Bouillon, but it really is the best thing ever. It stays good in the fridge for almost forever and you can mix up as much or as little broth that you need at any given time. For this recipe, I mixed up 2 cups of broth.


Add the beef broth to the pot and stir until all of the flour is dissolved off of the bottom of the pot.

Uncooked Noodles

Add 8 oz. of uncooked wide egg noodles. Egg noodles have a different texture than regular pasta, so if you try to substitute regular pasta, you may get slightly different results. Place a lid on the pot and allow the broth to come up to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 10 minutes (with the lid in place), or until the noodles are tender and have absorbed most of the liquid. You’ll want to stir every few minutes to keep the pasta from sticking. Make sure the broth is simmering the whole time. If it stops, turn the heat up just a tad.

Cooked NoodlesAnd after about ten minutes, the pasta is fully cooked. If you notice in the previous picture, not all of the pasta is submerged in the broth. That’s okay because the lid traps the steam and helps cook the portions that are not submerged. Plus, stirring every few minutes makes sure that everything gets good exposure to the hot liquid. 

Sour Cream


Lastly, stir in 1/3 cup sour cream until the whole deal is nice and creamy and delicious. I used light sour cream because I barely notice the difference between regular and light, but I wouldn’t suggest using fat free.

Beef & Mushroom Stroganoff

And now it’s ready to devour! I added some chopped parsley just for the photo… brown pasta isn’t all that visually appealing, but once you taste it O.M.G!

The post One Pot Beef & Mushroom Stroganoff appeared first on Budget Bytes.

13 Feb 18:55

chocolate peanut butter cheesecake

by deb

chocolate peanut butter cheesecake

This birthday cake was assigned to the side of the family whose dessert preferences can be roughly summarized as chocolate + anything else, but if that “else” were cheesecake, coffee, peanut butter or raspberries, all the better, thank you very much. Non-chocolate desserts are regarded politely, like curiosities at a zoo; perhaps something another family might enjoy? Their dessert formula can be thanked for all sorts of archive wonders, such as the Chocolate-Caramel Cheesecake, Double Chocolate Layer Cake, Espresso Chiffon Cake with Fudge Frosting, Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake, Double-Chocolate Torte, Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake and Cappuccino-Fudge Cheesecake.

melted butter into chocolate crumbs
using a measuring cup to press in crumbs

And now this, too, which is like the last two cakes got together and made an even better version of themselves for the next generation. If you remember seeing this in the 2013 year-end roundup, it’s true, I did make it over six months ago, but nothing about summer through early winter screamed a cake that looks like a Reeses peanut butter cup to me. A blizzard on the day before Valentine’s Day? I say that since we’re inside anyway, bring it on.

ganache-whisking ombre

... Read the rest of chocolate peanut butter cheesecake on

© smitten kitchen 2006-2012. | permalink to chocolate peanut butter cheesecake | 260 comments to date | see more: Celebration Cakes, Chocolate, Peanut Butter

12 Feb 05:01

French Silk Chocolate Pie

by Michelle

French Silk Chocolate Pie | #recipe

I have had French silk pie on the brain for ages, but I kept hitting a roadblock on way to making it. Are you ready for this? You will absolutely, positively think I’m insane. For some reason, I had such a hard time getting past the combination of pie crust combined with chocolate. Am I nuts or what?! It seems as though I’ve compartmentalized desserts in my brain, and pie crust was reserved for things like fruit, pumpkin and pecans. Chocolate, on the other hand, was reserved for… everything other than pie crust? Seriously, I know it makes zero sense. However, the only chocolate-based pie I’ve made before (chocolate cream) had an Oreo crust. I just wasn’t sold that chocolate and traditional pie crust were a good combination.

Clearly, I was wrong. Very, very wrong.

French Silk Chocolate Pie | #recipe

As it turns out, buttery, flaky pie crust makes an absolutely phenomenal vessel for the velvety smooth chocolate filling. Truth be told, I could have eaten this pie filling with a spoon and just said to heck with filling the pie crust and letting it chill. I did purposefully leave a little leftover in the bowl so I could scrape it up with my finger ;-)

The other issue I had with all of the French silk pie recipes that I saw online was that most of them used raw eggs without any sort of tempering to bring them up to a safe temperature. I balked at this. I’m not one to shun from a few beater licks of raw cookie dough, but I just couldn’t get past completely raw eggs as the end product. I was thrilled when I saw this filling recipe from Cook’s Country that calls for heating the eggs to a safe 160 degrees F as part of the recipe. It helped appease my raw egg neurosis and the final product turned out so silky smooth that I can’t believe it lost anything to its raw counterpart.

French Silk Chocolate Pie | #recipe

I went from eyeing the pie crust/chocolate combination with a skeptical eye, and ended up trying to hoard the entire pie for myself. Lesson learned. Never second-guess anything when it involves pie crust or chocolate. I do believe that the silky texture of this pie is best enjoyed when served at room temperature, so if you have chilled the pie, I would let it sit out for 20 to 30 minutes before serving.

Please tell me I’m not the only one with crazy food combination issues!

French Silk Chocolate Pie | #recipe

One year ago: Red Velvet Poke Cake
Two years ago: Red Velvet Ice Cream
Three years ago: Conversation Heart Sugar Cookies
Four years ago: Creme Brûlée
Six years ago: Brown Sugar-Apple Cheesecake

French Silk Chocolate Pie

Yield: 10 to 12 servings

Prep Time: 3 hours 45 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes

A recipe for the classic French Silk Pie.


For the Pie Crust:
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled, cut into ¼-inch slices
¼ cup solid vegetable shortening, chilled, cut into 2 pieces
2 tablespoons vodka, chilled
2 tablespoons ice water

For the Filling:
1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 eggs
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into ½-inch pieces


1. Make the Crust: Process ¾ cups flour, salt, and sugar together in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process for 10 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds with some very small pieces of butter remaining, but there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl with a rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining ½ cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.

2. Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Flatten dough into 4-inch disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes (or up to 2 days).

3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. On a floured work surface, roll the dough into a 12-inch circle. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie plate and gently ease the dough into the pie plate. Leave any dough that overhangs the plate in place, wrap the dough-lined pie plate loosely in plastic wrap and refrigerate until the dough is firm, about 30 minutes.

4. Trim the overhang to ½-inch beyond the lip of the pie plate. Tuck the overhang under itself (the folded edge should be flush with the edge of the pie plate). Crimp the dough around the edges. Wrap the dough-lined pie plate loosely in the plastic and refrigerate until the dough is fully chilled and firm, about 15 minutes.

5. Line the chilled pie shell with a double layer of aluminum foil, being sure to cover the edges as well, and fill with pie weights. Bake until the pie dough looks dry and is pale in color, about 15 minutes. Remove the foil and the weights and continue to bake until the crust is a deep golden brown, 8 to 12 minutes longer. Transfer the pie plate to a wire rack and let the crust cool completely, about 1 hour.

6. Make the Filling: Pour the heavy cream into a large mixing bowl and whip on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to whip until stiff peaks form, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer the whipped cream to a small bowl and refrigerate until needed.

7. Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on 50% power in 30-second increments, stirring after each, until completely melted and smooth. Set aside.

8. In a large, heatproof bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and water. Beat the mixture on medium speed until pale yellow and thick, about 5 minutes. Set the bowl over a medium saucepan filled ½-inch of barely simmering water over low heat, and warm the mixture, stirring occasionally, until it reaches 160 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Remove the bowl from the heat and beat the mixture on medium speed until it is light and fluffy and cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes.

9. Add the melted chocolate and vanilla extract to the cooled egg mixture and beat until incorporated. Beat in the butter, a few pieces at a time, until well combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the whipped cream until no white streaks remain. Scrape the filling into the pie shell and refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours. Serve with fresh whipped cream. Leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 3 days.

(Recipe adapted from Best-Ever Recipes)

08 Feb 16:46

Sausage and Kale Skillet

by Beth M

Hooray for quick skillet dinners! This one is so fantastically easy that it kind of feels like cheating. Between the Italian sausage and marinara sauce, the dish has all of the seasoning built in, so you don’t even have to measure out any extra herbs or spices. You’re pretty much just heating it all together and then it’s ready to eat!

You can bulk this recipe out further and probably make about 6 decent sized servings by stirring in some cooked pasta (I’d use 1/2 lb. dry), or by spooning this mixture over a bed of rice. It’s a pretty filling mix of ingredients, so I just skipped both and ate it plain. Not a fan of chickpeas? White beans would probably be pretty awesome in this, too.

Want to try a vegetarian version? I think sautéed eggplant or mushrooms would be a great replacement for the sausage, but you’ll want to add a teaspoon or so of Italian seasoning blend to make up for the lost spices. You’ll also need a little olive oil to sauté them in. I really can’t wait to try it with eggplant!

Sausage & Kale Skillet

Kale & Sausage Skillet

4.9 from 7 reviews
Sausage and Kale Skillet
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Total Cost: $6.02
Cost Per Serving: $1.51
Serves: 4
  • ½ (19 oz.) package Italian Sausage $2.25
  • 1 bunch kale $0.99
  • 1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas $1.00
  • 1 cup marinara sauce $0.88
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella $0.90 (sale!)
  1. Squeeze the sausage from the casings into a large skillet (freeze the remaining links for later use). Cook the sausage over medium heat until fully brown. Break the sausage up into pieces as it cooks. It’s okay if it sticks to the bottom of the skillet a little as it cooks.
  2. While the sausage is cooking, remove the woody stems from the kale, then slice it crosswise into thin strips. Rinse the kale well, then add it to the skillet. Stir it into the sausage and continue to cook until it is fully wilted (this happens within a few minutes).
  3. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Add the chickpeas to the skillet and stir to combine. Pour the marinara sauce over the skillet, then top with the shredded cheese. Place a lid on the skillet and let it simmer until the cheese is melted (about 5-10 minutes).


Kale & Sausage Skillet

Step by Step Photos


This is all you need for this super quick skillet! I used only half of the sausage (the rest went in the freezer), half of the cheese, and about half of the jar of marinara. I used Lacinato kale (or dinosaur kale) because that’s what I had on hand. You can definitely use curly kale in its place with no modifications.

Brown Sausage

Squeeze half of the sausage into a large skillet and cook it over medium heat until fully browned. I didn’t add any extra oil to the skillet because sausage has quite a bit on its own. It’s okay if some of it sticks to the bottom of the skillet, it will dissolve off later.

Remove Stems

For most kale, the stem is super tough and woody, so you’ll want to remove them (especially for curly kale). Just take a sharp knife and run it along the stem to cut it out. Then, stack the leaves and cut across into thin strips.

Chop Kale

This particular bunch of kale had really soft stems, so I didn’t even bother removing them. Stack the leaves and cut across into strips. This will be slightly more difficult with curly kale because it’s so fluffy, but you can still do it. It’s easiest if you cut each leave into two long pieces when removing the stem. After chopping the kale, make sure to rinse it really, really well.

Wilt Kale

After the sausage has browned, stir in the kale. Continue to cook and stir until the kale has wilted. This happens pretty fast. It’s okay if the kale is still a little wet from rinsing. The water will turn into steam and help it wilt, plus it will help dissolve the browned bits of sausage off the bottom of the skillet.


Drain and rinse the chickpeas, then add them to the skillet.


Pour the marinara over top… (you can stir it in, if you want).

Melt Cheese

Lastly, sprinkle the shredded cheese over top, cover it with a lid, and let it simmer until the cheese has melted.

Kale & Sausage Skillet

And now it’s ready to eat! It may not be the prettiest dish in the world, but OMG is it ever flavorful and filling!

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