You just can’t go wrong with a well-grilled marinated chicken breast. It is endlessly versatile—eat it fresh off the grill, re-heat with some veggies, throw it in a stir fry, make chicken salad.
This marinade is one of perfect simplicity…the balsamic vinegar helps slightly break down the meat, allowing the spices and garlic to really soak in, and the honey to make it super moist. But none of it overwhelms.
These suckers are so juicy and flavorful, but can go with just about anything!READ THE POST
Not gonna lie, I’m pretty proud of this one.
These little babies feel so fancy and seemed like they would be a ton of work. Surprisingly, though, they were really simple to throw together and were WELL worth the effort.
Fried squash blossoms and stuffed squash blossoms are one of my favorite Italian dishes—any time I see them on a restaurant menu, I have to order them. And unless you have a garden overflowing with squash and zucchini (I don’t), they’re nearly impossible to get your hands on fresh.
So when I saw them at the farmer’s market last weekend, I pounced. I didn’t know how to prepare them or what I was doing, but I couldn’t pass up the chance to have my very own fancy blossoms. When I got home I looked a few recipes up on Pinterest to get a feel for ingredients, proportions, and how to prep them. The prepping part is easy, just a little exacting—you have to gently separate the flower petals and reach in to pull off the stamen. It’s not hard, but my chunky fingers kept tearing the delicate buds.
I went back and forth on whether to stuff them or not, and decided to split the difference. I had some leftover honey goat cheese, so I softened that, chiffonaded some fresh basil, and stirred that together with a splash of lemon juice and some sea salt. The stuffed ones were out of this world…a solid 10 on the flavor-meter. My only complaint on this recipe is that there was a lot of waste for one person (I stuffed myself, but could only eat so many and they’re not good leftover), so next time I make these will definitely be for a group!READ THE POST
Yeah, I went on something of a muffin-baking bender a couple months back. In a couple of weeks I made these double chocolate banana muffins and these healthy apple muffins with cinnamon-sugar topping, and somehow these guys fell off the radar.
Yeah, you’ll notice that there are two whole wheat, apple-y, cinnamon-y muffin recipes.
I made the first recipe for work, the one with the crunchy topping. It got rave reviews, but the pictures I took were terrible so I knew I’d need to make it again to get better shots.
So I pulled the ingredients together, started stirring everything together, and was like, “Wow, I must have been really out it when I made this the first time, because I don’t remember some of these steps!”. Then I got the batter together and started to spoon it into the muffin tins, and was worried about how much more liquidy it was than the last time I made it.
Some of you can see where this is going…
Yeah, not the same recipe.
So this is the second recipe, the one I made on accident. I loved the streusel topping, and the muffins were SO moist. Definitely recommend this one!READ THE POST
Crunchy cinnamon-sugar topping.
Crunchy. Cinnamon. Sugar. Topping.
Basically, that’s all you need to know about this recipe. But I guess I could mention the fact that they’re mostly whole wheat, low in sugar, and full of wholesome fruit. I mean, if that kind of thing’s important to you.
When you make this, the batter will worry you because it is crazy thick. Like, bread dough thick. You won’t pour or spoon it into the muffin tins, you’ll kind of awkwardly drop it in there and kind of smoosh it. Don’t try to smash it into the muffin cups, just kind of drop it and it will expand as it bakes to fill in the gaps. And despite the thickness of the batter and the density of the baked muffins, they’re super moist!READ THE POST
This recipe is the perfect blend of hearty winter fare and bright spring veggies…
It’s kind of weird that I’ve never made a risotto primavera, given my love of risotto. But when I was home for Passover this year, we were trying to come up with a delicious side dish and my mom mentioned risotto. We thought about all the veggies we had, and all the fresh herbs, and I decided that it was the perfect idea.
I’ve said this a million times, but people always think risotto is so difficult. But it’s not! It just needs a little TLC…you can’t rush it, but 90% of risotto is in gently stirring. You get too rough with it, try to turn the heat way up to rush it, and that’s when things go south.
Plan for an hour. But it’s an hour of stirring, drinking wine, talking to guests—it’s the perfect dinner party dish.READ THE POST
I’m a sucker for chicken salad. Regular chicken salad, Sonoma wine country chicken salad, curried chicken salad, chicken salad with bits of pineapple, with mayo, without mayo—literally, I have yet to find one I don’t like.
I’ve posted my absolute favorite chicken salad recipe, the best I’ve ever had. But it also isn’t necessarily the *healthiest* one. This one, however, might be.
I haven’t done Whole 30 myself, though I’ve thought about it. Honestly I can’t commit myself to a month of anything that requires drastic change, not with my insane work schedule. I like the idea, though, for the most part…except giving up wine, that’s just CRAY.
This chicken salad has no mayo and is chock full of whole, raw ingredients. It brings fiber, healthy fats, and a one-two protein punch from the chicken and pecans to the party. I devoured it on my little Trader Joe’s 12-grain crackers for lunch a few days in a row, and found it satiating and tasteeeee!
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That looks totally decadent, right???
They kind of are—and they’re also super healthy. They get their moistness from banana, coconut oil, and honey, and a deeeeeep chocolate flavor from both Dutch-process cocoa powder as well as dark chocolate chips.
They came together super fast and baked up like a dream. And, they can be made gluten-free so easily without any weird fake mixes or flours.
And just look how prettttttty they are! The almond meal makes them a little heartier than your average muffin, and since they don’t have refined sugar they’re less likely to make your blood sugar spike then dip. I call that a breakfast win!READ THE POST
My takeaway from this recipe? Sure ain’t pretty, and fairly sure mine didn’t “caramelize”, but it sure was delicious!
The pictures of this recipe from Skinny Ms. (see link at the bottom) look beautiful, so not sure what I did wrong to keep it from caramelizing. However, the flavors are so great that it was a keeper recipe anyway. It’s sweet and salty and layered, with a little kick from the cayenne. (Well, “little” depending on how much you put in…I’m a baby.)
It also is super fast and easy. The only down side is that cleaning my crockpot was insanely difficult afterward—I have a really old crockpot and it doesn’t have a removable piece. I’ve never used liners but might have to see if they make one for mine, because cleaning that was ridiculous. READ THE POST
Most years I try to make it home for Passover and the first Day of Unleavened Bread. It’s nice to spend the time with my parents and sister, bro-in-law, and their squidlets.
The trip started with a pre-3:30am (Eastern) wake-up to catch a 5:35am flight, stop over in Dallas for a bit, then descend into Wichita. Needless to say, I was really dragging all weekend…
My sister tried out a new unleavened bread recipe when we went to their house for Passover Thursday night, and we loved it so much that I made it again the next day (and again when I got back to Atlanta). I had the cutest little helper that there ever was…
I love this unleavened bread. It’s dense but not dry, hearty and satiating (due to the whole wheat flour and butter), and has a hint of sweet from the brown sugar and honey. It was also just as good leftover as fresh out of the oven.
Even better—you can mix it up by hand, pat out on the baking sheet, and it’s ready in half an hour, from start to finish!READ THE POST
I feel like I have to sneak one more winter-y recipe in here, even though it’s TOTALLY SPRING!
(Though you wouldn’t know it from our gray, rainy day today…)
Oh man, I’m so glad it’s spring. Bring on farmers market fruit and veggies, grilling out, and foods that make me feel skinny. But first—hearty, cheesy, decadent (but not TOO decadent) girls’ night food.
We had a girls’ night at my place a couple months ago, and wanted something super easy, that I didn’t have to put a ton of time and effort into while we were all drinking wine and chatting. This recipe came together very fast, and the only complicated piece was cutting up the butternut squash, but you could easily just buy it pre-cubed. I even had a pretty helper—that girl’s got her priorities, has both a glass and bottle nearby!READ THE POST
My thirst for brussels sprouts shall never be quenched!
This salad is surprisingly hearty, with the crunchy and chewy sprouts and given a boost from the walnuts. I will say that I was a little nervous about this salad, since to me brussels sprouts are one of those things that always need cooked in order to be eaten. But overall it was delicious, filling, and super healthy!READ THE POST
I’ve been super absent here lately.
It’s mostly because I’ve been working eleventy-billion hours, which means I’ve been exhausted and never home. And the tiny bit of free time that I’m able to grab has been devoted to trip planning for two big upcoming international trips. So suffice to say, I haven’t been cooking much lately, and haven’t had the energy to try new recipes. And the few new recipes I have tried have been kind of meh. And you deserve better than meh.
These are definitely not meh. They’re not the most amazingly glorious things you’ve ever put in your mouth, but they are delicious and sweet and pretty darn healthy when it comes down to it. As I’ve mentioned a few times, I’m always on the lookout for good gluten-free recipes that use normal ingredients.
They have an interesting texture—the dough acts a lot like no-bake cookie dough, quite sticky. And the baked cookies are crumbly (not dry, just break apart easily), and super chocolate-y, and really quite sweet.
These are made with oat flour, peanut butter, coconut oil, and maple syrup. You can use whatever kind of chocolate chips you want, but I tried these huge Ghiradelli dark chocolate discs. SO. MUCH. CHOCOLATE.
Overall these were a great gluten-free addition to my repertoire. They were super easy to throw together, and healthy enough that I didn’t feel guilty sneaking one or two with my coffee the next morning!READ THE POST
Cookie cakes are a big meh for me usually. One time my co-worker had this incredibly detailed dream, and part of it was that I got married at work (like seriously, back in the open-office plan desks) and there was a cookie cake.
And I was like, “Well, that’s how you should have known it wasn’t real! I hate cookie cakes!”
I don’t know what possessed me to try this deep-dish cookie pie originally. I was home for Thanksgiving, and Thanksgiving is a whirlwind of giant family meals, needing to feed 15 people, 25 people, 35 people. Lots of dishes. Loading and unloading things from the car. Figuring out what gaps there are in the list of food everyone’s bringing. So I vaguely remember needing to throw together a dessert last-minute, so it needed to be simple, a crowd-pleaser, and ready to walk out the door in under an hour.
The result was WAAAAAYYYYY too sweet for me, but I could see the seeds of something good and easy in there, so I shelved it until I could play around with ingredients a little. Now, three or four batches later, I love the result.
By decreasing the sugar significantly, substituting some whole wheat flour, adding peanut butter and dark chocolate chips instead of just semi-sweet, and throwing a sprinkle of sea salt, the resulting skillet cookie is sweet but not cloying, a little denser, and offers infinitely more complex flavors (also healthier, but that wasn’t the main point). If an achingly sweet version sounds good to you, don’t fear—the original is linked at the bottom of this post. But this version is much more up my alley, and has been pronounced AMAZING by some of the dudes in my life, so it’s still a major crowd-pleaser.
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Guys, why have I never thought to put meat in a frittata?? What is wrong with me???
I went to visit my bestie in Dallas, since it had been way too long and I hadn’t met her bebe girl yet. I actually got to see my friend Hannah as well and her new little boy. Girls’ brunches are the best—look at those nuggets! They were quickly losing patience with us…
The day before, Kristine and I had a girls’ brunch with some other friends at her house. We didn’t want to go to a ton of trouble, but knew we’d all be starving so we needed to make hearty food. We also needed to make sure it was dairy-free since dairy seemed to upset the baby…and that does limit things a bit.
Finally we settled on French toast (with almond milk) and a frittata with goat cheese, which was deeeeelish! We basically made a “kitchen sink” frittata, meaning I cleaned out her fridge of veggies and just threw them all in there.
The surprise in this, besides the turkey sausage, is the parsnips. I feel like parsnips don’t get enough love. They’re sweeter than a potato, milder than a carrot, and easier to prepare than a turnip (ugh, peeling turnips is the worst). When sauteed or roasted, they caramelize into this delightfully nutty sweet crunchy awesomeness. We had some extras in the fridge because we made my shepherds pie with goat cheese carrot parsnip mash (amazeballs) the night before. I used the parsnips and onions as the base or “crust” of the frittata, then we also piled in more onions, spinach, and tomatoes, as well as the goat cheese and turkey sausage.
‘Nuff said.READ THE POST
That’s right, we’re still on a healthy kick! And it’s delicious!
This recipe had been calling my name for a while, but getting decent brussels sprouts is kind of hard right now, and I also kind of avoid chicken when I can. Chicken’s kind of boring.
This chicken isn’t boring at all—it’s got a richness from the balsamic, a crunch from the walnuts, and serious fiber from brussels sprouts. It came together super fast and made for great work lunches for a few days.
Throw in a side of spaghetti squash and butternut squash and you’re on healthy overload! Seriously, the whole thing is a 20-minute meal, was super easy, and totally delicious!READ THE POST
Oh my word, THESE POPOVERS.
These are heaven. They are light, puffy, buttery, cinnamony-sweet heaven. And they’re so fast and easy!
I halved the recipe, since I was only cooking for me (yes, it still made 7 popovers, DON’T JUDGE ME). It’s so insanely fast, you just blend up the ingredients in your blender (or with a whisk) while the oven heats up, and like 20 minutes later you have piping hot popovers. It’s impressive, really.READ THE POST
This is a very simple cookie.
It came about because I was visiting my best friend in Dallas last month. We were craving sweets but she’s given up dairy for a while because it seems to upset her baby’s tummy. We wanted to make chocolate chip cookies but that was out because of the dairy in the chocolate chips. So after some recipe searching, we found these lovely, comforting cookies.
These are basically like oatmeal raisin cookies, without the raisins (because, ick). We gorged on them and sat on the couch and watched “10 Things I Hate About You” and it was wonderful. These ended up being dinner that night at the airport, as well as breakfast with my coffee the next morning at work. READ THE POST
Last weekend I had a plan. I knew that I only had two days of work to get through before break, including two work lunches and a dinner with friends, so I didn’t need to cook enough on Sunday for leftovers. I also wanted to be healthy, so I had some brussels sprouts sitting around and I planned to pick up a salmon filet for dinner, call it a day.
Then this pot pie totally derailed my Sunday dinner plans.
See, last Sunday (and several days thereafter) was just relentlessly gray. Gray, misty, chilly. One of those days where the only then you want to do is curl up in your jammie jams on the couch and read a book, then watch TCM for hours. The kind of day where you get the idea of chicken pot pie stuck in your head and you’re unable to dislodge it despite your best efforts and lazier tendences.
The thing is, I’d never made pot pie before. And honestly, I like pot pie just fine (anything with “pie” in the name, really), my mom’s is good, but pot pie isn’t a thing I’ve ever really craved. Pasta-as-comfort-food is more my style. So I didn’t have a triend-and-true recipe that I was willing to undertake, since I definitely didn’t want to deal with pie crust. In my mind, I was picturing making the filling in a slow cooker, and then topping with a drop biscuit crust—seemed easy enough. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a crockpot chicken pot pie filling recipe I liked (that didn’t include cream of chicken soup) or even a biscuit-topped pot pie for cooking times and so forth, so I decided to make it up as I went, pulling bits and pieces from some recipes and just using my brain for the other parts.
This chicken pot pie is probably the best I’ve ever had. Okay, not probably, DEFINITELY. It’s warm and hearty and comforting and feels decadent, but is secretly really healthy and easy and basically perfect. It’s great as leftovers. The biscuit crust is amazing. I could just eat the filling as a stew (which is saying something because I’m not keen on stew). What I’m saying is that you need to make this pot pie now.READ THE POST
These biscuits are SO easy and SO good!
It’s no secret that I adore biscuits. They’re buttery and flaky and warm, you can put jam and honey on them, and they feel so good in my belly! But there are two things about biscuits that I don’t love. I really hate having to cut cold butter into flour—it may be irrational, but I really hate it. And while biscuits are amazing straight out of the oven, they’re usually dense, dry balls of bread that get stuck in your windpipe and try to choke them to death when you eat them as leftovers.
But no more! For Thanksgiving this year I needed to make another kind of bread for our hungry horde. We already had rolls, so I thought some kind of biscuit. The problem is that making regular biscuits for a big group is time consuming, and if they have to sit around for a while they’ll start to get dry and stale. Enter these amazing, easy drop biscuits…
These use melted butter, and stirring everything together takes a couple minutes tops. You get this shaggy dough that you can use a spoon or ice cream scoop to plop directly into the pan, so no cleanup from having to roll out and cut the biscuits.
And the taste and texture! Not only are they amazing right out of the oven, but we re-heated them for dinner that night and scarfed the last couple the next morning, and they still were light and fluffy as leftovers. So basically perfect. They’re definitely on my list of best Thanksgiving recipes! READ THE POST
When I first saw this recipe, I was suuuuper excited, because I love french onion soup. I mean really lurve it.
I will say that this pasta doesn’t quite live up to that level of insane richness, but the idea is still there.
You start by caramelizing onions down to the point of sweet jamminess, then add broth (and a little wine in my case). Let those flavors hang out for a while, let the pasta soak up all that delicious liquid, and top with arugula and parmesan. Done.
My one complaint with this dish is that I feel like the onions end up getting lost in all the broth…I was hoping for more onion. I think if I made this again I’d use at least one more onion, and I’d look at using something more like the melty Gruyere that true French onion soup uses, vs. parmesan (which never melts quite as luxuriously for me). But all-in-all, this was warm and comforting.READ THE POST
I went on a roll this fall of trying new fruits and veggies that I’d never had before. I tried acorn squash for the first time (definitely delish!), and then that same week saw these weird little orange tomato-like things in my grocery store and just had to grab one. Turns out it was a persimmon, specifically of the fuyu variety.
So the next logical question was what to make. I browsed a ton of recipes, but most were salads, and I definitely didn’t want to go that route (boring). Then I found this somewhat odd-sounding muffin recipe and had to give it a try.
I “healthied it up” by using half whole wheat flour and cutting down on the sugar just a little. The persimmons gave it a lovely sweetness, with the lemon giving it a tart complement. The overall texture of the muffins was pretty light but still hearty, due to the whole wheat flour. And, like most muffin recipes, they came together in a flash.
I ate one fresh out of the oven with blackberry honey from Croatia, and then took them to work for my breakfast for the next few days (with honey from New Zealand…I definitely have a honey souvenir addiction!). This is such an easy and versatile recipe that you could swap out the persimmons for many other fruits, and even swap in a different citrus zest to mix things up (orange would have been lovely here as well).READ THE POST
German pancakes, where have you been all my life?!?!
A few weeks ago, I realized on a Thursday that the next morning was my breakfast day. But, in addition to working long hours, my co-workers and I were going out for a department event, so it was going to be a late night. I racked my brain for something I could easily throw together the next morning, but that would be hearty and unhealthy enough for my (probably slightly hungover) co-workers. This recipe was perfect because it was pretty easy, and had a baking break in the middle where I could also throw the frittata into the oven.
While I’d heard of Dutch babies (another name for German pancakes), I’d never made them and I’m not sure I’d even had them. But they are awesome! There’s no sugar in the actual batter (some recipes I’ve seen have a tiny bit), but you load them up with whatever awesome fillings you want. Because they have a lot of eggs in them and a lot less flour, they also stick with you longer.
These have a delightful homemade apple pie filling and then some streusel on top, and are entirely decadent (yet surprisingly not that bad for you). This has opened a whole world of German pancakes and Dutch babies to explore now that I can’t get them out of my mind.READ THE POST
So, we basically got like two weeks of fall in Georgia before it got COOOOLLLLD! But those two weeks were really beautiful.
This tree outside my window is absolutely glorious, like flame.
And these leaves form an awesome natural stoplight.
The changing of the seasons has also meant that the grocery stores and my CSA box have been all-gourds-all-the-time. I got a couple beautiful butternut squashes and, since I finally learned how to peel and disassemble them last winter, I was actually excited to try out this recipe.
Also, sage. Because sage is always the answer.
This sauce is deceptively creamy and rich, but doesn’t have any cream or milk, or even cheese until the very end. The leeks form a super flavorful base, and the pureed butternut squash is like butter and cream and squash all in one. This was a super easy and healthy dinner.
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I don’t know if this is weird, but I’d never had acorn squash before I made this. In fact, I’m not even sure what prompted me to pick one up at Trader Joe’s last week. But it was just sitting there all cute and bumpy and green and orange, and I just had to have it.
My first thought was roasting it, and after perusing some recipes, I definitely knew that was the right choice. But rather than just roasting the halves, I found this delightful recipe that called for slicing it up (cuts down on baking time), tossing with some oil, salt, & pepper (as you do), and sprinkling with some fresh thyme and parmesan.
A month ago I was crowing about the glorious chocolate stout cake with chocolate ganache I made for my birthday. It was fudgy and rich but not too sweet, with a depth from the stout. Basically perfect. Then, a couple days later, my friends asked if I could bring a dessert to their dinner party. They’re both gluten-free, and I have a number of go-to recipes. But I couldn’t get that chocolate cake out of my mind.
I knew I’d pinned a gluten-free quinoa cake months ago, but didn’t quite love the exact ingredient proportions. I found another, tweaked it a little, and used the same chocolate ganache as the other cake. I took the remaining three-fourths of my birthday cake and the quinoa cake to the party.
I had to label them because they were identical, and honestly, I think people liked them equally. The only real difference you could tell was that the quinoa cake didn’t have the stout (on account of the gluten), but I plan to adapt it for a bourbon or similar at some point—just have to do my research on gluten and alcohol. And there was still some of the whole quinoa in it since my blender isn’t great, but if you use a food processor it will puree it and you’d never even know.
This cake is topped with a super easy (but fancy looking) pouring dark chocolate ganache…I show two different techniques in that post, but either way you’re talking like 5 minutes max, and 2-3 ingredients.
Sometimes it’s the simple answers that are the best.
I can be guilty of getting too fancy with pasta sometimes, trying crazy combinations of ingredients or always trying to think of something new. Pasta is the blank canvas, the starting place for a thousand meals. And sometimes I think I’ve tried them all. But when I saw this recipe, I was struck by its simplicity and also how all the flavors complemented each other so well.
It starts, as many things do, with a base of sauteed shallots and garlic. From there all you do is add balsamic vinegar for depth and bite, toasted nuts for protein and crunch, and some parmesan cheese to top it all off. It all comes together in about 15 minutes, and is a warm and comforting dish any time of the day or night.READ THE POST
I have to squeeze in one last burst of summer!
I got these beautiful heirloom tomatoes at the farmer’s market and I wanted to do them justice. After thinking about different ways to use them, I decided that the best way to taste them would be a simple tomato and mozzarella salad.
A burrata would have been the best cheese choice, but it’s basically impossible to find. So good ol’ buffala mozzarella did the job. I would have liked basil in there but couldn’t find any at the store so I chopped up some spinach instead—for color as well as a little healthiness.READ THE POST
As you may or may not remember, when I was in Italy last fall I became slightly obsessed with this pasta with walnut sauce the hotel in Grosseto. I ate like three helpings—the waiters kept coming around with their giant platters and giving me this knowing look, then heaping more onto my plate. I did some research on the dish and found out that it was a traditional Tuscan pasta with walnut sauce and rocket (arugula, in our world). I tried recreating it once a few months ago…it was good, but not as creamy and awesome as what I had in Italy.
So this is the second try, a slightly different recipe. It’s been a few months in-between, so I’ll have to try really hard to directly compare the two. But know this—this pasta is VERY hearty, since the walnuts are full of protein.
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