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
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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).