Hi, I'm Rachel.

A few years ago I could barely boil water.

True story.

Determined to be a kick ass wife, I developed a love for football and learned to cook in my tiny Jersey City kitchen. I spend my days working in Manhattan, my nights and weekends chasing after a rambunctious toddler, and the hours in between cooking with my husband and feeding my TV habit...oh, and I blog about it all! 

Welcome to my world!

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The Pantry

Entries in appetizers (12)


Easy Antipasto Platter

A few weeks ago, my family celebrated my mom's birthday. Though I've hosted her birthday dinner or brunch in the past, this year my sister Kimberly took the reigns and cooked dinner for the family.


Though I have a shiny new baby at home, I still wanted to contribute something (simple) to the celebration, even if I had less than zero time to cook anything. A constantly crying baby will do that. Instead, I put together an antipasto platter that came together in a snap and looked pretty darn profesh if I do say so myself.



I found a package of antipasto meats in the deli section of the grocery store, which I used to anchor the corners of the platter. This was also incredibly helpful in removing the guesswork over which meats to use! I rounded that out with mini mozzarella balls that I cut in half. I filled in the sides with little delights including olives (my favorite), roasted peppers, and marinated artichokes. To keep things light, I used almonds with olive oil and sea salt for the centerpiece. I think some hummus or baba ganoush would also be wonderful here. On the side, I served toasted baguette, but simply crackers or Melba toast would also be great.



I think it was a hit because almost the entire platter was gone before dinner started! I love this easy, no-cook option for any party or just a Friday evening at home. In fact, I think this might be on tonight's menu with a glass of Malbec!


Have a great weekend!



Cheeseball Bites + Your Favorite Workout

Well helloooooo there.

I'm happy to announce that I went to the gym again last night. I know this might not seem like a big feat for many of you, but for me, it makes me feel good about myself. I just haven't been into running lately, and so I've been tracking down some workouts online.

On Monday, I did the Best of the Best from Oxygen magazine. Shaun actually did this workout with me (don't tell him it was from a women's magazine ;) ). My entire upper body and core was sooooooo incredibly sore after that one! This morning it finally feels a bit better but wow.

Last night, I changed it up slightly with some different moves and used Young Married Chic's Cookie Burn Workout, also adapted from Oxygen. I enjoyed that this one included some light cardio - I mixed it up between jumping jacks, butt kicks and fake jump rope (aka jumping without the actual rope).

Oh and I followed both with a little 8-minute legs...thanks to my sisters for the tip on that one! I am loving that quick yet effective workout!

I'm always on the hunt for new ideas so...What is your workout of choice?

So during football playoff season, I made these little cheeseballs. Because what's better than a giant-sized cheeseball? Little cheeseballs, of course :)

These were so easy and so fun. I whipped them up quickly, let them sit in the refrigerator for a little bit and then rolled them up. My cheeseballs of choice were feta and sharp cheddar. But you can really use any kind of cheese you want. I think goat cheese would be fantastic. Or maybe blue cheese, with a dollop of honey mixed in for good measure. Hmph.

I lined them up on a cute platter and served them with my favorite Club Multigrain crackers. You actually don't even need the crackers...after all, nothing says party like popping a cheeseball!

Duo of Cheeseball Bites

Each recipe makes about 16 cheeseballs
1 WW Points+ per bite

for the feta cheeseball bites:
4 oz. reduced fat cream cheese, softened
3 oz. reduced fat feta crumbles (about 1/2 of a 5 oz. container)
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp garlic cloves, minced
black pepper, to taste
1/2 C walnuts, finely diced

for the cheddar cheeseball bites:
4 oz. reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1/4 C reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese (or more to taste)
1/2 tsp paprika
kosher salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
1/2 C walnuts, finely diced

To make either recipe:
Beat the cream cheese until soft. Add the cheese and beat to combine. Add in remaining ingredients/spices and beat until fully combined and fluffy.

Pour out the mixture onto plastic wrap. Wrap up and refrigerate for 30 minutes or more. Roll into 1 Tbsp-sized balls and roll in walnuts. Set on platter and serve with crackers.

These can easily be made in advance and refrigerated until serving.

So cute.

So fun.

And my favorite part is that you can really add in any ingredient you want. So go for it!

Questions of the Day:

What's your favorite kind of cheese? I love most cheeses and could pretty much eat it for every meal :) There is nothing better than a big plate full of manchego, brie, goat and sharp cheddar on crackers...with a glass of red wine!

What are your favorite workouts?


psst...it's link day on The Peach & The Pit! Head over to find some fun stuff from around the web.


Roasted Grape + Goat Cheese Bites

Last night was a good night.

Shaun & me at a Giants game in 2010

The Giants are going to the Superbowl! I feel like celebrating.

Maybe with some popcorn mix...

...or red & blue cake!

But since it's Monday, I suppose I shouldn't. I'll save it for the Superbowl (!!!) in 2 weeks! We had a great time watching the game in all of its nail biting, shoulder tensing, stomach aching glory.

And you know I made a few other snacks in celebration! After seeing How Sweet Eat's roasted grape & goat cheese sweet potatoes, I knew that I had to adapt this flavor somehow. Roasted grapes simply sounded A-mazing! And so I did.

I used the DIY tortilla idea, but adapted it even further as suggested by my mom. I made the tortilla rounds slightly larger so that they became more Tostitos-scoops like, pinching the sides to fit them in the mini-muffin tin. Imagine the possibilities with this idea! I can think of 1.1 million fillings for these little low carb tortilla bites.

I filled these guys with roasted grapes, goat cheese and a drizzle of honey. The result? Sweet and tangy bites that were a perfect game day (or anytime!) snack! And at 4 WW Points Plus for 4 bites, you really can't go wrong.

Roasted Grape & Goat Cheese Bites
Yields 6 servings, 4 bites per serving
4 WW Points Plus per serving (or 1 PP per bite!)

1 recipe DIY tortilla chips, made into slightly larger rounds & pinched in the pan to make little cups
2 C red seedless grapes
4 oz. goat cheese
1 Tbsp honey
cooking spray
kosher salt

Make the tortilla chips and set aside, leaving them in the muffin tin to cool. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil, spray with cooking spray. Add the grapes. Spray them lightly with cooking spray and sprinkle with just a tiny bit of kosher salt.

Roast 'em up for about 20 minutes, or until they are squishy and smelling yummy.

Meanwhile, fill up the tortilla cups with about 1/2 tsp goat cheese each. When the grapes are finished, lower the oven heat to 350 and add a few grapes to each cup and top with a small dollop of honey. Bake for 10 minutes. Serve immediately. Beware of extrememly hot grapes!


I really loved this little appetizer. It's delicious! I hope you give it a try and enjoy it! It's also perfect for the Superbowl and so I'm including it in Kelly's Skinny Superbowl Snacks! Head over to her site for some great snack ideas for the big game!


Have a great week everyone!

Questions of the Day:

What's your favorite appetizer?

What did you do this weekend?


psst...I reorganized another bathroom cabinet! Read about my strategy on The Peach & The Pit!