Olive oil biscotti is the perfect biscotti! Made with extra virgin olive oil it’s heart healthy and delicious. Great for gift giving and entertaining.Read More
This post is sponsored by The Kraft Heinz Company, but all opinions, awesome ideas, and typos are my own
Thanksgiving is all about the turkey, but in our house the traditional meal of turkey with all of the fixings graces our table throughout the season when celebrating holidays with family and friends. One of my favorite things about turkey, are the leftovers.
So once I’ve had enough of holiday dishes, and football games are quiet, it’s time to make creative use of our leftovers and stretch out our love of turkey. It’s time for a sandwich – or as the Italians often say, a “panini”.
Today I'm whipping up a delicious panini sandwich with leftover turkey from the big bird and a few things I picked up from my local Price Chopper. Because you know, the day after Thanksgiving, you want to keep it simple to all things kitchen oriented!
So, I'm going to take that leftover turkey and make it into an ooey, gooey, crispy, crunchy, delightfully delicious sandwich - and you don’t even need a fancy, schmancy panini press!
What you need:
2 slices whole grain bread
1 Tbsp. MIRACLE WHIP Dressing
1-1/2 oz. thinly sliced leftover roasted turkey
3 thin plum tomato slices
1 thin red onion slice
2 tsp. butter
First, heat-up your panini press. Oh wait, I don't have one. No need friends, here are a couple alternate panini press options.
1) If you have a grill pan, pull it out and heat it up on the stove. Have another heavy pan ready to use for the "press". If you don' have a grill pan a regular skillet will work just fine. No ridges...but still fabulous.
2) You can also use the grill itself! Fire up the gas grill for a perfectly toasty, truly "grilled" cheese.
Next, take a whole grained bread, add MIRACLE WHIP Dressing, thinly sliced turkey, plum tomatoes, a bit of red onion, and a slice of KRAFT Expertly Paired for Grilled Sandwiches, Mozzarella & Cheddar Cheese!
Lastly, butter both sides of the sandwich and toast away! Grill for 4 minutes on each side or until sandwich is golden brown and cheese is melted. So there you have it, no panini press required.
KRAFT Expertly Paired for Grilled Sandwiches, Mozzarella & Cheddar Cheese is perfect for any type of grilled sandwich. Why you ask? (Assuming you would have asked) Because it combines mozzarella and cheddar into ONE cheese slice. What!? Yes! And it makes things easy because you only need one slice to get the combination of a softer melty cheese with the harder, classic cheddar. Perfect for the toasty panini sandwich. Yummmm.
I want to add that NEW KRAFT Expertly Paired Cheeses take all kinds of dishes, such as tacos, pastas, pizzas, casseroles and egg dishes, to the next level. You can find all new varieties of KRAFT Expertly Paired Cheese at your local Price Chopper...so take a look-see!
Of course, I can't let you go without sharing how to make panini’s for a crowd, because you know I'm all about having friends over. Simply choose a side dish you'd like to serve with your sandwiches...maybe a make-ahead soup or salad? Then prep your sandwiches up to four hours in advance and keep them in the refrigerator until your guests arrive. Pull them out and start Paniniing (I’m pretty sure that’s a real word!). Awesome, right?
Now, go have yourself a no muss, no fuss Panini Party and use up that leftover turkey!
Hey friends! This month I’m going to share with you my 3 favorite Holiday side dishes. These dishes I go back to year after year because they are so good and super easy to prepare.
My favorite Thanksgiving side dish is something that I REFUSED to touch as a kid. As a kid, I hated Brussels sprouts and there was NO WAY I would eat them, no way -no how…. I’m never going to put those things in mouth-not ever, not going to happen!
Then something changed. I think maybe my taste buds matured? (haha…probably not) Or maybe I lost a bet and had to pop one in my mouth (maybe more likely) Or…..I discovered a delicious way to make them….ummm, bacon, garlic and good olive oil (cervasi.please:)
The life changing moment when I discovered that a Brussel sprout was actually edible, was in Italy. In Italy, my sister ordered them and since I was in Italy, I had to try one. In Italy, I’ll try ANYTHING…. (ok…. not anything…. don’t go there.) I stabbed my fork in one and popped that green little thing into my mouth……OMG….my hatred for Brussels sprouts ENDED right then and there. Was it the charred bits of sprouts, the aromatic garlic, the bits or crunchy sea salt or the pancetta (aka Italian bacon)? I will never know (OK…. maybe I know but won’t tell) but all together it was so divine that I cannot even properly explain it….so let’s just move on!
Brussels Sprouts (yes it’s with a S…….Given my spelling acumen it’s kinda impressive that i know that don’t you think?) Anyway,,,the sprouts is a member of the Gemmifera Group of cabbages and grown for its edible bud (who really cares about this-just a fun fact that I needed to share)
I CANNOT tell you how many haters I have converted (probably close to a million?!) with this recipe…. you will be a lover not a hater-I promise!
This recipe is one of my “effortless entertaining” favorites. It is a perfect recipe because you can prep the Brussel Sprouts a day or two beforehand, have them laid out in the fridge on a cookie sheet and just POP them in the oven while you carve the turkey (or drink wine)….boom….……tasty PERFECTION!
Add this to your Holiday feast and your family will love you even more. So that’s all folks……one of my favs! Tell me what you think!
Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta
1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half or quartered depending on size
3 ounces pancetta or bacon, chopped
2 cloves of chopped garlic
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (Cervasi recommended)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar glaze (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut off the hard ends of the Brussels sprouts. Cut them in half. If larger sprouts, cut them quarters.
Mix sprouts in a bowl with the olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Pour them on a sheet pan (don’t crowd them, use 2 pans if making a double batch) and roast for 25 to 35 minutes, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. You should have some brown charred parts around the edges….I like mine reeeeeealy chared) Shake the pan from time to time to brown the sprouts evenly. Sprinkle with more kosher salt if desired ...I usually desire;).
You can now drizzle them with a balsamic glaze if you’d like and serve. The balsamic glaze adds a sweet touch to savory dish that just takes it over the top.
Sub bacon for pancetta as an option
This recipe can be made up to "tossing with olive oil" 2 days before. Keep the prepped ingredients in the refrigerator until ready to roast.
Add dried cranberries or nuts after the sprouts are roasted for a fun seasonal additional.
Leftovers are great in pasta or omelets.
Balsamic glaze is a balsamic vinegar that has been reduced to a thicker, fuller flavor. It’s great to drizzle over veggies, breads, even sweet dishes. You can buy it in the vinegar aisle or make it using regular vinegar.
Balsamic Glaze Recipe:
Mix balsamic vinegar with brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer until glaze is reduced by half, about 20 minutes. Glaze should coat the back of a spoon. Let cool and pour into a jar with a lid; store in refrigerator.
Here is your guide to a perfectly imperfect, unpretentious and EASY Wine and Cheese Party.
You know I love to host epic yet breezy dinner parties, but sometimes it’s just great to throw a casual, fun, mingling kind of party, and a wine and cheese fits this perfectly.
So WHY host a Wine and Cheese Party?
Well first of all, you get to explore more wines…because yes….wine is good! I would drink it with breakfast if it was socially acceptable! (Bye-bye coffee…hello wine!).
It’s kind of adventurous and you get to explore and nom on cheese and all the delicious accompaniments
There is no cooking so it’s EASY, and can be prepped totally in advance.
It’s super simple to make it look gorgeous, and you can add your own beautiful sassy style or even change it up with the seasons.
Your friends will leave with their tummies filled and their spirits happier than when they came to your lovely soiree.
And here I’ll show you how EASY it really is.
There are a ton of so-called “right and wrong” ways to host a wine and cheese party…so they say, but to tell you the truth, it doesn’t have to be so complicated. And I’m here to tell you, no prior wine and cheese buying experience necessary.
So let’s do this!
The CHEESE please:
Choose 3-5 cheeses (pick from each of these categories and you will have a lovely range of flavors and textures)
Fresh: Mild slightly Tangy (Serve soft cheeses whole)
Mozzarella, Burrata, Chevre, Fresh Ricotta
Soft Cheese: Creamy, Buttery, Mild (Serve soft cheeses whole)
Brie, Camembert, Crescenza, Goat cheese
Pungent Cheese: AKA Stinky in a good way cheese (Serve stinky cheeses whole)
Blue, Taleggio, Gorongzola, Roquefort and Stilton
Hard and Semi Hard Cheese: Nutty, Firm (Serve hard cheeses whole but cut a few slices to get them started)
Pecorino, Manchego, Grana-Padano, Cheddar, Gouda….and, Parmesan Reggiano. (Parm is the king of cheeses and Cervasi imports a yummy traditional Parmesan. You can find it at these stores.
For each type of cheese, buy one to 1 1/2 ounces per person depending on how many accompaniments you will have. But hey…leftovers aren’t a bad thing, hellooo, an incredible mac and cheese the next day…yay:)
Bring all cheeses to room temperature about a half hour before serving to enhance their flavor. Don’t forget this part friend…it really helps to bring out all the delicious flavors.
Find a local cheese store in your area (or on line)…they are super cool places to explore and the folks that work there will always steer you in the right direction while considering your budget. Just mention you would like a range of mild, medium and stinky cheeses. Thats all folk’s, easy peasy.
Choose 1-2 from each category. (take a peek at my cheese-paring guide for a few combinations that I’m obsessed with) [click here]
Fruit: grapes, figs, dried apricots or dates, apples, melons, and pears.
Meats: Genoa salami, Slices of prosciutto, soppressata, rolled Slices of hard salami, capicola, Slices of Capocollo
Nuts: Hazelnuts, Marcona (my fav) or Cashews.
A good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil in a cute bowl. (Locally owned and imported Cervasi of course)
Spreads: Varietal honey, Jams, Chutney, Mustard, Fruit Compotes
Bread: Artisan cracker crisps, crusty bread such as baguette, rustic multigrain, and artisan rye bread or Cervasi pre-made bruschetta.. You don’t even have to heat the oven.
(sorry, I need to insert a weird sorry here. Ok, I hate rye bread, I mean, it’s like the only food I reeeeeally don’t like. Well, I was visiting my sister and was telling her all this, and she started laughing and saying she is the EXACT same way. We both like most everything except rye bread..how WEIRD huh? We must have had a tragic rye experience in our childhood.
Don’t go crazy serving all of these accompaniment options on your grazing board. Pick one or two from each category and leave it at that. Grazing boards look better when they have larger groupings of foods as opposed to a little of this and a little of that.
Don’t let this scare you. I am by no means a wine expert...not even close, but the good news is we don't have to be!
Choose from a variety of wines like these: Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and of course a bottle or 3 of Prosecco! Because we all need a few bubbles in our life.
Some people will say that you should drink specific wines with specific cheeses, but you know what? The more wine tastings I attend, the more I hear it’s all in the eyes of the beholder. I say drink what you like, try a few new ones and make up your own mind.
Talk to the guy/gal at your local wine store. They LOVE to help. They know the best wines under $15 per bottle too! I have had a TON of great lower-priced wines, and I’ve had some not-so-good wines at $80…so there. You don’t need to spend a lot.
Oh, and when your friends say what can I bring, say “well yes, “WINE, please!” It gives them something to contribute, they have wine they are sure to like, and it will get others to explore different wines at the same time.
I read somewhere that if you are having 12 people you should have four bottles of wine….BAHAHAHAHA. That would be a very short party with my friends! I suggest everyone (or maybe every couple) should bring a bottle…and we should all be a-ok!
On that note, be sure to have a pitcher of water and glasses out. And UBER is also a very good thing.
Choose a serving platter. It could be a basic everyday platter, an antique family platter, a marble slab, slate, or in my case; it’s always a rustic wood board. CLICK here for boards I make. Just choose what makes your heart sing!
Arrange the platter. Try to add height by piling grapes or stacking bread. Larger clusters of ingredients are more visually appealing.
Have little knives out for each of the cheeses, so you keep them separated. You know, those cute small short stubby knives. But I don’ have any of those, so I just use my Laguiole butter knives, and I haven’t been shot yet.
Sometimes I sprinkle my board with some fresh herbs or even some whole seasonal fruit for a pop of color…or I add olives in cute little mason jars or wood bowls, so look around your kitchen, find thing you love and add them to your spread. It really can be that easy.
So there it is, simple huh? But trust me when I tell you this will be the most carefree party to host, and everyone will be relaxed and have a great time. When friends start trying all the different cheese and accompaniments, the conversations go something like this….“OMG, did you try that cheese with THAT wine?? oh and the honey, soooo gooood, OR, “taste that wine and that jam on that cheese…to die for”. It’s kinda fun.
This is great for anytime of year, but I especially love to have these grazing boards out around the holidays when I want to have friends over but don’t feel like going to any trouble. A party I can pick up on the way home is perfect sometimes.
So now go be awesome and Have.Yo.Self.A.Party! And if you do, snap a pic of your creation and let me seeeeees:)
(This post is in partnership with Cervasi, but all opinions and wine sipping, typos and cheese noshing are totally my own)
I love traditional risotto. It's made with Arborio rice and is truly a labor of love. It takes 35-45 minutes and you need to stay near your stove the entire time to carefully stir in each cup of warm broth.
I’m not however a huge fan of restaurant risotto, which they par-boil the rice and finish later when it's ordered by you:). Although I LOVE risotto done right, I’m not a fan of thick, sticky par-cooked versions served at restaurants. SO I wanted something that had the creamy, cheesy rich flavor risotto is so known for, but wanted to create something more conducive to quick meals and of course entertaining.
Enter…Orzo “Risotto”. Orzo is a cute little rice shaped pasta. Replacing the rice with Orzo pasta, (Cervasi if you’re in KC:) made this dish way less labor intensive but still incredibly creamy, cheesy and oh so versatile. This is a perfect side-dish or paired with a salad it’s a meal on its own. It is also great when other ingredients are added to it, like roasted vegetables, chicken or really anything. This time of year I like to add a bit of butternut squash, omg…just.so.good.
So whip up a batch…and let me know what you think. I think you’re gonna love love love i
2018 Cervasi Inspired Fall PopUp Dinner
This weekend truly encapsulated the essence of my blog……
My table united friends, acquaintances and strangers together to share a beautiful 5 course dinner. Our farm table, set outside in the cool temps of a Kansas fall, serenaded by Italian music with crickets playing percussion created a space for our diners to come together and enjoy a home cooked meal. Our guests dined together, making friends of strangers and bringing joy and fullness to all.
Our experience moved between spaces in our home. Our grazing began with my riff on a classic Negroni cocktail, seasoned with rosemary from my herb garden (ok, maybe not so classic!). The cured meats were the perfect accompaniment to the fresh figs, clover honey, nutty cheeses and herbed almonds. All this allowed our guests a comfortable moment of introduction.
The second course was Roman Artichokes, with the artichokes also graciously provided by Cervasi. This dish was inspired by an amazing dish my sister and I had in Rome. These very tasty artichokes had a perfectly browned and crispy outer crust created by baking breaded artichokes at a high temperature on a sheet pan coated with olive oil. They were finished off with lemon zest and sea salt and served with a lemon aioli.
The third course was a bit of a challenge between what I really wanted to do and what I realistically could pull off. The third course was entitled, Orzo “Risotto”. I wanted to serve a traditional risotto, but opted out because it was to be a 3rd course of a dinner party. Traditional risotto is made with Arborio rice and takes up to 35-45 minutes and would put me at my stove, carefully stirring in each cup of warm broth. And I didn’t want to use the standard restaurant trick by par-boiling the rice and finishing it later. Although I LOVE risotto done right, I’m not a fan of the thick, sticky par-cooked versions served at restaurants. I really wanted something that had the creamy, cheesy rich flavor risotto is so known for, but needed something more conducive to the live dance of cooking for a dinner party.
I decided to use the same technique but use Cervasi orzo (rice shaped) pasta instead. I was able to cook it in broth and wine just like traditional Risotto but in half the time to achieve the super al dente pasta I was wanting. I then finished it with a generous amount of freshly grated Cervasi parm and fresh thyme. This was so delicious and tender and exactly what I was looking to create. I topped this dish with toasted pine nuts; it was simple and comforting.
The fourth course consisted of grilled herbed shrimp skewers served with a simple squeeze of lemon. I grilled these with fresh herbs, again from my garden (can you tell I’m getting nervous about the cool fall temps taking my beautiful herbs garden away :) and a drizzle of Cervasi fruity extra virgin olive oil and sea salt.
The fifth, but not final course, ‘cause you seriously have to go big or go home – well, I am at home – but people pay to join me at my table and letting them down is simply not an option. Cast Iron Skillet meatballs and marinara. I've long felt that if I could make the best meatball eva, I would be set for life. There's nothing fancy about it, but that's the point. A meatball is about as unassuming as food can get, but when done well, it packs more flavor and more soul per square inch than anything that humble has a right to do. Marinara made with deep red wine and simmered for hours, created a thick tangy smooth sauce that was a perfect contrast from the other courses.
Finally desert, which, as one might imagine, should be relatively light to lay on top of everything else our guests had enjoyed to this point. Affogato & Almond biscotti. This lovely mixture of hot espresso and a scoop of ice cream accompanied by homemade almond olive oil biscotti enjoyed by our outdoor fireplace, rounded out a lengthy dining experience that left guests with new friends, great memories, full bellies and content souls.
A big Thank You to Shawna Johnston & Elizabeth Pascoe for all the help in making this event what it was! I also want to thank Brock Hildebrandt for the beautiful photos that captured the essence of this evening….
I’m full of gratitude for everyone that supports me and encourages me to do what I love to do, may it come back to you 10 fold.….xx, Lauren
Click the button below to learn more about Cervasi, a local Italian speciality food importer bringing Italian deliciousness straight to KC and my very happy belly.
PS Many of the recipes will be posted riiiiiiiight here, very soon!
Click the “Sign Up” bar (up at the top in red) for free download!
Wanna know the one party my friends ask for over and over again??? Well…just scroll on down!
It’s the grilled pizza party…they just LOVE this night. I have so many funny stories and memories surrounding this annual event, but the one that sticks out is the very first pizza party I hosted. Our friends still talk about that night when it started pouring down rain, literally out of nowhere, and everyone ran inside but I was NOT going to leave my grill until my margherita pizza was done. #shocker:) Well, as I was rushing my finished pizza into the house, the pizza peel caught the doorframe and pizza went FLYING across the room. I remember someone shouting, “It’s ok Lauren…we’ll still eat it!” I’m like…ummm, no.(sigh) But everyone was laughing hysterically, and my beautiful dog River saw his chance to swoop in and take part in the gathering as well.
We laughed SO hard, created amazing memories, and enjoyed the food and each other’s company. This party is just so fun and simple, and I’m going to show you how to do it in 10 easy steps! I hope you try it…minus the pizza on the floor disaster:) HA!
I know grilling pizza may seem tricky at first but it’s really easy. And it’s a great party because it’s super easy to prep ahead, EVERYONE loves pizza, and there are endless topping combinations! (Hey…I’ll even give you a ton of ideas for delicious combos:)
HOW TO GRILL PIZZA IN 10 EASY STEPS!
1. Prepare a basic pizza dough.
Tip: Buy the dough from the grocery store or your favorite pizza restaurant to make it even easier.
2. The most important tip for grilled pizzas? Cook, slice, and grate whatever toppings you like ahead of time, and have them at the ready because the cooking goes fast. (See this link below for toppings ideas.)
3 .Take the dough and flatten with your fingertips into a circle. It doesn’t need to be a perfect circle—you want it to look rustic. Stretch the dough to your desired size and thickness and set it on a pan lined with parchment paper and dusted with cornmeal.
Tip: Don’t do what I did my first time: I stacked the crusts on top of each other with a bit of flour in between and when it came time to grill I just had one super-thick hunk of dough. I know, rookie mistake, but I don’t want that to happen to you. (I ran down to the pizza joint, grabbed more dough and we were back in business.)
4. Instead, don’t stack them, just set them on a tray along with the olive oil, brush, tongs, flat cookie sheet and pizza cutter.
5. Preheat the grill to medium-high.
Tip: A gas grill is a little easier to manage the temperature, but a charcoal grill gives even more flavor. Your choice, both are amazing!
6. Brush one side of dough with Cervasi olive oil to prevent sticking
7. Place oiled side down on the grill and brush the top with oil. Close the grill and cook for 2-5 minutes or until grill marks appear. Turn the dough over with tongs and grill the other side.
Tip: If the dough sticks to the grill grate, it’s not ready to turn over. Shut the grill, grab a glass of wine and let it go for a minute or two. It should turn over easily with tongs and have beautiful grill marks.
8. Slide the crust onto a flat cookie sheet or pizza peel and arrange your toppings, starting with sauce, then garlic and then mozzarella.
9. Place the pizza back on the grill over indirect heat and cover until the cheese is melted and delicious!
10, Remove the pizza from the grill with a pizza peel or flat cookie sheet, place it on the cutting board and garnish.
Tip: After the pizza is done, top it with the fresh basil (otherwise the basil will turn brown) and a drizzle of olive oil for that last bit of yumminess.
A mix of juicy, late-season tomatoes, gooey cheese, and a pre-made pie crust it alllll it takes to make this lovely crostata, galette, tart....or whatever you'd like to call it. I call it deeeeeelicious!
The last week in August always makes me feel like my summer days are coming to an end waaaaaay too quickly. I think about how much I'm going to miss all of the heirloom tomatoes, fresh herbs, and sweet ripe peaches! So THIS weekend I'm just going to get peachy with it and savor all that summer has to offer!
I'll fill my Memorial Day bbq with my favorite peach inspired recipes! Like this lovely.....Peach Sangria. This cocktail is perfect because you can mix up a big batch of it the day before your gathering, and just pull it out when your friends arrive! (or a littler earlier if your me *wink*)
Looking like a hero are you now? I'd say yaaaaas:)
Lauren Lane Culinarian, Food, Travel and Style Kansas City Influencer, was recently named Cervasi Italian Food Importers spokesperson. In this role, she will be creating recipes, blogging, appearances and events to help further the Cervasi Brand.Read More