Posts by Kelly Senyei

Kelly Senyei

Doughnut Muffins

Can’t decide between doughnuts and muffins? Enjoy the best of both worlds with this quick and easy recipe for Doughnut Muffins studded with raspberries!

I’ve never met a breakfast carb I didn’t like. Pancakes. Waffles. French Toast. Bagels. You name it, I’ll flip, press or bake it for my morning meal. But there comes a time when one doesn’t want to be forced to decide between two favorites in the breakfast lineup, and thus, I present to you Doughnut Muffins.

This is no ordinary cronut-inspired hybrid, but rather a homemade creation that manages to marry the airiness of a doughnut with the moist crumb of a muffin. But I couldn’t let such a match made in heaven exist sans a kiss of fresh fruit or a drizzle of sweet glaze. So read on for my updates to this newfound breakfast favorite.

It all begins with a quick-fix batter that goes for a spin in the stand mixer. The resulting part-doughnut, part-muffin mix is super-light and easily scoopable, so you’ll want to have an ice cream scoop on hand when it comes to filling your muffin tin.

While the original recipe went straight from the mixing bowl into the muffin tin, I couldn’t resist upping the flavor factor by folding in 1 cup of the season’s plumpest, juiciest raspberries. It’s important to lightly fold, rather than vigorously stir the berries into the batter to guarantee the lightest, airiest doughnut muffins.

After you’ve divided the batter among the muffin tins, grab a few extra raspberries and gently break them apart before plopping them atop each cup of batter. The added fruit gives your guests a visual cue as to the fruity surprise they’ll find tucked inside the pastries.

While the doughnut muffins bake, whisk together 1 cup sifted powdered sugar with 3 tablespoons of whole milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla extra to make a simple glaze. After all, we all know a doughnut isn’t really a doughnut without a sticky-sweet topping. Once the doughnut muffins have cooled completely, pop them out of the muffin tin and drizzle them with the prepared glaze.

And it’s as easy as that! A twofer of a morning treat that delivers the best of both the doughnut and muffin worlds.

- Kelly Senyei, Just a Taste


Kelly Senyei

Italian Fruit Salad

Kick up a classic summer side dish with this quick and easy recipe for Italian Fruit Salad paired with buttery pound cake croutons.

The official first day of summer may still be a few weeks away, but I’ve decided to get a headstart on my lineup of warm weather side dishes, beginning with this fresh and flavorful Italian Fruit Salad.

The classic dish gets a welcome update thanks to a tangy balsamic dressing, but I couldn’t let the deliciousness stop there. I’ve added an indulgent twist to this summer salad in the form of toasted pound cake croutons. Intrigued? Read on for the recipe!

There are no rules when it comes to mixing and matching the components of fruit salad, so feel free to use whatever fruit you have on hand or that is nearing its peak in terms of ripeness. I’ve added blackberries to the original fruit salad recipe, however raspberries, strawberries or even pomegranate seeds would be welcome additions to pair with the fresh basil.

Italian Fruit Salad

And this is when the dish goes from a basic fruit salad to a taste bud-bursting dessert. Cue the pound cake croutons! Here’s the setup:

  • Dice your favorite homemade or store-bought pound cake into 1-inch cubes
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • Once the butter has melted, add 2 cups of the croutons to the pan, tossing to combine
  • Transfer the croutons to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake them at 375ºF for 8 to 10 minutes until they’re golden brown and toasted

All that’s left to do is add the croutons to the bowl of fruit, drizzle on the balsamic vinegar and honey, then toss, dish out and dig in!

Are you ready to give your fruit salad a dessert-inspired makeover? Then grab the pound cake and preheat your oven for Italian Fruit Salad.

- Kelly Senyei, Just a Taste


Kelly Senyei

Mixed Berry Tartlets

Skip the slice and forget the forks in favor of bite-sized Mixed Berry Tartlets starring the season’s freshest berries topped with homemade whipped cream!

If you’re a fan of pie but want to avoid DIY pie dough, then allow me to introduce you to your new go-to dessert: Mixed Berry Tartlets.

This quick and easy recipe allows for mixing and matching of your favorite fruits, which leads to endless flavor combinations. And while the original recipe called for frozen berries, I couldn’t resist the perfectly ripe strawberries and blueberries on display at my local market. Ready to dig in? Preheat your oven for Mixed Berry Tartlets and read on for additional substitutions, plus my go-to recipe for homemade whipped cream.

The sweetness starts with store-bought pie dough, which transforms from a single crust into a dozen mini crusts with a few twists of a circular cookie cutter. If you don’t have a circular cookie cutter you can use a drinking glass or the top of a spice bottle with a diameter of 3 to 4 inches.

Once the individual crusts are tucked securely into a muffin tin, it’s then time to move on to the fruit filling. I swapped out the frozen mixed berries in favor of fresh, opting for juicy strawberries and plump blueberries. You could also use blackberries, raspberries, cranberries or any other small or diced fruit.

Twenty minutes in the oven is all it takes to go from raw ingredients to perfectly baked tartlets. But they’re not done just yet! While the tartlets cool, whip up a sweet tangy topping by skipping the lemon curd filling from the original recipe in favor of a vanilla-spiked homemade whipped cream.

Simply whisk together the following ingredients in your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment:

  • 1 1/2 cups chilled heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Once the whipped cream holds soft peaks, spoon it atop the completely cooled pies then garnish with a sprig of mint and a sprinkle of freshly grated lemon zest.

And that’s all it takes to achieve fruit pie flavor sans the stress of DIY pie dough! Grab your favorite berries then head on over to this fast and fresh recipe for Mixed Berry Tartlets.

- Kelly Senyei, Just a Taste


Kelly Senyei

Shortbread Brownies

Can’t decide between buttery shortbread cookies and fudgy chocolate brownies? Enjoy the best of both worlds with Shortbread Brownies!

Sweet meets salty in this two-in-one layered dessert starring buttery chocolate chip shortbread and fudgy brownies. But of course I couldn’t let the indulgence end right then and there. This twofer dessert was in desperate need of a topping; something that screamed, “I’m not who I appear to be!” And thus, I’ve kicked this recipe up a couple of notches. Read on for my updates to this quick and easy recipe for Shortbread Brownies.

It all starts with the shortbread, which scores a few extra sweet tooth points thanks to the addition of mini-chocolate chips. And remember, when cutting butter into flour, it’s best to just use your fingers, as the warmth will slightly soften the butter, making it easier to incorporate with the dry ingredients. And by “incorporate with the dry ingredients,” I mean “taste test the dough.”

With the shortbread in motion, we can then move on to the brownie portion. Whenever I make brownies, or even chocolate cakes or cupcakes, I always like to add just a taste of espresso powder to the batter, as the coffee amps up the flavor of the chocolate. I added 2 teaspoons of espresso powder mixed with 2 teaspoons water to this brownie batter.

Then it’s time to put it all together, starting by pressing the shortbread cookie dough into the bottom of your foil-lined pan. The cookie layer goes for a quick bake before being topped with the prepared brownie batter. And then it’s back into the oven until both the shortbread and brownies are baked and sealed together into one stacked sweet.

I have a big problem letting brownies go naked. And this is where the milk chocolate and large-flake sea salt steal the show. Simply melt 1 cup of chocolate chips, transfer the melted chocolate to a pastry bag or sealable plastic bag, snip off the tip and pipe away. But before the chocolate hardens, finish off your masterpiece with a pinch of sea salt to balance out the sweetness.

Slice, serve, and win the adoration of coworkers, teachers, kids, parents, siblings, or just yourself. No one said Shortbread Brownies need to be shared.

- Kelly Senyei, Just a Taste


Kelly Senyei

Five-Spice Beef Kabobs

Skip the forks in favor of skewers with this quick and easy recipe for Five-Spice Beef Kabobs that can be cooked on the grill or on the stove. 

Five-Spice Beef Kabobs

Nothing says “it’s almost summer” quite like food on a stick, from fruit-filled popsicles by the pool to crispy corndogs at the State Fair. And with May right around the corner, I could think of no better way to usher in warmer weather than with grilled Five-Spice Beef Kabobs.

This finger-friendly appetizer or main dish stars marinated flank steak that’s seared and then served hot with a tangy yogurt dipping sauce. I’ve added a few twists of my own to the original recipe, so read on for step-by-step instructions, plus tips for how to skip the grill in favor of a grill pan.

Five-Spice Beef Kabobs

I’m a big fan of bold steak marinades, so I’d recommend kicking up the original marinade recipe with my simple updates and additions:

  • Increase the soy sauce to 1/4 cup
  • Add 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Add 2 teaspoons honey

I opted to marinate the skewers for two hours, which guarantees a bigger flavor contribution from the soy sauce and garlic.

Five-Spice Beef Kabobs

The secret to extra-tender beef skewers is to lightly flatten the steak with a meat tenderizer. This added step ensures the skewers will cook evenly and at the same rate. And rather than grill the skewers on an outdoor grill, I opted to use a grill pan right atop my stove. Simply sear the kabobs for 2 to 3 minutes on each side until they reach your desired degree of doneness.

Five-Spice Beef Kabobs

A beef kabob just wouldn’t be a beef kabob without a dipping sauce to match. Cool off the heat from the skewers with this simple yogurt dip, and up the crunch factor by stirring in 1/4 cup chopped cucumbers for a refreshing bite.

Five-Spice Beef Kabobs

Ready to dip and dunk? Celebrate spring with this quick and easy recipe for Five-Spice Beef Kabobs.

- Kelly Senyei, Just a Taste


Kelly Senyei

Artichoke Flatbreads

I’m always on the hunt for finger-friendly appetizer inspiration, so when I came across this recipe for Artichoke Flatbread, I knew this easy, cheesy dish would be making an appearance at my next dinner party.

Artichoke Flatbread

Sure enough, this recipe delivered big on flavor and on ease of preparation, which is critical when it comes to entertaining a room full of guests without breaking a sweat.

Flatbread, much like its culinary cousin pizza, leaves the door wide open for customization. You can keep it as simple or as complex as your palate desires. I used this recipe for Artichoke Flatbread as a starting point, but decided that it wasn’t quite warm enough yet to break out the grill. And thus, oven-toasted flatbreads all around!

Artichoke Flatbread

I swapped peppery arugula for spinach, tossed in a few black olives, added a hearty shower of Parmesan as a garnish, and left the pizza seasonings behind in favor of a good pinch of crushed red pepper flakes.

To cook the flatbreads in the oven, rather than on the grill, simply preheat your oven to 375ºF and then continue with the original recipe by first brushing one side of the flatbreads with olive oil and placing them on a baking sheet.

Artichoke Flatbread

Bake the flatbreads for 5 minutes just until they’re slightly toasted, then remove them from the oven and spread them with the garlic and herb goat cheese, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges. You could also use ricotta cheese mixed with chopped fresh herbs.

Artichoke Flatbread

Next comes the fun part and is a great time to get your tiniest of taste testers involved in the making of their next meal. Scatter your choice of toppings over the goat cheese. I used marinated artichoke hearts, chopped tomatoes and sliced olives. Return the flatbreads to the oven and bake for 5 minutes until golden brown and bubbly.

Artichoke Flatbread

Rather than add the greens to the flatbreads prior to baking, I topped the flatbreads with dressed arugula for additional flavor. Simply toss the arugula with olive oil and balsamic vinegar (or whatever salad dressing you have on hand), then pile them high atop the toasty flatbreads.

Artichoke Flatbread

And there you have it! All it takes is 20 minutes or less to go from a raw ingredients to this eye-popping perfection. Best of all, this recipe for Artichoke Flatbread is a great way to make the most of leftover odds and ends in the fridge and pantry. Easy and economical? Count me in!

- Kelly Senyei, Just a Taste