Grilled Chicken Thighs with Chimichurri

The weather is getting warmer by the day, which means that it is almost grill season in the Lavarnway and Cardillo houses. We love cooking on the grill as an easy way to get outside and add a little smoky char to whatever we are cooking. If you’ve been around for a while, you know that one of our signature dishes is our steak with chimichurri. In that recipe, we blended the ingredients of a traditional chimichurri into a smooth and delightfully zingy sauce. For today’s recipe, we have stuck to a more traditional variation. 

Chimichurri is a loose, herb based sauce that is held together by olive oil and red wine vinegar. It has a ton of flavor thanks to the additional of garlic, a pinch of chili flakes, and some shallot. For this recipe, we like to marinate the chicken thighs in the chimichurri for a few hours to help break down the meat – making it incredibly tender after cooking. To make sure that the chicken has the ultimate punch of flavor, we reserve 1/3 of the chimichurri before we marinate and drizzle it over top after cooking. 

Grilled Chicken Thighs with Chimichurri

  • Servings: 4
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Char grilled chicken thighs with a zesty chimichurri. We can’t imagine a more perfect and quick summer entrée.

Ingredients

  • 8 boneless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup packed parsley leaves
  • 1/3 cup packed cilantro
  • 1 tbs fresh oregano
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 shallot
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 small red chili, stem and seeds removed
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Put the dry chimichurri ingredients (parsley through red chili) in a food processor. Pulse the food processor to break down the ingredients. The ingredients should be finely chopped but not pulverized. Remove the ingredients and place into a large bowl.
  2. Add the olive oil and red wine vinegar to the dry ingredients and whisk well to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour 2/3 of the chimichurri into a large ziplock bag and leave 1/3 of the chimichurri (about 1/2 cup) in the bowl. Cover the 1/3 with saran wrap and set aside.
  3. Season the chicken thighs on both sides with salt and pepper. Submerge the chicken into the chimichurri in the ziplock bag. Make sure that all of the chicken is coated in the sauce and that the air is removed from the bag before sealing it. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, up to overnight, before grilling.
  4. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 15-20 minutes before you want to cook it. Preheat the grill to 500 degrees. Cook the chicken for about 5 minutes per side, or until the juices of the chicken run clear and the internal temperature is 165 degrees. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes. Drizzle with the remaining 1/3 chimichurri and serve immediately.


Antipasto Pasta

Like some of our best recipes, this pasta first came about by accident. The week before Ryan’s triathlon, we were doing lots of carbo-loading and also trying to clean out the fridge before leaving town for the big race. As you know by now, we love a good cheese board, and for the sake of having enough food we often have quite a bit of leftovers. To solve two problems in one, we made a hodgepodge pasta with all of the cheese board leftovers and called it Antipasto Pasta. It was a combination of prosciutto, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, and olive tapenade. The result was good… like really good. So many salty delicious flavors melding into one decadent pasta dish. We enjoyed it so much that we have made it a number of times since and hope to share it to your homes as well.

Antipasto Pasta

  • Servings: 4
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  Some of our favorite recipes happen by accident, and this antipasto pasta is one of our favorites. We have used all of our favorite cheese board ingredients to make a savory, delicious pasta dish.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of your favorite long pasta (we use bucatini or spaghetti)
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes in oil
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 cup roasted red peppers, diced
  • 2/3 cup olive tapenade
  • 1 cup artichoke hearts, cut in half if they are large and drained of any oil or water
  • 4 oz prosciutto, thinly sliced and torn into bite sized pieces
  • 6 cups fresh spinach
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Directions

  1. Heat a large pot of water over high heat. Bring the water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions.
  2. While the water is heating, heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the sun dried tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, and red chili flakes to the pan and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the roasted red peppers, olive tapenade, artichoke hearts, and proscuitto to the pan. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes, gently stirring so that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan. Add the spinach to the pan and cover for another 5 minutes, or until the spinach is wilted. Give everything a good stir to combine all of the ingredients.
  3. When the pasta has finished cooking, remove 1 cup of pasta water from the pot before draining the pasta. Add the pasta to the saute pan (or back into the pasta pot if you are running out of room). Toss all of the ingredients together well to combine, adding pasta water as necessary to make sure that the pasta is not dry. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in big bowls with lots of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.


Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake

This recipe dates back to 2011 when Jamie was working in Portland, Maine. One of the signature dishes at the bakery she working at was a Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake, and it was so popular that she was baking it 4-5 days per week. The second this baby comes out of your oven, you will see why it was such a fan favorite. It is a giant coffee cake that really makes a statement. It has a rich sour cream batter with an addicting cinnamon and pecan swirl. It feeds a crowd and is perfect for Easter brunch, a baby shower, or any large breakfast gathering. The key to this coffee cake recipe is to let the sour cream and baking soda sit for a long as possible before you make the batter. The sour cream turns foamy and makes the decadent batter light and fluffy while it bakes.

Cinnamon Crunch Coffee Cake

  • Servings: 8-12
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Our favorite sour cream coffee cake from Jamie’s baking days in Maine.

Ingredients for the Cake

  • 3.5 cups of flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • powdered sugar for garnish, optional

Ingredients for the Cinnamon Crunch

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 tbs cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix the sour cream and baking soda in a medium mixing bowl. Let stand until foamy.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a third mixing bowl, make the Cinnamon Nut Topping mixture by adding all of the ingredients for the cinnamon crunch to a bowl with the exception of the butter. Use a pastry cutter or your hands to mix the butter into the remaining ingredients. You want the texture to be similar to clumps of sand. Set aside.
  5. Use a stand mixer (we promise this is the last bowl) to cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, waiting until the first egg is completely absorbed before adding the next. Add the vanilla to the batter and mix to combine.
  6. Add the sour cream mixture and the and flour mixture into the mixing bowl with the butter and sugar by alternating 1/3 of sour cream mix, 1/3 of the flour mix. Just mix until lightly combined – DO NOT OVER MIX! Use a spatula to scrape the bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is completely combined.
  7. Spray a tube pan or bundt pan with cooking spray. If you are using a tube pan, add 2/3 of the batter to the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle 1 cup of the Cinnamon Nut Topping on top of the batter in an even layer. Top with the remaining batter and then the rest of the Cinnamon Nut Topping. If you are using a bundt pan, layer 1/2 of the batter into the bottom of the pan followed by all of the Cinnamon Nut Topping. Top with the rest of the batter and smooth it into an even layer.
  8. Bake the coffee cake for 60 – 70 minutes, rotating the cake 180 degrees in the oven after 35 minutes. Test the cake with a long skewer to make sure it is baked completely through before removing the cake from the oven. Cool the cake for at least one hour before removing it from the pan. Use a butter knife to scrape the sides of the pan and the center circle in the middle to gently remove the cake. Top with powdered sugar to serve.


Chorizo and Veggie Hash

One of Calli’s favorite brunch items is a skillet. She will search far and wide to find the perfect combo of crispy potatoes, veggies, meat and cheese. This recipe is inspired by all of our favorite skillet ingredients. We used chorizo and hot sauce in our recipe to give things a southwest twist, but if you are not partial to spicy, swap the chorizo for breakfast sausage and eliminate the hot sauce. The best part of this recipe is that it can be easily adapted to serve as a main meal by adding a few over-easy eggs to the top. However you choose to eat it, we know that it will be the star of your brunch menu.

Chorizo and Veggie Hash

  • Servings: 8
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A delicious breakfast hash that can stand on its own or pair perfectly for a full brunch.

Ingredients

  • 4 potatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 lb. chorizo
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce (we used Franks)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare the veggies. Dice the potatoes, peppers and onions into small, bite-sized pieces. This step is the key to making this recipe great but is definitely time consuming. We promise that it is worth the extra effort.
  3. In a cast iron skillet, add the chorizo over medium heat. Use your spatula to break the chorizo into pieces. Cook for 8-10 minutes until the chorizo is fully cooked through. Set aside in a bowl.
  4. Using the fat from the chorizo, add the potatoes, peppers and onions to the cast iron. Add the salt and pepper and toss everything well in the pan so that the veggies get nice and crispy. Cook another 5-7 minutes.
  5. Add the chorizo, hot sauce and cheese into the pan with the vegetables and give everything a quick stir so the ingredients are mixed together. Place the cast iron in the oven for 20 minutes so that the cheese is melted and the veggies are thoroughly cooked through. Serve hot!


Classic Deviled Eggs

Whenever we think of creating an Easter menu, we always think of deviled eggs. We LOVE deviled eggs and rarely pass up an opportunity to make them or order them if we see them on a menu. We love all of the variations we see in recipes that really mix up the ingredients but to us, a good, classic recipe is hard to beat. Because we keep things simple when we make them at home, we are able to get more creative and add fun ingredients to our other brunch menu recipes without having overlap. We do include one surprise, however, and that is a dash of hot sauce in the bottom of each egg before we fill them. We took this note from Chrissy Teigan and love how we get that added kick from the hot sauce without discoloring the yellow of the egg yolks.

Classic Deviled Eggs

  • Servings: 24
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Our simple recipe for classic deviled eggs that are a crowd pleaser every time we make them.

Ingredients

  • 12 eggs
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tbs + 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • your favorite hot sauce
  • chives, finely chopped, for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Heat a large pot of water and bring it to a boil.
  2. Gently add the eggs into the water and cook the eggs for 10 minutes. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and put them into a bowl of ice water for 3-4 minutes. When they are cool enough to handle, remove them from the ice water.
  3. Carefully crack the eggs and peel away the shells. There is normally a small hollow section in each shell; we feel for that section and start peeling from there to make things easy.
  4. Cut each of the eggs in half lengthwise, cleaning the knife between each cut so that the whites of the eggs stay clean. Remove all of the yolks as best you can and place them into a mixing bowl.
  5. Add the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and cayenne to the yolks. Use a hand mixer to whip all of the ingredients together and make the mixture as smooth as possible. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If the yolks need a little more of a kick, you can add a dash of hot sauce to the yolk mixture. Pour the yolk mixture into a piping bag or ziplock bag.
  6. Lay each of the egg whites onto a serving tray. Carefully pour a dab of hot sauce into the bottom of each egg white. Use the piping bag to dollop the yolk mixture on top of the hot sauce in each egg. Garnish with the chives and serve immediately. The deviled eggs can also be chilled in the refrigerator for a few hours in advance of serving.


Lemon Dill Salmon

We love making salmon and eat it pretty regularly but have found that we don’t typically vary the style of how we cook it. This is very un-Tuck&Tate of us, as we pretty much never cook the same recipe twice in order to constantly create new recipes for the blog. For whatever reason we have dug our heels in with salmon. In the fall and winter we make our favorite maple dijon salmon, and in the spring and summer we make this version with lemon and dill. We prepare the salmon itself similar to the maple dijon recipe with a nice layer of paprika and garlic powder, but what makes this recipe special is the lemon dill sauce. Ryan calls this a “shoe sauce” – it is so good he would eat it off a shoe. Our friends and family seem to agree; this recipe has shown up at baby showers, bridal showers, and a number of weekend barbecues. As the weather gets nice we like to cook the salmon and lemons on the grill for a little extra smoky flavor.

Lemon Dill Salmon

  • Servings: 4
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 Our favorite way to prepare salmon in the spring and summer! When the weather gets nice we love to cook this recipe out on the grill.

Ingredients

  • 4 pieces of salmon, 6-8 oz each
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 6 oz whole milk Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbs mayonnaise
  • 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup packed dill, minced
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat the grill to 500 degrees.
  2. Season the pieces of salmon with the paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Place the pieces of salmon on top of a piece of foil and drizzle with the 2 tbs of olive oil. Gently pat the seasonings into the salmon and make sure some of the oil goes to the bottom of the foil to prevent sticking. Set aside.
  3. Make the sauce by combining the Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, zest of both lemons, dill, and garlic in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Side aside.
  4. Cook the salmon. Put the salmon and foil directly on the grill. Cut the lemons in half and put them face down on the grill as well. We prefer to grill our salmon on foil to avoid the mess, but you can grill directly on the grill skin side down for about 7 minutes. Keep the temperature of the grill between 450 and 500 during this time and close the lid once the salmon is on the grill. Flip the salmon and grill for an additional 2 minutes before removing the salmon and lemons.
  5. Squeeze one half of a grilled lemon into the lemon dill sauce. Mix to combine. If the sauce is still a little on the thick side, you can add a few teaspoons of water and thin it out. Squeeze the remaining lemon halves on top of the salmon pieces. Serve the salmon with a generous helping of the lemon dill sauce.


Nana’s Matzah Balls

Of all of the dishes and meals that make Nana an amazing cook, her matzah ball soup stands out as undeniably one of the best. Each year, we look forward to the Jewish holidays so that we can have a big bowl and leftovers for weeks to come! As years have passed, we have found it easier to prepare some of the key ingredients for our Passover Seder in advance to offload some of the work day on the day of the holiday. One of those items are matzah balls. We worked with Nana to prepare, cook and ultimately freeze our matzah balls for dinner this Saturday. Even though we have the recipe written down, it is so different watching her cook them and seeing how the recipe and her preparation differ. She loves a good cooking moment in front of the camera, so be sure to check out her full video on our Instagram.

Nana's Matzah Balls

  • Servings: 12 matzah balls
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The recipe for Nana’s famous matzah balls.

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup matzah meal
  • 4 tbs oil or chicken fat
  • 4 tbs soda water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 10 cups of water
  • chicken bouillon (enough to flavor 10 cups of water according to the bouillon directions)

Directions

  1. In a medium sized bowl, beat the eggs using a hand mixer or stand mixer.
  2. Add the matzah meal, chicken fat, soda water, salt and pepper and mix well until all of the ingredients are fully blended together. Refrigerate the batter for 30 minutes.
  3. While the matzah ball dough is refrigerating, heat a large pot with 10 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add the chicken bullion and simmer with the lid on while the batter is cooling. You want to add in enough to flavor the water.
  4. Bring the broth back to boil. Remove the matzah ball batter from the fridge and form the matzo ball dough into golf ball sized balls. Place them in the broth, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook the matzah balls for 1 hour.
  5. Remove the matzah balls with a slotted spoon and place on a cookie sheet to cool and drain. Serve immediately in chicken soup or cool completely and freeze until you are ready to use them. Freeze by placing them in a single layer in a large ziplock bag.


Labneh with Parsley & Pistachio Pesto

Passover is one of our favorite Jewish holidays because of the symbolism of the Seder. It’s always the holiday we bring non-Jewish friends to (pre-Covid) to learn about being Jewish. If you are not a member of the tribe and have been invited to a Sedar, you may have shown up starving and realized that you are in for a long night. (For a great rendition of this panic, watch this skit by Sebastian Maniscalco) To avoid the Sedar starvation panic, we usually start our Passover with a light appetizer before we begin. This recipe for Labneh with Parsley & Pistachio Pesto is perfect for any occasion and a great recipe to welcome in Spring. We use the term “pesto” loosely, as the topping for the labneh is everything we love in a pistachio pesto, but we haven’t blended the ingredients together. The result is lots of bright flavors on top of the creamy labneh with an extra crunch from the pistachios.

Labneh with Parsley & Pistachio Pesto

  • Servings: 6
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  The perfect appetizer for your Passover seder or any spring gathering.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups labneh (you can substitute whole milk Greek yogurt)
  • 2 cups packed parsley leaves
  • 3/4 cup pistachios
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Spread the labneh into an even layer in a shallow small serving bowl or a small salad plate. Set aside.
  2. Put the parsley leaves, pistachios, and garlic into a food processor. Pulse the blender to finely chop the ingredients. Do not over-blend the ingredients, you are just looking for a fine chop. Remove the parsley mixture from the blender into a small bowl. Add the lemon zest and chili flakes to the parsley, stir to combine.
  3. Start by adding about half of the recommended olive oil to the parsley mix. You want the mixture to have the consistency of wet sand, but not drowning in olive oil. Add up to the full amount of 1/3 cup if necessary. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Dollop the parsley mix on top of the labneh. Serve with a variety of fresh vegetable and matzah, if desired.


Mad Greens Inspired Brussels Sprout & Quinoa Bowl

We were driving home from the airport a few months ago and stopped at Mad Greens for a quick lunch. Jamie ordered the Belgium Bowl and has pretty much been obsessed with it ever since. So much so, that we now have driven out of the way to find a Mad Greens more than once. The Belgium Bowl has a number of ingredients, but is essentially a roasted brussels sprouts, quinoa, and chicken bowl with some fun toppings like bacon, goat cheese, and pecans. It’s hearty and very filling, which is something we look for in a lunch salad. We started to make this salad at home and have mixed and matched our own variations to get it to the recipe we are sharing today. It has become a family favorite and a great recipe to transition from winter into spring.

Mad Greens Inspired Brussels Sprout & Quinoa Bowl

  • Servings: 4 entrée servings
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A hearty and healthy brussels sprout and quinoa bowl, inspired by the Belgium Bowl at Mad Greens.

Ingredients

  • 8 cups finely shaved brussels sprouts (you can do this in a food processor)
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa
  • 4 slices thick cut bacon
  • 3/4 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese
  • 1/4 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 – 1/4 cup honey
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Cook the quinoa. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot. Add the quinoa and cook on a simmer until cooked through, about 15 minutes.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking, heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the bacon to the pan and cook until it is crispy, about 8 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pan and set it aside on paper towel, reduce the heat of the pan to low and drain the fat from the pan. You don’t need to clean the pan completely – you can leave any fat that remains on the bottom of the pan. Add the pecans to the pan and toast them until they become fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  3. While the bacon is cooking, make the dressing. Whisk the olive oil, mustard, and honey together in a small bowl. This dressing is more on the mustardy side (our preference) but if you want the dressing to be a little sweeter, add the full 1/4 cup honey into the dressing. Once all ingredients are combined, add a little water to the dressing to thin it out to a drizzly consistency and season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  4. Add the quinoa and brussels sprouts to a large mixing bowl. Chop the bacon and add it to the bowl along with the toasted pecans and red onion. Dollop the goat cheese around the salad and add the dressing over top. Toss everything really well so that the goat cheese is spread throughout the salad. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.


Beer & Cheese Bread

While this Beer & Cheese Bread was originally inspired by St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, it is such a versatile bread that it pairs well with just about everything from chili to barbecue. What we love most about this recipe is how well the contrasting flavors in the bread work together. The beer adds a natural fizz to the bread, which keeps it really light and airy while it bakes. The hoppy taste from the beer also gives it a nice sour punch, which complements all of the melted sharp cheddar cheese. The secret to this recipe is the melted butter. Adding it in two stages gives the bread a crispy, chewy crust that is to die for. If no one was around we would cut the whole crust away and devour it straight out of the pan.

Beer & Cheese Bread

  • Servings: 1 loaf
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One of our favorite quick bread recipes! Although it is inspired by St. Patrick’s Day, it pairs well with everything from chili to barbecue.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • ½ cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 3 cups (13.5 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbs sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (4 oz) sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 (12 oz) bottle lager-style beer
  • 2 tbs melted butter, divided

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a small saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the onions are caramelized. Add a bit of freshly cracked pepper and remove from the heat.
  3. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk to combine and make a well in the center. Add the onions, cheese and beer to the flour, stirring until just combined. The dough will be sticky.
  4. Scoop the batter into a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan that is coated with cooking spray. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the melted butter on top of the batter. Bake for 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and drizzle the remaining tablespoon of butter over the top. Bake for an additional 25 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the center is baked through.
  5. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Remove from the pan onto a wire rack and cool completely. Slice and serve with butter.