Welcome to The Pink Kitchen.....where life is fashionably delicious!!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Taste of the South

A few weeks ago, my husband and I had the pleasure of going down south to North Carolina for our friend's wedding. (Congratulations Shaun and Natalie!!!) Not only did we get to experience amazing southern barbeque at their reception, but we also got to see what the little town of Asheville had to offer. For a small town, there sure was a LOT of food! So many restaurants.....so little time! I instantly fell in love with this town. My pick of the weekend was the Tupelo Honey Cafe. I went with a few of my girlfriends and let's just say, we weren't the only people who where interested in trying this place. There was a line out the door and an hour-long wait! So in the mean time we shopped around the quaint little town which truly is a shopaholic's paradise! The food certainly was worth the wait. The biscuits at the Tupelo Honey Cafe were almost the size of baseballs with blueberry jam and honey to top it off. Yum! I had an egg scramble that was oozing with melted Havarti cheese, lump crab meat, spinach, and caramelized onions. Holy cow, can you say delish?! A friend  of mine tried the sweet potato pancake which covered an entire plate and looked so scrumptious!!! I noticed a cookbook in the front of the restaurant which I decided to page through as we munched. Almost all of the recipes on the menu were included in the cookbook! So of course, I had to have it! There isn't much in this book that doesn't excite me. So the problem was, what do I make first? I settled on the Tomato Pie and though it would go nicely with a salad for dinner. Well, it definitely didn't disappoint and now I am even more excited to try more of the recipes in this book and share them with you! Today I made the Pecan Pie recipe for Thanksgiving tomorrow. I can't wait to try it. It's been on my counter staring at me all day!

Tomato Pie (adapted from the Tupelo Honey Cafe)


1 pie crust
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (1 cup mild, 1 cup sharp)
1 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp dried parsley
2 chopped green onions, white and green parts
2 Tbsp. grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
4 large tomatoes, sliced 1/2 inch thick

1. Place pie crust in 9-inch pie plate. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. In a bowl, combine cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, parsley, green onion, Parmesan cheese, and bread crumbs. Stir to mix completely.
3. Layer half of the tomatoes over the pie crust, covering the bottom as much as possible.
4. Spread half of the cheese mixture over the tomatoes. Repeat with another layer of tomatoes and finish with another layer of the cheese mixture. (The cheese mixture on top gets so brown and crunchy because of the Panko. You are gonna love it!)
5. Bake for 30 minutes until top of pie is bubbly and browned. Allow to sit about 15 minutes before slicing.

Wishing everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Warm Soup for the Soul

I'm really into soups lately. Maybe it's because the weather is getting colder and it just makes me crave a nice creamy soup. I came across a recipe for Broccoli Cheddar and hesitated since I'm not usually a huge fan for whatever reason (I'm more of a French Onion Soup kinda girl). Since I bought my Vitamix blender, which by the way is my new favorite kitchen appliance, I've been wanting to experiment with more kinds of soup. So I decided to give the Broccoli Cheddar a try since the recipe sounded easy enough. It turns out this soup is quite dreamy and not too overly-cheesy and rich. Serve this along with some warm, crusty bread and curl up under a nice, cozy blanket! Heaven! Oh how I love Fall!!!

Broccoli Cheddar Soup


6 Tbsp butter
3/4 cup chopped onion (about half a large onion)
1/4 cup flour
2 cups Half-n-Half
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
4 cups fresh broccoli florets (about 2 small heads)
1 large carrot, diced (or about 6 baby carrots)
2 cups grated sharp and mild cheddar cheese (I used the Cracker Barrel brand- comes pre-shredded with both types of cheddar)


1. Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.
2. Add chopped onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
3. Whisk in flour until completely combined, about 3 minutes. Gradually mix in half-n-half until smooth. Add chicken broth, bay leaf, nutmeg, salt, and pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook uncovered about 15 minutes until thickened. Remove bay leaf.
4. Meanwhile chop broccoli and carrots.
5. Add broccoli and carrots to broth mixture and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes.
6. Blend soup in batches until smooth and desired consistency is reached. (Don't fill your blender more than half way since it will cause a "soup explosion" due to the pressure from the steam.) You will still see flecks of broccoli and carrot. I like to blend some batches less than others so there are still some small pieces throughout, rather than puree the soup.

7. Return soup to Dutch oven and add cheese. Cook over medium heat until cheese is melted. Add up to 3/4 cup water if soup is too thick for your liking. Mine was perfect with just 1/3 cup water added.  Ladle into bowls and garnish with more cheese if desired.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Smashed Sweeties

There is something so comforting about the smell of chicken roasting in the oven! Usually when I roast a chicken, I serve it with the traditional side dishes: corn, mashed potatoes, gravy, and maybe a green bean casserole. Well, a few weeks ago I tried something different. I made a Herbs de Provence roast chicken and served it with mashed sweet potatoes and steamed broccoli. I've loved sweet potatoes since childhood and they will always hold a special place in my heart. I love when foods evoke memories! My grandmother has always made amazing candied sweet potatoes every Thanksgiving and my own family started making a sweet potato casserole that has become a Thanksgiving staple for many years as well. These mashed "sweeties" aren't overly sweet, and they are so creamy and delicious! This dish would make a great accompaniment to your Thanksgiving turkey or barbecued ribs or chicken any time of the year! So get smashin'!!!

Maple Pecan Mashed Sweet Potatoes


4 large sweet potatoes or yams
1/2 stick butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp light brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Sprinkle of ground nutmeg
1/4 cup chopped, toasted pecans
1/4 pure maple syrup
Dash of salt


1. Peel and cut sweet potatoes into large chunks. Boil in water over medium heat for about 25 minutes or until tender and breaking apart. Drain thoroughly. 
2. In a saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar,  cinnamon, and nutmeg. Heat over low heat until butter is melted and ingredients are combined. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. 
3. Mash sweet potatoes until creamy. Blend in butter mixture. Sprinkle with salt.

4. Combine chopped pecans and maple syrup in a pan. Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to simmer. Drizzle over mashed sweet potatoes. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


I think I've finally concocted a recipe for the PERFECT Chocolate Chip Cookie! It's based off of the famous cookies at Levain Bakery in NYC, which are known for being gooey, puffy, chewy, and delicious. I've tweaked this recipe to make it my own, and may never go back to the recipe on the bag of chocolate chips. Sorry, Tollhouse! 

Alissa's Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Makes about 20 large cookies)


2 sticks cold butter, cut into cubes
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cornstarch
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. With a mixer, cream together cold butter and sugars. Add eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla and mix until blended.
3. In a separate bowl, mix together all dry ingredients. Add slowly to butter mixture until incorporated. Dough will be very stiff. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.
4. Roll dough into balls (about the size of a large scoop of ice cream) and place on baking sheets.
5. Bake for 15-20 minutes (depending on what you're baking on). I used my Pampered Chef stoneware and they took about 20 minutes. Watch them closely. You only want them to be light golden brown on the top and partially undercooked since they cook a little more while cooling. This way they stay nice and chewy, even the next day! Place on cooling racks. Bite into one while warm and enjoy the gooey deliciousness!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Not Your Average Tuna Casserole

I know, I know.....most people think that Tuna Casserole is disgusting. Usually it's blander than bland. I promise you, this is not your average tuna casserole. The reason I love this recipe is because, not only is it delicious, it's super easy! It can be whipped up in 10 minutes flat and thrown in the oven! Plus, if you're not into tuna, you can just substitute chopped chicken breast instead. Either way, this casserole is sure to please and is anything but boring! 

Cheesy Crispy Tuna Casserole


1 or 2 cans tuna, drained well (depending on your taste)
3/4 bag medium egg noodles
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 box organic cream of chicken soup (or 1 can Campbell's)
1/2 cup water or milk
2 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese
1 cups French fried onions


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cook egg noodles according to package directions. While noodles are cooking, open tuna and soup. Gather remaining ingredients.
3. Drain noodles. Add soup and 1/2 cup water or milk to noodles. Stir to coat. Add peas, corn, and tuna. (I like to have large tuna pieces in my casserole so I just dump it right out of the can and it breaks up slightly when mixing.) Add 1/2 cup shredded cheddar and stir into noodle mixture.
4. Spray a casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Pour noodle mixture evenly into dish and top with remaining cheddar cheese. 
5. Bake for 25 minutes until bubbly. Remove from oven and top with 1 cup french fried onion. Bake an additional 5 minutes until onions are golden brown and crispy.

*I've tried this recipe both ways, with one can of tuna and with two cans. I honestly prefer it with one just for a milder tuna flavor. This dish would be great without any meat at all! I also recommend using StarKist Solid White Albacore in water for this recipe since it flakes nicely and isn't a can of mush like most tuna. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Chinese Fake-Out

Who knew you could make Chinese food at home that actually TASTES like the real thing!?! I found this recipe for Shrimp Fried Rice on Allrecipes.com and decided to try it. I'll admit, I was nervous since I don't own a wok and was afraid the rice would become total mush. I read somewhere to make the rice one day in advance and refrigerate it until ready to use. This allows the rice to become more firm so it doesn't turn into a soggy mess when you start soaking it with soy sauce. I was really happy with how this dish turned out. Traditional fried rice has eggs in it, but don't let that scare you. You don't taste eggs, they just really contribute to the overall flavor. You can also leave them out if the thought of eggs in your fried rice makes you gag! :) I love that you can control the sodium and ingredients in this recipe, making it much healthier than takeout. Okay, now I'm craving a fortune cookie!

Shrimp Fried Rice (adapted from Allrecipes.com)


3 cups cooked rice (cooked the day before and refrigerated overnight)
4 Tbsp vegetable oil + drizzle for cooking shrimp
1/2 onion, chopped
1 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined with tails removed
2 eggs
1/4 tsp pepper
4 Tbsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp sesame oil
1/2 cup frozen peas


1. Heat a drizzle of vegetable oil in a pan over medium-low heat. Cook shrimp until just cooked; they will turn pink. Set shrimp aside. (Don't over cook the shrimp or they will become rubbery once put into the rice.)
2. Pour 4 Tbsp vegetable oil in large wok or skillet and heat over medium-heat heat until hot and shimmering.
3. Place chopped onions in skillet and cook for 3 minutes or until tender. Move onions to side of skillet and add frozen peas and 2 eggs. Place eggs in their own section of the pan and stir them up with a wooden spoon to scramble. Once eggs are broken up into bits, stir onions, peas, and eggs together.
4. Mix in rice and shrimp and continue cooking for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
5. Stir in pepper, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Cook an additional 4 minutes, stirring to coat all ingredients.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Creamier, the Dreamier

Oh my gosh you guys! I have been trying SO many new recipes lately and I can't wait to share them all with you. This is my favorite time of year for cooking and baking. I love Fall flavors and comfort food! Comfort food for me, is usually something creamy. Chicken pot pie is one of my all time favorites which I've posted in the past. It's beyond delicious! You can find it here: 


This recipe is so easy and also creamy, dreamy!

Pork Cutlets with Mushroom Cream Sauce (adapted from RecipeGirl.com)


1 pound pork tenderloin
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 large shallot (or 2 small), peeled and finely chopped
8 oz. baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 container Kraft Savory Garlic Cooking Creme
Olive oil
Salt & pepper


1. Cut pork into individual serving-sized pieces. Place pieces between two sheets of waxed paper and pound out to 1/4-inch thickness. (I used a rolling pin and went crazy!) Season pork with salt and pepper.
2. Place flour on a plate or breading tray and dredge pork, turning to coat all sides. Shake off excess. 
3. Heat a few drizzles of olive oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Cook pork on both sides until browned and cooked through. 
4. To make the cream sauce, heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a skillet. Saute shallots until they are soft and begin to caramelize. Add a little more olive oil to pan and stir in sliced mushrooms. Continue to stir until mushrooms become tender, about 3-4 minutes. 
5. Add Kraft cooking creme and stir until heated through. 
6. Serve sauce over pork. 

***Also, don't forget to vote on the poll (located in the right-hand column of my blog page) for what recipes you'd like to see more of on The Pink Kitchen!!! Only 7 days left to vote!***

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Meringue Clouds

In case you're a lemon lover like me, here's another great lemon recipe! This is a very traditional Lemon Meringue Pie recipe. It's the first time I've ever made it, even though it's one of my favorite desserts. I love making meringue; it's like making little puffy clouds! :) Plus, I love the way it looks when it browns on top of the pie in little tufts! So cute! 

Lemon Meringue Pie (recipe courtesy Allrecipes.com)

Ingredients (for 1 pie):

1 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups water
2 lemons, juiced and zested
2 Tbsp butter
4 egg yolks, beaten
1- 9 inch pie crust, baked
4 egg whites
6 Tbsp granulated sugar


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. To Make Lemon Filling: In a medium saucepan, whisk together 1 cup sugar, flour, cornstarch, and salt. Stir in water, lemon juice and lemon zest. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until mixture comes to a boil. Stir in butter. Place egg yolks in a small bowl and gradually whisk in 1/2 cup of hot sugar mixture. Whisk egg yolk mixture back into remaining sugar mixture. Bring to a boil and continue to cook while stirring constantly until thick.
3. Remove from heat. Pour filling into baked pastry shell.
4. To Make Meringue: In a large glass or metal bowl, whip egg whites until foamy. Add sugar gradually, and continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Spread meringue over pie, sealing the edges at the crust. 
5. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes, or until meringue is golden brown.

***Some tips for making the fluffiest meringue:
When making meringue, you want it to form "stiff peaks" which means it will look like this when you invert your wire whisk:
How cute it that?! It's a little cloud! Also, to make the meringue stand up in little tufts on your pie, just press a spatula into the meringue and lift up on an angle before baking. Repeat this technique all over the pie.