Category Archives: Quick and Delicious

“A David Favorite”


These are three words I love hearing during or after a meal from my adorable husband David. One of the many things I loved about him right off the bat was his love and appreciation of food which was very important to me when I was looking for “the one”.  I love exploring new foods, restaurants, wines and cocktails and David is always right there with me having the same great time. What I’m even more excited about is that we get to pass this love and appreciation for food on to our daughter (10 more weeks if you can believe it!). I can’t wait to share baking tips with her, or the right way to balance a dish, or heck, how to enjoy a good ol’ slab of chicken fry.

I know it’s been a while since I posted, and in between being insanely busy with The Pie Society (check it out! to getting ready for baby, it’s been a whirlwind past few months. Who knew that preparing for a thing so small could be so much work? Between appointments, getting the house ready, hospital details, I feel a bit like I’m getting off a Tilt-A-Whirl sometimes. Any advice from marathon moms out there?

Back to food! We had a lot of these “A David Favorite” moments going on in the house when I did have time to cook and let me just say, all of these are Emily favorites too. What I appreciated about all of them was they were fast, easy-to-follow, and very, very tasty. If I had to pick a favorite, it would probably be the Summer Beef-and-Rice Casserole from Everyday Food. We had leftovers for days and it kept getting better and better each day. Here’s our round-up of all of them and next up, my new favorite restaurant in Austin!

Everyday Food’s Summer Beef-and-Rice Casserole: YUM with amazing leftovers for days or an hour if you are pregnant.

Everyday Food’s Gnochhi with Quick Meat Sauce: Fast and easy. I used pre-made gnocchi from Whole Foods Market because they do amazing with those little potato pillows and that meat sauce is fantastico! Look it’s a demo video!

Bon Appetit’s Kerla-Style Beef Stew: reserve this for a night when it gets a little chilly and enjoy with some buttery toasty bread. You’ll thank me later. Oohh this was a stunner!

Cooking Light’s Crisp Chicken Marina: This felt like a fun spin on chicken Parmesan that was healthy to boot. I stirred in a cup of spinach until it wilted for an additional veggie oomph. You’ll be glad you had leftovers lambs.


Best Fruit Forward

We had a fruit-tastic evening here at Casa de Kealey last night! I have been in heartburn hades because of el kiddo and the one thing I keep seeing to quell said heartburn is watermelon. Now, I’m not the biggest watermelon fan – my Dad is currently shaking his head in shame – but I was willing to give this delightful looking Watermelon Gazpacho from Bon Appetit a try and then, because I have cravings like a mad woman, their Pasta Salad with Melon, Pancetta and Ricotta Salata looked YUMMY! And it was!

To keep things a little more healthy I chose to use whole wheat orecchiette and low-fat feta (since I’m using feta in a dish later this week). Let me tell you, these two changes will not change the flavor of the dish which was awesome and very delightful even the next day. I’ve always been a huge fan of the prosciutto/melon combo and to put it in a pasta? Brilliant. Now to the Watermelon Gazpacho! I slurped this you guys. I took one spoonful and then exclaimed “that’s SO GOOD” and then proceeded to down the bowl. I followed this recipe to a T, even the basil syrup part which is just too fun to say and it makes you sound like a kitchen badass…”oh this?” you might say “it’s just a little basil syrup.” Sounds fancy but it was really easy and I wish I would have doubled this for leftovers today. I will make more this week and keep it on reserve for those undesirable heartburn moments. Really, the heartburn is quite a thing isn’t it mamas? Oh, one thing I did add was a dollop (ick, I hate that word, weird I know) of sour cream and some fresh chives at the end to you know, kill off any hopes of stopping my heartburn.

Pasta Salad with Melon, Pancetta, and Ricotta Salata:

Watermelon Gazpacho:

Potato Gnocchi with Pastrami Ragu

BLESS this dish, bless, bless, bless.

Best new chefs Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbonne created this Potato Gnocchi with Pastrami Ragu and like an old Italian grandmother, I want kiss both of them on the cheek. I honestly don’t have much to say about this one except make it and snarf it I guess. One thing I did do and that’s because I’m kind of a tired bones panda at times and didn’t feel like making from-scratch gnocchi (I know you won’t judge me for that) I bought the chilled version from Whole Foods Market and followed the directions for perfect pillowy gnocchi. This made it extra splendid in my eyes  because it was so fast to make after a long night in the kitchen and got me in front of the TV quicker to geek out of over So You Think You Can Dance. Yes, I used to be a dancer (obviously not the caliber of those lovely ladies and gents) and lurve that show. I know, I’m a serious nerd. Don’t even get me started on Star Trek, comic books or Star Wars. Reason #4,567 why David and I are such a good match. Oh and speaking of, this is a David favorite and I remember that because he said it about 10 times; 8 while eating it and twice while getting seconds. If that doesn’t compel you I don’t know what will.

Spicy Chicken Thighs with Rhubarb-Cucumber Salsa

It’s that time of year again in The Pie Society kitchen when we make tons of Strawberry Rhubarb pie. I love making this pie not only because it’s delicious and a joy to make in the kitchen, but every time I purchase rhubarb at Whole Foods Market someone makes a comment that they grew up with it in their back yard and have such fond memories of this gorgeous bittersweet root. I love helping bring back memories like that through pie!

David’s reaction to this dish from Bon Appétit was hilarious. He insisted that I place a blog post up about it so all three of you would be inspired to make it and kept going “mmmm!” and pointing his finger at his almost empty plate. The spicy marinade on the chicken was a perfect complement to cool, invigorating notes of cucumber and the bitter and sweet flavors of rhubarb in the salsa. It was extremely quick to make and was so deliciously balanced we couldn’t stop talking about it the rest of the night. This is going under Emily and David favorite and I have feeling will be on rotation in our house for as long as rhubarb is in season this year!


Chickpea Stew

I really don’t have many words to describe this recipe from Bon Appetit except it’s…amazing, savory, spicy and deep in delicious flavors. This is one of my most favorite things I’ve made in really long time and it’s super simple to boot. In fact it was so good, I was a smidge jealous that David was getting the leftovers for lunch the next day…jealous, over leftovers, now that’s saying something.



Chickpea Stew (photo by Jonny Valiant)

Nailed it!

There is a hilarious photo on the interwebs that just make me giggle and, after last Tuesday night, it definitely hits closer to home.


Although my situation had nothing to do with baking and creating what looks like a very difficult Cookie Monster cupcake, this recipe was actually much easier which makes it even more pitiful in my case.  I chose this Pumpkin Agnolotti from Bon Appetit because it sounded insanely good and was quick to boot. I was super tired after the kitchen, but got right to work on these when I got home. Reason number 4,023 I married David –  the two of us can sit and talk for hours and hours. So you can guess what happened, right? I made the pumpkin raviolis and then placed in the colander after boiling to sit while I made the sauce. Yep, we start chit chatting and I come back 30 minutes later to a pile of coagulated pumpkin won tons. Ha! I made the decadent butter and creme fraiche sauce anyway and plopped my now pile of pumpkin/wonton goodness in the sauce. It all fell apart, but I was so tired, I said “screw you agnolotti” as I threw my fist in the air as a very weak sign of defiance and then helplessly plopped the finished pumpkin/wonton mass in our bowls. But you know what? It was still freaking delicious and we ate with sloppy abandon. Heck, I’ll take that 30 minutes of talking to David over perfectly pretty pumpkin ravioli any day. And for your viewing pleasure (I’m sure you are giggling too right along with me), here is the photographic evidence.



Oooohh pretty Pumpkin Agnolotti from Bon Appetit


Not-so-perfect Pumpkin Agnolotti

Truffled Pommes Anna

I love making dishes where you have people asking you for the recipe over and over again. This, my friends, was one of them. We went to a friends cookout last night and I thought I would test this for our upcoming Friendsgiving celebration to see if it was delicious as it sounded. Yes, and then some.

This was unbelievably easy to make especially when you have a mandolin (thank you Leigh and Raul!) to shave the potatoes on. I think I won the Darwin award however, because as I was testing the mandolin with a potato, I sliced my pinky on the blade. WOW. Yeah, don’t do that. I’m typing like a five year old right now and it took quite a chunk out of my poor finger…I so smart. After sanitizing and Neosporin, I got back to work. All you do is layer the potatoes with salt, thyme and truffle oil. So easy, so delicious and a real crowd pleaser. YUM! Bless you Cooking Light, bless you.


Truffled Pommes Anna (Photo by Charles Masters)

Pantry Party!

Typically through my menu planning process, I go through pretty much everything I purchase if not in the first week, then definitely in the next. But there are those rare occasions were the beckoning of a Polvo’s Crackerita is too strong or I’m just too darned tired to cook after baking in the kitchen. I decided to check my pantry for these rare occasion relics that might be lurking in my pantry and found cream of mushroom soup, piquillo peppers in a jar and canned whole cranberries. As I sat trying to remember what recipes these ingredients were for originally, I started researching some new fun ones to try and voila lambs, I found two!

Bobby Flay’s Loin of Lamb Marinated in Merlot, Garlic and Parsley with Piquillo Pesto. Now I didn’t change much except for, well, the main protein. We are on a tight budget after all the wedding festivities so I turned to my most favorite, cost-effective cut of meat – flank steak. It’s juicy, flavorful and worked beautifully with this marinade. Talk about simple and quick. I marinated the steak, made the pesto (in our new food processor, yippee!!) and then when David got home, I threw the steak on the grill and bam dinner was done. I turned this into a small salad with arugula, bleu cheese, halved cherry tomatoes and then placed the steak on the greens and drizzled the pesto on top. I also had enough pesto the next day to make David a snack with pita chips. Am I getting good wife points yet?

Moving on to the cranberries. I found this Jack Quesadillas with Cranberry Salsa from Cooking Light…yum! Keep this one in mind for the upcoming Thanksgiving holidays for sure. Although I substituted

Jack Quesadillas with Cranberry Salsa (Photo by Randy Mayor)

rotisserie chicken for turkey, what really makes it is the salsa. I can see canning this and giving it as pretty holiday gifts or it would even be great over some baked brie or on an old shoe, seriously it’s really good. I made extra and now we both have quesadillas and cranberry salsa for lunch today. YAY!

Now, what the heck am I going to do with that Cream of Mushroom soup?

Beef Tenderloin with Cherry-Black Pepper Sauce

I’ve been meaning to post this Cooking Light recipe since I made it because it was absolutely INSANELY good.  And get this, it’s only five ingredients. Tack on three more and you’ve got a eight ingredient meal that was sinfully delicious and fast to boot.

If we were a band name while eating this it would Snarfy McSnarf and the Snarftones. We inhaled this in no time flat. I mean, how can you go wrong? Beef Tenderloin with cherry preserves, balsamic vinegar, shallot and butter? Yep, here’s your drool cup. To make this even better – yes it’s possible – I boiled chopped parsnips until fork tender and then mashed with a smidge of low-fat milk and creme fraiche, plus a little salt and pepper. Serve the tenderloin over the parsnip puree and you’ve got a winner for dinner. Here’s the before and after photos for proof the of the tenderloin annihilation.

Make this right now! I don’t care if it’s midnight, go, go, go!





Fried Egg Panzanella

Stop the press, I’m giving you one of my own recipes! Wheeee! I tend to make this little beauty once or twice a week because it’s simple, healthy, and pretty good if I do say some myself. It all started when I had leftover tomatoes and spinach and was hankering for eggs. Voila, Fried Egg Panzanella! I would love for you to give this a try and let me know what you think.


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper, divided

Heat skillet over medium heat and add olive oil. Once the oil starts to shimmer, add garlic and breadcrumbs. Mix together until combined (careful not to burn the garlic). Add the chopped tomatoes and cook until softened, about four minutes. Add spinach and combine with tomato/breadcrumb mixture until wilted. Create two little pockets and add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to each pocket evenly. Crack the eggs in the pockets, like so…

Cover skillet and cook eggs for about five minutes or until whites are set. I like my yolks super runny but cook however you like it. Scoop out tomato and spinach mixture into a bowl and top with fried egg. Repeat with remaining mixture and egg. Top with each with 1/2 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar and salt and red pepper.