Cranberry Negroni


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This Cranberry Negroni is the perfect cocktail to serve at your holiday party!

Mix up these festive Cranberry Negroni’s up for Thanksgiving or Christmas or any holiday that you’re celebrating. They not only look amazing but they taste it too.

I used my Negroni cocktail from a while back and kicked it up with the flavor of cranberry. Lots of cranberry…

The ice cubes are even made from cranberries! I took fresh cranberries and threw them in my blender with some water. They turned out even better than I thought they would – it looks like there’s actually cranberry juice in there but there’s not. It’s just fresh cranberries and water.

So when these cranberry ice cubes melt your drink gets infused with more cranberry flavor. 

Negroni’s have that classic bitters flavor from the Campari and, well, the bitters. I used Dillon’s Cranberry Bitters for this Cranberry Negroni recipe. One of the wife’s friends got her a sampling of their bitters and we’ve had a lot of fun experimenting with them. They have some crazy flavors of bitters, pear, rhubarb, ginsing and lime just to name a few.

Also, if you’re not a huge bitters fan, or campari fan, you’re still going to like this drink. The cranberry flavor definitely mellows out the “bitter” bitters taste making it a great cocktail for sipping.

 And you’re gonna want to sip…this Cranberry Negroni looks pretty but it’ll sneak up on you. One or two of these will definitely carry you through the night.



cranberry negroni


Cranberry Negroni
Serves 1
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  1. 3/4 oz. dry gin
  2. 3/4 oz. Campari
  3. 3/4 oz. sweet vermouth
  4. 4 dashes cranberry bitters (you can sub orange or regular bitters)
  5. 1 oz. cranberry juice
For the ice cubes
  1. 1 cup fresh cranberries
  2. 2 cups water
  1. To make the ice cubes, add the cranberries and water to a blender and puree until smooth.
  2. Pour into ice cube molds and freeze overnight.
  3. Add all the cocktail ingredients to a shaker and shake well.
  4. Pour into a glass filled with the cranberry ice cubes and serve.


Turkey Lasagna Rolls with Pumpkin Alfredo

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Turkey Lasagna Rolls with Pumpkin Alfredo.

Big name – big flavors.

Don’t feel like cooking a big turkey? Or you’re only having a small crowd? This Turkey Lasagna Rolls with Pumpkin Alfredo recipe could definitely sub-in as your Thanksgiving meal.

These lasagna rolls are stuffed with ground turkey, spinach and ricotta cheese and covered in a pumpkin alfredo sauce. That’s enough Thanksgiving flavors for you, right?

Growing up there was always some sort of pasta on our Thanksgiving table, even though there was a 22 pound turkey. The Italians love their pasta and not many meals are complete without it.

A lasagna was always pretty traditional too. Either that or baked ziti and I’ll always vote lasagna over baked ziti.

I know these lasagna rolls look like a meal in itself, and as I said they totally can be, but don’t worry about using them for a side dish either. The ground turkey and spinach filling is actually pretty light…you could make these instead of a potato dish too. Switch things up a bit.

Or make it all like my family does. There’s always double proteins, double carbs, double vegetables and usually triple the desserts.

But that’s what Thanksgiving is about right? The inability to move after the meal.

All you have to do for the filling is brown up the turkey with some onions, garlic and the spinach.

Once it’s cooled, mix it with ricotta cheese and and egg and your filling’s done.

The pumpkin alfredo sauce might sound complicated but it’s really easy to put together, it’s a basically an alfredo sauce with some pumpkin puree stirred in. Not too tricky.

You’re going to need 12 cooked lasagna noodles, but cook up the whole package. Sometimes they break and you need an extra.

The rest get broken up and stirred with marinara sauce and parmesan cheese for the kids dinner. 2 meals in one!

Take your cooked noodles and lay them out on a cutting board, then spoon some of the filling onto each noodle.

I like to divide it all out ahead of time so I know I have an even amount of filling for each roll up.

Spread the filling out evenly over each noodle and roll them up.

Pour about a cup and a half of your pumpkin alfredo in the bottom of a 9×13 casserole dish and then start placing your roll ups on top of the sauce.


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Spoon the pumpkin alfredo sauce over the tops of the rolls with more sauce and then mozzarella cheese.

You can set these in the fridge now to cook later – or cover them with foil and bake at 400 for 30 minutes.

Take the foil off and finish cooking for anther 10 so they get nice and bubbly.


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How good do these look? And they taste as good as they look, I promise you!

Turkey Lasagna Rolls with Pumpkin Alfredo
Serves 6
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For the Pumpkin Alfredo
  1. 3 T. butter
  2. 4 c. 2% milk
  3. 1/2 c. heavy cream
  4. 1 t. salt
  5. 1 t. pepper
  6. 1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
  7. 1 c. pumpkin puree
  8. 1 T. sage, chopped
For the Filling
  1. 2 T. olive oil
  2. 1 1/2 lbs. ground turkey
  3. 1 t. salt
  4. 1/2 t. fresh ground black pepper
  5. 1 small onion, diced
  6. 4 garlic cloves, minced
  7. 1 1/2 t. garlic powder
  8. 1 1/2 c. frozen chopped spinach
  9. 2 c. ricotta cheese
  10. 1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
  11. 12 lasagna noodles, cooked and placed flat on a cutting board
  1. Start by making the sauce.
  2. Add the butter to a large saucepan and let melt.
  3. add the garlic and let cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add the milk and the cream and stir.
  5. Add the pumpkin puree and whisk carefully until all combined.
  6. Serve with extra sauce alongside.
  7. Stir in the salt and pepper and the chopped sage.
  8. Simmer over low heat and let reduce for 15 minutes.
  9. Heat up the 2 T. of olive oil in a large skillet and add the ground turkey to brown.
  10. Season with the salt, pepper and garlic powder.
  11. Once the turkey is browned, add the chopped onion and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes.
  12. Stir in the chopped spinach and transfer to a bowl to cool.
  13. Once cooled add the ricotta cheese and stir to combine.
  14. Place 1 1/2 c. of the pumpkin alfredo to the bottom of a 9" x 13" baking dish.
  15. Divide the filling evenly between the 12 lasagna sheets that have been cooked and spread out evenly to cover the noodle.
  16. Roll up each noodle and place in the baking dish on it's side.
  17. Repeat with the other 11 lasagna noodles.
  18. Spoon the pumpkin alfredo over the tops of the rolls and cover with the shredded mozzarella cheese.
  19. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes until bubbling.

Spicy Mushroom Rice


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Before you think this Spicy Mushroom Rice is just another average side dish, just give me a minute and let me explain how good it is.

It’s like the side dish that can turn into the whole dinner good. Just double the recipe when you make this because the leftovers are amazing.

You could add shredded chicken to the leftover rice, ground pork or beef and a little teriyaki sauce…or some black beans too keep it vegetarian.

You have to let the mushrooms get nice and browned,  that’s definitely key to this recipe. As far as the “spicy” goes, I stuck to one jalapeno for this recipe but I definitely wouldn’t stop at one next time.

2 for sure, maybe even three.

Thanksgiving is crazy enough with the turkey and appetizers – this Spicy Mushroom Rice recipe is an easy to make (and make-ahead) side dish you won’t have to think about on the big day.

Wash your mushrooms, or brush them with a wet paper towel as they say, I’m not gonna lie – I wash them. Have you ever seen how much dirt is on those things? I don’t think a damp paper towel really gets them clean.

Slice them up pretty thin and throw them in a skillet with a couple tablespoons of butter. Let them brown up really good, this will take about 10 minutes.


browned mushrooms


Next add in a sliced shallot, your jalapeno some salt and pepper and cook a few more minutes.

Pour in 1/4 c. of marsala (the real stuff, it’s only like 8 bucks at the liquor store do don’t buy the junk in the grocery store) and a tablespoon of soy sauce.

Stir in your cooked rice, do a quick taste test for seasonings and then you’re done!

This Spicy Mushroom Rice can be heated up in either in the oven or the microwave just before dinner. One less thing you have to worry about Thanksgiving Day!


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Spicy Mushroom Rice
Serves 8
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  1. 4 c. of cooked white rice
  2. 10 oz. white or button mushrooms
  3. 2 T. butter
  4. 1 shallot, sliced
  5. 1 jalapeno, diced
  6. 1/4 c. marsala wine
  7. 1 T. soy sauce
  8. 1 t. salt
  9. 1/4 t. fresh ground black pepper
  1. Start by melting the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add in the sliced mushrooms and let brown, stirring, for 10 minutes.
  3. Next add the shallot, jalapeno, salt and pepper and let cook for another minute or two.
  4. Deglaze the skillet with the marsala wine and let reduce for 2 minutes.
  5. Add the soy sauce and stir, then add the cooked rice.
  6. Stir together and then season with more salt and pepper to taste if needed.


Candied Bacon Cornbread

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You guys are going to flip for this Candied Bacon Cornbread recipe. It’s actually Candied Bacon Jalapeno Cornbread but that name was too long.

It’s a perfect combination of sweet and spicy – diced jalapeno all throughout the cornbread and sweet candied bacon on top. It’s pretty rockstar cornbread if I do say so myself.

The wife picked up a cast iron skillet a couple of months back but we hadn’t seasoned it, so there it sat. There’s not really a time in our house when we’re not using our oven for several hours that we can set aside to season a pan. But I got tired of looking at it just sitting there so I finally seasoned it up.

The first thing I wanted to try and make was cornbread. We love cornbread in my house but it’s always the store bought kind. That’s right – the kind from ShopRite and I’m not ashamed to say it.

But this Candied Bacon Cornbread recipe knocks grocery store cornbread out of the park. No more store-bought cornbread for me!

The candied bacon just takes a few minutes to cook up in your oven…




Chop it up after it’s cooled and set aside. (Cooled being the key phrase. Hot sugar on your skin is no fun) Try not to eat it all in the meantime…people will come running…just swat them away. More samples for you that way.

Cook up some onions, garlic, jalapenos in butter then let cool.

Mix together your batter ingredients, add the cooled onion mixture and pour into the cast iron skillet.

Place the skillet in the oven to bake for 15. Take it out and top it with the diced candied bacon, whatever is left that you haven’t eaten.


cornbread batter skillet


See how it starting to bubble up on the sides because the skillet is so hot? That equals crispy, buttery edges. Awesome.

Put it back in the oven to bake about 10-15 minutes more until it’s golden brown on top.

And there you have it  – Candied Bacon Cornbread to go along side almost any dinner you can think of. I’d love it next to some Hard Cider Lamb Chops, or chili of course. But I’d eat this cornbread with just about anything.

Or even as a midnight snack when no one’s looking…


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And yep, I’m gonna say it – this candied bacon cornbread goes great with an ice cold beer!

Candied Bacon Cornbread
Serves 8
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For the candied bacon
  1. 12 slices of bacon
  2. 1/4 c. brown sugar
  3. 1/2 t. cayenne pepper
For the cornbread
  1. 1 c. yellow cornmeal
  2. 1/2 c. cake flour
  3. 1/2 c. all purpose flour
  4. 1 T. baking powder
  5. 1/2 t. baking soda
  6. 1/2 t. kosher salt
  7. 1/2 c. onion, chopped
  8. 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  9. 2 large jalapenos, seeded and diced
  10. 2 large eggs
  11. 1 1/2 c. buttermilk
  12. 6 T. butter, melted and cooled plus 3 T. more, not melted
  13. 1/4 c. honey
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place the bacon strips on a foil lined baking sheet, sprayed with cooking spray.
  3. Combine the brown sugar and cayenne pepper in a small bowl and evenly coat the bacon slices.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes, take out and let cool completely.
  5. When the bacon has cooled, dice into small pieces and set aside.
  6. And try not to eat it all.
  7. Turn the oven up to 400 degrees.
  8. Add 2 T. butter to a hot cast iron skillet.
  9. Add the diced onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring.
  10. Add the garlic and jalapeno and cook for 1-2 minutes more.
  11. Transfer to a plate and put the skillet back on the stove.
  12. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk, melted butter and honey.
  13. In another bowl, stir together both flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  14. Add the cooled onion mixture to the wet ingredients and stir to combine.
  15. Pour the wet ingredients over the flour mixture and stir until it just comes together.
  16. Turn on the cast iron skillet to medium-high heat and add 1 T. butter
  17. Brush the melted butter all over the bottom of the skillet and up the sides.
  18. Pour in the cornbread batter and place the skillet in the oven.
  19. Bake for 15 minutes, then take out and add your diced, candied bacon pieces.
  20. Cook for another 10 minutes until golden brown on top.
Adapted from Food Network Magazine
Adapted from Food Network Magazine

Green Tea and Thyme Martini

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Cold weather bringing you down? 

Or maybe you’re feeling a little under the weather?

Well Food Fanatic and I are here to help! Shake up a batch of my Green Tea and Thyme Martinis and you’ll forget all about that head cold.

These martinis are kind of like a cold version of a hot toddy.

I know the warmth from a hot toddy is part of what makes you feel better and clears your head up – but I’ve never been one to drink my booze warm so I made up this martini instead.

You’ve still got the green tea – totally good for you – some honey, fresh thyme and vodka. All proven to cure what’s ailing you.

OK, maybe the vodka not so much, but it sure does make you feel better while you’re drinking it! The green tea mellows out the vodka, so even though it’s strong it still has great flavor. The fresh thyme gives you an herby aroma when you take each sip, and that’s good for cold too, right? Herbs and stuff? I’m gonna say yes.

So even if you don’t have the cold weather blues or a head cold, you should still whip up a batch of these Green Tea and Thyme Martini’s since they are totally good for you.

I also did another version of a Cold Toddy in shot form…in case you aren’t one for sipping and like to get right to the point. This shot also uses whiskey or bourbon instead of vodka so you have lots of choices!

Click over to Food Fanatic to read the full post, there’s a funny story my Father-in-law always tell about drinking martini’s back in the day…and you can also check out the other recipes at Food Fanatic while you’re there!


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