Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta and Pine Nuts

This is a Thanksgiving side that I first made in 2010, and have made by request every year since.

They need to be made the day of Thanksgiving (which is sort of against everything we preach), BUT they can be served warm or room temperature which is helpful with the timing of everything.


Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta and Pine Nuts

Serves 3-4 (should be at least doubled for a Thanksgiving side)


Brussels Sprouts, 1 lb

Pancetta – can substitute thick cut bacon, 3 Tbs (or 2 ounces)

Olive oil – 2 tsp

Sea Salt – 1/4 tsp

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Pine nuts – less than 1/4 cup

Granulated Sugar – 1 Tbs (optional but recommended)

Fresh Parmesan


Save yourself time and buy the pre-washed brussels sprouts and chopped pancetta.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees

Cut the brussels sprouts in half and remove any grey/brown bits

Combine top five ingredients together in a bowl

Place on an aluminum foil lined cookie sheet, best if they don’t touch so they will roast instead of steam

Roast for 40 minutes, turning once.

While roasting, place pine nuts and sugar into a heated, dry skillet. Stir these constantly as they can burn in the blink of an eye. These will take 5 minutes max.

Once Brussels sprouts are done, put into serving dish and top with sugared pine nuts, freshly grated parmesan and ground black pepper.





Easy Artichoke Dip

Well, guys, it’s football season again, and while I might not watch many of the games, I definitely don’t pass on the snacks!  This artichoke dip is easy to whip up and just one of the best things you’ll ever have.

I was introduced to it by one of my husband’s aunts who always brings it to family gatherings.  I hear that technically this is a Junior League recipe, but Aunt Ann will always have the credit in my book!


Easy Artichoke Dip 

-2 cans of artichoke hearts, finely chopped

-1/2 c. mayonnaise

-1 Tbsp onion, finely chopped

-juice of 1/2 a lemon

-3-4 pieces of bacon, cooked and crumbled

-salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl, leaving a little extra bacon to garnish the top.  Serve with your favorite chips or crackers.

Wow!  Does it get any easier than that?  Enjoy!



Spicy Shrimp and Grits… with a Side of Camping

I can’t begin to explain how much I love camping.  Not hiking 20 miles and eating dehydrated food camping and certainly not as fancy as glamping!  Just regular ol’ camping.  It’s perfect for this time of year, great for a getaway weekend, and ridiculously easy.  William and I opt for car camping which means we always have our car next to wherever we’re sleeping.

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One big benefit to car camping is you get to pack a big cooler which can lend itself to some awesome food, and William and I always take advantage of that!  After a long day of hiking trails and playing in creeks, we decided to make a hearty dinner of shrimp and grits, and it did not disappoint! (If we can do this at a campsite just think how easy it will be to make in your own kitchen!)

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Spicy Shrimp and Grits

-1 c. grits

-3 c. vegetable stock

-1 c. water

-1 tsp salt

-dash garlic powder

-dash cayenne pepper

-6 pieces bacon, slices thin

-1 lb shrimp

-1 can Rotel

-2 green onions, chopped

Bring the grits, stock, water, salt, garlic powder, and cayenne to a low simmer and cook slowly for around 30 minutes, adding more water as needed until desired texture is achieved.  When the grits are almost done, add the bacon to a different pan and cook until crisped.  Removed the bacon and set aside.  To the pan where the bacon was cooking, add the shrimp, Rotel, and half of the green onions.  It’s up to you if you’d like to add all of the juice from the Rotel, but I did and ended up with a delicious, slightly spicy shrimp stew.  Let this all simmer until the shrimp is just cooked through, then spoon it on top of your grits and garnish with bacon and the remaining green onions.  Yum!!!

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Pro Tips for the Perfect BLT

Once summer hits, the only thing I ever want to eat is a BLT.  Honestly I probably eat three a week from May to August and never regret it.  Because of my years of experience, I’ve developed a few pro tips for this seemingly simple sandwich that will truly elevate it to a whole new level!


-Cook your bacon on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes depending on if your a crispy or a chewy bacon fan.  You can flip it once if you really want to.  I first learned this method while working as a line cook and have never looked back.  There are so many reasons to do it this way, but here are just a few:  more even cooking, no splatters to clean up, zero time spent babysitting.

-Continuing that line of thought, invest in decent bacon.  You don’t have to go all out here, but a thicker cut of bacon will really make all the difference to your BLT.

-Buy an heirloom tomato.  During the summer time, these are readily available at any and all farmers markets, but you can also pick them up (at a much higher cost) at most grocery stores.

-And sandwich that tomato between the lettuce and the bacon to avoid soggy bread. Don’t let soggy bread happen to you.

-Make mayonnaise from scratch.  Really.  You can do this, I promise!  And once you add lemon zest and garlic and basil, you can call it aioli, and all of your friends will be totally impressed by your culinary skills.  Also, you’ll want to eat it on everything, because it’s incredible.


Basil Aioli

-1 egg yolk

-juice and zest of 1 lemon

-1/4 tsp dried mustard (1/2 tsp regular yellow mustard can be substituted)

-1 tsp white vinegar

-1 pinch salt

-1 pinch white sugar

-1 cup canola oil

-1 garlic clove, minced

-1/2 cup basil, minced

-salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together the egg yolk, juice of HALF of the lemon, white vinegar, mustard, salt, and sugar until well combined.  Next you’re going to start adding the canola oil, drop by drop while continuously whisking.  The easiest way to do this is to have the canola oil in something with a spout, like a measuring cup.  You should see an emulsion forming, as the mixture should be turning thicker and lightening in color.  Once you are down to half a cup of oil, stop and add the juice of the other half of lemon.  Whisk to combine and keep adding your oil.  You can go a little faster this time, pouring it in a thin stream, still whisking away.  Once all of your oil is added, it’s time to add your lemon zest, minced garlic, basil, salt, and pepper.  Taste, taste, taste. *Using these same steps this can be made in a Vitamix or Ninja as well.

One thing I always find interesting, is that often the flavors don’t pop right away.  It’s important to remember to add a bit more salt or lemon to pull your seasoning out of the aioli and really brighten it up–you’ll know when you have it just right, and trust me, you’ll love it!









Tuesday’s Table – Simple Spring Supper

Seasonal, easy and inexpensive — what more can you ask for? This is sort of like brunch for dinner and cannot get much more simple. Plus having bacon on a weeknight will make this meal a crowd-pleaser for all.

Skillet Asparagus, Eggs, and Bacon


Asparagus (you should be able to find great looking, fresh asparagus all over the place this time of year!)


Bacon (I used good Wright’s bacon but you probably could even use turkey bacon?)

Minced Garlic (1-2 cloves, 1 teaspoon)

Salt and Pepper

Peas (optional)

Directions: Cook bacon (Julia does in skillet making this a one pot meal; Caroline bakes at 400 for 15-18 minutes) Rinse and trim asparagus. Add asparagus to skillet that either has a small bit of remaining bacon grease (pour out most of it) or add a small amount of grease from cookie sheet of oven bacon. Add salt and pepper. Cover and let cook/steam for 5-7 minutes.  Once asparagus looks bright green, add frozen green peas (IF you are having them) then add minced garlic (1-2 cloves), and give it one last good stir. Crack your eggs right over the top of your asparagus. Add a splash of water and cover until cooked medium (5 minutes-ish).    Plate and add any fresh herbs that you might like and you are done!! Enjoy!!