Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Mini Vegetable Tacos

Top mini steamed tortillas with an assortment of grilled veggies, crumbled queso fresco, and tomatillo salsa.  Many types of vegetables would be delicious here, but here's what we used:

Cherry tomatoes: toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and blister in a cast iron skillet
Zucchini: quarter lengthwise, toss with oil and Florida pepper, and roast or grill until tender
Scallions: roast or grill until charred, then trim and chop
Corn on the cob: soak in water and grill in the husks for about 15 minutes

Tomatillo salsa: Husk and rinse about a pound of tomatillos.  Place in a pot with half a jalapeno (more for spicier salsa).  Cover with water and simmer until tender.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a blender.  Add about 1 tsp minced garlic, 3/4 tsp cumin, and 1/2 tsp kosher salt.  Blend until smooth, taste, and adjust seasoning.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Chicken Sausage Frittata

This frittata is the perfect one pan breakfast-for-dinner.  It's got all your major food groups, and makes the perfect meal with toast on the side.  Plus, leftovers are awesome cold the next day!  Feel free to switch around the ingredients based on what you have in the fridge -- this is a great way to use up odds and ends.

Chicken Sausage Frittata (adapted from The Kitchen)

6 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
2 fully precooked chicken sausages, sliced into thin rounds
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups baby spinach
Crumbled feta cheese or goat cheese
Flaky sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Pea shoots or fresh herbs, to garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and milk until frothy.
3. In a large ovenproof skillet, heat a drizzle of oil over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken sausage coins and brown them on all sides, 4 to 6 minutes, turning often. Transfer the sausage to a plate until ready to use.
4. Add more oil to the skillet if needed and heat until shimmering.  Add the shallot and 1/2 tsp of salt.  Cook, stirring often, until softened.  Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds.  Add a splash of water to the skillet and then stir in the spinach and the remaining 1/2 tsp of salt.  Stir for about 2 minutes, until the spinach is wilted.
5. Spread the spinach filling evenly and top with the chicken sausage.
6. Pour the egg-milk mixture over the frittata filling and use a silicone spatula to scrape the sides of the pan and gently pull eggs from the edges toward the middle so that soft curds form and the frittata begins to firm up.  Sprinkle the cheese on top.
7. Transfer to the oven and cook until the eggs are set, 5-7 minutes.
8. Sprinkle with pea shoots or fresh herbs, then slice into wedges and serve with toast.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Yogurt-Spinach Dip with Walnuts

My mom and I made this dip on a recent trip back to Ohio.  It's super flavorful and delicious, plus pretty healthy too!  The recipe makes a ton, so this is a great choice for a crowd.  Make sure to have lots of pita chips for dipping.

Yogurt-Spinach Dip with Walnuts (loosely inspired by Bon Appetit)
Makes dip for a crowd

Heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet.  Add 1 cup chopped walnuts and a small diced onion and saute until the onion is softened.  Add a good amount of minced garlic and saute until fragrant.  Set aside to cool slightly.  In a medium bowl, stir together 2 cups whole milk plain Green yogurt, a few handfuls chopped fresh spinach, a bunch of chopped fresh mint, and the juice of one lemon.  Season generously with salt and pepper. Stir in the walnut-onion mixture.  Taste and adjust seasoning.  Serve with pita chips or fresh veggies for dipping.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Instant Pot Tuscan Chicken Pasta

I've never tried pasta in the Instant Pot before, but I have to say I really love this recipe! Since everything cooks in one pot, it's quick to make and cleanup is also super easy.  The flavors go really well together and the sauce is so creamy and savory.  Plus, it's the perfect use for the overabundance of basil from our backyard garden!

Instant Pot Tuscan Chicken Pasta (adapted from Cooking Classy)
Serves 4

32 ounce carton low-sodium chicken broth
6 T sun-dried tomato pesto
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 T minced garlic
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
12 oz uncooked campanelle pasta
5 oz fresh baby spinach
8 ounces cream cheese (low fat is okay), cut into cubes
1 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

1. Put the chicken broth, sun-dried tomato pesto, Italian seasoning, and garlic into the Instant Pot insert.  Whisk to combine.
2. Add the chicken and pasta and stir to combine.
3. Seal and cook on high pressure for 5 minutes.
4. Quick release the pressure, and add the baby spinach, cream cheese, and Parmesan cheese.  Stir to combine.
5. Replace the lid, and let sit 5-10 minutes for the sauce to thicken.  Taste, and add salt and pepper as needed.  Between the pesto and cheese, I didn't think mine needed any additional salt.
6. Stir in the basil just before serving.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Zucchini-Cheddar Pancakes with Soft-Boiled Eggs

These vegetable pancakes are a great way to use up summer zucchini, and make for a delicious light dinner with salad.  The yolks of the soft-boiled eggs make for a really tasty sauce for the pancakes, but a yogurt or avocado sauce would also be fantastic.  Leftovers are good warmed up in the microwave the next day for lunch -- I had mine with half an avocado.

Zucchini-Cheddar Pancakes with Soft-Boiled Eggs (adapted from Fine Cooking)
Serves 4

3-1/3 cups coarsely grated zucchini (about 2 medium)
6-3/4 oz. (1-1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 oz. Cheddar, grated (about 1-1/2 cups)
1/2 cup finely sliced scallions (about 3 medium)
1 egg
Milk, as needed
Spray oil

For the eggs:
6 soft boiled eggs (I do them for 3 minutes in the Instant Pot)

1. Squeeze the zucchini over a strainer to remove excess liquid.
2. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and several grinds of black pepper in a large bowl.  Add the shredded zucchini, grated cheese, and scallions and toss to coat.
3. Crack the egg into a liquid measuring cup.  Add enough milk to make 2/3 cup.  Add to the flour-zucchini mixture and gently combine to create a thick batter.
4. Heat an electric griddle or non-stick skillet over medium-low heat.  Spray with oil.  Scoop 1/3-cup portions of the batter and spread to form pancakes about 1/2-inch thick.  Cook until golden brown on both sides, about 9 minutes total.
5. Serve with halved soft-boiled eggs, sprinkled with za'atar.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Sour Cream Waffles

I am almost always more likely to have sour cream in my fridge than buttermilk, so these waffles are a winner in my book.  The cornmeal adds some nice texture and sweetness.

Sour Cream-Cornmeal Waffles (adapted from dawn of food)

1 cup all purpose flour
6 T cornmeal
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1-1/2 T sugar
1 cup sour cream
1 whole egg + 1 egg yolk
3 T melted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk

1. Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream, eggs, butter, vanilla and milk.
3. Heat the waffle iron, spray with oil, and cook waffles until crispy.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Chocolate-Orange Scones

I love Zingerman's Bakehouse in Ann Arbor, but never get the chance to visit anymore since my sister moved away from Michigan.  These scones are from their recent cookbook, and are fabulous! They're perfectly tender with just the right amount of sugar.  As with most scone recipes, these are best fresh out of the oven, although they keep well for a couple of days if you have extras.

Chocolate-Orange Scones (adapted from Zingerman's Bakehouse)
Makes 12 scones

3 cups + 1-1/2 T flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 T baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter, cut into small cubes
2/3 cup chocolate chips
Zest of 1 large orange
1-1/2 cups heavy cream

To finish:
Heavy cream or milk, for brushing on the scones
Sanding sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a large baking sheet with foil.
2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter or two knives. Stir in the chocolate chips and orange zest.
3. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients, add the heavy cream, and stir together with a fork. Gently knead the dough in the bowl about 6 times, until there is no loose flour remaining in the bowl.
4. Lightly flour your work surface, and turn out the dough onto the surface.  Divide into two pieces.  Pat each piece of dough into a disk about 1/2-inch thick.  Cut each disk into 6 wedges.
5. Arrange the scones on the lined baking sheet (you may need to bake on two sheets or in two batches depending on the size of your baking sheet).  Brush with cream or milk and sprinkle with sanding sugar.
6. Bake 18-20 minutes, until the bottoms of the scones are golden brown.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Instant Pot Bean Tacos with Lime-Cilantro Slaw

These tacos are a little more work than just opening a can of pinto beans, but it's very worth it and makes for a great weekend afternoon recipe.  The beans are super flavorful and rich with no meat added.  And, the tangy slaw complements the beans perfectly!  Leftovers make amazing nachos (pictured at the bottom of this post).

Instant Pot Bean Tacos with Lime-Cilantro Slaw (adapted from the Bobby and Damaris Show)
Serves 6

2 cups dried pinto beans
2 T vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely diced
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 dried guajillo chile
Salt and pepper
2 T flour
2 T butter
1 cup grated sharp Cheddar
1 cup fire-roasted tomatoes (drain liquid before measuring)

For the slaw:
1-1/2 cups shredded green cabbage
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
Juice of 1 lime (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
Salt and pepper

To serve:
Warm tortillas
Sour cream, guacamole, and/or any other toppings you like

1. Cover the beans with cold water and soak overnight or cover with boiling water and soak for about an hour.  Drain and set aside.
2. Set the Instant Pot to "Saute" and add the vegetable oil.  Add the onion, pepper, and garlic and saute for a few minutes, until just softened.  Add the cumin and paprika and saute for about 30 seconds.  Add the beans, guajillo chili, and enough water to cover the beans (about 2 cups).
3. Place the lid on the Instant Pot and select the "Bean/Chili" option.  Make sure the lid is sealed.
4. Once the Instant Pot beeps, combine the flour and butter in a small pot or skillet.  Stir to create a paste and cook over medium-low heat until the mixture browns, around 3 minutes.
5. Release any remaining pressure, and remove the guajillo chili from the beans.  Add the flour-butter mixture and stir to combine.  Select the "Saute" function and bring the beans to a simmer.  Add the cheese and tomatoes, and cook until the mixture thickens, stirring often (5-10 minutes).  Season with salt and pepper.
6. Make the slaw. Combine the cabbage, cilantro, and lime in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
7. Assemble the tacos -- on each tortilla, layer beans, slaw, and any toppings you like.  Yum!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Orange-Poppy Seed Loaf Cake

This loaf cake is sweet, tender, and -- let's be honest -- perfect for breakfast!  You could use all Greek yogurt/sour cream/ricotta cheese for the dairy; I just used what I had handy in the fridge.  The icing is definitely what makes this cake, so don't skip it!

Orange-Poppy Seed Loaf Cake (adapted from epicurious)
Makes 1 loaf cake

Oil spray
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp kosher salt
Finely grated zest of 1 large orange (about 1 T)
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp ground vanilla beans or 1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
5 T freshly squeezed orange juice
1 T poppy seeds

For the topping
4 T freshly squeezed orange juice, divided
1/2 cup powdered sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a loaf pan with oil.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the orange zest and sugar.  Rub together with your fingers until the sugar clumps and the mixture is very fragrant.  Add the eggs, oil, and vanilla, and beat on high speed until light and thick, 4 minutes or so.
4. Reduce speed to low and mix in half the dry ingredients.  Add the yogurt and ricotta and mix on low to combine, followed by the remaining dry ingredients. Beat in the orange juice and poppy seeds until everything is well combined.
5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and bake 50-60 minutes.  A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.
6. Transfer the pan to a wire rack.  Poke holes in the top of the cake, and brush with 3 T of the orange juice.  Let rest 15 minutes, then run a knife around the sides to loosen and turn cake out.  Transfer to rack and let cool completely.
7. Whisk together the powdered sugar and remaining 1 T orange juice.  Spread a thin layer over the cake and let set before serving.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Beef-and-Bean Skillet with Cornbread Topping

This is an excellent one-pot dinner. The filling is savory and delicious, and the cornbread topping is tender and just all-around yummy.  You can also save time by using a cornbread mix for the topping.  The filling could be easily switched up by doubling the beans or subbing ground turkey for the ground beef.  Leftovers are a little messy but re-heat well.

Beef-and-Bean Skillet with Cornbread Topping (adapted from Food Network's The Kitchen and Budget Bytes)

1 pound ground beef
1/2 medium onion, minced
1 small bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Roma tomato, seeded and chopped
15-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese

For the cornbread topping:
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 T sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1 egg yolk
2 T vegetable oil

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. In an oven-proof skillet, brown the ground beef over medium-high heat.  Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, and then pour off the excess fat.
3. Reduce the heat to medium and add the minced onion. Cook until softened, 5 minutes or so.  Add the bell pepper and jalapeno, and cook for another 5 minutes or so, stirring often.  Add the garlic, and stir together for about 30 seconds or so.
4. Add the chopped tomato, pinto beans, and tomato sauce and stir to combine.  Add the beef back to the skillet.  Cook, stirring often, until everything is heated through.
5. Sprinkle the grated cheese over the beef-bean mixture.
6. Make the cornbread topping.  Whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, egg yolk, and oil.  Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and stir quickly with a fork until just combined (a few lumps are fine).
7. Spoon the cornmeal batter over the beef-bean mixture and spread into an even layer.  Bake until the cornbread topping is baked through and browned on top, 15-20 minutes.  Serve hot.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Warm German Potato Salad

This potato salad is awesome with bratwurst.  I cook my potatoes in the Instant Pot (instructions below), but of course you can make yours on the stove as well.  The sauce is sharp and tangy, and the bacon adds just the right amount of both richness and crispy texture. Great for a cookout!

Warm German Potato Salad (adapted from Budget Bytes)
Serves 3-4

1-1/2 pounds mini Yukon gold potatoes (or other small potatoes)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tsp whole grain mustard
2 tsp white sugar
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
4 oz. bacon. chopped into small pieces
4 scallions, white and green parts chopped and kept separate

1. Halve the potatoes, if needed, and cook until tender (4 minutes on high pressure in the Instant Pot, or just cook on the stove).
2. Whisk together the vinegar, mustard, sugar, pepper, and salt in a small bowl.
3. In a large non-stick skillet, cook the bacon until crispy over medium heat.  Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon from the fat, and add the white parts of the scallions.  Cook until just softened, then turn off the heat.
4. Stir the vinegar mixture into the bacon fat, until everything is well combined.  Combine the sauce, potatoes, bacon, and green parts of the scallions.  Taste and add more salt if needed.  Serve warm.

Monday, January 8, 2018


This is one of those recipes I've been wanting to make for a long time -- maybe because the name sounds so interesting!  I definitely should have made muhammara sooner, because it's very easy and also very delicious.  It's similar to hummus and could be used pretty much anywhere you would serve hummus, but with walnuts and roasted red peppers as the main ingredients.  We enjoyed it with guests at Thanksgiving, with lots of different fresh veggies for dipping.


Muhammara (adapted from The Moosewood Restaurant Table)
Makes about 2 cups

1 cup walnuts
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 large roasted red peppers, drained if using jarred
1 T fresh lemon juice
4 teaspoons pomegranate molasses or substitute an additional 1 T lemon juice + 1 tsp brown sugar
¼ cup olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
¼ tsp salt
⅓ to ½ cup breadcrumbs

Toast the walnuts in an oven at 350 degrees or in a dry skillet for about 5 minutes, until fragrant and lightly browned. Set aside to cool for a few minutes before processing.

Place the walnuts in the bowl of a food processor and process until the nuts are well chopped. Add all the remaining ingredients (starting with the smaller amount of breadcrumbs).  Process until smooth.  Add more breadcrumbs for a thicker dip, and adjust salt, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes to taste.  Keeps 1 week in the fridge.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Pecan Coffee Cake

This coffee cake is a tradition in my husband's family.  His dad makes lots of them every year to give to neighbors and friends; I just made two but it definitely made our Christmas feel more festive! The yeast dough is tender and comes together easily, and it's filled with a cinnamon-sugar meringue filling and chopped pecans.  I love how food can make me feel close to family even when we're not together in person.  (I was 9 months pregnant this Christmas and so unable to travel.)  

Pecan Coffee Cake (recipe from Grandma June)
Makes 2 coffee cakes

Heaping 1 tsp instant dry yeast
1/2 cup slightly warm milk
2 c all purpose flour
1/2 T sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick cold butter, cut into small cubes
2 eggs

For the filling:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped

To top:
Frosting: 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar, 2 T soft butter, a splash of vanilla, and 1-3 T milk
Whole pecans, toasted

1. Whisk the yeast into the milk and set aside.
2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt.  Cut in the butter (as for a pie crust).  
3. Separate the eggs.  Cover the egg whites and store in the refrigerator.  Beat together 1-1/2 egg yolks, and then mix into the flour mixture.  Reserve the extra egg yolk in the fridge.  
4. Add the milk to the flour mixture and combine well.  Place in a covered bowl and chill overnight.
5. The next day, separate the dough into two equal parts.  For each part of the dough, roll into a rectangular shape about 12 inches long and 1/4-inch thick.  
6. Beat together about 3/4 of the reserved egg whites. When the egg whites are very foamy, beat in the sugar and cinnamon.  Spread half over each piece of pastry, and sprinkle half the pecans over each.  Roll up like a jelly roll, pinching the ends and seams to seal.
7. Place seam-side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Let rest 1 hour.  
8. Whisk the reserved egg yolk with 1/2 T water and brush on the coffee cakes. Bake in a 325 degree oven for 40 minutes, until lightly golden.  Cool on a wire rack.
9. Whisk together the frosting ingredients and drizzle over the coffee cake.  For a neater presentation, you can place in a Ziplock bag and cut off the corner.  Arrange whole pecans on the frosting before it hardens.