Thursday Link Rodeo

Forget a roundup – this here is a link rodeo! It’s a collection of cool/exciting/delicious food news, recipes, and more that we’ve encountered recently. Yeehaw. Or something. 

(Image from Yahoo Food)

(Image from Yahoo Food)

1. Oh My Bao. Field guide to Chinese Pastries. Via Serious Eats.
2. Pro-tip, don’t try and catch hot falling cake pans with your bare hands. 24 Ways to Stay Safe in the Kitchen. From Epicurious.
3. Tis the season! 16 Ways to Cook and Bake with Apple Cider. From Yahoo Food.
4. Forget those boring gourds. 5 Other Things to Carve and Light This Halloween. From Apartment Therapy.
5. The weather is FINALLY getting cooler! Cozy up with 30 Fall Soup Recipes from Cooking Classy.

Halloween Party Goodies

In need of some ideas for your impending Halloween par-tay? Look no further! Here are recipes from the Qwerty cafe crew that should work nicely for you!

Vampire Repellent (garlic devilled eggs) are a great appetizer (from Brie)


Maybe Homemade Corn Dogs are more your style? (From me, Cat)


Queso Blanco and chips make for another tasty option (from Brandie)


You’ll want to wash that all down with something. Maybe Alcohol-Free Peach Bellinis? (Handsome boyfriend not included. Recipe from Cat)


Or if you want something with a kick, how about the Brie-tini (Green Tea Mojito)? (From Cat)


And don’t forget the purrrrfect dessert - Pumpkin Whoopie Pies (a la Brandie)


There’s also always Chocolate Mousse Cake. Because Chocolate. And Mousse. And Cake.  (From Brie)


Hope these recipe ideas help. Happy planning!

Mac and Chili Cheese Tater Tot Casserole

Mac and Chili Cheese Tater Tot Casserole

I threw this quick dinner together a few nights ago without realizing just how delicious it was going to turn out.

mac and chili chesse tater tot casserole

This casserole was incredibly tasty, very filling, cheap, and above all, super easy.

I highly recommend trying this any night of the week.

Mac and Chili Cheese Tater Tot Casserole
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4 servings
  • 1 box Macaroni and Cheese
  • 1 can chili
  • Frozen tater tots, enough to cover the casserole
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Prepare the macaroni and cheese according to the boxes direction and mix in the can of chili.
  3. Spread the mac and chili cheese mixture into a large glass baking dish on top of which arrange the frozen tater tots in rows.
  4. Place the casserole in the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove and sprinkle the top evenly with cheese, and return to the oven for another 10 minutes.
  6. Serve warm


Thursday’s Link Rodeo

Welcome to our Link Rodeo! It’s roundup of cool/exciting/delicious food news, recipes, and more that we’ve encountered recently. Hope you enjoy!

Full disclosure: I am totally obsessed with pumpkin right now. Can you blame me?


(Image from

1. From our own ridiculously-talented-and-actually-trained-in-this-stuff-Brandie, we’ve got Pumpkin Whoopie Pies (and golly, are they good!)
2. Here’s a tasty-looking Apple Pumpkin Bundt cake from Julia’s Album.
3. How about some Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls from Smitten Kitchen?
4. Perhaps a Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookie a la The Kitchn?
5. There’s always Pumpkin Pancakes to start your morning via My Baking Addiction.

Favorite Food Blogs

In case you hadn’t noticed, we’re sort of fond of eating around here. We love learning about it even more. The following are a few of the food blogs in the reading rotation here at Qwerty Cafe.

Food Wishes with Chef John

Besides delicious food, Chef John makes a series of recipe videos that are both educational and humorous. On occasion, you can find all of us sitting down to dinner together to watch him on the TV (well, a laptop hooked up to the TV. But still). I mean, just look at this:

Budget Bytes with Beth Moncel

Food, as far as habits go, can get kind of pricey. Thankfully, there’s Budget Bytes – where budget conscious meals are prepared with as few ingredients as possible (and it’s all absolutely delicious). So far we’ve tried Beth’s Dragon Noodles, Egg Drop Soup, Beef & Pineapple Enchiladas, and Italian Wonderpot. All are easy & incredibly flavorful. We recommend her recipes regardless of whether you’re pinching pennies.

Italian Wonderpot

(Image from

Smitten Kitchen with Deb Perelman

Oh goodness. Smitten Kitchen is a major favorite. I mean… just look at this stuff. We are particularly big fans of her lemon bars, but the gorgeous photography doesn’t hurt.


(Image from

My Baking Addiction with Jamie Lothridge

Admittedly, we’ve been a little obsessed with the My Baking Addiction Facebook page lately.  Not to be hyperbolic, but seriously, we almost died when we saw these strawberry cheesecake cups. Almost. ThisClose.


(Image from


Do you have your own food blog? Share the link & tell us about it in the comments!

Recipe Trials – In Search of the Perfect Chicken Cutlet Sub Sandwich

Recipe Trials – In Search of the Perfect Chicken Cutlet Sub Sandwich

When I lived in New Hampshire, there was a local pizza joint that we frequented and one of the things I would get most often was a Chicken Cutlet Sub. It was simple and delicious and my favorite.

I have much loved memories of getting a whole sub to myself while we watched the New England Patriots play in the super bowl; it felt super special.

Ever since I moved away I haven’t been able to find one quite like it. I don’t really see it on the menu around here either.

My craving became so intense that I decided to embark on a journey to make my own.


I didn’t realize it would be a journey at first though, I assumed that I would be able to just throw the ingredients together and have it be exactly what my mouth remembered, but clearly that was asking too much.

Although this recipe is delicious and tasty and yummy and such that Cat immediately wanted seconds, it’s not quite what I was hoping for. I’m determined to keep tweaking to see what needs to change. Maybe the bread?

Comment if you have any suggestions!

Chicken Cutlet Sub Sandwich - Take 1
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 2 Sandwiches
  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • ¼ cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • Oil for frying, enough to be half an inch deep in a medium pan
  • 2 sub sandwich rolls
  • 2 slices hothouse tomato
  • ½ cup shredded iceberg lettuce
  • 4 slices provolone cheese
  • Red onion slices
  • Mayonnaise
  1. Butterfly the chicken breast into halves and pound each half even.
  2. In one of two wide mouth dishes combine the egg and water (whisking with a fork), and in the other, the two breadcrumbs.
  3. Heat the oil on the stove to 350 degrees and while the oil is heating dip the chicken breast halves in egg to evenly coat, and then in the breadcrumbs to evenly coat.
  4. Fry the chicken in the oil on each side for three minutes or until golden brown.
  5. As soon as the chicken is ready, place them on a folded paper towel to drain and cover each with two slices of the cheese to begin to melt a little.
  6. Spread each side of the rolls with a generous layer of mayonnaise.
  7. On the bottom add half the shredded lettuce, two slices of tomato, and your desired amount of onion rings.
  8. Place the chicken on top and close up the sandwich!
  9. Slice in half and enjoy.


Thursday Link Rodeo

Forget a roundup – this here is a link rodeo! It’s a collection of cool/exciting/delicious food news, recipes, and more that we’ve encountered recently. Yeehaw. Or something. 

Image via Serious Eats

Image via Serious Eats

1. It’s decorative gourd season. Heh. Here’s how to carve a pumpkin, courtesy of The Kitchn.
2. Wanna make the coworkers jealous come lunchtime? Make Your Own Just-Add-Hot-Water Instant Noodles, a la Serious Eats.
3. Stop EVERYTHING. The World’s Cutest Bunny Bakes a Cake. Thanks, Yahoo Food.
4. Bacon-topped mac & cheese pie, and it’s all Reddit‘s fault.
5. Holy pumpkin upside-down cake! Go, Menu Musings of a Modern American Mom!

Pasta-Inception — Ravioli Lasagna

Pasta-Inception — Ravioli Lasagna

I spend a lot of my time in the car during the week (about 10 hours) and do some of my best thinking there. Most often I forget about my genius ideas as soon as the engine turns off, but this particular thought was so persistent there was no way I was forgetting.

Get this (and I know you already know what I’m going to say, but just go with me on this)…



With Ravioli…

Instead of noodles!

shocked animated GIF


today animated GIF

I had a few moments of doubt before I started cooking as to whether I was legitimately a genius, or if I was delusional.

But as soon as I got to the second layer, I could tell that this was to be one of my most bestest creations.

Ravioli Lasagna
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6
  • 2 jars of your favorite red pasta sauce
  • 25 oz (1 bag) of frozen ravioli with your desired filling (I did a layer of portabello mushroom and 5 cheese)
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 15 oz Ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
  1. In a medium skillet, saute the onion with the ground beef until browned and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl add the ricotta, egg, and seasoning and mix until smooth and fully combined. Set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  4. In the bottom of a large glass baking dish, spread several tablespoons of the pasta sauce to coat.
  5. Evenly place one layer of ravioli on top of the sauce in rows. Mine fit just about perfectly, hopefully yours will too.
  6. On top of the ravioli evenly dollop one half of the ricotta mixture.
  7. Then sprinkle half of the ground beef onion mixture evenly over the ricotta.
  8. Pour the rest of the first jar of sauce over the entire tray and spread until the ravioli are completely covered/submerged.
  9. On top of that add the second and last layer of ravioli and repeat steps 5 through 7.
  10. Cover the sauce evenly with the grated mozzarella.
  11. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and place in the oven for 40 minutes.
  12. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
  13. Cool for 10-15 minutes and serve warm.



Recipe Review: The BEST Peanut Butter Cookies

Recipe Review: The BEST Peanut Butter Cookies

First off I know what you’re thinking, “ANOTHER PEANUT BUTTER RECIPE!?.” Yes, just one more until the wonderful fall recipes start showing up.

I have always been on the search for my favorite peanut butter cookie recipe. There’s loads of recipes, some better than others, but I didn’t have a go to all time favorite peanut butter cookie recipe.  Until now.  I found this cookie recipe from Lou Lou Girls on Pinterest. I was intrigued and skeptical about it being THE BEST Peanut Butter Cookie recipe. What makes it THE BEST? Reading the recipe, the one thing I found most attractive about it is it’s not a typical press it with a fork recipe. Scoop into balls, roll in sugar, and bake. Other than that it doesn’t seem like anything special, just another peanut butter cookie recipe.


So I made them, I ate them. What do I think? The Best Peanut Butter Cookies, EVER. This is hands down my most favorite peanut butter cookie recipe I’ve ever made. The ends get just a little crispy, while the rest is still soft and chewy. They melt in your mouth. Great peanut butter flavor and sweet without being to sweet. The type of cookie you could easily eat 10 without realizing it.




The BEST Peanut Butter Cookies
  • 1 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup shortening
  • ½ cup butter (softened)
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 ¼ cups flour
  • Extra sugar for rolling dough in
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray cookie sheets with a non-stick spray, or use siltpat
  2. Mix together the dry ingredients and set aside
  3. Cream together the sugars, shortening, butter, and peanut butter
  4. Add the eggs and vanilla, mix until well combined
  5. Add the dry ingredients
  6. Scoop the cookie dough into tablespoon size balls and roll in sugar
  7. Place on the cookie sheets- DO NOT criss cross with a fork in normal “peanut butter cookie” fashion.
  8. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes.


Thursday Link Rodeo

Welcome to our Link Rodeo! It’s roundup of cool/exciting/delicious food news, recipes, and more that we’ve encountered recently. Hope you enjoy!

Today’s rodeo is sponsored by coffee because reasons. Delicious, caffeinated reasons.


1. I’d be remiss in my duties if I didn’t mention our delicious and simple Thai iced coffee recipe! Such a treat to wake up to while it’s still warm out.
2. Now this is important information: The Best Time To Drink Coffee According to Science via I Love Coffee. (Frankly, “the best time,” in my opinion is ANY TIME!)
3. Gotta love graphs – here’s 38 Ratios for Perfect Coffee Drinks a la LifeHacker.
4. So yeah, fudge and coffee? OKAY! Fudgy Coffee Brownie Recipe from Epicurious.
5. While we’re at it – here are 10 Must Try Coffee Recipes from Skinny Mom.