Homemade Gnocchi with Sausage Bolognese

Homemade Gnocchi takes a lot of time to make, but I am hoping that you will give it a try. This recipe is pretty easy to follow, and once you have plated those delicious pillows of cheesy, goodness it will be ALL WORTH IT.

Lately for me it’s been very therapeutic for me to cook in the kitchen, listening to my favorite Spotify playlist and really put some love in what I am cooking for my husband and I to enjoy together.

Gnocchi is pasta made with potatoes and this homemade version with Sausage Bolognese is so easy!!

Ingredients for Gnocchi:

  • 4 Medium Sized Russet Potatoes
  • 1/3 cup eggs, beaten
  • 1-2 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 2 tbsp Pecorino Romano Cheese, grated
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Ingredients for Bolognese:

  • 1 lb of bulk Italian Sweet Sausage, or 6 links (casings removed)
  • 1 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
  • 3 c. tomato sauce, homemade or store bought
  • 2/3 c. Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • Salt and pepper to taste

SO, HOW DO YOU MAKE HOMEMADE GNOCCHI?

For this recipe, you’ll need Russet potatoes, eggs, all purpose flour, grated Pecorino Romano cheese and Kosher Salt. 

  • Start by boiling the potatoes with the skins on until they are fork tender. Do not cool the potatoes. Remove from the hot water one at a time, peel off the skins (carefully, they’ll be extremely hot!) and using the back of a fork, gently mash the potatoes. Repeat for each potato, add to a bowl, then let cool 10-15 minutes.
  • Form the potatoes into a ball shape, form a well and add the cheese, egg and salt.  Next add 1 cup of the flour and gently keep folding all of the ingredients together with a spoon until it is all incorporated. The dough shouldn’t be too sticky. If it is, gradually add more flour as needed. (It all depends on the actual size of your potatoes). 
  • Cut the dough into ten pieces. Take one of the pieces and turn it onto a floured board. Gently roll lengthwise forming a log shape the thickness of your thumb. From there, cut into eight pieces (about the size of the tip of your thumb to the first joint). Gently using the back of the fork, make an indentation on the top. Repeat for all ten segments of dough.

Next, bring a pot of water to a boil. Gently drop in the Gnocchi. They are done when they start floating, approximately 2-3 minutes. Pull them out using a slotted spoon.

If you aren’t going to cook the gnocchi right away, place them in a single layer on a floured cookie sheet in the refrigerator until you are ready to do so or layer them with parchment paper sprinkled with corn meal and place in the freezer.

HOW DO YOU MAKE SAUSAGE BOLOGNESE SAUCE? 

To prepare, I recommend boiling your potatoes for the gnocchi first; then while they are cooking, prepare your sauce so you can let it simmer while you roll out the dough.

For this recipe you’ll need 1 lb. Bulk Sweet Italian Sausage (or 6 links with the casings removed), EVOO, scallion, garlic, fresh basil, tomato sauce (homemade or store bought) and shredded Asiago cheese. 

In a large, non-stick frying pan, heat the oil and add the sausage. Break the sausage apart by using the back of a wooden spoon as it cooks. Once sausage has cooked and there is no longer any pink center, add the garlic, scallions, basil, sauce and cheese. Mix well, reduce heat to low and simmer for approximately 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until you’re ready to add it to your gnocchi. 

You can plate this dish any way you really want. If you want to combine the gnocchi into the sauce pan and stir, Go for It! If you want to plate your gnocchi first, then top with sauce, Do It! Either way you enjoy this dish, you will LOVE it!!!! From start to finish it took about 90 minutes to complete this dish. Not ideal for a busy weeknight meal but for a weekend, Sunday Dinner it was perfect. You can alway make your gnocchi first, freeze them and cook ’em up during week when you want.

Enjoy – see you in the Kitchen!

3 Classic BBQ Side Dishes

These 3 classic summer barbecue side dishes are my families summertime favorites. They are always on the menu and always requested.

Be sure to check out all our favorite recipes.

Baked beans – full of sweetness and a bit of tangy-ness.

Jalapeño poppers – served warm, full of crispy, crunchiness and a kick of heat.

Baked Mac and Cheese – loads of cheeses melted over delicious elbow noodles.

Every cookout must have these staples. They reminds me of family time and sharing stories with one another.

Enjoy – see you in the Kitchen!
(or on the back patio)

Baked Mac and Cheese

Classic Summer Barbecue Staple – Baked Macaroni and Cheese.

Homemade recipe with 5 creamy types of cheese. Perfect for Summer Parties, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1 cup parmigiano reggiano shredded
  • 1 cup fontina cheese shredded
  • 1 cup pecorino romano cheese shredded
  • 1/2 cup muenster cheese cut into small chunks
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 3 cups of milk
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • pinch of salt pepper, and onion powder

Another great BBQ side – Jalapeño Poppers

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Boil a large pot with salted water over high heat. Add the macaroni and cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Drain the macaroni and rinse with cold water. Reserve some of the water from the pasta in case you need it later.
  • Heat a sauce pan on medium heat. Add the butter and allow it to melt.
  • Once melted, add the flour and whisk. This will create a slurry. Continue to whisk until the four is fully combined.
  • Add the milk and heavy whipping cream and stir.
  • Add half of the cheese and stir until the cheese is melted.
  • Add the seasonings and taste repeatedly.
  • Return the pasta to the large pot. Drizzle the liquid mixture over the pasta and stir until fully combined.
  • Spray a baking pan with cooking spray.
  • Begin to layer in the pasta. Start with the pasta, then add a layer of all of the shredded cheese and muenster chunks.
  • Add another layer of pasta, and then another layer of cheese.
  • Ensure there is adequate liquid throughout these steps (additional milk or reserved pasta water work well). This can be tricky. You do not want the dish to appear like soup, but you do not want it to be dry.
  • This step is important because without adequate liquid the dish will dry out while baking.
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes until the cheese has melted and is bubbly
  • Cool before serving.

Enjoy – see you in the Kitchen!

Jalapeño Poppers

Jalapeño Poppers are my obsession! Fresh jalapeños are sliced in half and filled with a rich creamy cheese filling and topped with a crisp Panko topping. These poppers are baked until golden and bubbly for the perfect summer BBQ snack!

This easy Jalapeno Popper recipe makes the perfect bite; crispy, creamy, spicy, cheesy… and quite honestly the best appetizer ever!

Making homemade poppers is super easy and tastes way better than frozen store bought!

Ingredients:

  • 12 jalapeno peppers
  • 6 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 ounces sharp cheddar shredded
  • 2 tablespoons chives finely chopped
  • ¼ cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon butter melted

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Wearing gloves, slice the jalapenos in half lengthwise. Using a small spoon, scoop out the seeds and membranes.
  • In a bowl mix cream cheese, garlic powder, cheddar cheese and chives (if using).
  • In a separate bowl, combine Panko crumbs and melted butter.
  • Fill jalapenos with the cheese mixture. Top with crumbs.
  • Place on a baking pan and bake 18-22 minutes or until golden.
  • Cool 5-10 minutes before serving.

Enjoy – see you in the Kitchen!
Another great BBQ side – Baked Beans

Baked Beans

Our absolute favorite baked beans recipe! They are syrupy and loaded with flavors of BBQ sauce, dijon, smoked paprika and chipotle. Delish!

Ingredients:

  • 2 sliced bacon, diced
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt & pepper
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp BBQ sauce
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 (22 ounce) cans baked beans

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Heat a large (oven safe, if you don’t want to transfer) skillet over medium-low heat and add the bacon. Cook until it’s brown and crisp and most of the fat is rendered.
  • Stir in the onion, pepper and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until everything softens, about 5 minutes. Stir in the paprika, chili powder, salt and pepper. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the vinegar, BBQ sauce, ketchup, mustard and brown sugar until combined.
  • Stir in the baked beans directly from the can. Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn off the heat.
  • Place the skillet (or transfer to an oven-safe dish) in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until bubbly and syrup. Remove and let cool slightly before serving.
  • You can make these ahead of time – cook them in the skillet then let cook to room temperature and cover, placing in the fridge. Bake the next day (or whenever you’re ready!).
  • These also freeze well!

Enjoy – see you in the Kitchen!
Another great BBQ side – Homemade Mac and Cheese

Deviled Crab Melts

Kick off summer vibes with crispy bread topped with lightly spiced crab, fresh tomatoes, and gooey cheese. Keep a close eye on the crab melts when they are under the broiler and pull the pan out of the oven just as the cheese is starting to brown.

Perfect for Lunch on the Lake, or Dinner on the Dock!

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices of your favorite bread; sourdough, kaiser roll, pretzel roll (yum), etc.
  • 12 oz fresh lump crabmeat, drained and picked over
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • hearty tbsp old bay seasoning
  • 1 plum tomato, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 4 slices of your favorite cheese, used cheddar in this recipe

Directions:

  • Preheat broiler with oven rack 6 inches from heat. Place bread on a wire rack on a baking sheet; broil until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove pan; set aside.
  • Gently combine crabmeat, mayonnaise, cilantro, basil, salt, Old Bay in a large bowl.
  • Spread crab mixture evenly over bread slices. Top evenly with cheese and tomato slices. Return pan to oven, and broil until cheese is melted and starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes, and serve immediately.

Enjoy – see you in the Kitchen!

Skinny Shrimp Fajita Pasta

Skinny shrimp fajita pasta made with fajita peppers and onions, sauteed shrimp, and pasta with a light cream sauce.

Roasted veggies are sweet (in a veggie way), perfectly charred, and tender-crisp in that amazing healthy craving way. I likey.

And the shrimp! So delicious – unless they have tails. Because the tails make it annoying to pull off while I’m shoveling in food with a fork in my hand. Annooooying.

This pasta is a big bowl of Mexican love: sauteed peppers and onions, garlic shrimp, creamy enchilada sauce, and cheesy goodness! Grab your fork and dig in.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole wheat pasta
  • 9 oz raw shrimp
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Mexican seasoning packet
  • 2 bell peppers, sliced thinly
  • 1 onion, sliced thinly
  • 2 oz light cream cheese
  • 6 oz enchilada sauce

Directions:

  • Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
  • Place peppers and onions in a heavy duty skillet over medium-high heat. You don’t want to add too much oil or butter here (I didn’t add any at all) because you want the roasted, fajita-looking charred outside. Stir every so often, letting them sit long enough to get browned.
  • Melt the butter in a large saucepan over high heat. Add garlic and shrimp; season with Mexican seasoning plus salt and pepper to taste. Cook until shrimp are no longer translucent and have a lightly pink/white inside and browned outside, about 4-6 minutes. Add enchilada sauce and stir to remove the yummy browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add pasta and peppers; stir to combine.
  • With the pan over low heat, add the cream cheese and stir until melted. The pasta should be thick and creamy, but you can adjust it by adding more sauce or more cream cheese. Season with additional Mexican seasoning if desired.

Enjoy – see you in the Kitchen!

Firecracker Cookies and Cream Cookie

Red, white, & blue sprinkles and candies make these Fireworks Cookies and Cream Cookies a fun and festive treat for holiday picnics and parties.
The bag of red, white, and blue M&M’s and star sprinkles that you picked up from the local grocery store were just the way to make these cookies a little more festive. The extra sprinkles on top made me think of those awesome fireworks in the sky!

Ingredients:

  • 1 vanilla cake mix
  • 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups Oreo cookie chunks (14 chocolate cream-filled)
  • 3/4 cup red, white, & blue M&M’s, divided
  • 1/2 cup red, white, & blue sprinkles, divided

Directions:

  1. Mix together the cake mix, butter, egg, and vanilla until soft dough forms.
  2. Add the cream cheese and mix again.
  3. Stir in the cookie chunks, 1/2 cup M&M’s, and 1/4 cup of the sprinkles gently. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes to an hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Roll into 24 even dough balls. Press the remaining M&M’s into the tops of the dough balls. Add extra sprinkles to the tops of the the dough balls, if desired.
  6. Place the dough balls on the cookie sheets and bake for 10 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and cool on the cookie sheets for 2 minutes, before moving them to a piece of parchment paper on the counter.
  8. Let the cookies cool completely, and then store in a tightly sealed container. Makes 24 cookies.

Enjoy – see you in the Kitchen!

7-Day Slow Cooker Meal Plan

Looking for easy and healthy dinner ideas?  Here’s a 7-day slow cooker meal plan with easy to follow recipes.  Super easy and delicious! Throw it in your slow cooker and let it do its MAGIC!!

After I was called back to work a few weeks ago, our weeknights became very hectic with taking care of the puppy, cooking, cleaning, running a household completely! I started making slow cooker meals during the week for us to eat for dinner because we hardly had anytime to cook after our days were done, and we began to eat not the greatest! So these recipes are very easy to prep and saved me a ton of stress and frustration at meal time.  

All I had to do was dump a meal into my slow cooker and dinner was done.

It’s so easy to make different meals in the slow cooker that we eat from it all week. By varying the meat, seasonings, and vegetables, it doesn’t feel like we’re eating the same thing all the time. 

The only thing that stays the same is that it’s super easy to get a healthy meal on the table.  

HERE’S AN EXAMPLE 7-DAY SLOW COOKER FREEZER MEAL PLAN:

Enjoy – see you in the Kitchen!

Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken and Veggies

The easiest one pot recipe ever. Simply throw everything in and that’s it! No cooking! SO EASY!

Just because it is officially summer does not mean that you need to put your crockpot in storage. Rain or shine, winter or summer, slow cookers are meant to be used 365 days of the year, and it comes in really handy when you start working again after 4 months of quarantine life and trying to get back into the swing of things!

Seriously. Hear me out; it is super nice to get back to work, FINALLY! But when work hours are different than what they used to be and wanting to have a delicious, hearty, healthy meal without all the work; a slow cooker is the way to go!! My slow cooker never fails me, especially in this glorious one pot meal, packed with the most flavor-packed chicken thighs and three different kinds of veggies. Perfect for busy weekdays!

Ingredients:

  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 16 ounces baby red potatoes, halved
  • 16 ounces baby carrots
  • 16 ounces green beans, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

FOR THE SAUCE

  • 1/2 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, combine soy sauce, honey, ketchup, garlic, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes and pepper.
  • Place chicken thighs, potatoes, carrots and soy sauce mixture into a 6-qt slow cooker. Cover and cook on low heat for 7-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours, basting every hour. Add green beans during the last 30 minutes of cooking time.
  • Serve chicken immediately with potatoes, carrots and green beans, garnished with parsley, if desired.

Enjoy – See you in the Kitchen!