Cooking 101: Roasted Red Peppers

oven roasted red peppers recipe

I’m starting a new series called Cooking 101! I’m still learning lots of basic tricks in the kitchen and I want to share some of my favorites and my failures. I hope you learn some new cooking tips and please share any tips and tricks of your own in the comments!

How To: Make Roasted Red Peppers

The first installment of Cooking 101 is how to roast bell peppers in an oven (best for those of us renting and cursed with an electric stove). You don’t need open flames or a gas stove, just an oven that can get hot!

Start by preheating your oven to 400-degrees.

Line a baking sheet with foil and arrange your peppers on the sheet. Leave the skins on and oil is not needed.

red bell peppers

Place your peppers in a 400-degree oven for 20 minutes.

roasted bell pepper

After 20 minutes, turn them to roast on the other side. You may need to turn them again and roast for an additional 5 minutes, and that’s fine!

You’ll know they’re done when you see charred bits and they start to lose their shape. We want them all mushy like that.

oven roasted red peppers

To get the skin off, you’ll want to let them steam. I put mine in a heat-proof glass bowl with the lid on loosely. You can also put them in a paper bag, a plastic bag or wrap them in foil.

roasted red peppers

steaming red peppers

Let them steam for 15 minutes and then remove them and set them on a cutting board to peel off as much of the skin as you can.

roasted red pepper

Remove the stem and scrape out all the seeds and you are done! There are your roasted red peppers.

oven roasted red pepper

You can use them immediately in hummus, pasta sauce or you can store them in an airtight container with a little olive oil for up to 2-3 days in the fridge for whatever recipe you have planned. I also read that you can also freeze them in Ziploc bags and they are just as good! I threw some in my freezer and will report back when I use them.


Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake Bread

cinnamon swirl coffee cake bread recipe

I have a big week coming up! I will fully admit that I get beyond nervous about the most ridiculous things. And what do I do when I get nervous? I bake. Usually something rich and bad for me with tons of cinnamon and butter and this recipe fits the requirements. So before I get to the recipe that helped me feel calm and happy, I’ll tell you I’ll be heading back to Michigan later this week to do some tastings with caterers and to go wedding dress shopping.

When I got engaged, I seriously could not wait to buy my dress, but now that my appointments are getting closer I am starting to get really nervous. My ability to make decisions varies day by day and I’ve been known to just throw my hands up and refuse to decide on things. However, I have a group of ladies helping me including my mom, my soon to be mom-in-law and two of my best friends Andrea and Tiff. I’ve been friends with Tiff since the second grade and Andrea since the fourth grade. I don’t even want to admit how many years it’s been, but these girls know me sometimes better than I know myself. Andrea has the same Type A personality that I have and I know she just gets me and Tiff is always who I go to when I need to hear, “Calm down, who cares, this is going to be awesome!” My friend Melia can’t make it this weekend, but I can’t help but include her in this as she always makes me laugh. No matter how uncomfortable the situation, and sometimes BECAUSE the situation is uncomfortable, she and I can crack each other up and even the worst situations become really funny memories. I started thinking about my friends while I was baking this bread and I realized that I have nothing to be nervous about. I get to have a few of my favorite women in the same room for the first time in the 9 years Ben and I have been dating and it is going to be fun. Even if I need Tiff to shake me a little and make me enjoy myself, that’s why she’s my friend, right?!

So anyway, I’ll be doing some BIG wedding stuff later this week, but for now I want to share this amazing coffee cake bread with you! I hope at some point it calms you down and makes you think happy thoughts like it did for me!

Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake Bread Recipe:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/4 cups sugar – divided
3 teaspoons baking powder
4 teaspoons cinnamon – divided
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons instant espresso
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 Tablespoons melted butter


1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon instant espresso
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 stick unsalted butter – melted

Pre-heat your oven to 350-degrees.

In a small bowl, stir together 1/4 cup of your sugar and 2-1/2 teaspoons of your cinnamon, set aside.

cinnamon sugar

In a large bowl, whisk together your flour, remaining 1 cup of the sugar, salt, espresso powder, and 1-1/2 teaspoons of the remaining cinnamon. Set this aside as well.

flour mixture

Next, in your mixer bowl you’ll add your eggs, oil and buttermilk. Mix on low until combined.

Slowly add in your dry ingredients, still mixing on low, just until everything everything come together.

coffee cake ingredients

Now, pour half of your batter in a greased 9×5 loaf pan.

coffee cake batter

Add 3 Tablespoons of melted butter to your cinnamon sugar mixture. Pour over the top of your batter and use a knife to swirl it into the batter.

cinnamon sugar filling

cinnamon coffee cake filling

cinnamon swirl filling

cinnamon swirl coffee cake filling

Pour the rest of your batter over the top.

Now, time for the topping! In a small bowl , melt your unsalted butter. Add your sugar, light brown sugar, cinnamon, espresso and flour. Mix with a fork until it forms small crumbs.

coffee cake topping

Sprinkle the topping over the bread and press lightly with your hand so the topping sticks to the batter.

coffee cake bread recipe

Bake at 350-degrees for 55-65 minutes. Insert a toothpick into the center to be sure it comes out clean and you’ll know it’s done!

cinnamon coffee cake recipe

cinnamon swirl coffee cake topping

Let it cool for 10-15 minutes and then remove it from the loaf pan and set on a rack to cool.

cinnamon swirl coffee cake bread

Slice it up and if you’re feeling saucy like me, slap some butter on it while it’s still slightly warm.

I’ll be sure to let you know how dress shopping goes. Fingers crossed, y’all!


Creamy Lemon Parmesan Orzo

lemon parmesan orzo recipe

I moved to WV from Chicago and the one thing that I miss the very most (to the point of almost wanting to sob) is the food. I miss Garcia’s Mexican right downstairs from my apartment. I miss the mac and cheese with tons of swiss cheese served in a cast iron skillet from Fork in Lincoln Square. I miss being hungover on O’Shaughnessey’s patio dipping fries in gravy. Do you feel me? I have had a couple really great meals here in WV, though. And I have to tell you, some of the best food I’ve eaten was prepared by our friends and neighbors, Liz and Don.

Liz and her husband Don make a mean risotto. I’ve had a couple versions at their house when we’ve gone over for dinner and each time I’m blown away by how perfect it is! I was craving some recently for lunch and I didn’t have any Arborio rice, but I did have some leftover orzo pasta in the depths of my cupboard. I know, it’s really not the same and it isn’t a traditional risotto, but I have to say it was a decent substitute. It turned out rich and creamy and had a fresh pop from the peas and lemon zest. I still think I need to have an in-person tutorial with Liz and Don, but this was a great lunch recipe until then!

Creamy Lemon Parmesan Orzo Recipe:

1 cups uncooked orzo pasta
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cloves garlic – minced
Zest from one lemon
3 cups chicken broth (a little under two 15 oz. cans)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup milk
Juice from half a lemon
1/2 cup frozen peas

Heat your chicken broth in a saucepan until it’s warmed through, but not boiling. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a skillet on medium heat and then add your uncooked orzo, garlic and lemon zest.


Cook until the orzo and garlic become fragrant.

cooked orzo

Spoon in 1/2 cup of the chicken broth.

orzo risotto recipe

Cook on medium, stirring frequently, until it has been absorbed.

orzo risotto

Add another 1/2 cup of chicken broth and continue this until all of your chicken broth has been absorbed.

With your last 1/2 cup of broth, toss in your frozen peas and let them warm through.

orzo with peas

Once the broth has all been absorbed, stir in your milk and lemon juice.

creamy orzo recipe

Add your parmesan cheese, and give it another stir.

parmesan orzo risotto

Don’t be afraid to top with a little more paremsan!

creamy parmesan orzo risotto recipe

creamy parmesan orzo recipe