Vero

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Vero Pizza and Pasta. We were compensated for this post, but as always, all opinions are our own.

We are excited to write about a new pasta and pizza meal kit company that has taken the St. Louis area by storm. If you live in the area, surely you’ve heard of Katie’s Pizza & Pasta Osteria. Chef Katie Collier and her husband Ted own the popular Italian restaurant and she’s continually winning awards for her outstanding cooking and innovative approach to bringing traditional Italian dishes to the modern restaurant scene. Their latest endeavor is bringing those delicious dishes from the restaurant straight to your doorstep for you to prepare with your family and friends. After trying one of these delicious kits, we learned that Vero Pizza and Pasta is truly more than just a meal kit.

These kits go beyond the act of meal preparation and focus on bringing people together through the cooking and dining experience. Chef Katie clearly desires to pass along the tradition of Italian cooking to her customers. Novice chefs, seasoned home cooks, and professionals alike can learn something new from the techniques Katie includes in the recipes.

Blueberry Bread

This delicious blueberry bread is super easy to make! Check out thenewlywedchefs.com for the recipe!

We’re hooked on blueberries this summer. They’ve triumphantly burst on the scene and made their way into our smoothies, salads, and baked goods. With an abundance of blueberries in the house and more time to bake, I decided to make blueberry bread. As I was developing this recipe I realized that several other similar recipes call for milk or buttermilk. So, I opened the fridge and peered inside: no milk, no buttermilk. Huh, lots of almond milk, though. I didn’t know if almond milk would work in baking since the consistency is closer to water than milk, and there’s no dairy in it. But I thought, what the heck, let’s see what happens. For those of you that followed this experiment on our Instagram story, you know it turned out beautifully.

Kansas City

Testing, testing, one two…. one two… one two… this thing still on? Oh good. Glad you haven’t gone anywhere. We didn’t think you would. Thanks for continuing to follow us on social media as life got a little too busy to find time to sit down and write a whole post. BUT WE’RE BACK. Summer is quickly approaching, and we will soon have more time to cook, explore, photograph, and write.

Strawbunny Cupcakes

This weekend, we spent time on the back deck. We mowed. We took an hour-long walk around the neighborhood. We cheered on our Cardinals as baseball season began. That’s right folks, believe it or not, it’s spring! Easter is around the corner and it’s time to open the kitchen window, tie on the apron, and do some spring baking. Fresh strawberry cake has always been a favorite in our house. In fact, we had a strawberry cake from The Cakery at our wedding. When we moved to North Carolina, we fell in love with Maxie B’s strawberry cake, and tried to recreate their magic by making mini strawberry cupcakes with buttercream frosting. These strawbunny cupcakes are a take on our previous recipe, with a few springy updates.

This time around, we added a beautiful green buttercream grass by using a natural food coloring that we found on Amazon. This was our first time using natural food coloring, and we approve! It really made a nice springtime green. Truth be told, these cupcakes are dense. They’re more like strawberry muffins, really. But they’re still delicious and the bunny ears peeking up from the grass are just irresistible. The bunny ears are from Bissinger’s, and come in both milk and dark chocolate varieties.

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Bissinger’s is a St. Louis chocolatier that has been around for over 350 years. They’re well-known not only in St. Louis, but around the world, thanks to their dedication to crafting excellent chocolate. We are lucky to have them in our town. If you’re in St. Louis, you can visit one of their three locations. At the Central West End location, you can grab an espresso or glass of wine along with your chocolate confections or try one of their other tempting desserts such as their white chocolate bread pudding, chocolate cheesecake, chocolate brownie, and more.

These strawbunny cupcakes are super easy to make. In all honesty, you can use any flavor of cupcake and frosting that you’d like to hide these little bunny ears in. Simply bake your cupcake, then cut a small incision in the center of the cupcake.

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Next, pipe a small amount of frosting over the incision.

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This incision and frosting will help the ears stay centered. Push the bunny ears downward into the cupcake until you feel they are steady. This might break the cupcake a bit, but that’s okay because the green grass frosting will cover any imperfections. Pipe the grass using an upward motion to cover the cupcake.

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Continue covering the cupcake in green grass frosting. If there are any gaps or holes in the frosting, go back over it with more. You can’t really have too much frosting here.

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When you’re finished, your cupcake should resemble an Easter bunny hiding in the grass.

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They’re simple, but oh so cute. I love these little guys. Bissinger’s has a great line of Easter products that will help make your Easter basket one to remember. All of their products are exquisite. Try the solid chocolate eggs (great for portion control) or the Easter molasses caramel lollies, featured in the picture below.

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Aren’t these products gorgeous? I just couldn’t stop photographing!

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No matter how you celebrate Easter, if Bissinger’s is involved, it’s sure to be a sweet one. Not going to lie, we’re kind of jealous of this giveaway! Bissinger’s is giving one lucky reader a 2 lbs. Centerpiece Easter Bunny. This fabulous bunny is 15″ tall, made of milk chocolate, and is sure to impress your guests this spring season. To enter:

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED. CONGRATS TO OUR WINNER, @STACY_NOVACK!

  1. Leave a comment on this post
  2. For an additional entry, head over to Instagram! Follow @newlywedchefs and @bissingers, then tag some friends that might also be interested in entering this contest.

And yes, we check that you actually follow us, Bissinger’s, and tag at least one person. Winner must be 18 years of age or older and a resident of the USA. All entries must be received by April 5th, 2017 at 11:59pm CST. Maximum entries per person: 2 (one blog comment and one Instagram comment). Winner will be selected at random and announced on this blog and also contacted via e-mail and/or Instagram. Good luck! Oh, and if you need help eating that 2 lbs. chocolate bunny, you know who to call. 😉

Strawbunny Cupcakes

For the Cupcakes:

1 cup freshly puréed strawberries (about 10 large berries)

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup whole milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 egg

2 egg whites

For the Frosting:

2 sticks butter, super soft

3 cups powdered sugar

1 pinch of salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons whole milk

Natural blue and yellow food coloring

Bissinger’s Chocolate Bunny Ears

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, mix together the milk, vanilla, and strawberry purée.

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until fluffy. Add the sugar and continue to mix. Add the egg and egg whites and blend until combined. Next, add half of the flour mixture and continue to mix. Add the strawberry mixture, and mix again. Finally, add the remaining flour mixture and combine, scraping the sides of the mixer to get all ingredients in the batter.

Fill each muffin tin and bake for about 12 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when tested. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

While muffins are cooling, prepare the frosting. Beat all of the ingredients together until light and fluffy. Add blue and yellow food coloring until desired green is reached once mixed. Using a knife, cut an inch-long incision in the middle of each cupcake, then pipe a small amount of frosting over the incision. Carefully push each Bissinger’s chocolate bunny ear into the cupcake until steady. Pipe green frosting around the bunny ear to resemble grass. Continue to top cupcakes with green frosting and bunny ears. Enjoy.

Makes 12 cupcakes

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Creamy Tomato Soup

If I served you this soup, you would have no idea that it’s Whole30 approved. You’d probably say, “Wow, Whitney, this is soup is great!” Then, I’d tell you when you were finished that it was also Whole30 approved. At any given time, I have a few brave friends who are trying out Whole30 (shout-outs to the original Whole30 warrior: My Sister! And also, Abby! Adriane! Ben! Andy! Rikki! Matt!). I’ve tagged a few Whole30 recipes on Pinterest that are my go-tos, but I also like the challenge of creating original recipes that are Whole30 approved that could earn a seal of approval at any normal dinner party. This recipe was created while I was doing Whole30 and missing cheese…and all things creamy, really. The coconut milk adds a nice creamy texture to the soup and makes me barely miss the heavy cream. The key here is to make sure that the coconut milk you’re using is full fat (the really thick stuff). We like the one from Trader Joe’s. If you’re not on Whole30, I recommend topping the soup with a nice blue cheese right before it’s served.

Oh and hey, if you’ve been following along on our Instagram account (@newlywedchefs), you probably noticed that I was in Denver this week. What a great town. I’ll work on a full travel review in the coming weeks. Also, you’ll want to follow our Instagram account in the coming days because we have a SWEET (hint hint) giveaway from a local company we love dearly. Thanks, friends! Happy SPRING!

Creamy Tomato Soup (Whole30 Approved)
Prep Time: 10 min. Cook Time: 45 min.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup coconut cream (available at Trader Joe’s)
28-oz. can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, diced
2 tablespoons dried Herbes de Provence
1 quart chicken stock
Hot sauce
Kosher salt
Black pepper

Preparation:

Heat a large dutch oven over medium and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sauté onions for 4 minutes along with a pinch of salt. Add garlic and cook for one more minute. Add the tomatoes with their juices, chicken stock, coconut cream, a dash of hot sauce and a pinch of both salt and pepper. Cook soup for about 30 minutes.

Transfer soup to another container and blend with a stick blender (or a traditional blender, in batches). Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and black pepper.

Wild Mushroom Risotto

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Lagostina and 5WPR. The Newlywed Chefs received a Lagostina Risotto Pan as compensation for this post, however, as always, all opinions are 100% our own.

Update: This giveaway has ended.

Congrats to @meagansinnobrien who won via Instagram! 

It’s an exciting day, bloggy friends! You may recall about a month ago we wrote about a new partnership we have with Lagostina. Well, today we’re featuring their gorgeous risotto pan (linea patrimonio), and one of YOU will soon have one show up on your doorstep! Woot!

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Photo Credit: Lagostina USA

We love working with brands and companies that we truly want to promote. If we didn’t believe in them, we wouldn’t write about them or encourage you to check them out. Lagostina makes elegant, smart, stunning additions to any kitchen and we are proud to be working with them.

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Here are some facts about this beauty:

  • 4-qt. cap.
  • Tri-ply sides are polished 18/10 stainless steel with an aluminum core and nonreactive stainless-steel interior.
  • LAGOPLAN® base combines five alternating layers of aluminum and stainless steel for rapid, even heating.
  • Ergonomic cast stainless-steel handles provide a steady grip.
  • Tight-fitting lid locks in heat and moisture.
  • Cherry wood and stainless-steel lid features double-wall construction—and ingeniously inverts to create a serving trivet.
  • Ideal for use on any cooktop, including induction.
  • Made in Italy
  • Retail Price (Williams-Sonoma): $199.95

Another reason why we like this versatile pan so much is because we can use it for other things besides risotto. And, check it out: the lid flips and doubles as a trivet!

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It’s so pretty! And just in case your guests are wondering what’s for dinner, you can give them a huge hint…(it’s not mac and cheese).

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Although you could make other dishes in this pan, you really ought to try making risotto. I think risotto is misunderstood. Most of our friends haven’t attempted making risotto because they think it’s so hard. It requires skill. But here’s the deal: yes, it might require a longer cook time than other dishes, but it’s really quite simple to make. Since Neil is now a mushroom convert (I knew he’d come around), we decided to make a wild mushroom risotto. To make this crowd-pleasing dish, start out by cooking the mushrooms in the Lagostina risotto pan.

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Then, after sautéing the shallot and garlic, add the risotto, wine, and some of the chicken stock. From here on out, you add just a ladle at a time, stirring consistently as the risotto absorbs the liquid. Each batch of risotto is a little different. You don’t want it to cook so long that the texture becomes gloppy, or too short that the rice is still crunchy or the liquid is soupy. You really just have to make it, feel it out, and get to know what kind of texture you enjoy. Ours usually takes at least 6 cups of liquid and 40 minutes of cooking, if not more.

There is a debate in the food world whether you really need to continuously stir the risotto, or if every now and then will do. We like how ours turns out when we stir it, so we’re going to recommend that. Actually, Neil’s exact instructions as I was writing down this recipe is to “stir like an Italian grandma.” So do that. And keep doing it.

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At the end of cooking process you’ll add cheese, herbs, and the sautéed mushrooms. And that’s it, folks! It makes a great side or as a meal on its own. This dish is creamy, rich, delicious, and makes great leftovers for arancini.

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We are excited that one of our dedicated readers will get to win a Lagostina risotto pan. You can win by entering here on this blog post, and also by heading over to our Instagram account for a bonus entry. To enter:

  1. Leave a comment on this post
  2. For an additional entry, head over to our Instagram account (@newlywedchefs), follow us, and tag some friends that might also be interested in winning.

And yes, we check that you actually follow us and tag at least one person. We won’t, however, check if you’re friends. That’s between y’all 😉

Winner must be 18 years of age or older and a resident of the USA. All entries must be received by March 3, 2017 at 11:59pm CST. Maximum entries per person: 2 (one blog comment and one Instagram comment). Winner will be selected at random and announced on this blog and also contacted via e-mail and/or Instagram.

Wild Mushroom Risotto

Prep Time: 15 min. Cook Time: 60 min.

Ingredients:

3 cups wild mushrooms (we used crimini and shiitake), sliced

8 cups chicken stock

6 tablespoons olive oil

1 shallot, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups arborio rice

1 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup grated Romano cheese

1 teaspoon dried herbes de provence

2 tablespoons butter

Kosher salt

Black pepper

Preparation:

In a medium pot, bring chicken stock to a boil then reduce heat to low and allow to simmer as you prepare the mushrooms.

Remove the lid of the Lagostina risotto pan and set aside until needed for serving. Place the 4-quart body of the pan on a burner over medium high heat. Once hot, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and mushrooms. Cook for 15 minutes over medium heat, stirring every few minutes. If the pan looks really dry, add a little more olive oil. After 15 minutes, add a pinch of salt and pepper, stir, and remove from heat. Set mushrooms aside for later use.

Place the risotto pan back over medium heat and add 3 more tablespoons of olive oil. Add the shallot and cook for 1 minute. Then, add the garlic and stir. Add 2 cups of arborio rice and stir for 1 minute.

Add the wine to deglaze, and scrape up the sides and bottom of the pan. Add 1 ladle (about a cup) of stock and stir continuously. Once the liquid is absorbed, add 1 more cup of stock and continue to stir. Repeat this process of adding 1 ladle at a time of liquid and stirring until the rice absorbs the liquid, the adding another and so on.

Every batch of risotto is different. Some rice is super thirsty, some is not. You’ll need at least 8 cups of hot liquid throughout this process. When your rice is cooked to your liking (taste it, it shouldn’t be crunchy), and is no longer absorbing liquid, turn the heat off. Add the butter, grated Romano cheese, herbes de provence and the sautéed mushrooms. Stir until all ingredients are well combined.

Use lid of the Lagostina risotto pan as a trivet and serve hot.