Sausage, Potato & Kale Soup

So I’m not going to lie…I don’t cook.  It’s not that I can’t cook, it’s just that I don’t like it.  I’m not that type of person who can just look at a basket of ingredients and come up with something off the top of my head.  I would get eliminated in the first round of Chopped.  That’s why I love baking so much, because it’s super structured and you need to follow a recipe for the end product to come out perfect…and also because I have a massive sweet tooth.

On those days when I am feeling ambitious and decide to tackle a savory recipe, I like to stick with one-pot meals.  Minimal cleanup, no fuss, good food.  I’ve made this soup a few times, and it’s always one of my favorite things.  It’s really filling and not super heavy, and it’s an homage to the Olive Garden soup that we all know and love.

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Sausage, Potato & Kale Soup  (adapted from THIS recipe)

2 large bunches Kale, Picked Over, Cleaned, And Torn Into Bite Sized Pieces
7 large Red Potatoes, diced
1 whole Onion, Chopped
1-1/3 pound Hot Italian Chicken Sausage
1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes (more To Taste)
2 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
3 cups 2% Milk
3 cups Half-and-half
Italian Seasoning

Instructions:  Prepare the kale and set it aside. In a large pot, crumble and brown the Italian sausage with the onion and little bit of olive oil. Drain as much as the fat as you can. Stir in the red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, chicken broth, milk, and half-and-half. Add the potatoes.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Give it a taste and adjust seasonings as needed, then stir in the kale. Simmer an additional 10-15 minutes, then serve.

Skillet Peach Cobbler

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Every year I get so sad when the summer comes to an end, but I also get a little bit excited because that means that peaches are in peak season.

I recently picked up a bunch of peaches at the Elmwood Bidwell Farmer’s Market (best Farmer’s Market in the area in my opinion) and wanted to make a flavorful skillet cobbler.  Surprisingly, it was pretty difficult to find a recipe online.

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I finally came across a recipe for Bourbon Peach Cobbler from my boo Tyler Florence.  I decided to adapt it a little bit as I didn’t have any bourbon and didn’t plan on buying any since it would go to waste since I don’t drink.  I also doubled the amount of fruit and the topping because, hello, why not?  The result was a beautiful, bright and flavorful peach cobbler that I would absolutely make time and time again.

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Skillet Peach Cobbler (adapted from THIS recipe)

13 peaches, peeled and sliced
1 1/2 cups sugar, plus more for sprinkling
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling
3 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, plus more for brushing

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Combine the peaches, 1/2 cup sugar, the cornstarch and cinnamon in a large bowl and toss to coat.
Sift the flour, the remaining 1 cup sugar, the baking powder and salt into a bowl. Cut 3 sticks of the butter into small pieces; add to the flour mixture and cut it in with a pastry blender or your hands until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Pour in the cream and mix just until the dough comes together. Don’t overwork; the dough should be slightly sticky but manageable.
Melt the remaining 1/2 stick butter in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat. Add the peach mixture and cook gently until heated through, about 5 minutes. Leave the mixture in the skillet and drop the dough by tablespoonfuls over the warm peaches.  Brush the top with some heavy cream and sprinkle with sugar and a little extra cinnamon.
Bake in the oven on a baking sheet (to catch any drips) until the cobbler is browned and the fruit is bubbling, 40 to 45 minutes.

Lattice-Topped Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

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I always feel the need to make a strawberry rhubarb pie when the weather starts getting warmer. To me, this pie is the sign that summer is finally around the corner.

I don’t really have a go-to recipe, so I scoured the internets and came across this recipe from Epicurious, and it was awesome!  The only changes that I made was adding a lot more berries and a little less rhubarb than they called for.  Oh, and the pre-made pie crust because #lazy.

Lattice-Topped Strawberry Rhubarb Pie (adapted from THIS recipe)

2 cups 1/2-inch-thick slices trimmed rhubarb
2 16-ounce container strawberries, hulled, halved
1/2 cup (packed) brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg yolk beaten to blend with 1 teaspoon water (for glaze)

Directions: Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine first 7 ingredients in large bowl. Toss gently to blend.

Spoon filling into pre-made pie crust. Cut second pre-made pie crust into strips. Arrange 7 dough strips atop filling, spacing evenly. Form lattice by placing remaining dough strips in opposite direction atop filling. Trim ends of dough strips even with overhang of bottom crust. Fold strip ends and overhang under, pressing to seal. Crimp edges decoratively.

Brush glaze over crust. Bake 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Bake pie until golden and filling thickens, about 1 hour 25 minutes. Transfer pie to rack and cool completely.

Cooking with Hyatt Regency Buffalo

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I love cooking shows…like, I love LOVE them.  Okay, well I’m actually pretty much obsessed with them.  Food Network and the Cooking Channel are my two favorite channels on tv, to be honest.  But, to be even MORE honest, I can’t cook.  Like, at all.  I’m a killer baker, but cooking is a completely different story.  I would much rather watch other people cook than do it myself.  But when the Hyatt Regency Buffalo reached out to me to see if I would like to have a cooking lesson with their new Executive Chef, I jumped at the chance!

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The Hyatt was getting ready for their Mother’s Day brunch, and invited me to help make a dish off of their brunch menu.  I got the honor to cook alongside their brand new Executive Chef Rachid Lahik and Executive Sous Chef Kevin Hudson, and it was one of the most fun experiences that I’ve ever had!

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The dish that we created was their Vegetarian Breakfast Casserole and it was soooo good.  What I love about it is that you can add pretty much anything that you would like to customize the recipe to your liking.  Any kind of veggies or cheese would be great in this dish, and you could even add chicken or sausage for those meat lovers in your life.

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It was so much fun being in an actual legit kitchen.  It felt like such an honor!  They taught me a lot of helpful tips to perfect my chopping skills, and I didn’t even cut myself once!

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Doesn’t this look delicious?  Lucky for you, Chef Lahik gave me the recipe to share with all of my readers!

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Vegetarian Breakfast Casserole

1 unbaked pie shell
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups chopped blanched fresh broccoli
1 1/2 teaspoon dried fresh herbs
1 1/2 cups grated cheeses
4 egg whites, well beaten
1 1/2 cups skim evaporated milk (normal milk can be used if preferred)
salt and pepper

Directions: Preheat oven to 350F. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally until vegetables are soft. Add chopped broccoli and dried herbs and cook for 3 minutes then remove from heat. Spoon vegetables into pie shell and sprinkle with cheese. Combine eggs and milk. Season with salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture over vegetables and cheese. Bake in oven for 30 minutes or until center comes out clean.

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Thank you SO MUCH to Executive Chef Rachid Lahik and Executive Sous Chef Kevin Hudson for taking the time out of your busy schedules to teach me this delicious recipe!

Enjoy this little video we put together of my experience in the kitchen!

Cooking at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo from Lindsay Robson on Vimeo.

Triple Berry Pie

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Whenever there is a party, it’s pretty much an unwritten rule that I’m the one who is going to bring dessert.  My parents threw a little 4th of July party this past weekend, and I was toying with the idea of making a cake, but I wanted to bring a dessert that just screamed summer.

After thinking about it for a bit, I decided on an All-American pie…a triple berry pie to be exact!

I found a great looking recipe on the Pilsbury website, and just tweaked it a little since I had blueberries, strawberries, and cherries on hand.  This pie turned out incredible and definitely tasted like summer!

Triple Berry Pie (adapted from THIS recipe)

1 package refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on package
1 1/2 cups sugar
5 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups fresh or frozen (thawed and drained) blueberries
2 cups fresh or frozen (thawed and drained) sliced strawberries
2 cups fresh or frozen (thawed and drained) pitted and sliced cherries
1 tablespoon milk
2 teaspoons sugar

Directions: Heat oven to 450°F. Make pie crusts as directed on package for two-crust pie using 9-inch pie pan. In large bowl, stir together 1 1/2 cups sugar, the cornstarch and salt; gently toss with berries. Let stand 10 minutes. Spoon into crust-lined pan. Top with second crust in whole form or lattice top. Brush crust with milk; sprinkle with 2 teaspoons sugar. Place pie on middle oven rack; place large cookie sheet on rack below pie pan in case of spillover. Bake pie 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F. Bake about 40 to 45 minutes longer or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Let stand 2 hours before serving.

Minion Cupcakes

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Have you seen the movie Despicable Me? If you have, then you definitely know what Minions are. They are those cute little yellow things with goggles and overalls that you can’t help but love.

We were going to a dinner party the other weekend at my friend’s house, and she absolutely loves the movie Despicable Me.  I wanted to make a fun dessert, and remembered seeing these adorable cupcakes on Pinterest.

I think they turned out super cute!  And they were crazy easy to make (just a little time consuming.)  You just cut Twinkies in half, “glue” on white smarties for the eyeballs with frosting, and draw in the outline of the goggles and mouth and you are good to go!

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These are great to make for a child’s birthday party or an *ahem* adult dinner party.

This is a no judgement zone.  Happy Friday all!

Gender Reveal Cupcakes

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Last weekend my friend Val had a gender reveal party for her second baby. You may remember the cake that I made for her first party HERE!

First little one was a girl, and as you can see from the cupcake above, this one is going to be a girl as well! I’m so excited for them!

For the actual gender reveal surprise, they ordered a gigantic black balloon that came with either pink or blue confetti.  I filled the balloon with the appropriate confetti color and just took it to Party City the morning of her party to get it filled.  Super easy and it was really adorable!  Even though the balloon was the actual surprise, the baker in me wanted to do a little something extra.

I found this tutorial on Pinterest that came from the blog Dessert Now Dinner Later, and it seemed like the perfect dessert to bring to the party.  It was a little time consuming: baking the pink cake, cutting the hearts out, placing them in the cupcake liners, filling with batter, and then baking the cupcakes.  They turned out adorable, though, and I was really impressed that it still looked like a heart after it was baked!

Click here for the directions!