You'll find over 300 of my favorite recipes here, including ideas for Quick meals, Cooking for 2, Feasting on Leftovers, and cooking with 5 Ingredients or Less. I'm adding new posts regularly; you can subscribe by email or RSS feed if you'd like to receive the latest recipes. Bon appétit!
By Kath Dedon
You start by cooking bacon in a large skillet. That’s always a good start, but it’s an especially good start when you’re cooking kale! Bacon and kale really are wonderful together. I served this Braised Kale with Bacon with roast chicken, rice with peas, and a salad. The Braised Kale with Bacon was the star of the meal!
The recipe is adapted from a recipe by Grace Parisi on the Food & Wine website. The original recipe makes 4 – 6 servings. I cut it down to serve 2. I used Tuscan kale (aka Lacinato or dinosaur kale) but you could use any type of kale.
I can’t recommend Braised Kale with Bacon enough! You get all of that great nutrition with bacon. Try it, you’ll like it.
Braised Kale with Bacon
(Adapted from Grace Parisi’s recipe on the Food & Wine website)
Serves 2 (If you double it to serve 4 you’ll need a bigger pan than my 12-inch cast iron skillet. I’d probably use a Dutch oven.)
2 thick slices of bacon
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
½ large onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1 garlic clove, minced
¾ pound kale (about 1 bunch), stems and inner ribs discarded, leaves coarsely chopped, washed and dried
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1. In a large skillet, cook the bacon in the olive oil over medium low heat, turning occasionally. When the bacon is done the way you like it, remove it leaving the bacon grease in the pan.
This is two slices of bacon cut in half.
2. Coarsely chop the bacon and set aside.
3. Raise the heat to medium and add the onion and garlic to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 6 minutes, or until the onion and garlic are just starting to brown.
Ready to add the kale!
4. Add the kale to the skillet. Season with salt and pepper and stir.
5. When the kale has wilted a bit, stir in the cider vinegar. Cover the pan, raise the heat to medium high, and cook for about 5 minutes or until the kale is tender.
6. Stir in the bacon and serve.
It cooks down a lot!
I have made this Zesty Homemade Italian Salad Dressing several times. I like it so much that I decided it’s about time I shared it.
The recipe is from one of my favorite blogs, Jennifer Segal’s Once Upon a Chef. Her blog features foolproof, family-friendly recipes that are right up my alley.
I usually can’t resist tweaking recipes a bit, adapting them to suit our tastes. But Jennifer’s Zesty Homemade Italian Salad Dressing is perfect just the way it is. And it couldn’t be easier to make. Just put all of the ingredients in a jar, shake it up, and it’s ready to go. Keep any leftover dressing in the refrigerator.
Ingredients for Zesty Homemade Italian Salad Dressing
Zesty Homemade Italian Salad Dressing
(Thanks to Jennifer Segal of Once Upon a Chef for her permission to share.)
Makes 1⅓ cups
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
⅓ cup red wine vinegar
1½ tablespoons real maple syrup
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
4 small garlic cloves, minced
1. Put all of the ingredients in a jar and shake it up.
2. Store leftover dressing in the jar in the refrigerator. You will need to shake it before each use to re-emulsify the dressing.
I made a simple salad consisting of spinach, tomatoes, radishes, and red onions and tossed it with some of the salad dressing. Splitting the salad between two plates, I then topped them with leftover steak and chicken, a hard boiled egg, and slices of avocado. It was a great meal for a warm summer evening!
By Kath Dedon
Winter Cauliflower Salad is a terrific way to enjoy cauliflower! Ingredients like olives, garlic, red onion, sun-dried tomatoes, a chile pepper, and gorgonzola cheese guarantee that it will be full of flavor.
The recipe is from a newly published book, The Glorious Vegetables of Italy, by Domenica Marchetti. This is not a vegetarian book, although most of the recipes are indeed vegetarian. There are recipes for appetizers, soups, salads, side dishes, and main courses and they all feature the favorite vegetables of Italy. There’s even a short chapter of desserts. (How does Chocolate Zucchini Cake or Pumpkin Gelato sound?)
So far, I have only made this Winter Cauliflower Salad. If it is any indication of the quality of the other recipes, I can’t wait to explore this book some more.
Some of my observations about the recipe:
- I used sun-dried tomatoes, but if I had some garden-fresh plum tomatoes I might have slow-roasted some and used them.
- I used all green olives. Next time I’ll use half green and half black (probably kalamata). I think it will add to the visual appeal.
- Because of all of the salty ingredients (olives, sun-dried tomatoes, gorgonzola), I cut the sea salt in half. We thought it was just right.
- I seeded the serrano chile pepper and its heat was subtle and did not overpower the other ingredients.
You might wonder why it is called Winter Cauliflower Salad. Domenica states that, although it certainly can be made year-round, she especially loves it during the winter months to complement the heartier fare of the season. We would eat it any time!
Winter Cauliflower Salad
(Adapted from the recipe in The Glorious Vegetables of Italy)
Since I was cooking for two, I cut the recipe in half. I won’t do that again because this is the kind of salad that I would love to have again the next day. Here is the full recipe that serves 6 – 8. You can halve it if you wish.
Serves 6 – 8
1 medium head cauliflower (1 lb/455g), trimmed and cut into florets
1 large celery rib, sliced on the bias
1 cup (115g) coarsely chopped pitted olives, preferable a mixture of green and black
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup (30g) diced red onion
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped bottled sun-dried tomatoes (or slow-roasted tomatoes)
1 fresh chile pepper, very hot or mildly hot, your preference, minced (I used a seeded serrano chile.)
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon, plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ to ½ cup extra virgin olive oil (I found ¼ cup to be sufficient.)
3 – 4 oz (85 – 115g) gorgonzola piccante, crumbled
1. Put a steamer basket with the cauliflower over boiling water. Cover and steam for about 4 minutes. Remove the steamer from the pot.
2. Put the celery, olives, parsley, garlic, red onion, sun-dried tomatoes, and chile pepper in a large bowl. Add the cauliflower and toss the salad well.
3. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt and toss again so they are well distributed.
4. Add ¼ cup of olive oil and toss the salad. Taste to see if you need more salt or olive oil.
5. Cover and let it marinate for at least 30 minutes.
6. Just before serving, toss in the gorgonzola crumbles.
By Kath Dedon
We tried Hatch chiles for the first time last week. These New Mexican chiles have a short season and are not available at every store in Seattle. Last week I picked some up at one of my favorite supermarkets to give them a try.
I used the broiler to “roast” them until they were charred. Then I put them in a sealed Ziploc bag to let them cool off. After they were cool, the skin slipped right off. I slit them lengthwise and scraped the seeds out. The Hatch chiles were ready to go.
We first tried them sautéed with some red pepper and onion as a side dish with grilled skirt steak. They are quite good, although I wouldn’t call them amazing. I suspect that they are probably better if you buy them fresh from the fields in Hatch, New Mexico. They may lose some of their punch on the journey to Seattle.
Apparently, they can range from mild to medium-hot. Overall, our batch was mild, but every once in a while we had a bite that was noticeably hotter.
So after that dinner, I had 4 large chiles left. I searched eatyourbooks.com and found that I had an interesting recipe in One Big Table by Molly O’Neill.
(I love eatyourbooks.com! It makes it possible to search your own cookbook collection for recipes or ingredients. If you own a lot of cookbooks, check it out.)
Mika Garnett’s Southwest Chicken and Green Chile Stew proved to be a great use for the chiles. The introduction says that she uses a 4-ounce can of chopped green chiles when she doesn’t have time to roast and peel her own. I just substituted my Hatch chiles.
The recipe is very easy and we really enjoyed it, but it did take a bit longer to make than I thought it would. The thing that took the most time was prepping all of the vegetables, including cutting fresh corn kernels from the cobs. But the result was well worth it. With all of the fresh vegetables, Mika Garnett’s Southwest Chicken and Green Chile Stew is a perfect late summer meal!
Mika Garnett’s Southwest Chicken and Green Chile Stew
(Adapted from Mika Garnett’s recipe in One Big Table by Molly O’Neill)
I used potato starch flour to make the recipe gluten free and it worked great, but you can use all-purpose flour as Mika does.
1 tablespoon oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and coarsely chopped
1 carrot, coarsely chopped
1 jalapeno chile, stemmed, seeded, and coarsely chopped
One 4-ounce can chopped green chiles, drained (or 4 – 5 fresh Hatch chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded, and diced)
4 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
A few grinds of black pepper
2 tablespoons potato starch flour (Substitute 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour if you prefer.)
2¼ cups chicken broth
1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 cup corn kernels (You’ll probably need 2 ears if using fresh.)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
We enjoyed the stew just as it is, but Mika suggests the following garnishes:
Corn chips or heated tortillas
1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, red pepper, carrot, and jalapeno and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.
2. Add the green chiles, garlic, cumin, and salt and pepper. Stir and cook for about 1 minute.
3. Stir the potato starch flour (or all-purpose flour) into the pot until it is well blended.
4. Add the chicken broth and the chicken. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
5. Add the corn and cook for about 5 more minutes, or until the chicken is done.
6. Stir in the lime juice and the cilantro. Serve with optional garnishes if desired.
Hatch chiles that I broiled on a foil-lined baking sheet.
By Kath Dedon
The major change I made was to make the salad less sweet. I have never been a huge fan of the sweet dressings that are typically used with three bean salads. I used just a teaspoon of honey to take the edge off the lime juice. By all means, add more sweetener if you like. Elise uses ¼ cup of sugar.
We loved this Mexican Three Bean Salad! It keeps quite well, so if you have leftovers you can enjoy it the next day.
I threw a few sugar snap peas from our garden into the salad, too.
Mexican Three Bean Salad
(Adapted from a recipe by Elise Bauer on simplyrecipes.com)
Best made at least an hour ahead of time to give it time to marinate.
½ pound green beans
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 green onions, sliced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 large clove garlic, cut into thin slivers
¾ cup (about 3 ounces) Cotija cheese
1/3 cup lime juice
1 teaspoon honey (or sugar)
¼ cup chopped cilantro
1. Trim the green beans and cut them into 1-inch pieces. Boil in salted water for 5 minutes. Drain and put them in a large bowl.
2. Add the black beans and pinto beans to the bowl. Pour the olive oil over the beans and stir to distribute it.
3. Stir in the green onions, jalapeno pepper, and garlic.
4. Crumble the Cotija cheese into the salad.
5. Whisk the lime juice and honey together and stir into the salad. Let it marinate at least an hour before serving.
6. Just before serving, stir in the cilantro.
By Kath Dedon
The Slow Cooker Mexican Pulled Pork on Simply Recipes has been on my “to-do” list ever since I first saw it. The mouth-watering photo that Elise posted and her description about how her friends swooned over it made me want to try it ASAP. With 6 people for dinner last night, I decided the group was big enough to give it a try.
….. Oh. MY! …This recipe for Slow Cooker Mexican Pulled Pork Tacos is even better than it sounds! My photos and words don’t do it justice. We all loved it, and everyone proclaimed that it is one of the best things I’ve ever made! (I think Bob still puts my Baklava at the top of the list.)
The recipe takes time, but it’s mostly unattended time, and it couldn’t be easier. I think if you just try Slow Cooker Mexican Pulled Pork Tacos it will be one of your favorites, too!
(Be sure to head over to Simply Recipes to see the beautiful step-by-step photos. I found all of the comments helpful, too.)
Slow Cooker Mexican Pulled Pork Tacos
(Adapted from a recipe by Elise Bauer on simplyrecipes.com)
If you don’t have a slow cooker you could try a method similar to the one I used for Pulled Pork in the Oven. After the roast has been refrigerated with the spices, brown it in a large pot. (A Dutch oven would be ideal.) When it’s browned all over, add about 1/2 cup water to the pot, stirring up all of the tasty bits on the bottom. Sprinkle the reserved spice mix over the roast. Cover it with a lid or as tightly as you can with aluminum foil and roast at 300˚ for 1½ hours. Turn the roast over, cover it again and continue to roast for another 2½ to 3 hours or until it is fork tender. Because this recipe doesn’t have any added sauce I would leave it covered the whole time so it doesn’t dry out.
Serves 6 – 8 (or more with a larger roast)
4 tablespoons chili powder (I use a salt-free blend.)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar (I used maple sugar.)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon dried oregano crumbled with your fingers into smaller bits
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Scant pinch of ground cloves
3¼ pound boneless pork shoulder roast
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Corn tortillas (at least 2 – 3 per serving, depending on whether you want single or double tortillas for each taco)
Quick Pickled Onions (recipe follows at the end of the taco recipe)
Salsa or Pico de Gallo (We had delicious homemade salsa that Laura and Byron made using peppers from their garden! Yum!)
1. The day before you want to serve the tacos, mix all of the spices together and rub them generously all over the pork roast. (If the roast has been tied, cut the string off first.) Reserve any leftover spice for the next day.
2. Cover the roast and refrigerate overnight.
3. Heat the oil in a pan and brown the pork roast on all sides. This will take 15 – 20 minutes.
4. Put the browned roast in the slow cooker and add in as much of the remaining oil and spices in the pan as you can.
5. Sprinkle the rest of the reserved spices over the roast. Put the slow cooker cover on and cook on Low for 6 – 10 hours, until it is fork tender. It should be falling-apart done. (It took 6 ½ hours in my 6 quart slow cooker. It would have needed 10 hours in my older 4 quart cooker which cooks at a lower temperature.)
Extra spices are sprinkled all over the browned roast and it’s ready to go in the slow cooker.
6. Remove the pork from the slow cooker and put it on a cutting board. Using two forks, shred it into bite-sized pieces.
7. Stir the pork back into the spicy juices in the slow cooker. It can be kept on Warm until it’s time to serve.
8. Heat the tortillas using your favorite method. I like to heat them for about 30 seconds on each side in a hot cast iron skillet. I put them in foil as I go to keep them warm.
9. Assemble the tacos using your favorite toppings and enjoy the feast!
Quick Pickled Onions
This is adapted from an easy Bon Appétit recipe.
½ cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 red onion, sliced in half vertically and then sliced in thin horizontal slices
1. Whisk the vinegar, honey, and salt together in a large bowl until the honey and salt are dissolved.
2. Add the onion slices. Cover and leave at room temperature for 1 – 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
3. Drain for immediate use, or refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. Drain before using.
Mexican Pulled Pork Tacos with cilantro, avocado slices, Quick Pickled Onions, radish slices, and a bit of salsa.
By Kath Dedon
Carrie made a terrific Cooking Light recipe last night. Fish Tacos with Tomatillo Sauce is definitely a keeper and I look forward to making it again.
However…..we learned an important lesson. Cooking Light uses tilapia. I like to use wild fish instead of farmed fish, so I went to the market looking for an alternative. There were some nice looking “flounder” fillets that were marked “wild” and they were reasonably priced. It seemed like a good choice for tacos. Boy, was I wrong!
The fish turned to mush. It was truly like a fish paste. Turning to the Internet, I learned that “arrowtooth flounder” has an enzyme that turns the flesh to mush when it is heated. The label on my fish simply said “flounder”, not “arrowtooth flounder”, but I’m convinced that it definitely was the arrowtooth variety.
So why would a market sell it? Some Internet posts suggest that it turns out okay if it is soaked in lemon juice or vinegar for a brief time before it is cooked. One site said it is often used for sushi (no heat there). Next time I will simply choose a different variety of fish.
Do try Fish Tacos with Tomatillo Sauce. It’s a great recipe that is very quick to make. Just don’t use flounder. I’m sure tilapia would work fine. I’ll probably use cod or mahi mahi.
(Thanks, Carrie, for making dinner! Sorry I bought the wrong fish.)
Fish Tacos with Tomatillo Sauce
(Adapted from a Cooking Light recipe) a
Serves 4 a
Cooking Light uses only half of a jalapeno pepper. We liked the heat of a whole pepper. Just use half if you want a milder sauce.a
3 garlic cloves
2 medium tomatillos, husked and rinsed
1 medium jalapeno pepper
½ cup cilantro stems
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
½ teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups very thinly sliced red cabbage
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1½ pounds fish fillets (Try tilapia, cod, or mahi mahi)
Salt and pepper for seasoning the fish
Light olive oil to coat the pan
8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
1. Turn the broiler on high. Broil the garlic, tomatillos and jalapeno on a foil-lined tray for about 3 minutes on each side or until blackened.
2. Put the garlic, tomatillos, jalapeno, cilantro stems, mayonnaise, sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon of salt in a small food processor and process until it’s smooth.
3. Mix the cabbage, lime juice and 1 tablespoon olive oil together.
4. Preheat the oven to warm. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat until hot. Put the tortillas in the dry skillet, heating them for about 30 – 40 seconds on each side. When all of the tortillas are done, wrap them in foil and keep them in the warm oven.
5. In the same skillet, add a small amount of olive oil to coat the pan.
6. Sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper on the fish fillets and add them to the hot oil in the skillet. Cook until the fish flakes easily with a fork, about 2 – 3 minutes on each side. (Timing will depend on the thickness of the fillets.)
7. To serve, top each tortilla with a piece of fish. Then add about ¼ cup of the cabbage mixture, some of the tomatillo sauce and a sprinkling of cilantro leaves.