All posts filed under: Fast + Easy

Pumpkin + Chicken Sausage Pasta

Are you ready for a true confession? I rarely cook from a recipe. The first time I made this Pumpkin + Homemade Chicken Sausage Pasta there was no script. I tell you this so you understand my process of getting a recipe from my brain to your screen– one that I know will work for you at home and that you can trust. A recipe that will hopefully make it onto your table. How an Idea Becomes a Recipe A new recipe concept starts with thinking and dreaming about the flavors, colors, scents, and textures of ingredients. This work happens when I’m asleep and when I’m awake– all the time! All that I have learned in over 50 years of cooking and eating informs how a new recipe idea comes together. Step One Intuition led the way when I first made this marigold Pumpkin + Homemade Chicken Sausage Pasta, like with most things I cook. I found it warm and comforting. It was delicious enough to share, and didn’t take a fortnight to make, and …

Turkey Meatball + Roasted Lemon Zucchini Pasta

Turkey Meatball + Roasted Lemon Zucchini Pasta is one of the tastiest recipes you can have in your weeknight toolbox. Pop these juicy meatballs into the oven and they’ll be done in twenty minutes– as long as it takes to get the rest of the dinner together. This fun and exciting weeknight meal is ready in under an hour, but is definitely company-worthy. Lemon slices roast alongside the meatballs, then are chopped and added to the sauce with briny chopped olives to give this simple dish huge flavor for the amount of effort it takes. Our household is not yet ready to make the shift to an entirely plant-based diet, but we make incremental steps in that direction. This turkey meatball and roasted lemon pasta is chock full of zucchini. The turkey meatballs hold a lot of zucchini which lightens the meatballs. Reduce and replace the volume of turkey with even more zucchini if that’s where your dietary choices are taking you. In the future I’ll be experimenting with replacing the turkey with mashed beans …

Anti-PB + J: Crunchy Cold Buckwheat Noodle Salad

As a kid I hated peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The basic components were good, I thought. But jelly seeping through the bread, the gluey palate-sticking nature of the thing, and the whole sandwich mangled by a thermos smacking it inside the lunchbox of a girl with a purposeful stride? Thank you, but no. If Crunchy Cold Buckwheat Noodles in Peanut Sauce had been popular among suburban moms so long ago, it would have been my absolute lunchbox preference. The chewy buckwheat noodles draped in a velvet cloak of spicy, gingery

a bottle and glass of rose wine with shrimp melon salad

Cool It On Down with Sweet + Spicy Shrimp Melon Salad + Chilled Quady North Rosé

Scorching record-breaking heat is promised across much of the U.S. this week, and you need cooling solutions, right? You’re going to need this– the best simple yet fancy cooling salad I can think of– light, fresh and hydrating, and ever so tasty. When you eat it, try to imagine someone nearby fanning you with a palm leaf. Can you feel it? This refreshing salad was made to serve with an equally refreshing chilled rosé. I love the 2020 Quady North Rogue Valley/Southern Oregon GSM Rosé for it’s South-of-France typicity we don’t often find in an Oregon rosé.

summer salad of shrimp, lettuces, heirloom tomatoes, red peppers, and basil

The Perfect Salad: Classic French Vinaigrette and Infinite Variations

Here are three easy steps rescue your leafy salads from being sad and pathetic, along with a fast and easy no-measure Classic French Vinaigrette. You’ll see how fun and easy it is to take that basic ratio and create an infinite variety of vinaigrette options. And I share my most embarrassing cooking tip, and a vinaigrette video tutorial.

Celery Amandine on a platter

Vintage Celery Amandine for the Home Run

Vintage Celery Amandine is proof that celery is more than a minor-league bench player at your table. There is a reason why celery is last to be chosen for Team Exciting Foods. Grocery store celery is pale, stringy, flavorless, and waterlogged in comparison to locally-grown, bright green, crisp version that hasn’t been trucked half-way around the world. Garden-grown or farm-fresh celery is a different thing altogether.

asparagus bean salad

Humble Beans: Lemony Asparagus-Bean Salad

Part two of the Ode to the Bean trilogy recipe is an asparagus-bean salad with lemon vinaigrette. Its crispy lemon-panko topping is pretty special, if I don’t say so myself. It makes a great side dish, but we ate it as our main course and loved it.To bring you up to speed, last week I cooked up one pound of Rancho Gordo Alubia Blanca beans. My objective was to create three unique recipes that wouldn’t having us hating beans by the end of the week. The three recipes– today’s lemony asparagus-bean salad, along with pasta with beans and mushrooms, and brothy beans-and-greens bowl– resulted in three distinct, tasty success stories.

Pasts with beans and mushrooms in a bowl

One Humble Pot of Beans, Three Noble Meals

No other food radiates humble simplicity quite like the bean. Beans are easy to cook, fit most dietary lifestyles, and make a hearty winter stew or a tangy chilled summery salad with equal aplomb. Last week I cooked up one pound of Rancho Gordo Alubia Blanca beans, and made a little game of seeing what I could do with them throughout the week that wouldn’t grow wearisome. The pasta with beans and mushrooms, lemony asparagus-bean salad, and brothy beans-and-greens bowl were each distinct, and each a success.

burritos on green and blue plates

Cheap + Quick + Easy: 20-Minute Beefy (or Beany) Spinach Burritos

Some evenings are just not made for fussing over dinner. After a long work day; kids’ sports-music-dance-chess club-art-study group activities; community meetings; and who knows what, all cooks need some go-to quick, hot, hearty, tasty things we can make with our eyes closed.

This recipe got me through the flurry of raising my then-tween and teen-agers, and still is a completely comforting and serviceable years later. Over the years I’ve done a lot of “Making It My Own” improv riffing on this one, and it’s always forgiving and welcome.