Cocktails

The Classic Mojito and Pink Champagne Mojito

If you’re in the mood for a fun summer drink, this mojito recipe is just what you need!
It’s refreshing, delicious, and super easy to make.

Mojitos are ultra refreshing on warm days, and I feel like I’m on vacation every time I get my hands on one.

Here’s two super easy Mojito recipes… the classic Mojito and the Pink Champagne Mojito!

INGREDIENTS

Classic Mojito

5 mint leaves, more for garnish

2 ounces white rum

1.5 ounce Stirrings Mojito Mix

Ice

Club soda or sparkling water

Lime slices and mint leaves, for garnish

Pink Champagne Mojito

6 to 8 fresh mint leaves

1 ounces of simple syrup

1 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice

2 ounce white rum

3 ounces rosé champagne

1 lime, cut into wedges

INSTRUCTIONS

Classic Mojito

Strain into a glass filled with ice. Top with a splash of club soda and garnish with lime slices and more mint.

Lightly muddle the mint in the bottom of a cocktail shaker until aromatic. Add the rum, mix, a handful of ice and shake.

Pink Champagne Mojito

In the bottom of a cocktail shaker, add the simple syrup and the mint leaves. 

Muddle with a muddler. 

Add ice, some lime wedges or slices, rum, and lime juice to the cocktail shaker. Shake. 

Strain into a glass filled with ice.

Top with rosé champagne, garnish with lime slices and more mint.

Recipes

Bacon & Sweet Corn Grilled Pizza

Sweet grilled corn, bacon, mozzarella and goat cheese mingle together on homemade pizza dough that’s grilled for maximum flavor and a perfect char.

This pizza is perfect for a Barbeque party!

INGREDIENTS 

1 recipe homemade pizza crust

2 ears sweet corn

2 tablespoons olive oil divided

4 strips cooked bacon, crumbled

2 clove garlic minced

1 red pepper, diced

1 red onion, diced

½ teaspoon garlic salt

pepper

4 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced or shredded

1 Jalapeno, seeds removed sliced

2 ounces Goat cheese crumbled

Parsely, chopped

INSTRUCTIONS 

Preheat the grill to medium-low heat.

Shuck the corn and remove and the silks are still left. Rub the corn with 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil and place on the grill. Cook, turning occasionally until charred, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat, let cool slightly, then remove the kernels from the cob.

In a pan over medium heat, saute the red pepper, onion and garlic. 

Sprinkle the cornmeal on a cutting board or pizza peel and turn the dough out onto the cornmeal and roll into a 14-inch circle. Brush the top with 1/2 of the olive oil and sprinkle of garlic salt and pepper. 

Place the crust olive oil side down on the grill and cook until puffed and browned.Flip and brush the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil onto the dough, then sprinkle on the sauteed veggies, bacon, parsely, mozzarella, jalapeno slices and charred corn kernels.

Half way through the grilling, sprinkle on the goat cheese crumbles. 

Grill the pizza until the cheese has melted and the crust has a nice char. If the crust is cooking too fast, move the pizza to a cooler part of the grill.

Cookies, Recipes

Melt in Your Mouth Chocolate Chip Bars

Got a sweet tooth and love chocolate? Then these chocolate chip bars are for you!

They start with my brown butter chocolate chip cookie recipe and are filled with milk chocolate and sweetened condensed milk. The brown butter and brown sugar gives a toffee-like richness to the cookie bars. And they are so easy to make in a 9×13-inch pan; no scooping or rolling needed. Just press and bake!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bag of milk chocolate chips
  • 1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 4.4 ounce large milk chocolate bar, chopped 

INSTRUCTIONS

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, about 6 minutes, until it becomes brown in color. It will foam, reduce, then foam again. Once it’s done cooking the foam is a light brown and it will dissipate after you remove it from the heat. Once it starts to brown, keep stirring so it doesn’t burn. Let sit for about 5 minutes to cool.

Pour into an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment. While still hot, add both sugars and mix on low until combined. Let sit to cool for a few minutes.

While the butter mixture is cooling, combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk and set aside.

Turn the mixer on low. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing completely.  

Mix in vanilla extract. 

Add flour mixture one cup at a time to the wet ingredients and mix until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Line a 9×13” baking pan with parchment paper for easy removal.

Press half the cookie dough in the prepared pan. Pour sweetened condensed milk over the top of the bottom layer (be careful to leave about 1/4” edge around the pan, then sprinkle the chopped chocolate bar over the top. 

Press the remaining cookie dough on top of milk and chopped chocolate bar. Press with your hands to flatten. It will mostly cover but not completely cover the bottom layer.

Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake for about 35-45 minutes until the tops of the bars start to get golden brown. 

Cool completely before slicing into bars.

Healthy, Recipes

Lemon Pepper Salmon

This baked lemon pepper salmon only takes 12 minutes in the oven before dinner is served! 

This baked lemon pepper salmon recipe is such a delicious and easy way to prepare salmon in the oven. It only takes 12 minutes at 400ºF to whip up this healthy dinner idea!

Salmon cooks up so fast, has a beautiful mild flavor without the fishy-ness, and is very easy to find at your local grocery store. You don’t need a whole lot of effort and time to make this salmon taste amazing.

Feel free to turn this into a one pan meal by adding some of your favorite veggies like broccoli, asparagus or even potatoes. 

INGREDIENTS

2 5-oz. salmon filets

1.5 teaspoons lemon pepper

salt, to taste

2 lemon, sliced into wheels

Lemon zest, for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

First, preheat the oven to 400ºF.

Next, prepare salmon, by placing a double piece of paper towel on a large plate. Place salmon filets on top of the paper towel, skin-side down and then place another piece of paper towel on top. Use your hands to press the paper towel into the salmon in order to remove as much moisture as possible.

Next, prepare a baking sheet with foil and cooking spray.

Then place the salmon filets on top skin-side down.

Sprinkle on a generous amount of lemon pepper seasoning on top of each filet. And, season with salt to taste and place lemon wheels on top.

Bake at 400ºF for 12-14 minutes or until the salmon is cooked all the way through a

Cocktails

The Classic & The Spicy Margarita

Stop using margarita mix. For a classic margarita recipe all you need is tequila, fresh lime juice, triple sec, and simple syrup.

The classic Margarita is one of the most popular cocktails in the world.I’m a sucker for a classic and a spicy one! The key to the Spicy Margarita’s heat is fresh jalapenos. 

Here’s my two go-to favorite margarita recipes. 

INGREDIENTS

Classic

  • 1 lime wedge
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt, for glass rims
  • 4 ounces high-quality blanco tequila
  • 2 ounces Cointreau
  • 1 1/2 ounces fresh juice 
  • Lime wheels for garnish

Spicy

  • 1 lime wedge
  • 2 jalapeno coins
  • 2 ounces blanco tequila
  • 1/2 ounce orange liqueur
  • 1 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/2 ounce agave syrup
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt, for glass rims
  • Jalapeno coin, garnish
  • Lime wheels, garnish

INSTRUCTIONS 

If you’d like a salt rimmed glass, slice a lime into quarters and rub one of the quarters along the rim of a glass. Spread margarita salt onto a small plate and turn the glass upside down into the salt. The salt should stick to the rim.

In a cocktail shaker, combine all ingredients. Fill with ice and shake until thoroughly chilled, about 15 seconds (the bottom of a metal shaker should frost over).

Fill glasses with fresh ice and strain margarita into both glasses. 

Garnish and serve.

Recipes, Small Bites

Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings

Crispy Oven-Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings are so easy to prepare with no need for oil or deep frying.

Buffalo Chicken Wings are the perfect game-day or any day appetizer, marinated in a buffalo sauce, and baked to perfection with just the right amount of heat.

Did you know?
Chicken wings were first cooked in a hot sauce for a late-night snack back in 1964, at a bar in Buffalo, New York. Since then, buffalo wings can be found on most bar menus across the world especially when it’s game-day, you can be sure that tables are full of wings and beer.

This recipe is so easy to make. These buffalo wings are baked instead of fried, but are just as crispy and delicious. And, what makes it even better is that you can eat the wings hot and fresh right out of the oven. Serve them with my homemade Blue Cheese dressing or Ranch for dipping, and you’ve got an awesome snack or meal with less fat and calories.

INGREDIENTS

CHICKEN WINGS

  • 4 pounds chicken wings
  • 1 tablespoon free baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • Pinch of cracked pepper

BUFFALO SAUCE:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup Frank’s Original Red Hot Sauce
  • 1-2 tablespoons honey, white sugar or brown sugar (adjust to suit your tastes)

BLUE CHEESE Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese softened
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of cracked black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and preheat oven to 450°F.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminium foil.
Pat dry chicken wings liberally with paper towels, squeezing out as much moisture as you can. Transfer them to a large bowl.

In a small bowl, combine the baking powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper together, whisking well to combine, and sprinkle the mixture over the wings. Toss wings through the baking powder mixture until evenly coated.

Arrange on the prepared pan, leaving about 1-inch of space between each wing.
Bake for 20 minutes; flip and continue to cook for an additional 20 minutes. Repeat these steps until crisp and golden brown, (about 60-80 minutes total), until golden browned and crispy.

While the wings are cooking, whisk together hot sauce, butter and sugar in a saucepan. Once butter has melted and sauce is bubbling remove from heat.
Toss wings through the sauce to evenly coat.

Serve wings immediately with blue cheese dressing or ranch dressing, and celery sticks.

Cocktails

The Perfect Bloody Mary with a Bacon Skewer

Sundays are for Brunching & Bloody Mary Bars!

The Bloody Mary is one of the world’s best known cocktails, prized for its ability to jumpstart even the laziest of mornings. Its origins aren’t exactly clear, but the likely backstory points to the mid-1930s and Fernand “Pete” Petiot, a bartender at King Cole Bar at the St. Regis hotel in New York City.

So next time, you have yourself a Bllody Mary make sure you say Cheers to Pete!

INGREDIENTS

1 cup ice cubes 

1.5 fluid ounce @Tito’s Handmade Vodka

¾ cup @Zingzang 

1 stalk celery 

2 Green Olives

2 pieces Get Yourself a Husband Bacon

2 lemon & lime wedges

Dash of Oldbay seasoning 

INSTRUCTIONS

 Fill the glass with ice cubes.

In a cocktail mixer full of ice, combine the vodka, zing zang, and old bay seasoning. Shake vigorously and strain into the glass.

Garnish with a stalk of celery, bacon, olives, lemon and limes.

Cakes & Pies, Recipes

Peach & Blueberry Cake

After picking blueberries and peaches at Southern Hill Farms this weekend, I was inspired to make this delicious and beautiful Peach and Blueberry Cake!

This cake screams summer fruit! And you can easily switch out the fruit and make it a year-round dessert.

The combination of the peaches and blueberries is amazing. The natural sugars in the fruit enhance the flavor. The crust is almost biscuit-like and has a rich buttery flavor. 

Enjoy the summer weekend and this scrumptious summer cake!

Check out Southern Hills Farm!

INGREDIENTS

For pastry

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

For filling

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½  tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 lb firm-ripe large peaches (about 4), halved lengthwise, pitted, and each half cut lengthwise into fourths
  • 1 cup blueberries (1/2 pint)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

DIRECTIONS

Make pastry:

Pulse together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a food processor until combined. Add butter and pulse just until mixture resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps. Add egg and vanilla and pulse just until dough clumps and begins to form a ball, about 15 pulses.

Press dough onto bottom and evenly (about 1/4 inch thick) all the way up side of springform pan with floured fingertips. Chill pastry in pan until firm, about 10 minutes.

Make filling while pastry chills:

Put the oven rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 375°F.

Generously butter the inside of your springform pan.

Grind 2 tablespoons sugar with flour and cornstarch in a food processor until combined, then transfer to a large bowl. 

Add peaches, blueberries, and lemon juice and sprinkle 6 tablespoons over the top, toss to coat. 

Spoon filling into pastry and bake, loosely covered with a sheet of foil and cover the bottom of the pan with foil, until filling is bubbling in center and crust is golden, about 1 3/4 hours.

Transfer cake in pan to a rack and cool, uncovered, 20 minutes, then carefully remove side of pan.

Cool cake to barely warm or room temperature, then cut into thick wedges with a sharp knife before serving.

Tip:

I recommend using light-colored metal pans for baking. Dark metal pans, including nonstick, will cause your baked goods to brown more quickly. If you don’t have a light-colored pan, wrap the bottom of your pan with foil and lower the heat to 350 degrees F. 

Recipes

Chicken in White Wine Fennel Sauce

The Mediterranean flavors of fennel, garlic, and rosemary are perfect with chicken. The fennel and chicken are sautéed and then briefly braised in a chicken wine broth, which becomes a tasty light sauce.

Want to cook with wine? Always! Adding wine to a sauce makes it taste like it’s from a fancy restaurant…but it’s easy to make at home! The flavor is tangy from the wine and savory from the fennel rosemary, and garlic. It’s a perfect combination! 

Why cook with wine? Italian and French style recipes often call for white wine in the ingredient list. It’s used to deglaze the pan or add a complex, acidic flavor to dishes. It adds incredible complexity to risotto or pan sauces like this dish!

What wine to use for cooking? You can use any dry white wine for this recipe. You’ll want a crisp white wine that doesn’t have any hint of sweetness. A few types of white wine that are great for cooking are:

  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Chardonnay
  • Pinot Grigio
  • Pinot Gris

Making a white wine sauce is easier than you think! It might sound fancy. But it takes just 15 minutes to whip up with a short list of ingredients. 

So grab a bottle of your favorite dry white wine, pour yourself a glass and let’s get cooking!

The fennel and the rosemary will pair especially nicely with a full-bodied red wine such as Scout & Cellar’s ETNICO PINOT NOIR. Elegant and bright with black cherry, pomegranate, herbs, and a hint of turned earth on a light-bodied frame with a lingering finish.

I served this dish with my creamy parmesan orzo.  

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1 1/3 pounds in all)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 large fennel bulb (about 1 1/4 pounds), cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 pint sliced mushrooms
  • ½ medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium shallot, diced
  • ½ cup canned low-sodium chicken broth  
  • ½ cup white wine, such as Scout & Cellar Gallivant Chardonnay
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Fresh-ground black pepper and Salt to taste

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350F. 

In a large pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over moderately high heat. 

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the pan with 1 teaspoon of rosemary and cook until brown, about 3 minutes. Turn and cook until almost done, about 3 minutes longer. Remove chicken and set aside. We will finish cooking the chicken in the broth in the oven. 

Deglaze the pan. Pour 2 tablespoons of wine in the pan, scrape the bottom with a wooden spatula vigorously as the liquid comes to a boil. Do not let it boil for more than a few seconds and you make sure you’ve released all the particles from the pan. 

Add butter and melt. Add fennel, 1 teaspoon of the rosemary, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the fennel is golden brown and almost done, about 12 minutes. Add the onion and saute for 1-2 minutes, add the shallot and garlic, stir and cook for additional 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for 2 more minutes.  

Add the wine and broth bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer until the veggies are tender, about 3 minutes. Nestle the chicken into the pan and bake for 10 minutes until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 185 . 

Stir in the parsley.

On the Side, Recipes, Small Bites

Fresh Herb Ricotta Cheese Bread

A no yeast bread that is super quick to prepare! 

Ready in less than an hour, this Herbed Ricotta Cheese Bread is sure to become a favorite!

This quick bread is loaded with fresh herbs, ricotta cheese, and a dash of smoked paprika. 

Ricotta is a fresh, soft, Italian cheese with a small curd and a light, mild, slightly sweet flavor. In the United States, it is most commonly known as an ingredient in lasagna. I honestly love ricotta even just by itself. For this recipe, I decided to use ricotta instead of heavy cream or milk, the ricotta gives the bread a light texture that practically melts in your mouth!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons sugar
  • 5 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter
  • ½ cup green onions or scallions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • ⅔ cup milk
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water (for egg wash)
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • smoked paprika

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. 

Grate butter into the flour mixture and stir with a fork until the consistency of coarse meal.

Stir in scallions and fresh herbs. 

Add ricotta cheese, then add milk and stir until just combined.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. 

Knead 2 to 3 times, then pat dough into a 9-inch rectangle. 

Transfer bread to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush tops liberally with egg wash. Sprinkle top with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and smoked paprika.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until bread is golden brown.