The Ultimate Chocolate Christmas Cookie

The Ultimate Chocolate Christmas Cookie

This cookie is all about the holiday cheer. Starting off with a cookie and dressing it up. You can make this with different cookies, toppings, chocolates - it's all about making it your ultimate christmas cookie!! I used martha stewarts recipe for the cookies! 

Photos by Jessica Marx

Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingridients:

INSTRUCTIONS

1.    Bake off your cookies, let cool for 15 minutes.

2.   Bring water to a boil in a small pot, place white chocolate chips in a bowl, on top of the boiling water - making a double boiler

3.   When the chocolate chips are melted. Dip each cookie, and rest on the sheet tray.

4.   Place the candy canes in a zip lock bag, and crack with a wooden spoon, or wooden rolling pin.

5.   Sprinkle on the cookies, and let rest until harden. 10-15 minutes. 

Enjoy the holiday cheer! 

Kale Pesto Grilled Cheese

Kale Pesto Grilled Cheese

I make a bomb kale pesto, whenever my friends come over that's what they ask for. Every client of mine is always asking me to add my pesto to the menu somehow. After coming up with some fun Hors D'oeuvres using the kale pesto I decided to take it simple - so I made this for dinner and it was too good I couldn't resist posting it! I hope this becomes your go to grilled cheese. The best part about the pesto is that you can make it - freeze it - use it whenever!!

Photos by Eric Helgas

Total Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 3-4 people

Kale Pesto:

  • 2 cups kale, washed
  • 1 cup basil, with stems
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, or pumpkin seeds (if allergic)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp black pepper, freshly cracked

Grilled Cheese:

  • 8 slices, of your favorite bread 
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Kale pesto
  • 4 slices cheddar
  • 1/2 cup shredded asiago
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan

INSTRUCTIONS

Kale Pesto:

1.    In a food processor, add kale, basil, cheese, nut, and garlic clove. Pulse until well combined. 

2.   Add lemon juice, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Pulse while drizzling the extra virgin olive oil. Pulse for one additional minute until all combined. 

3.   Taste and adjust seasoning. 

Grilled Cheese:

1.    Heat a large cast-iron skillet heat up, on high heat.

2.    Meanwhile spread butter on one side of each slice of bread, and 1-2 tbsp of kale pesto on the other side. 

3.    Place 4 slices, butter side down in the skillet. Start layering each cheese on top of the four slices of bread. Starting with the cheddar, asiago, and finishing with the parmesan. 

4.   Top the cheese off, with a slice of bread, pesto side facing down. 

5.   Cook the grilled each for 4 minutes on each side, until the bread is golden brown, crunchy, and all the cheese has melted. 

Enjoy this with a side of soup, or on it's own!

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

When I think of winter food, all I can think about is my grandmother's homemade chicken noodle soup. It's just so flavorful, brothy, warm, and delicious. It can get you back on your feet when feeling sick. You can add any vegetable to this soup but this is the traditional way I was taught to make it! Make a big pot - believe me you'll want to be slurping on this soup all week long!

Photos by Eric Helgas

Total Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 4-6 people

Chicken Noodle Soup:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 onions, peeled, chopped
  • 2 lb carrots, peeled, 2' slices 
  • 2 lb potatoes, peeled, cubed
  • 2 Qts chicken stock
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 2 cups egg noodles, crumbled
  • 2 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Salt + black pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

1.    In a large pot, over high heat, melt butter, add onions.

2.   Cook onions for 7-8 minutes until translucent and soft. Add carrots, and potatoes and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper. 

3.   Add equal parts of water and chicken stock. A total of 4 quarts - 16 cups. Stir the soup, and let it come to a boil.

4.    When the broth starts boiling, add shredded chicken. Reduce the heat to medium-high heat, let the soup simmer for 15 minutes.

5.    Add crumbled noodles, dried parsley, lemon juice, and salt to taste. 

6.    Cook for an additional 10-12 minutes. 

7.    Taste the broth, and adjust the amount of lemon, and salt to taste! 

8.   Enjoy a bowl, and share with your loved ones! 

Muhammara Dip

Muhammara

A Traditional Middle Eastern Red Pepper Dip

Unlike hummus this dip has yet to make it into the American household fridge, but I'm telling you this is WAY better - and super easy! Perfect on flatbreads, to dip with pita chips, or with your next chicken breast. The one tip I have for this dip is the longer it sits in your fridge the more flavors it develops. 

Photos by Jessica Marx
Video by Benjamin Wiseman

Total Time: 35 minutes
Serves: 6-8 people

Muhammara:

  • 4 red pepper 
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp aleppo pepper (or pepper flakes)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup pita chips
  • 3 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 2 lemon, juiced

INSTRUCTIONS

1.    Preheat the oven to 450F degrees.  

2.   Place the peppers on a sheet tray, sprinkle with olive oil, and roast for 30-35 minutes in the oven. Turn the peppers occasionally so the skin blackens on all sides. 

3.   Reserve the peppers in a bowl, cover with saran wrap, or a lid. This step is very important for peeling the peppers. (The moisture from the steam loosens the skin, which makes it easier to peel the peppers). 

4.    When the peppers have cooled down - peel, and discard the seeds.    

5.    In a food processor, add peppers, seasonings, garlic and olive oil. Pulse for 1 minute or until well combined. 

6.    Add the walnuts, pita chips - and pulse for another 2 minutes until well combined. 

7.     To finish off add the pomegranate molasses, and lemon juice - pulse for 30 seconds. 

8.     Voila you've got yourself a delicious dip to impress everyone with! 

P.S. you can buy jarred roasted peppers if you want to skip step 1-4 but the flavor is a little different :)

Rose Water Lemonade

Rose Water Lemonade

Aight aight I know what you are saying - it's fall I want a fall drink but let's be honest lemonade is a all year round drink - at least in my house. This drink is floral, acidic, sweet, and different! So let's keep pretending that it's summer and enjoy this spiked rose water lemonade! Cheers 

Photos by Jessica Marx

Total Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4-6 people

Spiked Lemonade:

  • 1/2 cup rose water (preferably al-wadi)
  • 3 1/2 cups lemonade
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 2 lemon, juiced

Garnish:

  • Dried rose petals

INSTRUCTIONS

1.    In a large pitcher, mix together the rose water, lemonade, vodka, and lemon juice.  

2.   Fill a glass up with ice. Pour the spiked lemonade.

3.    Garnish with dried rose petals. 

4.     Drink up!!

P.S. You can make the lemonade alcohol free, or alcoholic by adding one 2oz shot of vodka to each 8oz glass! 

Chicken Souvlaki Dinner

Chicken Souvlaki Dinner!

If you're trying to make a good first impression this is the way to go! A date, family dinner, meeting the parents, whatever it may be this is honestly the perfect, most delicious meal! It's refreshing, healthy, and full of flavor. You can make any sides with it - but these are my favorites and most accommodating. 

Photos by Jessica Marx

Total Time: 60 minutes
Serves: 4-6 people

Chicken Souvlaki:

  • 3-4 lbs chicken thighs, cleaned, cubed
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 tbsp 7 pepper seasoning
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2-3 lemons, juiced

Rice:

  • 1/2 cup vermicelli egg noodles, crushed
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  • 3 cup chicken stock
  • Salt to taste

Cucumber Salad:

  • 1-2 large cucumber
  • 1/2 cup mint, cleaned
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Salt to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

1.    In a large bowl, mix the chicken thigh cubes with garlic, oregano, 7 pepper seasoning, and salt. 

2.   Then add the olive oil, and lemon juice, mix well. Let the chicken marinate for 2-24 hours in the fridge. 

3.    Preheat the oven, or grill at 450F.

4.     When ready skewer the chicken, about 6-7 pieces per skewer.

5.    In a medium size pot, heat the vegetable oil on high. Add the vermicelli egg noodles, and sautée until golden brown. 

6.   Add the rice, give it a quick stir, then add the stock and salt. When it comes to a simmer, reduce to medium-low heat, and cover. The rice should be ready in 20-25 minutes. 

7.   Start grilling, or roasting the chicken.
     Grill: About 3 minutes on each side.
     Oven: 15-17 minutes. 

8.   In a small bowl, start peeling the cucumber like you normally would, making long ribbon like strings. 

9.   Mix in the mint, lemon juice, and salt. Voila you got a salad. 

10.  When ready serve the chicken skewers, on a bed of rice, with a side of cucumber salad, and never forget the greek yogurt! 

11. Enjoy!!!! 

Ice Cream Sandwiches

Ice Cream Sandwiches!

Aight aight I may not have the biggest sweet tooth but this are just BOMB! I mean of course you can make your own cookies, and ice cream but when you are entertaining this is the easiest way to go about dessert. Simple, easy, satisfying, and a crowd pleaser! You can keep them up to 2 weeks in the freezer, so make them for friends or for yourself - whatever you do always have fun with the flavors !!

Serves: 6-8 people

INGREDIENTS

  • 24, of your favorite cookies (I used chocolate chip, oatmeal, double chocolate chunk)
  • 2 pints, of your favorite ice cream (I used vanilla, pistachio)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Line a sheet with parchment paper, and place 12 cookies facing down.
  2. Scoop ice cream on each cookie.
  3. Layer the remaining cookies on top of the ice cream.
  4. Pick up each sandwich, and press softly until it is at your desired thickness. 
  5. Using a spatula, or knife smooth out the edges of the sandwich by getting rid of any extra ice cream. 
  6. Place in the freezer for 45 min - 1 hour.
  7. Enjoy!!!

PS. for some extra fun you can dip them in sprinkles, or crushed candy!

Sheet Tray Nachos

Sheet Tray Nachos

An American classic! Of course we had nachos in Lebanon but believe me it was nothing like an all American loaded nachos! I mean the amount of cheese, and toppings that can be added are endless. This recipe is an easy, go to, leftover type of thing. Start off with chips, any meat or veggie, cheese - pop it in the oven - then layer all the fresh ingridients on top and voila you got yourself a great crowd pleaser! Crack a can of beer open, or shake up a margarita cause this sheet tray is coming your way! 

Serves: 4-6 people

INGREDIENTS

  • 1-2 bag of tortilla chips 
  • 2 cup rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 1 lb cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced
  • 3 radishes, sliced
  • 1 pint sour cream
  • Cilantro - to garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 450F.
  2. On a large sheet tray, start off with a layer of chips.
  3. Scatter the chicken all over the chips.  
  4. Sprinkle with cheese, if you want to be extra - tuck some cheese under some chips. 
  5. Place the sheet tray in the oven, cook for 10-12 minutes or until the cheese is fully melted.
  6. Layer the rest of the fresh ingridients on top! 
  7. ENJOY

PS. anything goes here - ground meat, sauteed vegetables, avocados, corn, beans, tomatoes - so have fun with!