Alley's Recipe Book
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Easy Super Bowl Appetizers

The Super Bowl is coming.  In case you're like me and forgot when the Super Bowl was... it is this Sunday!  Whether you're hosting your own viewing party, going to a friend's house, or planning a chill evening at home, chances are you are making some appetizers.  Little bites and tasty dips are easy to throw together and it's always nice to bring extra food to a party (always better to have leftovers than not enough).  :)  So here are some easy recipes to score a homerun (I mean, touchdown) with your guests....

spinach artichoke dip
buffalo chicken dip
baked crab ragoons
creamy spinach pinwheels
cauliflower croquettes
chicken and spinach taquitos

 Cauliflower Croquettes Recipe 

Weekly Menu

Another weekend has flown by!  If you're in Columbus or a big hockey fan you may have spent some time at the winter park downtown or watching the skills competition/allstar game.  We stopped downtown for a bite to eat (at Arch City Tavern, where I had lamb sliders with goat cheese and my husband had their market burger) and then walked around the park.  I'm not a fan of winter, well, really I just hate being cold.  So I have never really tried any winter sports... everyone looked like they were having fun on the outdoor ice rink, but I'll pass.  I'd rather sit cozied up by the fireplace.

Before the weekend started, I went to the Seasoned Farmhouse where they were hosting edible columbus and native for a little new years shindig.  Cocktails were served using native cold pressed vegetable juices and local spirits along with some raw appetizers and treats.  Certainly an example of how happy hour can be quite healthy.

seasoned farmhouse native juice cocktails 
arch city arch city
nhl allstar weekend
fish and shrimp stew flowers

After being outside in the cold, we came back home and I made some fish and shrimp stew.  It's kind of like fish and chips in a steaming hot bowl of soup, but nothing is fried.  A nice way to warm up!  Especially next to some bright flowers that serve as a reminder that Spring is less than two months away.  :)

I spent a couple hours today prepping several freezer meals which will appear on the blog as they make their way to the oven.  Last week, my husband did most of the cooking... and neither of us want that to continue... so freezer meals are the temporary solution.  Hopefully everything turns out tasty so we can keep a couple in the freezer for those busy days!

This week's meal plan includes some repeats because boxed mac and cheese replaced the more 'difficult' recipes last week.  ;)  

broccoli stuffed chicken with buttered carrots
spinach enchiladas
calzones or pizza night
salmon burgers
lobster mac and cheese

Weekly Menu

Hope you had a great weekend... and maybe it is an extended one if you have MLK Day off tomorrow!  Ours was rather chill (ugh, literally) which seems like every weekend in the winter is.  But we were excited to start playing with our new coffee gadgets we ordered earlier this week.  After loving the espressos, cafe lattes, and cafe cremes in Italy and France we have been wanting to make our own.  So our little espresso pot and milk frothing wand came in the mail on Friday and we made mochas and lattes all weekend.  Good thing we stocked up on Snowville milk this week!

italian espresso italian espressohofbrauhaus columbus hofbrauhaus columbus

We also ventured out with some friends to Hofbrauhaus finally!  My husband and I both have a lot of German roots and we like German beer (I mean, bier), so I don't know how it took us this long to get our butts over there.  It's definitely a lot of fun with the open haus setting, long tables, and live polka/folk music.  People were standing on their chairs singing and dancing along with giant liter beir steins.  We'll definitely be back soon!  :)

Alright, here is my plan for this week!  What are you planning on making?

fish and shrimp stew (or baked potato soup)
chicken fajitas with homemade chips and guac
broccoli stuffed chicken with buttered carrots
seared scallops with salad
pizza night

Caramelized Onion and Pear Grilled Brie Sandwiches - total time 15 minutes

One cooking secret I learned from my mom was how to make the best grilled cheese sandwiches EVER!  My sandwiches have come a long way from Kraft singles and Wonder bread.  Rustic wheat breads, sophisticated cheeses, complex flavor combinations... you name it, I have probably made it into a melty cheesy sandwich.

I mentioned a week or so ago that I was inspired by one of Harvest Moon Cafe's bison burgers with caramelized onions, pears, and brie... soo good!  I knew it would taste just as good (or better) without the meat.  So only a few days later, I made these sandwiches, and then again, and again.  Definitely addicting!  Perfect to go with a cup of soup or a side salad.  And it doesn't take long at all.  

Weekly Menu

Happy Monday!  Hope you were able to stay warm this weekend... we tried to stay inside cozy by the fireplace most of the weekend, but when the sun was shining we had to get out of the house (even though that was probably the coldest day)!  I love to try new restaurants which gives me inspiration on new things to cook at home.  We checked out Double Comfort for some brunch and Fox In the Snow for some afternoon espresso drinks.

Double Comfort in the Short North specializes in southern cooking and proceeds from every order go to local food banks, which is pretty cool.  I had a southern take on eggs benedict and my husband had mac & cheese waffles (the mac & cheese was in his waffle!).  Everything was delicious and so filling, so we had to walk it off in the brutal cold, but soaking in that sunshine and some vitamin D.  After perusing around North Market and picking up some spices and pastries from Pistacia Vera for later, we head to Italian Village for some coffee at Fox in the Snow.  If you're used to sugary Starbucks drinks, this place is not for you.  Instead it is very traditional Italian and French espresso drinks with a selection of buttery breakfast pastries.  I defaulted to a mocha (since I knew they would do one of those pretty fern designs in the milk that reminds me of Seattle).  They make it with melting chocolates, so it was super rich.  Much later, I enjoyed my caramel espresso tart we picked up earlier... these espresso drinks and tarts were giving me flashbacks to Europe and I ended up dreaming we went back to Paris that night!  Oh, if only money was unlimited...

fox in the snow fox in the snow mocha
double comfort bennets double comfort southern eggs benedict
pistacia vera caramel tart

Although we did just book a vacation to St. Lucia so we can leave the frozen tundra for a bit.  Only for five days, but can't wait to see sunshine and be warm at the same time!

Alright... time for meal planning this week!  

pizza night
spaghetti bake with salad
broccoli stuffed chicken with buttered carrots
fish tacos with grilled brussel sprouts

What are you planning on making this week?

My Little Sister's Wedding

Since the Columbus Bride Show was this past weekend and the Bridal Expo is coming up soon, a lot of people are thinking about weddings.  We have several save-the-dates coming in already for this year... I don't know if all of a sudden everyone is getting married or if it is just my friends and family (maybe it comes in waves, since we had one of those kind of years seven years ago when we got married).  Any way, wanted to share some pictures from my little sister's wedding back in October.  :)

It's funny how Pinterest has changed weddings so much over the years... both in the fact there are a lot more creative touches... and a lot more creative touches expected.  Oh and camera phones... people are catching everything and then posting, adding a hashtag, and then you can find all of those fun pictures and videos so easily.  Haha, it makes me feel old thinking neither of those existed when we got married!

personalize your starbucks bridal selfies

can't wait to be together

all you need is love

the bride and her girls

All photos were either done by our uncle or my iPhone.  ;)

Weekly Menu

The first weekly menu of the new year!  If you're trying to make meal planning part of your New Year's resolution, of course you can take inspiration from what I'm planning, but there are also meal plans with grocery lists if you go to the Menus link in the top navigation.  I'll be adding more meal plans and grocery lists as I can to give you more options and variety, so check out the link for updates!  :)

Here is this week's meal plan...

creamy tomato bisque with grilled cheese
sloppy joes
lemon chicken with steamed broccoli
alley doughs (aka veggie calzones)
creamy shrimp bowties

Hope your New Years Eve was great!  We had a fabulous time going to Milestone 229 for dinner and then partying at the Hyatt.  We danced so much my toes still hurt (weird, I know, but my shoes were pinching my toes).  We were on the 16th floor of the Hyatt, so there were some great views in the morning of Cbus.

NYE cocktail NYE dinner
NYE cheers downtown columbus

Took the Snoop dog on a little stroll around the neighborhood.  I absolutely love the Metroparks system and having one so close to home gets us away from the old sidewalk routine.  It was so cold that day, but clear skies and sunshine made it so worth it!

columbus metroparks columbus metroparks harvest moon cafe immersion blender
Even though we had plenty of time at home with all of our end-of-year PTO and holidays, we kept getting the itch to go out to eat (maybe a little cabin fever?).  So after Amanda from girlaboutcolumbus mentioned Harvest Moon Cafe in Canal Winchester, it has been on my list to check out.  Finally did and they have some great bison burgers (the one pictured is inspiring my grilled cheese this week).

Oh and I got to play with my new kitchen tool today (Christmas present) while making soup to combat this blustery cold day outside.  I'm ready for summer, how about you?

Top 14 Posts of 2014

I can't believe it is almost 2015!  Really just crazy to think that 2014 has come and gone in what seems to be the blink of an eye.  I was reviewing my "Facebook year in review" compilation they put together for you and 2014 was really quite an amazing year.  My husband and I both started new jobs at the beginning of the year.  Several of my friends had or are about to have adorable little babies.  After years and years of talking about it, we finally went to Europe for vacation and it was amazing!  And my little sister got married.  

It has been a fun year of blogging too!  While I did take a bit of a hiatus while life was a bit busy, there have been a lot of great new recipes added to the "recipe book".  Also, some new kinds of posts this year including some fun lists about Columbus.  So, without further adieu, the top 14 posts of 2014...

broccoli chicken alfredo pizza

1. 40 Things to Do in Columbus When It's Cold or Rainy
2. Summer Bucket List - 20 things to do in the Cbus
3. Salted Caramel Mocha Brownies
4. Broccoli Chicken Alfredo Pizza
5. Creamy Salmon Pasta
6. Grilled Asparagus and Poached Egg
7. Creamy Springtime Pasta
8. Green Yakisoba
9. 26 Easy Vegetarian Recipe Roundup
10. Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Granola Bars
11. Seared Scallop Alfredo
12. Rosemary Chicken
13. Grilled Caesar Salad
14. Veggie Calzone

chocolate covered peanut butter granola bars salted caramel mocha brownies

Throughout the year, the Columbus related posts have remained the most read posts of the year.  So, while this is a recipe blog, there may be some more Columbus posts coming your way in 2015.  Stay tuned!



And of course the number one post of the year...

Thanks for reading and have a happy New Year!!!  *cheers*

Top 13 Recipes from 2013
Top 12 Recipes from 2012

New Year's Resolutions

Hope everyone had a great Christmas and time with family over the holiday weekend!  Ours was pretty laid back considering we started the Christmas celebrations three weeks ago.  Of course, once Christmas is over, then comes the realization that the year is almost over as well.  Still can't believe it!  2015 is only a few days away, so I started thinking about what my New Year's resolution could be.

Now I know resolutions are hard to keep and it seems silly that there is so much focus on "becoming a better person" for one day out of the entire year, but I am a goal setter, so I like them.

picture from

Here is a list of the top ten New Year's resolutions made every year...

1. Lose Weight
2. Getting Organized
3. Spend Less, Save More
4. Enjoy Life to the Fullest
5. Staying Fit and Healthy
6. Learn Something Exciting
7. Quit Smoking
8. Help Others
9. Fall in Love
10. Spend More Time with Family

You know what resolution would cover over half of these?  Meal planning!  I've been planning meals at the beginning of each week for about five years now and can say that there are tons of benefits to getting organized and cooking at home.  

1. Save Money - Because you're not eating out and when you go to the grocery store, you know exactly what you need (saves time wandering around too).
2. It's Healthier - Chances are good that you don't have a deep fryer at home.  Also, since you know what is going into the food you're eating you will probably think a little more about it.
3. Spend Time with Family - Eating around the kitchen table is 100 times better than eating on the go.  Savor your food and the conversation!
4. Knowing the answer to "What's for dinner?" - Ugh, I used to hate that question!  My response was always "food" because I didn't know yet.  Now I just point to this week's meal plan.  :)
5. Learn New Things - When I started meal planning, I was a beginner level cook at best.  You learn as you go.  Your meals get better, fancier... soon people are wanting your recipes and asking you to cook at their house.

To make it easier, I'm working on some curated meal plans for you... with organized grocery lists!  There will be a couple categories to choose from... 30 minutes or less (all recipes are quick and easy), vegetarian, and seasonal.  Each meal plan will have six meals and a weekend breakfast recipe.  And the first three are ready for you!

Chocolate Cherry Bombs - total time 50 minutes

Chocolate Cherry Bomb

I looove cookies... but seriously, I need a break from them right now.  Too many Christmas cookies!  

So we were running through the produce section of our grocery store the other day (really just to grab some lettuce for tacos) and I noticed cherries.  I have always associate cherries with summer.  Cherries are the kind of fruit you can't have year-round in the produce department, so I looked into it, and it is currently the Southern hemisphere's cherry season (makes sense)!  I guess Australians associate cherries with Christmas, which made me think... Christmas is really different down under, wearing shorts in the height of summer season and celebrating Christmas... strange thought!

Any way... there are a lot of birthdays around Christmas and I have been thinking about making cake pops, but instead of a pop, a cherry stem.  So I grabbed a bag of cherries and made these super rich and chocolaty cherry bombs!  And I mean they are really gooood.  This is coming from someone who doesn't typically like chocolate cake or cherries... but these are the bomb!  (Haha... pun intended!)

Just so you know, the stems are a little finicky.  I really wanted mine to look like little cherry bombs, so I tried my hardest to keep the stem on throughout the process (specifically when dipping them in the chocolate).  These would be just as delicious balled up without the stem or even put a pop stick in them.

So before your New Years resolutions are set, get in one last indulgence!


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