Hello! Welcome to Djalali cooks, today we are running a Memorial Day Side Dishes roundup. This weekend is the unofficial kickoff of summer. And while it’s unofficial start of summer, it is the official start of grilling season. In case you missed it, check out the Memorial Day BBQ Round Up we did on Style at a Certain Age on Sunday. To go along with those great grilling mains, here are 5 make-ahead side dish recipes that are perfect for your Memorial Day menu – whether you’re hosting or taking a side to a potluck, any of these sides are sure to be hit!

The Summary

  Kelly is sharing her Memorial Day side dishes roundup perfect for Summer.

  You can get the full recipe card for a dish by clicking the link at the end of each section

Memorial Day Side Dishes Roundup

1. Summer Bean Salad

I am kicking this week off with a Summer Bean Salad that is perfect for any cookout, potluck, or a plain ol’ summer Monday. Eat it as a salad, put it on toast! I had a vision of topping a hot dog or Bratwurst with this Summer Bean Salad. Is that weird? Regardless, this salad is a spin on the classic three bean salad; with two kinds of beans, cucumber, celery, tomato, red onion and a savory sweet dressing. Let’s get right to it!

bean salad

2. Langostino & Pimiento Skillet Mac and Cheese

Everyone’s favorite comfort food is also a must-have side at any summer barbecue: Macaroni and Cheese. But we are going to make it a little fancy. I found cooked, frozen langostino tails when I went to Trader Joe’s this week, and I thought they would be a perfect addition to this skillet mac and cheese. So let’s get to it: Langostino and Pimiento Skillet Mac and Cheese!

mac & cheese

3. Easy French-Style Potato Salad

Potato Salad is a quintessential warm-weather side, don’t you think? I am especially fond of the potato salads that can be served warm, cold or at room temperature. This type of potato salad doesn’t have mayonnaise; a trait that distinguishes “American” potato salads from its European cousins. Up until I made this, a German-Style Potato Salad was my favorite. It is still at the top of my list, but this French-Style Potato salad is sharing the top spot. A main difference between the two is that the French-Style omits the bacon – making this a lighter, vegetarian option. Let’s jump right in!

potato salad

4. Easy Peanut Noodle Salad

Let’s kick off this first week of May with a super simple, Easy Peanut Noodle Salad. I love this salad for lunch, it’s quick and easy to prepare. It’s also great as a light dinner, or side dish. It’s also easily customizable: I am using ramen noodles, but you can use spaghetti, rice noodles, soba noodles…you can swap the green cabbage for red; add cucumbers. You can even swap the peanut butter in the dressing for almond butter. Get creative – let’s jump right in!

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5. Esquites: Mexican Street Corn Salad

Today we have a perfect side dish for yesterday’s Easy Grilled Steak Fajitas; a side dish that you can make ahead because it’s great at room temperature. Which also makes it perfect as a picnic or potluck salad. It’s hard to beat the impressive presentation of Elotes, the Mexican Street Corn dipped in a creamy sauce of mayonnaise, Cotija cheese and lime, flecked with red chili powder. But Esquites takes all the street corn flavors and tosses them in a bowl, with charred corn-off-the-cob. Easier to eat and tote along to your next potluck or picnic! Let’s make Esquites!

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In Case You Missed It

Saturday is a two-post day.  This morning, Marlene shared a Summer gift guide perfect for dads and grads. Make sure to click the title or image below to read the article.

Hello and welcome to a Sunday edition of Kelly's Kitchen.  Usually, we post on Saturdays, but we're running a special edition today in anticipation of the upcoming holiday weekend.  We've got a fun and delicious post today:  a Memorial Day BBQ roundup.

Below, I've collected 6 of my favorite recipes perfect if you're hosting a BBQ this Summer.  If you're interested in making any or all, just follow the links for the full recipe card.

The Summary

  Kelly is sharing 6 Memorial Day BBQ recipes perfect for Summer.

  You can get the full recipe card for a dish by clicking the link at the end of each section

Memorial Day BBQ Roundup

1. Djalali's Best Butter Burgers

Today we have Alex’s recipe for Butter Burgers. Butter makes everything better, and these burgers are no exception! You might be surprised how far a little butter in the center of a burger patty goes toward producing a rich, juicy and tender burger.

We are using a chipotle compound butter, which you might recall from the Tequila Shrimp we made a few weeks ago. Regular butter works just as well, but a compound butter just adds that little bit of extra. Let’s get right to it: Djalali’s Best Butter Burgers!

best butter burger

2. Easy Grilled Steak Fajitas

Today we are keeping things super-simple with easy Grilled Steak Fajitas. The marinade we are whipping up for the flank steak is really what makes this fajita recipe special. With citrus, garlic, cilantro and a variety of spices – the flank steak is so well-seasoned, tender and juicy. Let’s get right to it!

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3. South Carolina Pulled Pork

We are making our way toward Memorial Day with a great cookout main dish: South Carolina Pulled Pulled Pork. The hallmark of South Carolina barbecue is the mustard-based sauce. It’s tangy and light, perfectly complimenting the sweet smoky pork. We are making sandwiches, but it’s so good all on its own with a side of coleslaw. Let’s get to the recipe!

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4. 3 Ways to Cook Ribeye

Today’s post is a bit of an experiment; we wanted to see and taste the differences between ribeye steak cooked using three different methods: Sous Vide, Pan-Seared and Grilled on the barbecue. We have three bone-in ribeyes from a local farm here, in the Athens area. All three are identical in size and thickness. Let’s get right to it!

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5. Beer Poached Bratwurst

This long Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial kick off to summer and Alex and I are all too happy to be cooking outside more often as the weather warms up and the days are long. Today I have a great recipe for Beer Poached Bratwurst with Peppers and Onions. This recipe is super simple, perfect if you need a last minute Memorial Day dish. The Brats soak up the beer flavor and hold onto it, making the sausages juicy and tender – a quick sear on the grill finishes them off. Let’s get to the recipe!

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6. Texas Brisket

Last week, I showed you how to make egg fried rice with pulled pork. Today, we’re gonna pull out the big guns and try our hand at Texas brisket. On the scale of easy-to-hard, last week’s cook was relatively easy. Today’s… well, it’s hard.

If you’re into BBQ, brisket is basically the Holy Grail. Pit masters spend a lifetime perfecting their recipes. (Check out Franklin BBQ for example.) And if you like meat, there’s nothing quite like a well-cooked one. I’ve been smoking meat for about two years now, and brisket has historically been the biggest pain in my you-know-what. I have ruined so many, it’s embarrassing. But not today. Not today.

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In Case You Missed It

Every Sunday night we post your top 10 favorite items from the past week.  Click the text or image below to see this week's best.

Hello and welcome to Kelly's Kitchen.  We've got another delicious post today:  5 classic salads perfect for Spring and Summer.

Below, I've rounded up 5 of my favorite salad recipes from my blog and put them together in one place.  If you're interested in making any or all, just follow the links for the full recipe card.

The Summary

  Kelly is sharing 5 classic salads perfect for Summer & Spring.

  You can get the full recipe card for a dish by clicking the link at the end of each section

5 Classic Salads Perfect For Spring & Summer

1. Classic Wedge Salad

Today I have one of my favorite steakhouse starters; the Classic Steakhouse Wedge Salad. Buttermilk blue cheese drizzle, dressed tomatoes and bacon pieces; this salad is so simple, yet so refreshing and savory.

I think the Wedge Salad is often maligned because of the iceberg lettuce (mostly), but then also the bacon and blue cheese don’t do it any favors in the nutrition department. But I don’t care what anyone says; I love a well-balanced Wedge Salad. Let’s do this Wedge!

steakhouse wedge salad

2. Chef Salad

Sometimes a giant salad loaded with veggies, meats and cheeses is the perfect kind of supper. Especially if you’re feeling creative but not in the mood to do much cooking.

Making a big salad like this really gets the creative juices going; arranging the ingredients according to color and texture is so satisfying. And then you end up with a gorgeous bowl of salad that is worth presenting to a dinner party! Let’s get to it!

classic chef salad

3. Cobb Salad

This is a perfect meal for a lazy summer Sunday. A salad of epic proportion; the Cobb Salad has bacon, rotisserie chicken, avocado, eggs, tomatoes and gorgonzola. Dressed in a simple red wine vinaigrette. We love a big salad at the Djalali House, sometimes it’s just for convenience. But other times, like this time, we are pulling out all the stops.

By which I mean, we made our own rotisserie chicken. Recently Alex got a rotisserie grill accessory, and I have to say, this thing is pretty cool. As we watched the chicken turn on the spit, visions of rotisserie-d everything were dancing in my head. But I digress, Let’s get to the recipe!

classic cobb salad

4. Antipasto Salad

Today, we have an Antipasto salad that is great any time of the year. I first saw this recipe on Bon Appétit as a summer salad that called for fresh basil. I went to two different grocery stores on two different islands and there was no basil to be found!

So I have swapped the basil for fresh flat leaf parsley, and I think it works out just fine. I also mixed things up a bit by using two different kinds of salami; one spicy and one mild.  So, let's get to the recipe.

classic antipasto salad

5. Classic Caesar Salad

Today I have another favorite post from Kelly’s Kitchen: Classic Caesar Salad. Sure you can buy a bottle of Caesar dressing from the grocery store and there are cheats to making your own Caesar dressing; I have used them. Namely, using mayonnaise as a base.

This is totally fine. But I will say that when you make the whole thing from scratch, the difference will surprise you. The result is more luscious and doesn’t have that mayonnaise tang. Let’s get right to it!

classic caesar salad

In Case You Missed It

Remember, Saturdays are a 2-post day.  This morning, Marlene put together a great Mother's Day Gift guide.  Make sure to click the title or image below to read the article.

Get excited, ladies! The Merry Month of May is within reach. We’re kicking it off with two recipes perfect for Cinco de Mayo. And to make it easy for you I’m partnering with Total Wine today which carries all the fixings for the perfect Margarita, Sangria or maybe you prefer a cold Cerveza. What I loved about Total Wine is that they share recipes for the perfect cocktail!

My best buddy Oscar is on deck today and he was oh so interested in the stuffed jalapeños I whipped up. It’s an easy recipe to make and serve and it’s pretty darn good if I do say so myself. Are you ready for the Cinco de Mayo version of  Fridays with Oscar? Me too!

The weather has been glorious this past week so it was time to head out to the screened porch. There’s nothing better than whiling away the day in a comfy chair with a cool breeze and no bugs! That’s the best part of a screened porch. And I love to entertain out here.

The Summary

  Today's featured item is a comfy cosy sweater from J.Crew

  I've got a stuffed jalapeños on the menu

  I'm partnering with Total Wine for today's cocktail:  Tequila Sunrise

  The OOTD is shoppable via a text and image widget

  My tablescape is also shoppable via a text and image widget

Cinco de Mayo Appetizers

1. Tablescape

Beth Djalali
Beth Djalali
Beth Djalali
Beth Djalali

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2. stuffed jalapeños

Today’s recipes are geared for Cinco de Mayo. Give me all the margaritas and tacos this time of year! Although I decided to mix things up this year.  Let's kick things off with stuffed jalapenos. 

Beth Djalali
Beth Djalali
Beth Djalali
Beth Djalali

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Stuffed Jalapeños

  • Author: Beth Djalali



8 large jalapeño peppers

8 cooked shrimp, chopped

2 – 4 ears of corn or 1/4 cup frozen

1 cup tomatoes, chopped

1/2 cup Greek yogurt

1 heaping tablespoon cilantro, chopped

12 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp salt

Queso Fresco Cheese


Heat oven to 375 degrees

Slice jalapeño peppers in halve. Place on baking sheet and bake for ten minutes.

Boil 4 ears of corn. When cooled cut the kernels from the corn and place in mixing bowl.

Chop the tomatoes and place in mixing bowl.

Chop the cooked shrimp and place in mixing bowl.

Add 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt.

Add chopped cilantro.

Add minced garlic.

Add salt.

Mix together.

Take jalapeños from oven.

Scoop the shrimp mixture into the jalapeños and place back in over. Bake for ten minutes.

Sprinkle Queso Fresco over the jalapeños and serve.

3. Tequila Sunrise

A Tequila Sunrise is as pretty to look at as it is to drink. And it’s so easy to make. Total Wine has all the fixings: tequila, orange juice, grenadine, and corona. Couldn’t be easier! But my kiddos love to sip on seltzers so I stocked up on Topo Chico Margarita Seltzers to have on hand.

Beth Djalali
Beth Djalali
Beth Djalali
Beth Djalali

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Tequila Sunrise

  • Author: Beth Djalali


2 ounces orange juice

2 ounces tequila

1 ounce grenadine

Corona Extra


Combine tequila and orange juice in a pint glass, add grenadine and ice, then fill with cold Corona Extra.

Garnish with an orange peel.

Now slowly pour the grenadine straight down the middle, so it sinks to the bottom.

Optionally garnish with a citrus wedge or sliver of orange peel.

In Case You Missed It

Usually, Thursdays are a 2-post day.  But this morning I shared my picks for Kohl's Friends and Family sale.  Click the title or image below to read the article.

Hello and welcome to a Sunday edition of Kelly's Kitchen.  Usually, we post on Saturdays, but because of technical difficulties we pushed.  Still, I think we've got a fun and delicious post today:  a Spring & Summer Sandwich round-up.

Below, I've collected 6 of my favorite sandwich recipes and put them together for you.  If you're interested in making any or all, just follow the links for the full recipe card.

The Summary

  Kelly is sharing 6sandwich recipes perfect for Summer & Spring.

  You can get the full recipe card for a dish by clicking the link at the end of each section

Spring & Summer Sandwich Round Up

1. The Best Roast Chicken Sandwich

Hello and welcome! Today we have an easy recipe today for a Roast Chicken Sandwich. I love these sandwich recipes because you can use leftovers and small bits of what you have left in the fridge to dress up the sandwich.

I am using leftover roasted chicken breast from the Chef Salad we had yesterday. Also, leftover lettuce, dill and a shallot – perfect for topping this sandwich. You can use whatever kind of cheese you like. Also, omit the chicken if you want to make a veggie sandwich – anything goes! Let’s get to it, The Best Roast Chicken Sandwich!

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2. My Take On The Southern Tomato Sandwich

I have another recipe that puts the tomato at center stage. As luck would have it, my tomato plants set a ton of fruit this year and a whole bushel of tomatoes are ready at the same moment. After a sad showing of tomatoes last summer, I did a bunch of research for this summer’s growing season and it’s been quite rewarding to see that effort pay off.

A Tomato Sandwich is a very simple sandwich, but this recipe is so much more than a few slices of tomato on bread with mayo.

I took a big detour with this recipe and instead of the classic white sandwich bread, I used sourdough focaccia I made and froze back in the wintertime. A departure from the classic Southern Tomato Sandwich, but no less delicious!

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3. Picnic Sandwich with Artichoke Pepper Spread

Picnic season is upon us and today, we are making a great Picnic Sandwich. This is one of those easily customizable recipes that you can throw together over the course of a morning and have it ready for an afternoon picnic, or keep it wrapped in the fridge until the next day.

I think the real star of this Picnic Sandwich is the Artichoke Pepper Spread – artichoke hearts, garlic, basil, sweet Piquanté peppers and Calabrian chilis processed together and stirred with olive oil to make a savory, sweet and spicy sandwich spread. Let’s get to it!

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4. Hawaiian-Style Barbecue Chicken Sandwich

We had a string of sunny days before the rain set in (thanks to Tropical Depression Fred), so we headed out to the grill for Hawaiian-Style Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches. Sesame teriyaki-marinated chicken thighs grilled and sandwiched with coleslaw and crispy onions, between a pillowy-soft Hawaiian sweet bun.

These sandwiches require minimal effort; they are super flavorful and perfect after a day at the beach or by the pool. Plus, there is a possibility of leftovers, which work out just as well cold to pack along for the next day’s activities. So let’s do it!

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5. My Take On The Italian Sandwich

I have an easy one today – my Take on an Italian Sandwich. I am eschewing definitions for this sandwich though. Because honestly, I suppose the only traditional Italian thing about it is the Italian dressing and the fact that it has a few meats, some provolone, tomato, lettuce and a homemade giardiniera. Get as creative as you want to with this one! Let’s get to it.

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6. Best Ever Tuna Melt

Like the Wedge Salad, the Tuna Melt is an American invention. The story of the Tuna Melt though, is that of an accident. The story goes that during a busy shift at the Woolworth’s lunch counter in Charleston, South Carolina, a bowl of tuna salad perched above the griddle, fell atop a grilled cheese sandwich while it was open-faced, on the griddle.

So maybe it’s more like the accidental invention of Toasted Ravioli, when a ravioli accidentally fell in the deep fryer. I love it when an accident becomes an icon! Let’s do this Best Ever Tuna Melt!

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In Case You Missed It

Because of technical difficulties, we moved Kelly's Kitchen to a Sunday.  If you missed our normal Sunday Post, make sure to click the title or image below to read the article.

Hello and welcome to Djalali Cooks. Easter is upon us! With a few days left to go, today I am sharing a round up of recipes that would make great additions to your Easter Brunch…even if it’s a small affair, or you don’t have any plans, here are several recipes perfect for brunch – plus a few sweet ideas. It’s the Easter Brunch Recipe Round up.

The Summary

  Kelly is sharing 10 recipes perfect for brunch

  You can get the full recipe card for a dish by clicking the link at the end of each section

Easter Brunch Round Up

1. Quiche Lorraine

Quiche hit its hey day in America in the 1980’s. And that’s when quiche became kitsch. Remember the book, Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche…(written by Bruce Feirstein) It came out in 1982 and was a tongue-in-cheek guidebook that satirized the masculine stereotypes of the era.

The title is a direct response to the fad of quiche being a feminine, “ladies who lunch” type of food. Funny, because quiche has a long European history dating all the way back to the 12th century. So today we’re going back to the origins of quiche with Quiche Lorraine.

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2. Shrimp and Grits

I love shrimp and grits. I am compelled to order them any, and every, time I see them on a menu. But, I had never made them myself. Well, that had to change, especially while we’re here at Tybee. So today, we are making cheesy grits and shrimp, with an egg, for breakfast.

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3. Spinach and Mushroom Frittata with Feta

I love a frittata any time of day; serve it with a salad and you have a nice, well-rounded meal with plenty of veggies and nutrients. Plus after a week of heavy holiday food and sweets, it’s a welcome change of pace to eat a little on the lighter side. Let’s get right to it!

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4. Ham and Cheese Breakfast Croissant Sandwhich

Let’s go for broke and make a Ham and Cheese Breakfast Croissant Sandwich. I love the flavors of a Croque Madame, so are we starting there and throwing in our little twist with the croissant. This recipe is super easy, you can make a bunch of them at a time if you have a house full, or you can do one or two. The effort is pretty much the same. Let’s do these Breakfast Sandwiches!

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5. Crab Cake Eggs Benedict

I know brunch is a thing all year long but, to me, the best brunches are those dined al fresco. So naturally, spring feels like brunch season. Today, I am sharing a recipe for Crab Cake Eggs Benedict – perfect for making any brunch a special one, al fresco or not. This recipe might seem intimidating but I have written it step by step – what to do when – so everything will come out together without frazzling your nerves. Let’s get right to it!

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6. Street Style Breakfast Tacos

There are three things we always have on hand in the fridge; eggs, Mexican chorizo and corn tortillas. And it just so happens that the combination of these three items makes a perfect breakfast. Easy, quick and delicious, these simple Street-Style Breakfast Tacos can be topped with onions and cilantro. You can toss on some cheese, if you like. Today, I am going with a little Mexican crema and hot sauce. Let’s get to it!

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7. Buttermilk-Vanilla Panna Cotta with Berries and Honey

Panna Cotta is light and refreshing, and it always seems fancy, even when it’s presented simply – so I had to feature it in today’s Easter Brunch Recipe Round Up. Panna Cotta is one of the easiest desserts I have ever made! It’s perfect for a cookout or barbecue because you can present it simply in a glass or plastic cup and have individual portions all ready to serve, covered in the fridge. Let’s get right to the recipe!

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8. Coconut Macaroons

Coconut Macaroons are a hit all year long. Crispy on the outside, lightly sweet and chewy on the inside. They’re light and perfectly sized for a sweet bite. Dip the bottoms in dark chocolate for a decadent treat. Super easy, quick and gluten free, these cookies are a wonderful addition to a holiday spread.

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9. Dark Chocolate Brownie Cookies

I really love these cookies because they are exactly like the best part of a brownie; slightly crunchy edges and a crackly top, with a soft and chewy center. Super chocolatey and fudgy. A slightly salty edge tempers the rich chocolate and rounds out the flavor. Absolutely perfect with a cup of coffee in the morning, or a cup of tea in the afternoon. Or, maybe a glass of red wine after dinner. Let’s get to these Dark Chocolate Brownie Cookies!

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10. The Best Sugar Cookies

No matter the holiday, Sugar Cookies are always a winning treat. They can be cut into whatever shapes you like and decorated to your heart’s desire. I have come to realize that having a reliable, easy (read: hard to screw up) Sugar Cookie recipe is a must. It is typical for me to over-work dough; this recipe really solves that problem because it all comes together in the food processor. Let’s get to the easiest, Best Sugar Cookies!

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In Case You Missed It

Remember, Saturdays are a two-post day.  Marlene showed us how to decorate for the Easter holiday. Click the title or image below to read the article.

Happy Friday, gang! Can you believe we made it through another week? Spring is in full bloom in Georgia, so it’s time to enjoy the great outdoors, whether it’s your backyard, a park, or just a stroll around the block. Oscar loves this time of year too and spends hours in his yard chasing squirrels, barking at the deer, and sitting on the grass surveying his turf. Me? I love to putter in the garden. Or I’ll bring my computer outside and work on a project or two, basking in the warm sunlight. Any excuse to head outdoors is welcome this time of year. I will say the South puts on a brilliant show come Spring with blooms and new growth at every turn. But that means there are lots of messes to contend with when Mother Nature is finished, so there are many opportunities to be outside in the yard.

The weather has been cra-zy the past week with temps in the upper 70s to low 30s and a few thunderstorms in between. Mother Nature can be fickle this time of year, but I stole a few glorious moments between the rain and cool temps in my backyard. I love to invite family and friends over this time of year to savor the sunset. Entertaining never has to be complicated. It just takes a bit of planning. I let Trader Joe’s do the heavy lifting whenever I’m short on time. And I always keep a snack or two tucked away in my freezer that’s ready to serve in minutes. Today, I’m sharing a few of the best Trader Joe’s appetizers, and a delicious Sangria recipe perfect all Spring and Summer long.

denim | chambray popover | utility jacket (old, similar here and here) | loafers (old, similar here and here)


Sangria is easy to make at a moment’s notice, and it makes a big enough batch to serve unexpected guests. A bottle of red wine and fruit is all that’s necessary. I like to add triple sec into the mix for flavor. The recipe below calls for orange juice and sugar, but I decided to modify the recipe to eliminate both ingredients. Guess what? The Sangria was just as delicious without the extra sugar.


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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Beth Djalali


  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup triple sec or Cointreau
  • 1 bottle red wine
  • Sliced strawberries (about 1 cup)
  • 1 peach, sliced
  • 12 oranges, sliced
  • 1/2 lemon, sliced
  • 1/2 lime, sliced


  1. Mix orange juice, lime juice, sugar, and triple sec in a pitcher until sugar is dissolved.
  2. Add the wine and fruit.
  3. Chill for about an hour before serving.


I used fruit that I had on hand (pears, apples, strawberries)

The Best Trader Joe’s appetizers

Trader Joe’s has some of the best dips in town. My favorites are Mediterranean Hummus and Artichoke & Jalapeño Dip. Add some veggies, and you have a crudités platter that’s easy to throw together at a moment’s notice. Crackers, bread, and chips are all easy additions that will please your guests.

cocktail napkins | melamine platter | melamine plates | acrylic glasses | acrylic pitcher | tidbit server  

cocktail napkins | melamine platter | melamine plates | acrylic glasses | acrylic pitcher | tidbit server  

Today’s outfit is a variation of my style uniform, the 4 B’s (blazer, button-up, blue jeans, and ballet flats). Utility jackets (old, similar here and here), whether green or khaki, are the perfect third layer come Spring and fall when the temps are on the cool side. Double denim, lovingly referred to as the Canadian or Texas tuxedo, is in play today with a chambray popover from J.Crew and paint-splattered blue jeans from Ralph Lauren. Add a pair of loafers (old, similar here and here), and I have a prep in my step today.

Fridays with Oscar

denim | chambray popover | utility jacket (old, similar here and here) | loafers (old, similar here and here)

Oscar and I wish you a lovely weekend! Enjoy!

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In case you missed it

Yesterday we featured Kelly’s vacation outfits from Charleston. If you’re looking for more fashion inspiration, check out Beth’s 5 ways to wear white sneakers this Spring.  

And remember, Thursdays are a two-post day. Make sure to check out the one piece of Spring clothing Beth can’t live without.

Contributor Kelly Djalali shows us how to make hot honey chicken.

Hello, friends. Welcome to Djalali Cooks. Today we have a Hot Honey Chicken that gets me a little closer in my quest for recreating my favorite Honey Chili Chicken; a dish that I have been missing for several years. Chef Gia’s was a Hunan restaurant in San Francisco’s Chinatown. I frequented Gia’s for 17 years. Every time I moved from The City, I missed Gia’s most of all. And every time I moved back to SF, it was the first place I went. This dish is similar only in flavor, but for me it’s a step closer to my beloved Honey Chili Chicken. So let’s make Hot Honey Chicken!

The original recipe, by Cooks Country does not call for dredging the chicken pieces in flour, but I am doing that today because I am using skinless, boneless thighs and I want the outside of the chicken to get a golden crust. Opt out of this step if you like, but I think it gives the chicken a nice crunch that holds up to the sauce nicely. You can use any combination of bone-in chicken pieces you like best; skin-on, or skinless. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, we will finish the chicken in the sauce, in the oven.

Pat the chicken dry and season both sides with a mix of cumin and salt. Dredge each piece of chicken in the flour and shake off the excess, set the dredged pieces on a wire rack placed in a sheet pan. Set the finished pieces aside and we can make the hot honey.

Hot Honey

Honey, Franks Red Hot Sauce and minced garlic are the only three ingredients for the hot honey. The Franks Red Hot is not super spicy and the vinegar in the sauce is a really nice compliment to the honey, a very well-balanced hot honey sauce. Mix these three ingredients to together very well, to fully emulsify the honey.


An Adjustable Measuring Cup is such a handy tool for measuring sticky ingredients like honey. It’s also great for ingredients like mayonnaise and other sauces that are hard to scrape out of a traditional measuring cup. It features plunger-style bottom piece that you use to push the ingredient out; with a silicone coated base to cleanly sweep all of the measured ingredients from the sides of the cylinder.

Brown the Chicken

In a 12-inch, oven-safe skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of grapeseed or vegetable oil over medium-high heat until the oil just begins to smoke. Add the chicken pieces to the skillet and brown both sides. I had to work in two batches to get all 8 thighs browned initially. Once all your chicken is browned, transfer the chicken to a plate momentarily and drain off the fat in the pan. Then, return the chicken to the empty skillet.

Pour the hot honey sauce evenly over the chicken pieces and place in the preheated oven for 17-20 minutes, until the thighs register an internal temperature of 175 degrees. If you’re cooking breasts, those are ready when the internal temperature reads 160 degrees.

When the chicken is cooked to temp, remove from the oven and let the chicken rest in the skillet for about 10 minutes. Transfer pieces to a platter and return the skillet to the stovetop. Over medium-high heat, bring the pan juices up to a boil and let thicken slightly, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to low and whisk in butter and lime juice. Whisk until butter is melted. Remove from heat.

Hot Honey Chicken

Spoon sauce evenly over the chicken pieces.

Top with sliced scallions.

This dish is so delicious! It’s spicy and sweet; the chicken has a nice crispy exterior and the interior is moist and juicy. The fresh scallions give a little crunch and pop of fresh onion flavor.

As I mentioned at the top, flavor-wise, this dish comes very close to the Honey Chili Chicken in my memory. Gia’s Honey Chili Chicken is fried in small pieces – Gia’s is much spicier, but all the right notes are here. This is a step closer for me, as I try to reconstruct Gia’s dish from memory; I will get there eventually, and when I do, I will be so excited to share the recipe here, with you!

Recently, I did another dish that reminded me, once again, of the power of certain foods and recipes to transport us to times past: Not So Sloppy Joe’s, check out that recipe if you’d like a delicious trip down memory lane!

Thank you so much for spending some time with me today. Definitely make this recipe for Hot Honey Chicken, it’s outstanding – a sure winner! Pin it on Pinterest, because this recipe is one you will want to repeat. Take care and be well, xo Kelly

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Kitchen Tools Used in This Recipe

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In case you missed it

We run two posts on Saturday:  Kelly’s Kitchen and Marlene’s tips for home design.  This week Marlene shows us how to add April flowers and scents to your homes.

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