Beverages

Recipe—Peach Margarita

When we bought our house 7 years ago, the backyard was a bare lot. I told my husband right off the bat that if we plant any trees in the backyard, they have to produce fruit. I don’t want to water something unless it provides more than shade. So over the years we have planted a lemon tree, lime tree, apricot tree, and a peach tree. This year the peach tree has produced more than ever before so I have been enjoying coming up with new recipes to try.

Now if you know me, you know I love a margarita and something I have found through the years is that you can make a margarita with pretty much any fruit. I’ve posted recipes for Grapefruit Margaritas, Mango Margaritas, and more recently a Watermelon Margarita. So why not a peach margarita!

The peach schnapps in this recipe replace the typical triple sec in a margarita and really gives it that peachy flavor. Perfect for a warm summer day!

Notes: This recipe makes two margaritas. I doubled the recipe and put the margaritas in a carafe so I could enjoy a couple poolside. If you like a frozen blended margarita, use two cups frozen peaches instead of fresh and then also add in about a cup of ice. 

INGREDIENTS
2 peaches, peeled and pit removed
4 oz silver tequila
2 oz peach schnapps
2 oz lime juice
lime wedges (optional)
tajin or salt for the rim (optional)

STEPS

  • Add the prepared peach to a blender or food processor and blend fully, you want it nice and smooth.
  • Pour some tajin or salt on a small plate. 
  • Rub a lime wedge around the rim of two glasses and dip the glasses into the tajin or salt to coat.  
  • In a drink shaker, combine the peach puree, tequila, schnapps, lime juice, and ice and shake well.
  • Pour the margarita into the prepared glasses over ice. 
  • Garnish with a lime.
  • Put your feet up, sit back, and enjoy!
Uncategorized

Brunch with a Splash of Denim and Lemons

Diva di Cucina started off nearly 12 years ago just as a way for me to share recipes with my family and friends. It has grown and evolved in ways I never could have ever imagined. While the intention of this blog is primarily to share recipes with you, it is also a place where I feel a sense of community and connection and I love being able to share my successes with you too, because if it wasn’t for having followers and supporters, I wouldn’t be doing this all these years later. With that said, I have a fun little story to share with all of you. 

Photo by Sara Pinnell, Creative Director, Ardent for Life Magazine

As many of you know, I branched out in October 2020 I launched my very own kitchen boutique on Etsy. That Etsy shop took off and I started also doing pop up markets in my community. Through these markets I have connected with so many amazing small business owners many of whom I have become friends with.

One small business I have connected with is Cindy of My Thrifty Sister who makes the cutest home décor. Cindy knew I had a cooking blog so in April she came to me and asked if I wanted to collaborate with her and some other small businesses and participate in a lifestyle photoshoot for Ardent for Life Magazine.

Now you if you know me, you know I am always going to jump at any opportunities that come my way so of course I said yes. A very enthusiastic, YES! The shoot was for a summer brunch and I was asked to make a main dish and a beverage.

The theme for the brunch would be denim and lemons, so I decided to make my Southwest Frittata because I think cast iron skillets and denim go hand in hand. Something about the two give off a whole country living vibe. 

Photo by Sara Pinnell, Creative Director, Ardent for Life Magazine

Now, in my opinion, brunch without booze is just a sad breakfast so for the drink I wanted to do a lemon-based brunch cocktail that would be light and refreshing and my Knock You Off Your Saddle Lemonade checked all the boxes. The flavors of ginger and lemon with the bubbles from the ginger ale are just perfect for sipping on a warm summer day.

Photo by Sara Pinnell, Creative Director, Ardent for Life Magazine

The morning of the shoot was so fun. I showed up with my frittata and cocktail ready to go. My Thrifty Sister had staged the entire thing in her backyard. There was a gorgeously set table made of crates and an old door set upon a big area rug and the cutest assortment of pillows for us to get cozy with. Then there was also the serving table which was covered with a tiered denim tablecloth she had made. We got to watch as the owner of Tilted Tulip set up all the beautiful floral arrangements throughout the yard making sure each flower was perfectly placed.

Photo by Sara Pinnell, Creative Director, Ardent for Life Magazine

Every detail was perfection! From the wood cutout lemons, the denim pockets for the silverware, and all the blue dishes and glasses.

Photo by Sara Pinnell, Creative Director, Ardent for Life Magazine

The magazine photographer was amazing to work with! She provided great direction and made everyone feel at ease. I loved how open she was to everyone’s ideas. 

I initially went into this photoshoot thinking my dishes would just be photographed, so I was thrilled when the magazine told me they would like to include the recipes as well! Several weeks later I got the proofs from their designer and was floored to see that each recipe got a beautiful full page spread! And this story gets even better! A few days before going to print, I was notified by the magazine editor that my dish was selected to be the cover for the Summer 2022 issue of the magazine! 

If you were to tell me 12 years ago that one day, I would have some of my recipes published AND on the cover of a magazine I would have had you locked up because it just seems utterly insane. This was such an amazing experience, and I am so grateful to have been given this opportunity. I am excited to share with you the featured article, Brunch with a Splash of Denim and Lemons. Feel free to click through the article and recipes above.

You can read the full issue here.

Beverages

Recipe—Watermelon Margaritas

It never fails, anytime I serve watermelon at a BBQ or party I end up with a ton leftover. Not that it’s a bad thing, especially when you can make some amazing watermelon margaritas! This cocktail is the perfect summer drink, it’s light and so refreshing. I just love the combination of the sweet watermelon with lime and if you put a little Tajin around the rim, it just takes it up a notch with a nice little kick of spice. Nothing says summer like a fresh and fruity cocktail!

Notes: This recipe makes two margaritas which is great because cocktails always taste better when shared with a friend! Since the juice content varies from watermelon to watermelon you may have extra juice after blending. The recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups of the strained juice.

INGREDIENTS
4–5 c seedless watermelon, cut into chunks (you will need 1 1/2 cups juice)
1/2 c silver tequila
1/4 c lime juice, fresh squeezed
1 tbsp agave or simple syrup
lime wedges (optional)
tajin or salt for the rim (optional)

STEPS

  • Add the chopped watermelon to a blender or food processor and blend fully.
  • Pour the blended watermelon through a sieve or fine strainer into a large measuring cup to separate out the pulp.
  • Pour some tajin or salt on a small plate. (optional)
  • Rub a lime wedge around the rim of two glasses and dip the glasses into the tajin or salt to coat.  
  • In a drink shaker, combine 1 1/2 cups of the strained watermelon juice, tequila, lime juice, agave, and ice and shake well.
  • Pour the margarita into the prepared glasses. 
  • Put your feet up, sit back, and enjoy!
Salads, Side Dishes

Recipe—Red, White, & Blue Potato Salad

Hello grilling season! It is great to have you back in my life! (And all of you amazing followers too!) Nothing says summer like lazy days with friends, sun shining on your skin, hot grilled meat, and some tasty side salads! 

With 4th of July just around the corner it feels like the perfect time to share one of my favorite summer side dish recipes with y’all. This Red White and Blue Potato salad is packed with all my favorite flavors and by favorite flavors, I mean bacon and blue cheese. 

This salad is an amazing complement to any bbq dish, but we especially love it with a nice steak and some red wine. Just something about the way all those flavors come together is top notch. *chef’s kiss*

Note: I like to set aside some of the bacon, blue cheese crumbles, and green onions to garnish the top of the salad with.

INGREDIENTS
3 lbs baby red potatoes, chopped into 3/4” cubes
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp dill
1/2 tsp salt  
1/4 tsp ground mustard 
1/2 tsp onion powder  
8 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
3/4 c blue cheese
1/2 c green onion, sliced

STEPS

  • Place the chopped potatoes into a large pot and cover with water. 
  • Bring to a boil and cook for approximately 12–15 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft and tender.
  • Drain the potatoes and transfer them into a large bowl and allow to cool for 30 minutes. 
  • In a medium bowl mix together the mayonnaise, sour cream, dill, salt, ground mustard, and onion powder. 
  • Add the bacon, blue cheese, and green onion to the bowl with the potatoes. 
  • Pour the dressing over the top of the potatoes and other ingredients and stir to combine.
  • Cover and chill for at least 2 hours before serving. 

Here are some other amazing summer side dishes to try out!

Beverages

Recipe— Greyhound Cocktails

Recipe—Pitcher of Greyhound Cocktails

This recipe is a must for your next dinner party or a day of poolside lounging. It makes a nice sized pitcher, perfect to share with friends. When I had a little party back in August, this was the signature cocktail served and it was a huge hit! We served it in some cute pitchers along with grapefruit wedges and sprigs of rosemary.

Grapefruit juice has always been one of my favorite cocktail mixers. It is just the right amount of sweet and tart and is so refreshing. I am pretty sure this cocktail is what sunshine would taste like, if sunshine had a flavor. 

There are all sorts of variations of greyhound recipes, and this is one of my faves. The vanilla gives you this nice little bit of sweetness that cuts the tartness of the grapefruit and the soda water really lightens it up. I like the subtle flavor the rosemary garnish adds but if you like a stronger rosemary flavor you can infuse the vodka with it

Note: If you want to prepare this ahead of time, mix together all the ingredients EXCEPT the soda water. Don’t add the soda water until right before serving or it will go flat. overnight. 

INGREDIENTS
2 c vodka
3 1/2 c grapefruit juice
2 tbsp vanilla
1 1/2 c soda water
rosemary sprigs for garnish

STEPS

  • Mix vodka, grapefruit juice, vanilla, and soda water in a large pitcher and stir well. 
  • Pour over a glass filled with ice.
  • Add a sprig of fresh rosemary for garnish.
Appetizers, Sauces

Recipe—Salsa Fresca

Last year in my garden we were harvesting more tomatoes than we knew what to do with! We were having Panzanella Salad and Marinated Tomatoes almost every week. Once my jalapenos came in, I was all about that fresh salsa! Who doesn’t love that fresh salsa flavor!? Store bought salsa just does not compare.

This recipe is pretty much goof proof. You just add all the ingredients to the blender and blend. Yes, it really is that simple!

Just serve up with a side of some crispy salty tortilla chips or along with your favorite tacos or burritos. 

Note: If you over blend your salsa, it can become sort of frothy. If this happens, just cover and store in the fridge for a couple of hours and it should settle. Fresh salsa can last in the fridge covered for up to two weeks. The flavors get better and better with time.

INGREDIENTS
1/4 white onion 
2 tsp garlic, minced
1 jalapeno 
4–6 medium sized tomatoes
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 c fresh cilantro leaves
juice from 1 lime
pinch of sugar (optional, to balance the acidity of the tomatoes)

STEPS

  • Add the onion, garlic, and jalapeno to a food processor or blender and pulse a few times to chop.
  • Add all the remaining ingredients to the blender and blend to desired consistency. 
  • Refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to really come together. (Optional)

This salsa goes great with the following recipes:

Beverages

Recipe—Chocolate Chip Cookie Shots

Recipe—Chocolate Chip Cookie Shots

‘Tis the season for indulging in tasty adult beverages and lots of fresh baked goodies. This time of year, I just love having a sweet night cap for dessert cuddled up next to the Christmas tree. Don’t get me wrong, I would honestly make these dessert shots any time of year. I actually made a big batch and served them for dessert at my party over the summer. They were a total hit paired up with a tray of chocolate chip cookies.

This is one of my favorite dessert shots. Every drop packs a punch and you get a nice little bit of cookie on the edge with each sip. This recipe makes two generous shots so there is one for you and one for a friend. Or even better, one for each hand. Enjoy! 

Note: If you don’t have chocolate vodka, you can substitute regular vodka. If you plan on making these for a party, you can pre mix the alcohol but do not put into the shot glasses until you are ready to serve. Otherwise your cookie edge can get a bit soggy.  

INGREDIENTS
1/2 oz Disaronno amaretto
3 oz Bailey’s irish cream
1 1/2 oz chocolate vodka
2 chocolate chip cookies, crushed for garnish
chocolate cake frosting (for rimming the glasses) or light corn syrup

STEPS

  • Put a tbsp chocolate frosting or light corn syrup in a small bowl and add the cookie crumbs to a small plate.
  • Dip the rim of a shot glass into the frosting/corn syrup and then the cookie crumbs to coat the edge. Repeat with the other glass.
  • Fill a shaker with ice and add the amaretto, Irish cream, and chocolate vodka. 
  • Shake well and strain into the prepared shot glasses.

Recipe adapted from Mantitlement.

Dinners

Recipe— Quesabirria Tacos

I follow a LOT of foodies on social media and over the last year I have seen this trend of people posting photos of these delicious looking meat and cheese filled tacos served up with a dish of red sauce for dipping. This delicious looking meal is called birria or quesabirria tacos and now it seems like you see them everywhere! I scoped out some of our local Mexican restaurants and could not find anywhere that had birria tacos on the menu, but I had to have them! Sooooo… to Pinterest I went! 

I found quite a few recipes out there and of course every one of them was different, but none of them had me sold. Being who I am, I picked and pulled elements from several different recipes and came up with my own recipe. 

I was absolutely thrilled with how these tacos turned out. The meat was flavorful and juicy and the broth was so rich and just the right amount of spicy. I served my husband, son, and I each up with three tacos to start with but we kept going back to the grill for another one, and another one, and another one until we were about to pop. These seriously lived up to all the hype. I can honestly say, these were not only the best tacos I have ever made, but also the best tacos I have ever eaten!

Note: These are relatively easy to make but time consuming since you slow cook the meat on the stovetop. It is the perfect recipe to make on a rainy Sunday while you watch some football and just want to indulge in some good food. 

BIRRIA INGREDIENTS
3 lbs short ribs (bone in)
1 large white onion skin removed, halved and cut into 1/2″ thick slices
1 garlic bulb with skin on, top cut off 
2 carrots, cut into quarters
5 bay leaves
8 dried guajillo chiles, stems cut off and seeds removed
3 chicken bouillon cubes
2 tsp chili powder 
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt

TACO INGREDIENTS
corn tortillas
jack cheese, shredded
white onion, chopped
cilantro, chopped
cotija cheese, crumbled

STEPS

  • In a large pot add meat, onion, garlic, carrots, bay leaves, and dried peppers and cover with water. 
  • Add the chicken bouillon, oregano, cumin, and salt.
  • Bring the pot to a boil over medium high heat.
  • After 30 minutes of cooking, skim any foam off the top of the water.
  • Remove the peppers, onions, and carrots and place them in a blender.
  • Squeeze the garlic cloves from the bulb into the blender and add 1 cup of the liquid from the pot.
  • Puree the ingredients in the blender until smooth. 
  • Pour the vegetable puree back into the pot.
  • Add the lid to the pot and simmer over medium-low heat for 3 hours stirring every 30 minutes or so.
  • Transfer the meat and bones to a large cutting board. 
  • Remove the meat from the bones and discard the bones.
  • Using two large forks, shred the meat and set aside.
  • Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat.
  • Dip a corn tortilla into the broth left in the pot and place the tortilla on the griddle. 
  • Top the tortilla with jack cheese, chopped meat, diced white onion, and some cilantro.
  • Fold the taco in half and press down with the back of a spatula.
  • Continue cooking until the tortilla is golden and cheese is melted, about 2–3 minutes.
  • Flip the taco and continue cooking the other side.
  • Transfer the tacos to a plate or serving dish as you finish them. 
  • Garnish the finished tacos with cilantro and crumbled cotija cheese. 
  • Ladle some of the broth into a ramekin and top with fresh onions and more cilantro and serve with the tacos. 
  • Dip the tacos into the broth and enjoy each and every sauce-soaked cheesy bite. 
Soups

Recipe—Zuppa Toscana 

I have been sitting on this recipe for months now just waiting for the right time of year to share. After getting record amounts of rain in Sacramento this last weekend and it FINALLY feeling like fall, I think we are finally ready for one of the best soup recipes ever! Now I can’t even take credit for this soup recipe. My friend made this Olive Garden “copycat” soup for me back in July when I was recovering from a medical procedure, and I was absolutely smitten. I had to ask for the recipe and made it for my family less than a week later. It is now a family fave. I just absolutely love that spicy sausage with the rich creamy broth and the loads of kale. (Not gonna lie, the kale makes me feel like I am eating healthy.)

Note: If you are watching your carbs you can easily leave out the potatoes for a fantastic low carb soup. 

INGREDIENTS

12 oz pack of bacon, chopped
16 oz hot Italian sausage, ground
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2 tbsp garlic, minced
64 oz chicken broth
5 medium potatoes, cubed into 1/2″ squares
2 bunches kale, stems removed and leave chopped
1 pint heavy cream
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper
freshly grated parmesan

STEPS

  • Add the bacon to a large pot and cook over medium-high heat.
  • When the bacon is cooked to desired doneness, remove it from the pot and set aside.
  • Add the sausage to the pot breaking it up as it cooks.
  • Once the sausage is cooked through, drain off most of the grease leaving about 1–2 tablespoons.
  • Add the chopped onions and garlic to the pot with the sausage and cook stirring occasionally until the onion starts to brown, about 5–6 minutes.
  • Add the broth and potatoes to the pot and bring to a boil.
  • Simmer the soup for about 15–20 minutes or until the potatoes are just fork tender. 
  • Add the kale, cream, salt, and pepper to the pot and simmer for another 5–10 minutes. 
  • Ladle the soup into bowls and top with parmesan. 
Sweet Treats

Recipe—Banana Cream Pie Dip

Banana cream pie is one of my top 5 favorite desserts, maybe top 3. It was pretty much the only late night craving I had throughout my pregnancy with my son. Maybe it is because it reminds me of the banana shakes my dad used to make me as a kid. That was kind of our thing. Friday nights watching M*A*S*H and drinking banana shakes. That. Was. The. Life!

This dip has everything I love about banana cream pie but in one very addicting easy to make dip. It is perfect for parties or just a random dessert. If you have been following me for a while now you may know I have a thing for dessert dips. I’ve posted recipes for Cannoli Dip, Sweat Cream Dip with Strawberries, Sweet Cherry Chip Dip, Funfetti Cake Batter Cookie Dip, and Toffee Apple Dip

Dessert dips are so quick and easy to make. So many people are intimidated by overly complex desserts but when all you have to do is mix a bunch of ingredients in a bowl, these really are foolproof. 

INGREDIENTS
3.4 oz box instant banana cream pudding
2 c milk
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 c powdered sugar
2 c Cool Whip, divided
Nilla wafers or graham crackers for serving

STEPS

  • In a medium bowl, beat together the pudding powder and milk until well combined and set aside. 
  • In a separate large bowl, use an electric mixer and beat together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until smooth. 
  • Fold the pudding mixture and 1 1/2 cups of the Cool Whip into the cream cheese mixture and stir until it is creamy.
  • Transfer the finished mixture to a serving dish and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of Cool Whip. 
  • Place in the refrigerator and allow to set for 30 minutes or more. 
  • Sprinkle with a few crushed wafers or graham cracker crumbs.
  • Serve with a side of Nilla Wafers or graham crackers.

If you like this recipe, then I highly recommend you check out these other awesome dessert dip recipes!

Cannoli Dip

Cannoli Dip

Cherry Chip Dip

Toffee Apple Dip