Shrimp Boil with Lemon Brown Butter Sauce

This classic shrimp boil recipe is incredibly easy to make with zesty seasoning and a dreamy lemon garlic brown butter sauce. Does it get any more fun than a good old-fashioned shrimp boil?! I have to say that this American tradition has been one of my absolute favorites that we’ve brought with us across the […]

This classic shrimp boil recipe is incredibly easy to make with zesty seasoning and a dreamy lemon garlic brown butter sauce.

Shrimp Boil on Sheet Pan

Does it get any more fun than a good old-fashioned shrimp boil?!

I have to say that this American tradition has been one of my absolute favorites that we’ve brought with us across the ocean to Barcelona. (Made possible in part by the cartons of Old Bay that I religiously stuff in my luggage each time we’re back home in Kansas.) Growing up, I was always my grandma’s eager sous-chef when she cooked up her annual shrimp boil for the entire family, keeping close watch over the boiling pot beside her as the shrimp magically went from gray to pink to “just perfect.” Now, years later, it’s turned out to be incredibly fun to introduce new friends (and now, even our little toddler!) to the joy of this family tradition too.

To be sure, a shrimp boil is easy enough to make on a normal weeknight and serve up on basic dinner plates with silverware. But if you feel like making things a bit more festive, I’m one who can never resist the nostalgia of a shrimp boil served atop newspaper-covered tables (no plates or silverware needed!), with bibs all around (a family tradition), and plenty of hot sauce nearby for the topping (a must for me). It’s such a simple but fun way to eat and always makes things feel like a party. And hey, it makes cleanup a breeze too!

My grandma always served our family shrimp boils with classic cocktail sauce for dipping, which will always be a delicious option. But in recent years, I’ve become a fan of instead drizzling on a lemon garlic brown butter sauce over the boil just before serving, which is still so easy to make and tastes downright heavenly. So choose whichever option sounds best to you. (Or hey, go wild and serve both!) Feel free too to use Andouille or kielbasa or whatever variety of sausage you love best. Or if you prefer to go the pescatarian route, we’ve made ours before with some spicy plant-based sausage and can vouch that it worked great!

Bottom line, if you’ve never made a shrimp boil before, it’s one of those meals that scores super high on fun and flavor while being surprisingly low on fuss and prep time. So the next time your favorite people are together, bring home a big batch of shrimp and pull out your largest pot, and let’s boil some shrimp together! ♡

Shrimp Boil Ingredients (lemon, corn on the cob, raw shrimp, Andouille sausage, red potatoes, brown butter)

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Pasta alla Gricia

This classic pasta alla gricia recipe is easy to make with 3 main ingredients and always tastes so decadent and flavorful. For all of you carbonara lovers out there, have you ever tried its egg-free cousin, pasta alla gricia? ♡ I have to admit that I’d somehow never even heard of this classic dish until […]

This classic pasta alla gricia recipe is easy to make with 3 main ingredients and always tastes so decadent and flavorful.

Pasta alla Gricia

For all of you carbonara lovers out there, have you ever tried its egg-free cousin, pasta alla gricia? ♡

I have to admit that I’d somehow never even heard of this classic dish until we moved to Europe and spotted it on countless Italian menus here. As an avid fan of the other three of the four classic Roman pastas — cacio e pepe, pasta alla carbonara, and pasta all’Amatriciana — I was eager to give this lesser-known member of the fam a try. And now, many years and many (many) batches of pasta alla gricia later, I have to say that this simple dish has secured its spot as one of my all-time favorites.

Made solely with pasta, bacon and cheese, pasta alla gricia is basically like an egg-free carbonara or a tomato-free Amatriciana. But I’m telling you, it is three ingredient perfection. Guanciale (cured pork cheek) is the star of the show here, with its intensely rich, salty, savory flavor. And when fried to golden, chewy perfection and then patiently tossed with good-quality pasta and Pecorino cheese until a perfectly-emulsified silky sauce develops, you will see why pasta alla gricia has been an absolute favorite in Rome for more than a thousand years. It’s rich, comforting, and packs surprising layers of delicious savory flavors into every single bite. And here in our house, we can’t get enough of it.

That said, the key to all four classic Roman pasta dishes — with their famously short lists of ingredients — is learning the proper techniques to make them. I’ve experimented with a number of different recipes for alla gricia over the years (which mainly differ in terms of ingredient ratios and how long the pasta is simmered in the starchy guanciale sauce). And while I’ll be the first to point out that I am clearly not an expert in Italian cooking, I have landed on a ratio and method over the years that consistently works best for me, which I’m excited to share with you today.

I love this pasta alla gricia recipe because is easy to make in about 30 minutes from start to finish, it’s rich and bacon-y without being overly greasy, and it incorporates a few key steps that help the cheese melt perfectly into a glossy sauce (instead of sticking to the pan, which is always such a tragedy). I’m really, really, really going to insist that you try to track down some Italian guanciale in order to give this dish its authentically bold pork flavor, as well as some good-quality pasta and Pecorino-Romano cheese to make the sauce. But if those ingredients are unavailable in your area, I’ve included notes below for how to use pancetta (or bacon) and/or Parmesan instead, which won’t be traditional but will still definitely be delicious.

Alright, let’s make some pasta together!

Pasta alla Gricia Ingredients - rigatoni, Pecorino cheese, guanciale, salt and pepper (more…)

Margarita Mocktail

This virgin margarita mocktail recipe is quick and easy to make without alcohol, yet it’s still so tangy, refreshing and delicious. I’m having a bunch of girlfriends over tonight for happy hour margaritas, chips and salsa. But since about half of our crew tends to not be drinking alcohol at any given point for various […]

This virgin margarita mocktail recipe is quick and easy to make without alcohol, yet it’s still so tangy, refreshing and delicious.

Virgin Margarita Mocktail

I’m having a bunch of girlfriends over tonight for happy hour margaritas, chips and salsa. But since about half of our crew tends to not be drinking alcohol at any given point for various reasons, I’ll be making classic margaritas and these margarita mocktails too!

I first got into making virgin margaritas when I was pregnant last year, and was surprised to discover that you could still achieve those margarita-ish vibes even without the tequila or mezcal. For my taste, it helps to make virgin margaritas extra lime-y, so that the drink is more of a sipper and doesn’t just taste like lime soda. I also love adding in freshly-squeezed orange juice, a hint of agave, and a lightly-effervescent sparkling water. And then of course, if you’re into a good salt rim, that will always make this drink more festive!

I also love muddling a fresh jalapeño slice or two into my virgin margaritas, a step that seems to make any mocktail decidedly more complex and cocktail-ish. But whether you make your drink spicy or not, it will still be wonderfully tangy, delicious, and refreshing.

Let’s make a round together! (more…)

Favorite Nachos

My go-to easy nachos recipe, made with my favorite queso blanco dip and a handful of delicious toppings. It’s my birthday today! So I’m serving up a big sheet pan of one of my all-time faves to celebrate… …homemade nachos. ♡ My friends would be the first to tell you that I’ve had a lifelong […]

My go-to easy nachos recipe, made with my favorite queso blanco dip and a handful of delicious toppings.

Favorite Easy Nachos

It’s my birthday today! So I’m serving up a big sheet pan of one of my all-time faves to celebrate…

…homemade nachos. ♡

My friends would be the first to tell you that I’ve had a lifelong obsession with excellent nachos. (I even wrote an entire cookbook devoted to them once upon a time!) But while I will always appreciate all sorts of fun and elaborate nacho toppings, in my book there’s nothing better than a simple sheet pan loaded up with the perfect mix of good-quality basics. Namely, the most delicious and melty queso blanco I know (that’s right, no boring shredded cheese allowed here), creamy sliced avocado, a sprinkling of fresh pico de gallo, and paper-thin slices of fresh jalapeños for a bit of a kick. This simple, classic combination is absolutely unbeatable in my opinion. And after having served up dozens upon dozens of sheet pans full of these nachos to friends over the years, I can vouch that they are a crowd favorite as well every single time.

That said, of course, the fun of making homemade nachos is getting to customize them exactly as you’d like. So give this base recipe a try, and then feel free to load them up with any additional meat, beans, salsas, olives, cremas, or any other toppings that sound good. I’ve also included some of my tried and true tips below for assembling the perfect pan of nachos, as well as recommendations for some of my favorite salsa to serve alongside them.

Alright, let’s make some nachos!

Queso Blanco (White Cheese Dip) (more…)

Queso Blanco (White Cheese Dip)

This Tex-Mex queso blanco (white cheese dip) recipe is easy to make in about 20 minutes, perfectly melty and scoop-able, and irresistibly delicious. Meet my all-time favorite queso recipe. ♡ Anyone who has followed this blog for awhile knows that excellent chips, salsa and queso are some of my favorite things in the world. And […]

This Tex-Mex queso blanco (white cheese dip) recipe is easy to make in about 20 minutes, perfectly melty and scoop-able, and irresistibly delicious.

Queso Blanco (White Cheese Dip)

Meet my all-time favorite queso recipe. ♡

Anyone who has followed this blog for awhile knows that excellent chips, salsa and queso are some of my favorite things in the world. And after having made homemade cheese dip about a million different ways over the years, this Tex-Mex queso blanco recipe continues to be the unbeatable gold standard in my book.

It’s inspired by the famous espinaca con queso at Jose Pepper’s, which I was completely obsessed with back when we lived in Kansas City. And true to its name, it’s loaded up with lots of fresh spinach, as well as diced onion, jalapeño, garlic, tomatoes, chiles and cilantro for lots of zesty flavor. It’s also made with my preferred blend of Monterrey Jack and white American cheeses, which I’m going to insist that you use if you want a genuinely melty, creamy, scoop-able cheese dip. (I’ve tested at least a dozen varieties of Mexican and American cheeses when making queso over the years, and have found this combination is key for achieving a melty vs gritty texture.) And it is absolutely, irresistibly, can’t-stop-going-in-for-another-dip delicious.

I’m also a big fan of this queso recipe because it be ready go in about 15 minutes from start to finish, making it perfect for easy entertaining. And if you happen to have any leftovers, it even reheats well the next day.

Alright, fellow cheese lovers, let’s make some restaurant-style queso together!

Queso Blanco in Saucepan (more…)

Currently

Bon día from Barcelona! ♡ I’ve been looking forward to sitting down and writing an update here for ages and somehow just couldn’t make it happen. (Seems to be the case with most of the things on my to-do list right now while chasing a very cute and very speedy 13-month-old around all day!) This […]

Ali Martin and her son, Teo

Bon día from Barcelona! ♡

I’ve been looking forward to sitting down and writing an update here for ages and somehow just couldn’t make it happen. (Seems to be the case with most of the things on my to-do list right now while chasing a very cute and very speedy 13-month-old around all day!) This morning, though, I’m sitting next to our sunniest window with an iced pink latte in my hand, a snuggly pup in my lap, and Barclay’s out for an adventure with Teo and the pups…so I thought it was time for a chat!

I don’t know about you all, but this spring feels like the first time I’ve been able to get outside and take a deep breath and fully enjoy this beautiful season in years. Two years ago, of course, we were trapped inside our tiny flat all season long during Spain’s strict lockdown. One year ago, we were sleep-deprived zombies navigating life with a newborn during the pandemic. And just one month ago, we found ourselves quarantined yet again after our whole family (and nearly all of our local friends) caught the new subvariant, which stuck around for quite some time.

But today, Barclay, Teo and I are all symptom-free and finally back to feeling better. And for the first time in over two years, Spain officially just lifted its mask mandate this past week…which feels downright surreal. People have been extremely diligent here about masking up during the pandemic, so this is literally the first time we’ve been able to go anywhere indoors and actually see people’s faces (some for the first time ever) in what feels like an eternity. It been so refreshing. And while we all obviously still have a long way to go before we’re completely out of the woods with the pandemic, this spring feels like the recharge everyone in Barcelona has been waiting for. So as people say here, hay que aprovechar…time to take advantage and soak it up!

Our plan for our little familia this season is to do exactly that. We’re actually taking off for Paris tomorrow (our first time there together as a family since we’ve lived in Europe), then I’ll be heading out on a solo trip to see some dear friends in Bucharest next week (my first time in Romania), followed by a long family trip back to the States in May (we’re changing things up and including a stop at my sister’s in Chicago, which I’m super excited about), followed by a number of fun summer adventures around Europe ahead. Our travel-loving hearts couldn’t be more thankful and happy to be getting back out about again. And while we’ve learned over the last year that traveling with a baby is definitely a very different ballgame, we’re pumped to bring our little dude along for the ride too. So excited to have a calendar full of things to look forward to again.

Wherever in the world this may find each of you today, I hope that you are well and that you’re able to soak up a bit of spring sunshine this week. And without further ado, here’s the latest from life here in Barcelona.

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Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

My favorite whole wheat pizza dough recipe is easy to make by hand or with a stand mixer, it’s naturally sweetened with a hint of honey, and it’s always perfectly chewy and delicious. Say hello to my favorite whole wheat pizza dough! ♡ This recipe has been my go-to for homemade pizza nights for many, […]

My favorite whole wheat pizza dough recipe is easy to make by hand or with a stand mixer, it’s naturally sweetened with a hint of honey, and it’s always perfectly chewy and delicious.

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

Say hello to my favorite whole wheat pizza dough! ♡

This recipe has been my go-to for homemade pizza nights for many, many years now and has become one of our readers’ favorite recipes here too! It’s surprisingly easy to make either by hand or with the help of a stand mixer, and only requires one 30-45 minute rise (conveniently the same amount of time it usually takes to prepare toppings plus maybe a side salad). Thanks to the use of white whole wheat flour, this crust bakes up to be wonderfully soft and chewy with a mild (not overpowering) whole wheat flavor. And best of all, our friends and family always absolutely love it!

I always use a hint of honey in the dough to give it a touch of sweetness. And if you’d like, you’re welcome to experiment with adding in some Italian seasonings, garlic or Parmesan to the crust too.

Everyone needs to have a great homemade pizza dough recipe in their back pockets. So if you’re looking for a healthier one to add to your repertoire, bring home a bag of white whole wheat flour and gather up your favorite pizza toppings. And let’s make some homemade pizzas together!

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Red Curry Hummus

This Thai-inspired red curry hummus recipe is quick and easy to make with the most delicious blend of savory, tangy, creamy flavors. So many of the flavors you love in a zesty Thai red curry…blended into a delicious hummus! ♡ This zesty dip has become a favorite of mine lately for quick and easy entertaining. […]

This Thai-inspired red curry hummus recipe is quick and easy to make with the most delicious blend of savory, tangy, creamy flavors.

Red Curry Hummus

So many of the flavors you love in a zesty Thai red curry…blended into a delicious hummus! ♡

This zesty dip has become a favorite of mine lately for quick and easy entertaining. Since we make Thai curries so often in our house, I almost always have the basic seasonings (curry paste, coconut milk, limes, ginger, garlic) on hand, all of which pair wonderfully with the classic combination of chickpeas and tahini. All you need to do is simply toss everything together in the food processor or blender and blitz until smooth. And in less than 10 minutes, this flavorful dip will be ready to serve and enjoy!

We love serving ours with crudités, bread (naan or pita), crackers, or any other dippers that sound good. Or of course, it would also be delicious as a spread on wraps, burgers, sandwiches and more.

Let’s make some!

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Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

This fresh strawberry spinach salad recipe is tossed with creamy avocado, toasted almonds, your choice of cheese and a honey-sweetened poppyseed dressing. Forever and always one of my favorite salads to make this time of year. ♡ I first shared this strawberry spinach salad recipe here on Gimme Some Oven nearly a decade ago, but […]

This fresh strawberry spinach salad recipe is tossed with creamy avocado, toasted almonds, your choice of cheese and a honey-sweetened poppyseed dressing.

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

Forever and always one of my favorite salads to make this time of year. ♡

I first shared this strawberry spinach salad recipe here on Gimme Some Oven nearly a decade ago, but it’s one of those classics that I’m certain I will be making for decades and decades to come. Made with loads of fresh strawberries, tender baby spinach, creamy avocado, toasted almonds, paper-thin red onions, crumbled blue cheese (or goat or feta), and my favorite lightly-sweetened honey poppyseed dressing, this salad is always the first recipe I want to make each spring when juicy ripe red strawberries come back in season. And it always tastes like such a treat.

Feel free, of course, to sub in your preferred kind of greens, nuts (or seeds), and cheese. And if you want to add in some protein, grilled chicken, shrimp or bacon are always delicious options.

So grab a pint of the ripe strawberries while they’re in season, and let’s make this gorgeous salad together! (more…)

Shallot Vinaigrette

This delicious shallot vinaigrette (French vinaigrette) is quick and easy to make and wonderfully versatile. One of my favorite simple salad dressings that goes with just about everything. ♡ This shallot vinaigrette recipe, also known as a French vinaigrette, is a staple we turn to regularly in our house when we’re looking for something light, […]

This delicious shallot vinaigrette (French vinaigrette) is quick and easy to make and wonderfully versatile.

Shallot Vinaigrette (French Vinaigrette)

One of my favorite simple salad dressings that goes with just about everything. ♡

This shallot vinaigrette recipe, also known as a French vinaigrette, is a staple we turn to regularly in our house when we’re looking for something light, bright, and mercifully quick to whip up. The delicate flavor of shallots pairs perfectly with fresh lemon juice, garlic and a hint of Dijon. And while it’s one of those versatile vinaigrettes that can play well with a wide range of ingredients, we honestly find ourselves loving it most on the simplest of green salads here in our house so that those lovely flavors can really shine through. (Current fave is a bowl of crisp butter lettuce, sliced cucumber and a sprinkling of Parm…so good!)

It’s one of those back-pocket recipes that’s great to have on hand when you’re needing a quick side salad, yet also a wonderful and classy way to dress larger entrée salads too. So the next time the salad craving hits, chop up some shallots and let’s make this quick vinaigrette together.

Butter Lettuce Salad with Cucumber, Parmesan and Shallot Vinaigrette (more…)