Brunch

Recipe—Chocolate Chip Scones

Chocolate Chip Scone

I can’t remember if I have brought it up on this blog before or not, but one of my first jobs in high school was working at a little mom and pop owned coffee shop in my small town. I loved it! So much so, that I frequently ponder what it would be like to throw my career out the window and open my own little coffee shop. There was just something so touching about being part of someone’s morning. Pretty much everyone was a regular and I knew what they did for work every day, I knew their families, and almost 20 years later I still remember several of their orders. I kind of have a crazy memory like that. LOL

While I started out as a barista for the first couple of months, I actually got the opportunity to start baking on the weekends too. I loved it! I would go in at 5 am on Saturday and Sunday mornings, crank up the radio, and had the whole kitchen to myself. I would bake dozens of assorted muffins, croissants, cinnamon rolls, cookies, and some of my favorite items were the scones. Chocolate chip scones to be exact. You have not lived if you have not had a scone fresh out of the oven. If they are done right, they are crumbly on the outside and just a little doughy in the middle, have just the right amount of density, and are a little sweet, but not too sweet (unless they are savory scones).

Scones are the perfect thing to make for special occasions, or even just on a lazy Sunday around the house. Making these for my family the other weekend brought back so many memories of that coffee shop. It is amazing how certain food can do that.

So, what food item do you associate with certain memories or a time in your life? Share in the comments below. I would love to hear from you. 😀

INGREDIENTS
2 1/4 c flour
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/4 c brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick cold butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 c mini chocolate chips
3/4 c heavy cream
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 400º.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In a medium bowl stir together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
  • Add the cubed butter to the mix and using a fork or pastry cutter, cut the butter into the dry ingredients. (The mixture should become very crumbly with no large chunks of butter remaining.)
  • Stir in the chocolate chips.
  • In a small separate bowl, whisk together the heavy cream, egg, and vanilla.
  • Add the wet ingredient to the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
  • Transfer the dough mix to a cutting board and using your hands form the dough into an 8-inch circle.
  • Using a knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough into 8 evenly sized triangles.
  • Brush the tops of the scones with heavy cream and then transfer to the parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  • Bake for 14–17 minutes or until the edges are a nice golden brown.
Brunch

Recipe—Strawberry Pop Tarts

Recipe—Strawberry Pop Tarts

Growing up, eating pop tarts was part of my morning school routine. They were quick and easy to throw in the toaster and chow down on as you were headed out the door. I thought they were the best! Now as a parent, I buy them for my son. Don’t go get all judgey on me here. He doesn’t eat them every day. I am a working parent with limited time in the morning and it is a child’s rite of passage to eat pop tarts. LOL

Recipe—Strawberry Pop Tarts

A couple of weeks ago I asked for a bite of his and I just have to say, they were not all that I had remembered them to be. Clearly my standards of quality food have changed over time. I started to think of what goes into a pop tart and realized I could easily make a copy cat version of my own. They were so simple and relatively quick to make. I literally just used refrigerated pie crust from the store and some strawberry jam and made a simple icing using powdered sugar mixed with a little water and vanilla. So basic and so easy!

It was fun to spend a lazy morning recreating something from my childhood and let me just tell you, they were so good, like way better than I would have ever imagined! Let’s be real, this is actually like eating pie for breakfast. The crust was so flaky and lite and the jam and frosting were the exact amount of sweet you would want for breakfast. Plus, they were just as good the next day and they looked super cute in my cake stand on the counter.

Next up, homemade toaster strudels!

Recipe—Strawberry Pop Tarts

Notes:

  • I was able to make a total of 8 finished pop tarts using the two pie crusts. I was able to cut out a total of 16 3” x 4” rectangles, 8 from each crust.
  • You can obviously use any flavor of jam you would like. I was a strawberry pop tart girl, so that’s what I went with. You do you.
  • The frosting will set on these within a couple of minutes of frosting so be sure and add sprinkles right after applying frosting to each..
  • Do not reheat your pop tarts by putting them in the toaster! They are delicious at room temperature, even the next day.

INGREDIENTS
1 package (2 sheets) of refrigerated piecrust at room temperature (I used Pillsbury)
flour (for dusting)
1 c seedless strawberry jam
1 c powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
water
sprinkles

STEPS

  • Cut out a rectangle template using cardstock or paper that is 3” x 4”. (You will use this as a template to cut out rectangles from the pie crust that are all the same shape and size.)
  • Preheat oven to 400º.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Dust a little flour over a large cutting board or work surface to help keep the pie crust from sticking when you are rolling it out.
  • Lay out one of your pie crusts on the floured surface and roll it out until it is 1/8” thick.
  • Place the cardstock rectangle template on the rolled-out pie crust and, using a knife, cut around the edges of it. Repeat this until you have gotten as many 3” x 4” rectangles as you can, transferring each one to the baking sheet as you finish them.
  • Take the scraps and roll them into a ball and roll that out to get more if you can. (I was able to get six initially and then rolled out the scraps to get two more, for a total of  eight.)
  • Place about 2 tablespoons of jam in the center of each rectangle and spread it out slightly leaving about 1/3” of clear space around all 4 edges. (If your jam is thick and hard to spread, warm it in the microwave for about 15 seconds and stir it.)
  • Roll out and cut the second pie crust in the same manner as you did the first placing the second batch of rectangles on top of the jam.
  • Use your fingers to gently press around the edges to help create a seal between the two layers of crust.
  • Next, use a fork to crimp around the outside edges and poke 3 sets of holes down the center. This will keep the jam from leaking out the edges.
  • Bake for 12–15 minutes until they are all a nice golden brown.
  • Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 3–5 minutes and then transfer them to a cooling rack to cool for another 10–15 minutes.
  • While the pop tarts are cooling, whisk together the powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons of water, and the vanilla. Add additional water a little bit at a time as needed until your frosting is slightly runny and whisk until there are no longer any clumps.
  • Spoon the frosting onto each pop tart and add sprinkles immediately. The frosting will set really quickly once put on the pop tart.
  • Serve and enjoy!
Family Theme Nights

Family Theme Night—Saturday Morning

Good morning! Or good afternoon? Good evening? Whatever it is. I don’t know. The days blend together and the time drags on while also flying by. I decided to mail it in last week and fed my family breakfast for dinner. It was freaking fantastic. So, for this fourth installment of Family Theme Night I give you Saturday Morning!

I mentioned previously, these family theme nights do not need to stress you out or break the bank. It is all about getting out of the routine and doing something different! That is what makes it fun. It can be as simple as buying your family that sugar packed box of cereal you always say no to and letting them eat it for dinner none the less.

Growing up, I ALWAYS wanted that variety pack of all the little boxes of cereal. You know what I’m talking about? I don’t know what it is about miniature boxes of cereal but I wanted them! Even though I really only wanted about half of the types in the pack, so there were always a couple leftover that sat in the pantry forever. So guess what? I splurged, and bought those stupid little boxes of assorted cereal last week. Like Tony the Tiger says, “They’re grrreat!”

Family Theme Night—Saturday Morning

For this one we literally put on pajamas at 5 pm (Okay, we put on clean pajamas. You know, gotta change from those daytime jammies to nighttime jammies.) had breakfast in the living room, and watched CLASSIC 80s and 90s Saturday morning cartoons. I had the biggest freaking smile watching Gummi Bears while shoveling cereal in my mouth and drinking mimosas. In addition to cereal, I also made my breakfast pizza which is basically a croissant crust with eggs, sausage, and cheese and added some red peppers and then baked up some cherry cream cheese danishes for dessert.

Family Theme Night—Saturday Morning

So please do tell in the comments below, what is your favorite breakfast item? And what was your favorite thing to watch on lazy Saturday mornings growing up?

If you do participate in any of the theme nights please be sure to post your pics and tag me on Instagram @DivaDiCucina and use the hashtag #DivasThemeNight. I would love to see how you and your family incorporate any of the themes and put your own twist on them. Please also share any other ideas you have or links to other country or western themed recipes you enjoy in the comments below.

I hope you have as much fun with this as my family and I!

Breakfast Pizza

Cherry Cream Cheese Danishes

FOOD IDEAS
Click on the name of the food item below to be directed to a page with that recipe. Please note some of these link to recipes shared by other awesome food bloggers which will redirect you to their sites.

Breads/Muffins
Moist Banana Nut Bread
Pistachio Bread
Spiced Carrot Bread
Dutch Apple Pie Muffins
Lemon Crumble Breakfast Cake

Pastries
Fruit Pizza
Blueberry Cream Cheese Danishes
Cherry Cream Cheese Danishes
Raspberry Turnovers
Puff Pastry Spirals

Egg Dishes
Leek Quiche
Breakfast Portobellos
Broccoli and Cheddar Egg Bake
Chard and Mushroom Frittata

Other
Asparagus Gruyére Tart
Asparagus Ham Rolls
Blueberry French Toast Casserole
Breakfast Pizza
Tater Tot Sausage Breakfast Casserole
Breakfast Potatoes
Chicken & Waffle Sliders
Sausage Gravy
Breakfast Ramen

Drinks
Creamy Hot Cocoa in a Crock-Pot
Bloody Mary Shooters
Grapefruit Champagne Cocktails
Dalgona Coffee

Family Theme Nights

Family Theme Night—Country Hoedown

Family Theme Night—Country Hoedown

Yee haw! It is time to round up the family for another installment of Family Theme Night. This week I am giving you all the deets you need to throw together a Country Hoedown for the family. Until I sat down and started planning out our own menu for a western themed feast, I had NO idea how many recipes I actually had on my blog that leant themselves to this theme. A western theme is always a great reason to fire up the BBQ but if you are not the grilling type, or you want something that can be done in the kitchen, don’t worry! I still have so many great recipes for you to try. Just check out the fabulous list I compiled for you below.

Family Theme Night—Country Hoedown

For our western night we had fun doing target practice with Nerf guns and playing cards. We sipped on good ol’ fashioned root beer and drank Knock You Off Your Saddle Lemonade (recipe coming soon!) from mason jars. I danced to country music in my kitchen while cooking my Jalapeño Popper Mac N’ Cheese in a cast iron skillet and served it up in a metal pie dish with some of my homemade chili, corn on the cob, and ribs. And then of course finished it off with some cherry pie, because why not. I am still working that meal off but it was so worth it!

Knock You Off Your Saddle Lemonade

Jalapeño Popper Mac N’ Cheese

Country Feast

If you do participate in any of the theme nights please be sure to post your pics and tag me on Instagram @DivaDiCucina and use the hashtag #DivasThemeNight. I would love to see how you and your family incorporate any of the themes and put your own twist on them. Please also share any other ideas you have or links to other country or western themed recipes you enjoy in the comments below.

I hope you have as much fun with this as my family and I!

Family Theme Night—Country Hoedown

FOOD IDEAS
Click on the name of the food item below to be directed to a page with that recipe. Please note some of these link to recipes shared by other awesome food bloggers which will redirect you to their sites.

Appetizers
Bacon Jalapeño Cheese Ball
Bacon Jalapeño Poppers Wrapped in Puff Pastry
Spicy Black Bean Dip
Southwest Turkey Meatballs with Creamy Cilantro Lime Sauce
Western Bacon Jalapeño Poppers

Drinks
Fresh Squeezed Lemonade
Red Wine Sangria
Summertime White Sangria
Western Sling
Root Beer or Sarsaparilla

Main Course
Crock-Pot Pale Ale BBQ Chicken Sandos
Big Ol’ BBQ Meatballs
Oven Roasted Tri Tip with Veggies
Peppercorn Crusted Steak with Bourbon Cream Sauce
Bacon Cheddar Chicken
Crock-Pot Shredded Chicken Jalapeño Popper Sammy
BBQ Bacon Wrapped Pork Chop with Grilled Onions
Pork Tenderloin Sammy with Red Cabbage Coleslaw and Sriracha Sauce
Crock-Pot Ranch Pork Chops
Easy Oven Baked Ribs

Side Dishes
Cracked Corn and Cheese Cornbread Muffins
Chili (The Classic Kind)
Jalapeño Popper Mac N’ Cheese
Broccoli Salad
Classic Macaroni Salad
Crunchy Apple Bacon Coleslaw
Crunchy Pea Salad
Potato Salad
Jalapeño Cheddar Corn Bread Muffins
Macaroni N’ Cheese
Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili
Loaded Baked Cauliflower

Dessert
Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars
Banana Split Pie
Blackberry Ice Cream
Individual Blueberry Cheesecakes in Mason Jars
Strawberries & Cream Poke Cake
Strawberry Pie
Apple Pie Bites
Individual Peanut Butter Mousse Pies in Mason Jars

 

Always drink your whiskey with your gun hand to show your friendly intentions.

Family Theme Night—Country Hoedown

Family Theme Nights

Family Theme Night—Take Me Out to The Ball Game

I don’t know about you, but my family is going through some serious baseball withdrawals right now. In early April we were supposed to be in LA celebrating my husband’s  birthday and cheering on our boys in blue down in Dodger Stadium. This time of year, I am supposed to be carting my kid around to late night baseball practices and be spending my weekends in the bleachers cheering him on. But we are obviously not, and we are trying our best to be okay with that. It is in everyone’s best interest that we are instead, safe at home. So why not make the best of it and satisfy those ball park cravings from the comfort of our own home.

For the second installment of Family Theme Night we went with a “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” theme and I’m not gonna lie, it was a pretty fantastic way to spend Friday. The best part of all, it was simple and cheap. You do not have to spend a fortune and spend hours prepping to incorporate a family theme night into your week.

Family Theme Night—Take Me Out to The Ball Game

We had some popcorn, lemonade, a hot dog bar, and watched Little Big League while sitting in lawn chairs in our living room. It was anything but fancy but my guys LOVED it! It was the perfect ending to another week in quarantine.

Hot Dog Bar

Family Theme Night—Take Me Out to The Ball Game

If you do participate in any of the theme nights please be sure to post your pics and tag me on Instagram @DivaDiCucina and use the hashtag #DivasThemeNight. I would love to see how you and your family incorporate any of the themes and put your own twist on them. Please also share any other ideas you have or links to other baseball themed recipes you enjoy in the comments below.

I hope you have as much fun with this as my family and I!

FOOD IDEAS
Click on the name of the food item below to be directed to a page with that recipe. Please note some of these link to recipes shared by other awesome food bloggers which will redirect you to their sites.

Appetizers
Garlic Parmesan Wings
Pizza Rolls
Hot Soft Pretzels

Drinks
Fresh Squeezed Lemonade

Main Course
Philly Cheese Steak Sloppy Joes
Crock-Pot Shredded Chicken Jalapeño Popper Sammy
Chicken & Waffle Sliders
Crock-Pot Pale Ale BBQ Chicken Sandos
Hot Dogs
Nachos
Loaded Garlic French Fries

Dessert
Churro Chex Mix
Copycat Cracker Jacks
Churros
Snow Cones
Ice Cream

Family Theme Night—Take Me Out to The Ball Game

Salads

Recipe—Panzanella Salad

Panzanella Salad

Panzanella salad is essentially just an Italian tomato and bread salad. This is one of my all-time favorite summertime dishes. It is so easy and comes together in minutes. You can make this with pretty much any tomatoes, just make sure they are juicy and ripe. Heirloom are always a good safe bet. Traditional panzanella salads don’t have mozzarella but I am a girl who LOVES her cheese. Call me a rebel. This salad is all about taking simple ingredients and bringing them together to create a fresh and flavorful dish perfect for those warm spring and summer nights out on the patio.

Note: This salad pairs perfectly with grilled steak and some red wine. My favorite is the Rombauer Vineyards Barbera. 

INGREDIENTS

4 c tomatoes, chopped
1/2 c fresh basil, chopped
1/4 c shallots, thinly sliced
8 oz mini mozzarella balls
4 tbsp butter
1 tsp garlic, minced
4 c sour dough bread, cut into cubes
1 tbsp olive oil
balsamic glaze
salt and pepper

STEPS

  • Place your chopped tomatoes, basil, shallots, and mozzarella balls in a large bowl.
  • Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat and add garlic cooking until the garlic is nice and fragrant.
  • Add the bread cubes to the skillet and toss to coat in the melted garlic butter.
  • Toast the bread cubes on all sides until they are golden and crispy on the outside.
  • Add the toasted bread cubes to the bowl.
  • Toss the “salad” and season with salt and pepper.
  • Drizzle with a little extra olive oil and finish with some balsamic glaze.
  • Serve and enjoy!
Appetizers, Beverages

Recipe—Bloody Mary Shooters

Bloody Mary Shooters

I recently hosted a bridal shower brunch and of course we had bottomless mimosas but I also made these super cute bloody mary shooters that are the adult equivalent of grilled cheese and tomato soup. I used a spicy bloody mary mix so it had a nice kick but then you take a bite of that crispy mozzarella stick to cool down your mouth. Just the best combination ever! Plus, how cute are they?!?!

This recipe makes 12 but I recommend you make double from whatever you think you will need. Just trust me on this one. These will disappear!

Bloody Mary Shooters

Note: I made these using 2 ounce shooter glasses. If you use 2 ounce glasses this recipe will make 12 portions. You can find the mozzarella sticks in the freezer section of your local grocery store.

INGREDIENTS
12 mozzarella sticks
14 oz your favorite bloody mary mix
10 oz vodka
celery greens

STEPS

  • Bake the mozzarella sticks per the package instructions.
  • In a pitcher, mix together bloody mary mix and vodka.
  • Distribute the mix evenly among the shot glasses.
  • Garnish with a sprig of celery greens and lay a mozzarella stick across the top.
  • Dip, bite, sip, repeat.
Salads, Side Dishes

8 Must Try Summer Salads

8 Must Try Summer Salads

Summer is the season of BBQs and potlucks and that means delicious side salads are a must! I have compiled my eight favorite salad recipes from my blog including pasta, potato, and even some veggie-based ones. I could eat these for lunch or dinner all summer long. All of these salads will be having your friends and family coming back for seconds!

Asparagus and Feta Salad

Asparagus and Feta Salad
Grilled asparagus tossed in a lemon olive oil dressing and topped with feta cheese.

 

Italian Pasta Salad

Italian Pasta Salad
Rotini noodles and lots of veggies tossed in Italian dressing.

 

Classic Macaroni Salad

Classic Macaroni Salad
A summer classic! Macaroni noodles and crunchy veggies tossed in a creamy dressing.

 

Broccoli Salad

Broccoli Salad
This broccoli salad is the perfect balance of crunchy and creamy, and sweet and salty. Broccoli tossed with bacon, craisins, and sunflower seeds.

 

Crunchy Pea Salad

Crunchy Pea Salad
Peas tossed in a creamy dressing with bacon, craisins, and peanuts.

 

Orzo Pesto Pasta

Orzo Pesto Pasta
One of my all time favorites! Cooked orzo pasta tossed with pesto, cooked zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and feta.

 

Potato Salad

Potato Salad
This potato salad has the perfect amount of creaminess and best of all BACON! Sort of like a loaded baked potato but in a salad.

 

Crunchy Apple Bacon Coleslaw

Crunchy Apple Bacon Coleslaw
Sweet + Salty+Tangy + Crunchy = Delicious and Unique Coleslaw

Brunch, Sandwiches

Recipe—Chicken & Waffle Sliders

Chicken & Waffle Sliders

It seems silly writing a post for a recipe that is basically made up of frozen store bought items but this is such a fun and easy dish to prepare for brunch, lunch, or even an appetizer so I just had to share, for a creative idea I suppose more than anything. 😉

I recently made them for a mimosa brunch and everyone loved them! Who doesn’t love the sweet and salty combination of a classic comfort dish in bite size portions?!? You can certainly make these from scratch, and I will probably try sometime soon, but it would obviously be far more work and you would end up having way more dirty dishes. Having such an easy dish allows you to focus more attention to preparing other items or even enjoying an extra mimosa or three.

Note: A box of Eggo Minis Waffles has 10 waffles and each one is divided up into 4 mini waffles for a total of 40 mini waffles which will yield 20 sliders.

INGREDIENTS
20 frozen chicken nuggets
box of frozen Eggo Minis Waffles
20 blackberries
20 toothpicks
1/2 c maple syrup

STEPS

  • Bake chicken nuggets per package instructions.
  • Toast the Eggo waffles per package instructions.
  • As the waffles finish toasting separate them into the 4 mini waffles.
  • Sandwich a chicken nugget between two waffles.
  • Skewer a blackberry with a toothpick and then the secure the waffle slider.
  • Drizzle with maple syrup.
Sweet Treats

Recipe—Blackberry Ice Cream

Blackberry Ice Cream

Homemade ice cream is so easy to make and yet people hardly ever do it. I mean look, 4 ingredients and 3 steps. There is really nothing quite like homemade fresh churned ice cream. As a kid I grew up with an old school hand cranked ice cream maker. My mom would add all the ingredients to the metal container and then we would put it in a wooden bucket and surround that with ice and salt and my sister and I would take turns churning it by hand. Best. Summer. Memories. Ever! Anyone else do that growing up?

Now I have evolved with the times and have a wonderful electrical ice cream maker. You just add in the ingredients, plug it in, and watch it go! I have this one by Cuisinart and LOVE it!

My favorite time to use it is during the summer when we have friends over for a BBQ. The kids always love watching it and they think it is so cool to make their own homemade ice cream!

I’ve tried several different recipes, mint chip, vanilla, strawberry, mocha almond fudge, cookies and cream, vanilla, and then this blackberry ice cream recipe. I think blackberry has been my all-time favorite! It is truly the flavor of summer.

Blackberry Ice Cream

Notes: I use fresh blackberries but you can always get frozen ones and defrost them. This recipe is for a 2 quart maker so if you have a 5 quart you may want to double it.

INGREDIENTS
3 c blackberries
1 1/2 c sugar
1 pint half and half
1 pint heavy whipping cream

STEPS

  • Combine the blackberries and sugar in a large bowl.
  • Mash all the blackberries and sugar by hand until they are all juicy and syrupy. (You can also place the berries and sugar in a blender if you prefer.)
  • Pour the blackberry mixture, half and half, and heavy whipping cream into your ice cream maker and churn until it is desired thickness.