Creamy Tomato Bisque

It doesn’t get any better than this thick, creamy tomato bisque recipe, seasoned with just a hint of basil. I love serving it with a big slice of fresh, crusty sourdough bread (or better yet – served IN a sourdough bread bowl when I’m feeling extra decadent!)

You must try this Tomato Basil Soup recipe! It’s amazing with a thick slice of sourdough bread. If you love the tomato basil bisque from Safeway or Nordstrom, this is a must-make!

Ever since I was a little kid, tomato soup has been my reining queen of soups. I loved the condensed, canned version topped with broken up crackers. It was comfort food when I was recovering from a cold or a bad day at elementary school.

Basically, a bowl of tomato soup meant I was home.

While I still consider tomato soup to be #1, I’m no longer a fan of canned soups. They all seem to have a metallic aftertaste that my young palette wasn’t able to pick up on.

Homemade tomato soup is not difficult to make, it’s better than the store versions, and to top it all off– my favorite versions are often made from canned tomatoes, making it a perfect year-round soup. How about that?

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Buttery Bread Pudding

This foolproof, easy bread pudding is made using kitchen staples: bread, eggs, butter, cream, cinnamon, vanilla and raisins. The results are buttery but not too heavy. It’s a classic dessert that’s great for parties!

This bread pudding recipe is made using kitchen staples: bread, eggs, butter, cream, cinnamon, vanilla and raisins. The results are buttery but not too heavy. It’s a classic dessert that’s great for parties!

I’m almost embarrassed to admit this, but I technically only prepared bread pudding from scratch for the first time a few months ago. I say technically because once I got started on this recipe, I realized it was almost identical to the baked French toast variations I’ve been preparing for years (check out my Pecan Pie French Toast Bake and Baked Chai Spiced French Toast if those sound appealing).

This bread pudding recipe is adapted from The Hamilton Cookbook, by my dear friend Laura Kumin. I first prepared it for her book launch party in December, and was totally blown away by the recipe. People kept complimenting me on it, and I was like “It’s not my recipe! I just followed Laura’s directions, go compliment her!” The only change I made (which I’ve made here as well) was to double the recipe since it was being served at a party.

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Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

These moist, dark chocolate cupcakes are incredibly soft and rich without being overly sweet. Chocolate meringue buttercream frosting keeps them from feeling heavy, making these a wonderful romantic dessert option for Valentine’s Day, or for any special occasion!

While I love experimenting with creative desserts, chocolate cake is a classic recipe that I never grow tired of baking. My chocolate espresso layer cake continues to be a favorite. The great thing about cupcakes is that they come together faster than layer cakes, and are an especially good option for novice bakers (or those who are new to meringue buttercreams).

Whether you seeking a chocolate cupcake recipe for a party, or a small chocolate dessert to end a romantic meal, these are a wonderful option. Even Jeff loved them, and he’s usually very uninterested in sweets. They’re not cloying or heavy. Dark, bittersweet chocolate provides that perfect counterbalance to the sugar, while the meringue adds so much lightness to the frosting. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

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Cincinnati Chili

Cincinnati chili is very different from other chili recipes! This is nothing like the chili you’ll find served in Texas. It has a wonderful, unique blend of spices that will make your kitchen smell amazing while it cooks. Once it’s ready, you get to decide between a number of garnishes, customizing it to your personal preference.

Cincinnati chili has a unique blend of Mediterranean spices, and can be served on it’s own, as a meat sauce over spaghetti, or with the additions of cheese, onions and beans (aka two-way, three-way, four-way, and five-way!)

About ten years ago, I was visiting my friend Emma, the same gal who introduced me to the wonders of chocolate digestive biscuits. She was preparing homemade chili- a real treat since I love her cooking (which she now shares with all of Baltimore at her new tea shop. Locals, you need to go check it out. Tell her I sent you!) I watched, fascinated, as she added cinnamon and cocoa powder, two spices I certainly didn’t associate with chili.

The kitchen smelled amazing and, as usual, her food did not disappoint. It was some of the best chili I’d ever tasted, and I’ve been adding cinnamon and cocoa to my homemade chili ever since. Imagine my surprise when I recently learned that these are some of the exact spices that go into a Mediterranean-spiced meat sauce known as Cincinnati chili.

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Butternut Squash Galette with Goat Cheese and Sage

This butternut squash galette with goat cheese is an elegant, rustic tart. It’s perfect for both novice and more advanced cooks, and works well as a fall or winter party appetizer. You can prepare the dough and filling up to two days beforehand, then bake everything before guests arrive! Your kitchen will smell amazing.

This butternut squash galette with goat cheese is a beautiful, rustic tart that works well as a fall or winter party appetizer. Your kitchen will smell amazing.

We had many requirements at culinary school, one of which was to assist three recreational cooking classes. I loved doing this and volunteered often. On one particular evening, I assisted a pastry class where the students were making an assortment of tarts. The chef described a galette as a “rustic tart” and then smirked, stating:

“I love the word ‘rustic’.  It means it doesn’t have to be pretty.”

Looking back, I both agree and disagree with this statement. When using tart molds, I often spend a lot of time making sure the dough is perfectly formed. Patience and practice yields a stunning result. Galettes are much easier, and their imperfections are what make them beautiful, in my opinion.  They’re great for beginners and experts alike. I’ve noted in the recipe that you can substitute store-bought pie dough, but if you’ve been hesitant to try working with homemade dough, I think galettes are the perfect place to start.

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Dark Chocolate Chunk Rumchata Cookies

Looking for Rumchata recipes? I’ve got you covered! These Dark Chocolate Chunk Rumchata Cookies are seriously amazing- like boozy chocolate chip cookies with a hint of cinnamon. People will beg you for the recipe!

These Dark Chocolate Chunk Rumchata Cookies are seriously amazing. People will beg you for the recipe!

Please note: this recipe is in no way sponsored by Rumchata. I just really like the stuff, and it’s not the first time I’ve used it in a recipe (check out my Vanilla Runchata Milkshake). Liqueurs like Bailey’s, Kalua, and Grand Marnier add such a tasty, fun element to recipes, and boozy desserts are always a crowd pleaser. Try walking into a room saying “Who wants rum cake?” The response is typically positive.

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Simple Overnight Oats

Overnight oats are the perfect solution if you’re seeking a healthy grab-and-go breakfast, or if you prefer to keep things easy in the morning. The technique is customizable based on personal preference, takes only minutes to prepare, and will keep you satisfied and energized!

This simple overnight oatmeal recipe can be adjusted according to your personal taste preferences, and it comes together in 5 minutes!

I’m not great about eating breakfast in a timely manner. For me, it’s not about being rushed or not wanting to cook anything. My issue is that I’m not usually hungry in the morning.

I’ve been seeing a dietician to work on a few issues such as maintaining a more steady energy level throughout the day, and she feels strongly that I should eat something within an hour after waking up (sadly, lattes don’t count).

This has required some creativity on my part, because I’ve been taught for so long that we shouldn’t eat when we’re not hungry. In this case, I think it’s probably a matter of retraining my body. Overnight oats have become a lifesaver for me, since I don’t have to put any thought into them.

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Easy English Muffins

These English Muffins are easy to prepare, and taste better (in my opinion) than what you’ll buy at the store. The texture is slightly different, but you get the same “nooks and crannies” effect. I use these constantly, whether it’s for a sandwich or a quick pizza fix. They freeze well, so I always have some ready to go.

This easy homemade English muffin recipe is perfect for beginners! They freeze beautifully so you can always have some ready to go when you need a breakfast sandwich or quick pizza fix.

A few years ago, I first shared a recipe for whole wheat english muffins, and those are still a staple around here. I love the way whole wheat adds a subtle, earthy flavor. I’ve made a few minor tweaks to the recipe over time with repeated tests, and also taking into account reader questions and comments. I am frequently asked about how to make regular english muffins, and since the flour is not a 1:1 conversion, I figured it was time to share a new post that covers my version of the classic recipe.

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Sweet Potato Biscuits

These sweet potato buttermilk biscuits are tender and have just the right level of sweetness that they work as an accompaniment to a variety of dishes. Serve them alongside chili at dinner. For something completely different, try them with pumpkin or apple butter for breakfast!

This is going to sound more intimidating than I mean for it to, but there’s a lot of technique that goes into proper biscuit baking. Have no fear, though; it’s all very straight forward. I wish someone had explained all of this to me when I was first starting out, because it would have meant more tender, buttery results along the way and fewer dense, dry hockey pucks that needed to be dunked in sauce in order to be palatable.

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Hot Crab Dip

This hot crab dip recipe comes together quickly, and it’s always a big hit with my friends and family! You can bake it in in a pie dish, or use a couple of sourdough bread bowls for a fun, edible presentation.

This creamy, cheesy hot crab dip recipe has become a smash hit with my family! It bakes up in no time. People will beg you for the recipe.

I’ve been eating steamed blue crabs since I was a little kid. While I have almost no patience these days for digging through crabs to pick out those precious little jewels of meat, I’m always looking for new ways to add crab to recipes. That’s why I decided to create a crab dip recipe, which my whole family went nuts for when we got together over Christmas.

One of my dirty little secrets is that for the past several years, I’ve always ordered snow crab legs when we dine out. Jeff, who is not a born and raised Marylander, always gets the traditional option: large steamed blue crabs doused in Old Bay. I often joke that I should probably turn in my Maryland card, but I also don’t care what anyone thinks. Snow crab legs are easier and less messy. Anyway, I still love fresh blue crab meat when it’s in a big tub. My grandmother’s jumbo lump crab cakes are to die for, and people are constantly asking me to make these bite-sized jumbo lump crab bites for parties.

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