What She Cooked: Nonna’s Gnocchi

Italians seem to be associated with many things. Marrying into an Italian family, I have learned some of these stereotypes are fiction (mafias) and some are fact (huge families and talking with your hands). One Italian stereotype that I am particularly glad is true is the amazing Italian food that I am now learning how to make (and share with you!).

This gnocchi recipe is not from my husband’s Nonna, but his aunt’s husband’s second cousin’s mother’s sister..or something like that (no lie, I told you HUGE family!). To be honest, I am not completely sure this recipe is authentic to hers but I tried my best to replicate what she explained in broken English and a very thick and very cute accent. For example, she said “the wheat flour” and my husband and I both kept hearing “the weed flour”. True story.
Nonnas gnocchi l Our Sweet Somewhere

You’ll need:

2 Cups white flour (“weed flour” if your husband is diabetic like hers)
2 eggs, beaten
2 Cups ricotta cheese

Mix the eggs and cheese then slowly add the flour. If the dough is still runny, add more flour one tablespoon at a time. I ended up adding about four more tablespoons of flour. Knead the dough for a few minutes in the mixer and then turn out onto a floured surface.

Roll out dough into long tubes, the diameter of about a nickel. Cut the dough into 1/2 inch pieces using a butter knife. Then, as ‘Nonna’ said, “do like this” while making a poking motion with her pointer finger. Basically, make a little divot in your gnocchi so the dough cooks evenly.

Bring a pot of heavily salted water to a boil and add your gnocchi. Cook for about 10-15 minutes. Drain and serve with red sauce or meat sauce!

How to cook nonnas gnocchi l Our Sweet Somewhere

Nonnas gnocchi l -Our Sweet Somewhere-

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Now, mangia! 



What She Cooked: Homemade Applesauce

Easy homemade apple sauce l Our Sweet Somewhere-8

My Mom is currently in Alaska for the next two weeks helping my brother and his family to move into their new place. Talking to them on the phone has made me homesick to see them. To curb this feeling I decided to make my brother’s favorite food my Mom used to make for us pretty much every week when we were kids. Homemade applesauce! 

This is truly the simplest recipe ever! Literally the only ingredients are apples and it takes only 15 minutes to make! I suggest using a nice, crisp apple and not an extra sweet mushy one like Red Delicious. I usually use Empire apples. 

Easy homemade apple sauce l Our Sweet Somewhere-2

I used twelve apples and it fed the husband and I for two meals. Simply peel and roughly chop your apples into about the same size chunks. It doesn’t have to be perfect since the chunks are going to be mashed up.

Add the chopped apples into a deep pot that is filled with about a quarter of an inch of water in the bottom. Cover and cook over medium to medium-low for about ten minutes, until fork tender. Then use a potato masher and mash to desired consistence. I am a chunky fan, so I like to leave some chunks of apple, but if you like as smoother applesauce keep mashing until all the chunks of apple are gone! 

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A game my Mom would play when making applesauce was to see if she could peel the entire apple without breaking it. I still play this game every time. I am not nearly as good as her, but sometimes I can do it! 

Also on a side note, don’t throw away those peels! You can sprinkle a little cinnamon sugar over them and snack on them, if you want.

Peeling apples for homemade applesauce l our sweet somewhere.jpg

Anyway, we had our homemade applesauce the good old ‘merica way. With pork chops and green beans. What a yummy (and easy!) dinner! 

Easy homemade applesauce l Our Sweet Somewhere
Homemade applesauce l by Our Sweet Somewhere




What She Cooked: Home Cooking

What Kate Made:

Creamy, warm, savory Risotto Blanco with baby portabellas. My Mamma would make this for me in high school. After long days running in the rain or snow during soccer matches I would come home to this warm, filling meal. This recipe is simply amazing!

This has now become one of my husband’s favorite dishes as well and is a staple meal in our house. It makes very little dirty dishes (yay!), is made from mainly staples I have on hand (rice, broth, cheese), and the ingredients can be easily substituted for whatever you have (i.e. bellas for pork or chicken, peas for asparagus etc). Also, leftovers make a great lunch the next day!

  Homemade risotto l Our Sweet Somewhere


2 Tbs butter
1 small onion, diced
½ package of baby portabella mushrooms, sliced (not pictured because I’m a space ball)
2 C short grain sticky rice
¾ cup white wine
6 C broth (I use bullion cubes for this, its cheaper and I always have them on hand for a quick, last-minute meal like this)
1 C frozen peas (again, not pictured because of the occasional lack of substance between my ears)
1 C shredded parmesan
Salt and Pepper

 In a medium saucepan, put the chicken broth on low heat to warm up. Don’t let it come to a boil though; you want all this broth to make it to the rice pan! This is an important step, if you don’t you will “shock” the rice when you add it and make crunchy risotto. Take my word for it, I have learned the hard way.
In a large pot, melt the butter (or olive oil if you would rather) over medium heat, coating the bottom. Add your diced mushrooms and onion and give a quick stir to coat. Let these two marry for about 3-5 minutes until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms are starting to wilt a little. (I’m not sure if wilting is the correct term, but it’s what it looks like they are doing so let’s go with it.) Add a little salt and pepper to your veggies.

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Next, add the rice to the onions and mushrooms and stir immediately with a wooden spoon. The rice will soon turn almost translucent. Keep stirring and don’t let it stick to the bottom! After a few minutes a little white speck will start to show up in some of the rice. Keep stirring until most of the rice has this. It will take about 5ish minutes.
Add the white wine to the rice. It will sizzle, but don’t worry yet, you will not shock it this early. I am sure there is some science to this, but it is beyond my knowledge so just trust me that it will turn out okay. Stir everything together until the wine is absorbed into the rice.
Now is time to start adding the broth. You want to add this about 1/2 to 1 cup at a time. I just scoop mine out using a small measuring cup from one pan to the other. Don’t add the broth all at once. You will want to wait until the current rice absorbs the broth that is in the pot already before adding more. Make sure you keep stirring!
While an easy and yummy dish, it is not a ‘walk-away-and-forget-it’ kind of thing. I can usually get away to put away one or two clean dishes really quick between adding cups of broth, but that is about as far away from the stove as I get. 

Homemade portabella risotto l Our Sweet Somewhere

Once the broth is completely added and almost absorbed add the peas and stir. Once those are incorporated add the cheese, turn off the stove, and mix until it is all melted in.

Homemade baby portabella risotto l Our Sweet Somewhere

There you have it! This is truly, one of my favorite things to eat ever. I mean you can’t go wrong with rice and cheese. Every time I eat this I think of my Mom. What could be better than that?

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St. Patty’s Day: Healthy Shamrock Shake

Yesterday my boyfriend and I chose to eat at one of our favorite burger places for lunch, Elevation Burger! Let me be the first to tell you that their burgers are ridiculously good! As far as your healthier-environment-friendly-made burgers go, I would definitely say Elevation Burger should be considered as having one of the nation’s best all-natural, organic-made burgers. 

With all this burger talk, I was also craving a milk shake of some sort. Yes. It was that kind of day: burgers and shakes.  So in honor of St. Patty’s Day and in response to Kate’s festive Irish posts (here and here), I found this deliciously simple Shamrock Shake recipe from Running To The Kitchen‘s blog. This shake was all sorts of amazing! I can assure you that I plan on making this again in the near future (St. Patty’s Day or not). I made the recipe as calls for, but used chopped Andes mints instead to top the shake off. I also threw in about 5-6 large spinach leaves to give it more of a green color as suggested. 

Healthy Shamrock Shake

Healthy Shamrock Shake

Healthy Shamrock Shake

If you’re craving a shake to go with your burger like I did, be sure to check out Running To The Kitchen‘s Shamrock Shake recipe! Your body will also thank you for this; it’s a healthier option and satisfies those taste buds just right. ;)



St. Patty’s Day Dinner: Corned Beef and Cabbage

When our dinner plans fell through for Thursday I thought, what a perfect time to make a meal fit for an Irish King! I headed over to one of my favorite grocery stores in Columbus, Lucky’s Market and saw that they had corned beef and cabbage on sale for Monday’s holiday. Perfect! Having never made corned beef and cabbage before I was feeling adventurous and decided to give it a try. 

St Patrick's Day Corned Beef and Cabbage l Our Sweet Somewhere

Doesn’t that look amazing? It was. 

After reading a few different recipes and consulting a some cookbooks I had around the house I decided to wing it. The results were good enough to share with you!

3 lbs corned beef (make sure it includes the spice packet)
1 onion
1 head of cabbage
2 Tbs butter
1 Irish beer (I used Harp, but I bet a Guinness would be yummy too!)
2 C beef broth

Melt butter over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven, or some other oven safe dish. If you don’t have one, you can always transfer the food to a baking dish, no biggie. While the butter is melting, pat dry the corned beef so it sears nicely in the pan. Once the butter is melted and hot sear the corned beef on all sides. (A helpful cooking hint-you know the meat you are searing is ready to turn when it no longer sticks to the pan.)

In this photo, it looks like the bottom of my pan is burned. No way! This is actually the yummy flavor that will be set free once I add some liquid to my pot! Once all sides of the corned beef are browned add your beer and broth and seasoning packet. Have a wooden spoon handy so that when the liquid touches the pan you can scrape all that yummy flavor that will easily unstick from the bottom of the pot!

St Patrick's Day corned beef and cabbage meal l Our Sweet Somewhere

Lower the heat to medium-low and cover while you prepare the next step of chopping the veggies. Coarsely chop the onion and cabbage. Add it to the pot and do your best to coat as much as you can with the broth.

Cover everything back up again and let cook for about an hour, giving it a stir every once in a while. After an hour turn on your oven to 300 degrees. Once preheated, put the Dutch oven and all the contents inside the oven (covered), or, transfer the food to a baking dish, cover with foil to put in the oven.

St Patty's Day corned beef and cabbage meal l Our Sweet Somewhere

Bake for about another hour or until your meat thermometer reads 145 degrees. 

Serve your corned beef and cabbage with a roll and a cold beer, and if you are feeling fancy whip some two-bite St. Patty’s day cake bites for dessert! Find the recipe here
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day everyone! 

xoxo, Kate 

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