Rachel’s Thanksgiving Trifle

You would be very hard-pressed to find a more notable television “dessert”, comical mix-up, or more recognizable scene in one of the most popular shows of all time. We haven’t said a name yet, but we wouldn’t be surprised if you already have the image of Rachel’s Thanksgiving trifle in your head. Alternative titles for this episode could have been, “the one where it tastes like feet,” “the one with all the confessions,” or the one where Rachel wasn’t supposed to put beef in the trifle.” Take a step back and relive this memorable moment from season 6, episode 9 of the hit comedy, Friends. The recipe below features an improved and actually edible version of the meal, so you probably won’t have to feed it to your nearest bird or local Joey Tribbiani.

INGREDIENTS-

  • One whole chuck roast
  • Olive oil
  • Chopped Onion
  • Chopped mushrooms
  • Finely chopped carrot
  • ½ cup red wine
  • ½ -1 cup beef stock
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • Cornstarch
  • Plantains

Custard

  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 4 Tbsp flour
  • 2 ½ cups whole milk
  • Nutmeg
  • Salt
  • Eggs

Raspberry Jam Surrogate

  • ½ pint raspberries
  • ½ cup of wine
  • Splash of balsamic vinegar
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Pinch of salt

Cornbread

  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 11.5 ounces cornmeal
  • 2 ounces all purpose flour
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 1 cup of buttermilk
  • 2 eggs

INSTRUCTIONS-

  • Mince a whole chuck roast into nice small bite sized pieces. Brown them in a skillet in a little bit of olive oil until you get some nice color and nice fond on the bottom of the pot.
  • Remove meat and set aside. Add chopped onion, chopped mushrooms, and a finely chopped carrot.
  • Deglaze with ½ cup of red wine and ½ to 1 cup of beef stock.
  • Add 1 tsp each of freshly chopped thyme, rosemary, and sage along with 1 Tbsp of tomato paste.
  • Add beef bits back to broth, supplementing with extra broth if necessary.
  • Partially cover and let simmer for 2 hours. Thicken with cornstarch at the end of cooking.

Cornbread

  • Preheat 2 Tbsp each of butter and vegetable oil in a 10 inch skillet in a 400° oven.
  • Measure out 11.5 ounces of cornmeal, 2 ounces of all purpose flour, a pinch of sugar, a pinch of salt, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda and whisk to combine.
  • Add ½ cup of whole milk and 1 cup of buttermilk to the dry mixture.
  • Add the two eggs to the mixture and whisk until thoroughly combined.
  • Remove preheated pan from the oven and add cornbread mixture to hot pan.
  • Reduce the oven heat to 375° and put pan in oven. Cook for 20-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Raspberry Jam Surrogate

  • Heat ½ pint of raspberries, ½ a cup of wine, and a splash of balsamic vinegar with a pinch of sugar and a pinch of salt in a sauce pan.
  • Crush up raspberries and cook over medium heat for 30-40 minutes or until thick and jam-like.

Custard

  • Combine 4 Tbsp each of butter and flour, while drizzling in 2 – 2 ½ cups of whole milk and whisking until a thick bechamel forms.
  • Grate in some whole nutmeg and season with salt until a custard forms.

Trifle

  • Butter a casserole dish and add in the beef stew as the bottom layer.
  • Top the beef stew layer with cornbread.
  • Top the cornbread layer with the raspberry jam sauce.
  • Top the raspberry jam sauce layer with the custard bechamel layer.
  • Top everything with a healthy helping of shredded romano cheese.
  • Cook in a 350° oven for 30 minutes.
  • While that’s cooking, slice and fry some plantains in vegetable oil.
  • Remove plantains from vegetable oil, draining them on paper towels, smashing them, and then dipping them in ice water before re-frying once more. Cook until golden brown.
  • Remove trifle from oven and top with fried plantains.
  • Serve and (try to) enjoy!

Creamy Cheese Potatoes from Fuller House

For a nice Thanksgiving side dish, I’ve found inspiration in the newest and final season of Fuller House, the spin off of classic 80’s and 90’s sitcom, Full House. A staple of all sitcoms is the Thanksgiving episode, and season 5, episode 12 of Fuller House gave nostalgic fans a recreation of the classically tragic “there’s a car in the kitchen” bit, and an emphasis on a traditionally crowd-pleasing Tanner recipe for creamy cheesy potatoes. If this recipe is enough to feed the Tanner’s and Gibbler’s, then you should have no problem satisfying the crowd at your next potluck!

INGREDIENTS-

  • 13-14 medium red potatoes
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 1 slice bread (cubed)
  • 16 ounces velveeta cheese (cubed)
  • ¾ cup butter (melted)
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt (to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese

INSTRUCTIONS-

  • Wash and peel the potatoes. Cut them into ¾” cubes.
  • Fill a large saucepan with water and set to medium high heat so that the water boils.
  • Add the potatoes to the hot water and cook until the potatoes are slightly softened.
  • Drain the potatoes and set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Spray a 9×13 baking pan or 3 quart casserole dish with cooking spray.
  • Add the potatoes to the prepared dish.
  • Add the chopped onion, bread cubes, Velveeta, melted butter and milk.
  • Stir well.
  • Sprinkle the shredded cheese overtop.
  • Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly and heated through.

Lisa’s Classic Chicken Parmigiana (from Cake Boss)

Cake Boss’s patriarch, Buddy Valastro is usually the person you think of when you want to watch a masterful and extravagantly decorative dessert being made. However, what you might not know is that his wife is the star of a popular segment on YouTube, entitled, Lisa’s Home Cooking. All of her recipes are easy and fun to make. It’s fried, saucy, and deliciously cheesy comfort food mixed with the power to create long-lasting familial traditions in the kitchen. In honor of authentic Italian home cooking, her is a delightful and savory dinner recipe for Lisa’s “Classic Chicken Parmigiana.”

INGREDIENTS-

  • 8 Chicken cutlets, thinly sliced
  • 4 Eggs
  • 4 Cups Breadcrumbs
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, crushed
  • ¼ Cup Fresh Parsley, chopped
  • 1 Cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 8 – ¼” slices Fresh Mozzarella
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • ¾ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4 Cups Fresh Tomato Sauce

INSTRUCTIONS-

  • Place breadcrumbs in a deep dish
  • In a bowl, whisk eggs, crushed garlic, salt, pepper, chopped parsley and grated parmesan cheese and mix well
  • Dip chicken cutlets in the egg mixture
  • Dredge each cutlet in the breadcrumbs making sure to completely cover each cutlet
  • In a frying pan, heat olive oil on medium to high heat and fry breaded cutlets appx 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown
  • Remove cutlets and place on a dish lined with paper towels to drain the excess oil
  • Ladle tomato sauce on the bottom of a casserole pan and place cutlet on top sprinkling with parmesan cheese and mozzarella
  • Arrange remaining cutlets and repeat sprinkling with parmesan cheese and mozzarella
  • Once all chicken cutlets are in casserole pan, cover with remaining tomato sauce and be sure to spread sauce in between the cutlets. Then add more parmesan cheese over the top
  • In a preheated oven at 350 degrees, bake 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and sauce bubbling

Image from Classic Chicken Parmigiana, Cake Boss Family Style!|Lisa’s Home Cooking EP18

Kevin Malone’s (The Office) Famous Chili

For a hearty lunch, there’s no one else to turn to except for The Office’s dim-witted, lovable accountant with his multi-generational and messy pot of chili. After all, it’s the thing he does best! Season 5, Episode 26 of the beloved series begins with Kevin Malone boasting about his skills in the kitchen with his humongous pot of famous chili, which would probably be best served NOT on the carpet of an industrial office building. Kevin talks about dicing whole tomatoes and pressing garlic the night before, but it’ll be worth it when it becomes the thing you do best. It’ll be enough to feed the whole office, but make sure the elevator is working first!

INGREDIENTS-

  • 3 oz ancho chiles, seeded and torn into 1″ pieces
  • 1 oz cascabel chiles, seeded and torn into 1″ pieces
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 3 tbsp corn flour
  • 1 tbsp freshly-ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 32 oz carton of chicken stock, divided
  • 2 jalapeños, minced
  • 1/2 habanero, seeded and minced
  • 6 roma tomatoes, cored and chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 3 lbs chuck steak, trimmed of fat/gristle, cut into cubes and chopped
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 12 oz light lager
  • 6 oz red kidney beans, soaked until tender
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar

INSTRUCTIONS-

  • In a large sauté pan, heat dried chile pieces over medium-low heat until toasted and *barely* smoking – do not allow to smoke.  Once toasted, place in the bowl of a food processor.  Process for 2-3 minutes, until peppers are reduced to a fine powder.  Add cocoa, corn flour, cumin, and oregano – pulse to combine.  While machine runs, add 3/4 cup of chicken stock, until a paste is formed.  Scrape into a bowl and set aside.
  • Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large pot until near-smoking.  In batches, brown beef on all sides, being careful not to over-crowd the pot.  Once all beef has browned, and fond has formed on the bottom of the pot, add remaining oil, and sauté onions and peppers until sweating.  Deglaze with beer, and scrape the bottom of the pot.  Add remaining ingredients, stir well, and place in a 300F oven, lid slightly ajar.  Stir occasionally to prevent scorching, and braise for 2-3 hours, until beef is tender.  Season with salt and pepper, and serve with cheese and cornbread.

Image from The Office Season 5, Episode 26- Netflix

Huevos Rancheros – Breaking Bad Inspired

If meth isn’t exactly your thing, but you’re still a die-hard Heisenberg fan, you can pretend that Jesse Pinkman himself is making you a romantic breakfast in bed with this detailed huevos rancheros recipe inspired by season 2, episode 10 of the hit series, Breaking Bad. Every energetic DEA-dodging day needs to begin with a nourishing and delicious meal. The following recipe gives you the chance to make your own tortillas and sauce from scratch, but buying them from the store will make an equally delicious meal. You can also watch the recipe be expertly crafted in the popular YouTube segment by Binging with Babish.

INGREDIENTS-

Corn Tortillas

  • 9.5 ounces masa harina
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp water

Crema

  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 lime

Fancy Tomato Sauce

  • 1 large dried ancho chile
  • 2-3 Tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 jalapeno
  • ½ green bell pepper
  • ½ red bell pepper
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1-2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 chipotle in adobo sauce (from can)
  • 14 ounce can fire roasted crushed tomatoes

Beans

  • Can of black beans
  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 lime

Additional Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • Avocado
  • Extra onion
  • Cilantro

INSTRUCTIONS-

  • To make the tortillas, measure 9.5 ounces of masa harina and whisk together with 2 tsp of Kosher salt, then add 1 cup and 2 Tbsp of warm tap water and mix until a playdough-like ball forms. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • Once that’s done, form dough into golf sized balls and place in tortilla press, which you can line with a cut open Ziploc bag to easily remove tortillas.
  • Place tortilla on a cast iron skillet that has been preheated for 10 minutes on medium high heat. Cook for 30 seconds on each side until lightly browned. Stack and cover with a kitchen towel to keep warm for later.
  • To make the crema, in a small bowl, mix half a cup of sour cream and the juice of one lime.
  • To make the tomato sauce, start by cutting 1 large and dried ancho chile into strips (seeds removed) and dry roast in a pan.
  • Dry roast a few Tbsp of cumin seeds, put into a spice grinder, and grind into a finely-ground consistency.
  • Roughly chop 1 small onion, 1 jalapeno, ½ a green pepper, ½ a red pepper, and 1 clove garlic.
  • Start heating up a ½ cup of water with the dried ancho chile and bring to a simmer to get the chile soft.
  • Preheat 1-2 Tbsp of vegetable oil in a large saute pan and add chopped vegetables. Saute over medium-high heat until there’s some nice color on them. Then add garlic and saute for another minute, be careful not to burn the garlic.
  • Into the same pan, add 1 chipotle chile and a couple Tbsp of the adobo sauce. Then add 1 Tbsp of freshly ground cumin and saute. Add 14 ounce can of fire roasted crushed tomatoes.
  • Add the ½ cup of water and dried ancho chile into the saute pan. Cook for an additional 10 minutes, taste for seasoning and add Kosher salt and pepper as needed. Then dump the whole thing into a blender and blend on high speed until chunky smooth. Set aside and keep warm while you prepare the other elements.
  • For the beans, saute drained beans with 1-2 Tbsp of olive oil over medium-high heat. Then season with Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, the zest of one lime, and the juice of half a lime. Saute for another 30 seconds and cover to keep warm.
  • In ¼ cup of vegetable oil, fry corn tortillas enough to be crisp but still flexible, then drain on paper towels.
  • Cook two eggs sunny side up in a hot non-stick pan and baste the whites with the hot oil to ensure nice crispy edges and fully cooked egg whites.
  • On a serving plate, place corn tortillas and add sauce, then beans, then fried egg. Top with extra sauce and crema as desired. From here you can top with sliced avocado, chopped onion, cilantro, or anything you want.
  • Enjoy!

Image from Breaking Bad Season 2, Episode 10- Netflix.

The Texas Tasty – Top 10 DFW Summer Treats

Melt Ice Creams @melticecreams

With two locations in Fort Worth, Melt Ice Creams is beginning to grow and take over the ice cream world! A hidden gem in the Magnolia neighborhood of Fort Worth and in the ever-busy downtown area of Sundance Square, Melt is the perfect place to stop by on a summer night after dinner. With the six classic ‘Always Flavors’ and an ever-rotating menu each weekend and seasonally, Melt constantly offers new handcrafted flavors that can’t be found anywhere else.

Sweet Sammies @sweetsammies

Located at Crockett Row in the hip West 7th neighborhood, Sweet Sammies is a signature Fort Worth staple. The classic sweet sammie consists of a scoop of Bluebell ice cream between two warm homemade cookies. Other favorites include edible cookie dough and a hot brownie bowl sundae. Sweet Sammies is one-of-a-kind and the perfect way to satisfy your sweet tooth this summer!

Creamistry @creamistry

With locations all throughout the state, Creamistry offers a wide array of customizable liquid nitrogen ice cream. After selecting your base flavor, customers are able to add the toppings or upgrades of their choice. Specialty items like ice cream cakes, ice cream sandwiches, and to-go pints of ice cream are also available. On top of being a delicious treat to cool you down on a hot summer day, watching the creation of liquid nitrogen ice cream makes for a unique ice cream experience! 

Milk & Cream @themilkncream

Home of the milk bun, Milk & Cream takes an ice cream sandwich to the next level. Topped with nearly any cereal of your choice, this sweet treat is truly the first of its kind! Milk & Cream also offers the more traditional ice cream on a cone. Its location in East Dallas makes it a convenient dessert option for those located in Uptown and Deep Ellum, too!

Pop Bar @popbarftw

Craving a popsicle with a twist? Pop Bar is the perfect place for you! These gelato, sorbet, and yogurt-based popsicles are customizable with over 15 different toppings. Pop Bar offers options to accommodate a variety of dietary restrictions with gluten, dairy, and nut-free flavors. Our personal favorite location is in Fort Worth, with scenic views of the Trinity River and outdoor seating at WestBend; a beautiful outdoor shopping mall.

Funkytown Donuts @funkytowndonuts

Taking a breakfast favorite to a whole new level! Loaded donuts are all the rage throughout DFW this summer. FunkyTown Donuts is in the heart of downtown Fort Worth and emulates the same hip vibes throughout the city. Gluten free and vegan donut options allow customers with dietary restrictions to enjoy a treat that is otherwise hard to comeby.

Cinnaholic @cinnaholic.fortworth

Cinnamon rolls are becoming an essential dessert throughout DFW! Cinnaholic is the perfect place to go if you are craving a loaded cinnamon roll with any frosting or topping you could imagine. Cinnacakes and bite-sized cinnamon muffins are other popular ways to fulfill your desire for cinnamon. With exposed brick and industrial-style seating, Cinnaholic has an urban atmosphere you’re sure to love!

Let’s Roll Ice Cream @letsrollicecream_iriving_texas

One of the latest trends in the ice cream world is making its way to DFW. Rolled ice cream is all the rage this summer and Let’s Roll Ice Cream in Dallas is no exception. Free unlimited toppings make this an even sweeter treat. Located in the middle of the metroplex, Let’s Roll Ice Cream is the perfect dessert spot for everyone throughout DFW!

Snowbaby @snowbabyice

This is not your average shaved ice! This Dallas-based shaved ice shop offers Twainese shaved ice that is free of any artificial flavors, color, or milk powders. After being blended with condensed milk, this treat becomes thicker than typical shaved ice. Snowbaby is the perfect refreshing treat for a hot day.

Bisous Bisous Pâtisserie @bisousbisouspatisserie

Sometimes a hot summer night calls for a fresh pastry. From macaroons to eclairs and bear claws, there is the perfect option for everyone! Head on over to Dallas to get a taste of authentic French baked treats. Bissous Bissous is bound to impress!

Photo Credits: Respective Instagram accounts of establishments mentioned.

Eat your way around the world: Easy recipes you can make at home

Food is without a doubt my favorite part about traveling, I couldn’t care less about standing in line at some museum as long as I get to eat some good food. In fact, I even wrote my college admissions essay about my love for food around the world. Even if we can’t physically be traveling, we can still experience extraordinary flavors from around the world. This is the perfect time to bring unique flavors into your home and expand your palette with some new recipes.

I’ve made a list of my go-to recipes from around the world, they are sure to trick your taste buds into thinking you left your kitchen! I admit, I can be lazy when it comes to the kitchen so all these recipes are super fast and easy, and don’t require a lot of specialty ingredients. These recipes are my tried and true, they are fool proof and will come out great every time!

Matcha Ice cream

I think Japanese deserts are often overlooked, one of my favorites is matcha ice cream, I can eat this stuff every day. Matcha is a Japanese green tea made up of dried tea leaves, it is traditionally served hot in tea ceremonies, but now it’s used for a variety of drinks and deserts. Matcha has a unique flavor profile, it is rich and velvety with a hint of sweetness in its after-taste. I love eating matcha ice cream as an afternoon pick me up (matcha is high in caffeine!) or as dessert!

This video from Food Pedia is a great tutorial on making matcha ice cream at home— you don’t even need an ice cream maker! I have made this recipe every week for the past month, and it comes out perfectly creamy and rich in flavor Every. Single. Time. I like to double (sometimes triple, oops) the amount of matcha in the recipe because I like the flavor to be really strong, but you can adjust it to whatever strength you like. You can also adjust the amount of condensed milk to your liking, the more condensed milk you add the creamier and sweeter your ice cream will be. I only use around ¼ cup of condensed milk and it’s still comes out super creamy.

Even though this ice cream is creamy, it is still so refreshing. Matcha ice cream is the perfect dessert for when you’re not in the mood for something heavy like chocolate but still craving a little sugar. Matcha is something everyone needs to try, it’s such a unique flavor—kind of roasted and little sweet!

Korean Bakery Style Spongecake

I’m not a cake person, I think cakes are the brussel sprouts of desserts. I would much rather spend the calories on a fudgey brownie or a gooey chocolate chip cookie. Korean sponge cake on the other hand, is the only cake I crave. In what I believe is a magical process: alternating layers of airy sponge cake, velvety whipped cream and fresh fruit come together to make this sweet treat.

This recipe is for strawberry shortcake, but you can substitute strawberries for whatever fruits you have lying around! The last time I made this I used mangoes, but it can also be made with kiwis, pineapples, peaches etc. or a mixture. The cake is meant to be super fluffy so the recipe calls for cake flour (cake flour is so finely milled it creates a lot of air in the cake). If you don’t have cake flour you can substitute every cup of cake flour with one cup of all-purpose flour (less two tbsp) and two tbsp of cornstarch. It’s also crucial to sift the dry ingredients twice, so your batter is super smooth and without lumps. Every bite is like a pillowy cloud of fresh fruit, whipped cream and moist cake— perfect for summer! This recipe takes the cake!

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

I love Chinese food, but it can get a bad rep for being high in sodium and deep-fried. Sometimes I’m in the mood for the Asian flavors but don’t want to be weighed down. In comes these chicken lettuce wraps from Damn Delicious, I discovered this recipe around four years ago, and it continues to be a household favorite. Ground chicken is sautéed with onions, garlic and hoisin sauce wrapped in butter lettuce to create a delicious low-carb meal option. The dish also uses canned water chestnuts to add an extra crunch and a slight nutty flavor. This recipe is like a little party in your mouth, you get a mix of sweet and umami from the hoisin sauce, and a variety of textures from the lettuce and water chestnuts. I actually like to fry up some vermicelli noodles and add it on top to make it extra crunchy! Top it with some scallions and you have a quick and healthy 20-minute meal!

Pao de Queijo

Move over dinner rolls, it’s time to spice things up with some Brazilian cheesy bread(literally, pao de quiejo in English means cheese bread). Don’t get me wrong, I love a good buttery dinner roll but Pao de Queijo is something else. Crisp and slightly golden brown on the outside but warm and chewy on the inside. You can find this melt in your mouth delicacy served at many Brazilian churrascarias, but I like to eat it fresh out of the oven as a standalone breakfast. Because it is made with tapioca starch and farmer’s cheese you get a chewy, almost fluffy inside. The cheese is what gives this bread flavor, it’s very subtle adding just the right amount of salt without tasting like a cheese stick. I like this recipe from Bon Appetit!

Chicken Kiev

Swap your usual grilled chicken for this tasty chicken roll up, recipe courtesy of Taste of Home. A dish from Eastern Europe, chicken Kiev is baked breaded chicken fillet rolled around a mixture of fresh herbs and butter resulting in a super juicy main dish. This is guaranteed to please everyone at the dinner table! You can also squeeze some fresh lemon juice on the chicken after you pull it from the oven to brighten the dish.

Soft Pretzels

The popular American snack actually came from Germany and was popularized in the US during the 1800s. The doughy German bakery delicacy is now served at theme parks, malls and sports’ stadiums all over America. So when I think of soft pretzels, I don’t just think of a German beer garden but a summer trip to Disney World too. We may not be wandering around amusement parks anytime soon, but we sure can have some soft pretzels. This soft pretzel recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction is fool proof! It doesn’t require any fancy equipment or ingredients– you should have everything in your pantry already. These warm pretzels are the perfect afternoon treat, the twists are quickly boiled for 30 seconds and then baked until golden brown (I like brushing the pretzels with an egg wash before putting them in the oven). In the end you get a perfectly golden brown pretzel with just the right amount of chew. If you don’t want to roll out the pretzels into twists you can also make them into one inch pretzel bites. When I make this recipe I like making both salted pretzel twists and pretzel bites coated in cinnamon sugar, but you can do anything from topping them with cheese or mustard!

Paella

Your veggies, protein and carbs all in one dish! Paella is a hearty one pan meal from Spain, typically made with rabbit or chicken but you can sub it for whatever meat (or nix the meat) you have in your kitchen. This recipe from Food Network is a good place to start if you’ve never made paella before. Saffron is the key ingredient in this dish, its what really makes it authentic, bringing color and aroma to the paella. As long as you keep the flavor base the same (paprika, white wine etc.) you can switch up the veggies and protein! Personally I like using a frozen seafood mix and chorizo for protein, and I always have to have bell peppers for veggies. Paella is usually made in big portions, so you can save whatever you don’t finish and reheat it in a pan the next day, it even makes the rice a little crispy, which I like. Great for left overs!

Spaghetti a lá Carbonara

Carbonara is such a quick and simple, easy dinner to throw together. Carbonara uses ingredients you probably already have on hand: eggs, cheese, cured pork and pasta. Traditionally pancetta and pecorino Romano are what’s used in Italy, but in a pinch I use parmesan and bacon— it tastes just as great! The eggs are what make the pasta creamy without having to use heavy cream, but be careful when incorporating the eggs— you don’t want to end up with scrambled eggs. This youtube tutorial by Jamie Oliver shows you how to turn your eggs into a creamy sauce for your pasta. Top with some freshly cracked black pepper and you’re good to go.

Trying food from around the world is a must during quarantine. Be sure to try these tasty recipes, because after the social distancing guidelines are lifted you can blow your friends away with your new-found international culinary expertise.

Texas Tasty’s Top 10 Best Places for Cold Drinks in ATX

Summers in Texas are no joke. With living during the COVID-19 pandemic our usual ways of beating the heat might not be the same. But a cold drink can still do the trick while supporting businesses.

JuiceLand

This beloved juice bar can be found at multiple locations all over Austin. JuiceLand is known for using plant bases for their smoothies, juices and other foods. If you are looking for a healthier alternative for a cold drink on the go, JuiceLand has you covered.

The Soup Peddler

Don’t let the name deceive you. Known for its soups and sandwiches, The Soup Peddler also has some of your favorite juices and smoothies using the freshest fruits and vegetables to go perfectly with their food.

Picnik

Picnik is a health conscious restaurant and bar catering towards keto/paleo, gluten free and vegan diets. They offer iced teas and iced coffees along with some healthy goodies that can be taken to go. The Picnik Palmer is my favorite and is totally refreshing when the weather is hot.

Summer Moon

Summer Moon provides a calm and relaxing ambience to have a nice chat with a friend or to catch up on work all while enjoying a cool drink from a variety of options. More known for their coffee, they also have iced teas, and I have actually enjoyed their iced teas here, especially the Hibiscus Mint Tea.

Once Over Coffee Bar

Once Over Coffee Bar has an outdoor seating surrounded by trees and a creek to help you cool off if you want to stay outside and enjoy your iced coffee to the fullest.

Bennu Coffee

Bennu Coffee is another great place to get work done or read a book. This 24 hour coffee shop has coffee brewing for 16 hours making all of their coffee delicious and rich. Get an iced coffee to accompany your hot day.

Koriente

Koriente is a hidden Mom and Pop Korean restaurant on E 7th Street. They offer the traditional tea and milk tea flavors for their boba drinks. Their service is excellent and quick, so if you are wanting a quick bite and drink, Korinete is the place to go.

Teahaus

Teahaus is an Asian tea room that serves signature beverages from tasty boba Jasmine milk tea to mint Mojito iced coffee. There is an array of traditional and experiential drinks to cool off with.

Yard Milkshake Bar

Yard Milkshake Bar provides a way to get creative and make your own milkshake with fun flavors and toppings. You can also choose milkshakes from their specialty menu like The Unicorn and Cookie Monster shown below.

Sweet Ritual

Sweet Ritual is a dairy-free ice cream parlor that uses real fruit, spices and vegan baked goods in their ice creams. They have basic flavored shakes from chocolate to mint but also have peanut butter, strawberry and others available for curbside pick up.

Focaccia Bread

Everything you’ll need:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/14 teaspoons active dry yeast (or one packet)
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced oregano
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup marinated onions
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese

If we are honest, quarantine has turned all of us into a baker in some form. After combining a half dozen recipes, I’ve finally nailed down the easiest and best focaccia bread recipe.

To start, you need to activate your yeast. This sounds like it would be overly complicated, but you just need to combine your yeast with a cup of warm water and mix it. Let it sit and bloom for 5-10 minutes, and you’re all set. While the yeast activates, go ahead and incorporate some of your dry ingredients, 1 cup of flour, your dry herbs of choice (I went for garlic powder and oregano), and salt in a bowl.

Once your yeast has bloomed, go ahead and pour it into your dry ingredients and 1/4 cup of oil. Stir this, so things start to combine and add your remaining 1 1/2 cups of flour. At this point, I also add my minced garlic. Mix these until things are mostly combined, then plop the dough on a floured surface and need it 10-15 times until little dough ball forms.

In a well-oiled bowl, place the dough and cover it for two hours to rise in a warm, dry place, I usually put it on the top of my oven.

After your dough has nearly doubled in size, you will transfer it to a well-oiled pan. You can use a 13×9 pan or just a regular cookie sheet; it makes no difference. Once you place the dough on the pan, you will flatten and spread it to the edges and make sure it fits in the corners. Once again, you will cover the dough with a towel and let it rise for another 20 minutes. It will be about an inch thick. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and place the tough on top as the heat will help it rise.

Now that your dough has risen a second time, the fun begins. Using your fingers, press little dimples into the dough and douse it with your remaining olive oil. The oil will pool in the small crevices, and that’s what we want. Once it is oiled up, you can add your toppings. You can add anything to your focaccia bread, but I went ahead and added marinated onions and a layer of mozzarella cheese.

After you’ve topped your bread with everything, you can pop it in the oven to bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Once your 20 minutes is up, let the bread cool and eat to your heart’s content.

Top 10 Texas Spots to Cool Off All Summer Long

Barton Springs Pool

Located beneath Zilker Park is the coolest place to cool off in Austin. Barton Springs Pool is fed from underground springs with an average temperature of 68 degrees. The diving board makes sure the fun never runs out and the hills make for perfect tanning spots.

Deep Eddy Pool

Deep Eddy Pool is a hometown Austin favorite, Austinites of all ages come to take a dip in the cool water of Deep Eddy. Located right next to Town Lake, its the perfect place to cool off after an afternoon of kayaking or stand up paddle boarding.

Hamilton Pool Preserve

Hamilton Pool is located just outside of Austin in Dripping Springs and is well worth the drive. It’s a fun, short hike down to the pool, with views that are sure to bring you back. Leave the pets at home for this one and be sure to check out the online reservations before heading out!

Jacob’s Well Natural Area

Only the bold and adventurous dare to take the plunge into the depths of Jacob’s Well in Wimberley. This unique Texas swimming spot is filled with fresh spring water and home to the second-largest fully submerged cave in Texas. Make sure to check the reservations if you plan to plunge into the well while you’re there

Windy Point-Bob Wentz Park Lake Travis

Windy Point gives you one of the best views of Lake Travis, and the water is always refreshing. You can pull your car right up to the water when the lake is low, or enjoy the picnic tables when the lake is high. The Oasis is also right down the street, making it the perfect place to grab a drink after a day at the lake.

City Park-Emma Long Metropolitan Park

City Park feeds from Lake Austin so the water is always cold and clean! City Park also has two piers that are fun to jump off and a sandy shore that makes you feel like your at the beach. Bring the family for camping and a cookout or a fun day at the lake!

Krause Springs

Krause Springs is located in Spicewood and is filled with endless fun and adventure. The natural springs surrounding the site are fed into the man-made and natural pools. The water is perfect for the Texas heat and the natural pool has rope swings and cliffs for jumping into the spring.

BSR Cable Park

The BSR Cable Park in Waco, Texas is a must-do summer adventure. The Royal Flush Slide will send you flying in the sky and into the cool water. The Lazy River is a nice way to relax after the mega-slide or a fun alternative to the slide and cable park.

Bull Creek

Bull Creek is the perfect place for a short summer hike that ends with a dip into some cold water! Bull Creek is free and offers multiple trails and hidden coves that are perfect for everyone! You can enter Bull Creek along the Capital of Texas Highway and Old Spicewood Springs Road, make sure to bring the dogs and plenty of water!

Wimberley Blue Hole Regional Park

Blue Hole in Wimberley is always an amazing time. The clean and cool water are the perfect escape from the Texas heat. The trees provide perfect shade or plenty of sunlight for tanning. Just a short drive from Austin, but much worth it for the simple bliss of Blue Hole.