Asparagus Mozzarella Tart

This flaky filo tart is loaded with slightly charred, juicy asparagus and covered with melted mozzarella cheese.

This is an excellent appetizer for a spring or summer dinner and will definitely make your guests say "ooh" and "ahh" as they savor each and every bite.

Asparagus Mozzarella Tart
Adapted from: Martha Stewart


15 sheets of thawed filo pastry
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 1/2 pounds medium or thick asparagus
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly coat asparagus with olive oil, place is oven safe pan and cook for 15 minutes.

While asparagus is cooking follow filo preparation directions on package.

Trim the bottoms of the asparagus spears to fit crosswise inside the tart shell; arrange in a single layer over the mozzarella, alternating ends and tips. Brush with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bake until spears are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.


One-Pan Chocolate Chunk Skillet Cookie

Chocolate chunk cookie in my cast iron skillet.

Oh, yes. I just went there.

This cookie is made entirely in the skillet. No bowls! No mixer! No mess! This is plain ol' easy peasy wonderfulness.

It's a simple but impressive dessert and it will make your friends love you more than they already do. Serve this warm with vanilla ice-cream and have fun exercising your will power by not going back for a second slice.

One-Pan Chocolate Chunk Skillet Cookie
Adapted from: sophistimom


1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 egg
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup chocolate chunks


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in an 8 inch cast iron skillet set over medium-low heat. Stir in sugars and vanilla and remove from heat. Let rest until pan is warm, but no longer very hot, about 5 minutes.

Crack an egg onto the butter and sugar mixture, and use a fork to whisk it well into the mixture. Place flour, baking soda, and salt on top, and very carefully stir into the mixture until smooth and well-mixed. Stir in chocolate chunks. Place in the oven for 15 minutes, or until starting to turn golden on the top and around the edges, but soft in the center. Serve with vanilla ice cream.


Spinach, Mushroom & Pesto Lasagna

Oh Nonna, I’m about to give you a run for your money.

It seems I’ll do anything to impress the Italian husband. I want to shout out, “See, I can be Italian! I can cook!”

Fellow Italian wannabe’s, I made lasagna. Lasagna! Something I thought I would only ever enjoy at Nonna’s house (or from Costco’s frozen food section). After this I’m sure my in-laws are all going to think that I am the Italian one. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m starting to question my heritage too (and not just because I over exaggerate my hand gestures, happen to love pastries and pasta or causa like-uh to talk-uh with-uh an Italian-eh ak-uh-sent-uh).

I wish you could all come over to try it; you’d love it. And you'd be doing my thighs a big favor. Trust me; they are doing just fine thanks to these and these.

Make this if you’re attempting to impress any Italians in your life, for company or just because you love lasagna and I’m telling you it’ll knock your socks off it’s so good.

Thinking about going to the gym,
The Dysfunctional Dieter

P.S. Nonna, no one will ever make lasagna like you do.

Spinach, Mushroom & Pesto Lasagna
From: The Other Side Of Fifty


9 lasagna noodles
10 oz chopped frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
2 cups diced onion
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
dash of crushed red pepper flakes
8 ounces of button mushrooms, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups Half & Half
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp basil pesto
12 oz mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8" X 11 1/2" baking dish with cooking spray.

In a separate baking dish place lasagna noodles and cover with boiling water. Let sit for 15 minutes while making the sauce.

In a medium size mixing bowl, combine the spinach, ricotta cheese, garlic powder and egg. Season well with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a large skillet heat olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the onions and bell pepper, season with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes and saute until onions are translucent, 6-7 minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue to saute until mushrooms lose their moisture, another 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another minute or two. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir to combine. Continue cooking and stirring over medium heat for two minutes. Add the milk and half & half, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 4-5 minutes until sauce has thickened a bit. Remove from heat and stir in 3/4 cup pesto. Taste to see if salt and pepper are needed.

Drain lasagna noodles.

Spoon 2 Tbsp of the pesto on the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Lay three noodles on top of the pesto. Top with 1/3 of the basil cream sauce (about 1 1/2 cups) and spread to cover noodles. Dollop 1/3 of the ricotta mixture on top of the sauce, then top the ricotta with 1/3 of the cheese slices. Repeat layers two more times. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the top. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and place dish in oven. Bake for 25 minutes, uncover, then bake for another 25 minutes, until bubbly and browned. Let dish sit for 10-15 minutes before serving.


The Anatomy of a Cupcake

I can't even handle all of this cuteness. 

This is such a fun composition of these sweet sins.

And now I really, really want a cupcake.

{Photo by Allen Hemberger via The Sweetest Occasion}


Caramel Pecan Shortbread Cookies

You can never go wrong with shortbread cookies. A classic cookie studded with toasted pecans and drizzled with rich caramel sauce is a popular choice and go to for me; especially since it combines sweet and salty.

Caramel Pecan Shortbread Cookies
Adapted from: Daily Adventures in Cooking


1/2 cup pecans
1C butter, softened
1/2 cup + 1 Tbl icing sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup toffee or caramel candies
3 tablespoons whipping cream


Preheat oven to 350F. Heat a fry pan on medium low and add the pecans. Toast gently, tossing regularly until fragrant. This should take about about 5 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. Place two thirds of the pecans into a ziploc bag and crush with the back of a pot. Keep the remaining third for garnish.

Beat butter until nice and fluffy then beat in icing sugar and then cornstarch. Stir in flour and salt, followed by 1/4 cup of the crushed pecans. Drop tablespoon-sized mounds onto a cookie sheet. Roll each mound into a ball. If desired press a pecan onto the top of the cookies. Bake for 18 minutes, rotating trays halfway through cooking. Transfer to a rack and let cool.

Once cookies have cooled for at least 15 minutes you can start the caramel drizzle. In a small saucepan combine the toffees and the cream. Turn the heat on to medium low and melt them together, stirring regularly. Once it is uniform and bubbly you are ready to drizzle. Put cookies on a rack for drizzling. I recommend setting this rack on top of a paper line sheet for easy cleanup. Now drizzle away, be careful the caramel will set quickly and be harder to deal with. You can always reheat as necessary. Top drizzle with extra pecan crumbs if desired.


Upside Down Banana Toffee Cake

Upside down banana toffee cake, you stole my heart.

This is a decadently sweet dessert. This cake is topped with rows of bananas which are gooey and caramelized in a pool of brown sugar topping.

Serve this heavenly dessert warm from the oven and top each slice with vanilla ice-cream as the sticky brown sugar caramel drips down the sides of the super moist and lightly spiced cake.

Upside Down Banana Toffee Cake
Adapted from: Foodess via Gourmet Magazine


For topping:
1/3 cup (3 ounces) butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tbsp rum
3 large, ripe bananas, laved lengthwise and cut into 1 1/2″ pieces

For cake:
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup (3 ounces) butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1 tbsp rum
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup whole milk


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a 10-inch cast iron skillet. Add sugar and rum; stir briefly then allow to bubble and caramelize for about 5 minutes, until it becomes rich golden brown in colour. Remove from heat and arrange bananas over toffee.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. In the large bowl of a standing mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each. Beat in rum, and vanilla extract.

With the mixer speed on low, add one-third of the flour mixture, then one half of the milk. Repeat, ending with the flour mixture, mixing until just combined. Bake in centre of preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown on top and toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan 5 minutes before inverting onto a plate.

The back view...


Chickpea Salad with Feta and Heirloom Tomatoes

Husband informed me it had been 14 days since I last made him a meal with nutritional value.

So what if I happen to think that peanut butter cookies contain your daily amount of protein and that frozen spinach pizzas offer a variety of nutrients? Apparently, it wasn't going to cut it.

So, I decided to be gourmet and go all Martha on him. I made him this salad. It was so easy. (Like, embarrassingly so). And it was colorful, flavorful and nutritious.

I made husband eat lots so that he would get his veggie fix and forget about all of the cookies I fed him (and called dinner). I am now the trophy wife... that cooks.

Chickpea Salad with Feta and Heirloom Tomatoes
Adapted from: Angie's Recipes


1 tin Chickpeas
2 cups of heirloom tomatoes
1/2 cup feta, crumbled
2 tbsp Fresh chives, chopped
2 tbsp Lemon juice
Salt and black pepper to taste


Tip the chickpeas into a sieve and rinse under cold running water. Drain and place them in a large bowl.
Add the tomatoes, together with crumbled feta and mix into the bowl of chickpeas. Drizzle in the lemon juice, then season with salt and pepper. Gently toss to combine.

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