Squash and Country Ham Hand Pies

Listen up, friends – it’s fall! Ok, it’s been fall ever since this epically delicious mac and cheese found its way into our mouths and hearts. But in this moment, fall means cozy, savory hand pies stuffed with an earthy butternut squash and salty country ham filling. And did I mention the pastry is loaded with toasted pecans? Yup. Fully channeling autumnal North Carolina goodness here.

hand reaching for one Squash and Country Ham Hand Pie
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Sweet Potato Collard Green Fritters

I want to say I pulled this recipe out today because I was just trying to use up some last bits of veg in my house. But, the truth is, I have a long-standing, undying love for vegetable fritters. Sometimes, a fizzy batter and a shallow fry in a skillet is the best treatment you can give a vegetable. That’s the case today with these sweet potatoes and collard greens.

Batter for Sweet Potato Collard Green Fritters on a wire rack with lemon wedges
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Rosemary Onion Donuts

Well friends, this is a very special day! It’s donut day! But not sugary sweet, cake-like donuts. Nope, these are savory, herby Rosemary Onion Donuts that you dip in a salty, chivey butter and then you close your eyes and are like, “Wow, where have savory donuts been all my life?” That’s right – this is the 21st century and donuts do not always have to be sweet! Besides, a Rosemary Onion Donut with Chive Butter is kind of an ideal appetizer. It’s like bread and butter, only a bazillion times better. And, hello – party food? 100 percent.

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Fresh Tomato Basil Tart

The sun and the rain and the air have been really good to us on the OBX this summer and we have tomatoes for days. And basil is growing like a weed! I am reluctant to cook fresh garden tomatoes too much. Considering how sweet and juicy they are, it feels like a vegetable crime. But sometimes, an idea comes along that’s too good to resist and splaying these fresh tomatoes out all over a buttery, flaky tart dough showered with tons of fresh basil seemed like the best possible move. It’s like summertime on a plate. If the tomatoes in my tart picture look too round and uniform to have been homegrown by me, you are correct. I bought these from the farmer’s market because mine weren’t ripe enough yet. But, a week or so later, I proudly swung in from the garden with these beauties! Some of whom are definitely destined for another Fresh Tomato Basil Tart. Or, maybe this buttery tomato pasta? TBD.

fresh tomatoes on a kitchen towel
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Beef and Arugula Meatballs

When life gives you wilting arugula, make meatballs! These Beef and Arugula Meatballs are my go-to for an easy weeknight meal/appetizer and a swift rescue for a bag of arugula that is quickly yellowing, on the verge of becoming slimy, in my fridge. We’ve all been here, right? Yellow? Sad? Yes.

Sad-looking arugula for Beef and Arugula Meatballs
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Blackened Chicken Quesadillas

Always on a quest for something easy, cheesy, and delicious, I am very happy to have landed on the combo of blackened chicken and buttery, cheese/onion/pepper-stuffed tortillas. These Blackened Chicken Quesadillas are spicy, smoky, oozy, and simple as all get out. The next time you have chicken in the fridge and lots of laziness in your bones, please give these a shot.

Blackened Chicken Quesadillas stacked on a plate
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Scallion Flatbread

Judging by the flour shelves at the grocery store, and my instagram feed, quarantine is bringing out the baker in all of us! I am into this but, on certain nights, my interest in big cooking projects has its limits. Luckily, no-yeast, super easy Scallion Flatbread exists!

In the blur of meals I’ve cooked over these past several #stayhome weeks, I cannot remember why I needed to make this bread. It was definitely to pair with something Middle Eastern, with lots of sauce and rice… that is *always* the type of meal that makes me and Joey crave some pillowy, blistered flatbread. I recall only having about an hour before the rest of dinner was ready and before hunger was going to turn me into a monster. Oh, and my oven was full. So, these babies came together in a cast iron skillet in under an hour. Amazing – I know.

scallion flatbread on a cooling rack
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Caramelized Shallot Butter

Can we chat about smells for a second? The first day I made this caramelized shallot butter, our house smelled like sweet, earthy shallots and wine for the next 24 hours and I loved it. Certain cooking smells just have that warm, cozy hug quality. Onions or garlic cooking in butter has always been my #1. If they bottled the scent, I’d for sure wear it. But, these caramelized shallots, with thyme and generous splash of marsala wine, are a close second.

Caramelized shallots in a pan
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Rosemary, Onion, and Olive Focaccia

Yaaasss, homemade bread! I know some of you are doing it, or at least thinking about it, during these strange days of #stayinghome. If satisfaction, and maybe a little distraction, are what you’re seeking, make some dang focaccia. You’ll be so, so proud of you! And, at the end of the day, you’ll get to enjoy fresh, olive oily, crispy outside, chewy inside, yeasty bread studded with roasty red onions, fragrant rosemary, and briny olives. Swoon ❤️

Rosemary Onion Olive Focaccia on a baking sheet
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