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

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.