M2S in the Kitchen: Minestrone Soup

It’s Fall ya’ll!! Ok I’m not sure if I can really pull off saying ya’ll being the New Yorker that I am but I am so excited for the cooler temps! Although these days it’s more like sweater mornings and tank top afternoons! Either way there is a lot to look forward to and one of my favorite things about the Fall is Fall cooking! Mainly lots of soups, stews, and hearty food! 

Today I wanted to share with you one of my absolute favorite recipes and is pretty much a staple in this house. Minestrone soup! It’s chock full of veggies and so incredibly tasty! I’ve seen minestrone cooked a few different ways but this is a fool proof way to get a delicious warm bowl of goodness in your hands.  Now every once in awhile I like to be naughty and add some bacon. I mean why wouldn’t you add bacon to it? Bacon is an extremely flexible ingredient and often can be a major part of a recipe. In this case the bacon creates a beautiful base that saturates all of the veggies and gives it the perfect kick that it needs! 

The beauty of this recipe is that you can throw just about any vegetable that you have in your fridge into it! 

Minestrone Soup I Made2Style

I’m cooking for a crowd tonight so I’m doubling the recipe but here’s the normal one! 

2 cloves of garlic
2 large onions
2 celery stalks
2 large carrots
2 large potatoes
2 large handfuls of green beans
1 zucchini
1 yellow squash
2 tbsp butter
1/4 c. olive oil
2 strips of bacon
6 c. vegetable or chicken broth
2 tbsp. tomato paste
3 1/2 oz. small pasta (I use Ditalini)
salt and pepper
freshly grated parmesan cheese
Remember, you don’t have to use these specific veggies.  If you wanted to throw in some kale or white beans you absolutely could!

Instructions:

1. You’ll want to chop the garlic, onions, celery, carrots, potatoes, green beans, zucchini, squash and bacon.
Minestrone Soup I Made2Style
2. Heat the oil and butter together and then add the bacon.  These three work beautifully together to make a coating for all the veggies. Cook for about 2 minutes.Minestrone Soup I Made2Style

3. Add the garlic and onions and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the celery, carrots, and potatoes and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the beans, zucchini, and squash for 2 minutes.
Make sure you are mixing the veggies you add into the bacon butter goodness!
Cover the pan and cook all the veggies for 15 minutes.
Minestrone Soup I Made2Style
4. Add broth and tomato paste. Bring to a boil the lower the heat and simmer for 1 hour.

5. Add your pasta to the pan and cook for 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper.

6. Serve in a large bowl, because you’ll want a lot, and sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Minestrone Soup I Made2Style

Here are some links to some other favorite soups I love!

White Bean and Kale Soup
Carrot and Ginger Soup
Hearty Lentil Soup
Butternut Squash Soup

Let me know what you think if you give it a try! 

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Chipotle Shrimp Bowl

There is nothing like taking a bunch of fresh ingredients and toss them into a tasty bowl. This bowl does just that and also packs a good punch.  It’s one of my favorite go to meals and if you’re a fan of spicy food then you will love this! I’ve taken some tasty flavors and combined them to create a simple, quick and delicious meal you will love!

Chipotle Shrimp
 Ingredients include:

1lb. shrimp (peeled and deveined)
1 can of chipotles in sauce
1 can of black beans
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
a packet of frozen corn
cherry tomatoes
2 avocados
lime (for juice)
cilantro

Directions:

1. Throw the can of chipotles with sauce into a blender/food processor and liquify. Toss the sauce into a ziplock bag with your shrimp to marinate. Doesn’t need to marinate long at all. 
Chipotle Shrimp
2. In a small saucepan, put your corn, can of beans (rinsed), cumin and chili powder and cook on medium high.Chipotle Shrimp3.Cut up your avocados, cherry tomatoes and cilantro.
4. Take the shrimp out of the bag and cook through.
5. Toss everything into a bowl and squeeze the juice of one lime into it.

I usually throw it all on top of a bed of brown rice to make it a bit more hearty but if you want something light then you can just eat it as is!
Chipotle ShrimpIf you want to see more recipes you can check the tab at the top or if you’re on Instagram you can follow me HERE and check out the hashtag #M2Sinthekitchen for some inspiration! 

White Peach Sangria

Thank you all so much for the comments, emails and texts on our engagement! We have yet to make any official wedding plans as we are still enjoying the engagement for as long as we can! I’m currently working on a few projects around the house that I wanted to complete before the end of summer and now that we are nearing the end of July I know the time will fly! I must say though, it has been a fantastic summer so far! A few weeks ago on the 4th of July we went up to our friends house by the lake and enjoyed a great day of food, friends and fireworks.  Something else I did that day was have the most amazing sangria! When we talked about throwing a BBQ at the house last week I knew I had to recreate it so we reached out and got the recipe and I thought I would share it with you guys.  I mean you really can’t go wrong with a chilled glass of white wine and fruit! I should warn you though, this drink is dangerous.  It goes down real smooth and is beyond delicious! I made mine the day before so the fruit would have time to really release its juices into the liquor. Here’s what you’ll need:

4 bottles of Moscato wine
4 cans (48 ounces) of lemon-lime soda
1 cup Brandy
1 cup Peach Schnapps
2 fresh peaches (pitted and sliced)
2 mangos (peeled, seeded, and sliced)
1/2 pineapple (cut into chunks)
1 container of strawberries
1 container of raspberries

To make life easier you could always buy the pre-cut mangos and pineapples to save you some time.

White Peach SangriaWhite Peach SangriaWhite Peach Sangria

In a one gallon beverage dispenser add all your fruit and then pour in your liquor. 

White Peach SangriaGive it a little mix, store it in the fridge, and when your ready, enjoy! It’s great for BBQ’s, any outdoor party or even a fun ladies night! 
White Peach SangriaThink maybe now is a good time to throw a party? 😉

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Christmas 2014

Happy Holidays everyone!! What an amazing holiday season! It’s been jam packed and I feel like I’ve been going non stop but I love every second of it! My hope was to get a little Christmas tour going awhile ago but cloudy days and early sunsets made it almost impossible to get any shots and then time got the best of me. Believe it or not my decorations went up the day after Thanksgiving which has now become a tradition of mine.  I am not a colorful Christmas type of person, my colors consist of silver and gold. I kept the tree silver, white, and green for a second year. We also hosted Christmas this year. I love to cook so I was excited to host everyone at our house but we also decided to redo 3 rooms right before the day…what were we thinking! We gave the hall bath a makeover, the guest room got all new crown and base molding as well as casings around the windows/doors and the kitchen got a much needed paint job. Everything turned out great and now we can finally sit down and enjoy it all! I’ll of course be sharing all the details but for now let’s still enjoy a little of Christmas! 

A little entry table fun.

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I had attempted a Christmas craft by spraying these styrofoam balls with fake snow but when I forgot about them outside and then it rained they were ruined so I just threw them in the basket as is haha.

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The living room…

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Oh and just about the best smelling pine candle ever! Your entire house will smell like you’ve got a real tree! 

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My favorite part of this tree is how when it’s lit at night the twinkling lights reflect off of the windows to the left and right.

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The above photo proves you can’t have 3 cats and a tree skirt! 

For Christmas day we connected two tables since there were 10 of us and I went with a simple tablescape.  For dinner I made prime rib with a roasted garlic rub and a horse radish sauce, a mix of veggies that were roasted (carrots, parsnip, butternut squash, brussel sprouts, cauliflower), and hasselback potatoes. I sautéed garlic and then threw in about 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary and brushed the oil on the potatoes before tossing them in the oven…so good!  My dad also brought his lasagna. There was so much food, let’s just say after all the appetizers and dinner I’m not sure how anyone had any room for dessert! 

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And a daylight shot of the outside.

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DSC_0374I have to admit, the bright red on the wreaths outside has me thinking I might add some more in the house next year.  Hope you all enjoyed this holiday season and thank you so much for stopping by! 

{Recipe} Banana & Nutella Crepes

I love a good breakfast. Well, lunch too. And dinner. Ok, I just love food. It’s kinda ridiculous. But growing up my mom used to make crepes all the time and it wasn’t until I had a hankering for them that I realized just how super easy they are to make! The best thing about crepes is you can have them in a sweet way or a savory way.  There is a great crepes place by me that makes some great dishes like southwestern crepes or crepes with grilled salmon but today we are gonna look at the sweet side.  You most likely have all of these ingredients in your pantry right now.  I can not be held accountable if you make a huge batch and eat it all! 

crepes

Adapted from Basic Crepe Recipe

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1/2 – 3/4 cup water 

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter, melted

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and the eggs. Gradually add in the milk and water, stirring to combine. Add the salt and butter; beat until smooth. The thinner the batter the thinner your crepes will be so adjust the amount of water based on that.

Crepes Recipe

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each crepe. Tilt the pan with a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly.

Crepes Recipe

Crepes Recipe

Cook the crepe for about 2 minutes, until the bottom is light brown. Loosen with a spatula, turn and cook the other side. You’ll know when it’s time to flip when the edges start to curl up.

Crepes RecipeCook for another minute or so on the other side and you’re done. Now here comes the best part! While your crepe is still hot just smother it with nutella. Just typing that make me want a spoonful of it!

Crepes Recipe

Place your sliced bananas on next and then roll it up!

Crepes Recipe

Crepes RecipeFeel free to sprinkle some confectioners sugar on them or dip them into more nutella, you know whatever floats your boat.

Enjoy!!

Crepes Recipe

Beet & Feta Salad

I have had a love relationship with beets my whole life. 

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I remember first eating them at my aunt’s house when I was just a little girl.  My mom has always pickled beets and I swear I can eat the entire container. They aren’t your typical vegetable and if you’ve never tried them before I highly suggest you do! A popular way of serving beets is on a bed of lettuce with goat cheese but I personally despise goat cheese. I am a lover of all things cheese, the smellier the better but me and goat cheese just don’t get along. Something about eating cheese that smells like a petting zoo just doesn’t do it for me. Now if we are going to talk about cheese that I can eat with anything (and pretty much do) that would be feta. Saying I love feta would be an understatement. I have been eating feta probably since the moment I was able to eat solid foods! So when I was craving beets the other day I decided to roast some up with feta and made an orange and rice vingear dressing adapted from here.

I started by cutting the stems off of the beets and placing them in a shallow roasting pan that has been lined with kosher salt. The idea of salt roasting helps to keep the juices from the beets from oozing out.

IMG_0879Roast them for about an hour at a temperature of 425°. You’ll know they’re done when you place a fork in it and there is a bit of give. Once you’ve taken them out allow them to cool. When they have cooled down just add a tiny bit of pressure to the skin and it will peel right off.

IMG_0889Then chop these babies up in small chunks and make your dressing. For the dressing I used

3/4 cup orange juice
1 T. rice vinegar
zest of an orange
1 small shallot, minced
kosher salt
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

IMG_0888Pour it over your beets and enjoy!

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Pumpkin Cheesecake

You read it right. Not just your ordinary cheesecake…pumpkin cheesecake!! My favorite cheesecake of all!!! Growing up my uncle used to work for a baking company that made the most amazing cognac pumpkin cheesecake and every Thanksgiving it was all I looked forward to. Then he retired. Cue sad face. A few years later I came to find out that my local orchard, Outhouse sold the same exact cheesecake! While this was/is very exciting news I thought it was high time I figured out how to whip myself up the cake I have come to love. Now when you love something this much finding the right recipe is daunting! I searched and searched and it seemed that every recipe I found called for different ingredients. Some used allspice, some just nutmeg and cinnamon. Some used 4 packages of cream cheese, some 3. I decided to mix and match some recipes and thought if it didn’t taste right then I would try again. Lucky for me it was perfect! I am thrilled with how good it came out! So creamy and pumpkiny! The best part was it is very light. So light in fact you won’t feel guilty having more than 1 piece! I sure didn’t.

Now once I made the topping and cooled it overnight I pretty much devoured it before I snapped the picture of it whole! Luckily I was able to grab a slice shot before there was nothing left!

If you’re looking for a Thanksgiving dessert this year, trust me, this will be a winner at the table!