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October 19, 2022

Well the flu just whipped through our house and I do not recommend that situation at all. Now that I am finally feeling better, I am so eager to start making healthy comfort food dinners again. This yummy dinner was buried in my blog, and when we pulled it out and made it, it was SO good it needed to have a new post about it because it is amazing.

This dinner was introduced to me by my neighbor, and it is Spanish/Latin American dish that is like a hash (it comes from the word picar which means ‘to mince’). There are endless variations, but the presence of ground beef, potatoes, and chopped vegetables along with an interesting mixture of warm spices like cinnamon, chili powder, and cumin make every bite super flavorful. Cinnamon in a savory dish was so interesting. I am also thinking about adding some cubed butternut squash next time I make it.

My seven year old gave it a 10/10 after previously looking at it and saying he didn’t think he would like it. So if you are in the habit of taking grade schoolers as your food critic, there’s that.

I think kids really love any meal that is meat and potatoes, and we all agreed that this dinner was great comfort food. You can get very inventive with the toppings you use too – cilantro, green olives, sliced jalapeños, tabasco or sriracha for a kick, or even raisins are all some of the spice/sweet/savory combos you can use. It is also really easy to make.

These beauties all cook together until it looks like this:

Then you add the spices, tomato paste and stir for a minute. Then you add the broth and potatoes, bring to a boil, and let simmer for 20 min while you cook some rice in the rice cooker. We loved serving it with rice and also loved having Naan bread or flat bread to soak up the juices because who doesn’t need three carbs at dinner?

This recipe will definitely be on repeat at our house, it is a new favorite! I hope you can make it your new favorite too.

Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

Picadillo (I doubled this recipe to feed our crowd)



1 tbspExtra virgin olive oil

1 lb Ground beef

1 Small yellow onion, diced

4 Garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1 Green bell pepper, cored and finely chopped

1 Large carrot, chopped

1 tsp salt

2 tsp Chili powder

1 tsp Dried oregano

2 tsp Cumin

1/2 tsp Cinnamon

2 tbsp Tomato paste

2 cups Chicken stock

1 Large russet potato, peeled and 1/2 inch diced

Cooked rice for serving

Warm tortillas for serving

Fresh cilantro for serving

Jalapeño peppers slices, green olives and sriracha or tabasco for serving


  1. Heat olive oil In a large skillet set over medium high heat, cook the beef with the onions, garlic, bell pepper and carrots until meat is browned, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add in the salt, chili powder, oregano, cumin, cinnamon and tomato paste mix for 30 seconds until incorporated.
  3. Add in the chicken stock and potatoes, mix to combine. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until potatoes are tender and the mixture has completely thickened, about 20 minutes.
  4. Serve with cooked rice or warmed tortillas, fresh cilantro and peppers if you want extra heat.

This recipe originally appeared on The Modern Proper.


Crème fraîche, Garlic & Herb Mashed Potatoes

November 18, 2021

You guys. These are the BEST mashed potatoes. I am thrilled to share them, crazy about them, and hope someone out there gets to try them.

But first a little back story:

After we had our twins, we decided to get our Thanksgiving meal from a good restaurant. It felt smart and easy and we all enjoyed the day and still cooked a few sides and apps. It was so good we did it again when they were 1. The next year, my sister passed away right before Thanksgiving, and in our grief, we got it again. The next year Covid still had us turned upside-down so we ordered it again, but a big hole was felt by my sister and me and my mom (even though she had still always made her stuffing because we can’t have Thanksgiving without it). We missed our traditions.

So this year we are finally taking it back, and it feels like we have emerged from some kind of tunnel and I can see the light.

So with that backstory, I was so exited to find some ways to update the classics on our families Thanksgiving menu. When I saw this post from Ali’s Kitchen it looked beautiful! She used scallions and cilantro, but I had so many herbs on my deck I decided to use a combination of scallions, thyme, parsley, and cilantro. Then I thought about the chicken that I made from Mimi Thorisson’s cookbook with creme fraiche, shallots, garlic and lots of herbs. Ali’s potatoes call for buttermilk but I thought they would be so good with creme fraiche.

I was right. Oh my gosh, the tang it gives the potatoes is almost like a hint of lemon. (Some lemon zest would be a fun addition to these flavors too).

So let’s talk mashed potatoes. My no-fail way to make them is always to peel and cube Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes, and then put them in a pan with water, then put that over medium high heat and bring that to a boil. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until you can easily pierce the potatoes with a knife and they feel tender.

Once you have mashed the potatoes, stir in the butter, salt and pepper, and creme fraiche. I really can’t get over how good these are with this tangy, creamy addition.

To make the herby mixture, heat 3 T. oil in a pan, and add scallions, garlic and shallots. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the rest of the herbs, salt and red pepper flakes. (These are optional but I almost recommend serving kids some of the potatoes with out the herby mixture and letting the adults have it with the heat.) Keep in mind you can use any combination of your favorite herbs here, but this combination was really good.

I hope you get to try these they are swoon – worthy. And I hope your Thanksgiving is full of food, family and fun.

Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

Crème fraîche, Garlic & Herb Mashed Potatoes


5 lbs. Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed

3 T. unsalted butter (add more to taste if preferred)

2   7-8 oz packages Crème fraîche

3 T. salt, divided + more to taste

milk, if needed for texture


For the Herby Garnish:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced, to yield a heaping half cup or so
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped thyme
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional but so good)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt


Place potatoes and 1 teaspoon of salt in a saucepan and cover with cold water.

Bring to a boil and cook over medium heat until fork tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

Return the potatoes to the pan and sprinkle 2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp pepper over them and add 2 T. butter. Mash the potatoes, stirring to incorporate the butter and salt. When mashed, stir in the creme fraiche and season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.

To make herb topping, heat pan over medium heat with 3 T. olive oil. Add scallions, shallots, and garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes, then add parsley, cilantro, and thyme. Add salt and red pepper flakes and stir to combine. Cook for 2-3 minutes more until onions are browned a little and everything is fragrant.

When you are ready to serve, put hot potatoes in a bowl and swirl it around to create peaks and valleys. Spoon herby topping while it is warm all over. If needed, put tin foil over it until you are ready to serve.



Chicken Fricassee

October 17, 2018

Have you ever made a dish that you remembered to be just amazing, and then a year went by and you weren’t sure if it would be AS GOOD as you remembered? But then you made it and you realized, YUP it is that good, possibly even better than you imagined.

Just me?

Chicken Fricassee is the dish to make for your next Boss over for dinner/Priest over for dinner/Dinner Party/Birthday/Holiday or just a very special Tuesday night. It’s a classic that should be revived because everyone needs to try this to know that food can taste this good. (It actually dates back all the way to a medieval cook book from 1300’s).

The reason it’s lasted so long through history is because its DELICIOUS. The alchemy of the lemon juice, and the wine, and the fresh herbs, and the vegetables, simmered with cream and egg to make a velvety texture, and then tender chicken that soaks up all the juices, along with rice and bread – it actually makes me close my eyes to take in all that is happening in my mouth, which is my test for the best things I have ever eaten.

Julia Child in Mastering the Art of French Cooking describes a fricassee as “halfway between a sauté and a stew” in that a saute has no liquid added, while a stew includes liquid from the beginning. Technically in a fricassee, cut-up meat is first sauteed but not browned, then liquid is added and it is simmered to finish cooking. But most recipes have you brown the meat first, so I guess there is some room for interpretation.

I knew this to be a classic French dish, but when my au pair from Columbia tasted this she said “you are cooking with flavors from Columbia. This is the type of dish we would make after everyone has been partying all night, and they are hungry again at 1 or 2 in the morning, and this is what they all eat to feel better again.” (If that doesn’t make you want to try this recipe I don’t know what will). But I looked and there is a popular Spanish dish called fricasé de pollo that has spread to other Spanish speaking countries so clearly this dish has travelled not only through time but geography, again because it is DELICIOUS.

To make it, you start by cutting up your veggies (doing this prep before makes assembling this dish so much easier, I highly recommend it) and the chicken (I like smaller pieces than a whole breast):

After you’ve browned the chicken take it out of the pan to rest and start building flavor with the familiar flavors of mirepoix + mushrooms (I used a leek instead of onion but it is good either way). Then you add flour + white wine to this and let it reduce:

^I can’t tell you how good this smelled. The wine, the veggies, the bay leaf. You’ll just have to make it so you can smell it too.

Then, add chicken broth and herbs, and while that heats up, stir together cream and egg yolks. Then – and this is the most complicated part of this recipe but still doable –  you add a little bit of the hot liquid to the cream + egg mixture to temper the eggs so they don’t scramble, but instead create this velvety, creamy, rich complex sauce that holds everything together.  (I used a 1/4 cup instead of a 1/2 cup as the recipe calls for to be extra sure I didn’t add it too quickly!)

Then you add this creamy mixture back to the pan and let everything simmer. Then at the end you add lemon juice and fresh tarragon. These flavors go together so well that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and does that thing that makes me love cooking so much – it becomes something special and magnificent and memorable.

My kids love rice pilaf, so I serve it with that but mashed potatoes or crusty bread soak up all that delicious flavor. Or you could just drink it straight. It’s that good.

Last night I was still dreaming of it before I went to bed, and I made a small bowl. And I sat there and thought ‘this is what I would order in any restaurant and be totally blown away and happy.’

I don’t have to wish you Happy Eating with this dish – if you make it I know you will have Happy Eating. Cheers!

xoxo Katie

Chicken Fricassee (I doubled this recipe – printer version here): 

Recipe from the blog Everyday Occasions

4 chicken breasts (I cut them in half for kid portions)

4 chicken thighs (remove skin)

sea salt & black pepper

3 tablespoons of butter

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 small onion, diced (I used one leek instead, so delicious)

2 carrots, diced

1 rib of celery, dice

8 oz. of mushrooms, sliced

2 tablespoons of flour

1 cup of white wine

3 cups of chicken stock

fresh thyme

bay leaf

1/2 cup of cream

2 egg yolks

2 tablespoons of lemon juice

fresh tarragon

Serving suggestions : Rice, French Bread or Mashed Potatoes

Pat chicken with paper towel.  Season generously with salt and pepper.  Melt butter in a heavy dutch oven. Add oil and brown chicken for 4 minutes on each side.  Remove chicken from pan and set aside.

Cook onions, carrot, celery and mushrooms in the same pot until almost soft.  Sprinkle with flour and cook for another minute until flour is absorbed. Pour in white wine and cook for another minute, stirring.  Add chicken stock, thyme and bay leaf.

In a small bowl, mix cream and egg yolks.  Add a small amount of the hot stew mixture to the cream and yolks, stirring constantly.  Your goal is to slowly warm the eggs so they don’t scramble. Once warmed (after about 2 cups of stew mixture is added), pour into the stew pot with vegetables and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the mixture reduces and thickens.

Add chicken back into the stew.  Keep simmering until chicken is cooked through.  Keep warm on low simmer or in the oven (about 250) until ready to serve.  Before serving, add lemon, 1 tablespoon of butter and fresh tarragon. Serve with rice, french bread, or mashed potatoes.

See  this and more great recipes from Jenny Steffens at


Cayenne-Rubbed Chicken Breasts with Avocado Salsa

July 18, 2018

I can’t believe I have been Food Blogging for almost 7 years and I haven’t ever posted one of our favorite dinners.

This Cayenne-Rubbed Chicken Breast with Avocado Salsa is one of those dishes that might seem boring because of the simplicity of it, then surprises and delights with its bold spicy heat from the Cayenne rub (just 3 ingredients!), the cool creaminess from the avocado, then the crunch from the onion, all tied together with lime juice and salt. It’s our perennial answer to what to do with the frozen chicken breasts in the freezer that actually gets us excited for dinner. And it is beyond easy to make.

I love that it’s low carb, that it is SO satisfying from the good fats in the avocado, and we usually have the ingredients on hand, if we have timed the avocado ripeness just right. My kids love avocados and any meal where they get to count it as their vegetable.

And while the little kids don’t love the spice, you can coat their chicken breasts in a ranch seasoning packed instead of the spice rub or just cook it with salt and pepper and then dip theirs in ranch. (I usually serve some pasta or rice on the side too.)

(This is such a workhorse meal for us that I didn’t even have time to get great pics of it, but couldn’t keep that from sharing with you all.)

You might even find yourself making the salsa on its own to have deconstructed guacamole whenever the feeling hits you.

And it would also make a great appetizer if you skewered chicken thighs, put the rub on and grilled them, and then dipped them into a smoother guacamole or this chunky version here.

Hope this makes it on to your weekly rotation! If my husband had his way, this would be dinner 3 nights a week.

Now I’m off to take a gaggle of kids to the pool, which is on repeat these lovely warm days.

Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

Cayenne-Rubbed Chicken Breasts with Avocado Salsa (printer version here.)


  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (6 to 8 ounces each)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 Hass avocado, pitted and cut into chunks


  • 1. In a small bowl, combine 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and cayenne; rub all over chicken.
  • 2. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium. Add chicken, and cook until browned on the outside and opaque throughout, 8 to 10 minutes per side.
  • 3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine onion and lime juice; set aside. Just before serving, fold avocado chunks into onion mixture; season with salt and pepper. Serve chicken topped with salsa.


Recipe is from

Summer Ideas

July 5, 2018

Happy 5th of July! Hope you had a lovely 4th.

Well, the joys and challenges of summer are upon us, and that means lots of heat and extra laundry as we swim every day. And letting meals unfold as we see where the day takes us – basically the opposite of meal planning, especially when delicious meals are found with the freshest, simplest seasonal produce. Tomatoes, corn, blueberries, strawberries. Grill up some protein, add some vinegar and maybe some cheese and sit back with some rosé or a Negroni (or two).

Lots of people have been messaging me asking for ideas for summer grilling and salad ideas, so instead of a meal plan here are ideas for summer get togethers that I am loving.

1.This Kale and Brussel Sprout salad is still our favorite go-to summer salad.

2. A friend made Ina Garten’s Tomato Crostini with Whipped Feta for a party and Sophie (my 10 year old) was raving about it the next day and asked me if I tried it. She said, “Mom, I ate the last one and I was so sad because I wanted more!” (how cute is she?). And if you are looking for something really different in the crostini category here is…

3. 35 Bruschetta & Crostini Ideas from Epicurious – I really like this one with thai basil since I am growing a lot of it.

4. Mission Chinese Food – I’ve seen this in several places, the NY Times, Food52 (done by one of my favorite food bloggers Alexandra Stafford) which tends to mean its a very good recipe. Alexandra wrote exactly what I was thinking – that there were a lot of hard to find ingredients but that you can sub any vinegars for the ones they had listed. And that the salad was addictive.

5. Speaking of Alexandra, she has her favorite summer salads up on her blog that all look amazing. (Julie, this list is for you!). She knocks food blogging out of the park.

6. I have been craving zucchini salads and this one from Bobby Flay looks amazing. It happens to be one of the many Summer Cookout Sides he is sharing on Food Network so if you don’t like this one you are sure to find one you do in his list.

7. Grilled Swordfish Kebabs with Golden Raisin Chimichurri we are addicted to grilled Swordfish, especially with lots lemon and blackened seasoning (had it last night with fresh corn and caprese salad). This looks like a great twist and I can’t wait to make it the next time we grill.

8. This Asian Slaw from Alton Brown seems like it would go so well with those swordfish kebabs.

9. Our sitter came in raving about the the Curried Potato Salad with Apples her dad made for their bbq. It got me craving one and both this one from an Indian Chef and this one from Genius Kitchen look good.

10. This Grilled Brie, Pineapple and Prosciutto recipe looks amazing!

11. I could live on this Ratatouille recipe all week.

12. I also always crave Gazpacho so here is the Green one I posted and a Red one I posted.

13. We’ve been loving putting burrata on our Caprese salad.

14. I also can’t wait to make this Burrata Antipasto from A Life From Scratch.

15. If you are looking for a great and easy dessert idea, just add this Strawberry Rhubarb compote onto vanilla ice cream. I posted it here to go on top of muffins that are delicious, but this is the ultimate topping for vanilla ice cream. Along with blueberry compote when they are bursting from bushes and produce sections. Plus if you don’t have time to make it due to  summer fun you can just put the fresh fruit on top.

16. Someone made these Campfire Cones at a party I went to last summer and I know my kids will LOVE them when we go camping.

Pregnant with Twins: Weeks 24-26

July 21, 2017

Since I am constantly scouring the web for info on these later weeks of twin pregnancy, I thought I should share what they have been like for me, should some other lucky mom troll the interwebs for commiseration. I started this post a few weeks ago, but then a book launch happened. I figured I would just add on to what I had since the week by week comparisons have been the most helpful to me. I will try to continue and fill in every two weeks here on this blog should you feel like you want to follow along. If you want to see my 18 week update, click here.

24 weeks pregnant: The week of viability, or the week a baby could live outside the womb is always such a mental milestone, especially with this pregnancy.

I am generally a glass-is-half-full girl, and I am still over-archingly joyful about the amazing event that will take place this fall. I don’t think you can wrap your brain around delivering and holding 2 babies until you actually go through it. I am so aware of how many people have lost twins, and held them for such a short time, so in sharing my current feelings, it is not that I am unaware of that heartache. This post, though, is to help moms who might be in a twin pregnancy or late stages of pregnancy and are feeling the literal and figurative weight of what they are carrying. It is to be honest about what is hard. Lately my most frequent pastime when I have a down minute is scouring the internet and searching ‘how to survive a twin pregnancy’ or ‘getting through the end of a twin pregnancy’ because at only 24 weeks, I am hurting. Mostly these searches just produce a boat-load of (100% justified) complaining. I am sort of looking for the version of twin pregnancy that is carried out by a cross between Mother Teresa and Margaret Thatcher – one filled with tough love, vaulting over obstacles, and a steely will that stays fixed on the end goal. But I usually end up rolling over and feeling sorry for myself and my inability to breathe laying down.

Hitting up against physical limits is hard.  They are really the biggest sanity-testers for me. It’s summer, let’s go to the beach? Great, I can only carry 1/2 of what I usually can and will need to go to the bathroom every 15 minutes, and also, no wine.

We are headed to an amusement park? My favorite. But I can only walk in short bursts, can’t go on any of the rides, and will need to use the bathroom every 15 minutes. And then I will need a two hour nap. And later, no wine.

All of the projects around the house that I want to do, are necessary for me to do in order to get ready for the babes, keep slipping by since I have no energy to do them. We are re-doing an attic and making it a bedroom for the au pair. Currently it is filled with Christmas decorations that were thrown back into their bins during ski season. I have at least 3 bins of wreaths that I have never used in this house that need to be lugged down by presumably someone, I have no idea who. My husband’s normally slow July has picked up into warp speed due to getting an increase in his territory.

I know it just means I am human, and I truly am listening to my body and respecting what I can do. Fatigue and super-human stretching just come with the territory. It is easy to think ‘only 3 or so more months, its going to fly by!’ But then, as I open my eyes each morning, there is this significant pressure on my abdomen that I had forgotten about while dreaming, and also it feels like it has gotten bigger/heavier because, well, it has. And then 3 months feels really, really long.

26 week update:  

I am pretty much feeling the same as 24 weeks, only bigger, and excited that 2 weeks have passed. Update on the attic: my champion husband and I got it all done last weekend. He lugged the heavy stuff while I sorted. Cue all the good feelings of being liberated from tons of unused belongings in the attic. Now I just have to go through the baby clothes. I superstitiously save this job for the weeks we are very close to meeting the baby, to get me through the last of the pregnancy when I am huge. This time I am doing them way earlier, because I am already huge and need the energizing effect of tiny clothes now, in case I go early. (Plus Prime Day had a huge sale on Burt’s Bees baby clothes.)

I am still on a high from my book launch this week, which was a wonderful distraction and a really fun night. A measure of my energy level is that staying out until 11 pm on the night we held the book launch made me go to bed at 8:05 pm the next night and sleep until 7:30 am.

And my last ultrasound showed the babies looking very healthy. Baby B is still being monitored for Down syndrome, with the only marker being slightly bigger kidneys (a 1.5% increase in risk). When taken with the blood test results saying it is 70-85% likely that one of the babies has DS, and my age, which is 41, we are assuming we have a very healthy baby who has Down syndrome until a blood test shows something else. (You can read more about it on my 18 week post).

By far everyone’s #1 question is ‘what are you going to drive?’ and I am happy to report that we solved that question and bought a van. A real van. Not like a mini-van or anything. One that could be used commercially. Which our 4 year old likes to point out whenever we see a commercial van. Fortunately, our big kids think it is on par with having a limo so we have major street cred in their eyes.

Now all we need are the car seats, plus some diapers.

Yup. We’re going to need a lot of those.