cooking, food, Ina

5 Recipes to try this winter

I don’t know about you, but I will often fall into a cooking rut, and I end up making the same things week after week for me and Mr. KK. Little Mister – who gets his own dinner each night and I can only blame myself for starting this habit – also eats the same thing week after week, but only because he literally only eats 5 dinner items.

I LOVE to cook. And when I’m not on a super-restrictive, no-fun diet, I love to eat. My instagram feed is filled with recipes, famous chefs cooking amazing foods and restaurants sharing the night’s specials. And while I am so inspired by this each day, we end up eating the same old salmon with a vegetable and side of rice. BORING.

I tend to find myself with more time to be in the kitchen cooking in the colder months. All year long I save recipes, with the hopes that one day they will see the light of day and make it onto our plates and into our stomachs.

I am challenging myself to make at least 5 new recipes this winter that made me salivate and I have saved.

Some are appetizers, some are main courses, and there’s even a dessert (lord help Mr. KK and my baking mishaps).

If I’m able to make one of these during November, I will post it!

1. Cacio e Pepe Broccolini with Crispy White Beans and Burrata

From Food and Wine

Photo from Food & Wine.

This recipe had me at burrata.

It combines broccolini (which is a house favorite), cannellini beans, fresno chili and burrata. What a great meal with some crusty bread and wine!

2. Whipped Feta with Spicy Honey

From the blog Serving Dumplings

Photo courtesy of

I never jumped on the TikTok feta craze, but I do appreciate the salty, soft cheese.

This recipe seems super simple, so it shouldn’t be difficult to pull this one off this winter. Hmm…perhaps a Thanksgiving appetizer?

The combo of the salty cheese and spicy honey is a home run in my book. And any appetizer you can make in the food processor gets extra points. I’d definitely go for the naan bread for dippers.

3. Clams Casino Dip with Herb Butter Baguettes

From the book, “Here’s To Us” by Elin Hildebrand.

As you know, Ina is my cooking guru girl crush. But when it comes to books, it’s Elin Hildebrand. Elin writes fiction books – mostly set on the island of Nantucket – that are the perfect beach read. Or, if you’re like me, they are the perfect read for when you don’t have anything to read and you want to travel to ACK vicariously through her characters. In fact, Nantucket IS a character in her novels, it is brought to life so vividly.

In one of her books, Here’s To Us, one of the characters is a chef, who was known for his Clams Casino Dip. Being from Connecticut, I am no stranger to Clams Casino as a concept, as it is my favorite pizza from one of the famous New Haven pizza joints for which Connecticut is known. To have that pizza in dip form is just luxurious.

Creamy cheese, clams and…bacon. I mean, come on!

4. Giada’s Pasta Alla Zozzona

From Giada DeLaurentis

Photo from Giadzy.

We eat with our eyes first, so it’s very likely that I fell in love with the cute shape of this pasta, which is called Nodi Marini. Seriously, how cute are they?

This pasta dish is a combination of Amatriciana and Carbonara, so spicy plus creamy. All in one dish? I’m in!

I’m sure this dish would be just as delicious with any shape pasta, however, why would you want to make it with any other kind? Nodi Marini means “sailor’s knots” and that’s exactly what they look like.

I imagine in true kk fashion I would add about 3 tons of grated cheese to the top of this pasta dish.

5. Ina Garten’s Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Recipe from Ina Garten

Photo from The Barefoot Contessa

You didn’t think I was going to have a recipe list and NOT include my gal pal, Ina, did you??

I am horrible at baking, so I feel things might be ok in the kitchen if I’m following one of her recipes. Also, this one is tagged “good for a beginner” so there’s the confidence I need.

Sour cream coffee cake reminds me of my childhood, and my grandmother, who would always make a coffee cake for Sunday dinners and holidays. I’m not a big dessert eater, but I am a sucker for cinnamon and sugar.

This one would be perfect for a Sunday brunch!

I can’t wait to get cooking…and eating!

cooking, Ina

Ina and I are #twinning

It it no secret on this blog that I have a severe girl crush on Ina Garten.

Who doesn’t?

My fandom goes back to her early days as the Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network. That show was a staple for the Little Mister and I during his formative years. There was Ina on the big TV, in her denim button down, making chicken for Jeffrey and my Little Mister would point his chubby fingers at the screen say “Nine-a!”

I have made countless recipes from her cookbooks (some will appear later this month on this blog), and every one is delicious. I used to watch her all the time, so while my TV viewing time has reduced dramatically, I find other ways to get my Ina fix.

I’ve been driving a bit more to Boston, and now I listen to Ina on podcasts. She did a great interview with Willie Geist on his Sunday Sitdown, and made scrambled eggs for the interview queen Katie Couric. But perhaps the best podcast is Ina’s own, which is an audio version of her show on Discovery Plus, Be My Guest.

A little independent bookstore (remember those?) here in Connecticut was celebrating the release of Ina’s new cookbook, Go To Dinners, by offering a ticket to a zoom interview with Frank Bruni and Ina with the purchase of the book. Sign me up!

The Zoom was at 8pm. I popped in my Airpods and grabbed a glass of full-bodied Cabernet to enjoy while my girl crush shared what life was like for her during pandemic. It was during this time that she wrote this cookbook, inspired by “pantry cooking” and living and eating more simply.

And…there she was! In her barn kitchen, looking all Ina-like.

Ina shared quite a bit about what life was like during the pandemic for her and Jeffrey – who were suddenly spending every day together which they don’t normally do since he commutes to work. As she spoke, I realized that my idol and I have quite a bit in common.

Even though Ina couldn’t see or hear me, I know she felt my presence.

I learned new things about Ina on this interview (I didn’t think that was possible!) And here is how Ina and I are #twinning:

  • We both enjoy cooking for people we love
  • We both have big gardens
  • We both have never gotten COVID (to quote Ina, “And I don’t plan on getting it!”)
  • We both went a little mental preparing 3 meals a day during the pandemic and felt like the minute you cleaned up the lunch dishes it was time to start making dinner!
  • We both enjoy cocktails
  • We both appreciate a well-dressed table
  • We both like not only to cook, but to EAT 

The next day Ina’s book arrived in the mail. It’s beautiful!

I don’t want to rush through it, so I take my time. First, I do a overview flip through, noting recipes that I will flag later. Then, I go through it slowly, reading the recipes and anecdotes, putting stickies on the pages of the recipes that I know I’ll be making. I will definitely be trying the oven risotto (no stirring at the stove!) and I saw an appetizer or two that will be making their debut at Thanksgiving. And chicken and orzo. And cinnamon shortbread cookies. I could go on!

How amazing is that?