Perfectly Plated

What Every Good Cook Needs

There’s snow on the ground, Eartha Kitt is playing, and the smell of onions and garlic cooking waft through the air in my kitchen. Now, this is what I call a perfect morning…

I think in every kitchen there should be cookbooks. I have a ton, I collect them. One time, I left a store with five. I love to sit down on Sundays and pick out recipes for the week. Being that I cook so much, I wanted to share my favorite series with you. 

A couple years ago, my Mom got me the cookbook “Skinny Taste” by Gina Homolka. Needless to say it became a quick favorite. The recipes were easy and low cal. The easy is a big factor now because I’m usually cooking with a baby on my hip. I’m currently writing this with a Theo on my hip, in fact. I’ve shared a lot of recipes from this over the years. A second book was released “Skinny Taste Fast and Slow”. Again, loved it. Recently, and to my emenace happiness a third came out. “Skinny Taste One and Done”. These are the three cookbooks I use most in my kitchen and if you’re in the market for easy, healthy recipes then head to Amazon right now and check them out! 

One thing you may not know about me is that I have a deep love for soup. And nothing is more cozy then a hot bowl of soup on a cold winter day. So today I am sharing Gina’s Creamy Cheddar-Broccoli Soup. Not only is it easy and delicious, it’s only 210 calories per cup.

What you need:

1 tbsp. butter

1 small onion, chopped

1 medium carrot, chopped

1 celery stock, chopped (I skipped this because I hate celery so much)

2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

2 1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 cup fat free milk

2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped

4 cups chopped broccoli

1 tbsp. parm cheese

1 3/4 cup shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese


What you do:

In a Dutch over or large pot, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the flour, salt, and pepper to taste and stir until smooth. Add the chick broth and milk, and potatoes. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until potatoes are soft, 10 to 15 minutes.

Stir in the broccoli and Parmesan. Cook, stirring occasionally until broccoli is tender, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat, add cheddar, and stir well until melted.

Using an immersion blender, blend the soup for a few seconds, leaving some chunks (or transfer about three cups of the coup to a regular blender, and puree and add it back to the soup. This is what I did.) Ladle one generous cup into each of six bowls and serve hot.

This recipe was so easy and so delicious. Perfect for a winter day. Plus, you don’t even have to feel bad about eating it! Do you have a favorite cookbook? Tell me all about it! I’m always looking to add to my collection!


Kitchen Fearlessness

It’s Wednesday and I might be in the routine enough to know what day it is now.

I think it’s so important to try things in the kitchen. Anything. Any recipe, from any part of the world. I feel like so many have a fear of “what if it’s gross” or “what if I mess it up?”. So what! And believe me I’ve messed things up. There is an Orzo Scallop dish that still haunts me. It was a stupid mistake but the important part is that you tried something new and pushed yourself out of your comfort zone.  

I could live off of sushi so this week I attempted a simple California Roll. Now, I made sushi once years ago and it was great. The only difference this time is that I made the sticky rice from scratch before and it took forever! I’m a little more food savvy now, I realized that you can just buy the sticky rice. Seriously don’t mess with making it.

I was for sure a little leary to make it again and really wanted to do it right. Luckily you only need a few ingredients to make it:

Crab or shrimp (it’s the most simple if you don’t want to mess with raw fish) 

Sticky rice (I used Annie Chun’s one minute sticky rice) 

Cucumber slices, seeded and sliced thin

Cream cheese , I used low fat

Bamboo rolling mat and paddle

Nori, toasted seaweed wraps

*Find the rice, mat and paddle (sold together),

and Nori in the Asian section of your grocery store. 


First, you have to decide if you want you sushi rice side out or Nori side out. It’s called an inside our roll to have your rice on the outside which is what I did.

Then, wrap your mat in plastic wrap so the rice won’t stick. The rice is sooooo sticky! You’ll really need that paddle. Spread the rice.


Next just add your Nori on top of the rice. 


Next, add your crab, cream cheese, and cucumbers.


After that, just use your mat to roll everything. Make sure your roll is nice and tight (might could have been tighter). All you have to do after that is cut your rolls and enjoy!  


Did my rolls come out perfect? Oh hell no. I need A LOT of practice but I’m so glad I made them because I’m determined to get really good at sushi making. One thing is for sure they were delicious!! If you see my Instastory, then you can see I also tried these with Nori side out. Equally as good but I will say much, much easier.

Thank you for stopping by! I hope this Wednesday treats you well! 


Simply Fancy

We had one heck of a holiday season! Ending it with hosting parties for New Years Eve AND New Years Day. To say the least it feels so good to be noshing on a delicious salad! 

Two things I know for sure: I love stack recipes, and I love to simplify “fancy”.

Something I always remember about being in France is if you look around they usually aren’t rushing to eat. I think there is something to be said about making your lunch and getting to sit and enjoy it. When I was talking to this lovely French woman about food she said “It’s about so much more than just eating.” We talked about how good it feels to make a beautiful dish and I always think about that.

Today, I’m talking about my current favorite kitchen tool! With this nifty little stacking aid, you can create all kinds of beautiful dishes that are easy and fancy. This salad that I made would only look hard to do to your dinner guests.

Fast Tip:

If you’re making salad, it’s better to chop all of your ingrediencies on the smaller side and mix in your dressing before pressing so that you have a binding agent.


I felt like this was a good reminder that even though making this dish was very fast, it’s still so good for the soul to slow down and just enjoy.

Happy Stacking!