Valentine’s Sweetheart Bark

Sweetheart Bark is the ideal candy for anyone who has experienced the gamut of emotions on Valentine’s Day.

Maybe your most intense memories date all the way back to grade school when you exchanged those cheesy VDay cards in those makeshift paper bag mailboxes.

Or, maybe it was a Valentine’s Day you spent broken-hearted, alone, cursing the Hallmark holiday.

Or, perhaps it was a Valentine’s Day with your loved one, in a romantic place, sharing an unforgettable moment.

Or, maybe your most meaningful Valentine’s Day has been as a parent connecting with your children.

Whatever the sentiment, making Sweetheart Bark appeals to the masses:

If you’re angry or lonely or frustrated or jilted, crushing the candy hearts with the mallet on your kitchen table can prove to be very very cathartic.

If you’re happy and fulfilled you can rejoice in the sweet smelling milk and white chocolate as it slowly melts in your boiler.

If you’re sharing the day with your children, you will have a blast pouring the melted chocolate into the molds and dumping the crushed hearts over top.

This candy is kitschy, playful, fun, colorful, tasty and BEYOND easy to make.

With only 2 ingredients and 3 steps, you can’t pass this up!

Heart-shaped molds for bark

Molds filled with melted chocolate

Sweet hearts before

Smashed sweethearts

Valentine’s Day: Chocolate-Drizzled Kale Chips


Valentine’s Day is only a few days away so I’m already scheming for themed dishes.  My go to favorite snack is a sweet, tasty recipe combining two ingredients I love to eat: crunchy kale and bitter dark chocolate.  Yes, you heard me correctly… I make Chocolate Drizzled Kale Chips.

What’s wrong with taking a detour this Valentine’s Day?  Forget about those sweetheart conversation hearts and the endless heart-shaped boxes filled with meltable chocolate candies.  Make something for your loved ones that truly combines ingredients that directly serve your heart well. [Read more…]

How to Cook a Steak Without A Grill


Living in Manhattan, I often catch myself daydreaming about lazy summer nights cooking steak and vegetables on an outdoor grill.

I get hostile when I read through a recipe that opens with “prep your grill for cooking” because I, like the majority of city dwellers, don’t have the luxury of being able to simply walk out a back door and grill. That’s why I’m officially demystifying the notion that one needs a grill in order to cook a great steak.

The other day I decided to take the matters of meat in my own hands and cook a skirt steak inside my apartment. I choose skirt steak because it’s an easy cut of beef to cook in a pan. Not only does it cook quickly but, it’s also loaded with flavor.  Also, this particular cut is usually less than half the price of a good strip or rib eye steak (two cuts I’d probably reserve for a grill)!

After the meat purchase, the next step is to apply a marinade (liquid seasoning) or a dry rub. With skirt steaks your rub can be as simple as some salt and pepper or something more flavorful like cayenne pepper, soy soy sauce, garlic or ginger. For my meat, I decided to use a lime and cumin marinade. After allowing the meat to marinate for about ten minutes– the time it takes for the steak to come to room temperature – I was ready to cook.

There are three different ways you can choose to cook this cut of meat in a city kitchen (instructions via The City Cook):

Broiling — Broil the steaks about 5″ below the heat source/flame for 3 to 4 minutes a side.

Pan Sear Then Roast — Use a large fry pan or sauté pan, preferably not non-stick so that you can put the pan into a very hot oven. A regular pan will also produce better browning, leaving behind flavors in the pan that can be the basis of a simple sauce. Heat the pan to very hot. Add a couple of teaspoons of canola or olive oil (or if you want to gild the lily, melt a tablespoon of butter). Sauté the steak for 1 to 2 minutes a side, enough to get a good brown surface. Then put into a 400F oven for 5 to 7 minutes.

All Pan Sear — In a hot fry pan (again, preferably not non-stick), add a couple of teaspoons of canola or olive oil (or butter; see above). In this method, cook entirely on top of the stove; 3 minutes a side for rare and 4 minutes a side for medium rare. Baste with the hot oil/melted butter a couple of times on each side.

I decided to broil my steak in the oven and they were terrific.

It’s time for you to take a shot at cooking steaks indoors.  You will definitely be surprised.


#Super Bowl Round Up: The Best Appetizers


With the Super Bowl airing this weekend, an arsenal of simple yet tasty recipes is a necessity for a successful viewing party.

I’ve put together a round up the most popular appetizers/dishes from the blog that are reliable crowd-pleasers (healthy or not)!

Don’t forget the prerequisite for this list: dishes must be easy to make and only require straight-forward ingredients to avoid going on market runs or bring glued to the stove while the game is on.


Judy’s Baked Brie


A deliciously warm and sweet appetizer to compliment any party. No one expects the “kick” provided by the honey mustard and ginger snap combination. Mom made this all the time and graduated from using little wheels of brie to one large wheel since it’s gobbled up so quickly. You can also top the brie with anything from brown sugar to raspberry jam. Make sure when you’re baking the brie, you place a cookie sheet underneath the cheese. If there are any holes in the crescent crust, the cheese will ooze out, making a mess.  So, best if you buy smaller wheels of cheese.

Click here for brie recipe.

Seven-Layer Dip

mexican bean dip

Offer a big bag of tortilla chips to help scoop up all seven amazing layers of this dip. There’s no heating or reheating involved, just add the layers and serve immediately. If you’re an olive fan, top it off with some sliced olives too!

Click here for seven-layer dip recipe.

Hot Crab Dip

Crab dip fresh from the oven.

Crab dip fresh from the oven.

A must for all crab lovers! This dish tastes best if you splurge for the lump crab meat– don’t used imitation pasteurized meat.   It’s best served very hot (until it’s literally bubbling in the oven) with Crostini rounds and lots of Old Bay spice sprinkled on top. Feel free to leave out the slivered almonds if you aren’t a nut fan. Bet you just can’t have one.

Click here for hot crab recipe.

Spicy Buffalo Chicken Meatballs


These Spicy Buffalo Chicken Meatballs are not only easy to make, they’re not greasy and quite tasty too.

If you’ve made turkey burgers or chicken burgers, you’re in luck, you’ve essentially made a version of meatballs. I used ground chicken breast for the base and some generous portions of Panko bread crumbs combined with egg, butter to help bind the meatballs, and lots of hot sauce to help give it that KICK. Serve with Blue Cheese and they’re perfection.

Click here for Spicy Buffalo Chicken Meatballs recipe.

Slow-Cooked Drunken Meatballs

slow cooked meatballs

If you want to do as little work as possible—Slow Cooked Drunken Meatballs fit the bill. These meatballs are DELICIOUS and quite unique due to the addition of whiskey, which provides a nice lingering subtle smoky flavor (obviously reduce the amount if you’re serving minors). All you need is a slow cooker and you’re set.

These meatballs were gobbled up immediately. You’ll be surprised at how quickly 60 meatballs can vanish!

Click here for Slow-Cooked Drunken Meatballs recipe.

Jambalaya Stir


Use the rice bowl as your canvas and allow your guests to add their own toppings.  This dish is perfect for a more filling and potentially healthier option. #CreateAStir!

Broccoli Cheese Dip


My family loves Mom’s broccoli casseroles so I figured this would be another hit. It’s brilliantly cheesy with just a mild hint of broccoli. I serve the dip with pieces of sliced fresh Italian bread or flat bread.

Click here for Broccoli Cheese Dip recipe.

 Slow Cooked Pulled Chicken

BBQ Pulled Pork Sliders -Photographed on Hasselblad H3D-39mb Camera

This recipe only requires a few basic ingredients that you should have in your stocked pantry and fridge.  And, you’ll also need a slow cooker to do all the work for you. All that’s required of you, the cook, is shredding the cooked chicken breasts and adding BBQ sauce; the hard work is up to your slow cooker. That’s it!  No culinary skill required— my favorite type of recipe.

Click here for Slow Cooked Pulled Chicken recipe.

Artichoke Squares

final artichoke

The prep for this dish is very easy. And, the finished product tastes amazing, almost like an artichoke egg quiche. I added an ten minutes to the original cook time, and, next time around, I would definitely sprinkle breadcrumbs over top the mixture before baking. Otherwise, this recipe is near flawless and the squares are a perfect addition to your appetizer selection.

Click here for Artichoke Squares recipe.


This broccoli dip uses light cream cheese and or/sour cream. If you’re looking for a guilt-free dip recipe requiring no culinary skill and minimal prep time, put this on your Super Bowl list.  But remember, even though it looks like guacamole, it tastes all broccoli!

Click here for Broccomole recipe.

Slow Cooker Chicken Chili

slow cooker chicken chili

Our family fave! You’ll probably smile when you realize you literally don’t need to do ANYTHING except throw the ingredients into your slow cooker, put it on low and go about your day.  When it’s time for the game, you’ll have a chicken chili that’s against the norm, boasting cheese as opposed to the traditional tomato base.  Serve with some sourdough bread and you’re ready to root.

Click here for the Chicken Chili recipe.

Slow Cooker Beef Chili


Another terrific traditional beef-based chili recipe that won’t disappoint.  After hours of slow cooking, you’re set for the big game.  Add some shredded cheese, hot sauce, sour cream or any other topping and serve with a side of bread.

Click here for the Beef Chili recipe.

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