Tag Archives: #whatsgabycooking

It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like The Middle of February

Seriously, 11 degrees below zero in the middle of December?  Two major snowstorms? Is the universe trying to stop Plaid Christmas?!  Because nothing stops Plaid Christmas. Nothing!

All right, well, the weather did move the first Plaid Christmas back by a week. But I’ll give you the recipes now because now next week I’m doing two Plaid Christmases (Christmasi??) in two days. So not likely going to feel like recipe writing. And thanks to The Block

we did an impromptu practice Plaid Christmas last night when the original got pushed back.

However, moving Plaid Christmas One closer to Plaid Christmas Two allowed me to go to a cookie exchange yesterday.

Twas a bittersweet cookie exchange though to honor our dear friends, the Harrisons, who are moving back to Australia. The Block will be all the less kind, funny and joyful without them. *stupid computer got something in my eyes again*

For the exchange I made these Brown Butter Sugar Cookies from Sally’s Baking Addiction.

We tried multiple toppings and all agreed sanding sugar was a better topping than sprinkles. But everyone loved them, even Drummer Boy, who is not a big cookie eater.

However, those cookies were incorrectly attributed by me on Instagram to What’s Gaby Cooking. So to make up for it, I made her Molasses Cookies. Couldn’t be easier.  Used a scant two tablespoon cookie scoop and cooked 2 minutes longer than the recipe called for.

As a gift for the hostess and a snack for Plaid Christmas (one cannot exist on Chex Mix alone. JK – yes you can) I made these Union Square Cafe Nuts via Smitten Kitchen.  Only thing I did different is reduced the cayenne pepper a little. Glad I did, they still have heat at the end, but not overwhelming.

On to the meal. Totally pulled a Rachel from Friends – a layer of jelly, a layer of ground beef – when making GF meatballs and marinara sauce simultaneously.  I started the meatballs, paused probably to tell the cat to get off the table, then looked up a the meatball recipe and continued. That is, until I got to the “add a whole can of tomatoes”. That seemed wrong. Yep, was following the marinara recipe in the middle of the meatball recipe.

I soldiered on though, and what a happy accident indeed. So I present to you:

Accidental Gluten Free Meatballs

1 lb. ground beef
1/3 heaping cup of gluten free panko crumbs
scant 1/4 cup of milk (I actually used a little less)
1/2 TBSP dried parsley
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
3 TBSP finely minced onion
1 egg
2 TBSP olive oil

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix all ingredients except olive oil in a large bowl with your hands until fully incorporated. Shape in to balls with about 2-3 tablespoons of meat per meatball. Heat oil in a skillet and add meatballs. Brown, turning very gently, until browned all over.  Place meatballs on a greased baking pan and cook until done, about 15-20 minutes. These can be chilled and reheated in the sauce.

Plaid Christmas will include Skinnytaste’s Crockpot Bolognese Sauce and Two Peas and Their Pod’s Slow Cooker Marinara.  That way we take care of the meat eaters, the vegetarians, the gluten free crowd and the butter noodles crowd. Trying a new GF pasta, I’ll let you know how it goes.

Will also be making the world’s easiest Rosemary Roast Salmon that I’ve talked about before. The only thing I do differently is mix olive oil with dijon mustard and pinch of chopped rosemary and rub it over the salmon before putting the lemons on. It’s a hit every time and can be prepped ahead and kept in the fridge.  Thanks to The Block for taking care of yesterday’s salmon with gusto

all the while not being allowed in the front room or dining room because I had already set the tables before Plaid Christmas was moved. So it was a cozy practice Plaid Christmas.

In between all these festivities, we had one of the best School of Rock shows to date. Drummer Boy, Guitar Boy and friend and neighbor Singer Girl were all in the Motown band together and they killed it.

See Kevin’s Facebook account for some video footage if you are interested. Or I can send you some, I only have like 40GB of video though #proud parent.

I would be remiss in all my talk about Plaid Christmas – which, by the way, I’ve been planning for 4 years because that’s the McNamara Christmas rotation – if I did not link to one of the funniest annual features on the internet.  The 2016 Hater’s Guide to The Williams-Sonoma Catalog.  Even though it is a little close to home this year (ok I know he’s making fun of me), it still is one of my favorite reads. Not safe for delicate eyes though.

May Santa bring you all a Murder Vacuum.   Have a great holiday everyone.


A Very Late Summary of a Very Long Week

Sorry folks, had plans for an extended Labor Day barbecue post on things to grill. But then I gave notice at work and things got a little busy. Let me explain. No, there is too much, let me sum up (name that movie).

But now, I have 10 days off between gigs.  Just wait until the before and after cleaning pictures. I’m looking at you Utility Room!!


Got a nail polish organizer for my sister.  Was thinking about enrolling it in a Crossfit class, but it turns out it’s a looker.


My SIL and BIL stopped by on their way back from South Bend to say happy birthday to Drummer Boy.  Speaking of Drummer Boy’s birthday, uh oh, now we have actual drums.

To the Block – so sorry!

For SIL and BIL visit, we did what used to be called an “early supper” as they had a 6:00 flight.   Did the Chicken Kabobs with Tzatziki from prior post.  Also the Israeli Salad from Smitten Kitchen that has made many an appearance here.

This Strawberry Peach Rose Sangria, however, from What’s Gaby Cooking was a big hit.  Diminished the amount of basil leaves by about half, but otherwise didn’t change a thing.


To celebrate Labor Day, I made this Apple Pie in a Glass dessert, which will also be the subject of another post on easy desserts from Trader Joe’s ingredients,


But for those who can’t wait

5 Granny Smith apples, pealed and cubed into dice
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 TBSP white sugar
1/4 cup apple juice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 jar Trader Joe’s Salted Caramel Sauce
1 container vanilla ice cream
2 cups Trader Joe’s Crunchy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, crumbled

Mix first 5 ingredients into a pot.  Set over medium heat, covered for about 25 minutes until apples are just tender. Cool apples. Layer apples, crumbled cookies, vanilla ice cream and Salted Caramel Sauce in a glass.

Made the easy Bolognese Sauce from Bon Appetit.


This is a good recipe if you have a little left over red wine (yes, I’ve heard that happens to some people!) I don’t use veal in this recipe just beef, because in my weird list of rules is the “no eating baby animals” rule. I know, doesn’t make sense. But it keeps the “no eating animals you can have as a pet” rule company.

When you live on The Block, this goes up over-night to celebrate Fake Sister’s Aunt’s 60th Birthday 50’s style:

final1442146624127And this cake gets made by Jen at Pastries So Tasty to celebrate the birthday girl’s first car

final1442146497355And no self-respecting 50’s style party put up overnight in the driveway would find itself without properly attired wait staff!

final1442146398625So now I’m off to clean every inch of this house while I have time off. I’ve already donated seven bags of clothes and shoes, 2 bags of toys and 3 bags of books – and it’s only Thursday.

Rainy Days on Sundays Always Get Me Down

The rain, the rain.  All games washed out yesterday (and for the foreseeable future). Thus, plans were torn asunder and I ended up going to my sister’s to get my hair done before the conference in D.C. But food was already purchased and prepped for dinner here.  No worries, a traveling feast it is.


I forget I have this market bag. It is awesome and can be wiped down in case that dressing in the corner spills a little. In case.

But nonetheless, to honor summer I made:


Salad with Stone Fruit and Burrata
Adapted from Stone Fruit and Burrata Salad by What’s Gaby Cooking. Feeds 8

4 ripe plums
4 ripe peaches
4 ripe nectarines
2 heirloom tomatoes
1 cup orange and yellow cherry tomatoes
3 cups baby lettuce from your garden (ok, just showing off that I actually grew lettuce!).  You can also use a bag of Spring mix or baby lettuce)
1 container of burrata cheese (2-3 balls)
fresh mint
1 cup pistachio meats

Dressing — I pretty much used Gaby’s recipe completely except did every measure as “heaping” and a less red pepper — and still got complaints of “mouth on fire” from the kids!

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine all dressing ingredients in jar and shake until emulsified. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. I like this just a touch sweet.

Wash fruits and slice stone fruits into thin wedges. Slice large tomatoes and cut cherry tomatoes in half. Place lettuce in bowl and toss with a couple of tablespoons of the dressing. Arrange fruit and tomatoes (I KNOW, tomatoes are fruit, but sometimes that gets confusing) on top of lettuce. Tear burrata into pieces and scatter on salad. Drizzle with another tablespoon or two of dressing, depending on your tastes. Top with chopped mint and pistachios.

Served with steak topped with roasted garlic butter that I had in the freezer, corn on the cob, and roasted Trader Joe’s Teensy Tiny Potatoes.

Today was the first day of summer camp. And the crew lived large, because it was also someone’s golden birthday, so they were picked up from camp in style.

PARTY BUS!!!!!!!!!!


And on another front, certain members of the household were not in the party mood.


Let’s Go Hawks!




Because Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String Only Get You So Far


Just a few of my favorite things this week:

Truth from a boy band.

Acca-76 Trombones? Trust me, stick with it until the end.

Three Cheese Pizza Bites – If it wasn’t already Pizza Night, I’d be making these.

Good save Khaleesi.

What if – a classic (p.s. it annoys Skunk when we do this to him)

Who knew a pastry was more litigious than Wall Street?

So here’s a drink for your “Southern state horse race” party.

Let your weekend begin.