The Absolute Best, Easiest Classic Shortbread (Plain or Flavored)
Getting to the absolute best shortbread recipe has been a weird sort of “baking Everest” for me. I sometimes find that the seemingly-simplest foods are the hardest to get *perfect*, probably because there’s nowhere to hide.
But after trying out several different recipes over a year or two, I finally found a winner—for me, this is the easiest, best classic shortbread!
One thing I love about shortbread is that it’s naturally unleavened, so it’s a great dessert for Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread (see my usual disclaimer here). And while I love the cookies, it also makes a lovely base for tarts and bars.
One of the keys I’ve learned with this recipe is a low and slow bake, which helps provide a delicate, crumbly texture that’s not too dry.
While this is a classic shortbread recipe, you can also flavor it any way you crave. Dry ingredients that really pack a flavor punch are best, so as not to mess with the texture…think a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste, citrus zest, extracts, or fresh minced herbs.
Personally I’ve been obsessed lately with adding lemon or orange zest and fresh minced rosemary…I use a light hand, and it adds an interesting freshness without being overwhelming.
This is a Smitten Kitchen recipe that I’ve tweaked a bit, and another example of her never steering me wrong. One thing she provides are pretty detailed recommendations for shaping and cutting, which I’ve largely included in my recipe below as well.
They sound fussy, but are actually easy and DO work (even though I didn’t have a tiny-enough wooden dowel so had to improvise). BUT, the extra shaping step isn’t necessary if you don’t want to hassle with it.
I definitely recommend doing the cutting midway through the bake, though. If you wait to cut til the end, there’s a good chance these delicate cookies will fall apart.
Aloo Gobi: Indian-Spiced Cauliflower & Potatoes
Generally I’m pretty lazy with side dishes…throw some cut veggies into the air fryer and call it a day. But this super easy version of aloo gobi, an Indian potato and cauliflower dish packed with warm spices, has become one of the few exceptions.
Even though it takes a few more steps than just throwing some veggies in the air fryer, it’s still not asking that much. This dish comes together easily in under 30 minutes, takes ingredients that most people already have, and doesn’t require a lot of hands-on time.
While the recipe calls for roasting the potatoes and cauliflower in the oven at a very high heat—and I do think it returns a *slightly* better flavor and texture)—I’ve also roasted them quickly in my large two-drawer air fryer when I didn’t want to heat my house up.
I do have a couple tips for making this as delicious as possible. One is that I do believe the type of potato matters. Don’t use russet. And I tried fingerling but didn’t love the texture as much…it can do in a pinch, but I do really recommend going with those little Yukon Gold ones.
The second tip is to watch your onions. I like to take them to true golden-brown-verging-on-charred to really get the most flavor, but you DON’T want them to tip over into burned. It gives the entire dish a burnt flavor that’s not nice. Using slightly lower heat helps.
The Best, Creamiest Homemade Hummus (+ A Secret Hack)
I was never the biggest fan of store-bought hummus. It does in a pinch, but the taste and texture have never done it for me. So I’ve been really excited to find what I think is the easiest and best homemade hummus recipe around.
What makes me say this is the best hummus recipe?? Well, mostly because it takes one extra (but super easy) step…before we blend everything together, we simmer the chickpeas in water with baking soda for a while. In testing recipes out, this did make a big difference in texture.
Why use baking soda in hummus? Normally used in baking, baking soda raises the pH levels of the water, which makes the chickpeas more soluble and breaks them down, which then lets them puree into an ultra-smooth mixture.
I think we sometimes underestimate the beauty of hummus…it’s incredibly versatile, whether as a meal, side dish, snack, or appetizer. You can dip veggies or pita in it, or pile it high with spicy chicken shawarma and veggies.
As with most recipes that are simple, it’s key to use high quality ingredients for the best result. I’ve fallen in love with these organic chickpeas, which I buy in bulk and use in all sorts of recipes, and I’ve found that this squeezable tahini is so much easier to use than the jars.
The Best Easy Air Fryer Broccoli Bits (Roasted with Cumin)
I have been making these roasted cumin air fryer broccoli bits on REPEAT for months now and haven’t told you about them. And for that I apologize. Because anything that gets me to voluntarily eat broccoli basically every day is worth sharing.
Broccoli has always been a solidly bottom-tier vegetable for me. I don’t…*hate* it per se, but I absolutely refuse to eat it raw, and I think it’s gross steamed (like most veggies), so it’s generally a “nope” from me. Just texturally, it’s rough.
But when you break it down into smaller pieces (we’re talking smaller than florets here), and roast them until close to charred, they transform into something almost crave-worthy!
Fluffy, Fragrant Turmeric Rice
Everyone needs a go-to rice recipe that’s a but “zshuzhed” (I have no idea how you spell that, but you get the picture). When a meal calls for a bolder, more flavorful rice, then you bring out the big guns. And by “big guns”, I mean this amazingly delicious and easy turmeric rice.
This is my sister’s go-to recipe when she needs a Mediterranean rice that pairs well with regionally-related foods, such as shawarma, ground lamb, gyro meat, and more.
And boy, does it! The first time I made it, I piled it high with this delicious Middle Eastern spiced ground beef with toasted pine nuts) and the result was pure comfort food.
But what’s impressive is that this rice is dang delicious on its own—and that’s not something I often say about rice.
On top of that, it is super easy and results in the softest, moistest rice I’ve ever made! Typically I’ve struggled with making rice on the stove in a way I enjoy, so just default to my rice cooker. But this technique was simple and very effective.
You definitely can make this with brown rice as well (my sister always does), but you’ll need to add an extra 1/2 cup of water and it will take a little longer to cook.
The Best Pan-Seared Stovetop Salmon…& How To Cook Salmon Without Oil
Have you ever wondered how to cook salmon without oil? Honestly, I hadn’t until fairly recently (for reasons mentioned below), but once I went down that rabbit hole I realized that simple pan-seared salmon is the most perfect cooking technique out there!
The genesis of this recipe (technique, really) was during the functional medicine/liver detox I did at the beginning of the summer. It includes a fairly restrictive diet of certain proteins (like chickpeas or wild-caught salmon), lots of veggies, and a few healthy fats.
However, cooking with any oil is discouraged due to the oxidation created, so I was looking for ways to cook my favorite (allowed) foods with little or no oil.
Enter: stovetop salmon, which requires no oil (the fish is fatty enough without it) and actually results in the BEST homemade salmon texture!
You can read more about the detox (& gut health protocol) & my tips for staying sane/enjoying!
Don’t get me wrong, my pan-caramelized salmon is still a total fave. This pan-seared salmon is a close cousin, just as easy and even a bit healthier.
And the texture is as close to restaurant-grade as I’ve been able to replicate at home. Usually when I grill or bake salmon, it ends up with all that white goo coming out, and a bit soggier than I’d like. It’s definitely edible, but not as delicious as I can get at a good restaurant.
Instead, this stovetop salmon produces a lightly crisp exterior that gives way to perfect moist flaky insides. WE ARE ALL CHEFS!
This would also be a great recipe for surviving a super low-carb diet (see more tips here!)READ THE POST
The Most Epic Single-Serving Molten Chocolate Lava Cake
What if I told you that you could have the most amazing delicious bittersweet single-serving chocolate lava cake…in 15 minutes??
And if I told you that it’s also naturally gluten-free and *mostly* dairy-free?? (It does have some butter and whatever’s in the chocolate, so your mileage may vary if you’re crazy sensitive…)
So, yeah, this is one of the most dangerous recipes I’ve ever made.
This is a true unicorn recipe, requiring only a few ingredients, a very short amount of time, and yielding an indulgent treat that’s the perfect texture and JUST the right amount of sweet/rich (for me, I keep mine more on the bittersweet side, but the recipe gives you options).
The texture of these single-serving chocolate lava cakes is more like a sturdier chocolate chocolate soufflé or my flourless chocolate cake rather than an actual CAKE. It’s delicate and melts in your mouth.
And while they’re perfect on their own, I also love playing around with different fillings. I think my favorite is still a dollop of peanut butter, but I’ve also tested some unique ones like my peanut butter balsamic caramel sauce and tart Morello cherry jam (with lemon zest in the batter).
The Most Addictive, Indulgent-Feeling Dark Chocolate Banana “Nice Cream”
I can feel about half of you rolling your eyes, and about half of you going, “ooooh, I’m intrigued!” And I understand both responses, because calling chocolate “nice cream” made from frozen bananas *indulgent* seems like it might be an overstatement.
EXCEPT IT’S NOT. Seriously, this dark chocolate banana “nice cream” is crazy delicious.
It’s rich, complex, and sweet enough but not sickly. And it’s exactly the thing I’ve needed for the occasional treat during this 3+-month gut health diet and protocol.
Honestly, it will be one of my go-to treats even after I can eat more normally—it’s truly that good.
You can read more about the detox (& gut health protocol) & my tips for staying sane/enjoying!
One of the keys here is using a really good dark cocoa powder—ideally dutch-process (this Rodelle is my everyday one), and use more than seems sane. If you don’t have that or don’t want to buy it, Hershey’s Special Dark is my backup for non-dutch.
Look at the color it imparts! The dark cocoa powder flavors really balance out the banana-ness so you don’t even really realize you’re eating frozen bananas.
Easy Air Fryer Green Beans (Blistered Green Bean Fries)
I am…not a fan of green beans. They’re definitely in the bottom tier of vegetables for me. Not “I won’t touch this disgusting thing” (AHEM cucumbers), but definitely picked last for my dodgeball team. However, THESE delicious salty blistered air fryer green beans are a major exception.
As I mentioned in my chickpea scramble post, I’m navigating a few months of a quite restrictive diet protocol to try and heal all sorts of frustrating full-body symptoms stemming from gut health issues.
It’s going well, but is honestly quite challenging…both in not being able to enjoy some of my favorite foods, but also the sheer amount of time and planning it takes to have food I can eat each day (including an insane amount of vegetables).
And so I’ve come to really rely on my air fryer this summer, to help me quickly cook a variety of delicious veggies without heating my my house when it’s already hotter than Satan’s front porch outside. And no one is more shocked than I am that these green bean fries have become a daily staple!
You can read more about the detox (& gut health protocol) & my tips for staying sane/enjoying!
The Easiest, Juiciest Poached Chicken Breasts (& How to Shred Chicken in 10 Seconds)
This recipe is a two-in-one kitchen hack, and it actually blew my mind. How did I not know this was a thing??? Because today I’ve got for you not only how to make the easiest, juiciest poached chicken breasts, but also a 10-second hack for how to shred chicken.
I am all about having some cooked chicken in the fridge to snack on, or to add to pasta, rice, or a salad for a super fast meal. But I overdid it on grilled chicken for a few years and needed to mix it up a bit.
This super moist shredded chicken made with poached chicken breasts was the perfect answer. I keep a container of this at all times, and sometimes add it to recipes (like the loaded Thai chicken salad shown below), but often just put a bit of BBQ sauce on and eat it straight out of the container.
I made an Instagram Reel of the technique so you can see it in motion…this link will take you to the video on IG (and follow me @findingtimeforcooking) for recipe inspiration, videos, & more!).
What temperature should chicken be cooked to?
More modern thinking says 145 F to be done and safe inside (previously was considered 165 F which can be quite tough & dry). For poaching, you’ll have trouble getting the chicken much higher than 145-150 due to the gentle cooking method in water. Make sure to insert your thermometer at the thickest portion of the breast.
The Best, Easy Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes (Naturally Gluten-Free)
These chocolate molten lava cakes are a dangerous thing. Why, you ask??
Well, when you find the best chocolate lava cake recipe and it only takes a few ingredients, plus it’s the best texture, plus it’s naturally gluten-free, PLUS it only takes like 15 minutes from start to finish…yeah, that’s dangerous. I may or may not have made it multiple times just this week.
This recipe uses some of my must-have kitchen tools!
I got the recipe from the always-reliable Smitten Kitchen…she calls them chocolate puddle cakes, and she’s not wrong, because they are ooey gooey.
Texturally they’re more along the lines of my flourless chocolate cake or a more sturdy chocolate soufflé, rather than cake-y or “fondant” as the Brits say (which I’m not mad at). It’s a beautiful delicate texture that’s a blast to cut into.
I’ve included a lot of notes along with the molten lava cake recipe below, not because it’s difficult but because there are a few choices you can make based on your tastes.
For instance, I prefer them less sweet (closer to 1 tablespoon of sugar rather than 2 tablespoons) and I do prefer to put a little dollop of something in the middle to cut the intensity of the chocolate.
I give you a bunch of ideas on that in the recipe notes, but some of my favorites are peanut butter, my unique peanut butter balsamic caramel, and tart cherry jam (with lemon zest in the batter). It’s endlessly adaptable!
Side note, I’ve also developed a single-serving version of this recipe which is delicious (and dangerous)!
Check out some other of the best gluten-free dessert recipes around!
READ THE POST
The Best Grilled Pizza Dough (and It’s Super Easy!)
If you’d asked me a few years ago what my signature grill recipe would be, I highly doubt “pizza” would have been my response. But since I got my grill I’ve become obsessed with grilling pizza, and today I’m sharing my go-to super easy grilled pizza dough recipe.
I’ve come to love this as an easy and addictive weeknight dinner option, but it’s also what I make every year for my birthday. You can grill up just one for yourself, or feed a crowd (I get two grills going for ~10 people, just so it’s fresh and hot).
And part of what makes it amazing is using the best grilled pizza dough recipe, which I think I’ve found. Over the years my post on two different techniques for how to grill pizza has been my most popular one by a landslide, but it was LOOOOOONGG (it included this pizza dough recipe).
So now I’m just splitting it into two different posts. Here I’ll share my easy grilled pizza dough recipe and step-by-step instructions for making it, and then that post linked above has the techniques, tools, and tips for how to grill pizza (plus some awesome recipe ideas).
A few tips for getting the best pizza dough for grilling
- Make sure you keep your dough is very sticky—don’t add too much flour (when making or rolling out)!
- Dry dough will be hard to work with and won’t roll out nicely. It also has a tighter, tougher texture once grilled.
- A wetter dough will help make an amazing flavor and soft, chewy texture.
- The longer your dough rises, the more flavor it has, so you can decrease the yeast a little and let it rise longer, or rise it in the fridge overnight.
- BUT, you can also make this just a few hours ahead of dinner if you didn’t plan ahead. It’s a very flexible recipe.
- When rolling your dough out, you want it very thin. It will puff as it grills and won’t be very pleasant to eat if it’s too thick.
There are a few tools that are helpful in making pizza dough. For me, I definitely use my stand mixer and dough hook (though you can mix and knead by hand if you don’t have one). I am obsessed with my multi-purpose scraper tool when working with the dough on the counter.
And for rolling it out, this thin bamboo rolling pin is much easier to use than the old traditional one with handles I used to have.
Save for later: A Tool to Decide What Bread to Make Based On How Long You Have…
The Best, Simple Burrata Caprese Salad (…& How You’ve Been Doing Caprese Wrong)
It’s caprese season!!! One of my quintessential summer food pleasures is a really good caprese salad, particularly when the tomatoes and basil are at their peak. But once you’ve have a burrata caprese salad, you realize you’ve been doing it all wrong with boring mozzarella!
What is burrata?? For the uninitiated, burrata is a soft cow’s milk cheese and from the outside it looks kind of like buffalo mozzarella. It’s made of mozzarella and cream, and has a smooth outer skin but then a creamy, slightly tangy middle. It is REVELATORY.
That tight ball of bland mozzarella will be gone forever once you’ve had burrata. It pairs wonderfully with things like tomatoes, peaches, and melon, and many people also put prosciutto crudo with it.
It’s bomb on a good Italian-style pizza or stirred into a pasta dish. You can learn more about it here.
One thing that’s critical—the simplicity of this dish means that you need to use the highest-quality ingredients you can find to make it amazing. In particular, using really good olive oil, flavorful tomatoes, and a good sea salt will make this great.
I’m obsessed with Brightland’s olive oils, and have used the Alive, Awake, and Arise (basil-infused) on this caprese salad…I highly recommend them!READ THE POST
13+ Delicious Desserts For Any Summer Party
Soooo…last spring I had started a post that pulled together my best summer desserts for parties.
And then COVID hit, so the *last* thing that people were doing last summer was having large gatherings. I decided to hold off. And so here we are again, and it’s time for awesome summer get-togethers!
What makes for a good summer party dessert?? Well, to me it’s 1) amazing and addictive, 2) great for hot weather, and 3) ideally can be made pretty easily in a large quantity. This rules out anything fussy, requiring long baking times (wow, the heat!), or that can’t deal with sitting around for a while (lookin’ at you, chocolate).
Because let’s face it, when you’re at a summer gathering—be it a pool party, family gathering, picnic, whatever—those desserts sit out for a while! So without further ado, here are some of my favorite desserts for summer parties and get-togethers!
Strawberry Shortcake for a Big Group
We’ll start with my all-timer—strawberry shortcake for a big group. Strawberry shortcake is truly my ultimate summer dessert, but often harder to do for more than a few people. READ THE POST
Easy “No-Squeeze” Cauliflower Pizza Crust
Y’all, I was SOOOOO skeptical about this. Seriously, could a “no squeeze” cauliflower pizza crust even work?? It was so wet! Surely this was a recipe for disaster.
But wow…this was the easy cauliflower crust of my dreams.
This crust is gluten-free, grain-free, high protein and low carb, and doesn’t have the weirder preservatives and stabilizers found in store-bought cauliflower crusts.
What makes it amazing is that it’s so fast and hands-off…you don’t have to pre-cook the cauliflower (you use it raw), and you don’t have to squeeze (and squeeze and SQUEEZE) all the moisture out before making the dough.
But HOW, I can hear you saying?? This crust includes one key secret ingredient that makes this possible—egg white protein powder.
I talked in my post on how I survive a low-carb or keto diet about how I tend to avoid weird special ingredients that I don’t know enough about, but this is an exception (and it’s not that weird).
It’s just pure powdered egg whites and it makes all the difference in a super easy cauliflower pizza crust. The crust “dough” is super wet when it goes in the oven (you even PUT water in it!) but the powdered egg whites soak it up as it bakes and makes it puffy and like a real dough.
Simple 3-Ingredient Classic Gin Gimlet Cocktail
I have a couple beloved variations of a gin gimlet on this site, but realized the other day that I’d never actually posted the O.G. And since the gin gimlet is one of the great classic cocktails, I need to rectify that.
I was doing some digging into the history of the gin gimlet and stumbled across this Chilled article that I loved…as someone who loves classic films, learning that gimlet was associated with Philip Marlowe was pretty cool.
But also wasn’t surprised to find that it somewhat ties back to the British navy and scurvy prevention (like another of my favorite gin cocktails, the “Army and Navy”).READ THE POST
How to Make Traditional Cauliflower Crust Pizza
If you’d told me a few months ago that cauliflower crust pizza would be making up like…25% of my diet, I’d have asked what you were smoking. And yet here we are.
This cauliflower crust only takes a few ingredients (most of which you have on hand). It’s is high in vitamins K and C, low-cal, high in fiber and antioxidants, and (like all cruciferous vegetables) good for detoxing the liver.
Your topping options are also really versatile, though I stay away from super wet/soggy ingredients. Here are a few things I typically throw on:
- I often keep cooked hamburger on hand to throw on any dish
- I use both shredded (parmesan, cheddar, mozzarella), and a soft cheese (there’s a sheep/goat one that’s AMAZING)
- I usually will throw a pan of roasted vegetables in the oven along with the cauliflower crust (brussels sprouts, peppers, and onions are my fave)
- You can use sauce, but I’m not a fan and it does make things soggy. Sometimes I will spread a bit of dijon mustard on though for extra flavor.
You might also like: 10 Tips For Surviving a Super Low-Carb Diet (e.g. Keto)
Why do I call this “traditional”? It’s because it involves manually squeezing all the liquid out before mixing and baking. I’ve recently found an alternative recipe that doesn’t require squeezing (due to a secret ingredient), which I’ve been loving as well.
The thing about making a traditional cauliflower crust is that it’s not super fast. Now, it’s not HARD, it just has a few different steps and ALL THAT SQUEEZING. What I’ve found helpful in how to make cauliflower crust is to break up into a few key phases or steps so I can plan my timing around it.
- Rice/food processor your cauliflower (if necessary) and cook it
- Squeeeeeeeze your cauliflower to get all the liquid out, then mix together the dough
- Bake the dough mixture by itself, then top and bake just long enough to melt the cheese
So I’ll often do the first step earlier in the day so it can cool, then just throw the cooked cauliflower in my nut milk bag and come back to it later. Then when I’m ready to actually make dinner, I turn my oven on and start the squeezing.
I’ll squeeze once, let it rest a couple minutes, come back and squeeze some more…you want to get as much liquid out as possible.
Grilling Tips For First-Timers & How To Use A Gas Grill
I am a massive fan of grilling, and actually run my grill almost every night, year-round. Why, you ask? Well, 1) it’s the best way I’ve found to consistently eat healthy, 2) it’s super fast and easy, and 3) it requires very little clean-up.
Did you need more reasons than that??
Since I moved into my house a few years ago and finally got a real gas grill, I’ve been working to become a grillmaster of sorts, testing all kinds of different recipes.
So I wanted to share some of my favorite grilling tips and recipes here, particularly for grilling newbies…and I’m always looking to up my game so feel free to send me YOUR best ones too!
(I feel like I need to caveat here, that I’m not one of those amazing obsessed grilling nerds…but that’s why this guide is perfect for newbies)
What this post covers
- Grilling tools for success
- General grilling tips
- Tips for grilling various meats
Tools you need
It goes without saying that a good grill is a good starting point. I use a gas grill, so all the tips here will be geared toward that, I can’t speak to charcoal. I upgraded to a Weber recently but had a Charbroil for a few years, they’re only a few hundred bucks, and it did great.READ THE POST
Super Easy Lemon Poppyseed Food Processor Biscuits
Guys, there are few things more magical than fluffy hot layered biscuits fresh out of the oven. But honestly…I’m often too lazy to want to spend time cutting or rubbing the butter into the flour. Which is why these food processor biscuits are my new EVERYTHING.
I mean, even on my laziest morning I can throw some stuff in a food processor, blitz it, pat it out, and throw it in the oven.
I love these perfumed with lemon zest and some poppyseeds, for a subtle flavor that pairs perfectly with honey or jam. But the flavors are totally flexible…try orange zest, cinnamon, chopped fresh rosemary, or anything else that strikes your fancy.
The one thing to know is that my dough is often a bit too wet if I use all the buttermilk called for, so maybe go a little easy at first to see if you need it all. But even if your dough gets too wet and sticky, you can add a bit of extra flour while you roll it out—problem solved.
And in less than 30 minutes, you’ll have hot, flaky, steamy biscuits just begging to be devoured!
Easy 30-Minute Mongolian Chicken
Ohhhhh man. I’ve always been a huge Mongolian beef fan when I get Chinese takeout, but I’d never really given any thought to Mongolian chicken.
But the other night I was really missing my amazing Chinese place back in Atlanta. I was trying to find something delicious and indulgent but easy, and remembered how much I loved my easy 30-minute Mongolian beef.
Problem was…I didn’t have any flank steak or similar. I *did* have chicken thighs though, which honestly were getting close to their use-by date, so I decided to give that a try.
AND IT WAS SO GOOD!!! I could truly have eaten the entire dish in one sitting. I did make a big side of my honey-balsamic roasted brussels sprouts, so I wasn’t *entirely* being naughty.
I kept it simple and roasted some thin red peppers to go along with it, but you could do broccoli or anything else you prefer.
Brunch Staple: Easy Buttermilk Belgian Waffles
Waffles are my mom’s favorite thing for brunch, no contest. While I like to mix it up with pancakes, biscuits, scones, and french toast, she will ALWAYS want belgian waffles.
Problem was, when I was a kid our waffle recipe was kind of a pain in the rear to make because it required you to beat egg whites into a stiff meringue of sorts before gently folding them into the waffle batter.
And seriously, who wants to sit there for several minutes trying to get your egg whites to stiffen when you aren’t even properly caffeinated?!
Enter this recipe—the awesomest easy waffles I’ve ever made! My grandma has been making this for eons, but she has no idea where it came from…she was the first to stop using beaten egg whites, though, because our family is all about low-maintenance cooking (we also almost never do wet and dry ingredients separately, or chill cookie dough).
We’ve adapted it over the years to make it even better and healthier. It’s practically dummy-proof, and yields golden, crispy, fast waffles every time.
Any waffle iron will work with this, but I like to make them on a belgian waffle maker which makes deeper pockets and crispier outsides than a regular one (I’m absolutely in love with my new one!!).READ THE POST
The Best Thanksgiving Recipes: 20+ Of My Family’s Favorites
Thanksgiving is a BIG deal in my family. And that includes the food…which is why I feel like I have some of the best Thanksgiving recipes around. You know, the tried-and-true ones that the family requests over and over.
See, I have a big extended family, and we 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.
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 a lot of servings is automatically out.
So these are some of my favorite relatively easy Thanksgiving recipes that I’ve contributed over the years, and it’s all about the sides, breads, desserts, and cocktails. Turkey just…exists. Hope you enjoy and everyone has a safe, happy (American) Thanksgiving with family and friends!
Salmon Potato Hash With Fresh Herbs
Some of the best recipes result from trying to use up an ingredient, and that’s definitely the story of this AMAZING salmon and potato hash.
I’d bought a couple giant salmon filets, but the week kind of got away from me and they were smelling stroooong. I was trying to figure out what to do, since throwing $20 worth of salmon away did not appeal. But just eating the filet itself kind of freaked me out. So I decided to just bake it up and figure it out later.
Then I got a brainwave about a salmon and potato hash, since I also had a bunch of red potatoes to use up. After looking up a bunch of recipes nothing struck my fancy, so I just made it up.
And this has become a new fave, a hearty and healthy lunch option that makes great leftovers and is the perfect way to use up leftover salmon.
The recipe is super flexible, so you can add other veggies or adjust the seasonings based on your mood. Just don’t add anything too wet (like fresh zucchini or squash)…it’s meant to be dry and get kind of caramelized.
You’ll actually notice through this recipe that I alternate between two sets of photos. I’ve made this a few times, and once I added in some roasted butternut squash that was just sitting around. Don’t let it confuse you!
To really level it up, serve with some fresh salty feta, goat cheese, or capers, or top with poached or basted eggs. READ THE POST
How To Baste Eggs: Basted Eggs with Caramelized Shredded Brussels Sprouts
What are basted eggs, you ask? Well, friend, prepare to fall in love. It is a super fast and easy way to cook eggs, but strangely flies under the radar. It’s somewhere between fried (which I never ate growing up) and poached (which is complicated and challenging). Basting eggs takes like five minutes total, and you can choose whether the yolks are runny or firm. So let’s talk how to baste eggs.
And then I’ll share a “recipe”…which isn’t really a recipe so much as a meal combination that I stumbled upon many years ago in the throes of desperation, trying to avoid yet another meal of cereal and wine.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that…
I’ve already shared my love of brussels sprouts, including this delicious, easy caramelized shredded brussels sprouts (and much faster than roasting them in the oven!).
So one night, I had a few brussels sprouts sitting in the fridge I knew I could make up, but that wasn’t going to cut it for dinner. So I decided to baste up some eggs for a protein kick. What was great was how the egg yolk (I like mine on the runny side) mixed in with the brussels sprouts. Think of these brussels sprouts like you would a vegetable hash, a wonderful base for eggs.
Too lazy to shred?? Try this roasted brussels sprouts “rubble”
Easy Sesame Chicken
How have I not tried this recipe before?! An easy sesame chicken recipe should be my catnip.
This is one of those things that has sat on my Pinterest board for a couple years now, and every week I look at it and then pass it over for something else. Why? I have no idea.
Sesame chicken is my jam when I get Chinese food. But over the winter break I decided to give it a try since it looked simple and I was already making a dessert as well. And I’m so glad I did—this recipe is simple, delicious, and mostly healthy. You can add whatever veggies you want and it can be ready in the time it takes to cook your rice.
The one major change I’ve made is to double the sauce recipe…I like my sesame chicken SAUCY. But I’ve kept the original amounts in the recipe below, and then I just always double it.
Pear-Apple Pie With Streusel Topping
I’ve been on a kick of re-making some of my all-time favorite recipes, many of which I’ve (inexplicably) never posted on this site. Completely on a whim this week, I whipped up this pear-apple pie (and proceeded to entirely eat it myself over the course of a few days…) and fell in love with it all over again. I made up this recipe several years ago and it definitely holds up over time.
I think streusel topping is totally underrated as a pie topping. I’m a sucker for the crumbly-crunchy-spiced-sweet texture and flavor it adds, and it’s so much easier than putting a pie crust topper on. I have a basic streusel formula I use and adapt as needed for different recipes, and it couldn’t be simpler.
I almost always make this for Thanksgiving when I go home to visit my family (and we eat on it for several days), so I have a strong association with the flavors here and fall in Kansas. In particular, the beautiful (and chilly) sunsets, quiet runs on our dirt road, and a breakfast of pie and coffee the next morning.
I also love that this recipe is reasonably healthy (as desserts go) and super easy to make. Other than dealing with pie crust dough (something I’m not terribly skilled with), the filling and topping are crazy simple and don’t require any special skills. You can throw this together while making dinner or doing other things, and it’s pretty forgiving if you don’t do something exactly right. In fact there isn’t really an “exactly right” with this recipe. You do you.
15+ Amazing Holiday Dessert Recipes
It’s that time of year…when you’re needing to figure out what to make for Thanksgiving or some other holiday gathering. This is kind of my jam. I’m that person who always gets asked to bring desserts to things, so I’ve developed a list of fool-proof recipes for every type of group, taste, and size of event. So below are some of my all-time favorite holiday dessert recipes, dishes that I think will become traditions for you as well.
If you’re needing to bake for gluten-free guests, I have a separate post on some of my favorite gluten-free breads & desserts. I’m not GF, but I still totally love every single one of these recipes and sometimes make them just because.
Traditional Holiday Dessert Recipes (Pies, Cakes, & Tortes)
These are perfect for the main event…the big meal, an office party, Friendsgiving. They feel fancy and are super season-appropriate, but (don’t tell anyone) take minimal effort and most can be made ahead of time.
Maple Bourbon Pecan Pie
This is a true Thanksgiving staple…taken up a notch. I’m notorious for finding boozy versions of everything (even before I worked for a spirits company), and this is one of my favorites. The maple flavor really shines through, and the bourbon just elevates things a little bit more. Recipe here.
Bourbon Pear Crumble Pie
The first time I made this, my dad said, “This is the best dessert I’ve ever eaten.” It’s become a Thanksgiving staple ever since. Somehow the addition of bourbon provides an incredible depth, and (I know this sounds weird) that tiny bit of black pepper is revelatory. This is also an insanely easy pie to make. I recommend making it the day before, because it’s better when it has time to totally cool and set up vs. fresh out of the oven. Honestly, this filling mixture would make the world’s best fruit crisp as well. Recipe here.
How To Brine Chicken Breasts: A Secret To Amazing Chicken
Not to brag or anything, but I make darn good grilled chicken breasts. Like, my-sister-requests-them-for-her-birthday-dinner good.
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts often get a bad rap for being the iceberg lettuce of the protein world…a bland necessary evil but absolutely nothing to get excited about. However, I really struggle with the texture and flavor of chicken thighs or bone-in chicken, so I’ve made it my mission to crack the code on delicious chicken breasts.
My best friend (my Cheese) put me on to wet brining a few years ago, and it’s become an invaluable tool in my arsenal. I often forget to put chicken in to marinate in the morning before I leave for work, and so what I will often do when I get home at night is make up a brine, throw the chicken in, go for a run, and fire up the grill as soon as I’m back.
We’re going to talk about both wet brine and dry brine methods here, as both are great (but I’ll tell you my new favorite at the end).
Roasted Vegetable Barley Salad With Lemon Tahini Dressing
It’s rare that I find a recipe that not only makes amazing leftovers, but makes *enough* of them that it’s worth all the work. And that I can actually talk myself into still choosing over the cafeteria’s amazing chicken tenders on days 2, 3, 4…
This is one of those recipes.
This grain and roasted vegetable salad is a total recipe unicorn—easy, versatile, and just as good hot, lukewarm, or cold. It can be meat-y, vegetarian, or vegan. Basically, YOU DO YOU.
Also, this lemon tahini dressing is sooooo good! It really pulls everything together, with depth and tanginess but doesn’t just overwhelm you. Honestly you should put this dressing on everything!
The only downside of this recipe is that actually getting that many vegetables roasted or grilled (and prepping them, honestly) can take a bit of time.
However, what I usually do is pace it over the course of an afternoon, since the veggies don’t need to be piping hot fresh. And I’ll do a combination of grilling and roasting so I don’t have my oven on forever. I love to absolutely pack this salad with veggies rather than have it be really grain-heavy, because HEALTH.
Farro Salad with Butternut Squash, Goat Cheese, & Pepitas
It’s been a while since I’ve shared a simple healthy dinner recipe…probably because it’s been a while since I’ve *made* one that doesn’t require just throwing chicken and veggies on the grill. But this yummy and super easy farro salad is such a perfect way to transition from winter’s cozy comfort food to lighter summer fare that I had to share.
This is another Smitten Kitchen gem that I’ve adapted in several different iterations depending on what I have in the fridge (like that delish goat cheese with thyme and apricots you can kind of see in the pic below). This is the simplest version, but feel free to add to or switch up ingredients. The best part of this dish is the combination of different textures and flavors—creamy, chewy, salty, crunchy, sweet. So as you swap things in and out, try and maintain those elements for maximum awesomeness. You can also try it with different grains (barley is a particular favorite of mine).
One-Pot Yellow Cauliflower Chickpea Curry (vegan)
I don’t want to oversell this, but I’ve got your new favorite Meatless Monday recipe comin’ at ya. It is LEGIT.
This easy cauliflower & chickpea curry is crazy flavorful and super easy to make. It’s healthy but doesn’t feel like you’re giving anything up. We all win.
The other great thing about this recipe (besides how fast it comes together) is that it doesn’t take much in the way of special ingredients. Other than red or yellow curry paste (which I think most grocery stores have now, and you can easily get online), everything should already be in your kitchen.
Make with this: Easy Homemade Naan Bread
Apricot Balsamic Rosemary Chicken
I’ve been accidentally keeping this recipe a secret the last couple months. I know, I’m sorry…that’s not what friends do.
It wasn’t not on purpose. It’s just that life’s been so crazy, and this chicken has been one of the things getting me through. As the weather has gotten too cold for my normal nightly grilling, I had to try and find something else super easy but still healthy to have regularly. And once I tried this once, I was totally hooked.
This apricot balsamic chicken recipe comes courtesy of Joy the Baker (link at the end of this post), and it’s so simple but feels kind of fancy. The original recipe calls for chicken thighs, and it probably is best because thighs stay more moist and bring more flavor.
But I use chicken breasts sometimes, just because I struggle with the texture of thigh meat and don’t typically have it on hand. Chicken breasts work just fine, and my biggest tip is to make sure they’re sliced or pounded thin and even, so they cook quickly without drying out (also, try brining them first). I also swapped out the thyme the original recipe calls for and added rosemary instead, which I think gives it a punchier flavor.
This is the kind of recipe you can actually whip up on a weeknight after a frantic day of work in less than 30 minutes, then sit down with a glass of wine and take a deep breath.
You know you know what I’m talking about.
Za’atar Roasted Cauliflower with Pine Nuts, Dates, and Thyme
I am a well-known lover of cauliflower, but even I was surprised by how fervently I fell in love with this recipe. I tried it kind of on a whim, just to mix things up from my normal grill foil packet cauliflower (which is bomb, and I’ve made literally every night for like four months).
But I took one bite and said out loud (in a room by myself), “OH MY WORD THIS IS AMAZING!” My cats looked at me weird. Whatever, they’re totally missing out.
The flavor combo of this roasted cauliflower is crazy and intense. It’s such a perfect blend of sweet, savory, crunchy, and earthy. I would never have thought to pair really ANY of these together, but the result is absolutely sublime.
And you know what’s bonus?? It’s super easy too. There’s very little hands-on time, and it can all come together in under half an hour—basically the time it takes for the cauliflower to roast. It makes a perfect side dish alongside simple things like grilled or baked chicken, and I’ve even had it as a lighter vegetarian dinner as well.
Easy Side Dish: Fried Baby Potatoes
I moved away from home when I left for college, and only get back to Kansas once or twice a year. Usually that’s around Thanksgiving, but on the rare occasions it happens to be during the summer, my mom invariably asks if there’s anything in particular I want to eat, and I invariably answer “grilled chicken and steak with fried baby potatoes”.
It’s our thing.
It’s nice that some things in life are consistent 🙂 This is barely a “recipe”, but I’ve never really had these quite the same anywhere else so I wanted to share how we do this. The reason that summer is key is because we want to get fresh new potatoes if possible (red is best), and the key is SMALL. Yes, you can make regular potatoes this way, but it’s only with smaller potatoes that you get the right ratio of buttery crispy goodness and soft fluffy innards.
Cheesy Rosemary Sweet Potatoes on the Grill
Guuuuuyyyyys. I know I haven’t posted a non-dessert recipe on here in a while. That’s mostly because I haven’t been cooking—I’ve been GRILLING. Ever since I moved in and have been getting settled, I’ve started using my awesome new grill non-stop. A lot of that has been slapdash marinating or brining and then throwing things on the grill as fast as I can. Not really “recipes”, per se. But *this* is the real deal, and I couldn’t wait to share it.
Behold, cheesy rosemary sweet potatoes on the grill.
I mean, that’s just ridiculous. I’ve been experimenting a lot with foil packet veggies (it’s my fave way to do cauliflower on the grill), and this is my favorite find yet. You can still make these if you don’t have rosemary (or could substitute fresh sage), but the rosemary really elevates it.
I *am* working on a bigger post on grilling for first-timers. I definitely can’t claim to be an expert yet, but I’ve done a lot of experimenting and reading up, with a lot of success, so hope to make the subject feel a little less daunting for other first-timers. I’ll share my favorite marinades and rubs, different ways to prepare veggies, tips for moist and not overcooked meat, and how to make sure you cook things to a safe temperature. So stay tuned!
Baked Whole Wheat Penne with Beef and Summer Veggies
I’ve mentioned a few times in the last couple years that I’ve been shying away from making too many pasta recipes, as I’ve had to keep a closer eye on my weight (for annoying and boring reasons like injuries and stress). But I have found a couple recipes that strike a good balance between feeling like delicious pasta goodness and not being just a calorie and carb bomb.
My baked ziti with chicken sausage and summer veggies was one such recipe, but I thought that it could be even healthier without feeling like I’m giving something up. I usually make it with Trader Joe’s chicken sausage, but that adds quite a lot of calories, so I swapped that for lean ground beef or venison. You can do it meatless as well, I’ve accidentally done that a few times and while you don’t get nearly the protein, it’s still very satisfying
I also used whole wheat penne or ziti instead of regular pasta, and packed in even more veggies so that my pasta to veggie ratio was about 1:1. The core vegetables here are zucchini, squash, and tomato, but you can add other veggies if you want (I’ve thrown an orange pepper in before, for instance).
Korean BBQ Cauliflower & Chickpeas (vegan, gluten-free)
I’ve been completely obsessed with this this recipe for a couple months now. I’ve seriously made it three or four times in six weeks. And I cook like…maybe once a week?
This dish is super healthy done right—it’s so delicious that you don’t feel like you’re giving something up, and so easy that you don’t have to work hard to convince yourself to make it. Another bonus is that the main ingredients are really affordable, which isn’t always the case when using fresh, healthy ingredients.
Given how hectic things have been lately, I’ve tried out a couple of meal prep delivery services to see if they would help me be better about cooking and eating healthier—rather than relying on UberEats. I recently tried Terra’s Kitchen and focused on largely paleo and vegan recipes for my first box, to try and counteract the rest of my life.
This is a slightly adapted recipe of the first meal I made from them, and it was a WINNER! If you are wanting to try out a meal delivery service that has a lot of really healthy, fresh options, you might give them a try. This code will get you $40 off your first box (just a referral link, not a partnership of any sort).
The star of this dish is the sweet, tangy, spicy sauce that coats everything. But don’t underestimate how awesome the different textures are in combination—solid yet tender cauliflower, chewy chickpeas, crunchy peanut pieces. Nom nom nommity nom!READ THE POST
Bourbon Pear Crumble Pie
“This is the best dessert I’ve ever had”. Actual quote from my dad.
I don’t know that I can disagree. As I was trying to figure out what to make for Thanksgiving this year, I knew I wanted to make something fruit-based (because no one else was, and that’s my jam), and since my mom had about 17 pounds of fresh pears sitting around—and I loooove pears—figured it would be pear-based.
This wasn’t my first pear rodeo—I made a super delish caramel pear pie with oat crumble one year (a bit sweet for me but still soooo good) and one of my go-to recipes is a healthy pear-apple pie with streusel topping.
But I wanted to try a new recipe out, so with that in mind, I pored over my Pinterest dessert board and hit upon this recipe. I knew I had a winner…bourbon pear pie was already going to be amazing, but add that crumble topping and there’s no way it won’t be amazing.
I ended up accidentally making quite a bit more filling and topping than could fit in my pie crust (I should have used the deep-dish pan), so I just poured the extra filling into a small pyrex dish, threw the extra topping on, and baked it as its own little bourbon pear crisp. It was amazing, so if you have extra I highly recommend going that route.
And when you tell people that you’re bringing a bourbon pear pie, they end to get pretty excited…READ THE POST
Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Butternut Squash with Dijon Vinaigrette
I am obsessed with this side dish. It is one of the few things I went back for seconds on at Thanksgiving, and has become one of my go-to side dish recipes—particularly when I need to feed a big group.
The hands-on time is minimal, just prepping and chopping the veggies. After that, you briefly toss in olive oil, season, and pop it in the oven. The vinaigrette takes all of two minutes to put together, so this is a perfect dish to make when you need to focus on other things in the kitchen.
One of the best things about this dish is that you can easily make it ahead, and it warms up and travels well. The flavors feel indulgent, but it’s still really healthy…which was one of the things we needed this Thanksgiving. I looked at our family’s Thanksgiving dish list and realized there were no green vegetables (no, green bean casserole doesn’t count!). So I whipped this bad boy up, and it got rave reviews.
You can also easily increase or decrease the amounts to feed only a few people or a horde. Basically, this is the perfect side dish and you need it in your life right this minute.READ THE POST
Best Gluten-Free Recipes for the Holidays
It’s a time of year where a lot of people are headed around on the party circuit, bringing dishes to family affairs and work events constantly. And I don’t know about you, but more and more I’m being asked to make gluten-free dishes as well.
Now, sometimes that’s not a big deal. Most veggie dishes, for instance, are fine. And there are simple substitutions you can make for other side dishes, like remembering not to use flour in the gravy (cornstarch will work just fine) or flour in your roux for mac & cheese (I’m thinking a gluten-free flour mix should work…haven’t actually tried it though). But when it comes to breads and desserts, you have to work a little harder.
So while I’ve posted lots of gluten-free recipes over the years (I have a few close friends who avoid it), I figured I’d do us all a solid and pull together my favorite desserts (and one bread recipe) that work well for a group, are easy, and most importantly are super delish.
Gluten-Free Recipes for Gatherings
One note, another dessert option is a simple fruit crisp, like this peach cardamom one. All you have to do is substitute a gluten-free mix or almond meal or similar for the flour in the topping and you’re golden. I also feel bad that I don’t have more bread options, something I intend to shore up. But these somewhat odd but quite tasty GF take on Red Lobster’s garlic cheddar biscuits are tasty.
Gluten-Free Rosemary Cheddar Biscuits
While these biscuits don’t have a traditional bread or roll texture, they are really moist and the garlic, rosemary, and cheddar (yep, a Red Lobster knock-off) is a great flavor combination that helps offset the hint of almond meal flavor. I brought these to my office’s Thanksgiving potluck and they were all devoured.
Chocolate, Cinnamon, & Almond Loaf Cake
I am obsessed with this loaf cake delicious fancy bread thing. Also, this is the point at which I realized that cinnamon whipped cream was a thing, and I’ve never gone back. This is subtle and rich, but not super sweet. The almond meal provides a super moist and light crumb, and the intense dark chocolate paired with the cinnamon is heaven.
Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache
Gluten-free or not, this cake is the BOMB. I actually made a gluten-ful (gluten-y?) chocolate stout cake for my birthday one year and then this a couple days later for a party, and brought both to the party—people literally couldn’t tell the difference. It’s dense and moist and rich but not too sweet. The quinoa definitely gives it a slightly lumpier texture unless you have an amazing food processor, but it doesn’t matter because it’s so good.READ THE POST
How To Cut Up a Butternut Squash (& Roast It)
It’s fall, so you know what that means…
No, I’m not talking about festive Starbucks cups and new fall TV shows. It means that hundreds of butternut squash recipes are flooding Pinterest. You’re probably getting seduced by them as we speak. And then you remember that getting a butternut squash from whole into bite-sized pieces is THE WORST.
Until you know how to do it well. So that’s where I come in. I’ve found and refined a way to dismember butternut squash that doesn’t take long, doesn’t kill your hands, and will get you perfect little cubes every time. Sure, you can sometimes buy it pre-cut (and there’s nothing wrong with that), but you can’t always find it that way plus it gets kind of slimy fairly fast. Better to have a good back-up.
So let’s dive in, shall we? There are two main pieces of equipment that you need, and one of them is an actual decent Y-peeler. I’m in love with my OXO peeler, got it a few years back and now no longer accidentally take off layers of skin when I’m peeling veggies. It gives you so much more leverage and stability than a regular vertical-bladed peeler.
Begin peeling long, deep strips out of the squash. You’ll need to overlap your stripes, because it will likely take two tries to get it deep enough. Butternut squash peel is not messing around.READ THE POST
A Healthier Take on Strawberry Shortcake for a Big Group
I want to eat this all day, every day.
It’s no secret that there are a few select foods that I could literally could eat every single day and not get tired of them. Nachos (and I do), a good burger, and my homemade strawberry shortcake. My homemade strawberry shortcake is sublime.
I stumbled upon this recipe years ago when I needed to come up with a dessert for like 15 people. Individual shortcakes would have been way too time-consuming (and quite frankly they’re kind of dry), but I had it stuck in my head that I wanted to use the pounds of strawberries that my mom had. And then I found the original recipe I’ve adapted here…as my original post mentioned, I’m obsessed. It’s literally the best.
But, as with many recipes, I wanted to see if there was a way to make it just a tad more healthy—cut down on the calories just a bit, but also bringing in some healthier elements. And the fact is, I might like this version even just a bit more.
I cut the sugar a bit, and it definitely doesn’t lose anything. And then I’ve substituted half of the flour for whole wheat (or white whole wheat, which is a bit softer), which gives it a great heartiness and also a slightly nutty, warm flavor that I really love. You can make this ahead of time when feeding a big group and it’s the most moist, fragrant, yummy summer dessert I can think of. Pair it with fresh strawberries and a bit of homemade cinnamon whipped cream, and you’ve got yourself a winner!READ THE POST
Turkish Red Lentil Soup (Corba)
I’m on the record as stating that soup is not a meal, in and of itself, with very few exceptions.
This is one of them. (My mom’s baked potato soup is basically the only other.)
I also don’t like lentils usually. That is, until I went to Istanbul last year and we ate in a Kurdish family’s house and were served corba as an appetizer. Corba is a hearty red lentil soup, super flavorful and comforting. When I returned to the States, I started pinning recipes right away so I could try it myself. I learned that red lentils are very different than the dark ones I’d had before, and didn’t have as many texture issues for me.
I’ve made this recipe a few times, trying to get the texture and flavors just right. For some weird reason I have issues with it separating a bit (so becoming a little watery), but since I like it better with crushed up crackers in it anyway, I decided to just let that go. One time I even tore up half a bagel into the soup, and the texture was awesome!
One of the great things about this soup is that it comes together really quickly—like half an hour from start to finish. So you can get home from work, get it simmering, and go about your business until it’s time to blend everything up and serve. Efficiency FTW!
READ THE POST
Chicken Tikka Masala
It’s funny how quickly a new dish can become a go-to.
Indian food has been a challenge for a long time…in restaurants, even when it’s mild it’s usually too spicy for me. But I’ve also had several recipes I was dying to try. The intense combination of spices, held together with creamy sauces, is just too much to resist.
I finally pulled myself together over winter break and gave this a try. Part of that was just making sure I had all the spices I needed. And I was shocked at how easy this dish was to make, how satisfying, and how great the leftovers were. So I made it a few days later. And the week after that.
It’s now in my regular rotation, because the lunch leftovers are unbeatable. Pair it with some of my delish and easy homemade naan, and you’ve got an exotic and yet comforting winner. Don’t be scared by the ingredient list, because you make the paste once and it will last you through several batches.READ THE POST
Easy Homemade Naan Bread
Once upon a time, I made homemade naan bread, and it turned out terrible.
This is not that naan bread. This is awesome.
I have no idea what went wrong with the first recipe I tried, probably a year or more ago. But it did put me off trying it again for quite a while. However, when I decided to try my hand for the first time at Indian cooking with this chicken tikka masala over winter break this year, I knew that naan had to be in the cards for me again.
This recipe comes together super easily and doesn’t require any special handling. It’s not finicky at all. Just proof your yeast, add the ingredients all at once and knead in the machine for a couple minutes, let it rise, and then roll out and fry up. Very hands-off.
I tend to use half white whole wheat and half regular flour. To me, when I use all whole wheat it tends to be a bit too dense and loses a bit of that chewiness that makes naan so satisfying. But you can use all of one, or mix it up however you want.
The other important thing is that you use ghee, not just regular butter. You can buy ghee fairly easily these days (Trader Joe’s, Amazon, or a well-stocked grocery store), but if you can’t get it for whatever reason I’d recommend making a batch of your own and storing it. The water in regular butter will keep it from frying up right.
READ THE POST
Apricot Linzer Torte
I don’t mind admitting when I’m wrong. And BOY, was I wrong about this apricot linzer torte.
See, for the past two or three years, basically every time I’ve gotten with my friend Shalya for dinner, the conversation has eventually turned to food (okay, fine, it’s on food 92.5% of the time), and every single time she’s begged me to make an apricot linzer torte.
Every single time. And I always told her she was a weirdo, because who is obsessed with linzer torte, but fine, yes, I’ll make a linzer torte if she comes to my house. But that day finally came.
AND IT WAS GLORIOUS.
See, in my (limited) experience, linzer torte is basically just a simple buttery pastry crust with some jam in it, and a lattice topping. Something that’s fine adorning a bakery case somewhere, but not something that anyone ever really chooses.
Fine, and sturdy, but not setting the world on fire. Which just goes to show, I have been eating the WRONG LINZER TORTE all my life.
This linzer torte recipe is anything but “fine”. The dough basically punches you in the face with a combination of spices so aromatic my house smelled like heaven.
Pair that moist, tender spiced pastry with slightly chunky, tart apricot jam, and you have a simple and perfect match made in heaven.
Chicken Massaman Curry
Massaman curry has somehow become one of my go-to comfort foods. When I’m cold, stressed, tired, or just annoyed, this particular curry—with its combination of soft and crunchy textures, its creamy sauce and slightly spicy bite—are like a warm, yummy hug.
[Some recipe photos updated January 2023]
For years I went to the same Thai restaurant and ordered the same thing (Bangkok chicken, “baby mild”, no baby corn…it’s the BOMB), but then one day I decided that I needed to branch out, and this was the least spicy of the curries.
Plus, it didn’t have green peppers, which are truly disgusting, so that was a deciding factor. One taste of this, with the silky avocado and the crunch of the onion, and I was in love.
I’m not sure what took me so long to try making this myself. Maybe it’s because I tend to find that ethnic dishes are just better at restaurants, so it’s worth shelling out for them on occasion.
Plus I’m lazy, and I tend to take one look at the long list of ingredients and get overwhelmed (not to mention my grocery store doesn’t just have this particular curry paste sitting around).
But you shouldn’t be intimidated by the list of ingredients. Most of them are ones you already have around, and the others are easy enough to pick up (and are great in other recipes). I order the masaman curry paste on Amazon, most stores carry the Red Boat fish sauce (the best!), and everything else should be at your grocery store.
Prepping the ingredients will take 15-20 minutes with one set of hands, but is quite easy, and then the dish comes together very smoothly. It makes amazing leftovers, and can feed a serious crowd.
Dark Chocolate Puppy Chow with Sea Salt
In general, puppy chow is at the top of the list of “foods I’m never, ever allowed to have in my house”. Because I will eat it ALL—I love it. But I think this specific recipe may literally be my favorite food in the world. It is that good. Life-changing, even.
When I first saw this recipe on Food 52, I was obsessed, and couldn’t wait to try it out. The dark chocolate twist was right up my alley (I’m definitely dark vs. milk), and I knew the sea salt would add a perfect balance to what can sometimes be an overly sweet snack. I also made a few changes based on my own preferences…I decreased the amount of powdered sugar and increased the peanut butter (and the chocolate chips, a little) to tailor it to my exact tastes.
And I done good. Now *this* is what I call a Sunday night…
I took this into work (okay fine, what I hadn’t already eaten the night before) and we devoured it in no time flat. READ THE POST
Fresh Peach Coconut Milk Ice Cream
I feel like that should have been all-caps. Because, not only is it peach season, but my VERY. FIRST. PEACH. was perfectly ripe. That has never happened in the history of ever. Farmers market FTW!
When I snagged these beauties last weekend and they were perfectly ripe and criminally juicy, I knew I had to do something amazing with them immediately. And it was balls-hot (the hyphen is important for adhering to AP style…) so ice cream was the logical conclusion.
This is my no-fail coconut milk ice cream. I’ve made it in many different flavors, including my absolute favorite in the world, peanut butter and honey with sea salt, as well as a slight variation of peanut butter and strawberry jam. It’s easy, adaptable, healthy, only as sweet as you want it to be, and naturally dairy-free. And did I mention easy? As long as you have a little frozen yogurt maker you’re golden. Otherwise I’d try stirring it every so often in the freezer and you’ll probably still get good results.READ THE POST
Pasta with Spinach, Tomatoes, & Feta
Somehow I totally forgot about this recipe. Which is bananas, because for a number of years I probably made this pasta with spinach, tomatoes, and feta…once a week???
I started making it in college, and pretty soon it was my go-to. 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…
[Editor’s note: photos updated in July 2021]
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 some 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. I recommend this for a night where you just need something on the table fast, and want fresh, healthy ingredients.