We had our first snow fall on Chincoteague last night. It wasn’t much – but was enough to get the kids out of school for the day, and enough to make a batch of snow cream for breakfast. I made an affogato with mine (I got a new espresso machine a couple weeks ago, y’all!), and it was pretty much life changing.

So now that we’ve gotten our dose of snow, I’m really ready for the warmer days ahead. Ready to have my playlist be whole again, for one. I have to remove quite a few songs that I just can’t listen to in the winter, without bawling like a baby…

This year I’ve been in better spirits due to our get-together’s we’ve had with the LBC (Little Beach Crew) in the off-season. Friends who are like family, that we spend so many glorious boat days with in the summer.  And while that’s been great, it’s safe to say that we’re all ready to resume our Sunday suppers out on the water!

We usually plan out our meal via Facebook chat during the week, everyone bringing something. This broccoli salad was something I always begged Rebecca to bring. Her sister Jessica also makes it as well, but I’m usually begging her to bring cookies…

I happily ate this broccoli salad, week after week, month after month. Always squirreling away any leftovers into our cooler, so that I could enjoy another round later – after the boat was out of the water and boys were in bed. Figure that’s better than the cookies, right? There are never any of those leftover, by the way.

Everyone has their own riff on broccoli salad – but for me this one will always win. Slightly crunchy broccoli, crisp bacon, and chunks of cheddar are the centerpieces. And the dressing couldn’t get easier: mayo (I substitute in some Greek yogurt), a sprinkle of sugar, and a splash of vinegar. It’s not QUITE as good as it is out on the boat, but everything always tastes better outside anyway.

So until the LBC is pulling into our “one particular harbor” – I’ll be getting by with my broccoli salad and Buffett ballads. Which really isn’t all that much different than summer anyway, I suppose. Stay warm, friends!

Italian Sausage Soup

Much of the East Coast is getting bogged down with rain today. And, I’m feeling it. I made and photographed this recipe a couple of weeks ago – and meant to share it last week. However, I lost a very close friend last week kind of suddenly. I say “I” – but I really mean our whole community – as everyone is mourning the loss of our dear Laura. I haven’t really felt like doing much of anything the past few days, besides moping around the house, with the occasional uncontrollable sobbing. I’m getting there. Grief just sucks, ya’ll.

Needless to say, a couple of rainy days to stay in my pajamas is just what the doctor ordered. Figured I could at least take a few minutes to share this recent recipe find with you guys! And, what better meal is there to enjoy on days like this, than a warm bowl of filling soup?

I came across this recipe in the Loaves & Fishes cookbook by Anna Pump, another favorite which was lurking in the “lost pile”. All of her cookbooks are phenomenal. She was a close friend of our Majesty The Queen (Ina Garten) and collaborated at Barefoot Contessa in the Hamptons with Ina for years, as well as running her own successful shop and bed & breakfast. She too passed rather suddenly back in 2015, and I will always treasure the books and recipes she left behind. But, I digress… As I’d mentioned, I made this substantial soup a couple of weeks ago now – and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since!

It came together really quickly, with simple ingredients that are easy to find – or you may even have on hand already. It was also really quick to cook too. Most soups take ALL DAY to have a really deep flavor. But the addition of two kinds of sausage, both ground and link, really pack a punch in that department – yielding a soup that tastes like its simmered for hours, in less than one.

I served it along side some warm crusty rolls and a simple fresh green salad to round out the meal. Everyone really enjoyed it, and it will definitely be one I make again soon! Might try adding cannellini beans the next go-round.

Source: The Loaves and Fishes Cookbook – Anna Pump

With Super Bowl Sunday coming up this weekend, I thought it was only pertinent that I share one of my favorite easy appetizers. Honestly, it’s probably my favorite appetizer. Ever. During football season I probably make it close to every weekend. For years now.

It’s all of your favorite things about pizza, in a creamy dip form, that is approximately one million times easier than making traditional pizza. The recipe is easily scaled up, making it convenient to feed a large crowd. I also love that it is layered, and not mixed together – making for a nice presentation.

As far as toppings go, you can certainly get creative. But, I like to stick with classic options – pepperoni, mushrooms, olives, green peppers, red onion (they, along with the peppers, lend a  lovely little crunch). I serve with store-bought pizza crust that I’ve cut into bite size pieces, but it’s equally good on crackers if you don’t have that on-hand.

Add this to your line-up this weekend, you won’t regret it!

Source: adapted from Taste of Home

Instant Pot Macaroni & Cheese

Pressure cookers are definitely the hot “it” appliance right now. I’ve had an old stainless model for years, that I use for canning – but at 16 quarts too big to use for general use in my kitchen. So this fall I hopped on the old bandwagon and purchased an 8-quart Instant Pot, and haven’t looked back since!

I’m hesitant about unitaskers in my kitchen, and I was skeptical how much I’d actually use the thing on a regular basis. Turned out I was pleasantly surprised, using it at least two times a week in my kitchen. To be able to make a quick chicken or vegetable stock in under an hour blows my mind.

Not to mention other tasks like potatoes cooked to perfection in a few minutes, dried beans that taste they’ve been simmering all day long in an hour, or this easy macaroni and cheese – which goes from pot to table in two shakes of a lamb’s tail (just a little over 10 minutes).

You could take it to the next level by pouring the finished mac into a baking dish and topping with more cheese (or breadcrumbs, if that’s your thing) and popping into the oven for a few minutes to melt. But, we usually don’t get that far. I’ve also been known to throw in a cup of diced ham and a chopped head of broccoli to bulk it up and make it a one-dish meal that everyone always loves.

Do you have an electric pressure cooker? What are some of your favorite recipes to make in it? Share in comments!