Fresh cherry tomatoes and kale jazz up this quick and easy pasta dish with a gorgonzola cream sauce. Serve by itself or pair up with grilled chicken.
Back to school season is here. I may not have children who are getting back into the swing of another school year, nor am I myself in school (which by the way it still has not sunk in that I am no longer a student) but the time has come to start whipping up those quick and easy weeknight meals. This pasta dish not only takes advantage of the tomatoes in season, but comes together in minutes and can be served as a side or by itself. I chose to serve it topped with grilled chicken and garlic bread.
What are your favorite weekday dinner recipes?
One year ago: Peach Bread
Two years ago: Root Beer Cake Brownies
Homemade oven-fried onion rings are the perfect addition to backyard grilled burgers. This recipe makes a single serving in case you are the only one craving them.
I have been slacking on my Single Serving Sunday posts the past few weeks. Since I have been staying with my parents while job hunting, the need for single serving recipes has decreased and somehow I feel like I have less time to cook lately than I did in grad school. Not sure how that works but I guess it means I am keeping busy!
The last time I posted homemade onion rings was in 2010, when I had just started my blog, and decided it was time for a revisit. This single serving recipe is adapted from that first recipe using Panko instead of smashed potato chips and saltines. Slightly better for you and just as crunchy. I also employed the oven-frying method which I prefer and use for all of my oven-fried recipes now.
Two years ago: Orzo with Parmesan and Basil
Boxed macaroni and cheese cannot compete with the three cheeses in this grown-up version. Sharp cheddar, Gruyere, and blue cheese will rock your taste buds.
Happy Memorial Day! And also a happy Secret Recipe Club reveal day. This month I was assigned to Dena’s blog, Oh! You Cook! Not only is she a blogger, she is also a librarian by day and has a cookbook called The Everything Kosher Slow Cooker Cookbook. Regardless of your dietary restrictions however she has scads of recipes everyone can enjoy such as Stuffed Grape Leaves Casserole, Chubby-Hubby Truffles, and even Caramelized Banana-Stuffed Fried Oatmeal. Talk about incredible! But with the Memorial holiday I had my sights set on her macaroni and cheese.
This particular mac and cheese is a huge upgrade from the boxed stuff (not that I don’t enjoy that from time to time). It is made with three types of cheese, sharp chedder, Gruyere, and blue cheese. The combination of those three makes for one awesome mac and cheese sauce. Which speaking of I must warn you, while making the cheese sauce for this recipe I was worried that it should have cooked down further or used less milk as it seemed like far too much sauce for the amount of noodles. However once it baked in the oven it was perfect. Do not be concerned with the seemingly excessive amount of sauce pre-baked, it will turn out just right.
One year ago: Spaghetti Avocado
It’s the week leading up to Memorial weekend and it’s time to share some recipes to get ready for the first big grilling holiday of the year. But before hitting the grill you gotta think about the side-kicks. Check out my guest post today on Wishes and Dishes to get the recipe for my favorite potato salad made by my dad.
One year ago: Bacon, Egg and Avocado Taco
Two years ago: Penne with Eggplant and Pine Nut Crunch
DAD’S CREAMY POTATO SALAD
Recipe source: My dad
Creamy wild rice and fresh asparagus come together in this baked side dish. Serve it alongside your favorite cut of meat – it’ll go with just about anything.
Let’s talk plastic bags. I try to use reusable shopping bags wherever I go and have already told my story about them confusing retail but not grocery cashiers, yet sometimes they like to wait in the car instead of coming into the store with me. Such occasions result in a double dose of annoyance because not only do I have to get plastic bags but the cashiers have a habit of using excessive amounts of them. Yesterday I had one bag with a single can of black beans and another with just a block of cheese and container of sour cream. Apparently those three items would not get along if placed in the same plastic bag. I understand they don’t want the bags to break but that’s just silly. My milk was also bagged, which is not a light item and conveniently already possesses a handle. This is why I prefer self-checkout. Alas, I will just bring them back for recycling.
In other news (I need a new transition phrase because that one gets used a lot), I made a side dish! They appear so infrequently on this blog that I get excited when there’s one to share. Especially when it is something that pairs so well with a variety of things. Grilled steak? Definitely. BBQ chicken? You bet. I served it with apple jelly-glazed pork chops and it was wonderful. Wild rice and fresh asparagus are mixed together in a creamy sauce, topped with cheddar cheese, and baked until bubbly.
One year ago: Baked Quinoa Chicken Parmesan
Side-dishes are not my forte. Not that I dislike side dishes, quite the opposite in fact, but when I am cooking an entree it’s hard for me to find the motivation and energy to also cook a side-dish (other than steaming some vegetables). But there does exist side-dishes which do not take a whole lot of effort and are more inspiring than frozen vegetables. This creamy brussels and corn side-dish is quickly prepared and only uses on pan. Some of you may have spied this side-dish sharing a plate with the Amaretto-Maple Glazed Pork Chops I posted on Monday. Make the Brussles while the pork is in the oven and all of this can be yours!
One year ago: Chicken-Quinoa Burgers with an Avocado-Yogurt Sauce
Two years ago: Maple, Walnut, and Flaxseed Pancake Doughnuts
Normally for Single Serving Sunday I try to share recipes that only make one serving, but with the upcoming Thanksgiving feast I decided to do something special – a Thanksgiving meal that serves two. Many recipes for Thanksgiving produce a magnitude of servings, but what about the people out there only cooking for two, or four? This menu I have prepared easily serves 2 with leftovers. Because who doesn’t want leftovers from Thanksgiving? That being said, the turkey could serve four but if you have hearty eaters you may want to double the sides.
This dinner consists of a slow cooker turkey tenderloin with gravy, Greek yogurt-rosemary rolls, bagel-bacon stuffing, roasted brussels, twice baked sweet potatoes, cranberry-pomegranate sauce, and pumpkin crème brulee for dessert. Take a moment to be jealous.
My turkey tenderloin came out so juicy and flavorful that it will be hard to convince me to cook a whole turkey in the future. It literally fell apart when I lifted it out of the pot. By using a slow cooker I was also able to do whatever the heck I wanted in the oven, which is a huge perk for those of us with only one oven (one day I hope to be spoiled with a double oven). Even the gravy was amazing after cooking in all those delicious juices.
As you are aware, I have a habit of adding Greek yogurt to anything I possibly can so it shouldn’t be a surprise that it shows up here in dinner rolls. The rosemary really sold me on these rolls. If you don’t like rosemary, please substitute for another herb because they will rock your world with their subtle herby-ness. You can also prep these the day beforehand and refrigerate before the last rise. The next day, take them out of the fridge about 30 minutes before you want to bake them.
Then there’s the stuffing. I’ve seen stuffing made with all types of bread but this was the first recipe I had seen using bagels. I originally set aside two corn muffins for stuffing, but those were thrown into the freezer once I discovered I could use a bagel instead. I freaking love bagels! And I was not disappointed by the trade-off, especially since there was bacon involved.
For a green side I chose brussels sprouts. Only a couple Thanksgivings ago I discovered that I no longer hated them and actually became obsessed. As a result, they are nostalgic to me at this time of year. Just a simple roasting and a drizzle of balsamic is all they needed.
Growing up we usually had both regular mashed potatoes and mashed sweet potatoes but knew I would burst if I tried to add both onto this already long lineup. I went with a twice baked sweet potato that is topped with pecans and coconut. Although it is less sweet than a marshmallow topping, it has a crunchier topping that will make you forget about those puffy white things (no offense marshmallows, I still love you).
No Thanksgiving dinner is complete without some cranberry sauce. This version uses pomegranate juice for a more complex flavor. This can be made the day beforehand or even a few days before to minimize the amount of work you have to do on the big day. But if you do have to whip it up the same day, rest assured that it will only take 20 minutes.
Of course, once you’ve stuffed your face you’ll still find room for dessert, right? Especially for pumpkin crème brulee. I know you may initially think it’s a crime to not have pumpkin pie but it’s basically pumpkin pie and crème brulee all in one. Are you really going to be upset by having both?
Now for some tips on how I timed everything in order to be hot and ready all at the same time. An hour before turkey is done cooking (mine only took 4 hours), take rolls out of fridge (if prepared the night before), toast the bagel for stuffing, and prep the brussels sprouts. Bake the stuffing and brussels at the same time and with 20 minutes of cook time remaining, add the sweet potatoes and rolls to the oven. At that time, remove the turkey from the slow cooker and prepare the gravy. Slice up the turkey and serve! Then once your belly has digested a little to make room for dessert, torch the creme brulee just before you’re ready to dig in.
One year ago: Buckeye Cupcakes
Two years ago: Apple Blackberry Pie
I don’t cook side dishes very often because when cooking for one it is hard enough to eat all the leftover entree let alone a side dish too. But every now and then I find a special side dish that ends up being more of an entree, as it steals the show of the meal. This farro salad is one such recipe. I served it with a small chicken breast that had only been seasoned with salt and pepper because I did not want to distract my taste buds away from the farro. The sweet cranberries and tangy goat cheese are joined together with the balsamic dressing and earthy herbs for a comforting effect. I could definitely see this being a great side dish for thanksgiving.
Never had or heard of farro? This was actually my first experience with farro. Texturally it reminded me of wheat berries and cooks like rice.
Meanwhile, several of my friends are on their way to Memphis at this very moment for a belated Ph.D. celebration. And yes all 5 are staying with me in my 1 bedroom 800 square foot apartment. It’s going to be one big weekend-long slumber party and I am so excited! Most of them have not been here in over 4 years so I have a lot more to show them now that I’ve become more acquainted with this city. Just in time for me to move and leave right?
One year ago: Chocolate S’mores Cupcakes
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Last week I posted some delicious ribs and a few of you managed to drift your eyes off the picture of the ribs and into the background where little stacks of potatoes were displayed. After being told more than once that you needed to know what they were, I rescheduled my original post today in order to give you what you really want – scalloped potatoes! But not just any old scalloped potatoes, they are individualized and then some. Let me explain…
Sometimes you cannot hold back and you just have to go for it. These potatoes are an example of a lack of such restraint. Cheesy scalloped potatoes are already pretty awesome but why not add some bacon? Bacon goes great with cheese, after all. And heck, why not some jalapeno? Yea that happened and it was spectacular. These little scalloped potato stacks are also presented in a fun way by being cooked in a cupcake pan, forming individual portions. But don’t let that fool you into thinking these are portion controlled. If anything they are much too easy to eat, so you can go ahead and eat 2 or 3. Or 6, I won’t tell.
Oh July, why did you scamper off so quickly? I cannot believe July is almost over, and that today marks yet another episode of The Secret Recipe Club. This month I got to dig around Flying on Jess Fuel. I found lots of tempting recipes such as Key West Grilled Chicken Skewers and a Rainier Cherry Pie – that pie excited me because I love Rainier cherries but couldn’t bring myself to buy them in order to bake it as they were ridiculously priced at the time. I decided to go for a side dish recipe since I don’t make side dishes very often compared to other things. Of course then she posted a recipe for Zucchini Bread Pancakes after I already made this gratin recipe. Guess I will had to add it to my menu later on!
Potato side dishes are quite fabulous. You can cut them up and cook until they are crispy fries, mash them and enjoy a creamy spoonful, slice them and layer with cheese for a gooey experience, or just eat them by themselves with a little butter. Of course the possibilities don’t end there! This recipe incorporates some yellow squash along with the potatoes to not only make it a little healthier, but also add great summer flavor. And the goat cheese worked wonders as usual. It was tempting to add double the amount called for in the recipe because I knew it could do no wrong, but resisted. This gratin also went very well with balsamic chicken I had prepared in the crock pot.