• Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese Pie

    Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese Pie

    If you haven’t noticed yet, I love a savory pie. Extra points for pork, and double-extra points for a tender, juicy, low-and-slow cooked cuts, lightly coated with a spicy, sweet-and-savory barbeque sauce. Not to mention an extra-saucy mac and cheese topped with a nice thick layer of breadcrumbs, all wrapped up in a buttery, flaky, tender homemade pie crust. This really was one of the most delicious ideas that I’ve ever had.

    This is not a quick and easy recipe. Quite the opposite, to be honest. I started the-brine on a Tuesday evening, cooked most of the day Wednesday, and at least half the day Thursday to serve it at a dinner party that night. That being said… you can cheat if you so choose. Really, you could make this in a couple of hours if you buy some pulled pork from a local BBQ joint, used premade sauce, some box mac, and a pie shell from the grocery store. And I bet it would still be a hit at your local pot luck. BUT it wouldn’t measure up to the results you will get if you give this the time, love, and care we used in this recipe.

    The making of this pie from scratch is chalk-full of techniques, from the dry brining, oven slow cooking method, and pulling of the port to the mixing, rolling, and shaping of the pie crust. And don’t forget the creation of the sauce for the mac and cheese or the overall assembly of this bad boy. It’s a great project for someone who recently started their cooking journey, or a workout for an experienced veteran. I HIGHLY recommend trying this recipe. It was really a joy to take on.

    A note on the fillings portions of this recipe: Due to standard quantities of ingredients sold at stores (1 lb box of pasta, 5-8 lb of pork butt), the recipe is written to make 2 pies. If you want to portion differently or freeze extra meat, that’s totally up to you, but it will really change timings, quantities, etc. I actually only made one pie, but ended up eating mac and cheese and pulled pork in different iterations for the next couple of days.

    Instructional video

    Written recipe:


    Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese Pie

    Servings 2 Pies (12-16 servings)


    • 2 Pie plates
    • 1 Dutch oven or high walled pan (



    • 5 lb Bone-in Boston Butt Picnic roast should also work, but was not tested for this recipe.

    Dry Rub

    • 1/4 cup Kosher salt
    • 1/4 cup Light brown sugar
    • 1 Tbsp Smoked paprika
    • 1 Tbsp Mustard powder
    • 1 Tbsp (heaping) Onion powder
    • 1 Tbsp (heaping) Garlic powder
    • 1 Tbsp Cumin
    • 2 tsp Dried oregano

    Braising liquid

    • 3-5 Yellow onions, rooted, stemmed, and cut in half Enough to line the bottom of the pot/ pan you will roast the pork in
    • 2 Cups Chicken stock Ensure you have at least 1.5" at the bottom of the pot
    • 3 Tbsp Liquid smoke

    Barbeque Sauce

    • 1 Cup Tomato ketchup
    • 1/2 Cup Brown sugar Use dark if you want a more molasses taste
    • 1/2 Cup Honey Local if possible. You know, for the bees.
    • 6 Tbsp Apple cider vinegar
    • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce Was not tested, but if you substituted fish sauce here, it would probably work just fine.
    • 2 Tbsp Soy sauce
    • 4 tsp Chili powder Feel free to adjust, depending on your desired level of heat
    • 1/2 Cup braising liquid/ drippings from pork
    • Salt to taste

    Mac and Cheese

    • 6 Tbsp Butter
    • 6 Tbsp AP Flour
    • 6 Cups Whole milk Make sure milk is cold before adding to roux.
    • 1 tsp Freshly grated nutmeg
    • 1 tsp White pepper Optional
    • Salt to taste
    • 1 lb Grated meltable cheese, such as cheddar, Monterey jack, provolone, butterkase, etc. or any mixture of those
    • 1 lb Short pasta, such as macaroni elbows, bow-ties, orecchiette


    • 1 Cup Breadcrumbs
    • 6 Tbsp Butter


    • 2 9" deep pie shells Homemade or store-bought
    • 1 Egg
    • 1 tbsp Water


    Pulled pork

    • In a small bowl, mix all dry rub ingredients. Whisk to combine
    • Remove any fat cap from pork butt. Place in large bowl. Cover all sides generously. Cover and let rest in refrigerator for 2 hours up to overnight.
    • Preheat oven to 250° Fahrenheit or 120 degrees Celsius
    • Line pot or high-walled pan with onions, flat side facing down.
    • Add chicken stock and liquid smoke to pan. Liquid should cover the bottom of the pan but not totally immerse the onions. Set pork butt on top of onions and cover with aluminum foil.
    • Place into preheated oven with baking sheet underneath in case of bubbling/ overflow. Cook until pork butt reaches 205°F/ 96°C internal temp. This should take about 8-9 hours, but could vary due to a number of factors. About 2 hours prior to removing pork from oven, remove the aluminum foil.
    • Let port rest for a minimum of 1 hour, up to 2, then pull pork to desired texture. Let cool completely.

    Barbeque Sauce

    • Add all ingredients of barbeque sauce to a small pot over medium low heat. Stir until mixture comes to a low simmer.
    • Keep on gentle simmer, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes, or desired consistency is achieved. Set aside and let cool.

    Mac and Cheese

    • In a large pan or medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat
    • Once butter is completely melted, add flour and cook until floury flavor is cooked off and roux begins to smell nutty, about 2 minutes. Do not let mixture brown.
    • Add 1 cup milk, then whisk until completely combined. Roux will seize up. This is typical. Repeat, adding about 1 cup at a time, until mixture is liquidy and has no lumps. Then add remainder of milk
    • Let cook, whisking often, until mixture thickens and can heavily coat the back of a spoon.
    • Once desired thickness is achieved, take mixture off heat and add salt, white pepper, and nutmeg.
    • Mix in cheese 1 handful at a time, whisking until cheese is completely melted before adding next handful. If additional heat is needed, put burner on low and whisk constantly until cheese is fully incorporated. Remove from heat.
    • Boil pasta in heavily salted water until it is 3 minutes from al dente. Drain, and add to cheese sauce. Mix to combine. Set aside and let cool completely.


    • Preheat oven to 350° F/ 175° C
    • Finely slice 1 onion that was in braising liquid.
    • In a large bowl, mix pulled pork, barbeque sauce, and onion.
    • Mix breadcrumbs and butter. Stir until fully combined and wet sand texture.
    • Line bottom of pie shells with 1" to 1.5" of pulled pork
    • Add mac and cheese in an even layer on top of pork. Mac and cheese should come level with top of pie plate.
    • Top mac and cheese with breadcrumbs
    • Mix egg and water in a small bowl to make an egg wash. Brush pie crust with egg wash.
    • If pie dough is getting soft at this point, place pies in freezer for 15-25 minutes to firm up before baking.
    • Bake pies until crust and breadcrumbs are a medium-dark golden color and contents are bubbling – 45-55 minutes.
    • Let cool for about 90 minutes before serving.
  • Popcorn Chicken with Bang bang Sauce

    Popcorn Chicken with Bang bang Sauce

    If you haven’t already picked up on it, sometimes I just do videos on what I want to eat in the moment. Sometimes it’s just the best way to make content that I care about, and in turn, I hope you find interesting. Popcorn chicken is an amazing invention. I mean, who was eating chicken nuggets one day and thought to themselves “these aren’t small enough”? But, somehow, they were right. It’s the poppability that I think is the most intriguing. You wouldn’t casually toss a whole chicken strip into your gaping maw, would you? But with pieces this small, its easy to take one and pop it in your mouth. Maybe even two pieces if you’re feeling bold.

    The origins of Bang Bang sauce are, from my 10 minutes of googling, a mystery. There is a traditional Chinese dish called Bang Bang chicken, but it not related to the Bang Bang sauce. I know that it was at least popularized, if not invented for a shrimp dish at the just-a-step-or-two-above-Red-Lobster chain restaurant, Bonefish Grill. I would also venture to guess that it’s 50/50 chili sauce/mayo places it squarely in the category of American cuisine. What I can say for sure is that it is pretty gosh-darned good when paired with fried foods. Maybe that’s all we need to know?

    In this video, I also bemoan my (at the time) lack of a crucial piece of equipment for frying – the spider strainer. I did order one right after filming this video. They’re not just good for frying, but also for fishing short pasta from boiling water, which is a preferred method, especially if you want to preserve a lot of pasta water. It’s only $10, so don’t hesitate to grab one HERE.

    Oh, and the Thai chili sauce that I made in the video was by Budget Bytes. That can be found here.

    Instructional Video:

    Written recipe with ingredient amounts:


    Popcorn Chicken with Bang Bang Sauce


    • 2 lb Chicken thighs Chicken breast will also work


    • 2 C Milk
    • Juice from one lemon
    • 3 Tablespoons Soy sauce


    • 2 C All purpose flour
    • 1 C Potato starch Cornstarch will also work
    • 2 tsp Baking powder
    • 2 Tbsp Garlic powder
    • 2 Tbsp Onion powder
    • 1 tsp Cayenne powder
    • 3 Tbsp Sweet paprika
    • 3 Tbsp Salt
    • 1 Tbsp Black pepper

    Bang Bang Sauce

    • 1/2 C Sweet thai chili sauce
    • 1/2 C Mayonnaise
    • 1 Tbsp Sriracha
    • 1 Tbsp Gochujang (optional)
    • Salt to taste


    Popcorn Chicken

    • Combine all ingredients for marinade in a large bowl
    • Cut chicken into 1" to 3/4" pieces, place in marinade. Chill in fridge for 30 minutes up to 4 hours
    • Combine all breading ingredients in a wide, flat dish, such as a baking sheet or wide bowl, Whisk to combine.
    • Drip about 1/3 cup of marinade into breading mixture to make small clumps throughout breading. toss each piece of chicken in the breading mixture to coat. Set on a cooling rack. Once all pieces are coated, place cooling rack with chicken in refrigerator for 15-30 minutes.
    • Preheat oil to 350 degrees. Monitor temperature with candy/ oil thermometer or instant read thermometer every few minutes.
    • Once oil is to temp and chicken has rested, place individual pieces of chicken into the oil until they are a golden brown color. They should be cooked through once they are golden brown, but it is highly recommended to check larger pieces with an instant read thermometer to be sure they have reached proper temperature of 165 degrees. Once cooked, place on another cooling rack or a baking sheet lined with paper towels.
    • Enjoy immediately.

    Bang Bang sauce

    • Combine all ingredients into a medium bowl
    • Mix to combine
  • Peri Peri Chicken Skewers

    Peri Peri Chicken Skewers

    Before anyone gets too excited, this recipe had more of a focus on accessibility than traditional ingredients and methods. That being said, this dish was a great change of pace, and ended up being really fun, both to research and create. There’s so much confusion and conflicting information about the origins of Peri Peri chicken. Even the name of dish itself has no less than 3 spellings. There’s the popularized peri peri, a la the Nando’s franchise. Piri piri and pili pili are also widely used and accepted.

    The dispute about the origins of the dish in Africa are also a bit of a head scratcher. Being a public-school-educated American, I have little to no geographical understanding of Africa, so when I read about the controversy of the dish being from either Mozambique or Angola, I thought that naturally they shared a border. It turns out they’re on opposite coasts of the continent.

    When it comes to ingredients, I read probably 15 recipes, and they varied so widely, that I had to use some judgement, with the biggest call being the decision to use Fresno peppers. US grocery stores are just so limited in what chilies are available, even those may be hard to find in some parts of the country, but I wanted to get that signature red/ orange color and a good amount of heat, so that’s where I landed.

    The sauce does have a lot of ingredients, but hear me out – that’s like 99 percent of the recipe. Other than the peppers, tomato paste, paprika, garlic, and shallots (which you can totally swap with red onions if needed), you can mess with this recipe quite a bit. So I encourage you to try this on whatever cuts of chicken you like.

    Written recipe:


    Peri Peri Chicken Skewers


    • 1 Food processor A blender or molcajete will also work
    • 4 Skewers


    • 7 oz tomato paste
    • 6 Fresno peppers Stemed and halved, seeds in.Other chilis will also work, but will result in varied heat/ coloring.
    • 5 shallots Roughly chopped. Red onion will also work
    • 1 bulb Fresh garlic peeled
    • 1 bunch Cilantro stems
    • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
    • the juice of a large lemon
    • 1.5 Tbsp smoked paprika Use smoked paprika, not regular.
    • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
    • 1/2 tsp ground corriander
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 2-3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil As needed to get sauce to the right consistency and color
    • 2.5 lbs Boneless skinless chicken thighs Cut into 1.5 inch pieces


    • Add tomato paste, chilies, shallots, garlic, cilantro stems, fresh thyme, lemon juice, smoked paprika, red wine vinegar, ground coriander, salt, and pepper to the bowl of a food processor. Process until ingredients are the consistency of a rough paste.
    • Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Start food processor back up and stream in olive oil until desired consistency and color are reached.
    • Pour over chicken in a large plastic ziplock bag or tupperware. Mix thoroughly until chicken is fully coated. Marinate for 1 hour up to overnight.
    • Place chicken on skewers. Cook over grill or grill pan until chicken is fully cooked through and an internal temperature of 165 degrees is achieved. Alternatively these can be cooked in a 375 degree oven until fully cooked through – about 15-20 minutes.
    • Serve immediately with favorite sides. You're in for a treat!

  • The Ultimate Hummus Recipe

    The Ultimate Hummus Recipe

    Yet another food I was scared of before I started cooking, hummus has become a staple in the household. At any given point there are at least two containers in my refrigerator, to be completely sure that we won’t run out, which would result in panic, shouting, and general sadness.

    When I started researching for this video, I found a couple of things. First off, there are several extremely delightful personalities in the Middle Eastern/ Mediterranean food space. Obi from Middle Eats and Refika from Refika’s Kitchen are not only knowledgeable about the cuisine, but talk about food in such inviting way, you can’t help but to get excited to make the food they’re teaching about.

    As a result of their shared insights, I found several ways a basic hummus recipe can be improved upon, but that employing those techniques will result in a hummus far superior to anything you could get at a store. So check out the instructional video BEFORE trying the written recipe! There are always some little tidbits I forget to include in the recipe card. Plus, you get to see more of my beautiful face!

    And, of course, the written recipe:


    Hummus 3 Ways

    From a quick and easy version to the ultimate Hummus


    • 1 Food processor A blender might work? But wasn't tested for this recipe.


    For Basic Hummus

    • 1 15.5 oz can chickpeas
    • 3 Tbsp Lemon juice Freshly squeezed
    • 6 Tbsp tahini
    • 1 tsp Kosher salt Half that amount for table salt
    • 1/4 Cup water

    For Mushy Chickpeas

    • 1 lb dried chickpeas soaked 8 hours- overnight
    • Enough water to cover the chickpeas with 2" of water
    • 1 1/2 tsp Baking soda

    For Good Hummus

    • 400 grams Mushy chickpeas
    • 6 Tbsp Tahini
    • 3 Tbsp Lemon juice
    • 1 tsp Kosher salt Half that amount for table salt
    • 1/4 Cup Water
    • 2 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil

    For homemade tahini

    • 1 Cup Raw sesame seeds
    • 3 Tbsp Neutral oil Such as grapeseed oil or avocado oil

    For the Ultimate Hummus

    • 400 grams mushy chickpeas
    • 6 tbsp Homemade tahini
    • 4 Tbsp Lemon juice Freshly squeezed
    • 1 tsp Kosher salt Half amount if using table salt
    • 2 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
    • 6 Cubes Ice May need more or less depending on size. Judge consistency after each cube that's added


    For Basic Hummus

    • Open can of chickpeas, drain liquid, rinse, pour in large bowl with lots of water
    • Agitate chickpeas with your hands to get the skins to remove from the chickpeas. Skim free skins from the top of the water with a small mesh strainer, slotted spoon, or your fingers. Drain bowl.
    • Add chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, salt, and water to the bowl of a food processor. Process for 3-4 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl down halfway through.

    For Mushy Chickpeas

    • Soak dried chickpeas at least 8 hours, up to overnight, until chickpeas are plump and fully hydrated.
    • Pour out liquid from the bowl, add chickpeas to a large pot. Cover with 2" of water. Bring to a boil.
    • Stir in foam as it comes up, or skim from the top.
    • reduce heat to medium, cook for 30 minutes. Reserve small amount of chickpeas for garnish if desired
    • Cook chickpeas down, stirring occasionally, for another hour, until liquid has totally evaporated and chickpeas take on a very tender, mushy consistency.
    • Let cool and refrigerate for up to 5 days before using.

    For Good Hummus

    • If mushy chickpeas are cold, place in the microwave for ~30 seconds until warm or room temperature. Add chickpeas to food processor. and process for 30 seconds- 1 minute.
    • Add remaining ingredients and process for 4-5 minutes, scraping down sides of the bowl halfway through.

    For Homemade Tahini

    • Add sesame seeds to a saucepan and toast on medium heat until just starting to take on color. Do not over-toast, or your tahini will take on a bitter taste.
    • Place in small food processor and process until the consistency of a chunky paste
    • Add neutral oil and process until pourable and smooth

    For Ulitmate Hummus

    • If mushy chickpeas are cold, place in the microwave for ~30 seconds until warm or room temperature. Add chickpeas to food processor. and process for 30 seconds- 1 minute.
    • Add homemade tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and process for 8 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl halfway through. In the first 6 minutes of processing, add one ice cube every minute, or until the desired consistency is reached.
    • Garnish as desired. Recommended: Reserved chickpeas, olive oil, paprika, ground sumac, cumin, parsley.

  • Korean Fried Chicken 5 Ways

    Korean Fried Chicken 5 Ways

    For a little over a year, I did a keto diet. It was awful, and I don’t want to talk much about it, but when I was putting myself through that ordeal, I realized that I’m not a huge fan of consolation recipes. Now – you may be asking yourself, “What are consolation recipes?” which is a perfectly reasonable question, since the term is totally made up, and I’m not even sure if I’ve ever even said it out loud.

    A consolation recipe is a recipe for a dish that does not fit a diet restriction, but through substitutions and self-deception, approximates the final product and does not violate the rules of the diet. Some examples:

    In my personal experience, it’s better to find dishes that suit the diet you’re following than to make a depressing version of a food you shouldn’t be eating in the first place. There are, of course, some exceptions to this, but generally speaking, I find its much more satisfying to enjoy a food the way its meant to be made and eaten.

    Korean fried chicken is one of those recipes that just so happens to be gluten free by happy accident, traditionally using either corn starch or potato starch as the breading. The crunch and flavor delivered by this breading is so satisfying, that I would find myself torn if I had to choose between that and a classic southern fried chicken.

    Even knowing that, I did find myself curious about how this could be. Surely, a single coating was not enough to deliver such an impressive crunch… Was it? Also recipes calling for “either cornstarch or potatostarch” were confusing to me. The ingredients are not the same, so an either/ or option left me wondering how different the two final products would be. I felt the need to experiment. So I did. And I’m not going to tell you the results here. You’ll just have to watch!

    Here’s the recipe



    Korean Fried Chicken (5 ways)



    • 3 lb Bone-in, skin on chicken drumsticks or thighs
    • 1 qt Neutral oil

    Cornstarch Coating

    • 1 C Cornstarch
    • 2 tsp Salt
    • 1 tsp Garlic powder
    • 1/2 tsp Baking powder
    • 1 tsp Freshly cracked pepper
    • 1 tsp Freshly grated ginger
    • 2 Eggs Beaten. Only if double dredging.

    Potato starch mixture

    • 1 C Potato starch
    • 2 tsp Salt
    • 1 tsp Garlic powder
    • 1/2 tsp Baking powder
    • 1 tsp Freshly cracked pepper
    • 1 tsp Freshly grated ginger
    • 2 Eggs Beaten. Only if double dredging.


    • 1/2 C Corn starch
    • 1/2 C AP Flour
    • 1 tsp Garlic powder
    • 1/4 C Vodka If you don't have vodka, you can just use water.
    • 1/4 C Water Plus more to thin batter as needed


    • 3 Tbsp Butter
    • 1/4 C Honey
    • 1/4 C Brown sugar
    • 2 tsp Rice vinegar
    • 2 Tbsp Gochujang
    • 2 Tbsp Tomato ketchup


    • 2 Tbsp Scallions Chopped fine
    • 1 Tbsp Sesame seeds


    Single dredge method (corn or potato starch)

    • In a wide bowl or pie plate, mix all coating ingredients
    • Roll/ toss chicken in coating until fully covered. Tap to remove any excess.
    • Set coated chicken in refrigerator, uncovered, for 30 minutes – 2 hours
    • In a large dutch oven, fry chicken in neutral oil at 350 degrees F, until internal temperature is 165. For medium sized drumsticks or thighs, this should take about 13 minutes.
    • Remove and let cool on rack. Let oil get back to 350 degrees, if the temperature dropped.
    • Fry chicken again until the coating is a golden color, about 5 minutes.
    • Coat in sauce, garnish, and serve

    Double dredging (corn or potato starch)

    • In a wide bowl or pie plate, mix all coating ingredients, except eggs.
    • In a wide bowl or pie plate, whisk eggs.
    • Roll/ toss chicken in egg until fully coated.
    • Roll/ toss chicken in starch mixture, until fully coated
    • Repeat the egg/ starch mixture coating one more time
    • Set coated chicken in refrigerator, uncovered, for 30 minutes – 2 hours
    • In a large dutch oven, fry chicken in neutral oil at 350 degrees F, until internal temperature is 165. For medium sized drumsticks or thighs, this should take about 13 minutes.
    • Fry chicken again until the coating is a golden color, about 5 minutes.
    • Coat in sauce, garnish, and serve

    Batter (Not gluten free)

    • In a wide bowl or pie plate, mix all coating ingredients
    • Roll/ toss chicken in egg until fully coated.
    • Set coated chicken in refrigerator, uncovered, for 30 minutes – 2 hours
    • In a medium bowl, mix batter ingredients
    • Add water as needed to get desired consistency. Ribbons of batter from the whisk should disappear quickly when hitting the batter in the bowl.
    • Coat chicken in batter and fry chicken in a large dutch oven with neutral oil at 350 degrees F, until internal temperature is 165. For medium sized drumsticks or thighs, this should take about 13 minutes.
    • Remove and let cool on rack. Let oil get back to 350 degrees, if the temperature dropped.
    • Fry chicken again until the coating is a golden color, about 5 minutes.
    • Coat in sauce, garnish, and serve

    For the sauce

    • Add all ingredients for the sauce into a small saucepan
    • Over medium low heat, bring to light simmer for ~30 seconds
    • Remove from heat and set aside until needed.
  • blueberry crumble

    blueberry crumble

    You know that feeling you have when you don’t have any cash on you? Like, you know that you have a credit card, and that’ll do in most circumstances, but it’s just a matter of time until you wind up at a cash-only establishment, counting all the times you passed by an ATM and not taking anything out…

    That’s how I feel when I don’t have any fruit in my freezer. And situations like this are why. When I realized that I totally forgot about the self-imposed dessert commitment that I had made (which is another blog post in itself), I was able to mix everything up and get it into the oven in less than 20 minutes. Sure, it went into the oven for about 40 minutes, and needed a few minutes to cool before sitting on my lap on the way to the dinner party. And yes, there are no-bake, mix-and-serve desserts out there, but 99% of them are not as good, or require some special ingredient to make them work.

    A tasty fruit dessert with 20 minutes of active time and one hour total is such a good return on time investment, I’m surprised one of those specialty dessert shops haven’t popped up serving only crisps and crumbles… But then again, what do I know about the baking business?

    Instructional video:



    Blueberry Crumble


    Fruit filling

    • 6 C Blueberries Fresh or frozen
    • 2/3 C Granulated sugar
    • 1 Tbsp + 2 tsp Cornstarch
    • Zest from 1 lemon
    • Juice from one lemon
    • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt


    • 1/2 C Flour Spooned and leveled
    • 1/2 C Rolled Oats AKA old fashioned oats
    • 1/2 tsp Baking powder
    • 1/2 C granulated sugar Brown sugar will also work
    • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
    • 1 Stick Unsalted butter (1/2 cup)


    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
    • In large bowl, combine ingredients for fruit filling. Mix to combine. Pour in 9×9 or similar baking dish in uniform baking dish. Set aside.
    • In medium bowl, combine flour, oats, baking powder, sugar, and salt and whisk together. Cut butter into small chunks and toss in dry ingredients to coat. Work butter into dry ingredients until some pieces are very fine, and some are the size of almonds.
    • Make layer of topping on top of fruit mixture in baking dish.
    • Place dish in oven for 35-40 minutes, or until the fruit is bubbling and the top is golden brown.
  • Chicken Tinga

    Chicken Tinga

    Happy Cinco De Mayo! Yes, I understand that this post is entirely too late, and that it would be good to have access to this recipe BEFORE the actual holiday… I’m still trying to figure this whole thing out, so thank you for your patience.

    That being said, this recipe is great 365 days of the year, so don’t just earmark this for next year. The fact that the chicken is poached in broth, then stewed in the tomato and pepper sauce makes it so tender without crazy braise times. The flavor from the peppers and adobo sauce comes through great, since the rest of the recipe is so simple.

    Instructional video:

    Ingredient amounts and written recipe here:


    Chicken Tinga

    Servings 12 tacos


    For the chicken

    • 3 lb chicken legs Thighs or drumsticks will also work
    • Salt to taste
    • 6 C Chicken broth
    • 1 Large onion, halved
    • 4 Garlic cloves whole, peeled
    • 1 Bay leaf Optional

    For the sauce

    • 1 28 oz can Whole peeled tomatoes
    • 4 Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce Add more peppers for desired heat. Add all sauce from the can.
    • 1 Tbsp Mexican oregano


    • 2 Tbsp olive oil
    • 1 Large onion Sliced


    • Add chicken, salt, broth, onion, garlic, and bay leaf to pot and bring to a simmer
    • Simmer for 45-90 minutes, until chicken is fully cooked through and tender.
    • Remove chicken from broth. Set broth aside.
    • To a blender add tomatoes (without excess sauce/ water from the can), chipotles, adobo sauce, onion and garlic from the broth, and 1/2 cup broth to a blender. Blend until smooth. (more broth can be added if a thinner sauce is desired).
    • Remove chicken from bone and shred into bite sized pieces. Set aside.
    • Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Add sliced onion and saute until softened – about 5 minutes.
    • Add sauce and stir to combine.
    • Add shredded chicken and stir to combine.
    • Simmer for at least 8 minutes, up to another hour. Remove from heat, serve immediately.
  • Arrabbiata with Pappardelle

    Arrabbiata with Pappardelle

    I understand the direct contradiction of teasing a quick weeknight sauce and then making fresh pasta to go with it. It doesn’t make sense. It might even confuse and offend some. But. The video is still less than four minutes, so I think most will forgive the indulgence.

    Subterfuge aside, this was a fun project. Sometimes making fresh pasta kinda takes it out of you, and you don’t want to fuss too much with the sauce. Similar to, I would imagine, how you might feel when you get home after a full day at work. The thing that probably took the most energy of any of this was the crispy pancetta, and that’s totally optional, considering it’s totally not traditional.

    Seriously though, watch this video! Read the recipe! This dish is so simple, and the results are so great, if you haven’t cooked any Tuck In recipes yet, THIS is the one to start with. Cathy, Margaret, Mary, the Megan – I’m talking to you guys. Let’s do it!

    Here’s the instructional video:

    And here’s the recipe for the sauce:


    Arrabbiata Pasta Sauce

    Prep Time 15 minutes
    Cook Time 10 minutes
    Servings 4 Servings


    • 6 Calabrian chilis Chopped fine
    • 4 Cloves Fresh garlic Medium chop
    • 28 oz Whole peeled tomatoes 1 large can. Lightly crush with potato masher.
    • 1.5 Tbsp Olive oil
    • Salt to taste
    • 1 Tbsp Crushed red pepper flakes More or less is optional. To taste.
    • 4 oz Pancetta Cubed and fried until crispy. Optional.
    • 6 leaves Fresh basil


    • Prep chilis, garlic, and tomatoes as directed
    • Heat oil until shimmering. Add garlic and stir until fragrant. About 1 minute.
    • Add chilies. Cook for another minute, stirring.
    • Add tomatoes and stir. Cook sauce for 5-10 minutes as desired.
    • Stir in pancetta and fresh basil. Remove from heat.
    • Add pasta of choice, toss to coat. Serve immediately.
  • Biscuits and Gravy

    Biscuits and Gravy

    Biscuits. Buttery, sweet/ savory double threats that go just as well on a benedict as they do with some jam.

    Sausage gravy. Savory, salty, smothery goodness that can be a side dish or center piece to a good brunch.

    Individually, these are both things I would like to see in a brunch spread. Together? They’re a comforting, indulgent, satisfying breakfast all on their own. But, of course, there are ways this dish can go wrong. Hence the tale of two gravies.

    Cracker Barrel

    No, I don’t have a specific memory of the first time I went to Cracker Barrel and had biscuits and gravy. It was a military family early on, and we were on the move from the time I was 2, so I’m sure that my first “general store experience” happened way before I was forming conscious long-term memories. I have have, however, been in my adult life, and somehow the checkers mat by the fireplace doesn’t make up for the BLAND gravy. Which is pretty much the worst thing that can happen to sausage gravy. As long as the sausage is good, and your bechamel doesn’t burn or get lumpy, the only other thing you can do to the gravy is to under-season it. Combine that with the dusty biscuits that are served with pretty much every meal, and you have the makings for a depressing breakfast.

    The Queen Vic

    On the H street corridor in Washington, D.C., there is an English pub called the Queen Vic. It’s open the odd early morning for patrons to watch some European footie, and has a long list of imported beer. But, perhaps most surprising, is the food. The Queen Vic has a solid menu filled actually very delicious English food. The brunch menu is no exception, sporting the the broadest and, in my experience, best selection of savory brunch items of the city. The biscuits and gravy are right up there with the top choices. Beyond the perfect seasoning, the secret, I think, is that the high quality breakfast sausage is broken up into very small pieces, giving a unique texture to the gravy. The biscuits are very large and pillowy, but I can’t say much about how they look because they’re totally covered in the delicious gravy and crispy breakfast potatoes. If you have a chance to stop in and try it, I highly recommend doing so.

    My take on the dish simpler version of the gravy, with more butter-centric, slightly smaller biscuits. I think this dish is very manageable from home, and if you’re not into a lot of extra work in the morning, you can always make the biscuits ahead, freeze them, and bake them in the morning. Here’s the instructional video:

    The recipe for the biscuits, based on Cathy Roma’s recipe can be found here


    Sausage Gravy

    Prep Time 10 minutes
    Cook Time 20 minutes


    • 1 lb Breakfast sausage
    • 3 Tbsp butter
    • 1/4 C flour
    • 3 C Milk
    • Salt and pepper to taste


    • Remove sausage from casing, break up to small pieces
    • Add sausage to a cold pan. slowly bring up heat to allow fat from sausage to render. Cook sausage though completely and remove from pan, leaving any excess fat in pan.
    • Add butter to pan to make 4 total tablespoons of fat. Melt butter. Add flour and whisk to combine.
    • Cook roux until raw flour taste is cooked out and begins to smell nutty.
    • Add about 1/2 cup of milk and whisk until totally combined.
    • Repeat with about 1 cup milk. Whisk until fully incorporated.
    • Add the remaining milk. Keep at a simmer while whisking constantly until desired thickness is achieved. Keep in mind that the gravy will thicken as it cools.
    • Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add sausage back to gravy. Mix to combine and let cool slightly before serving.
  • Pot Roast Pie – like a steak sandwich, but with more butter

    Pot Roast Pie – like a steak sandwich, but with more butter

    I’m not the kind of food blogger that has these romantic food memories of my childhood. There was no picturesque Nona that would feed me dough under the table while she made cookies. My family’s rich and varied heritage was not celebrated through traditional dishes, unless there’s an Irish dish I wasn’t aware of called “clam stuff” that, as far as I can remember, was essentially noodles with olive oil and canned clams (I ate the heck out of that, by the way). This is not to say that my childhood was filled with bad food, or that I have particularly bad memories. Just that I remember food being a little more on the utilitarian side than that of a culinary celebration.

    Pot roast was one of the few exceptions to that rule. It was requested on birthdays and looked forward to by everyone in the house. The smell of the chuck roast would waft through the house and remain present throughout the day, a reminder that this is a special occasion. Oftentimes, the roast would be accompanied by drop biscuits. A type of biscuit with a looser dough, that would be formed onto a baking sheet with spoons. Something about the way the bottom of the biscuits would spread ever so slightly on the sheet would allow the perfect amount of biscuit-to-metal contact, and create this golden, slightly crunchy crust. It was the perfect pairing with the roast.

    This is what I had in mind when I created this pairing. Biscuit dough and pie dough are very similar in a lot of ways. The result is quite indulgent, but so, so delicious and comforting.

    If you are concerned about the overall healthiness of this dish, which is perfectly valid, get some friends together to share! Alternatively, this freezes pretty well. I’m the only one in my household who eats beef, so after the initial taste test, I let the pie cool completely, which makes it much easier to cut cleanly. I cut it into individual slices, put each into a tupperware, and now I have readymade pie dinner as an option on nights where I don’t feel like cooking.

    Of course the creation of this dish comes in two stages. The cooking of the roast, and the making of the pie dough. I like to have my pie dough made and ready in the fridge the day before, so check out this video, which is step-by-step guide on how to make, store, roll out, and assemble a pie crust:

    While this is my longest video yet, it’s really more about the fact that I wanted to share a lot of information about this process to make it easier on you. After some practice, making the dough is relatively quick. I do like to batch these and make 4 or so crusts at one time, since they freeze well, but that’s totally up to you!

    Next is the filling. Here’s the step by step video:

    And here is the written recipe:


    Pot Roast Pie

    Prep Time 45 minutes
    Cook Time 4 hours 15 minutes
    Cooling time 4 hours
    Servings 8 Slices (1 pie)


    • 1 Pie pan
    • 1 Rolling Pin
    • Large, heavy bottomed pot


    Pie crust

    • 3 C AP Flour
    • 2 tsp Granulated sugar
    • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
    • 16 Tbsp butter (2 sticks) cold.
    • 1/4 C ice water Start with this and add more as needed.

    Pot Roast filling

    • 2 Tbsp Vegetable oil Or another neutral oil with a high smoke point
    • 3 lbs Beef chuck
    • 2 Medium onions Roughly chopped
    • 6 Cloves garlic Peeled and lightly crushed
    • 2 Tbsp Butter
    • 1/4 C Flour
    • 4 C Beef broth Cold.
    • 2 tsp dried thyme
    • 1 Sprig Fresh rosemary (optional)
    • 2 Bay leaves (optional)
    • 4 Medium carrots Chopped
    • 4 Stalks Celery Chopped
    • 3 Small potatoes Chopped
    • 1 Egg beaten, combined with 2 tsp water.


    Pie crust

    • In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Whisk.
    • Cut 1 stick butter. Add to dry ingredients. Using your fingers, work butter into flour until it becomes a sandy texture.
    • Cut second stick of butter and add. Using your fingers, work butter into flour/ butter mixture until pieces are the size of kidney beans.
    • Add water and bring dough together. Dough should be just able to come together, and not sticky. If dough is too dry, add water 1 tsp at a time until you are able to form a single mass.
    • Divide into two equal pieces, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, up to 2 days.

    Pot Roast Filling

    • Heat oil in large, heavy bottomed pot, such as a dutch oven, until smoking.
    • While oil is heating, pat chuck dry with paper towels. Generously season the beef with salt and pepper.
    • Sear on all sides. Remove from pot.
    • Reduce heat to medium, add onions and garlic. Cook until onions are translucent and taking on a light golden color.
    • Add butter and let melt. Then add flour. Stir and cook until the roux begins to smell nutty. 3-4 minutes.
    • Add the first cup of beef broth little by little, stirring constantly. Once incorporated, add the remaining broth.
    • Add chuck and accumulated juices back to pot. Bring to a simmer.
    • Add dried thyme, bay leaves, and rosemary. Let simmer for at least 3 hours.
    • One hour before you want to remove the roast, add the carrots, celery, and potatoes. Cook until tender.
    • Remove the chuck roast and let rest until cool. Shred into small pieces, and add back to vegetables and broth.
    • Let cool to room temp (~ 1 hour) then chill in fridge at least 2 hours, up to overnight.
    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    • Roll out pie crust and place in pie plate.
    • Add pot roast filling.
    • Roll out top crust and place on top of pie plate. Crimp, egg wash, and cut vents.
    • Place pie in freezer for 15-20 minutes.
    • Place in 350 degeree oven for ~ 40 minutes, until crust is a dark golden color and filling is bubbling.