French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup Rookie with a Cookie

There aren’t too many things that speak of winter, rain, overcast and gloom quite like a steaming bowl of French onion soup. This soup that often intimidates newbies requires only caramelization and simmering of onions in a basic beef broth. That is it! But my goodness, this soup is all you need on that cold afternoon when the weather app on your phone is showing 50% chance of rain and all your friends have gone into hibernation.

Right after shooting this video, I came down with a nasty cold. And believe me when I say this… I had 6 cups of this soup throughout the day and was back to 100 within 12 hours without popping a single tablet! You may not think that’s a big deal, and Ill ask you when you’re cocooned in a blanket waiting for the Day/NyQuil to kick in.

French Onion Soup
 
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This is how I make French onion soup, complete with a slice of toasted french bread and the pungent gruyere cheese!
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: French
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 large yellow onions
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • 3-4 Bay leaves
  • French bread slices
  • Gruyere cheese
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and olive oil.
  2. Slice onions thinly and add to the pan. Stir for 5-6 minutes until onions are soft.
  3. Sprinkle salt and sugar and allow the onions to caramelize and brown on medium to low heat for 30-35 minutes.
  4. Next, sprinkle flour over the caramelized onions and mix really well. This will help to thicken up the soup just a little bit. Just a tad!
  5. Next, pour in beef broth and add bay leaves. Let the soup simmer for 10-15 minutes on medium heat.
  6. While the soup is simmering, slice french bread and toast it on both sides. I toast it under the broiler in my oven.
  7. To assemble French onion soup, pour a couple ladles of the soup into an oven-safe bowl.
  8. Place the toasted french bread on top, and grate gruyere cheese generously on top.
  9. Place the bowl into the oven under the broiler for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted and brown.
  10. Serve immediately!
 

Starbucks Copycat Pumpkin Loaf Bread

Pumpkin Bread Rookie with a Cookie

Starbucks has a few things on display that I absolutely love, the number 1 being their pumpkin bread. It has the right amount of pumpkin in it to make you reminisce about fall. But nothing beats making your own loaf at home. It’s time consuming, yes… but there is a reason you are here reading this:)

Pumpkin Bread Rookie with a CookiePumpkin Bread Rookie with a Cookie

Starbucks Copycat Pumpkin Loaf Bread
 
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This pumpkin bread is quick, perfect for this cold, gloomy, overcast weather! It comes together in no time and rivals your Starbucks pumpkin loaf...pumpkin seeds topping and all!
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Ingredients
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1½ cups pumpkin puree
  • ⅓ cup oil
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ tsp cinnamon (optional)
  • ½ cup raisins (optional)
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • Pumpkin seeds to garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, crack in eggs along with sugar and mix.
  3. Add in pumpkin puree and oil and mix well.
  4. In another bowl mix all the remaining dry ingredients except pumpkin seeds. (You can also add in the dry ingredients right into the mixing bowl the way I do it in the video.)
  5. Dump the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix just until everything is mixed through.
  6. Pour the batter in an 8 by 5 inch loaf pan, sprinkle with chopped pumpkin seeds and walnuts and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean.
  7. Let the bread cool for a few hours before slicing because otherwise it will crumble and not be as moist. (Next day bread is the best. The bread can stay on your countertop covered for up to 4-5 days!)
 

Flatbread pizza with caramelized onion!

Flatbread Pizza Rookie with a Cookie

This flatbread pizza came about one fine evening when I had no meat in the fridge and just tons of pita bread in my freezer. You can probably guess that I’m Pakistani by taking a quick peek into my freezer. It puts the bread section of the grocery store to shame.

Flatbread Pizza Rookie with a Cookie

I drizzle the flatbread with honey and my, oh my, do the flavors sing together beautifully! Honey makes all the difference in the world. When used sparingly, it brings out the caramelized onion even more and the chilli flakes add the perfect amount of heat. Please ogle at this charred edges for reassurance!

Flatbread Pizza Rookie with a Cookie

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Flatbread pizza with caramelized onion!
 
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The best flatbread pizza you will ever make! Caramelized onions will solve your dinner situation any day.
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Middel Eastern
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 Pita bread
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 cup cheese (any favorite works)
  • Cilantro
  • Drizzle of honey
  • Crushed chilli flakes
Instructions
  1. Turn on the oven to BROIL.
  2. Slice a large onion thinly and cook in a pan with a touch of oil on medium heat until brown and caramelized, about 6-7 minutes.
  3. Next, toast the pita bread. I like to toast it directly on the stove so the bottom crisps up. This step is important if you like a slightly crispy flatbread.
  4. Next, divide the caramelized onion evenly between the two pita breads.
  5. Top with cheese and cilantro leaves. You can use cheddar or mozzarrella. I use a combination of both.
  6. Stick the flatbreads under the broiler directly on the first rack. Let the cheese brown and bubble for about 4-5 minutes. Keep an eye on it; the broiler can burn the flatbread if you're not attentive.
  7. To serve, slice the flatbread into quarters, drizzle with honey, sprinkle some chilli flakes and fresh cilantro. YUMO!
 

Spanish Flan

Spanish Flan Rookie With A Cookie

Flan is essentially a Spanish pudding that is baked.. or a custard that is baked in a water bath. It’s that one dessert that looks so fancy glazed in golden delicious caramel but requires literally the least amount of ingredients possible. Eggs, evaporated milk, condensed milk and BOOM…you’re about to have serious foodgasm! Because condensed milk is essential, flan is quite rich so don’t go ham on the thing!

Spanish Flan Rookie With A Cookie

The reason I like to add a combination of egg yolks and whole eggs is to give flan that richness that it is known for. Garnish with a sprig of mint and you have yourself the most gorgeous slice. Simple, yet elegant.

Spanish Flan Rookie With A Cookie

Spanish Flan
 
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The quickest dessert you can make without dusting yourself in flour! Flan is a baked Spanish pudding made with condensed milk and eggs and glazed in caramel. You'll be a rockstar at the next party and no one will know that all you did was pour and mix a few ingredients!
Author:
Serves: 10 slices
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 3 egg yolks plus 2 whole eggs
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. First, begin by making the caramel. In a saucepan over very low heat, cook sugar until it turns a deep amber color and all the crystals have melted. Tilt the pan so the sugar melts evenly. DO NOT USE ANY UTENSIL.
  3. Once sugar has caramelized, pour it quickly into an 8 inch round pan. It's okay if the sugar crystallizes because once the flan is baked, the caramel will melt.
  4. To make the flan custard, crack 4 eggs in a large mixing bowl and whisk together (I use my large 1 quart measuring mug).
  5. Slowly add in condensed milk and mix it into the eggs really well. (Condensed milk is quite thick so I like to add it before evaporated milk).
  6. Finally pour in the evaporate milk along with vanilla and whisk really well.
  7. Pour this mixture over the caramel.
  8. Next, place the pan in a roasting tray filled half way up with water. This is called water bath. This will ensure that the flan evenly bakes in the oven.
  9. Bake for 55-60 minutes or just until the edges are set and the center still wobbles a little bit when you shake the pan.
  10. Let the flan cool on the counter before placing it in the fridge for a 3-4 hours to set.
  11. When ready to unmold, run a knife under hot water, wipe it clean, and then run it along the edge of the pan.
  12. Shimmy the pan a little and invert the flan onto a large serving dish. Make sure the dish has raised edges to catch all that melted caramel.
  13. Slice and enjoy!