A Dangerous Love

Strong, German, about 10 inches long and sharp as hell.   
Following our wedding whirlwind, like most couples do, we began using our gift cards to feather our nest.  It was so much fun and we were so grateful. In my mind, our $100 Williams Sonoma card was already spent.  I had been dreaming (on-line shopping) about my perfect kitchen tool; the one that would make all the difference.  That day,  I was surprised to see that Pete was excited about shopping.  He was expecting a shopping spree of high ball glasses, a blender and maybe a toaster!  I said nothing.

Long story short, we walked out 15 minutes later with a single item, My Knife.  We were heavy with chopping anticipation and light by about $30 cash.

I got home and immediately opened a bottle of wine and admired My Knife.  It was so shiny, strong and beautiful.   The chopping, slicing and dicing commenced.  I chopped everything that I could find; tomatoes, lemons, onions, soda cans and then back to the juicy ripe tomatoes**... and then somehow, my own fingers.  By the end of the night, a single little nick on my index finger turned into about a dozen tiny cuts all over my hands. Both hands somehow.  The wine.
The next day was Monday.  Work.  My boss and I were doing a mediation on a big case.   Mediations involve sitting at a table with other lawyers, a retired judge usually, insurance people, etc. talking, advocating, negotiating, and more lawyer stuff.  These are activities that, unfortunately can not be done with your hands hidden in a fur muff.   That day, my "power suit" was accented by 10 or so tiny Band-Aids placed all over my fingers ala Michael Jackson from the "Leave Me Alone" video.  My boss noticed so I put my hands up and shrugged "new knife."  He said nothing.

The hands went into my suit jacket pockets where they stayed for the day.  This is likely the most awkward of all awkward positions, try it. Its ridiculous.  But I didn't care.  I had My Knife and I loved it despite the pain and embarrassment.  I couldn't wait to get home to do more chopping.
About nine years later and I'm still with My Knife. These days, I crush garlic cloves like an angry cave woman, slice cucumbers while singing and dancing and carve through giant roasts with ease- like butter!  Over the years, My Knife has gradually taught me to respect its deadly sharpness, but has also made me the master of my kitchen.   My point about My Knife (pun intended) is its not about the shop from where you found it. Its not the price tag.  Its not its German-ness. Its value is in the way it makes you feel.  The weight of a good knife in your hand, can transform you from a home cook to The Chef in your own home.  Get one and fall in love. But, please be careful!

     What kitchen tool or gadget makes you feel like a Chef in your kitchen?

xo & a pinch ( & a tiny nick )


** For you millennials, YouTube a Ginsu Knife infomercial, circa 1985


Hawaiian Pulled Pork Sliders


The tropical slaw adds a great crunch and freshness to the slow cooked pork.  I also just love a recipe that uses up an entire fresh pineapple.   Ok, there were a few bites eaten during the prep phase with a tiny sprinkle of sea salt.  Cooks treat!

This recipe makes a big batch for a crowd of about 6-8.  Its great for game day and will make your house smell like a luau (if its also a pork roast!) 

For the slow-cooked pork:

  • 2 pork shoulders
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1/2 fresh pineapple, cored and chopped
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • salt & pepper
  • slider buns.  We love the sweet Hawaiians!

1. Except the pork, mix all ingredients in a bowl.

2. Place pork into the slow cooker, pour combined ingredients over pork. Massage sauce into pork and cover. Slow cook for 8 hours on low.

3. When cooking is complete, use 2 forks for pull pork into shreds.

For the Tropical Slaw:

  • 1/2 red cabbage shredded
  • 1/2 green cabbage
  • 1/2 fresh pineapple, chopped
  • 1 bunch chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • salt & pepper

1.Whisk all ingredients together, except for the cabbage and pineapple.

2. Pour dressing over cabbage and pineapple.  Season with more salt & pepper to taste. (You may wish to add more lime juice or vinegar. Your preference.)

3. Chill for at least an hour.

Serve the sliders on buns adding pork and then slaw.


xo and a pinch,


The St~Germain Cocktail

st germain cocktail.JPG

So, M&P has been a little quiet lately. We decided to try for a screen-free summer to focus on family, friends, fresh air and the delicious things right in front of us.  It was a pretty successful endeavor; allowing us to lift our heads from our computers and stretch our necks.  Speaking of stretching, we've been bitten by the yoga bug!  Who knew?  Kelly,  once described as "zen-phobic" and Pam, who is too busy to breathe, have both become (or trying to become) bendy, breath-y and serene.  (insert prayer hands)

Of course, none of these new things have been an impediment on our cocktail hours!  When getting back into our little website (over drinks), we realized we've never shared The St~Germain Cocktail, the most heavenly of all cocktails.   How could we do this?!   Such a huge miss!!  But see what happens when you take a little break?  Clarity. (insert more prayer hands here)

This drink is a true favorite.  Its easy to drink and goes with almost everything.  Its effervescent, light and refreshing with a bit of sparkle. 

Fill a large glass with ice, and pour:

  • 2 parts dry white wine (or Prosecco)
  • 1 1/2 parts St~Germain
  • 2 parts sparkling water

Stir, garnish with a little citrus and enjoy.

Cheers to new beginnings!

Measure & Pinch

Pineapple Shrimp Ceviche

Pam's husband Paul a.k.a McSweeney, Paulie, Uncle Paul or most affectionately, U.P. sometimes travels to exotics lands for business; Brazil, China, Rio, Amsterdam, etc.   U.P. is a lucky guy, but he's modest about it.  Sometimes, if I catch it right and I get him talking, I can get a nice dose of travel (& food) inspiration.  

Most recently, we talked about his trips to Mexico and his visits to ceviche bars.  Places were you can casually belly-up to a bar that serves fresh, delectable ceviche, paired with exquisite sipping tequilas.   U.P. said "you would LOVE it!"  Yes. I would.

Here's my version of exotic Mexican, coming from my very plain, Jersey Shore kitchen.

What you'll need:

  • I lb. raw shrimp, peeled, deveined and tail removed
  • 1/4 fresh pineapple, chopped
  • 2 limes, plus extra for garnish
  • cilantro, 1 bunch, chopped
  • 1/2 cucumber, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 avocado, chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • Hot sauce (we love Outer Limits Hot Sauce)
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • garlic, 1 clove, minced
  • 1 light beer, optional (we love Corona)

1.  In a large pot over high heat, bring beer and about a quart of salted water to a boil.  To the water, add lime slices and cilantro to infuse flavor into the shrimp.

2.  Add the shrimp and let cook for 5-8 minutes until opaque. 

3. Strain shrimp and let cool.

4.  Meanwhile, in an large bowl whisk together ketchup, garlic, zest and juice of 1 lime, salt & pepper, hot sauce.  

5.  Stir in cucumber, tomatoes, onion and pineapple.  

6.  When the shrimp is completely cooled, roughly chop into bite-sized pieces and add to mixture.

7. Gently fold in the avocado chunks and a handful of chopped cilantro.

8.  Chill for up to an hour or overnight.

9. Serve, garnished with extra chopped cilantro and lime.


xo & a pinch,



Pineapple St~Germain Martini

IMG_3043 (1).JPG

And just like that, its summer!  

Scroll down, our last post is about cozy, rich French onion soup.  What a difference a day (or two) makes!  

We've been revisiting our old friend, St~Germain by adding it to practically every drink we make.  Its so versatile, but also special.  Here, we're celebrating the promise of tropical weather- a little sunshine in a glass!

  • 1/4 oz lime juice
  • 1 ozSt~Germain Elderflower Liquor
  • 1 1/2 oz vodka
  • 1/2 oz pineapple juice

Shake all ingredients with ice and pour into a chilled martini glass.   Garnish with pineapple or lime slice.

Feet up, deep breath, sip... & repeat!


Measure & Pinch

* Thank you Red Bliss at Home for the gorgeous Gold Nexus Coaster Set. They are simply stunning!  redblissathome.com


The Classics: French Onion Soup

I usually don't insist upon proper serviceware, but for French Onion, you need crocks.  I got these at Target years ago and they are holding up nicely.  I also use them for chowders and crumble desserts. 

I like making French Onion Soup for guests because its classic and traditional, yet unexpected from a homecooked dinner.  Its also host-friendly. Once you have it simmering, it can sit on the stove all day until you're ready for the final elements; a hunk of toasted bread and delicious creamy Gruyere (also, a must).

I don't usually insist upon a proper cheese, but Gruyere.  I'm sorry.  This dish will cost you about $8 in cheese.   The rest, however is mostly just onions (cheap) and water (free!).

french onion soup.JPG

Here it goes:

  • 8-10 small - medium white onions, sliced(enjoy a good cry)
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 32 oz box of reduced sodium beef broth
  • 2 cups water
  • salt & pepper
  • fresh thyme 2-4 sprigs
  • 1-2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar(secret ingredient ALERT!)
  • 6  slices of French baguette, cut on a diagonal
  • thinly sliced Gruyere cheese, about 3 slices per crock
  • parmesan cheese, grated for topping

1.  In a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, cook onions, butter, salt & pepper, olive oil, uncovered.  Stir frequently, until onions are very soft and golden brown, about 45 minutes.  Add brown sugar and cook for 5 minutes.  Add water throughout the cooking process as needed to prevent sticking or over browning. 

french onion soup browning onions.JPG


2.  Stir in wine and let cook for 5 minutes.

3.  Stir in broth, water, bay leaves and thyme and simmer for 10 minutes.

4.  Reduce heat to low and partially cover.  Let lightly simmer for 30 minutes to 1 hour.  The longer it simmers, the better. 

5. When ready to serve.  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Remove thyme stems and bay leaves.  Taste soup for proper seasoning.  

6.  Place bread slices on large cookie sheet and bake about 10 minutes until dried and toasted. Reserve toasts.

7.  Place crocks onto foil-lined cookie sheet.  Ladle soup into crocks.  Place one slice of bread into each crock. Top each with 3 slices of cheese to cover. Sprinkle parmesan cheese onto each bowl.

8.  Broil until cheese is melted and golden about 2 minutes.

Stay cozy & patient!  Spring will be here soon... I think.?

xo & a pinch,

Tortilla Soup, version 112

Tortilla soup and its yummy friends to garnish! 

Tortilla soup and its yummy friends to garnish! 

Hello friends! It's been too long. I've been so buried  since my company was acquired I can't tell what day of the week it is anymore! Needless to say, I've been shirking my responsibilities with posting. That said, if there's one thing that can pull me out of being buried with work, it's Cinco de Mayo! 

It's not a secret that I love all things Mexican; the country, the people, the food, the beaches, etc. I've tried a million different versions of one of my most favorite Mexica Soups but, decided to share a new version for you on the big day! In order to ensure you got the very best version I also visited my favorite Mexican Grocery Store in Red Bank, NJ. I'm not sure what I love most about it but, I'm sure I love that everyone is speaking Spanish. 

My little cart... 

My little cart... 

My cart.... yes, there's more in there than just the ingredients for this soup! Sneak preview of more to come for Cinco de Mayo! 

The fun part is how easy this is. You can play with the recipe as much as you'd like. I threw all the ingredients (except the chicken broth)  into my cast iron skillet whole, then cut them up one after the other and dumped them into a blender, yup - beyond easy! 

Ingredients include 

  • 1 onion sliced into 3 big slices 
  • 4-5 garlic cloves 
  • 3-4 large plum tomatoes 
  • 4 cups of low sodium fat free chicken broth 
  • 1 large dried chili pepper 
  • 1 small (hot) spicy pepper 
  • 8 small corn tortillas (4 & 4) 
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin 
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of corn starch 
  • 1 tablespoon of cold water
  • One avocado
  • A bunch of cilantro
  • Queso fresco 
  • Lime

Fill a saucepan with the chicken broth and turn on the heat on the lowest setting just to warm it up, not to get it hot. In the other pan, the cast iron skillet toss in the garlic, plum tomatoes, the peppers, onion slices and the peppers! Once they're all a little brown take them out and put them aside. once at a time, up to 4, pop those beautiful corn tortillas into the pan, it's dry still so, let them stay in there cozy for say 1 minute on each side. When those 4 are toasty, slide up the tomatoes and toss them back in the pan. 

Next step is super easy. First cut the tops off the peppers and dump out the seeds, sliced them up into a few pieces. Then, take everything else you just cooked, including the tortillas and throw them into your blender with say, 2 cups of chicken both (Note! the chicken broth shouldn't be hot or it may explode when you cover it and blend it - make sure - if it's steaming, do not blend it until it cools) Blend everything until smooth and add in your spices; cumin, garlic powder, salt pepper and pour it back into the chicken broth . 



Turn heat up to medium high. In a little bowl mix your corn starch and water, pour slowly into the warmed up soup and watch while it thickens.

While it warms slice up your garnishes and get ready to eat a yummy treat! Slice the avocado, sprinkle with lime juice, cut off about a 1/2 cup of Queso fresco and crumble it up, as much cilantro as you like and the tortilla strips! 

Tortilla strips drying 

Tortilla strips drying 

The strips.... slice up the 4 remaining tortillas into strips. In a shallow frying pan you'll need to put canola oil in about 1/4 deep. When you drop the strips in, they'll fry fast so, stay over them with your tongs. As they brown, take them out and let them dry on a paper towel - sprinkle with salt. 

As you pour the soup into bowls and garnish with this yumminess ( fresco, tortillas, avocado and cilantro ) get ready to love this soup! 

Looks like a lot but, it's really easy and very fast. Don't shy away! I know you'll love this. 

Enjoy, xo  Measure

Up close and personal 

Up close and personal 

Strawberry Salsa

I think there is universal agreeance (yes, its a word) that sweet & salty food are simply irresistible. The combination of juicy, sweet fruit and salt, lime and cilantro is perfection, and on a tortilla chip, totally addictive.  This time of year, we usually chop up a big batch of mango salsa as an addition to our Cinco de Mayo festivities.  To me, the mango is the sweetheart of all fruits.  I just cant say enough wonderful things about the sweet, pretty mango. But strawberries have been having a tough time lately.  They made it to the ever shameful dirty dozen list.  Poor strawberries... happens to the best of us.  Don't believe the hype and just hunt down some organic berries.  This salsa is too special to pass on.  Its kind of like a fresh strawberry daiquiri on a chip. Strawberry Fields Forever!     

Chop up the following:

  • 1 pint of strawberries, hulled   
  • 2-5 plum tomatoes, cored (discard the wet seeds with a spoon)
  • 1 (medium) red onion 
  • Bunch of cilantro 
  • Salt & pepper
  • Lime, juice

Try to chop the berries and tomatoes to be about the same size.  Combine all ingredients and enjoy with tortilla chips.


xo & a pinch,




Weeknight Skillets: Light & Easy Eggplant Parmesan

Pam's favorite Italian meal is eggplant parmesan.  So, this quick & healthy version has her in eggplant heaven!  One night, Pam was flying home from God-knows-where on a business trip.  We did our quick usual check-in texts covering her ETA (12AM), random food thoughts (weekend eating plans) and what I was eating for dinner (this eggplant). Long story short, at about 1:00 in the morning, Pam crept up onto my porch to collect a Tupperware of this delicious mess for a very late-night dinner!

Make this when you want something quick, easy, light, vegetarian and Italian, or when your travel-weary best girl needs a healthy dinner after a long flight.

Heres what you'll need:

  • 1 large eggplant, cubed  
  • olive oil, about 2 tbsp
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 28 oz can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup part skim ricotta
  • 1/2 cup shredded low-fat mozzarella
  • parmesan, grated for topping
  • fresh basil, 5-6 leaves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1.  In a large skillet over medium high heat, add a generous swirl of olive oil.  Add cubed eggplant. Season with salt & pepper.  Let cook for 8-10 minutes until slightly softened and browned a bit.

2.  Add garlic, red pepper flakes, oregano, tomatoes and season again with salt & pepper. Let simmer for 10-12 minutes until eggplant is soft and tomatoes are cooked.

3.  Using a teaspoon, dollop ricotta around the pan, swirling slightly into the sauce.  (don't completely stir it in).  Sprinkle shredded mozzarella on top and put skillet into the oven. Bake for 10-12 minutes until cheese is melted. 

4.  Let cook for 2-3 minutes. Top with torn basil leaves and grated parmesan. 

(5. pack into a Tupperware and place in a secret, yet obvious place on your porch and go to bed, hoping for cool weather and exclusively carnivorous neighborhood wildlife!)

xo & a pinch,


Weeknight Skillets: Chicken & Escarole

Chicken Thighs over escarole, pam's bad photo

Chicken Thighs over escarole, pam's bad photo

When Kelly and I started our clean eating weight loss program back in December of 2014 I had no idea I had 20 lbs to lose. I was sure I could lose 10 absolutely but, not 20. Well, when 20 came off I realized maybe I did have 20 to lose.  

A few keys if you're looking to lose weight when & if you're born in 1967 (yes, I'm old.)  You simply can't eat more than 1200 calories a day and as my doctor says, "fruit is not your friend." 

Anyway, looking for new inspiration for recipes Kelly found Cooking Light Magazine so, we both asked for subscriptions for Christmas. Now, when Bon Appetit comes Cooking Light comes, too! It's a double celebration. 

Chicken Skillet Dishes were on the cover so, we both dove in head first! I made this one for us and changed it up a bit. As, always...

It's simple, and it's fast.  Its perfect for a weeknight. 

The M&P version:

  • 10 Chicken thighs (I can give up a lot of things but, the flavor in a boneless chicken thigh rules over the flavor of a boneless breast, all day long..) 
  • 2 bunches of escarole, clean and sliced into strips 
  • 1 red onion sliced
  • 1/2 tsp herbs de provence 
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper 
  • 4 cloves of garlic 
  • 3 tablespoons oil 
  • 1/2 ounce pecorino cheese (shaved with a peeler) You can use Parmesan if you don't have Pecorino. My grandfather used to say, "Pecorino is a little more sharper.." Yes, his first language was Italian :) hence the wrong use of sharp! 
  • Salt & pepper

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Best way to start, grab a pot of water to boil with about a tablespoon of your salt. When boiling, pop in your cleaned, sliced escarole for one minute then drain and let sit while you start your chicken.

Pat the chicken thighs dry with a paper towel.   Then dust with the herbs de provence.  Over medium high heat,  add olive oil to a large skillet.  When the oil is good and hot, put the chicken in your pan.

Let the chicken cook until you see some liquid on the top of the thigh, the bottom should be nice and brown (3-5 minutes) flip them, let them sit in the pan another 2-3 minutes then place skillet into a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. Take them out.  (Usea pot holder on the handle from this moment on! )

Take the chicken out of the pan, and reserve.   At this point, the pan has some FABULOUS yummy juices in it and a bit of oil so, now is the perfect time to toss in your garlic & red pepper flakes. Let those sit a few minutes but, pull out the garlic when it starts to get a little brown. Now, toss in those beautiful red onions.. yum.... let them drink up the juice and let them brown a bit. When browned, throw in the boiled, drained escarole.

What we're doing here is simply warming everything up before we serve it. When the escarole gets hot, feel free to put the chicken back on top of the bed if you're serving in the hot skillet. If you're serving on a platter like I did, put everything from the pan onto the dish and top with the chicken and the peeled pecorino cheese. 

Totally blog worthy and totally delicious!

Enjoy! xo Measure

The professional picture, and recipe

The professional picture, and recipe

The Classics: Escarole Pie

I love escarole.  Mostly, the way my friend Delia (aka "Nonna" to my boys) prepares it.  She "massages" the leaves with lemon, salt & pepper.   She says to do the massaging (with clean hands,  of course) in the kitchen so that your guests don't see you up to your elbows in their dinner!  For some reason, her method makes the most refreshing, delicious simple salad.

Onto this recipe, which is more suitable for this non-Spring Spring that we're having.  Here the escarole becomes hearty, sweet and savory in a warm flaky pie.  Its our take on a classic Italian side dish that's perfect for any gathering, but especially brunch.  Don't be afraid of the anchovies, they melt into wonderful nutty-ness, plus they are a must-have ingredient in this pie.

Here's what you'll need:

  • 3 heads escarole
  • Olive oil 2 tbsp.
  • 3-4 anchovies
  • 3-4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • Nutmeg, a pinch
  • 2 eggs(one egg is for egg wash)
  • 1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
  • Pie crust, prepared or pizza dough
  • Salt & pepper

Here's what you'll do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. In skillet over medium high heat, heat oil & anchovies, red pepper flakes and garlic.  Once anchovies are melted, add chopped escarole, salt,  pepper & nutmeg.  Once escarole is wilted, let cool.

2.  In the meantime, in a large bowl, combine cheeses, egg, olives & raisins.  Season with salt & pepper.

3.  Combine escarole with cheese mixture and pour into pie crust. Top with second crust, crimp and brush with egg wash.  Bake 35-40 minutes until golden.


xo & a pinch,



Baked Potato Soup

Ok, so its cauliflower.  You know I love skinny-food trickery and cauliflower is my best partner in crime.  I promise, when you're eating this, you'll think its potato soup.  Its creamy, hearty and when its topped with the usual baked potato bits, you'll find yourself high-fiving "I can eat this whole thing?!"  Yes.  Its cauliflower.  Ok, there's one potato in there.

Here's what you'll need:

  • potatoes, 2 small or 1 large, roughly chopped
  • cauliflower, 1 large head, chopped
  • vegetable or chicken broth, 1 cup, but you may use less
  • salt & pepper
  • cheddar, shredded for topping
  • bacon, cooked & chopped for topping
  • chives or scallions, chopped for topping
  • sour cream, dollop for topping, if you wish

1.  In a large pot over high heat, add the cauliflower & potato. Cover with water and add about a tsp of salt.  Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes until the vegetables are fork tender.  Drain in a colander and return to the pot. 

2.  If you are using a blender or food processor, let the cauliflower cool completely.  Then, in batches, blend mixture until smooth.   If using an immersion blender, blend until smooth or your desired consistency.  Return the pureed cauliflower to the large pot.

3.  Over medium heat, stir while adding broth until you get your desired consistency.   Season with salt & pepper.

4.  Ladle into bowls and garnish with bacon, cheese & scallions.

 What's your favorite cauliflower recipe?

xo & a pinch,

Easy Fish Chowder

So, its March and its snowing here on the Jersey Shore.   I'm not mad, but come on!    I hate to be one of those weather-talkers, but spring has been peeking its little head out here and there and ... what a tease!

Anyway, I love this dinner on days like this because it too, is kind of a tease.  A good briny clam will always bring the summer into your kitchen, while the tomato-y broth is cozy and warm.  

  • 4 cod fillets, about 1 lb in total
  • 8-10 clams, scrubbed
  • Canned tomatoes, 28 oz
  • Chicken broth, about 1 cup
  • White wine, about 1 cup
  • garlic, 4-5 cloves, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled & chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 6-8 small potatoes
  • Old Bay seasoning, 1 tbsp
  • Hot sauce, 2-3 shakes
  • olive oil, 2 tbsp
  • salt & pepper
  • Crusty bread or garlic bread for dipping (optional, but not really optional)

1.  In a large pot over medium high heat, swirl olive oil.  Add potatoes, carrots, celery and onion.  Season with salt & pepper.  Cook for 8-10 minutes.

2.   Add garlic, Old Bay and hot sauce and cook another 3-5 minutes.  Add wine, cook for another 3 minutes.

3.  Add tomatoes, broth and heat to boiling then reduce heat to medium and let simmer for 5-8 minutes.  Add salt & pepper to season.  Taste!

4.  Add cod fillets to the pot and cook 4-5 minutes until opaque.   Add clams to the pot and cover.  Let cook 5-8 minutes until clams are open. 

5. Stir pot, removing any clams that did not open. 

6.  Add chopped parsley and serve.  

** don't forget the crusty bread.

Stay cozy!

xo & a pinch


Pepperoni Red Pepper Penne

Pepperoni Red Pepper Penne.  Say it three times fast!

My boys love pepperoni and red peppers are one of their few "permissible" vegetables.  This recipe wasn't created, rather born from necessity.  Weeknight, after work, tired, hungry kids-  Done!  

They ask for it all the time.  Even on easy Sundays.

  • 1 lb penne
  • 1/2 cup pepperoni, sliced into half moons
  • 1 red pepper, cut into strips
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • grated parmesan, for topping
  • basil, for garnish
pepper pepperoni pasta middle.JPG

1.  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

2. Boil pasta in salted water, to al dente (7-8 minutes)

3.  Meantime, over medium-high heat, swirl olive oil.   Saute red pepper strips until tender.  Add pepperoni slices and heat through for about 5-8 minutes.

4.  Drain pasta, reserving about 1 cup of pasta water.   Return pasta to the pot.  Add pepper -pepperoni mixture including all juices and that yummy orange oil!  Season with salt & pepper.  Add about half of the pasta water to create sauciness. Add half of the shredded cheese.  Combine all ingredients.  Taste and adjust salt & pepper as you wish.  Top with remaining shredded cheese. 

5.  Pour pasta into the skillet and heat in the oven for 5-8 minutes.  Change the oven over to broil to crisp the top a bit. 

6.  Top with torn basil, grated parmesan and serve.

7. Watch your children pull the basil off and try to feed it to the dog, but then enjoy!

xo & a pinch,



The Classics: Fried Chicken Cutlets (with a little zest)

Now I'm not about to suggest that fried chicken cutlets are the key to a healthy marriage, but they certainly help to keep husbands happy.  Well mine, at least.  Pete loves breaded, fried anything, but chicken cutlets are his favorite.  He loves them and they make him happy.  I think they bring back childhood memories or something. The love is real and true.

Me on the other hand, I try my very best to eat light and healthy.  Really, I do!   Being over 40 and carrying around a post-baby/no-time-to-work-out body will do that to a girl. But diet-bending a bit for love is worth extra calories, painful splatter, greasy paper towels and pan and entire kitchen...

I have to admit, pan fried chicken cutlets are truly delicious.  To these,  I add fresh parsley and lemon zest to the bread crumb mixture to take them to a zippy new level.   At the end, when they are resting, I add a lemon spritz and parsley garnish. They taste so fresh & light, it makes you completely forget that you're eating something that's been dredged in breading and FRIED IN OIL!!!!   

Make a big batch because you'll use them later in the week when your husband is mad about your AMEX bill, or use them for sandwiches, salads, etc.  They're magically zesty & delicious.

What you'll need:

  • 6 chicken cutlets, pounded out under clear wrap or in a large plastic food bag
  • 2 eggs, lightly whisked with a splash of water
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice for seasoning
  • 1 cup vegetable oil

What you'll do:

Add oil to large, stainless skillet and heat on medium-high.  Meanwhile, in a shallow bowl, add eggs and splash of water, salt and pepper, whisk.  In a second shallow bowl or rimmed plate, add bread crumbs, cheese, 1/2 of the parsley and lemon zest.

Salt and pepper your chicken cutlets, then dredge each cutlet in the egg and then into the bread crumbs and place in the hot skillet.

Don't crowd your pan, it will reduce the heat. Rather, brown the chicken in batches.  Once browned on each side, set on a plate with sheets of paper towel to absorb the excess oil.    Once all of the chicken is browned, place on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.  Then, sprinkle with remaining chopped parsley and lemon.

How do you make your chicken cutlets?  Do they inspire your other half to do dishes?

xo & a pinch,





Half Homemade Completely Delicious Crumbcake

crumb cake top.JPG

I'm not a roses and diamonds kind of valentine (but.. ok, if you must).  I like a quiet, simple, cozy valentine celebration.  I think having the most romantic holiday in the dead of winter was predestined by Cupid and meant to be spent supremely cozy.  To me, cozy means breakfast in bed.   And yes, breakfast can be cake- what do you think a muffin is?!   Also, its valentine's day. Time to splurge & be sweet!

This one is half-homemade and so easy, even your kitchen-phobic husband can do it!  (share blog post now)

** Cheers and gratitude to my sister, Denise. This is another great one from her recipe archives.  She used to bring this to family gatherings and the adults would share it with coffee.  So sweet! 

Here's what you'll need:

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 2 sticks of butter (room temperature)
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • confectioners' sugar, for sprinkling

Here's what you'll do:

1.  Bake cake mix according to package directions in a 10x14 pan.   (You can get an aluminum pan from the grocery store).  Bake 25 minutes.

2. Prepare the crumbs:  In a large bowl combine butter, sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg with your hands.  Pinch ingredients together until you get a pebbly- like texture.

3. Top cake with crumb mixture and return to the oven for 15 minutes.

4.  Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.

Don't forget to brew a pot of coffee!

Have a sweet day

xo & a pinch



Quickie Weeknight Shrimp

Quickie shrimp for two

Quickie shrimp for two

There's something so very satisfying about a delicious meal that can be made in less than 15 minutes. Yup!  15 minutes. It turns out there there are 30 minute meals and then there's this super speedy, yummy, good for you week night shrimp dish!  

(That was probably too many adjectives..) 

Here's what you need:

  • One bag (approx. 20) peeled and deveined, shrimp, defrosted
  • 1 cup of sun dried tomato, cut into strips
  • 3 garlic cloves, pressed (or minced)
  • 1 can of artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 1 cup of olives (I used green but, you can also use pitted Kalamata) 
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • 10 sprigs of thyme
  • 3 Tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper

In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, warm 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Toss in garlic, artichoke hearts and sundried tomato and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add olives and thyme, stir for another 2 minutes and then, add the wine.  Let simmer and turn your oven on tobroil.

Toss the shrimp into the pan,  cook for about 2 minutes then turn it over for another 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper. 

Transfer the pan to the oven and broil for 2 minutes.  Keep an eye on it!  

Serve over pasta or zoodles (spiralized zucchini).   We zoodle! . 

PS I don't add grated cheese to anything with seafood but, if you really really like grated parmesan I suppose you can add it. 

Enjoy, xo Measure! 

Mushroom Pizza Bites

Like most humans that walk that earth and eat, I LOVE pizza.  I love all pizza.  I love pizza with mushrooms, pepperoni, peppers, sausage, arugula, pineapple, meatball, lobster- anything.   I love a white pie, a dessert pie, a clam pie.   You get the picture.   Unfortunately, pizza = carbs.  

So, when those pizza cravings come (daily), I love these little bites.  They're easy, versatile, pizza-y and carb-free.  I know, sauce and cheese on a mushroom, does not a pizza make. But with your favorite toppings, these may hold you over until the delivery guy arrives.  

Heres what you'll need for this "non-recipe" recipe:

  • 8-10 mushrooms, cleaned, stems discarded
  • olive oil, 1 tbsp
  • garlic salt, about 1/4 tsp
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • basil, torn for garnish
  • red pepper flakes  
  • dried oregano  

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2.  On a sheet pan, covered with parchment paper (or not) place mushrooms in pile.  Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle garlic salt and toss.  Arrange on the pan, mushroom ribs facing up. Bake in the oven for 5-8 minutes.

3.  Remove from the oven and carefully pat mushrooms dry with a paper towel.  Add a teaspoon of sauce to each mushroom and top with cheese.  Bake again for another 5-8 minutes.  Turn the oven on broil for the last 3 minutes to brown the cheese.

4. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes.  Top with red pepper flakes, dried oregano and torn basil, if you'd like.  

Cravings satiated! 

xo & a pinch,


Coq a vin M&P style..

Ingredient shot

Yes, that's a football. It's play off season for this insane NFL fan! 

I love this time of year! The freezing cold air, the snow if we're lucky, the fireplace roaring, football for my beloved Pats.... & cozy meals.

Kelly and I decided we needed to learn how to make a few classics so, first on the list is Coq a Vin! I went to my go-to girls to get some inspiration (Ina & Anne) but for classics that always includes Julia..

Here's what I learned. 

1. It's a labor of love if you dredge it in flour before you cook it. If you don't have 2 1/2 hours or need a faster version, don't dredge it. 2. If you dredge it, dredge it as it goes into the pan. 3. If it's not thick enough for your liking, you can thicken it pretty easily or you can use less chicken broth. Oh, and 4. It's delicious for a Sunday Supper!

Here's what you'll need: 

  • Chicken thighs and drumsticks (8 thighs, 4 drumsticks) 
  • One bottle of red wine (3-4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup of Brandy
  • 3 cups of chicken broth 
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • One spanish onion, chopped up small 
  • One small container of porcini mushrooms, quartered
  • One bag of frozen baby onions
  • One bunch of fresh thyme
  • 3 long stalks of celery, chopped up small 
  • 4 oz of pancetta 
  • 8 oz of (very thick) bacon
  • 3 Tablespoons of olive oil x 2 
  • 1/2 cup of tomato paste
  • 1 cup of flour 
  • salt & pepper 

Start with your large dutch oven and coat the pan with the first 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Heat medium high, to high. Put your cup of flour into a flat pan for dredging. One piece of chicken at a time dredge it into the flour and pop into the hot dutch oven for frying. It should make a lot of noise when you put the chicken in. You want the chicken to be brown on all sides. 

Definitely don't overcrowd your pan, just enough to fit and work in batches. As you complete a batch sit the chicken on a paper towel to drain the oil off. Once all the chicken is done, go to your ingredients pictured below. 

Ingredients allc hopped up! 

Ingredients allc hopped up! 

Before you add the bacon go ahead and add the next 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the bacon with the pancetta and cook it until it's crispy (medium high) add the celery and onions plus salt & pepper and lower the heat. You'll want these to cook until translucent. Add the garlic and let that simmer for about 2 minutes.Now, add the mushrooms, salt & pepper. After they cook down a bit add the brandy to glaze the pan and let the juice absorb. Next add your tomato paste, stir until it thickens a bit. Give it about 3-5 minutes and add your wine. 

Add your chicken back in, add the onions and  the chicken broth. Stir it and add a bunch of thyme. Place into a 300 degree oven for about 45 minutes. When you take it out take a look and see what you think. If there's a lot of liquid pop it back on the stove and turn up the heat, let it boil off a bit to thicken. 

I added a little flour & butter (2 tablespoons of each blended in a saucepan)  

Voila! Now, if you want to do the straight up chicken without flour, it will cut a little bit on the time and calories. 

I served it with a cauliflower mash. Of course, I always sneak one potato no matter how healthy we are, in honor of my McSweeney & McGee's Irish heritage. 

Topped with some scallion 

Topped with some scallion 

Enjoy, xo Measure