Brussel Sprout and Artichoke Mac ‘N Cheese

brussel sprout mac n cheese 2Maybe it’s because it rained yesterday. Or maybe it’s because I over indulged this weekend and am still feeling guilty ab it. Or perhaps it’s the fact that my apartment isn’t as pristine as I like to keep it and I haven’t had time to do anything about it. Or could it be that the weather keeps teasing us? Whatever it is,  I’ve got a serious case of the winter blues.

I’m craving farmer’s markets, bright greens, light and refreshing dishes, open windows, a good run outside, longer days and plenty of sunshine. Oh and a tan. Thank heavens it’s almost March, when spray tanning starts to become socially acceptable again.

In the meantime, here’s some comfort food to push you through these last days of winter.

I made a healthier version of mac and cheese the other night by using whole wheat pasta, Greek yogurt, skim milk, fresh mozzarella, brussel sprouts, artichokes and Smart Balance butter. It was pretty time consuming and at points along the way I wondered if I had really messed things up (see note below) but it came out tasting delicious. I’m having a small portion of it for lunch today, accompanied by a colorful salad.



  • 3/4 of a box of whole wheat rigatoni (or whatever short pasta you fancy)
  • 2 cups of brussel sprouts, stems removed, cut in half length wise
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 can of artichoke hearts, quartered, drained
  • 1/4 of a white onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 cup of low fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup of skim milk
  • 4 oz of fresh mozzarella, drained and cut into small chunks
  • 3-4 cups of a variety of shredded cheeses (I used some store-shredded mozzarella, some parmesan reggiano, and fontina)
  • 2 tablespoons of butter (I used Smart Balance)
  • 1/2 cup of Panko bread crumbs
  • Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Toss the brussel sprouts and olive oil in a bowl with a bit of salt and pepper. Lay the brussel sprouts in a single layer on a sil-pat lined baking dish. Roast them in the oven for about 30 minutes, turning occasionally, until they are soft and starting to brown on the edges. Keep oven on after removing.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

In the same pot that you used to cook the pasta, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute for a few minutes until fragrant. Add the milk, Greek yogurt, pasta, brussels sprouts, artichokes, fresh mozzarella, and most of your other cheeses. (Reserve some of your shredded cheese for the next step.) Stir to combine. (See note below)

Transfer all to a greased, 9×13 baking dish. Top with remaining shredded cheeses (I used mostly parmesan reggiano for this step) and panko bread crumbs.  Bake for about 30 minutes at 375, or until all cheeses are melted and bubbling, most liquid is absorbed, and the top is browning a bit.

Note: When I added all of my ingredients to the pot, they did not mix well. It seemed very liquidy and my cheese was super gooey… and not in a good way. I thought the dish was ruined and that I had just wasted a ton of food. But I kept going anyway. And once it was all baked, it was fine. It really came out quite delicious! So don’t be fooled by rubbery, gooey cheese and ingredients that aren’t combining well in the pot. If making this again, I would replace the store-shredded mozzarella with cheddar. And I might not even use the fresh mozzarella. I just find that mozzarella never melts quite the way I want it to in dishes like this. So experiment with your cheeses. And to save time, you could roast your brussel sprouts and cook your pasta the day before. 


Mixed vegetable hash with fried eggs

ImageYou guys, this recipe was so good that I wanted to blog about it right away. But I was too lazy to get off the couch last night to go get my lap top, which doesn’t even have wifi… because I’m too lazy to go buy a router. I debated typing it from my phone. But I was too lazy for that too. I can send text messages equivalent to the length of a novella, but if I have to type a long email or a blog post from my phone… forget it.

First thing this morning is good enough, right? Even though it’s not really first thing…

So, now that I’m at a desktop computer with full internet access and an ergonomic keyboard, I can share the details of this delicious meal I made last night! I had seen a similar recipe on pinterest, which is where I got the inspiration. However, I never clicked on the actual link to look up the recipe. Only the picture. So really, I made this up. I love when I get to say that I made up a recipe all on my own! It makes me feel super Top Chef.

As most random recipes start for me, I had some veggies in the fridge that were on their last leg. And since Baltimore is posting these crazy weird billboards about eating your food before it goes bad (has anyone seen those? I just unsuccessfully tried googling one just now to include a link but I can’t remember exactly what they said or what the ad was actually for), I figured I should use them up. You could probably use whatever vegetables you have in the fridge, but I’d say the keys were the brussel sprouts and the potatoes. So start there and then add on. But don’t forget the spices and the fried eggs! So yum!




  • 1 half of a large russet potato, thinly sliced into round discs
  • 1- 1 1/2 cups of shaved brussel sprouts
  • 1/4 of a red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 of a zucchini, diced
  • 1/4 of a large shallot, diced
  • 1/2 cup of little zima tomatoes, sliced in half (these are small, like cherry tomatoes, but are orange and pretty sweet)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • about a tsp of cumin, maybe a little more
  • a dash of nutmeg
  • 1 tsp of Mexican oregano leaves (you can use regular if you don’t have these, or omit them)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tbsp of butter
  • salt, pepper and crushed red pepper to taste


Mix the potatoes and a tsp of olive oil in a large mixing bowl with a bit of salt and pepper. Stir well to coat.

Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place the potato slices in a single layer in the pan. Let them cook for a few minutes until they start to brown.

In the meantime, put the brussel sprouts, peppers, zucchini, shallots, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, nutmeg, oregano, salt and pepper in the mixing bowl. Add a bit more olive oil. Stir well to coat.

Flip the potatoes again and let them brown a bit on the other side. Add the veggie mixture to the pan and saute for several minutes, mixing everything together, including the potatoes. Feel free to add more spices as you are cooking.

Once your vegetables seem pretty well cooked (they are soft and browning a bit on the edges), make two little openings in the pan for where you will drop your eggs. Add a bit of butter to each opening. Crack the eggs and pour each into one of the openings. Let them fry for a few minutes, until the whites are white and pretty solid. I like my eggs kind of runny, so I like to leave the yolk runny. You can flip the eggs if you want to cook them through a little bit more. While the eggs are cooking, you may need to move the vegetables around a bit on the edges so they don’t burn to the pan.

Top with a bit of crushed red pepper and serve!




heart shaped pizza


I’m starting to think I should change the name of my blog to Pizza du Jour. Or that perhaps I should be embarrassed by the amount of pizza I eat. Yes? No?

In any case, I’m not posting the recipe for this because I am sure that by now, you all have figured out how I like to make my pizzas and are thinking okay, woman, WE GET IT. But I wanted to share a little VDay love with all of my blog readers! I am so grateful to those of you who are continuing to follow me and to those of you who tell me when you see me that you like my blog. Thank you! I love you, guys!

These are heart-shaped (er, sort of) pizzas that I made with my office lovers/BFFs on Tuesday night. And the adorable place settings we had.

Annnyway… Happy Valentine’s Day, LOVAS!!!


pasta with spinach chickpeas feta and sun dried tomatoesGood morning, friends! As promised, here is the rest of my post from yesterday. I think the key to making this pasta delicious was cooking it in vegetable broth instead of water. It just gave it more flavor and kept it moist (I hate that word. I’m cringing.) until it was time to serve it. I made the pasta a little bit in advance of my guests’s arrival, put a lid on the pot, and kept giving it a good stir every now and then so it didn’t get dry or stick together in places.  Like I mentioned yesterday, when I ate the leftovers, I preferred them cold. I tried them both ways, but cold was definitely better for some reason. So you could serve this warm, at room temp, or a bit colder. The fresh basil was my favorite ingredient here. Yummmmm!


pasta with spinach chickpeas feta and sun dried tomatoes 2


For the pasta:

  • 1 box of whole wheat angel hair or thin spaghetti
  • 4 cups of vegetable broth
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • A bit of crushed red pepper
  • A bit of salt and pepper

For the vegetables:

  • a bit of olive oil
  • 7-8 ounces of fresh baby spinach, washed
  • 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
  • 1/2-3/4 cup of sun-dried tomatoes, chopped, plus some of the oil
  • 1/4 cup of fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 tbsp of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • about 1 cup of feta cheese, crumbled


In a large saucepan or heavy pot, heat up 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the vegetable broth, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Once your broth is boiling, add the pasta. Cook for roughly 8-10 minutes, or until the pasta is tender, stirring occasionaly. I noticed that the broth was disappearing after a while, but my pasta wasn’t finished cooking. So I added 2 cups of water and continued to cook. When it was done, the pasta was al dente and most of the liquid was gone. To keep warm until ready to serve, cover with a lid and stir occasionally.

In a large skillet, heat a bit of olive oil and the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes. Add the spinach and sun-dried tomatoes and saute for a few minutes, until the spinach begins to wilt. You don’t want it to become too wilted though. Add the chick peas, a dash of salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes until the chickpeas and tomatoes are warm and the spinach is cooked down and wilted.

Combine spinach, chickpeas, tomatoes and pasta in a large bowl. Right before serving, add the basil, parsley, and feta. (and more salt and pepper if you want. I added a lot of fresh cracked black pepper.) Mix well and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from MY BRAIN!


brussel sprout crostini filter 1
I have a case of the Mondays. Which probably is not the best time to write a blog post. So, please forgive me if this post is rather boring. I promise you that the recipes I am about to share are anything but.

Last week I had my friends Jen and Jenn over for dinner. We were supposed to be a group of 7 girls, but as dinner parties and get togethers often go, you end up with less people and more food than you originally planned for. But don’t worry; the three of us pigged out as if there were 7 people there.

I made brussel sprout crostini and a whole wheat pasta with spinach, chickpeas, sun-dried tomatoes, feta, fresh basil and parsley. If you are going to make the brussel sprout crostini, I recommend waiting to make it until right before your guests are arriving. I made mine too early and it was kind of cold. Still good, but cold. And I completely forgot to add the garlic, which I had roasted the night before. Again, still good. But the garlic probs would have been better. I had a ton of leftover pasta which I ate cold (and preferred it cold) for lunch for the next few days. It was quite yummy! I am going to post about that separately though because I am out of time and I completely made up that recipe so I need a few to remember what I did. In the meantime…


brussel sprout crostini 2


  • 1 or 1/2 of a whole wheat baguette
  • a bit of olive oil
  • 3 heads of garlic, roasted and mashed (see instructions below)
  • 1 1/2 cups of brussel sprouts, shaved thin on a mandolin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a generous sprinkle of nutmeg
  • Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup)


To roast the garlic, preheat oven to 375. Chop off the top portion of the garlic head to reveal cloves. Lightly rub back and forth to remove paper and peel any excess paper off. Pour about a teaspoon of olive oil on top of the garlic cloves and let soak for 10 minutes. Cover with foil and roast in a baking dish for 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool, then squeeze from the bottom of the garlic head to remove carmelized cloves. Mash with a fork.

Pre-heat oven to 325. Slice your baguette into thin pieces. Spread evenly on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 8-10 minutes, rotating the pan half way through.

Heat some olive oil in a medium size skillet over medium high heat. I used coconut oil here because it’s my new cooking oil of choice, but olive oil will work fine. Add the brussel sprouts, salt, pepper and nutmeg and saute for about 10 minutes, until your sprouts are wilted and a little golden. Add shaved parmesan cheese.

When the bread is done toasting, spread with a bit of mashed, roasted garlic (which I forgot to do). Top with brussel sprouts, another slice of parm cheese and freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from:


photo 2Egg salad is one of those foods that I’m embarrassed to admit that I like. I don’t know why. Do a lot of people think egg salad is gross? I don’t even know. Maybe it’s because I thought it was gross for most of my life. Maybe because it smells.

Well, today I’m speaking up and admitting that I like egg salad. I used to only like it from the Wine Merchant, a deli where my sister used to work. And when she stopped working there, I kinda forgot about egg salad. And then I went vegan for a few years so clearly it was out. And then last night, I was literally standing in the grocery store at a total loss on what to make for dinner when I got home. I wanted something quick and easy. So naturally I opened my food pin board and thanks to an inspiring pin on Pinterest, I decided to make egg salad for dinner. And boy was it delicious! I wasn’t planning to blog about it (you know cuz I was embarrassed) but it was so good that welp, here I am!

I used Greek yogurt and Veganaise instead of mayo. And the fresh dill really added a pop of flavor that was TDF. (I have to tell you that I accidentally just wrote DTF here and giggled when I realized what I had done. My dill was not DTF, for the record. Or maybe it was. Wouldn’t you like to know.) Anyway, you should try it. You know, if you’re down with egg salad and all.


photo 1

photo 3


  • 3-4 large hard boiled eggs
  • 1 tbsp of plain, fat free Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp of Veganaise
  • a healthy serving of fresh dill, chopped (it’s gotta be fresh)
  • salt and pepper to taste


First hard boil your eggs. My favorite way to hard boil eggs is to completely submerge the eggs in cool water in a pot. Bring the water to a rolling boil. Remove from heat. Cover and let sit in the warm water for 12 minutes. Put in a colander under cool water to stop the cooking. Once cool enough to touch, you can go ahead and peel your eggs.

Cut up your eggs into small pieces. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Add more or less Greek yogurt depending on how you like the consistency of your egg salad. Serve on a delicious bun with lettuce or on crackers or however you like your eggs.

p.s. Shout out to my friend Cookie: Girl, how you like yo eggs??

Note: These measurements are for 1-2 servings of egg salad.



Okay, so this is not a food related post. But three days later and I’m still so excited that the Baltimore Ravens won the Super Bowl! Can you believe it?!? It was so much fun to be in Baltimore and see all the fans come together and all the businesses light up purple and all the bar patrons go absolutely nuts. My mom and my brother got to go down to New Orleans and go to the game. #jealous! But I watched the game from behind the bar at Jose’s
and it was an absolute blast. I had so much fun celebrating, dancing, biting our nails, holding hands and cheering with the crowd who was there. Thanks to everyone who came out! Here’s a pic of a purple bagel that I ate on Ravens Super Bowl Eve:

purple bagel

And in case you don’t know, that up there is a picture of Ray Lewis #52, who retired this year.  He played his entire career as linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens, which spanned 17 years. Baltimore loves Ray, and I’d certainly say he went out on top! I know haters gon’ hate, but what an amazing man!

And p.s. If anyone wants to talk about Beyonce’s half time performance and how amazing it was, I’m your girl. It was incredible. I may or may not have cried. If you wanna talk about the commercials, I didn’t see any because I was busy opening PURPLE cans of Natty Boh. And if you wanna talk about the actual game, call my brother.

Ray Lewis photo courtesy of the


veggie pizza 2It’s no secret that I love pizza. In fact, I think I’ve eaten it 3 or 4 times this week. Last night I had the best white pizza at Social Pie and Pub in Baltimore. But the night before I made my own pizza with a bunch of veggies that I had in my fridge and wanted to use up. I got home late and needed something easy to make for dinner. I had a store-bought, pre-rolled, thin pizza crust in the fridge. So I whipped out my handy dandy mandolin and prepared this little gem. It’s pretty similar to the pizza I posted the other day, but I think the black olives and shiitake mushrooms really added to the flavor. So did the thin crust. It probably would have been better if I had made/rolled my own dough, but I liked having the thin crust here.


veggie pizza


  • 3/4 cup of shitake mushrooms
  • 1/4 of a potato
  • 4-5 brussel sprouts
  • 1/2 of a jalapeno
  • black olives
  • 1/4 of a red onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp of butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • a handful of fresh thyme leaves
  • grated parmesan cheese to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • crushed red pepper (if you’re into that)
  • a thin crust pizza dough, or whatever dough you want


Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. If using a pizza stone (which I did), put it in the oven in advance and allow it to heat up for at least 45 minutes.

Thinly slice your potato, onion, jalapeno and olives on a mandolin. I use the 1/4 setting. Shave the brussel sprouts on the mandolin. Put the potatoes in a bowl with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper and mix well, coating the potatoes.

Combine the butter, garlic and olive oil in a small bowl. Spread over your pizza dough/crust. Place the potatoes sporadically on your crust. Put the pizza in the oven and allow to bake for 8-10 minutes. The potatoes take longer to cook than the other vegetables, which is why you need to put them in first.

Put all of your remaining veggies in the same bowl that the potatoes were in. Add a little extra olive oil or leftover garlic butter sauce, salt and pepper, and thyme. Mix well, coating the veggies.

Pull the pizza with the potatoes out of the oven. You can either leave it on the stone and pull out your top rack of the oven to top the rest of the pizza. Or you can remove it from the stone and transfer it to a work surface, which is what I did this time since my crust was pretty sturdy.

Top the pizza with the veggies, strategically or sporadically. It’s up to you. Grate the parmesan cheese on top. Put the pizza back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes, depending on how you like your crust. The veggies should be a bit brown and the cheese should be melted.

Top with crushed red pepp, grab a glass of red wine and enjoy!