Dinner & A Movie

Meatloaf Brasciole, Country Corn, Mashed Potatoes & The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

This week had two of my very favorite things, this meatloaf which is TO DIE FOR and one of the most beautiful movies I’ve ever seen… well, make it three things: and Brad Pitt. The Assassination of Jesse James is truly like seeing a perfect photograph come to life. Its as if you get to see what the photographer saw before and after the shutter was released. I honestly believe everything about this movie was done right. There are more stars than just the names and faces we recognize. The music is magical, the styling is incredible and the cinematography is outstanding. It’s not by any means a movie to keep you entertained, it’s more for the people who can find enjoyment in a view, hear a word in a look, and like for time to move when it’s ready. I wish every movie could be this beautiful, this balanced, this height of talent collaborating and this well narrated.

Now the meatloaf brasciole is the equivalent in the food world. I’m serious. It’s so good my eyes water thinking about it. I had it at a dinner party and left with the recipe along with as many left overs as I could get my grubby little hands on. We paired this meal and movie as a sort of mid-west country journey and one I’ll take again someday.

Meatloaf Brasciole

by: Rachael Ray


1 1/2 pounds ground beef, pork and veal mix from the butcher’s counter (meatloaf mix)
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1 egg
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 small white onion, grated
2 tablespoons golden or dark raisins, chopped (I omit this)
3 tablespoons pine nuts, chopped
3 tablespoons grated Parmigiano cheese
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
1 cup arugula leaves or baby spinach (so much better to use frozen spinach)
6 slices prosciutto di Parma
6 slices deli sliced provolone
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

For the Corn:
2 ears of fresh corn
Seafood boil seasoning

For the Mashed Potatoes:
3 russet potateos, peeled and cut into chunks
cream cheese

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Mix meat and next 10 ingredients as if you were making meatloaf. Flatten meat out on a waxed paper lined cookie sheet into a thin layer: 1/2-inch thick, 12 inches long by 6-8 inches wide. Cover meat with arugula or spinach, prosciutto and cheese as illustrated in the 4 steps above.

Then roll the meat, using the waxed paper to help roll up into a large log, working across the 6 to 8-inch side, resulting in a 12-inch long log. Drizzle the log with EVOO to coat lightly. Roast meat-roll 20 minutes. Cut into 1-inch slices, 3 pieces per portion, and serve.

For the corn, I just shucked it
and cut it into pieces dropping them
into boiling water I seasoned with a
Seafood boil seasoning until tender.

The mashed potatoes come from how I
remember my mom making them.
Put the peeled and cut potatoes into
a large pan of water, bring to a
simmer until tender.
Drain and mash.
Add 1/2 cup whole milk or cream,
1/4 cup cream cheese and a
‘healthly’ amount of butter.
Season with salt & pepper.

This has been one of my favorite Dinner & A Movie combinations. The down home goodness of a meat ‘n’ taters meal and a great story of men in their journeys and faults. This movie not only inspired a great home cooked meal but we also made our first mini-film from our love for the stunning imagery called, “The Coming of Fall”.

Dinner & A Movie

Warm Butternut Squash Soup with Rosemary & Toasted Pumpkin Seeds & Practical Magic

Every fall around October I have to watch the witchery of Practical Magic. I know, it’s not an artistic Oscar flick but there is something fun about believing in magic especially close to Halloween. It also reminds me that I need to keep working hard so someday I can afford that house in the movie, it’s PERFECT right?!

Butternut Squash Soup & Garnish

by: Real Simple


4 leeks, rinsed and chopped (3 cups)

1 3-pound butternut squash, cut into

1-inch chunks

1 bay leaf

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

5 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1/4 cup shelled raw pumpkin seeds

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary

2 teaspoons olive oil

Toasted Pumpkin Seed Snack:

Fresh, raw pumpkin seeds harvested from your Jack-O-Latern

Salt, garlic powder, onion powder, seasoned

salt, or other seasoning of choice

For the Soup & Garnish:

  1. Place the leeks, squash, bay leaf, salt, and broth in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently until the squash is tender, about 12 minutes.
  2. Let cool for at least 10 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Purée the soup in batches and warm over medium-low heat.
  3. Meanwhile, place the pumpkin seeds (if using) and rosemary on a cutting board and roughly chop. Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the seeds and rosemary and heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle with the seeds and rosemary.

Toasted Pumpkin Seed Snack

  • We carved pumpkins this Halloween and why should you throw the seeds out? They make a great snack or to put on a salad! Scoop out seeds from the pumpkin into a colander and rinse thoroughly. Use your fingers to remove all the pulp and disguard. Drain pumpkin seeds dry off with a paper towel or spread on a cookie sheet to dry.

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with non-stick foil.

    Toss pumpkin seeds in olive oil, sprinkle with salt, garlic powder, onion powder, seasoned salt, cayenne pepper, or your choice of seasonings. I did D) all the above seasonings.

    Bake until golden brown.

    Cool pumpkin seeds before eating. Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 months or refrigerate up to 1 year.

We pared the all autumn meal and Halloween themed Dinner & A Movie with a Vermont microbrew, compliments of my Dad!

  • Happy Halloween!

Dinner & a Movie

Autumn Stuffed Apples with Apple Wiener Schnitzel & Cider House Rules

This weeks Dinner & A Movie was all about embracing fall and what better way to do it that with apples in season and the path to the orchard in Cider House Rules.
I’ve always liked this movie, the journey one must take to find out where you belong along with Michael Caine’s echoing line “Goodnight, you princes of Maine. You kings of New England.” I think it’s interesting the impact a person can have on your life and how that shapes your destiny as is the case in this film.

So needless to say, it’s all about apples. The beautiful Apple Wiener Schnitzel is a recipe of Megan’s from the blog Feasting on Art. She invited me last month to partake in a Sweet & Savory collaboration for her Food, Art & Photography blog based on the painting by Paul Klee, Still Life with Four Apples. I was delighted at the task to contribute the sweet & make a Baked “Fried” Apple Pie while Megan in turn took savory with her Apple Wiener Schnitzel. So what a perfect dish to make with this week’s theme as well as trying her recipe out…. which I can tell you was so good there was not a single crumb left. Not having 2 weeks to make her side-dish of sauerkraut, I opted to making an Autumn Stuffed Apple.


For the Wiener Schnitzel
Recipe from Feasting on Art

2 c breadcrumbs (can be fresh or dried)
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
1 green apple, minced
1/4 c finely chopped parsley
2 eggs beaten
1/4 c milk
4 chicken breasts
1 c flour
1 c olive oil
lemon wedges, to serve

For the Stuffed Apples

1/2 cup wild & long grain rice (or your favorite variety)
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup apple cider
2 TBSP Goat Cheese
2 large red apples such as Braeburn

For the Apple Wiener Schnitzel from the blog Feasting on Art:

Combine the breadcrumbs, minced apple, Parmesan, and parsley on a large plate. Place the eggs and milk in a bowl and beat lightly. In another bowl, add the flour and season with salt and pepper.

Place the chicken on a cutting board. Slice evenly through the chicken creating two thin escalopes of chicken. Using a meat mallet (or in my case a metal measuring cup) flatten each escalope to a thickness of 1/4 of an inch.

Dip the chicken first in the flour, then the beaten egg and finally the breadcrumbs pressing the mixture so it adheres to the chicken. Heat the oil in a non-stick frypan and fry the chicken over medium heat for one to two minutes until golden. Turn and cook the other side for another minute.

Drain on a paper towel and keep warm. Repeat with the remaining three pieces of chicken. Serve with a wedge of lemon and sauerkraut.

For The Autumn Stuff Apples

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cook the rice per package instructions in the chicken broth. While the rice is cooking cut off the BOTTOM of apples and begin scooping out the insides, I just used a soup spoon. Save the insides of the apple for later.

Once the rice is cooked add the cranberries, pecans, parsley, and salt & pepper to taste.

Stand the apples up on your baking sheet and fill with the rice mixture. Take 1/4 cup of apple cider and pour 1/2 of it into one apple, 1/2 in the other. Make little foil hats over each apple so the tops don’t become dried out.

Bake for about 15mins, adding the other 1/4 cup of cider to the apples around half way through.

Serve with about 1 tablespoon goat cheese on top.

~My recipes can be found on Tasty Planner!

Dinner & A Movie

Pesto and Artichoke Chicken Pizza & State of Play

Alright, so this pizza is what I make when I’m in a pinch either for time or brain power. It’s simple, wonderfully delicious, fun to make and come on, pizza is a classic on movie nights. This week we chose State of Play mostly because the cast was so good the chances of it being enjoyable were high. It did keep me entertained throughout and I liked watching Russell Crowes’s old-school newspaper writing character seek the truth as if he were a modern day John Wayne of DC takin’ the ‘little lady’ (Rachel McAdams) under his wing.

It made me miss the days when I was Photo Editor of my college newspaper and would hang out with the writers all day playing a little online war game in the office. I strategically chose the screen name “Princess” because nothing could hurt a male ego more than being blown to smithereens by not only a girl but PRINCESS. My mail slot (where actual papers were placed as opposed to emails, novel idea right?) filled up with just as many “Die Princess” death threats as work papers. I say, if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen boys!

A Piece of the Pie

The whole idea with this pizza is that it’s easy and trustworthy and always a hit. I use pre-made store bought ingredients such as the dough and pesto. Of course you can easily make these from scratch but some work days are too exhausting to think about such things. Forming the pizza dough has to be one of the most enjoyable experiences in the kitchen. Flour plumes, dough flies in the air, I start using Italian slang and a dough ball fight even ensued one night.

1 ball of store bought dough- thawed and ready to use (or make your own)

flour for rolling out the dough

1 lb of chicken breasts

1 package of store bought pesto (or make your own)

about 4 pieces of marinated artichoke hearts or 1 small can

1 ball of FRESH mozzarella

Small piece of Parmigiano-Reggiano

olive oil

red pepper flakes

salt & pepper

Let your frozen dough ball thaw as per package instructions.
Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.

Bring about 4 cups of water to a boil and add the chicken breasts cooking until meat is white throughout (about 5-7mins. Remove from water and dice the chicken up into small pieces. Place in a bowl and add about 1/4 of the pesto to coat the chicken pieces.
Toss / roll / press dough out into the pizza shape you want, I have to make it oblong because my NYC oven is so small. Pour the remaining Pesto onto the pizza and spread out in a thin layer. Take the marinated artichoke hearts and break apart and spread over the pesto. Continue the same with the chicken.

Slice the mozzarella into thin pieces and evenly spread on the pizza. Grate on the top some fresh parmigiano, salt & pepper to taste, 1/2-1 teaspoon red pepper flakes and a small quick drizzle of olive oil. Place in the oven for about 7 minutes, watching carefully to get it just browned and crispy but not burned.


This week’s Dinner & a Movie was Spanish Paella washed down with Sangria all while watching Pan’s Labyrinth. I saw this movie the first time in theatres by recommendation and it was truly so visually beautiful and moving I had to see it again for a Spanish themed movie night. Also, I had a chance to use my sangria pitcher which was brought back to me from Spain by my darling friend Max (who also was the one who recommended the movie to me in the first place). For the record, the Sangria was a big hit… but what alcoholic sweetened drink isn’t?


This week’s Dinner & a Movie was jalapeño and goat cheese stuffed chicken and a fall transition salad with heirloom tomatoes and roasted pumpkin seeds. The movie started out being Room With a View… but… turned into Mrs. Doubtfire at the last minute. Nothing against British drama but the slow pace was sucking the energy from our souls… so it was fun watching a movie from our childhood which we had not seen in years and had a different take on now as adults. I have to say, this meal was something I made up at the grocery when I scrapped the original dinner plans and it turned out to be one of my favorite dishes and easy enough to do any night of the week.

Recipes can be found on my Tasty Planner!:

Stuffed Goat Cheese & Jalapeño Chicken

Early Autumn Salad


This week’s Dinner & A Movie was Shrimp and Grits and the Sundance picture The Staircase which is a documentary filmed in North Carolina on the murder trial of Michael Peterson. As you watch the film you yourself play juror as information surfaces. As far as the shrimp and grits, I’m convinced anything with that much butter, cheese, and bacon fat is gonna be good.

Recipe can be found by Bobby Flay from one of the best Throwndown episodes.


This weeks Dinner & A Movie theme was South American! Talk about a real learning experience, I made the Venezuelan take on Guacamole called Guasacaca which was seriously heavenly! Then creating Arepas, which was completely new for me, and failing horribly at my first attempt. After a run back to the Latin supermarket for the correct cornmeal, the dinner turned out to be one of my favorite meals I’ve ever cooked. A side note- I know Pina Coladas are not ‘south american’ fare but do I really need an excuse?

Here’s the magic & how you too can make it:

Arepas (ignore the ‘salad’ part of the recipe)

Fried Sweet Plantains

Lime-Cilantro White Rice (my own recipe!)

Venezuelan Black Beans

Chili-Lime rubbed Chicken (my own recipe!)


Cotija Cheese- freshly grated

Pina Colada

So basically you build each arepa with what ever combination of filling you desire!


This weeks Dinner & A Movie theme was Americana in celebration of the 4th of July! We had Better Butter Burgers, Salty Dogs and Southern Potato Salad washed down with Classy Summertime Beer while watching Pearl Harbor.

You can find recipes for these American Classics on Tasty Planner by clicking the links below:

Classy Summertime Beer

Salty Dogs

Better Butter Burgers

Southern Potato Salad