gnocchi mac & cheese

now this isn’t exactly mac & cheese.
it’s wayyy better.

you take out the pasta part and replace it with tender, comforting potato dumplings. gnocchi.
lovely gnocchi.
and it’s incredibly kid-friendly. i mean, the gnocchi is covered in crusty, melty cheese and each dumpling is the perfect size for little fingers to grab.

gnocchi mac & cheese


1 lb gnocchi (purchased or homemade)
2 tbsp butter
2 tsp garlic, finely chopped (about 2 large cloves)
1 tbsp all purpose flour
3/4 cup milk (i did about half of this milk and the other half, half & half. whoa lotsa halfs.)
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 cup shredded gruyere cheese
1/4 cup shredded fontina cheese
1/3 cup shredded parmigiano-reggiano
1/8 to 1/4 tsp dried basil (or 1 tsp fresh basil, chopped)
salt & pepper


1. preheat oven to 375. spray a 13-inch (1 1/2 quart, shallow) casserole dish with non-stick spray (i used butter-flavored pam – it was awesome). prepare gnocchi according to package directions. drain & place gnocchi in prepared dish.

2. melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. whisk in flour until it thickens and bubbles, then whisk in milk and dijon. continue to whisk mixture and cook until slightly thickened, about 3-5 minutes.

3. combine gruyere and fontina, then add by the handful to the milk mixture, stirring until melted before adding the next handful. once all cheese has been melted, season cheese sauce with salt & pepper and chopped basil.

4. pour sauce over gnocchi & sprinkle with parmigiano-reggiano over the top. bake until the gnocchi puffs and the cheese is golden and bubbly, 20-25 minutes. let gnocchi rest & cool for 5 minutes before serving.


recipe & photo via

sweet potato pudding with pecan and gingersnap streusel

as i was going through last year’s bon appetit thanksgiving issue looking for recipe ideas for our holiday dinner party, i stumbled upon this little treasure.
it is a yummy twist on the traditional sweet potato dish with marshmallows.
after making the base batter, you fold in a homemade meringue, which makes it refreshingly light and not a heavy, filling dessert.
and the topping is sweet and crunchy, the perfect crust for such a fluffy, sweet pudding.

sweet potato pudding with pecan and gingersnap streusel
makes about 12 servings


1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped gingersnaps

1 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

4 tbsp (1/2 stick) chilled, unsalted butter, cut into cubes

3 lbs sweet potatoes (about 3 large), scrubbed

3/4 cup half & half

1/2 cup orange juice

2 tbsp (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted

2 tbsp packed dark brown sugar

1 3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

4 large egg yolks

5 large egg whites

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cream of tartar


1. for the topping: toss first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl. add butter; using fingertips, rub in until well blended. cover & chill. (this can be done 1 day ahead, if needed.)

2. for the pudding: preheat oven to 400. roast potatoes on a baking sheet until tender, 45-60 minutes. cool; cut in half  lengthwise. scoop flesh into a bowl & mash. transfer 4 cups of mashed sweet potatoes to a large bowl. cover and chill. (this also can be done one day ahead.) bring to room temperature before continuing.

3. preheat oven to 350. butter a 13×9 baking dish. add half & half and next 4 ingredients to the mashed sweet potatoes. using a mixer, mix on low until blended. add a few pinches of salt. add yolks 1 at a time, blending after each one.

4. using clean, dry beaters beat whites in another large bowl until foamy. add salt and cream of tartar. beat until peaks form. fold whites into the sweet potatoes; spoon into baking dish. sprinkle with topping.

5. bake pudding until puffed and brown, about 45 minutes. serve immediately.


gently adapted recipe and photo via

pumpkin vanilla cinnamon roll cake

my husband and i just went to our first holiday dinner party of the season with a handful of our closest friends. it was potluck-style, so each of us girls brought several dishes. i brought the i-can’t-stop-eating-it marinated cheese,  sweet potato pudding and this amazing dessert from the picky palate.
it’s now one of my favorite holiday desserts.
mainly because it has this cinnamon roll buttery-sugary-icing going on that makes me now crave it all year long.
simply said, it is melt-in-your-mouth, butter and brown sugar gloriousness.

pumpkin vanilla cinnamon roll sheet cake
makes 16-20 squares


1 box yellow cake mix

4 eggs

1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 (3.4 oz) box instant vanilla pudding mix

1/2 cup sour cream

1 (15 oz) can pumpkin

1 stick butter (8 tbsp)

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cup heavy cream (start with 1/4 cup and add a little more if needed)

1. preheat oven to 350. spray a jellyroll pan with non-stick cooking spray.

2. place cake mix, eggs, oil, buttermilk, pudding mix, sour cream and pumpkin in a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer) and beat with a mixer until well combined (about 1 1/2 minutes). pour into prepared jellyroll pan, spreading evenly.

3. place butter into a microwave safe bowl and melt, about 30 seconds. add brown sugar and cinnamon to bowl, mixing until combined. drizzle mixture evenly over the cake, then take a knife and run it through to swirl.

4. bake cake for 30-35 minutes, until cooked through and remove. while the cake is cooking, place powdered sugar and cream into a bowl and mix until creamy and smooth. drizzle over warm cake then let cool for 20 minutes before cutting into squares. (refrigerate if not serving the same day.)

enjoy with milk!

oatmeal applesauce blueberry muffins

i love me a good muffin.

but so often they are not great for you. (and not so good on the thighs.)
so i was overjoyed when i stumbled upon this recipe a few months ago.
these muffins are low in fat, with applesauce in place of most of the oil that you usually find in muffin mixes. they are crammed with healthy oats & blueberries and the buttermilk gives them a great hearty taste.
the little she loves them and i even got the hubs to try them (he, being a non-breakfast eater,was a big win).

(note: you can use regular oats or steel cut oats. i found that the steel cut are a little hearty for my taste, but still good.) 

oatmeal blueberry applesauce muffins
makes 12 muffins


1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour

1 1/4 cups oats

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup low fat or non-fat buttermilk

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 tbsp canola oil

1 large egg, lightly beaten

3/4 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)


1. preheat the oven to 375.

2. line a 12-cup muffin tin (or two 6-cup muffin tins) with paper liners or spray with nonstick cooking spray. (if you plan on eating them straight out of the oven, give the liners a spritz of cooking spray so the muffins won’t stick.)

3. in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. combine the applesauce, buttermilk, sugar, oil and egg in a medium bowl. make a well in the dry ingredients and add the applesauce mixture, stirring until just moist. (make sure to not overmix them – the batter will be thicker than your average muffin batter.) carefully fold in the blueberries. spoon the batter into muffin cups. bake at 375 for 16-18 minutes.


recipe via
photo via