All in Dinner

Pretzel Chicken with Mustard Dipping Sauce

Pretzel chicken is a rare combination of easy and delicious. As a result, it has been a staple dinner in my household for years.  I often used to make it for my sons whenever Kevin and I went out for dinner.  Kevin was always disappointed to miss pretzel chicken night, of course, and it's easy to see why; when the little pretzel chunks cook into the buttery oil, they soften up while still retaining just enough of their mouthwateringly crunchy texture.  You may be tempted to skip the mustard sauce, but don't.  Mustard and pretzels have always worked beautifully together, and the nuanced sweetness of the sautéed onions brings out the best of the mustard's acidity.  Read more.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

I love routines.  They're just so comfortable.  Growing up, we had many food routines... pizza with birch beer every Friday night; spaghetti and meatballs (or a variant such as lasagna) every Sunday at noon; we even had pancakes or waffle ice cream sandwiches every Sunday night (for dinner, not dessert!).  Waffle ice cream sandwiches for dinner was one of those wonderful but crazy traditions that went against everything I thought a meal was supposed to be as a child.  But regardless of how amazing waffles and ice cream sounds, it still wasn't my favorite dinner of the week.  My two favorites will always be pizza and spaghetti and meatballs.  Read more.


I had only recently graduated from college when one of my high school friends, Stacy, brought homemade Spanakopita to a party.  It was the first time I ever tasted Spanakopita, or for that matter, phyllo dough.  I don't remember much from that party, but what I do remember is how much my boyfriend and I loved the Spanakopita.  That boyfriend soon became my husband, and we still love Spanakopita to this day. 

About fifteen years ago, I had Spanakopita at Cousin Jennie's house.  She was my father's first cousin, but she was more like his aunt because she and my grandfather, Vito, grew up together like siblings.  When Vito was 11, his mother died and then the following year, Vito's father, Domenico, moved back to Italy, leaving Vito with Italia, one of Vito's older sisters.  This picture was taken the last time Vito saw his father.   Read more.

Eggplant Pan Pizza

Although it's really a fruit, eggplant is still one of my favorite vegetables.  Tom Brady might not eat it because it's a nightshade and therefore causes "inflammation," but I'm not a professional athlete so I don't mind.

Anyways, as much as I love Eggplant Parmesan, sometimes I think the crisp beauty of the breaded eggplant gets lost underneath all the sauce and cheese.  In my opinion, breaded eggplant is at its best when I can truly taste the crunchiness of the breading (made even crunchier with panko breadcrumbs!), so that's why I love my breaded eggplant atop a pizza.  The key is to slice the eggplant thin; otherwise you'll have too much topping, and your dough will run the risk of not baking through all the way.  Read more.