BLT Sliders


Cheers to a fun pub type meal at home! I love any kind of mini food. For some reason it just tastes better and looks so good. Sliders have become very popular in pubs and restaurants so I tried to come up with my own version using a basil mayo recipe from one of my favorite sources, Cook’s Illustrated. The mayo comes from my new Menu Cookbook that has quickly become my new source for inspiration. I actually bought this book (and another) for Heather for her birthday and after thumbing through the pages I had to get a copy for myself. The recipes are great alone or a fun way to cook for a dinner party. It lays out everything you need to feed a crowd and how to plan it.

These mini BLTs are great for a quick meal served with a side of roasted mini potatoes or on their own as an appetizers for a party or get together. You can make as many or as few as you like.

For the basil mayo:

2 cups fresh basil leaves
2/3 cup mayo
4 tsps lemon juice
2 garlic cloves
salt and peper to taste

For the sliders:

slider rolls (I used Trader Joe’s mini burger buns)
cherry tomatoes
fresh basil leaves

1. Prepare the bacon. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the bacon in a single layer on a foil lined baking sheet (you may need more than one depending on how much you are planning to make). Bake for 17-20 minutes. Remove from the oven when the bacon is browned around the edges but not burnt. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to cool.

2. While the bacon cooks prepare the basil mayo. Place all ingredients in a food process and pulse until smooth.

3. When the bacon is cooked and the mayo is finished, toast the slider rolls. Spread some basil mayo on each roll. top with bacon, tomato, and fresh basil. Serve with roasted herbed potatoes for a nice meal or as an appetizer.

*For roasted potatoes toss 1lb. small, halved, potatoes with olive oil and chopped fresh herbs. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet and cook in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes (more or less depending on the size) or until crispy.

Source: Basil mayo from America’s Test Kitchen Menu Cookbook

Oatmeal Fudge Bars

It has been a long time since I have been in the kitchen. It all started with a nasty case of food poisoning, of course from one of my favorite places to eat…so upsetting, and then the following week I was in the hospital with kidney stones. Cooking was quickly put on the back burner during my recovery and desire to just feel normal again.

Yesterday I took a cooking class at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. It was a great motivator to get me back in the kitchen. We made some great recipes, which I will share soon once I have a chance to recreate them.

This recipe I am sharing is from a new book my wonderful friend Lindsay gave me for my birthday. The book is published by America’s Test Kitchen, and if you are unfamiliar, just know that they know whats up with food. Trust that the recipe will be one of the best possible versions of whatever you are cooking. This recipe caught my eye because I had all of the ingredients in my kitchen already. It could not have been any easier for me to wade back into the kitchen. I am so happy to be back!



  • 1 1/2 cups of quick oats
  • 1 1/2 cups of packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • 12 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted and cooled


  • 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup of light brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons of instant espresso or coffee powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 cups of semisweet chocolate chips
  • 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs

Prepare the crust and topping:

Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325.

Line a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with an aluminum foil or parchment paper sling (see the image above). Melt the butter and allow to cool. Whisk oats, sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Stir in the melted butter until combined. Reserve 1 1/4 cups of the mixture for the topping. Pour the remaining oats into the pan and press firmly to evenly coat the bottom. Bake for 8 minutes until it is light golden brown. Allow to cool for 1 hour.

Make the filling:

Preheat the oven to 325.

Whisk flour, sugar, espresso, and salt together in a medium bowl. Melt the chocolate chips and butter together in the microwave, stirring often, for 1 – 3 minutes. Transfer the chocolate mixture to a large bowl and let cool slightly. I am really lazy, so I put the chocolate mixture into the Kitchenaid at this point, but you could still do it by hand if you want. Whisk in the eggs until just combined. Stir in the flour mixture until just incorporated.

Spread the filling evenly over the cooled crust and smooth the top. Sprinkle the reserved oat topping over the chocolate. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached.

Let the bars cool in the pan for about 2 hours. Remove from the pan using the sling. Slice and serve.

Source: America’s Test Kitchen: Menu Cookbook


Hearts Salad with White Balsamic Vinaigrette


I can’t remember where I originally saw this recipe but it’s delicious! I love the fresh flavors and the white balsamic vinaigrette adds a tangy sweetness that works so nicely with the strawberries and greens. It’s a perfect salad as a side dish or starter for a date night, or any night! You could even add some grilled chicken and have it for lunch.

When making the dressing I used a good olive oil to give it a rich flavor but I also used a grape seed oil. I saw Tyler Florence (he’s my favorite!) do this on one of his cooking shows. Olive oil is great in dressings but the grape seed oil lightens it up and makes the dressing less heavy. I get my hearts of palm and artichoke hearts at Trader Joe’s. They come in a jar instead of a can and I find that they stay fresher that way. They’re not floppy or mushy.


1 qt. fresh strawberries, stemmed and halved
1 can/jar hearts of palm, halved and sliced
1 can/jar artichokes hearts, patted dry and halved
salad mix, such as baby greens or arugula

White Balsamic Vinaigrette:

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup grape seed oil
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste


Breakfast Bake

I first made this breakfast bake on Thanksgiving morning last year. My brother and sister do not eat meat, so we made some adjustments. When I went to make it a second time, I added regular bacon, which I had on hand. I made it the night before to save myself some time since I was anticipating morning laziness. I encourage you to try this dish and use things you have on hand to be creative, and help clean out the fridge.


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 ounces Canadian bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 pound baby spinach (10 cups)
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 9 large eggs
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 8 cups 1 1/2-to-2-inch cubes Italian bread (from a 1-pound loaf)
  • 6 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (about 1 1/2 cups)

Butter a 3-quart baking dish with 1 tablespoon butter. In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high. Add bacon, onion, and garlic and cook until onion is softened, about 2 minutes. Gradually add spinach to skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper. Scatter half the bread in dish and top with half the spinach mixture and half the cheese. Top with remaining bread, spinach mixture, and cheese. Pour egg mixture into dish and gently press bread to submerge. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours (or up to overnight).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Uncover dish and bake until bread is golden brown and custard is just set, 45 to 50 minutes (cover with foil if browning too quickly). Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Source: Everyday Food Magazine

Banana, Chocolate, and Peanut Butter Granola

Yes, this is as good as it looks. And no, you will not be able to stop eating it. I made this granola a while ago and it was gone in about a day and a half, so I had to make it again. It is a great snack, and is so irresistible. I made my own applesauce for this recipe, which you can choose to do or not. I got so used to making it for Gwenny to eat, that I can’t really see myself buying it in a jar knowing how easy it is. The original recipe says that the chocolate is optional, but…come on.


  • 3 1/2 cups rolled oat
  • 2 1/2 cups puffed rice cereal
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter, warmed slightly
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups dried banana chips
  • 1/2 cup honey roasted peanuts
  • 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

To make your own applesauce:

Preheat the oven to 400. Peel and core 2 apples, or more if you’d like extra. Cut the apples into large chunks and place in a casserole dish. Sprinkle with cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until apples are very tender. Transfer apples and any juices into a food processor and blend until smooth.

For the granola:

Preheat the oven to 325.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the rolled oats and puffed rice cereal.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the honey, applesauce, mashed banana, peanut butter, salt, cinnamon and brown sugar until smooth.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until the oat mixture is evenly coated. Spread onto the prepared baking sheet in a thick even layer.

Bake for 15 minutes, then pull out of the oven and carefully turn the granola over in segments.  Bake for an additional 15 minutes.  Depending on the size of your baking sheet, the center may not be fully dried.  If necessary, remove the edges of cooked granola and bake the remaining granola for 10-15 minutes more or until done, being careful not to over-bake. Cool on a wire rack.

Once the granola has cooled slightly, crumble it into a large bowl.  Add in the dried banana chips, honey roasted peanuts and bittersweet chocolate. Mix well to combine.  Store in an airtight container.

Source: Annie’s Eats