If you follow my Instagram you know I LOVE cooking. And, if you know me in person you know I’m not a jerk (at least 50% of the time anyway) so I’m not going to post pic after pic with the story behind the recipe before actually posting the recipe. Recipe first!! Warning: I am not a calorie conscious chef, you’re going to see butter and cream and you’re gonna like it!

Blueberry Compote

Trader Joe’s crumpets are perfect with compote

Ingredients: Blueberries, honey, water, lemon

Difficulty: simple

Get a pot, throw in a ton of blueberries, lots of honey, little bit of water and squeeze the life out of a lemon. Heat until bubbling Easy peasy! You’re done. I like to put blueberry compote on english muffins, crumpets, waffles, pancakes, ice cream … it’s like a rustic warm blueberry jelly! Speaking of jelly, after you pop it in the fridge that’s basically what it turns into!

Arugula Vichyssoise

Salad Lyonnaise is the perfect companion to this hearty soup, add some bread for dipping and c’est parfait!

Ingredients: 4 yellow potatoes; bag of arugula; two huge leeks (most recipes say JUST the white part, while a few say use the green too); garlic; olive oil; parmesan cheese rind (not the cheese just the rind); mascarpone cheese; chicken stock; generous amount of lemon juice; whipping cream optional for garnish

Difficulty: medium

Time: 45 mins start to finish (and worth every second)

In France this dish has been served cold, however I prefer it warm. It tastes like a hearty potato soup despite it’s green color.

Ok chop up the leeks, garlic and potatoes. Doesn’t have to be perfect, a rough chop will do. Toss them all in the pot and throw in the chicken stock (or water + Better than Bouillon) and cook ’em up.

Start poking the potatoes and when they’re feeling pretty soft (about 20 mins) throw in the arugula. Two generous handfuls. Once the arugula starts to wilt which happens quickly, like about a minute, remove the the cheese rind from the pot.

Now, you can use one of those fancy handheld blenders for this next part or you can do what I did and ladle the soup into your blender. Once in the blender add a generous amount of lemon juice and some olive oil. Put that baby on high and let it turn into a puree. Pour into bowls, garnish with heavy whipping cream and a dollop of mascarpone cheese. When I eat vichyssoise, I always stir it right away to blend the mascarpone with the soup, it gives it a velvety texture perfect for dipping!

Salade Lyonaisse

Poaching the egg is the hardest part!

The perfect complement to a hearty vichyssoise and simple enough to make whenever you need to impress. A traditional salade Lyonaisse uses frisee lettuce, but I find that to be too bitter for my liking. Kale is my preferred substitute, but I used iceberg lettuce in the above picture because it’s what I had on hand. Same for the potatoes, traditionally in Lyon they use yellow potatoes, but I seriously LOVE purple potatoes and use them as often as possible.

Ingredients: salad: Lettuce, pancetta, potatoes, butter & garlic, poached egg. Dressing: olive oil, garlic, dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper, (and some of the cooked pancetta grease)

Chop the lettuce. Chop the potatoes very small. Cook the pancetta and potatoes in some garlic and a little bit of butter. Cook until they’re both crispy. While they cook, whisk olive oil with the mustard, add some vinegar, salt and pepper until it tastes perfect and then add a few drops of the pancetta grease from the pan. Take the pancetta and potatoes out of the pan, put to the side.

Poach the eggs. I use an egg cooker device so I don’t have to figure out the swirling technique in a pot of boiling water. Assemble the salad: put down the lettuce, plop the potatoes and pancetta down, gently lay your poached egg on top. Serve with bread for mopping up the yolk.

Sophisticated Hot Chocolate:

Paired with Trader Joe’s petit fours for a perfect dessert

Ingredients: quality high fat milk like Broguiere’s with the fat floating on top; a tablespoon or two of whipping cream; dark chocolate powder; vanilla (bonus if you can get actual vanilla beans v hard to find though); cinnamon; salt; whipped topping; cinnamon stick.

On a stove, NOT IN THE MICROWAVE good heaven’s you savage. On a stove, heat the milk and a few table spoons of the heavy whipping cream. Mix in the chocolate to taste, then add a sprinkle of cinnamon, a healthy pour of the vanilla and a generous pinch of salt.

To serve pour into super cool Star Wars mugs, if you’re a loser and don’t have Star Wars mugs regular mugs can be stand ins for the cooler ones that we have in our house. Add whipped topping and cinnamon stick, sprinkle cinnamon on top. Enjoy.

**You can pop this in the freezer and serve cold when it’s hot out!

Cool Mom Grilled Cheese:

Ingredients: Bread, cheese, butter, mayo

mayo is the secret ingredient!

Difficulty: easy

Time: 10 mins max

Get.Good.Bread. Don’t punk out and get a loaf of white bread or whole wheat, walk yourself to the bakery aisle and get a quality sourdough or some challah bread. Phew, step one complete.

Purchase cheese in a block. I like to mix my cheese, this one was a muenster and gruyere masterpiece. Do not buy pre shredded cheese, this is as crucial as the bread. Grate your cheese like you’ve evolved beyond the cave and into the palace.

Butter the bread. Butter the pan. Thinly coat one side of the bread with mayo and place the mayo side down on the sizzling buttered up pan. Place shredded cheese mixture on the bread and top with a slice of bread butter side down, add a little mayo to the outside. Press down on sandwich with spatula to feel good about yourself. Flip. Look at that golden color! You did it! Now let the other side toast and badaboom you got the perfect grilled cheese.

Bring it on home with a simple tomato soup ORRRRR, scroll down for how to level up that tomato soup homie.

Elevated Tomato Soup

Ingredients: tomato soup; cream; garlic; fresh basil, herbs de provence, salt, pepper, olive oil, bay leaf

Slice up a sourdough loaf and stuff with butter, cheese and herbs for an easy side for dipping

Difficulty: a four year old can do it

Time: 5 or 6 mins (if you’re doing this with a grilled cheese, you can make this first and let it heat while you attend to the grilled cheese)

Chop the garlic, or throw it in a blender and mince it up real small like. Take the garlics and toss them in the pot with some olive oil. Heat it up for a few mins then pour in the tomato soup.

Cut up the basil (and be generous use a lot!) and add to the soup. Let the basil, garlic and tomato soup get to know each other as you go through your spice rack to locate the bay leaf and the herbs de provence.

Throw the herbs in, add salt and pepper.

Now for the game changer: pour in some heavy whipping cream. This can be done to taste, more cream = lighter looking soup, less cream = more red looking soup. Stir a lot to make sure the cream doesn’t get weirdly clumpy.

Pour in bowl, garnish with basil leaf, swirl of heavy cream and a little balsamic drizzle. Whameee, never would’ve guessed that soup came from a can now!

Chiken Tikka Cool Momsala:

Ingredients: Lots, you might have to update your spice rack:

Spices: Turmeric, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, pepper, salt, garam masala, paprika

Served with byrani rice (recipe below), garlic naan from Trader Joe’s and some elevated mushroom onion soup also from TJ’s

2 tubes of tomato paste, garlic, chicken (sometimes I get Trader Joe’s pre cooked chicken to save time), lemon, olive oil, cilantro, heavy whipping cream, butter

Phew, I’m sweating after listing those ingredients. Ok, so I line up all my spices and then eyeball the amounts because honestly this is all “to taste” when it comes to a little bit of this and a little bit of that. You want to use roughly 2 teaspoons of each spice.

Ok so you get out the pan and throw in some butta. Then add in all the spices, again about 2 teaspoons of each. Toss in the chicken and get the chicken coated. Pour in the tomato paste (you want probably 2 tubes of the paste, or you can cut a corner and do a paste + tomato soup). Add whipping cream, in this case you want to add it slowly because you want the sauce to be more red than pink. Ok let everyone get to know each other while you get the naan ready. Garnish with cilantro. Shazaaaam there’s your chicken tikka cool momsala!

Easy Rice Byrani

Ingredients: literally exact same spices as the masala, turmeric, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, pepper, salt, garam masala, paprika. Basmati rice, chicken stock (or Better than Bouillon + water), garlic, olive oil, little bit of fresh ginger.

Get about a cup of basmati rice ready but first put all the spices in the pot with some butter. Turn on the burner so the butter melts and the spices start to combine, then add the rice. Stir it around so all the butter and spices cover the rice, then cover the pot and let it “toast” for about a minute – you’ll hear some popping sounds. Then go ahead and pour in the chicken stock, bring that sucker to a boil, covered. Once boiling, wait a sec then reduce the heat and let it do it’s thing for about 20 mins. Fluff periodically with a fork to prevent sticking. Some people like the rice crispy, so if that’s the case let the bottom bits crust a little at the bottom of the pot. Me, I don’t like it crispy so I fluff frequently. Garnish with cilantro as well.

Cool Mom Noodles

Mozzarella is a great addition!

Ingredients: Pasta of your choosing, (I suggest a tube to hold the sauce) garlic, shallot, 2 tubes of tomato paste, basil, salt, pepper, heavy whipping cream, parmesan, asiago cheese. Pinch of sugar.

Boil and cook da noodles according to the instructions. Get out a big ol sauce pan and over a medium heat, throw in the butter, garlic and chopped shallot. Once you smell them add the tomato paste and a pinch of sugar. Salt. Pepper. Chopped basil and olive oil added. Let them flirt with each other. SLOWLY add whipping cream to taste. Remember, more cream makes it a lighter pink.

Drain the pasta and reserve like half a cup. Add noodles to sauce, stir in the little bit of pasta reserve water. Garnish with more basil and parmesan. I usually serve it with shrimp and pesto on garlic crostinis.

It is also my favorite comfort food. This is a family favorite that I make once a week. It’s a great one to bring to parties. Mozzarella is a great cheese with this sauce as well.