Category Archives: Ethnic Recipes

Beef Enchilada Tortilla Casserole for Game Day!

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Beef Enchilada Tortilla Casserole


It’s finally Fall (Yay!) and football season is in full force which means fun tailgating and parties with friends mixed with lots of delicious football party food and drinks! My favorite time of year.

Beef Enchilada Tortilla Casserole

I’ve partnered with Mission Foods to create a delicious Game Day recipe for serving a crowd with their awesome flour tortillas, and I present to you my Beef Enchilada Tortilla Casserole.

Beef Enchilada Tortilla Casserole


It’s made with ground beef and taco seasoning, onions, garliccorn, jalapeños, chopped tomatoes, beef broth and LOTS of cheese, all baked in layers of spicy, cheesy, ooey-gooey goodness with the flour tortillas in a 9-inch pie pan. Then it’s served cut into wedges and topped with some fresh green onions. You can also serve it with some sour cream and cilantro for extra garnish, if you like, on the side.

Beef Enchilada Tortilla Casserole


I love making casseroles and one-pot dishes in the Fall, and especially for parties with friends because they’re easy to make and easy to transport and serve, and they are usually a huge hit on the food table! This one will disappear fast so you might want to double the recipe for a big crowd – trust me!


I’m also hosting a giveaway for my readers to win 2 packs of Mission Foods Tortillas – all you need to do is leave a comment and your email below telling me how you would use the tortillas to make a delicious recipe for your Fall Football party! A winner will be chosen at random, and announced on my blog post on Sunday October 25th at 6 pm.

Beef Enchilada Tortilla Casserole

Hope you enjoy my super yum recipe and enter for a chance to win tortillas to make your party more delicious and fun too!

Mission Foods Football Party Food

Beef Enchilada Tortilla Casserole

Beef Enchilada Tortilla Casserole for Game Day!

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 6-8

Serving Size: 1 wedge

This Beef Enchilada Tortilla Casserole is a super easy and tasty dish to make for Football season! Made with Mission Foods flour tortillas, all layered with a spicy enchilada beef, mixed with onions, garlic, corn, tomatoes, broth and jalapeño and lots of cheese in the layers and on top! Garnished with scallions, sour cream and cilantro if desired...and DIG IN!


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 cup petite diced tomatoes and juice (or 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped
  • 4 large Mission Foods flour tortillas
  • 1 6-ounce package shredded Mexican Blend cheese (Colby, Monterey Jack and Cheddar)
  • 1-2 scallions, sliced, for garnish
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, for garnish (optional)
  • 2-3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped, for garnish (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground beef and onion to pan and cook for about 5-6 minutes until browned and crumbled.
  3. In a separate medium saucepan, melt the butter and sauce the garlic for 1 minute until lightly golden, sprinkle with flour and stir, cooking for 30 seconds.
  4. Add broth, taco seasoning, tomatoes, corn and jalapeños to the saucepan and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  6. Add 1 1/2 cups of the tomato-corn-jalapeno mixture to the cooked ground beef and onions in the large saute pan, mixing together and reserving the rest for the top layer of the casserole.
  7. In a 9-inch pie plate, place 1 tortilla on the bottom. Top with 1 cup of the beef mixture, and sprinkle with a layer of the shredded cheese. Repeat layers 2 more times, ending with the 4th tortilla on top.
  8. Spread the reserved tomato mixture over the tortilla and top with the rest of the shredded cheese.
  9. Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes until cheese is melted and golden.
  10. Let cool slightly, then cut into wedges and serve with sliced green onions, and sour cream and cilantro (if desired).


You can also substitute ground turkey or chicken for the ground beef. For a large crowd, I suggest doubling the recipe to make two casseroles as this one will disappear fast!

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Disclosure: I’m required to disclose a sponsored partnership between our site and Mission Foods. I have been compensated in exchange for this post in the form of payment, product or experiences. #spon


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Moussaka and Memories of Greece

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Greek Moussaka

Classic Greek Moussaka is one of the most popular Greek dishes, and a staple “comfort food” and main course meal in Greece (as Lasagna is in Italy). This tasty Greek dish is a culinary delight to those who sample it for the first time, and I experienced it when I went on a trip to the Greek Islands a few years ago for my birthday.

oia greece santorini

Some friends and I were in Santorini, a beautiful island in Greece in the Aegean Sea with pastel colors and gorgeous views, eating at a restaurant in Oia called Pelekanos, nestled up in the hills overlooking the sea.


The sun was setting, the relaxing music was playing softly in the background and the atmosphere was just perfect. The waiters graciously came over and attended to our every need, and made our dinner a spectacular night with their attention to detail not only in the food and wine, but our dining experience overall.


The table was elegantly set, with fine china, white tablecloths, crystal glasses and silverware with beautiful flowers as a centerpiece. The waiters filled our glasses with water and wine, lit the candles on the table and gave us recommendations of the specials and enlightened us on some of their popular Greek dishes on the menu.

Fava Bean Dip

As we joyously dined, they quickly cleared our plates when we were finished eating, filled our glasses when they were half full, and stood by the table a few feet away with a watchful, attentive eye, to let us know they were on stand by for service, but just far enough away to not be obtrusive on our dining experience.

table setting

They always had a smile on their faces and let us stay at the table long enough to enjoy our dinner, engage in great conversation, take photos of our food and engage in the gorgeous bright red sunset that was going down over the ocean as we sat and viewed it in awe. I felt like I was sitting in a little piece of heaven up there and never wanted to leave.


One of the most delicious dishes I ever tasted was the Moussaka, which I ordered that night. It was a perfect mixture of spicy meat at the bottom, layered with potatoes and tender eggplant, and tons of béchamel and gooey cheese on top. The vegetables were steaming as I dug into this gorgeous meat and vegetable pie – my mouth watered at the sight and smell of it. I became so obsessed with this luscious Greek dish that I decided I needed to make it for my big Greek birthday party when I got home from vacation.


Moussaka can be made in many variations, but the classic recipe uses layers of eggplant, potatoes, a spicy meat and tomato sauce with a touch of cinnamon and a rich and delicious béchamel sauce and bubbly kefalotyri cheese on top. Other variations are Moussaka with zucchini or artichokes instead of eggplant, ground lamb instead of ground beef, or vegetarian-style with zucchini, eggplant and potatoes without the meat. Either way you make it, with its warm and rich flavors and gooey cheese you’ll be hooked.

I made this recipe with zucchini and potatoes, and combined ground lamb with ground beef together. The combination of all the spices from the meat and seasonings soak into the vegetables and once you layer some creamy béchamel and gooey cheese on top, you’ve got yourself a delicious heartwarming dish. Be careful to pat dry the vegetables though before layering in the baking dish, as you don’t want the liquids to make the Moussaka too watery as they are cooked down in the oven.

You’ll need a lot of time and kitchen space to make this dish, and if you’re cooking for a crowd, you’ll be safe to double the recipe and make two large rectangular baking dishes of it, as it won’t last long. The flavors in this dish really improve if you 
make it a day ahead. It’s also a very filling dish, so you may want to serve it as the main course, and accompany it with a Greek Salad, some Stuffed Grape Leaves and Tzaziki for a light side dish along with some Garlic Lemon Hummus and grilled pita. Serve with a red Greek wine and a shot of Ouzo as an aperitif.

Oia Santorini
Oia Santorini

Moussaka and Memories of Greece

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 6-8


  • Zucchini/Eggplant Potato Mixture:
  • 1/2 cup Greek olive oil
  • 3 large zucchini (or eggplants), sliced
  • 3 large potatoes, sliced
  • Meat Sauce:
  • 3 onions, chopped fine
  • 4 cloves or garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground lamb or beef
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 cup red Greek wine
  • 1 (28 ounce) can of tomato puree
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano (or 1 tablespoon dried)
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Bechamel Sauce:
  • 1/4 pound butter
  • 6 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 quart of whole milk
  • 4 eggs; beaten until frothy
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup fine bread crumbs
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Zucchini/Eggplant Potato Mixture:
  2. Cut the zucchini/eggplant and potatoes into slices about 1/2 inch thick. If using eggplant instead of zucchini, peel the eggplant first. Brown the vegetables quickly in 1/4 cup of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes until lightly golden brown, transfer to paper towels to drain and set aside.
  3. Meat Sauce:
  4. Heat the remaining ¼ cup of oil in the same skillet and cook the onions until they are?golden brown. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the ground meat, tomato paste, cinnamon, cayenne, and cook for another 8-10 minutes. Pour off excess fat through a strainer and return meat mixture to the pan. Then add the wine, cooking until almost completely evaporated, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the tomato puree to the meat mixture and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer over low heat;?stirring frequently, until all the liquid has been absorbed, about 30 minutes. Stir in the parsley and oregano and season with salt and pepper. Remove the?mixture from heat.
  6. Make the Bechamel Sauce:
  7. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and heat a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  8. Make the white sauce by melting the butter?and blending in the flour, stirring with a wire whisk until smooth. Meanwhile, bring the milk to a boil and add it gradually to the butter-flour mixture,? stirring constantly. When the mixture is thickened and smooth, remove ?it from the heat. Cook slightly and stir in the beaten eggs, nutmeg, lemon zest and ricotta.
  9. Assemble the casserole:
  10. Grease an 11x16-inch baking dish or casserole dish and sprinkle the bottom lightly with?breadcrumbs.
  11. Arrange alternate layers of the zucchini/eggplant and potatoes and meat sauce?in the pan, sprinkling each layer with Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs.
  12. Pour the bechamel sauce over the top and sprinkle some additional Parmesan cheese on top. Bake 1 hour, or until top is golden.
  13. Remove from the oven and cool 20 to 30 minutes before serving.
  14. Top with additional chopped fresh parsley. Cut into squares and serve.

  • Want to meet purveyors who are making a difference with their customers? Check out’s “Out of the Kitchen”, an ongoing exploration of the relationships that build and sustain the food industry. See how hyper-local food markets operate and how their focus on quality and service keep customers coming back for more.


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Seriously Delicious Taco Pizza

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Taco Pizza

I’ve been on a spicy food kick lately. Maybe it’s the pseudo-Spring weather. Or maybe I’m just addicted. I decided to make a fun twist on pizza and make a seriously delicious Taco Pizza. Yes, TACOS. And PIZZA. All baked into a bubbling pile of goodness. This Taco Pizza is the easiest thing to make, and the best tasting thing on the planet. Like a fiesta in your mouth.

Taco Pizza 2

I had a bunch of Pillsbury Crescent Dough in the fridge, as well as a ton of fresh ingredients I wanted to use up. Yes, I could have made Nachos. Or Burritos. Or Enchiladas. Or even a Taco Salad. But why not make a Taco Pizza? It was Friday after all. And Fridays are made for FUN FOOD, arent’ they?

Taco Pizza_OH 2

The crust is super buttery and flaky and a delicious canvas for this Taco Monster creation.

Toppings 1

The pizza is topped with all the goodies you would make tacos with – salsa, ground beef, taco seasoning, black beans and onions,

Toppings 2

with a layer of fresh veggies like black olives, tomatoes, jalapenos; and of course plenty of shredded cheddar cheese.

Taco Pizza 3

Just layer all the goods on the dough, pop it in a 375 degree oven and bake for about 13-16 minutes until the crust is golden and the cheese is melty-ooey-gooey.

Taco Pizza 5

Then, top it with some chopped cilantro, a few dabs of sour cream and some wavy corn chips for extra crunch.

Serious YUM. And perfect for a Friday afternoon. With a margarita or two, of course. :)

Seriously Delicious Taco Pizza

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 1-2 slices/squares

A seriously delicious Taco Pizza made with ground beef, tomatoes, jalapenos, olives, black beans and cheese, topped with sour cream, cilantro and crunchy corn chips baked on a crescent dough crust.


  • 2 cans (8 ounce) Pillsbury crescent dough
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 small onion, chopped (or 1 tablespoon minced dried onion)
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup black beans, rinsed
  • 1 cup chunky salsa
  • 10-12 cherry or plum tomatoes, halved
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced
  • 1/2 cup black olives, sliced
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup wavy corn chips, for garnish
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped, for garnish
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Separate dough into 2 long rectangles and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Press perforations to seal into one large rectangle of dough. Repeat for second pizza.
  3. In a large skillet, saute ground beef, onions and black beans until cooked through and meat is no longer pink. Drain grease, and add taco seasoning and 1/4 cup of water, mix together well and keep warm, covered.
  4. Prep the veggies and pizza topping ingredients.
  5. Layer the dough with the salsa, 1/2 cup for each pizza.
  6. Top dough with the taco beef and bean mixture, olives, tomatoes, jalapenos and shredded cheese on both sheets.
  7. Bake for 13-16 minutes until cheese is bubbly and crust is golden brown.
  8. Garnish pizzas with corn chips, sour cream and fresh cilantro.
  9. Cut each pizza into 6 squares and serve hot.


You can also substitute shredded chicken, ground chicken or turkey or pulled pork for the ground beef. A regular pizza dough crust can also be used in place of the crescent dough.

All recipes, photographs, copy and content on this post and website are copyrighted © 2010-2015 by Kristen Hess/The Artful Gourmet. Please do not use, share or distribute this content in any way without expressed permission from me first.

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Indian Burgers with Curry Cilantro Slaw & Peanut Satay Yogurt Sauce

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I recently did a food styling project for Morningstar Farms to promote some of their new products to local food editors in NYC, and one of them I got to sample and loved was their Spicy Indian Veggie Burger. I’m not normally a fan of frozen food products and I’m definitely not a Vegan, but I was really impressed with the flavor and texture of these, and decided to make a delicious Curry Cilantro Slaw to go with it along with a Peanut Satay Yogurt Sauce for topping served with some Grilled Pita.


The Indian Veggie burgers have organic red lentils, chickpeas, carrots, potatoes, peas, bell peppers, coconut cream and curry seasonings in them, and are 100% vegan. They are super easy to cook too – I just cooked them for about 10 minutes in a sauté pan, but they could also be grilled or microwaved. The best part is they are only 130 calories and have lots of protein in them so they’re healthy and a great vegan/vegetarian option when you’re seeking lighter fare.


My Curry Cilantro Slaw is super delicious as a topping and side salad with grilled pita bread (or you could stuff it all into the pita, or Naan bread if you wish). The slaw has purple and white cabbage, carrots, celery, honey, olive oil, cilantro, golden balsamic vinegar, and some indian spices such as black sesame seed, cumin seed, curry powder, and indian red pepper to give it a little kick, then topped with toasted crushed peanuts for some extra crunch.


The best part? My Peanut Satay Yogurt Sauce – made with Greek yogurt, satay seasoning, and some peanut butter with a little dash of Indian red pepper. The creamy sauce goes perfect on the burgers and cools the heat and has a delicious peanut-y savory taste. You can find satay seasoning online at Penzey’s (the brand I use) or on Amazon – it has a gorgeous blend of spices such as salt, brown sugar, garlic, onion, coriander, shallots, ginger, turmeric, paprika, galangal, cayenne and good! And of course you could substitute any nut butter you wish for the sauce – cashew, sunflower, or almond butter would be great too.


And of course if you are feeling adventurous and have the time to make your own Indian burgers from scratch, I found a great recipe from Whole Foods which would be great with the Curry Slaw and Satay Yogurt Sauce as well. You could also serve this with some curry chicken, spiced beef or lamb burgers, or even spicy grilled fish and it would be equally delicious!

Also, just a heads up – this recipe feeds a crowd (about 6-8 people). If you’re only serving a few, just cut the recipe in half (or quarter it if you’re dining solo!) Enjoy.

Indian Burgers with Curry Cilantro Slaw & Peanut Satay Yogurt Sauce

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 6-8

Serving Size: 1-2 burgers with 1 piece of pita, 1/2 cup of slaw,

Spicy Indian veggie burgers, served with a Curry Cilantro Slaw and Peanut Satay Yogurt sauce served on grilled pita bread.


  • Curry Cilantro Slaw:
  • 2 tablespoons golden balsamic vinegar
  • Juice from 1/2 fresh lime (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 4 tablespoons honey or agave nectar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon Indian black sesame seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon indian red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 8 cups shredded coleslaw (cabbage and carrots)
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup peanuts, toasted and crushed
  • Peanut Satay Yogurt Sauce:
  • 1-17.6 ounce container Greek yogurt
  • 4-5 tablespoons Peanut Butter (or Almond, Cashew or Sunflower butter)
  • 2 tablespoons Satay seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon Indian red pepper
  • Spicy Indian Burgers:
  • 8 frozen Spicy Indian Burgers (2 packages) (Morningstar farms)
  • 8 slices pita bread or naan bread


  1. Curry Cilantro Slaw:
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the vinegar, lime juice, honey, olive oil and seasonings.
  3. Add coleslaw mix, celery and cilantro and mix together well.
  4. Heat a small saute pan over medium heat and toast the peanuts until lightly browned.
  5. Remove from heat and let cool, crush into small pieces and add to the coleslaw, reserving a small amount for topping the burgers.
  6. Cover and place in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to let flavors meld.
  7. Peanut Satay Yogurt Sauce:
  8. Place all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl and stir together.
  9. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator while preparing Indian burgers and grilled pita.
  10. Spicy Indian Burgers:
  11. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat.
  12. Spray cooking oil on each side of the burgers and cook for about 10 minutes, turning half way through until golden brown.
  13. Cook burgers in batches and set aside.
  14. Spray a little more oil on the pita or naan bread and cook until lightly browned, for about 2-3 minutes, turning to cook both sides.
  15. Serve the burgers hot with grilled pita bread topped with Peanut Satay sauce, and Curry Cilantro slaw on top or on the side as a salad (or stuff it all inside the pita or naan bread).
  16. Serves 6-8.


- You can also substitute any nut butter (cashew, almond, sunflower seed) for the Satay Yogurt sauce. - The slaw and yogurt sauce would also be equally delicious on grilled spicy chicken, beef or lamb burgers or spicy grilled fish. - If you're serving only 2-4 people, cut the recipe in half.

Note: I was not compensated for this post, I simply loved this product and thought it was worth a shout out! All opinions are my own.

All recipes, photographs, copy and content on this post and website are copyrighted © 2010-2015 by Kristen Hess/The Artful Gourmet. Please do not use, share or distribute this content in any way without expressed permission from me first.


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Gutsch’s Linguine and Clams

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linguini and clams

As the New Year begins, so do New Years resolutions. Some of them we keep, some of them we don’t, but one of them we universally all decide is to eat healthier and shed a few pounds from all the holiday gatherings and fat-laden food. So, back to reality it is. Starting today. Holiday over. Back to work. Back to the gym. A pledge to living healthier, eating healthier and cooking healthier. A fresh start for the New Year. For my last hoorah, my Mom and I decided to make one last supper before the regimen begins: Gutsch’s Linguine and Clams. Who is Gutsch you might ask? He was a newscaster up in Rochester, New York and his amazing recipe became famous once it was published it in the newspaper about 25 years ago. Since then, it’s been a family favorite and a dish we make every year when I come home to visit the family.

Bacon. Butter. Garlic. Black Olives. Parsley. Clams. Pasta. Delicious melt-in-your-mouth flavor and OMG – so not a diet friendly dish. But you know what? You might as well enjoy your Last Supper and go all out, so that I did. And I enjoyed every last bite of it. Now, back to the New Year’s resolutions.

Gutsch’s Linguine and Clams

Yield: 2-4 servings,


  • 4-5 slices of bacon, cut ¼” strips
  • 1/8 cup sliced green onions
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 - 6.5 ounce can chopped clams (or baby whole clams)
  • ¼ c. sliced black olives
  • 1/8 c. snipped parsley
  • 1/16 teaspoons black pepper
  • 6 ounces linguine pasta


  1. Cook bacon in a large skillet until crisp and drain, reserving 1/8 c. drippings in the skillet. Set bacon aside.
  2. Cook onion and garlic in drippings until tender, not brown. Stir in butter until melted**. Drain clams, reserving liquid.
  3. Add clams, bacon, olives, parsley and black pepper and stir together.
  4. Add half of the reserved clam liquid, heat through and keep hot over low heat**. Meanwhile, cook linguine and drain. Mix together with the clam mixture in the pan and place in a warm serving bowl. Top the pasta additional parsley and freshly cracked black pepper for garnish.
  5. Serve this dish with a green salad, crisp white wine and some crusty Italian bread. Delish!!
  6. **You can also throw a little white wine in with the clam liquid and let it simmer down and substitute olive oil for the butter if desired.


linguini and clams 2

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Food Trends of 2014 + Flavor Forecast for 2015

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2014 Food Trends

As the year 2014 is coming to an end, it’s always interesting to see what was hot and what was not in the culinary world and what new food and flavor trends we will see in the New Year 2015. Popular trends seem to come and go each year affecting everything we see: restaurants, blogs, online stores, magazines, TV shows, and even fast food and packaged goods and advertising.

2014 had plenty of interesting ones that went big this year:

Culinary mashups: Cronuts (croissant donuts), Wonuts (waffle donuts), Quesarito (a quesadilla rolled into a burrito), bananas fosters pancakes, bagel burgers, ramen burgers, pretzel subs, Chicken waffle sandwiches, you name it – crazy Frankenfood dishes hit the scene this year.

Spicy burgers: burgers went nuclear this year with everything and anything spicy – Sriracha mayo, poblano peppers, jalapeño peppers, spicy onion rings, melted pepper jack cheese, harissa, ancho chipotle sauce, Mexican burgers with spicy ranch sauce…the list goes on.

Bahn Mi – a traditional Vietnamese sandwich made with roasted pork, marinated vegetables, and herbs on a baguette

Savory Jams – fig jam, pepper jellies, lingonberry jams topped creative sandwiches everywhere this year.

Paleo Diet – this meat-heavy, vegetable-laden, dairy and gluten free diet went crazy. Huge protein portions, cookbooks, blogs and new restaurants opened with a core focus on MEAT.

2015 Food Trends

And here is the flavor forecast for 2015:

Middle Eastern mezze: hummus, pepper spreads, herb-marinated olives

Creative cookies: decadent makeovers on classic cookies

Umami veggies: savory flavors will infuse new recipes such as tomatoes, mushrooms, soy sauce, nori, sweet potatoes

Smoked spices: deeper richer flavors for foods through smoked spices

Sour notes: coarse salt with sour notes from sour cherry, pickled ginger, mango and lemon zest add zing and bling. Burgers topped with kimchi. Shrubs (preserved fruits with vinegar and sugar) will show up in cocktails.

Liquid revolution: juice blends from fruits and vegetables to make healthy flavorful sauces

Global blends: Japanese 7 spice (aka shichimi togarashi) combines chilies, sesame, orange zest and nori. Shawarma Middle Eastern blends made with cinnamon, cumin and black pepper are also going big.

Tacos: regional and modern taco joints and pop ups are going to be everywhere

Scrambled eggs: forget poached and deviled – scrambled eggs for dinner with savory sauces and ingredients are hot.

Spicy flavors: Sriracha will still be in style, as well as international spices like Thai bird chiles that give a serious kick.

Flavor without fat: Chefs are now infusing meats and vegetables with flavor by grilling, rotisseries and smoke.

Meat spreads: Nduja is an Italian meat spread made with ground pork and spices, great for spreading on toast or filling ravioli.

Artisanal candies: Bourbon and sea salt caramels, ice cream gummies and other creative confectionaries will be everywhere.

Soft serve ice cream: seasonal flavors and innovative sundae creations are another hot item in the dessert scene.

Spanish cuisine: Tapas and small plates from the Spanish region will be hot in the fast-casual restaurant world.

Savory pancakes: think potato pancakes on steroids – infused with different vegetable flavors and creative toppings and sauces.

Patty melts: this classic diner dish heats up the food scene with innovative twists on this half burger / half grilled cheese sammie.

Mini cocktails: smaller versions of cocktails served in half portions are popping up to give customers the opportunity to taste more varieties

Artisanal hard cider: move over craft beer, the new trend is using artisanal hard cider to create libations with unusual ingredients such as bourbon, house-made Dijon syrup and thyme.

Gin: new places opening up that solely serve the classic Gin and Tonic in different ways

High-end daiquiris and frozen drinks: new twists on the daiquiri and slushie drink infused with fun flavors and alcohol combinations

Meals to go: restaurants and food brands understand the consumers shrinking leisure time by creating high end meals to go making it easier to eat gourmet food without spending hours eating out or cooking at home.

Family-style dining: more restaurants will be serving meals family style with larger portions to share around the table.

Sources: McCormick and National Restaurant News


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Buttery Maple-Mustard Chicken Thighs w/ Roasted Curry Cauliflower

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Maple- Mustard Chicken

One-pot savory dishes are one of those things I crave when it’s cold outside because it’s cozy and warming and just plain darn tasty and easy to make. I also love roasting veggies in the Winter because they’re no-fuss when I’m busy doing other things and don’t want to stand over a stove all day washing dishes for hours afterwards. (Can you tell I’m ready for a holiday vacation? lol)

Maple Mustard Chicken 2

This recipe for Maple-Mustard Chicken Thighs is a perfect one-pot dish with a buttery, sweet, tangy sauce made with maple syrup, Dijon mustard (Kozlik’s is my favorite!), garlic and some Indian hot red pepper and Tandoori spices (a great blend of coriander, cumin, paprika, garlic, ginger, cardamom and saffron).

Roasted Curry Cauliflower

It’s baked together into a big pot of savory goodness (in my new purple KitchenAid ceramic baking dish..which I LOVE!), served with some Roasted Curry Cauliflower tossed in olive oil, cumin, curry powder, and garlic salt. Super easy and super delicious. I got my Indian spices at Penzey’s at Grand Central Market in NYC and the Dekalb International Farmer’s Market in Atlanta GA, but you can find them in almost any gourmet spice store or market or online on

Maple Mustard Chicken 3

Savor every buttery, spicy, tasty bite.

Roasted Curry Cauliflower 2

Happy Holidays! xo

Maple Mustard Chicken w/ Roasted Curried Cauliflower

Buttery Maple-Mustard Chicken Thighs w/ Roasted Curry Cauliflower

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 2-4

This is a savory Indian dish made with a buttery, maple-mustard sauce, served with roasted curry cauliflower with a hint of Tandoori spices and cumin.


  • Buttery Maple-Mustard Chicken Thighs:
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon Indian red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon Tandoori spices
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 - 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken thighs
  • Roasted Curry Cauliflower:
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • Dash of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • Non-stick cooking spray


  1. Buttery Maple-Mustard Chicken Thighs:
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  3. Add butter (cut into pieces), maple syrup, mustard, red pepper, garlic salt, Tandoori spices and black pepper to a ceramic or glass baking dish and melt butter with spices for about 5-7 minutes. Remove dish from oven and whisk ingredients together.
  4. Add chicken thighs to the baking dish, coating both sides of chicken with the buttery spicy sauce and bake in the oven for about 35-40 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.
  5. Serve chicken hot, with additional sauce drizzled over, with a side of Roasted Curry Cauliflower (recipe follows).
  6. Roasted Curry Cauliflower:
  7. Combine olive oil, cumin, curry, garlic salt and black pepper in a large mixing bowl.
  8. Wash and cut cauliflower into large florets and toss with olive oil and spice mixture, coating cauliflower evenly.
  9. Spray a large baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray and arrange cauliflower in a single layer.
  10. Roast at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes to an hour, until cauliflower is tender and browned. Toss the cauliflower occasionally while roasting to evenly brown.
  11. Serve hot with Maple-Mustard Chicken and some extra sauce on top, if desired.


Maple-Mustard Chicken recipe adapted from Apricot Lane Farms.



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Cheesy Baked Pasta w/ Sausage, Broccoli Rabe, Ricotta & Mozzarella

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Spring is on the way, and there’s nothing I love to cook more than fresh greens. Broccoli rabe is one of my favorites, also known as cime di rapa (meaning “turnip tops”), rapini, broccoli di rapa and broccoletti in Italy. The young leaves of the plant are used in cooking along with the clusters of green buds that resemble small heads of broccoli. The flavor of the vegetable is slightly nutty, bitter and pungent and has tons of vitamin A, potassium, calcium and iron, with its peak season from fall to spring.

Broccoli Rabe

I decided to incorporate it into a cheesy baked pasta dish made with fresh sweet Italian sausage and three cheeses (ricotta, Parmigiano-Reggiano and mozzarella), along with some fun mushroom flavored pasta, tossed in truffle oil. I picked up some fresh broccoli rabe at the farmers market and sautéed it with some garlic, red pepper flakes and extra virgin olive oil until aromatic, then tossed it into a big casserole dish with the pasta, cheeses and a dash of nutmeg and lemon zest, and baked it into a big pot of golden bubbly brown goodness.

Sauteed Broccoli Rabe-Sausage


Ready for Oven

The dish is a perfect light one-pot dish, and is  superb served with a glass of crisp Italian white wine, a simple Arugula salad tossed with lemon, S&P, and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and crusty Italian bread with olive oil and red pepper flakes for dipping. Andiamo a mangiare!

Baked Pasta Dish


Kosher salt
1 bunch broccoli rabe, stems removed, chopped into large pieces
1 pound of pasta (dried ziti or penne, or chunky pasta of your choice)
2 tablespoons white truffle oil
Extra Virgin olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced or sliced
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1 pound ground sweet or hot Italian sausage
1 (15 ounce) container whole milk ricotta
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 egg, whisked
A dash of nutmeg
1 teaspoon of fresh lemon zest
Fresh ground black pepper
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9”x13” or 10” round casserole dish and set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and set up an ice bath in a large bowl to the side. Cook the broccoli rabe in the boiling water for 1 minute and immediately remove and plunge into ice bath to cool for another few minutes. Pat dry and set aside. Add the pasta to the boiling water and let cook until al dente, according to package directions. Drain and rinse pasta in cool water to stop cooking, while reserving ¼ cup of hot pasta water. Toss with white truffle oil and set aside.

Heat a large sauté pan with olive oil and bring the pan to a medium heat. Sauté the garlic and red pepper flakes for about a minute or two, until soft and aromatic. Add the broccoli rabe and toss with olive oil, add salt and heat through. Remove from pan and set aside.

In the same pan, heat more olive oil over medium high heat. Add chopped onion and sauté for about 3-5 minutes until soft and light golden brown. Add ground sausage and cook until browned, drain off any excess fat.

Return the cooked pasta and broccoli rabe into the large sauté pan with the sausage and onion mixture.

Toss the ricotta cheese with whisked egg, nutmeg, lemon zest, salt and pepper to taste. Add to the cooked pasta, broccoli rabe and sausage-onion mixture in the large sauté pan, mixing ingredients together well. Stir in ¼ cup of pasta water to make a light sauce.

Place the pasta mixture into the greased casserole dish. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese and bake for approximately 30-35 minutes until cheese is bubbly and golden brown. Let stand for 5 minutes, sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley and additional grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for garnish.

Serve with a glass of crisp Italian white wine, a simple Arugula salad tossed with lemon, S&P, and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and crusty Italian bread with olive oil and red pepper flakes for dipping.

Serves 8.

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Spicy Thai Chicken Peanut Noodles

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Spicy Thai Chicken Peanut Noodles

I don’t know about you, but Thai food is one of my favorite foods ever. I love the harmony of flavors and textures in Thai food that all play together like a perfect symphony. One of my all time favorites is Thai Peanut Noodles – similar to Pad Thai, but with a smooth peanut sauce with a hint of heat. I decided to kick it up a notch by adding some Spicy Thai Chicken that pairs perfectly with the creamy peanut-y noodles.

This dish is a gorgeous combination of spicy, savory and sweet with a marinade base for the chicken made with sesame, honey, soy sauce, garlic, and chile sauce, mixed with acidic notes of rice vinegar. It’s the perfect marriage of varying textures from the chewy noodles, crunchy peanuts and water chestnuts, all bathed in a smooth and luscious damn-good-peanut-sauce. Then to perfect it even more, it’s topped with fresh bright flavors of cilantro, lime and scallions. It’s so good, it just might be illegal. And don’t be ashamed to dig in right out of the pan. Grab some chopsticks, a pal or two and go to town. It’s rustic Asian comfort food at its best. Serve with a sweeter wine such as a Riesling, which pairs nicely with the spicy Asian flavors in this dish.

Spicy Thai Chicken Peanut Noodles

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 6-8


  • Spicy Chicken Marinade:
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 6 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Rice Vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Thai Garlic-Chile Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
  • Thai Peanut Sauce:
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons Thai Garlic-Chile Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Squeeze of fresh lime juice
  • Chopped peanuts, for garnish
  • Fresh squeezed lime, for garnish
  • Chopped Cilantro, for garnish
  • Sliced scallions, for garnish
  • Canola oil cooking spray
  • 2 pounds chicken breast cutlets, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 can water chestnuts, diced
  • 1 package Thai Rice Noodles (flat, wide or Pad Thai)


  1. Prepare Spicy Chicken Marinade:
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add all nine ingredients (sesame oil through dried ginger) along with sliced chicken breast and mix together thoroughly, coating chicken well. Top with plastic wrap and let chicken marinade in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes up to 2 hours.
  3. Once chicken is done marinating, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook Thai noodles according to package directions, drain and rinse in cold water to stop cooking. Set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, heat a large saute pan over medium heat, spray with cooking spray and saute chicken for approximately 8 minutes until cooked through and no longer pink. Add diced water chestnuts and saute for another minute or two until soft and heated through. Note: Make sure to drain and discard extra marinade off the chicken before sauteing to allow the chicken to brown in the pan and not steam. Reduce heat to low, cover and keep warm.
  5. Make the peanut sauce: combine soy sauce, peanut butter, broth, garlic-chile sauce, honey, salt and lime juice in a medium saucepan over medium heat, mixing and stirring well until sauce is smooth and blended. Toss noodles together with peanut sauce.
  6. Add the peanut noodles into the large pan with the cooked chicken and water chestnuts, toss together well with tongs to blend the flavors and ingredients. Squeeze fresh lime juice over the top, and garnish with chopped peanuts, cilantro, and sliced scallions. Add additional red pepper flakes or garlic-chile sauce for extra heat, as desired.


A sweet German Riesling wine would pair well with the spicy acidic flavors in this Asian dish.

Spicy Thai Chicken Peanut Noodles4

Spicy Thai Chicken Peanut Noodles 3

Spicy Thai Chicken Peanut Noodles 2

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A Big Bowl of Comfort :: Irish Stout Beef Stew

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Winter is always a little bit depressing without any sunshine and constant grey skies and snow storms every other day in New York City. But there’s something cozy about it too, when I’m pent up in my apartment with not much to do other than cook, watch a good movie and snuggle under a blanket with my heater on. For my birthday last November my Mom got me a gorgeous Wolfgang Puck cast iron ceramic enamel braising pan which I’ve been dying to make a big pot of delicious comforting something or other in. I’ve had a craving for a warm and homey stew and had some Irish Stout Beef Stew Starter on hand from Williams-Sonoma so it was the perfect excuse to get cooking and cure the winter chills outside.

I rounded up some beef chuck, carrots, potatoes, chopped tomatoes, onions and baby peas and threw it all in the big pot. Adding a dark stout beer and beef broth gives it a hearty savory flavor and the stew starter has a nice balance of spices in it like cumin and curry and paprika for a little extra kick. The bad news is, Williams Sonoma has discontinued the Irish Stout Stew starter, but they do have a lovely Beef Stew Braising Base you can use instead that has dark beer and fire-roasted red peppers, chiles and tomatoes in it that would work just as lovely. After a few hours in the oven it’s just a big pot of yum. Kinda like a big hug. Now that’s worth staying in for.


Cut the beef into 1-inch cubes, dredge with seasoned pan-searing flour and brown in 2 tablespoons of canola oil over medium high heat for about 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove beef from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.


Add onions to the pan along with another 2 tablespoons of canola oil and saute for about 5 minutes until tender. Add the 2 tablespoons of minced garlic and saute another minute.


Add Worchestershire sauce and beer and cook with onions for a few minutes, stirring and scraping pan to loosen the brown bits. Add the beef broth and cook for another few minutes.


Return the seared beef to the pot, add the chopped tomatoes, carrots, potatoes and Beef Stew starter and salt and pepper to taste, and bring to a boil.


Cover and throw the pot into a preheated 350 degree oven and let the goods simmer for about an hour. Remove from oven, stir and reduce heat to 300 degrees. At this point, if the stew is not thick enough for your liking, add a slurry of starch or roux thickener mixed with some water (about 1/4 cup) into the stew and stir well throughout. You can also smash a few of the potatoes to thicken it up a little bit. Place pot back in the oven braise for another 30 minutes to an hour. Defrost the baby peas and add into the pot the last 5 minutes or so.


Let the stew cool on top of the stove uncovered for about 15-20 minutes to let it thicken. Serve with rye bread or Irish Brown Bread and a glass of Guinness or dark beer of your choice.

A Big Bowl of Comfort :: Irish Stout Beef Stew

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes

Yield: 8

Serving Size: 1 cup


  • 1 cup seasoned pan-searing flour (Wegmans or Wondra)
  • 4 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 2 pounds boneless chuck beef, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 ½ large onions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic (3 or 4 cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
  • 1 bottle Irish stout beer (like Guinness)
  • 1 14-ounce can low-sodium beef broth
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, chopped fine in a food processor
  • 2 cups baby carrots or large carrot chunks
  • 6 Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered into chunks
  • 1 package frozen baby peas
  • ¼ cup starch or roux thickener and water slurry (optional)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
  • Rye or Brown Bread for serving


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil over medium-high heat in a large cast iron enamel braising pan or Dutch oven.
  2. Cut the beef into 1-inch cubes, dredge with seasoned pan-searing flour and brown in 2 tablespoons of canola oil over medium high heat for about 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove beef from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  3. Add sliced onions to the pan along with another 2 tablespoons of canola oil and saute for about 5 minutes until tender. Add the 2 tablespoons of minced garlic and saute another minute.
  4. Add Worchestershire sauce and beer and cook with onions for a few minutes, stirring and scraping pan to loosen the brown bits. Add the beef broth and cook for another few minutes.
  5. Return the seared beef to the pot, add the chopped tomatoes, baby carrots, potatoes and Beef Stew starter and salt and pepper to taste, and bring to a boil.
  6. Cover and place the pot into the oven and let the goods simmer for about an hour. Remove from oven, stir and reduce heat to 300 degrees. At this point, if the stew is not thick enough for your liking, add a slurry of starch or roux thickener mixed with some water (about 1/4 cup) into the stew and stir well throughout. You can also smash a few of the potatoes to thicken it up a little bit. Place pot back in the oven braise for another 30 minutes to an hour. Defrost the baby peas and add into the pot the last 5 minutes or so.
  7. Let the stew cool on top of the stove uncovered for about 15-20 minutes to let it thicken. Serve with rye bread or Irish Brown Bread and a glass of Guinness or dark beer of your choice.


Cozy Up.

Other Beef Stew recipes you might enjoy:

Beef Stew with Beer and Paprika – Pioneer Woman

Martha Stewart’s Beef Stew

Old-Time Beef Stew – Paula Deen

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