Food and the City Yum

November 22, 2017

Cheesy Leftover Turkey & Stuffing Rosemary Crostini's

Is your kitchen knees deep in leftovers right now? Can you not even see the inside walls of your fridge because there are containers stacked as high as the sky packed with stuffing, turkey, and all of those other good thangs?

If you're like me, then you like to relive Thanksgiving on the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, after the big day, and maybe even into Monday too? A scoop of stuffing with that pumpkin pie? Sure, why not? A turkey sandwich with that bowl of cereal? Let's get weird. I know understand why we tend to only make these foods once a year.

Expect, I truly do not understand why we reseve stuffing for the holiday season, because it's freaking delicious and we should be eating it all year long. 

Plus, since stuffing is essentially bread, these crostini's are basically bread on top of bread. Can we say -- savagery? Because the savagery is real here. Add on some turkey and top it with some ooey gooey cheese, and you have the best Thanksgiving weekend breakfast lunch of your life.

cheesy leftover turkey & stuffing rosemary crostini's

measurements for 2
2 slices of bread
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic powder 
1 cup leftover turkey, shredded
1/2 cup stuffing (any kind is fine!)
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped

Preheat your oven to 400. Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil to each slice of bread, then sprinkle on your garlic powder. Bake in the oven for 5 minutes just to crisp up.

Top bread with turkey, stuffing, mozzarella cheese, and fresh rosemary. Bake for an additional 5-10 minutes or until cheese and melted and bubbly. 

Enjoy! xo M

November 20, 2017

3 Ingredient Peppered Cranberry & Bacon Jam

It's the day of Thanksgiving, your family and friends are making their way over to your place, and you suddenly realize you forgot to think of an appetizer for them to enjoy while you added the finishing touches to the main meal. Or, maybe it's your first time hosting Thanksgiving, and you over-planned and bought waaaay too many cans of Ocean Spray® Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce. You need something to make that uses up all those leftovers, right?

If you're a part of the former, this recipe comes together in less than 5 minutes and your guests won't even know that it slipped your mind as you most likely already have these 3 ingredients on hand! If you're a part of the latter, well, whip up this jam to enjoy with your leftovers, or store it in your fridge for a few days to add to sandwiches, bagels, crackers, or to eat straight from the bowl!

The options are endless!

The sweet & salty flavors of this jam not only balance and please the palette, but they come together in such a way that will definitely get your taste buds ready for that Thanksgiving feast ahead! Ocean Spray® Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce is perfect for this because of its natural sweet and tangy taste. The berries add just that little something that you're looking for!

So, whether you're enjoying this as an appetizer the day of Thanksgiving, or using it to give your leftovers a makeover, you won't regret keeping this quick & simple recipe on hand! :) Ocean Spray has you covered with everything you need to make your first Thanksgiving a memorable meal!

Happy Thanksgiving! xo

Peppered Cranberry and Bacon Jam

1 14oz can of Ocean Spray® Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce
1/2 jalapeno or habanero pepper, diced
3 tablespoons pre-cooked bacon bits
salt & pepper to taste

Empty the contents of the can of Ocean Spray® Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce, and break it all up with a spoon. Add in your diced pepper and bacon bits, then add salt and pepper to taste. Mix it all up until everything is fully incorporated, and adjust your salt and pepper accordingly if needed. Transfer to a small serving or dip bowl and top with additional diced pepper and bacon bits!

Serve with: sliced veggies, crackers (I used Jillz Tuscan Crackers -- they're my fav!), bagel chips, or pour it on top of some chilled cream cheese. Yum!

*Thank you Ocean Spray for sponsoring this post! All opinions/ideas are that of my own.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Ocean Spray. The opinions and text are all mine.

November 16, 2017

5 Sauce Recipes To Use On Meat

There are several components to making meat a great and mouthwatering dish. One being that it needs to be cooked the right way, while even playing close attenttion to the way it is served can draw the line between appetizing and boring. More importantly, it is also necessary to have the right sauce.

Regardless if you eat in the best Tribeca restaurants, or if you grill at home using the most premium meat you can get, it will not excite the taste buds if it is not complemented with the right sauce. That being said, here are five of the best sauces that ever meat lover should try!

BĂ©arnaise Sauce

Even in high-end restaurants like the American Cut Steakhouse in NYC, this is one of the most popular sauces to accompany meat dishes. It has an elegant flavor that will make the steaks you cook at home more scrumptious, as if they were prepared in the professional kitchen of any fine dining establishment.

The main ingredients that you will need for this sauce include butter, white wine vinegar, egg yolks, and herbs. It is creamy with a pronounced herbal flavor, so be sure to not smother the meat with too much of this sauce, as it can be a bit overpowering!

Chimichurri Sauce

According to Serious Eats, this fresh and tart sauce works perfectly when used added into beef dishes. It heighens the flavor of the meat, and is the perfection addition to any Mexican or South American style meat-based recipes.

To make a chimichurri sauce, you will need garlic, shallots, cilantro, parsley, capers, red wine, and vinegar. Place all of the ingredients into a food processor and drizzle with oil. Pulse until fully incorporated & enjoy!

Red Wine Sauce

When you think of red wine, you may just assume that it’s to be used as the perfect beverage to accompany the meat. Truth is, adding red wine to a few other simple ingredients is a great way to create a quick & flavorful sauce to spoon over your dish.

For this type of sauce, you will need red wine, beef stock, dark brown sugar, and balsamic vinegar.

Salsa Verde

For grilled meats, salsa verde should be on the top of your list. Especially if your meal is more Mexican-inspired.

One of the key secrets to making Salsa Verde is to hand-chop all the ingredients, which include flat-leaf parsley, basil, capers, mint, and garlic. You will also need mustard, anchovy fillets, sweet vinegar, red wine vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil.


Looking for a sauce that will bring out a Mediterranean flavor? Aioli’s got your back! If you’re cooking meats inspired by Italian, French, and Spanish dishes, an aioli sauce is a great option to use.

In traditional recipes, aioli is made using only garlic and olive oil, which you have to patiently pound using a classic mortar and pestle. Most of the modern versions, however, include an egg yolk so that the sauce will bind better. Both styles of creating an aioli are equally delicious, it just comes down to how much time (and paitence) you have to whip it up!

To make the most out of your meat, regardless of the way it is cooked, use any of the five sauces mentioned above and you’ll create a mouthwatering dish that everyone will find appetizing!

November 15, 2017

Tips On Hosting Thanksgiving For The First Time

K, so --

I have a serious bone to pick with society.

I'd like to know when and where we collectively decided that it was perfectly *okay* to let Thanksgiving pass us by without getting the recognition that it deserves. When, and more importantly -- WHY, did we ever allow for the "let's forget about Thanksgiving" movement to ~*happen*~?

I get it, we're all excited for Christmas and the holiday season -- I'm right there with ya. However, Thanksgiving is seriously an ALL STAR holiday, yet it easily gets forgotten about between everyone worrying about their Halloween costume and what they're going to do for New Year's Eve. It's almost as if we just expect it to always be great because our older (still flawless) relatives usually take care of it. We just show up, eat, pass out, and therefore we never worry about it.

Well, what happens when the day comes that it's our time to host? It's our time to figure out a menu for 12 on a budget for 2? Or try to figure out where you're going to put everything in addition to Aunt Susie's pumpkin pie that she insisted on bringing?

What happens when it's it all on you, and the panic starts to set in because you've n e v e r d o n e t h i s b e f o r e?

Did you know that this year nearly 20 million Americans will host Thanksgiving for the first time? That's 20 million Americans silently freaking out over where they can buy a turkey thermometer. That's 20 million Americans standing in the aisles of grocery stores alike trying to pick out one of the 4,000 different types of stuffing mixes to choose from, or whether or not they should make an apple pie or a pecan pie because Josie likes apple but Karen is allergic and omg what am I going to do??

Enter: Ocean Spray's CranMa bootcamp, an event I recently attended on behalf of Ocean Spray to learn alllllll the secrets from some dear grandmas that were willing to give em' up! We're talking family-owned traditions that these ladies were more than happy to share with our group of 25+ people, and luckily for you, I was given the green light to pass these tips along to ya'll.

First thangs first -- the bird.

I mean, it obviously goes without saying that the bird is the focal point of every Thanksgiving table. It sits in the middle, is usually carved by the eldest of relative (tradition, ya'll), and is taken very seriously by grandmas all across the nation. Now, granted, of course not everyone is enjoying a grandmother-made bird on Thanksgiving, but keeping within the practices of what our grandmothers taught us helps it to feel like we still are.

We learned that frozen turkeys must start the defrosting process at least 3 days before the big day (or 1 day per 4lbs), while fresh turkeys are to be picked up and kept in the fridge for just 1 day prior -- no sooner. But -- how do you know just how much turkey to have? Our turkey expert explained that it's always good to plan for 1 pound of cooked turkey per person!

Cooking time varies greatly depending on the size of your bird and whether or not you've decided to stuff it. A good rule of thumb is 15-18 minutes per pound for unstuffed turkeys, and 18-24 minutes per pound for stuffed. For example, an un-stuffed 16-pound bird will need about 4 hours to cook, while the same 16-pound bird that's now been stuffed will need about 5-6 hours.

Deciding whether you want to take the frozen or unfrozen route is the first step in your Thanksgiving prep. Once you've figured that out, it's time to plan your other dishes, as well as your decor, your cocktails, and just how the heck you're going to fit all of this stuff in your fridge.
One tip from our prep CranMa: set the table a few nights before. Chances are you eat dinner on the couch more nights than you'd like to admit anyway, and I'm going to take a shot and assume you're not eating your Seamless takeout on your finest of china. That being said, save yourself some time the day of by setting your table 1-2 days ahead of time.
Other useful prep tips for the day before:
  • Double, triple, quadruple check your lists to ensure that you have everything you need.
  • Buy last-minute perishable items like fresh produce, cold desserts, etc.
  • Pick up food ordered ahead of time, including your turkey if you ordered it fresh.
  • Go over your food preparation schedule and begin preparing sides & appetizers that can be reheated. Be sure you have enough refrigerator space to store everything you prepare in advance!
  • If brining the turkey, prepare brine and soak turkey in refrigerator overnight.
  • Bake pies or other desserts.

If your guests will be arriving while you're still preparing the meal, consider having a cocktail station equipped with the ingredients to make a signature drink of your choosing. This can be as simple as a pre-made sangria, or as elaborate as a moscow mule. Our cocktail CranMa kept it simple, yet festive, with this vodka-cranberry martini that was garnished with sugar coated Ocean Spray® Fresh Cranberries! It was delicious. (especially at 11AM on a Wednesday.)

My favorite part of the event was when we spoke about setting the scene. If you follow me on social media, it's no secret that I have a passion for home decor! There are so many creative ways to decorate your Thanksgiving Day table, and our decor CranMa had some awesome ideas using fresh cranberries to jazz up your space. These cranberry wraps to use as napkin rings or to place around candles are absolutely adorable, but my personal favorite was the flower arrangement filled with surprising elements that you wouldn't normally see in a bouquet. Consider adding fresh fruits and vegetables to not only add color, but to become a conversation starter for your guest to chat about while you're powering through those last 20 minutes of cook time!

Ocean Spray has some really great ideas up on their website, and you can view all of those here!

After learning all of these amazing tips from our CranMa's, we sat down for a Thanksgiving feast set up in a cranberry bog located in the middle of Rockefeller Center. If you recall, I also did this two years ago with Chef Curtis Stone, so being able to soak my feet in the bog again was so fun!

Plus, look how GORGEOUS the scene was!!! (not to mention how delicious the food was)

Are you hosting Thanksgiving for the first time this year? If so -- Ocean Spray has set up an awesome #AskCranMa feature on their Facebook page, where you're able to chat with the Cranbot and have all your Thanksgiving Day questions answered!! How freaking cool is that?

Technology ya'll, technology.

So, whether you're hosting for the first time, or you've done this before, there's no better advice than the advice from our grandmothers. I learned so much from this event, and it helped to remind me of all the other tips and tricks I learned from my own grandmother. While I'm not hosting Thanksgiving this year, I can't wait until the day comes that I do.

I'll be ready.

*thank you for sponsoring this blog post, Ocean Spray! All opinions are my own.

November 13, 2017

Chocolate Peanut Butter Apple Cinnamon Protein Pancakes

Every now and again, there comes a point in which you utterly, totally, and completely outdo yourself. Sometimes this comes in the form of putting together the most boss betch outfit on the planet, killing that 2nd interview (obviously), and other times it comes in the form of making the most brolic pancakes that you've ever laid your eyes on.

Today we're talking about the former. 

I've been wanting to try my hand at protein pancakes for the longest time since Instagram basically assaults my face with them every turn that I make. I follow so many health & wellness Instagrammers, that my discovery page has basically turned into a billboard of what my brain screams at me to do more of everyday.

Drink more water.

Take more vitamins.

Go outside more.

Eat more pancakes. 

except not always in that order.

And, since I've been wanting to make them for the longest time, when I did finally make them, I was going to make them, ya feel me? I'm talking topped with baked apples, peanut butter, chocolate syrup, and alllllll the gaht damn fixings. Pancakes that make you feel like you're eating dessert instead of breakfast. Pancakes that you could technically eat for dessert instead of breakfast. Pancake that make you stop and say "wait, this ain't right."

But the beauty of it all is that they are alright. They are packed with protein, topped with fresh fruit, and great way to start your day with!

So, if you're feeling like you want to get in a few last ~*healthier*~ meals before you gorge your face out on Thanksgiving, well.... here you go.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Apple Cinnamon Protein Pancakes

1 1/2 cups protein pancake mix (I used flapjacks, apple cinnamon flavor)
3/4 cups water (or more if you prefer a thinner batter. I used about 1/2 a cup more)
1/2 tbs ground cinnamon
1/2 tbs brown sugar
2 tbs PB2 powered peanut butter
1 tbs water
chocolate syrup (I used sugar-free hershey's)
maple syrup

"baked" apples
1 small apple, skin on and cut into slices
1 tsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Mix 2 tbs powered peanut butter with 1 tbs water and stir until smooth. Set aside.

Combined pancake mix, 1/2 tbs cinnamon, 1/2 tbs brown sugar and 3/4 cup (or more) water until fully incorporated. Set aside for 3-4 minutes. While batter is sitting, mix sliced apples, 1 tsp brown sugar, and 1 1/2 tsps cinnamon in a microwavable safe bowl and microwave for 2 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Heat a lightly greased skillet on medium-low, and scoop in as much or as little batter per pancake as you'd like. I prefer silver-dollar style pancakes, and was able to yield 8 of them with these measurements. 

Cook on the first side for 3 minutes or until bubbles are no longer forming in the middle, then flip and cook for an additional minute or two.

Stack the pancakes on a plate, then top with hot apple slices, maple syrup, peanut butter, and chocolate sauce. Dig right the hell in and enjoy because these are just that good.