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Pakistani Kima

Full disclosure:  I have no idea if this recipe is truly Pakistani, nor do I know what “kima” is.

But I *do* know that it’s delicious, filling, healthy, and easy.  That’s a dinner grand slam in my books.

30-minute Pakistani Kima, full of veggies, protein, and aromatic spices, and comes together for a healthy & easy dinner

My sister has been making this for her family for quite a while, and she made it for us while I was visiting my parents a couple years ago.  I fell in love with the incredible aroma and flavors of the spice combination.  It’s truly what makes this dish special.

30-minute Pakistani Kima, full of veggies, protein, and aromatic spices, and comes together for a healthy & easy dinner

But it has a lot more going for it.  It’s chock-full of veggies, across the color spectrum (something that I’m usually desperately needing).  It’s also super satiating, with a one-two-three punch of the fat in the butter (don’t skimp on this), the lean ground beef, and the fiber-full vegetables.

It clocks in at around 320 calories per serving (if you make 6 servings out of the batch), which is great if you’re trying to keep your calories down but not feel hungry all the time.

30-minute Pakistani Kima, full of veggies, protein, and aromatic spices, and comes together for a healthy & easy dinner

And best of all, this recipe is super easy to make, a one-pot standby.  It only takes about a half-hour total, and only requires you to do some vegetable chopping and throw everything into a pot.  I made two desserts while putting this together a couple weeks ago, because I didn’t have to spare any brainpower for it.  So I’m kind of in love. [Read more…]

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Mom’s Sweet Potato Casserole: A Thanksgiving Staple

Pretty much anyone you talk to will tell you what their non-negotiable Thanksgiving dish is.  For some it’s pumpkin pie or mashed potatoes.  For me it’s Stovetop stuffing (original recipe).

And for my mom it’s this sweet potato pudding.

Mom's Sweet Potato Casserole, her must-have for Thanksgiving. None of that marshmallow nonsense here.

And I have to admit, it’s pretty doggone good.  None of those nasty marshmallows here.  No, sir.  This is creamy and warm but not too sweet—the only really sweet part is the topping, which has a great crunch to it.  It’s really easy to put together and is always a crowd pleaser. [Read more…]

Banana Cake with Caramel Frosting

It’s kind of crazy that I’ve never made banana cake before, because it’s something that my extended family made quite a bit when I was growing up.

Banana Cake with Caramel Frosting slice

But it was always with cream cheese frosting, and then a few years ago my sister had a brainwave and threw this caramel frosting on instead.  And a legend was born. (I may be being melodramatic)

banana cake with caramel frosting sugar butter beat

Now don’t get me wrong, I really like banana cake with cream cheese frosting (pretty much anything with cream cheese frosting, for that matter).  But there is something about this sugary, crackly caramel frosting that just adds the perfect depth and complement to the moist, dense cake.  The fact that it’s crazy easy is just the icing on the cake…so to speak.

Banana Cake with Caramel Frosting slice2

This is also a cake that is perfect to make the night before, because this frosting really seals in the moisture of the cake.  And, of course, use up the billions of browning bananas sitting on your counter.

I haven’t eaten a banana in probably six months, but I still buy them like clockwork, with the best intentions.  This is a thing everyone does, yes?

Humor me… [Read more…]

My Favorite Unleavened Bread Recipes

With the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread coming up, I thought it would be fun to go back through and gather all of my favorite unleavened recipes into one place.  It’s easy to get stuck in a rut, and I totally forgot about some of these that were favorites a mere three or four years ago!

Some of the best unleavened bread recipes for Passover

Slightly Sweet Unleavened Bread

Slightly Sweet Unleavened Bread sliced

I just found this recipe last year, thanks to my sis.  I fell totally in love with it as a super easy, fast, all-purpose unleavened bread to keep on hand.  It’s dense but not dry, satiating, has a hint of sweet from the brown sugar and honey, and is ready in a half hour from start to finish. It was also just as good leftover as fresh out of the oven (which is NOT always true of unleavened bread recipes).  Plus, you can mix it up by hand and pat it out on the baking sheet, so very low-maintenance.

Cottage Cheese Rolls

cottage cheese rolls finished

This has always been my family’s go-to recipe during the Days of Unleavened Bread. I never could understand why people would want to eat matzo, because it’s like eating cardboard. These, on the other hand, are moist and buttery and chewy and flavorful and FULL OF AWESOME.  They are a little more time consuming though, but highly recommend for something like Night to Be.

Jam Diagonals

Jam Diagonals

I was OBSESSED with these as a kid, I would try to sneak as many as I could without my mom seeing.  Problem was, they were gone so fast.  Not only are these desserts perfect for any spring brunch, Mother’s Day, bridal shower, etc., they’re unleavened to boot.  And basically the most delicious thing ever. [Read more…]

Updated Recipe Re-Post: Best Soft Molasses Cookies Ever

These are probably the best cookie ever made.  Science can surely substantiate that, right?

They’ve been made by my family ever since I can remember, but I don’t know if we’re sure where the recipe came from initially.  These cookies have crispy outsides, chewy and soft insides, and just an explosion of flavor that’s definitely ginger-y, but not overwhelmingly so—rather than the bite of a ginger snap, they’re mellowed out by the cloves and cinnamon to a perfect spice combination.

Soft, Chewy Molasses Cookies

The reason I’m re-posting this recipe is that…

  1. It was one of the first recipes I posted, so I’m not sure that anyone actually saw it
  2. They’re the actual best
  3. I hadn’t made them in ages (probably at least a year or two) because, ever since we stopped using butter-flavored Crisco (due to health and partially-hydrogenated oils and blah blah), they just hadn’t come out right for me with butter or coconut oil or vegetable oil or whatever. But my mom recently tested out some organic shortening and it’s made all the difference here
  4. They’re the actual best

So, here’s the link to the original recipe, which I’ve updated slightly since my shortening discoveries. Note, you may need to play around with the flour amounts a little—don’t add it all to start, but see what the dough feels like. For me, because my oven’s been tricky lately, I took the temperature down to 340 F and baked for less time, but it also took less flour than usual. Chilling the dough a little doesn’t hurt either.

Full recipe for the best, softest, chewiest molasses cookies ever here…

14 of My Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

Thanksgiving is a BIG deal in my family.  I always fly home a day or two before, and stay through the weekend.  I have a big extended family, so my mom and sisters and I (and my aunts) spend the day before baking, cooking, and prepping.  The morning of Thanksgiving is always insane—my mom’s up super early with the turkey, then leaves around 10:30 to get down to my grandma’s.  I get up a little later, go for a run, finish up all the remaining dishes, and head down around noon.

We eat a huge lunch, then graze all afternoon and have leftovers for dinner.  We play football, watch football, play cards, and talk.  Chase the kids around.  We also usually get together Friday night, Saturday night, and Sunday morning for brunch.  It is a LOT of cooking all weekend.

When you’re cooking for a big crowd (anywhere from 25 to 50 in past years; usually around 25-30 these days), there are some realities in the kinds of dishes that make sense.  Anything super time-intensive that doesn’t yield many servings is automatically out.  So these are some of my favorite dishes that I’ve contributed.  There’s no turkey or main dish here, because we always make a couple simple turkeys or turkey breasts.  Nothing fancy, because it’s all about the sides, breads, and desserts.  Hope you enjoy and everyone has a safe, happy (American) Thanksgiving with family and friends!

14 Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes [Read more…]

Pasta with Spinach, Tomato, & Feta

Somehow I totally forgot about this recipe.

Pasta with Spinach, Tomato, & Feta

I started making it in college, and pretty soon it was my standby recipe. I made it at least once a week while I was doing my internship, and later once I moved to Atlanta. Sometimes multiple times a week. It was easy and cheap, came together in the time it took the pasta to cook, and felt kind of fancy. Before I started this blog I basically had a 3-recipe rotation…

pasta with spinach tomato & feta tomatoes cooking

Then somehow I totally forgot about it once I started trying out lots of recipes for this site. But when I was at the grocery store last weekend trying to figure out what to do for dinner (since my Kroger was totally out of avocados, which I’d kind of needed), I saw these beautiful heirloom tomatoes and this recipe popped into my mind. It’s very forgiving, the veggie amounts aren’t super exact and neither is the feta amount. You could substitute kale for spinach, though it definitely would change the texture a little. I recommend this for a night where you just need something on the table fast, and want fresh, healthy ingredients. [Read more…]

Single-Serving Cherry Crisp

Sometimes I get obsessed with things.

Single-Serving Cherry Crisp

Sometimes that’s just obsessed with eating something. Sometimes it’s creating something that I can’t find. Other times it’s finding the perfect version—which may mean making it a TON of times. Homemade pad thai. Black bean brownies. Dreamy scones.

This is one of those things. I love fruit crisp, but sometimes it’s not worth the effort to make a whole pan (plus, then I eat the whole pan, which…).

Single-Serving Cherry Crisp done

I first got the idea when I made a sweet dark cherry pie for Thanksgiving last year. I’d never really worked with cherries before, always sticking instead to apples, pears, and peaches. I kind of winged it (wung it?) and made up the recipe after reading a few different ones, and it turned out great. And then one night recently I was jonesin’ for something sweet, and the idea of fruit crisp hit me (I wasn’t in the mood for chocolate for some reason). All I really had, though, was a bag of frozen cherries for smoothies. I decided to give it a go, and made two—one in the oven and one in the microwave. Shockingly, I liked the microwave version and it took WAY less time.

Single-Serving Cherry Crisp finished

Since then I’ve made it several more times because I couldn’t quite get the flavors exactly like I wanted. This is a pretty fluid and forgiving recipe. You can add a little honey or sugar to the filling if you feel it needs it (or are using tart cherries), but mine is plenty sweet. Also, you could make it gluten-free by using a flour alternative like oat flour, coconut flour, almond meal, etc.  I tried a few different spice combinations in the filling and topping (cardamom, ginger, etc.), but ultimately found that simpler was better—cinnamon and some almond extract. [Read more…]

Thanksgiving Streusel Pie “Two-Fer”: Pear-Apple Pie & Bing Cherry Pie

I love pie. Pie is the best. But for a holiday where pie plays a major role, I don’t really love Thanksgiving pies.

sunset

Thanksgiving’s a big deal in my family. We always come home. We get together not only all day on Thanksgiving, but pretty much every other day that weekend. We play football. We play cards. There are glorious sunsets. There is SO much food. This year I think we actually set a record.

Bing Cherry Pie with Streusel done

Every year I make a fruit pie or two, because pumpkin, German chocolate, and chocolate chip pie are just not for me (though I love me some pecan from time to time). There’s usually a pear-apple, pear-banana, or some similar combination. This year I was really at a loss for what else to make, and then my mom found a frozen bag of dark cherries.

Bing Cherry Pie with Streusel

After looking up a number of recipes on Pinterest, I had to basically make up the recipe and hope it would work (I had visions of it just being this giant pool of juice, the soggiest pie ever). It was actually super simple and so easy to throw together. The cherry pie ended up being my favorite, and I had it for lunch, dinner, breakfast the next morning, and the tiny sliver that was left the next morning as well. This pie is my everything. I have no idea why, but it’s amazing.

Pear-Apple Pie with Streusel

The pear-apple is a recipe I made up years ago and make all the time. I love the texture and sweetness that the pears add, and almond extract, ginger, and cardamom pair (ha, pear) particularly nicely with pears. It’s an oldie but goodie. And both pies barely have any added sugar, so you don’t have to feel an iota of guilt for having a big slice for breakfast as well. [Read more…]

Grandma’s Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

I don’t like banana bread.

There—I said it.

Grandma's Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Cue the shock and hand-wringing and exclamations of my lack of humanity. I’ve heard it all. But I still don’t like banana bread.

grandma's chocolate chip banana bread chocolate chips walnuts

THIS banana bread, however, is pretty freaking awesome.

Grandma's Chocolate Chip Banana Bread sliced

I got the chance to fly out to eastern Washington in late January with my dad to visit my Grandma and some other family on his side. I see most of them maaayyybe every decade, often longer, so it was a great chance to catch up and reconnect. My grandma had baked some banana bread that I ended up snacking on all weekend. It was dense and moist, like a flat little cake, and studded with chocolate chips. I loved it.

She gave me her recipe and I played with it a little, including using all whole wheat flour, leaving out the coconut (partly because I forgot), and using dark chocolate chips. I also baked it in two shallow dishes instead of making a regular-size loaf, which I think actually was the best thing I could have done for even cooking and keeping everything moist. [Read more…]

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