Recipe: Butternut Squash Soup with Sausage, White Beans, and Kale

It's like a warm, fuzzy a bowl.

recipe - butternut squash soup with sausage, white beans, and kale

soup recipe - butternut squash with sausage, white beans, and kale

It’s been a little gloomy the last few days in New York, and as the temperatures dropped (and the rain descended), nothing sounded better than a big bowl of soup. I’ve been loving all the pumpkins that are gracing doorways and bodegas around these parts, so I was inspired to make a pumpkin soup — but made a little decadent with sausage and cream. Of course, you know what they say about the best laid plans. When I got to the store, they didn’t have any pumpkin puree, so I used butternut squash instead. However, if you can find non-sweetened pumpkin puree, which was what I was after, it would be awesome in this soup as well!

So yeah, this soup. A little bit of a splurge (again, sausage. cream.), but plenty of healthy things going on too: lots of leafy green kale, white beans, and of course, that vibrant, nutritious squash. This soup LOOKS like fall in a bowl — bright orange, flecked with bits of darker orange carrots and the deep green kale. And, an extra bonus: it’s a quick, easy weeknight meal! Here’s how you make it:  Read the full post +

This month's quote: "Take your pleasure seriously."

Recipe: Baked Chicken Nuggets

Make a double batch. You won't regret it.

Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset

This past weekend, I decided to stay in with Joe and avoid the NYFW madness (and the maddening humidity) and watch our alma mater play a little football. A big game deserves delicious, tailgate inspired snacks, and I had an idea to make some oven fried chicken using a few chicken thighs we had on hand. Then, I realized something dippable — and in nugget form — would be infinitely less complicated to make, and a lot more fun to eat!

When is the last time you had chicken nuggets? I’ll admit, I can be a bit of a snob about these types of things (read: probably wouldn’t order from a fast food chain), so it’s been a while for me. I didn’t want to go through the process of deep frying, so I looked around a bit for recipe inspiration. Enter this technique from (who else?) Martha Stewart: you toast the crunchy panko breadcrumbs before you adhere them to the chicken, which ensures a super crisp crust. And, these babies bake in mere minutes. You can serve ‘em up with a basic bowl of ketchup, or get fancy and make your own dipping sauces. We were in the mood for spicy, Asian inspired flavors, so I whipped up a sweet and spicy honey chili sauce, with lots of garlic and cilantro. It was delish!

If you’re planning on hosting any game day parties, or just want a quick snack for you or any little ones, give this one a try. Super simple to make, and so much lighter than the deep fried fast food version! Here’s what you do:  Read the full post +

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Images by Victoria McGinley, and via my Instagram

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Recipe: Homemade Ricotta

Yes, you can make your own cheese at home!

homemade ricotta recipe
I remember the first time I ever made a fresh ricotta — it was like magic. It was a few months into culinary school, and the particular kitchen we were in had a bunch of milk and half and half that needed to be used up, lest it end up spoiled in the garbage. Chef told us to get some huge pots — the kind you’d use to make gallons of stock — and pour all the milk in it. Not but a little while later, we had beautiful, soft, fresh ricotta cheese. It was nothing like the gloppy, congealed kind I’d come to know from the grocery store. No, this cheese was light, fluffy, and as soft as a pillow. What’s more incredible is that it’s one of the easiest things to make at home (and impress your friends with).

The recipe? Curdle some milk. No really, that’s it. You boil some dairy — whole milk, and whatever other full fat cream or half and half you have on hand — then put acid in it. Use lemon juice, vinegar, or as I did this weekend, both! Strain it, and let it hang out for a few minutes, and boom, you’ve got ricotta cheese. It’s really as simple as that.

recipe for homemade ricotta

The real joy in making fresh ricotta at home is deciding what you want to put on top of it. I’m particularly fond of it spread on some toasted bread, and topped with bright flavors like a vinegary cherry tomato salad with basil. But it’s light sweetness and softness means it’s also perfectly at home with a drizzle of honey and a bit of melon, too. You’re really only limited by your imagination!

If the best part of fresh, homemade ricotta is deciding what to garnish it with, the second best part is the surprise and delight of your guests when you serve it. Most people won’t expect you to make a fresh cheese from scratch at home, and they’re doubly surprised by how different — and more luxurious! — it is than the ol’ store bought kind. Give it a try! Here’s what you do: Read the full post +

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Images: by Victoria McGinley