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Pesto and Goat Cheese Smashed Potatoes

I am so super into these smashed potatoes. Like, to the point of obsession. Not that that surprises anyone here, I’m sure. Since an (unhealthy? nahhhh) obsession with food is kind of my thing. No big deal.

Pesto Goat Cheese Smashed Potatoes
But seriously. These potatoes combine all of my favorite things. Goat cheese? Check. Pesto? Check. Balsamic vinegar? Checkity check. POTATOES? You betcha. It took everything I had not to eat them all by myself à la this chicken pesto orzo soup and save a few for Kyle.

Pesto Goat Cheese Smashed Potatoes
These are a nice, somewhat healthy-er-ish version of everyday mashed potatoes. Potatoes! Carbs! Cheese! But none of that finicky butter or cream that makes the regular stuff oh-so-delicious. So it’s BASICALLY like we just made mashed potatoes into health food.

Pesto Goat Cheese Smashed Potatoes
Also, did I mention there’s a balsamic reduction? Because there’s a balsamic reduction. Skip that step if you aren’t as into balsamic vinegar as I am, but if you ARE into balsamic vinegar as much as I am, you should DEFINITELY, DEFINITELY pour some o’ that balsamic-y goodness right there over the top of these taters. BAH. DELICIOUSNESS.

Pesto Goat Cheese Smashed Potatoes
But my favorite, FAVORITE part of these potatoes is the way the skin crisps up when they bake. It’s like mixing soft, tangy-goat-cheese-y mashed potatoes with salty, crispy, amazing potato chips. Which, okay, I would probably never just stir a bag of potato chips into my mashed potatoes. I’ But here? It works. It totally works.

Pesto Goat Cheese Smashed Potatoes

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Goat Cheese Pasta with Spring Vegetables

Ahhhh, spring. That special time of year when the calendar tricks you into believing that sunshine is headed your way, only for you to find yourself in April, FREEZING, with a side of snow and misery. And wishing you could remember what it felt like to leave the house without a jacket or to wear sandals instead of boots and two pairs of socks. You get my drift.

Goat Cheese Pasta with Spring Veggies
My coping mechanism is to trick myself into thinking it’s warm outside by cooking a bunch of bright, beautiful spring vegetables and wrapping myself burrito-style in a comforter. And, of course, refuse to leave the house unless it is absolutely 100% necessary. Like if the house is on fire. Or if I have a midterm that I’d get kicked out of grad school for missing. Or if we run out of beer. [read more...]

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Salted Chocolate Stout Cupcakes

Cupcaaaaaakes! My favorite. And beer! My other favorite.

 

Salted Chocolate Stout Cupcakes

 

I love adding chocolate stout to chocolate cupcakes. Adding Guinness to cupcakes is, like, a “thing” now, but why limit yourself to just one kind of beer? I love the depth of flavor that chocolate stout lends to the cupcakes – it doesn’t taste “beer-y,” but the stout enhances the chocolate flavor and it makes them just WHAM BAM DELICIOUS.

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Confession: this is a copycat recipe from Noodles and Co. You probably know it as Pesto Cavatappi – but they trademarked that ish, which means my title is forced to a bit more creative. We didn’t get Noodles and Co. unless we went up to Chicagoland when we lived in Illinois, and there isn’t one here, either. But I was craving some good ol’ pesto-y cavatappi-y goodness the other day. So I figured, who needs Noodles and Co.? Have pesto, will eat. Or something like that.

 

Pesto Cavatappi

 

I actually didn’t even Google a recipe before I threw this together to make sure I was getting it “right.” Only after I’d eaten it all did I think to check my accuracy with the great collective knowledge of the interwebs. Turns out, a lot of copycat recipes out there use cream and butter, but I think they’re totally unnecessary. If you want a creamier sauce, go for it – but I think pesto is pretty perfect all by itself. I made my own pesto by swapping basil for the arugula in my favorite arugula pesto and adding a handful of toasted pine nuts to the mix. I actually stock up on basil during the summer when I can, either basil I’ve grown myself or (far more likely, because I kill plants) from farmers in the area who are drowning in the stuff at the end of the season. Then I go on a pesto-making spree and keep it in the freezer in small containers (about 1/4 to 1/2 cup per container) so I can pull some out whenever I want pesto macaroni and cheese or this amazing chicken pesto pizza.

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White Chocolate Confetti Cake

I made you a cake!

 

 

White Chocolate Confetti Cake

 

And it has red sprinkles inside and a red ribbon, which means it’s FESTIVE. Because, y’know, Valentine’s and stuff.

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