Book Club Spread

I already told you my thoughts on The Marriage Plot, but it wasn’t until Sunday that my book club met to discuss. I made the trip into Manhattan and headed to my friend Landrie’s adorable apartment below Houston.

This is the beautiful spread she put together, complete with fresh flowers.

See those biscuits? Made by yours truly. My first venture into the world of biscuits. It’s a world that I very much enjoy. Those aren’t just plain old biscuits, they are brown sugar bacon biscuits.

A few of the other girls contributed and we had quite the brunch so I thought I’d put together a Book Club Brunch Menu based on the spread we enjoyed.

Book Club Brunch Menu

Jalapeño and Cheese Breakfast Casserole

Brown Sugar Bacon Biscuits

Very Berry Fruit Salad

Mimosas

Monkey Bread

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Sweet Treat: Peanut Butter Heart Cookies

I spotted these cookies on Pinterest using a Betty Crocker cookie mix. But using a baking mix is not how I like to roll.

(Unless it’s Funfetti, I’m always down for Funfetti.)

Taking a peanut butter cookie recipe from The Kitchn and replacing the espresso truffle blossoms with heart-shaped chocolates, I made these delicious treats…

Find the recipe here. It resulted in a about a dozen and a half cookies for me. I made them a little bigger because of the size of the chocolate hearts. I also used regular sugar to coat the cookies, not the sugars suggested in the recipe.

Easy Dinner: Thrown Together Pasta

At the end of the week, I usually have a few random ingredients leftover that need to be used as soon as possible. I’m also usually pretty tired of spend a lot of time cooking. Insert a thrown together pasta and I can use up some veggies before they go bad and put together a quick meal. I had some penne, broccoli, pancetta and marinara sauce at home, so this is what was thrown together.

Meg’s Thrown Together Pasta (servings – 2 entree portions, time – approx. 25 min)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of your favorite pasta (or whatever you have leftover)
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups of your favorite pasta sauce
  • 2 cups of broccoli florets (no stem)
  • 1/2 cup pancetta
  • Parmesan cheese
Directions:
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. In a large sauce pan, cook pancetta until lightly crisp and remove from pan.
  3. Once pancetta is removed from pan, cook onion for approx. 5 mins. Add garlic and cook for another 2 mins.
  4. Add pasta sauce and bring to a simmer.
  5. Add broccoli and cook covered for a few minutes until broccoli is cooked through.
  6. Combine sauce mixture and pasta, mix well.
  7. Divide into two bowls, top with pancetta and parmesan cheese.

For more servings, add a cup of pasta of each serving, add more veggies and increase pasta sauce.

Easy Dinner: Mini Pulled Pork Sandwiches

As much as I love to cook, sometimes it’s just too much to whip up a whole meal after a long day at work. Last night, I was planning on making an enchilada casserole but I just wasn’t up for it. Instead, I made these:

Mini Pulled Pork Sandwiches

You only need three ingredients:

  • 6 – 8 Mini burger buns
  • Cheddar cheese, thinly sliced into small squares
  • Trader Joe’s BBQ pulled pork
And it only takes five steps:
  1. Slice the buns and broil them on low until they are lightly golden brown.
  2. Meanwhile, microwave Trader Joe’s BBQ pulled pork following instructions on box.
  3. Remove buns from oven. On the bottom half of the bun pile on as much pulled pork as you’d like, on the top place 2 or 3 mini slices of cheese.
  4. Broil on high for 2 minutes
  5. Put sandwiches together and eat! Enjoy!

Spinach Artichoke Dip with Pita Chips

Is there anything better than a good spinach artichoke dip? Whenever I’m out for drinks or dinner and I spot it on the menu, I have to order it.

Last New Year’s, I whipped up the dip for a quiet night in. This year when we decided to stay in for the second year in a row, Ben only agreed because I promised to make the dip again.

Spinach Artichoke Dip (adapted from Real Simple)

I adapted this recipe slightly because I had a few different cheeses in the fridge to use up and I did my grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s where I couldn’t find a 10-oz box of spinach or a 12-oz can of artichokes. 

  • 16-ounce bag frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 10-ounce bag artichoke hearts, thawed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup whipped cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar
  • 1/2 cup grated old english cheddar
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • salt and pepper, to taste

– Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees

– Squeeze spinach between towel to remove excess water. In bowl, combine spinach, artichokes, cream cheese, sour cream, cheddar cheeses. Season with salt and pepper.

– Spread mixture into an oven-safe dish. Sprinkle with parmesan. Bake until light golden brown and bubbly, about 25 minutes. Broil for 1 – 2 minutes for extra golden brown touch, if desired.

– Serve with crudites, crackers or pita chips. Homemade pita chip recipe below.

Homemade Pita Chips 

  • 4 – 6 pita rounds
  • Extra virgin olive oil, to coat
  • 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

– Cut pitas into triangles, you’ll get about eight per pita.

– In a large bowl, combine pitas, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix with hands.

– Spread pitas out on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, flipping chips halfway through.

– Serve with lemon wedges