Mini Pizzas

I like to make these mini pizzas when I have lots of random ingredients to use up in my fridge! I use Bays english muffins for the crust...they are so fresh and come out nice and crispy! Plus they can handle a lot of toppings unlike some of the others!

This recipe is also great to get your kids involved in the kitchen! When I was a nanny I would put out a bunch of toppings and the kids loved coming up with their own pizza creations!

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and start by halfing your english muffins and toasting them in a toaster (they will go in the oven as well so be careful not to over toast). Let them cool down and then pile your toppings up on each half! If you are not using any sauce, start with a little bit of cheese first, then toppings and finish with more cheese (this will keep the toppings from falling off)! Once they are loaded up place them on a baking sheet and finish them in the oven...The cheese should be nice and bubbly on top!

Here are some of my favorites...


Fresh Mozzarella

Buffalo Chicken

Shredded Chicken
Buffalo Sauce
Fresh Mozzarella
Crumbled Blue Cheese


Mozzarella Cheese
Shredded Chicken (seasoned with chili powder)
Sliced Jalapeños

Salami/Caramelized Onion

Caramelized Onion
Mozzarella Cheese
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Mediterranean Salad

This salad is nice and light and makes a great appetizer or side dish…
or toss in some roasted chicken and enjoy for lunch!

You’ll Need-

1 Cucumber (peeled and diced)
2 Large Tomatoes (diced)
2 oz of Fresh Mozzarella
½ Small Red Onion (diced)
Fresh Basil
Balsamic Vinaigrette

Place all of the veggies in a large mixing bowl and top with fresh mozzarella and basil and toss. Dress each serving with a little balsamic vinaigrette …I like Newman’s Own Lighten Up!

Makes 4 Servings

Approximate Nutritional Information Per Serving –

Calories - 96
Fat – 5 (2.1 sat)
Carbs - 8
Fiber - 1.5
Protein – 5
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Pommes Frites

Pommes Frites is the place to go for amazing french fries…they are Belgium style from freshly cut potatoes and come to you piping hot!! The trick to these delicious... crispy on the outside and soft on the inside fries... is that the potatoes are fried twice! The first time is to cook them through, the second time gives them the golden color and makes them super crispy!

The fries are served in paper cones and the portions are huge! We went just for a snack and shared the regular size (the smallest) and we didn't come close to finishing them!

The fries alone are fabulous but the other thing about Pommes Frites that rocks, is the 27...yup 27 different dipping sauces they offer! They’ll even let you sample the fries and taste each sauce until you’ve found your favorite!

Here is the impressive list of sauces they offer:

1.Vietnamese Pineapple Mayo        
2. Roasted Garlic Mayo       
3. Rosemary Garlic Mayo       
4. Sweet Mango Chutney Mayo       
5. Honey Mustard Mayo       
6. Wasabi Mayo       
7. Sundried Tomato Mayo       
8. Horseradish Mayo       
9. Pesto Mayo       
10. Dill Lemon Mayo       
11. Smoked Eggplant Mayo       
12. Pomegranate Teriyaki Mayo       
13. Parmesan Peppercorn       
14. Blue Cheese       
15. Cheddar Cheese       
16. Peanut Satay       
17. Mexican Ketchup       
18. Curry Ketchup       
19. Dijon Mustard       
20. Barbecue       
21. Sweet Chilli       
22. Sambal Olek hot chilli paste      
23. War Sauce fritte sauce, peanut satay & raw onion      
24. Curry Ketchup Especial fritte sauce, curry ketchup & raw onion      
25. Irish Curry       
26. Wild Mushroom Mayo
27. Black Truffle Mayo

The selection is overwhelming and in hindsight we should have tried more, especially since they are only a buck each! We went with the war sauce the black truffle mayo…both were delicious and a nice change from ketchup!

Pommes Frites is a tiny hole in the wall with very limited seating and it's a NYC “street food” must!


We visited the Amber on the upper east side. They serve Pan-Asian entrees and have an impressive sushi bar as well. The décor is quite fantastic with all different textured walls (some brick, stone, bamboo, etc) and very comfy seating! We stumbled upon Amber after not getting into the restaurant we’d planned on eating at (Flex Mussels) and we ended up so happy we’d found this place!

We started out with some ginger flavored cocktails to put us in the mood for some delicious Asian food! They were surprisingly reasonably priced and very yummy!

For dinner we ordered a bunch of stuff to share… Yellowtail Tartar, Broiled Mussels, a Triple Toro Roll and the Indian Pan.

The Yellowtail Tartar was served with a splash of wasabi citrus and was presented to us in a glowing bowl! The tuna was super fresh and cold and the little hints of wasabi were perfect!

Next we tried the Broiled New Zealand Mussels with mild spicy mayo. They were served on the half shell, individually prepared and smothered in the spicy mayo sauce. I've never had mussels served this way and this dish was to die for…I would love the recipe for that sauce!!

We also shared the Triple Toro tuna toro, salmon toro, & yellowtail toro on top of spicy avocado cucumber roll. This was also very fresh and delicious!

The last thing we shared was the Indian Pan - Fried Noodles with shrimp. This dish was a little sweet, a little nutty and a little spicy. A very well rounded and tasty addition to our meal!

Another great find in the big apple!

Chicken with Zucchini, Squash & Tomato

You'll Need -

1 Large Chicken Breast

1 Large Zucchini (diced)
1 Large Summer Squash (diced)
28oz  Can of Diced Tomatoes
2oz  Mozzarella Cheese
1 Clove of Garlic
Salt & Pepper
Crushed Red Pepper
Basil (fresh or dried)

Dice up the zucchini and squash into bite sized pieces. Dice up the chicken breast and sauté in a large pan with tall sides. Cook for about 3 minutes and add in the diced veggies and season with salt and pepper. Cover the pan to help the veggies to cook faster. Once the veggies are starting to get tender, drain the juice from the canned tomatoes and add them into the pan and then season with crushed red pepper and garlic...I like to grate the garlic into this dish, it gives it a subtle garlic flavor throughout rather than little bites of garlic! Cover and simmer until the veggies are fully cooked. Lastly, add in the fresh mozzarella and basil and stir to incorporate.

I like the cute perlini mozzarella for this recipe!

This is good served alone, over pasta or with garlic bread!

Makes 4 Servings
Approximate Nutrition Information Per Serving -

Calories - 181
Fat  - 4.7 (Sat 2.3)
Carbs - 6
Dietary Fiber - 1.8
Protein - 19

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The Neighborhood

The Neighborhood is actually located in my neighborhood!

It's on 106 and Amsterdam...and lucky me! I'd been here for drinks before but I hadn't tried the food. I'd been hearing good things from friends so I was really happy discover another hidden gem in the upper upper west side J

I went with one of my friends and we ordered everything to share. We didn’t intend to order this way but we ended up taking a little "international tour" with our food choices!  We first tried the Curry Lamb Meatballs which are served over braised lentils and have a really nice Moroccan/Indian feel to them! Bold flavors and the lamb made great meatballs!

Next we tried one of their dinner specials...the Sea Bass Stew served in a lemongrass and coconut milk broth with, grapes, sugar snap peas and red bliss potatoes. An interesting combonation but it really had nice light and refreshing Thai flavors! Plus I usually don't like fruit mixed into my meals so I was happy that this really worked and it was fabulous!

The last thing we tried was another one of their specials... the Butternut Squash and Mushroom Risotto which was cooked beautifully and it was obviously brought right from the stovetop to our was at the perfect consistency! It was deliciously cheesy and the rustic mushrooms and squash went so nicely together. A very classic Italian dish...done right!

The service was phenomenal and our waitress Mimi was a superstar! She knew everything about the menu and did such a wonderful job of explaining each item and answering all of our questions! She also went out of her way to recommend some wine pairings and brought 3 bottles to our table for me to sample. I decided on the 2008 Valsanzo Porkus Cerdo Con Gusto a Rioja and it was absolutely amazing. I’d never tried this wine before but it’s defiantly going on my list of favorites.

They also have great happy hour deals from 4pm to 7pm daily! House wines are only $5 a glass or you can get 6 oysters & a glass of champagne for $10!

If you are ever up in my neighborhood, I recommend you check this place out!

Crif Dogs

Now this place can make a mean dog! Their menu features 17 creative hot dog inventions and the option to build your own, so the possibilities really are endless...

One of the unique things about dining in New York City is all of the restaurants that specialize in doing one thing and doing it GREAT! Some other cool places to check out are: S'Mac (mac and cheese), The Meatball Shop, Flex Mussels, Melt Works (all types grilled cheese) and St. Mark's Burger (sliders).

Crif Dogs has been on my "must try" list since I found out about it and it did not disappoint...the hot dogs at Crif Dogs are delicious! There is nothing fancy about the dog itself but the toppings and combinations are what make this place so special.

We had 2 for 1 coupons for this place, so of course we tried four! We ordered...

The Spicy Redneck - bacon wrapped, with chili, cole slaw, avocado and jalapenos

BLT - bacon wrapped dog with lettuce, tomato and mayo

Good Morning - a bacon wrapped dog smothered with melted cheese and a fried egg

Jersey's Finest - taylor ham wrapped house dog smothered in mustard, onions & our secret chili sauce

Each one was so different and so flavorful...and there are so many more that I'd like to try! The staff was super friendly, the prices are reasonable and the food is unique and fun!!

* Bonus *

If you go after 3:00pm be sure to step inside the phone booth....pick up the phone, dial 1 and smile...the phone booth will open into the "secret" bar next door!

Hamburger Soup

This is another Mrs. C recipe…super easy and a very delicious soup! I try to always have homemade soup in my fridge or freezer during the cold months and usually make the escarole soup (see separate post) and this soup on the same night since they have a lot of the same ingredients!

You'll Need -

1 Lb Ground Sirloin
6 Cups of Chicken Broth
10 Medium Baby Carrots (chopped)
1 Medium Onion (chopped)
3 Celery Stalks (chopped)
28oz Can of Diced Tomatoes
2 Cloves of Garlic (minced)
Crushed Red Pepper
Salt & Pepper
Fresh Basil Leaves (chopped)

Season beef with salt and pepper and sauté until brown and cooked though and set aside. Sauté the carrots, onion, and celery and in about 2 tablespoons of stock. Once the veggies are tender transfer into a soup pot and add the cooked beef, broth and can of tomatoes with the juice. Bring the soup to a boil and add in more salt & pepper, crushed red pepper and fresh basil to taste.

Makes 8 servings

Approximate Nutrition Information Per Serving -

Calories - 175
Fat 6.9 (Sat - 2.7)
Carbs - 6.8g
Fiber - 1.5
Protein - 20

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Escarole (or Spinach) Soup

One of my best friends moms passed along this recipe (<3 Mrs. C) and I make it all the time! It's easy, healthy and so delicious!

You’ll Need –

6 Cups Chicken Stock
1 Medium Onion (chopped)
3 Celery Stocks (chopped)
2 Garlic Cloves (minced)
1 Head Raw Escarole (or 1 bag of raw spinach, chopped)
1 Lb Lean Ground Sirloin
1 Egg
1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese
1 Tbsp Dried Onion
Salt & Pepper
Crushed Red Pepper

Combine ground beef, egg, parmesan cheese and dried onion. Mix well and form the mixture into tiny bite-sized meatballs. Sauté them in a saucepan with few tablespoons of chicken broth and set aside.

Next sauté the onion and celery in a few tablespoons of chicken broth. Cook until translucent and add in the garlic. Cook for a few more minutes and add in the remaining chicken broth and the meatballs. Heat until simmering and top with chopped escarole (add in batches if you need to)

As the escarole heats up it will wilt and you'll be able add more into the pot.  Simmer for about 5 minutes or until the escarole is tender. Season with salt & pepper and crushed red pepper!

Makes 8 Servings

Approximate Nutrition Facts Per Serving -

Calories - 156
Fat - 6.5 (3 Sat)
Carbs - 4.5
Fiber - 2.5
Protein - 17.4

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Fatty Crab

The Fatty Crab serves Southeast Asian tapas.  We visited their upper west side location and had a nice time!  I'd been hearing wonderful things about their food and happy hour specials so I was very excited to check it out! We arrived in time for happy hour and ordered some Tsing Tsao. The happy hour snack menu consisted of Steamed Buns (veggie or pork), Jalan Alor Chicken Wings or Fatty Sliders (which are mini, spiced pork & beef burgers). We tried the Steamed Pork Buns and were surprised to learn they are made with pork belly. Pork belly is another one of those foods I keep hearing about and have wanted to try. They were very good, a little on the fatty side but that's what I would expect from pork belly!

Steamed Pork Buns

We left the bar and took our seats at our table. The seating there is a little crowed. There seemed to be plenty of room and empty tables and they squeezed us into a table that was surrounded by two empty ones with only about 3 inches on each side. Once we managed to get to our chairs and sit, we were fine, but it was little a little weird to be crowed by two other tables like that.

Once we were settled we ordered a few other things to share. We asked for the waiters recommendations, telling him we were looking for some spicy food. He recommended the okra and the Nasi Lemak which is coconut rice with curried chicken, a poached egg and otak, served with fish chips. The okra was also a first for me. I have heard mixed reviews on it in the past. This version was sauteed in a spicy chili sauce and was actually my favorite dish of the night! I think the sauce must have masked the strange texture that some people don't like about okra. The rice was great as well and also had little bites of shrimp and pork belly mixed in it as well.


Nasi Lemak

The other two dishes we tried where the Watermelon Pickle & Crispy Pork and the Shrimp & Belly. The Shrimp & Belly featured small sauteed shrimp served with very thinly sliced pork belly. This was the dish I was most excited to try and was left disappointed. The pork belly reminded me of uncooked bacon and I was not at all impressed with it. The shrimp was average, cooked fine but overall the dish was a disappointment.

Shrimp & Belly

The Watermelon Pickle & Crispy Pork was quite good, although I'm sure my arteries would beg to differ. This dish was chucks of lightly pickled watermelon served with deep fried pork belly. It was an interesting combination on flavors and textures and we all really enjoyed it!

 Watermelon Pickle & Crispy Pork

Our bill was presented with a surprise treat...Mochi Cake...and it was VERY yummy!!

Steamed Maine Lobster

Cooking beautifully steamed Maine lobsters is just about as easy as it gets!

You'll Need -

Lobster Pot
Bowl of Ice Water

Fill your lobster pot with about two inches of water, add 2 tbsp of salt and boil. Add the lobsters to the pot and steam...see below for cooking times by weight.The lobsters will be bright red when they are done (the meat should be white, not opaque)

Carefully remove the lobsters from the pot with tongs...they will be HOT so be careful!! The lobsters will keep cooking even out of the water so to ensure they dont get overdone, place them in a bowl of ice water before cracking!

Getting to the meat is the most difficult part of the process! You can buy special lobster cracking utensils or what I think is easiest is just to use a big kitchen knife and a meat tenderizer. To crack the claws place the sharp end of the knife down on the shell and hold it steady. Tap the knife with the tenderizer and the shell will bust right open. Twist off both claws and the attached knuckles from the body. From there you will be able to get at all of the meat inside the claws and knuckles.

To get at the tail meat, twist the tail from the body. Place the rounded edge of the tail onto the cutting board and use the knife to cut down vertically down the center of the tail. Then you'll be able to unfold the shell from around the tail meat. 

For the more adventurous lobster eaters... there are also two pockets of meat inside the body.To get at them, turn the lobster body over on its backside and with your knife cut open between the walking legs. The body of the lobster containes tomallley which looks like a green paste but is actually the lobsters liver and pancreas. Some people consider it a delicacy and eat it along with the rest of the lobster but many rinse it off to avoid it!

I serve my lobsters with a lemon wedge and a small ramekin of melted butter for each person!

Lobster Weight: Cooking Time

1-1/4 lbs. 7-8 minutes
1-1/2 lb. 8-10 minutes
2 lbs. 11-12 minutes
2-1/2-3 lb. 12-14 minutes
5 lb. 20-22 minutes

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Cooking seafood can be intimidating especially if you live in a tiny apartment. In my first place I refused because I was scared the whole place would smell like fish for days! I've since learned it's all about what type of fish you choose and how you prepare it. The great thing about shellfish is that it barley smells when you cook it BUT you need to get the shells in the garbage and outside ASAP!!

My lovely sister taught me the "rules" of steaming with her beautiful New England shellfish!

You'll Need -

Fresh Littleneck Clams (hard shell clams)
2 Tbsp of Cornmeal
1/3 Cup of Salt
A Lobster Pot

To prepare the clams you'll need to add the salt and cornmeal into a large bowl. Scrub the shells and then add the clams into the bowl and cover with water. Soak for at least an hour. The cornmeal will cause the clams to expel any sand in their shells. Rinse them after soaking.

Boil about 2 inches of water at the bottom of the lobster pot and add the clams. Cover the pot and steam for about 7 minutes or until all of the shells are open. Discard and clams that do not open!

At each place setting provide a mug or bowl of warm water and a small ramekin of melted butter.

Pull each clam out if it's shell and remove the dark membrane from it's neck. First dip the clam in the warm water to make sure there aren't any last stubborn grains of sand attached! Then dip into the melted butter and...ENJOY!!

They make a great appetizer and in the summer and we always share a big bowl of these before cooking fresh Maine Lobster at home!

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Chicken Wings

You'll Need-

Wing Sauce -

1/2 Stick of Melted Butter
1 1/4 Cup Franks Red Hot
1 Cup BBQ Sauce
1 Tbsp Dried Onion

1 Tsp Worcestershire Sauce

Chicken Wings -

2-3 Lbs of Raw Chicken Wings
Celery Salt
Black Pepper

To Make the Sauce -
Add the melted the butter, hot sauce and BBQ sauce to a small saucepan. Add in the worcestershire and dried onion and cook over low heat for about 15 minutes.

To Cook the Wings -
If the wings you bought are pre-split simply season each side of the wings with celery salt, black pepper, and paprika. If you bought wings that need to be split you'll have to use a butcher knife or kitchen sheers to cut the joints in between the wing and the drumstick and also between the wing and wing tip. Once the wings are split, discard the wing tips and you'll be left with wingettes and drumettes! Season each side with celery salt, black pepper, and paprika.

The wings can be baked in a 425 degree oven (on a greased broiler pan) for 40 minutes flipped over and then baked for an additional 40. I like my wings nice and crispy so cooking time may vary based on your preference!

You could also deep fry the wings but make sure the wings are super dry before seasoning them, you don't want them wet when they go into the hot oil...yikes!!  Place a few of the seasoned wings into the frier at a time. We have a small frier so each batch should take about 8-10 minutes for regular and 10-12 minutes for extra crispy!

Place the cooked wings on a papertowel to dry and then coat or dip wings into the sauce...Enjoy!!

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