Brown Butter-Pumpkin Pie Spiced Rice Crispy Treats

These make your kitchen smell so good, you might have strangers knocking on your door.

Makes 24 (depending on big you slice 'em)

Recipe by Mary Nolan

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice*
  • 1 (10 oz) bag marshmallows
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 cups Rice Krispies
  • Candy corn, for garnish, if desired
  1. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Keep over heat until foam subsides and solids (these look like white flecks on the bottom of the pan) start to brown, about 3-5 minutes. This will start to happen all the sudden, so don't walk away when waiting for butter to brown. Once solids are the color of chocolate (you don't want them to burn and turn black), add pumpkin pie spice and stir with a wooden spoon. Reduce heat to low, add marshmallows and stir, scraping up brown butter bits and spices from the bottom of the pan. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until marshmallows are just melted (don't let marshmallows continue to cook or simmer; this will make your crispies too crispy!). Turn off heat and stir in salt and then gently fold in the rice crispies.
  2. Spray a 9x13 baking pan with nonstick spray. Spread rice crispy mixture into the baking pan. Spray the inside of your hands with nonstick spray. Press down the mixture into the pan and smooth with your hands. Allow to cool, at least 15 minutes, and cut into pieces. Press a candy corn into each piece for garnish, if desired.
*To make your own pumpkin pie spice, mix 1 tablespoon cinnamon, 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice, and 1/4 teaspoon ground clove. You'll have some extra.

Everyday Salad Dressing

Not only does this go with any kind of salad you can imagine, duh, but it also adds just the right amount of pep (read acidy) to everything from fish and chicken to veggies and grains.

Everyday Salad Dressing

Makes 2 cups
In a 2 cup container liquid measure, add the juice of 1/2 lemon and then fill up to almost 2/3c line with red wine vinegar. Then bring up to 2/3 with balsamic vinegar (just a splash). Add 1 tablespoon EACH kosher salt and Dijon mustard. The add olive oil (not extra virgin) to 2 cup line. Emulsify with an immersion blender. Refrigerate until ready to use.


Mo's Meatballs

Sauteing individual meatballs is not only messy, but time consuming. Baking them is the way to go. And who doesn't love a good meatball? BTW, I'm Mo. We go way back.

Makes about 48 meatballs

 

Recipe by Mary Nolan

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 medium onion, small dice (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup soft bread crumbs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey (not fat free)
  • 1 pound ground beef (80/20)
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese, plus more for serving
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Red sauce and spaghetti for serving**
  1. Heat olive oil over medium-low heat in a saute pan and cook onion, stirring frequently, until softened and translucent, about 15-20 minutes (if it seems dry at any point, add another splash of oil--you don't want it to brown). Using a microplane (or just mince the garlic if you don't have a microplane), grate the garlic into the saute pan with the onion. Stir and cook 2 minutes more. Add the oregano, red pepper flake, and salt. Stir and remove from heat. Allow to come to room temperature before proceeding (I use this time to make my breadcrumbs and grate my cheese)*
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. (Put your pasta water on the stove now if you are planning on eating when these when they come out of the oven.) Place the breadcrumbs in a large mixing bowl and add the milk. Allow breadcrumbs to absorb the milk, about 5 minutes. Add the onion mixture, ground turkey and beef, cheese, eggs, and parsley. Mix well; using your hands works best. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with foil or baking mats (like Silpat). Scoop 2 tablespoons of the mixture and roll into a ball (a 1 oz scoop will save you a lot of time doing this; I LOVE scoops). Line up on a baking sheet; you should have about 24 per sheet.
  3. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, rotating halfway through. While meatballs are baking, cook your spaghetti and bring the sauce to a simmer on the stove** Drain pasta and toss with a drizzle of olive oil in the pasta pot. Add the meatballs to the sauce. Ladle a little sauce onto the pasta and toss. Divide pasta among bowls and top with meatballs. Top with additional cheese and drizzle with olive oil. Inhale. 

 

*I make my own breadcrumbs in the food processor using stale, crustless bread. Then I use my food processor (just wipe it out to remove any stray breadcrumbs) to grate Parmesan that I buy in bulk from Costco. Store-bought fresh breadcrumbs (unseasoned) and pre-grated parm will work just fine, too.

**I usually freeze at least half of the meatballs for later use. One 32-oz jar of sauce works well for half of the meatballs. You'll need 1 to 1 1/4 pounds of pasta for this amount of meatballs, depending on your eaters. This amount (half batch of meatballs) serves 4-5 people.


The Perfect Lobster Roll

The perfect lobster roll: because you can have your cake and eat it too.

Makes 8

Recipe by Mary Nolan

 

  • 4 medium lobster tails, about 1 1/2 pounds total
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 12 tablespoons salted butter
  • 8 top split brioche or potato hot dog buns, sides trimmed if large
  • Thinly sliced chives for garnish
  • Lemon wedges for garnish
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boiling. Cook lobster tails for 5 minutes and then submerge into an ice bath. Once cool enough to handle, use a kitchen shears to cut down the center of the shell on both sides of the tail. Remove the shell and vein* (if any) and discard. Cut the lobster into bit size pieces and chill until ready to use.
  2. Mix mayonnaise, 1/4 teaspoon salt, lemon juice and Old Bay seasoning. Melt butter over medium-low heat in a medium saucepan and brush some onto the sides of the buns. Toast sides of buns in a saute pan over medium heat until golden brown. Meanwhile, heat lobster in reserved butter until warmed through (don't allow butter to get too hot and boil; overcooked lobster gets tough).
  3. Spoon warm lobster into toasted buns and top with a drizzle of the mayonnaise mixture. Top with chives and serve with lemon wedges.

*If present, the vein can be a number of different colors and runs down the length of the tail. Run tail under water if it doesn't come out cleanly.


Cinnamon Blueberry Muffins

I love a muffin with a good cup of coffee in the morning and this recipe is my go-to because it's quick and easy. And it's the perfect summer recipe when you have more blueberries than you can eat. I've added the oatmeal and cinnamon-sugar to the top to give them a little crunch.

 

Adapted from Gourmet 2006, Lillian Chou

 

  • 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries (7 1/2 oz)
  • 3/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped
  • uncooked oatmeal and cinnamon-sugar for sprinkling, if desired
  • Special equipment: a muffin pan with 12 (1/2-cup) muffin cups; non-stick spray
  1. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°F. Spray muffin pan thoroughly with non-stick spray.
  2. Whisk together butter, brown sugar, milk, and egg in a bowl until combined well. Whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Add milk mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in blueberries and pecans gently.
  3. Divide batter among muffin cups and sprinkle with oatmeal and cinnamon-sugar. Bake until golden brown and a wooden pick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.

Frozen Watermelon Margaritas

Recipe courtesy of Mary Nolan

I love margaritas. Obvi. But, I drink them too quickly and get annoyed that my drink is gone and don't want to juice more limes. This recipe was designed to slow it down a bit. The problem is, these are so darn good and refreshing, that they disappear just as fast. That's why the recipe makes 2!

They require a little planning since the watermelon needs to be frozen. But I just put some in the freezer whenever I'm cutting up a watermelon, so that I always have some on-hand and ready to go. Don't just throw in ice as substitute, because watermelon is taking the place of ice here and it will render a watery drink. The only special equipment needed is a blender.

 

Make 2 cocktails

Kosher Salt

3 lime wedges

3 1/2 cups frozen watermelon cubes (you want these the size of ice cubes)*

3 ounces fresh lime juice (yes, freshly squeeze it--it tastes so much better)

3 ounces tequila blanco

1 1/2 ounces triple sec (orange liqueur), such as Cointreau or Grand Marnier

1 ounce light agave syrup (or simple syrup)

 

Pour some kosher salt into a small dish. Rub 1 lime wedge around the rims of the rocks glasses. Dip the rim of the glass into salt, shaking off any excess.

 

Put the frozen watermelon, lime juice, tequila, triple sec and agave in the blender. Blend until smooth (if your watermelon is rock hard, this might take a minute but be patient).

 

Divide among prepared glasses. Garnish with remaining lime wedges and a few pieces of frozen watermelon, if desired.

 

*Freeze cubes of watermelon in a single layer until firm, which is usually at least 3 hours (depending on your freezer).

 

Measurement note: 1 fluid ounce=2 tablespoons

 


Pineapple-Jalapeno Margarita

This recipe is great with many other fruit combination. Blackberry-Mint, Strawbery-Basil, you get the idea.

Recipe courtesy of Mary Nolan

Make 1 cocktail

Kosher Salt

2 lime wedges

3 cubes fresh pineapple

3 slices fresh jalapeño

1 1/2 ounces tequila blanco

1 1/2 ounces fresh lime juice

3/4 ounce agave syrup

 

Pour some kosher salt into a small dish. Rub 1 lime wedge around the rim of a rocks glass. Dip the rim of the glass into salt. Fill the glass with ice.Add 3 cubes of pineapple and 2 jalapeño slices to a cocktail shaker. Add tequila and muddle. Add lime juice and agave syrup. Add ice and shake until your arm hurts.

Strain into prepared glass. Garnish with remaining lime wedge and jalapeño slice.

 

 


Quick Cinnamon Rolls

My cinnamon roll cravings come on fast, so it's a good thing that these come together in just about an hour.

Adapted from America's Test Kitchen

Makes 8

 

4 teaspoons (2 packets) instant/rapid rise yeast

1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons whole milk, divided

3/4 cup light brown sugar

5 teaspoons plus 1/4 cup, divided

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided

2 3/4 cups AP flour

2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3 ounces cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup powdered sugar

 

Line the bottom of a 9-inch round baking pan with parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray.

 

Mix yeast with 1/4 cup cup 110 degree and 1 teaspoon sugar. Let stand 6-8 minutes (mixture will foam).

 

Meanwhile, mix brown sugar, 1/4 cup sugar, cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons melted butter and vanilla. Mixture will look and feel like wet sand. Set aside.

 

Whisk together flour, baking powder, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 4 teaspoons sugar. Add yeast mixture, 2 tablespoons melted butter, and 1 cup room-temperature milk. Stir until shaggy (don't worry about any dry bits).

 

Turn out onto a lightly dusted counter and knead 2 minutes. Roll out to 9 x 12-inch rectangle. Brush with 2 tablespoons melted butter, except the top 1/2-inch of the length. Spread with cinnamon mixture (again, leaving the top 1/2-inch bare) and roll tightly, seam-side down. Cut into 8 equal slices. Pat down and place in baking pan. Brush top with 2 tablespoons melted butter. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degree.

 

Remove plastic wrap and bake for 22 minutes, rotating halfway through baking.

 

Glaze:
Mix cream cheese, 2 tablespoons softened butter, 2 tablespoons milk, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 1/8 teaspoon salt until smooth. Spread over rolls once they have cooled slightly.

 


Strawberry Shortcake

Serves 6

1 1/2 pounds strawberries, stemmed and quartered

5 tablespoons sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Whipped Cream:

1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled

3 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

 

Mix strawberries with 3 tablespoons sugar and refrigerate while juices develop, at least 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Add heavy cream and mix until just combined. Place mixture in an ungreased 8-inch square pan and bake until golden, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove shortcake from pan and place on a rack to cool slightly. Cut into 6 pieces and split each piece in half horizontally. Spoon some of the strawberries with their juice onto each shortcake bottom. Top with a generous dollop of whipped cream and then the shortcake top. Spoon more strawberries over the top and serve.

Whipped Cream:
Using a mixer, beat the heavy cream, sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest until soft peaks form, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.


Glazed Rainbow Carrots with Citrus and Pecans

Serves 6

2 tablespoon butter

2 pounds rainbow carrots, peeled and quartered lengthwise and cut in half (if large); carrot should be no longer than 4 inches and no wider than 3/4 inch

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 orange, zested (about 1 teaspoon) and then juiced (about 1/3 cup juice)

1 cup, plus 1 tablespoon Pacific organic free range chicken broth

1/4 cup roughly chopped toasted pecans

 

Heat butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. When bubbling, add carrots, salt and pepper and toss to coat. Add orange juice and 1 cup chicken broth and arrange carrots as flatly as possible in the pan. Bring liquid to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently so carrots cook evenly, 15 minutes, until carrots are tender, but still have a slight crunch. Remove carrots from pan, leaving juices behind, and place on serving dish. Add remaining tablespoon broth and orange zest to pan and whisk over low heat until incorporated. Drizzle over carrots and top with pecans.