Tag: Weeknight

Weeknight 6 Ingredient Pork Chop Adobo · i am a food blog i am a food blog

Adobo is the Philippines’ national dish, and it’s not hard to see why: it’s tangy, savory, a little bit sweet, and immensely satisfying. While the protein matters a little bit, it’s the sauce that’s magic: a simple blend of garlic, soy, acid, fond, and fat that’s so much more than the sum of its parts.

Internationally, chicken adobo is the most popular variant, but over where the dish originates, pork adobo (or even a mix of chicken and pork) is just as popular and it’s always a close race to see which one people prefer.

This is the easiest weeknight version of adobo possible: just 6 ingredients, almost no prep time, and dinner will be ready in under an hour. You probably already have everything but the pork chops in your pantry. The secret ingredient in this dish is the lemon, which brightens up the dish and, I don’t know about you, but I’d rather buy one lemon than a whole bottle of vinegar any day.

Cooking Notes
Classically this dish uses pork belly or shoulder, but both are not very weeknight-friendly, so here I’ve subbed pork chops instead. Pork chops are cheap, easy to find, and cook fast, so I think they’re the perfect choice here. You can also use pork belly, shoulder, chicken, or all of the above. The steps are the same no matter which protein you use – it just might take longer before the meat is tender.

What do you need?
A pot with a lid. A cheap garlic press will make life great.

How do you serve it?
Serve over rice.

Easy Pork Adobo Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

Super Easy Weeknight Pork Chop Adobo Recipe
Serves 2

  • 1lb pork chops
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons sugar

1. Season the pork on both sides.
Easy Pork Adobo Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

2. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a small saucepan or pot and lightly brown the pork chops over medium heat, working in batches if needed. Don’t be afraid to crowd the pan as long as your chops fit on a single layer – it will cut down on the splatter.
Easy Pork Adobo Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

3. Add more oil if needed and fry the garlic for 1 minute.
Easy Pork Adobo Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

4. Add the lemon juice, soy sauce, bay leaf, and sugar to the pan. Gently scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to deglaze.
Easy Pork Adobo Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

5. Layer the chops and any juices in the pan, then cover with enough water to just cover the top pork chop. Partially cover with a lid and simmer for 40 minutes, or until pork is tender. When done, taste and adjust seasoning – you may need to add another teaspoon of sugar depending on your tastes.
Easy Pork Adobo Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

Welcome to Dinner & Chill, a new series focusing on quick & easy weeknight dinners with easy to find ingredients, no special equipment, low prep, and low effort. Less shopping, less chopping, less mopping, more eating.

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Ten Weeknight Express Recipes eBook

Hi all! I made a free ebook for anyone who signs up for the 101 Cookbooks newsletter. It’s a collection of favorite weeknight-friendly recipes, and by being on the mailing list, it’ll be easier for me to send future recipes and content directly to you. I get the feeling that reaching many of you via Facebook, Pinterest, and other social networks is increasingly challenging (even if you’ve asked to follow 101 Cookbooks). So if you click on this link, or the graphic below, and sign up, you’ll get an email with a link to your Weeknight Express PDF. If you’re already on the mailing list, you’ll get a link later this week. Enjoy!

Weeknight Express eBook

Recipes in this collection include: Curried Tomato Tortellini Soup, Ponzu Pasta, Last Minute Red Lasagna, Spicy Tahini Noodles with Roasted Vegetables, Quick Vegan Enchiladas with Sweet Potato Sauce, Double Broccoli Buddha Bowl, Golden Crusted Sesame Seeded Tofu, Garlic Lime Lettuce Wraps with Tempeh, and The Ultimate Vegan Nachos. I love all these recipes, and hope you’ll cook your way through them! (Sign up here)

Weeknight Express eBook

Weeknight Express eBook

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Weeknight Thai Basil Chicken with Fried Eggs aka the Easiest Pad Krapow Gai Recipe Ever · i am a food blog i am a food blog

This is a super simplified version of everyone’s favorite Thai dish Pad Krapow Gai, possibly the most popular dish in Thailand, even more so than Pad Thai, which is a fake thing invented in the 50s. Properly speaking, Thai Basil Chicken should be made with holy basil (that’s what kra pow means), but as this is dinner and chill, any basil will do, or even arugula. This dish comes together in 10 minutes with only 7 ingredients and tastes like a million dollars. The most important part is the eggs, which really take things to the next level. It’s spicy, savory, and the perfect answer to a long stressful day at work.

Cooking Notes
If you can get it, holy basil is where it’s at, but then after that, sub with Thai basil, then regular fresh sweet basil, or if you’re feeling really adventurous, arugula, which has a little bit of the pepperiness of holy basil (or even a mix).

The secret to Thai eggs is getting a lot of oil (say 2-3 tablespoons) very hot and then almost deep frying your eggs. Crack your eggs, one at a time, into a bowl so you can drop it in more evenly. Spoon hot oil over the uncooked parts to baste the eggs so that the edges don’t brown too too much, unless you’re into that, which I am.

Thai peppers are very very spicy. Frying them mellows out the spice a little, but if you’re not feeling adventurous, you can substitute for any red pepper of any spiciness.

Oyster sauce can be found in the Asian aisle of any grocery store. If you see the Lee Kum Kee bottle with the painted label, go for that one. It’s a few dollars more but much better than the red panda label.

What do you need?
A garlic press and a mortar and pestle help a lot but aren’t necessary.

How do you serve it?
Serve over rice or with noodles. Just be sure to include the fried egg.

Weeknight Thai Basil Chicken Recipe
Serves 2

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 5-10 chilies, roughly chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, crushed or chopped
  • 1lb ground chicken or turkey
  • 1 cup basil, leaves only

1. Pre-measure your soy sauce and oyster in a small bowl.
Weeknight Thai Basil Chicken | www.iamafoodblog.com

2. Fry your eggs sunny side up in a generous amount of oil over high heat, one at a time. When done, transfer to a plate and set aside.
Weeknight Thai Basil Chicken | www.iamafoodblog.com

3. Fry your garlic and chilies until fragrant – about 20 seconds.
Weeknight Thai Basil Chicken | www.iamafoodblog.com

4. Fry your ground chicken or turkey. Don’t break it up too much, allow it to form a crust.

5. When your meat is browned to your liking, add the sauce and toss until evenly coated. Remove from heat and add basil, toss until the basil is wilted.

6. Serve over rice and topped with the fried eggs.
Weeknight Thai Basil Chicken | www.iamafoodblog.com

Welcome to Dinner & Chill, a new series focusing on quick & easy weeknight dinners with easy to find ingredients, no special equipment, low prep, and low effort. Less shopping, less chopping, less mopping, more eating.

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Dorie Greenspan’s Weeknight Sheet-Pan Chicken Dinner

Welcome to this year’s Piglet Community Picks! Until the Piglet Tournament of Cookbooks kicks off in March, we’ll be posting weekly reviews of the best new books you cooked from in 2018—written by you. To see other reviews, head here. And to catch up on the books that made it into the main tournament, look no further.

Dorie Greenspan’s classic cookbook, Baking: From My Home to Yours, taught me how to make company-worthy cakes, and her pastry dough recipe is still my go-to. So I was eager to explore her new book, Everyday Dorie. Because it’s Dorie, of course, the book is great. But it’s now earned a treasured spot in my kitchen, and here’s why.

Filled with sumptuous photos, this book highlights the casual food that Dorie makes every day for her family and friends. While this concept is a familiar theme in cookbooks these days, in Dorie’s hands it feels fresh and inspiring. She relies on her fridge and pantry to prepare what she calls “elbows-on-the-table” meals that nurture conversation and encourage guests to linger. The flavors are global: In addition to French recipes (which one expects from Dorie, who spends part of the year in Paris), there are many Middle Eastern-and Asian-influenced recipes as well. Dorie’s chatty, down-to-earth personality shines through on every page. Her warm, inviting headnotes are full of helpful details to guide people along. And best of all, most recipes come together quickly and are doable for novice and experienced cooks alike.

I cooked up a bunch of recipes from this book because so many of them called out to me. The majority of the dishes are riffs—or “surprises,” as Dorie calls them—on classic comfort food. Cod en Papillote is a traditional French dish, but Dorie’s version features Portuguese flavors, including smoked paprika, white beans, and a zesty balsamic vinaigrette. It was delicious.

While clearing the fridge after the holidays, I made the Lettuce Soup with romaine and curly endive. Dorie encourages improvisation with the “Choices” and “Playing Around” tidbits throughout the book, guiding you to use ingredients you have on hand. So I felt free to substitute the scallop garnish that she recommends with leftover cod from the papillote dish. This soup was one of my family’s favorite dishes from the book—it’s light and elegant, made with lettuce, alliums, herbs, and broth, with just a pat of butter to add creaminess. And no one could detect what the main ingredient was. “Broccoli?” my daughter guessed. “Spinach?” asked my husband. I will make this recipe again and again this summer when my CSA season begins and we have an overabundance of lettuce.

The Sheet-Pan Supper: Balsamic Chicken with Baby Potatoes and Mushrooms was also very tasty. Generous amounts of fresh herbs mingle with a simple balsamic vinaigrette, which cooks down and gives the chicken a crispy dark sheen, and also adds sweet notes to the entire dish. Because I only had a few mushrooms in the fridge, I added a bell pepper to the mix. This is truly an put-it-in-a-pan-and-walk-away kind of dinner. Every morsel was eaten and we even mopped up the pan drippings with slices of crusty bread.

My favorite recipe by far was the Pasta with Cabbage, Winter Squash and Walnuts, which features an amazing agrodolce pan sauce made with apple cider vinegar and honey. I added more honey and vinegar to amp up the flavors, and plan to add more cabbage to the dish next time. But this bright-tasting pasta, ready in thirty minutes, was the perfect complement to heartier, starchier winter produce.

Look at that beautiful sheen—not to mention, the crispy potatoes and mushrooms!

Photo by Paula Marchese

In her introduction, Dorie says, “I have only one rule: There must be dessert! Please follow it.” A stickler for rules, I heeded her call.

I baked the Brown-Sugar Spice Cake for my daughter’s soccer team, and thankfully managed to snag a piece for myself before it all disappeared. Dorie has you brush warm honey over the cardamom-and coriander-spiced cake, which highlighted the sweetness of the thinly sliced apples I arranged on top. This is a fabulous, spur-of-the-moment, enjoy-it-anytime cake—no stand mixer or softening of butter required. In fact, I made another one the next day for my family to enjoy.

I also couldn’t resist making the adorable Chocolate-Covered Chai-Tea Bars. Perfumed with orange and honey notes, and slathered with the optional but highly recommended chocolate glaze, they were a perfect afternoon pick-me-up, best enjoyed with a cup of tea.

Brown-Sugar Spice Cake, sittin’ pretty.

Photo by Paula Marchese

I still have many stickies on recipes in this book that I can’t wait to try: My Newest Gougères (Dorie’s versions contains Dijon mustard and walnuts); the intriguing-sounding Lemon Goop, a “culinary magic” condiment in which lemons are given the confit treatment to make a sweet and complex jam, and the showstopping Triple-Layer Parsnip and Cranberry Cake, which features a homemade cranberry jam filling and is topped with swirls of cream cheese frosting.

All the recipes that I made were excellent and approachable, and I will make them again and again. Everyday Dorie brought a new spin to my cooking and made me feel excited to be in the kitchen. The recipes here make everyday cooking relaxing and pleasurable, not to mention surprising and fun. This is the kind of comfort food that I want to cook and eat now—and all the time.

“I have been cooking daily, with Everyday Dorie at my side! I picked this book because Dorie has always been a reliable recipe source for me, and I am interested in meals that don’t always require elaborate cooking or a multi-hour time investment. Dorie being Dorie, I couldn’t help but start with the dessert section. I made the Flognarde (the blueberry variation) and loved it! It’s like a lovely Parisian Dutch baby. The Roasted Squash Hummus was a very interesting variation on a theme I know well, and the Lightning-Fast Tahini Pork was a totally new and delicious way to cook pork tenderloin. Up next, tomorrow, is the Tomato Tart with Mustard and Ricotta and the Chocolate Pudding. Can’t wait!” —Catherine Cozzarelli

“In today’s world, where #mealprep is tagged in over nine million pictures on Instagram, Greenspan offers ways to work ahead. In the Soups & Salads chapter, an unassuming recipe for Chickpea-Tahini Salad stuck with me after I flipped through the book for the first time. A deconstructed hummus of sorts, but with an added intricacy from the smoked paprika and hint of cayenne, my mind ran wild with ideas of how to transform this simple recipe into various applications throughout the week. The longer it sat, the more the flavors developed, and I soon found myself eating it directly out of the container with the fridge door wide open.” —Mallory

“I have this book, as well as all her others. I love this book, as well as all her others. Her writing is relatable and the recipes are very easy to follow. Everything I’ve made has come out fantastic. I find that she thinks of every question one might ask when she writes her recipes, so no matter what I choose to make or bake, it comes out very well. I always look forward to her new cookbooks, and this one was no different.” —Paula Lefkowitz

Have you cooked from Everyday Dorie? Tell us what you loved making the most in the comments!

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Best Instant Pot Recipes for Easy Weeknight Dinners

I’m not going to beat around the bush. It was, like, nine degrees Fahrenheit earlier this week in New York City. No amount of scarves, long underwear, tights beneath long underwear, double socks, or ear muffs could’ve prepared me for the walk to the grocery store around 4 p.m. By the time I returned to my apartment (at around 4:15 p.m.), I was pretty sure my cheeks and nose would never thaw.

Enter: a cozy, burbling dinner. One that tastes like it’s been cooking allllll day long, but that totally hasn’t. For this, I turn to my Instant Pot: an electric multicooker capable of producing low-and-slow flavor (you know, the Maillard reaction, and all that…) in a flash.

Such is my key to surviving frigid winter weeknights. Below is an excellent line-up of 12 weeknight Instant Pot stalwarts, each just as delicious and satisfying as the next. (And a whole lot cozier than yet another pair of socks.)

According to 10 out of 10 scientists, an extra-creamy, extra-cheesy bowl of fettuccine Alfredo full of butternut squash and crispy mushrooms is the only known antidote to winter weeknights.

A delicately flavored, comforting soup that can be all yours in under half an hour. And then a second bowl, five minutes after that.

Believe me, I was as surprised as can be that the Instant Pot cooks pasta to a perfect al dente. (Just as soon as I processed this new information, I began using my multicooker to make the cheesiest, baconiest mac and cheese.)

This spicy, fragrant kimchi stew couldn’t be more perfect (or more efficient) for combatting the blustery-evening blues.

What would happen if Marcella Hazan had an Instant Pot? This meaty, tomatoey ragu (a riff on her famous Bolognese, plus a few—likely blasphemous—twists) is my attempt at an answer. Don’t forget to shower it with Parmesan!

This dish’s name—butter chicken—contains all of the critically important details. Please save me a bowl.

Meltingly tender shredded pork in under an hour sounds too good to be true, but trust me on this one. Wrap it in charred tortillas and top it with salsa verde, or drape it over a warm grain bowl. It’d even make a salad cozy.

Chicken thighs braised in red wine, served over buttery noodles. Sign me up—like, way up.

Meet the softest short ribs you’ll ever eat. I think you’re gonna get along swimmingly.

This ultra-silky tomato soup is at once warming, comforting, and spicy. Aka, a triple threat.

For the heartiest, most deliciously broth-y Italian soup, look no further. Do not skip the crusty bread, for sopping.

Delightfully rich and creamy, bright in color, and subtly earthy from the cumin seeds, this palak paneer comes together in a flash. Weeknight chill, be gone!

I mean, do I really need to sell you on chocolate lava cakes? Yeah, that’s what I thought…

What’s your go-to weeknight meal for comfort in a flash? Let us know in the comments.

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Easy Weeknight Coconut Curry Braised Chicken Legs Recipe · i am a food blog i am a food blog

Easy, braise-y, beautiful. I’m a sucker for punny plays on words and easy weeknight recipes, so when I saw a Bon Appetit article claiming “These Braisey Chicken Legs in Coconut Milk Are Almost Too Easy to Make,” I was sold. Of course it helped that the photo was gorgeous: deeply burnished chicken legs, golden brown coconut chips, and a coconutty red curry just begging for rice.

The theory behind the recipe was: no chopping, no browning, just one dish. And you know what? It delivered. The chicken was tender and perfectly cooked and the ease of mixing up store bought curry paste and coconut milk was dead simple. I did tweak a couple of minute things though.

Easy Weeknight Coconut Curry Braised Chicken Legs Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

First off, the recipe called for 1 cup of coconut milk. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have coconut milk hanging out in my fridge in a carton, conveniently waiting to be poured out into a 1 cup measure. Instead, I popped open a whole can of coconut milk, which is about 1 3/4 cups. I also upped the curry paste from 1 tablespoon to two, since I added so much more coconut milk. Pro tip: when mixing the curry paste into the coconut milk, just add a smallish bit of coconut milk to the roasting dish, then stir in the curry paste before adding in the rest of the coconut milk. It’s a lot easier stirring curry paste into a small amount of liquid as opposed to chasing your curry paste around the dish, trying to get it all evenly mixed in.

I also skipped out on the salt. The original recipe has you salt the chicken legs before turning them in the coconut milk but I felt like it wouldn’t be needed (curry paste has a tendency to be quite salty) and justified it to myself by saying that I could season at the end, if needed. It wasn’t, in my case, as the curry paste I chose was super flavorful.

Easy Weeknight Coconut Curry Braised Chicken Legs Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

Speaking of curry paste, I used Aroy-D Thai red curry paste – I love Aroy-D coconut milk so I figured their curry paste wouldn’t be a bad choice. It has a pretty simple ingredients list: chilis, garlic, lemongrass, shallots, salt, galangal, kafir lime, coriander, and cumin. Pretty much like what I would put into a curry paste if I wasn’t making a weeknight dinner.

Other than that, I stayed pretty true to the original recipe. Oh wait, I did slice up the ginger instead of peeling and smashing. I forwent the peeling, giving the ginger a good wash, and simply sliced it thinly to expose more of the ginger to the coconut curry. More ginger surface area equals more ginger flavor. And since we weren’t planning on eating the ginger, it was a no brainer to give it a good scrub instead of peeling.

Easy Weeknight Coconut Curry Braised Chicken Legs Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

After an hour of roasting in the oven, the coconut milk spilt and there were glorious slicks of red oil pooled on top of the slightly thickened coconut milk – the sign of a really good curry, if you’re asking Malaysians or Singaporeans or Thai or Indians. You want your coconut milk and spices to split into two: a flavorful infused oil and a rich, dense, coconut base. When your curry splits, its means that all of the excess water that was in the coconut milk has evaporated and concentrated, leaving all the good stuff.

All in all, this recipe is perfect for those nights when you get home from work and want to do nothing while dinner is cooking. Pop a couple of things into a roasting dish, then watch an episode on Netflix while you wait for dinner to be done. When the timer goes off, make a bowl to eat on the couch while you binge watch the rest of your night away. All your worries will fly away. All of them except spilling on yourself, that is.

Happy curry-ing!
xoxo, steph

PS – For those nights when you have a little more time, try this from scratch Malaysian curry chicken.
PPS – I feel like the toasted coconut chips are very optional. While they did add a bit of crunch, I didn’t think they were worth the extra 5 minutes at the grocery store to find. But if you’re into #aesthetics, you can find large coconut flakes in bulk at Whole Foods. Just pop them on your chicken during the last 5 minutes of roasting for them to brown and crisp up. Or, you know, you could buy those expensive coconut chips that are already toasted, you do you.

Easy Weeknight Coconut Curry Braised Chicken Legs Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

Easy Weeknight Coconut Curry Braised Chicken Legs Recipe
serves 2

  • 14 ounce can coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, halved, outer leaves removed, lightly bruised
  • 1 inch piece ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 2 whole chicken legs or 2 thighs and 2 drumsticks
  • cilantro, cooked rice, and lime wedges to serve

minutely adapted from Bon Appetit

Move a rack to the top third of your oven and heat to 400°F.

In a 2 quart baking dish (or skillet), stir together a bit of the coconut milk and curry paste until smooth. Stir in the remaining coconut milk. Add the lemongrass, ginger, and garlic.

Coat the chicken in the coconut curry mix, nestle them together, skin side up, and bake, occasionally spooning curry on top of the legs, until the chicken is golden, tender, and cooked through, about 1 hour.

Remove from the oven and top with cilantro and enjoy with rice and lime.

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Weeknight Dinner Treasure – Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas

Welcome to this year’s Piglet Community Picks! Until the Piglet Tournament of Cookbooks kicks off in March, we’ll be posting weekly reviews of the best new books you cooked from in 2018—written by you. To see other reviews, head here. And to catch up on the books that made it into the main tournament, look no further.

I’m not quite sure how to put into words my love for Julia Turshen’s newest cookbook, Now & Again—but I’ll try. Julia exudes a love for food and people and a passion for feeding those people. Her warm presence is apparent in every word of the book’s writing and recipes.

The premise of Now & Again is this: You get a menu for several full meals, and then you learn how to repurpose leftovers from those menus. This way, you get a feel for the recipe staples and “base layers” you like, as well as ideas for what you can do with the leftovers. The ultimate combinations you arrive at are all you and your intuition.

Let’s start with the recipes, specifically from the “Just My Type of Dinner” menu. I’ve made the Confetti Meatloaf no fewer than four times since I bought this book. No ketchup glaze here! It’s loaded with bell peppers, onions, fresh herbs, and punches of umami from sundried tomatoes and Worcestershire sauce. But as Julia says in the introduction, “There are no rules here.” The menus and even recipes themselves are easily adaptable. For example, this meatloaf recipe calls for ground turkey, but I prefer ground beef. The recipe uses ricotta in lieu of eggs and breadcrumbs, but I actually like to stick with the traditional eggs and breadcrumbs. I’ve also added various additional mix-ins at different points—everything from mushrooms to the random green onions at the back of my fridge. Once, I even baked it in muffin cups. No matter how I’ve made it, it’s always turned out great.

Julia suggests pairing the meatloaf with Creamy Garlic Mashed Cauliflower. Mashed cauliflower has burned me in the past, but I gave it a go—I mean, you cook this cauliflower with four whole cloves of garlic, so why wouldn’t it be good? In the end, the dish was a total hit! I even made it as a side for Thanksgiving.

Some ideas from the book on how to repurpose the leftovers from this menu: meatloaf sandwiches and cauliflower soup. I couldn’t tell you how those recipes are, because this meatloaf never lasts long enough to make them.

Next, I tried some individual dishes, separate from their respective full menus (hey, Julia said I could!). The Crushed Potatoes + Peas, which I made from “Easy All-Green Lunch,” is kind of like the adult version of getting your kids to eat veggies. Or, the adult version of getting your adults to eat veggies. It’s an easy, one-pot side dish where the potatoes are cooked first, then you toss in some peas at the end. Drain it all, add butter, scallions, heavy cream, salt and pepper, and mash everything up until it takes on a thicker, chunkier consistency than mashed potatoes. All in the same pot! The ingredients are combined in a way so you don’t get any one bite of just pea or potato, and the crunchy scallions give the dish an interesting texture and flavor.

Again, “There are no rules here,” and in kind the recipes are very forgiving—proven by the Hikers’ Cookies (in “Simple Backpack Picnic Lunch”) I made for a post-run snack. They’re described as being like a granola bar but in cookie form (because “cookies > granola bars,” per Julia). I mixed the batter according to the recipe instructions, which state that the butter may not get fully incorporated, and may look suspended in the batter. So when this happened, I wasn’t too worried, but then the butter melted all out of my cookies while they baked! Nonetheless, everyone devoured them after our training run. If you happen to have any leftovers, you can crush them up and use them as a topping for a fruit crumble. Genius!

Last, the Chicken + Roasted Tomato Enchiladas in the “Card Night Enchiladas” menu are so easy. Plus, the cooking method taught me a great lesson that I can use moving forward: You can prepare both the chicken filling and the sauce all at one time, simply roasting all the ingredients together on a sheet pan (including canned whole tomatoes—am I the only one who didn’t know you could roast those for more flavor?!), setting aside the chicken and throwing the rest in a blender, and calling it a day. So fast, and with minimal clean-up. The next time I make these enchiladas, I’m going to try blending the sauce with a chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (or a spoonful of adobo sauce by itself), and maybe seasoning it with some cumin, Mexican oregano, and/or chili powder.

As I’m still cooking my way through the book, my still-must-make list includes (but is not limited to): Crispy Scallion + Sesame Pancakes, the Insta-famous Applesauce Cake with Cream Cheese + Honey Frosting, the Simplest + Best Nachos, and the Grilled Beef + Zucchini Meatball with Tahini Dressing.

Roast chicken, tomatoes, and lots of cheeeeese.

Photo by osucristina

Aside from the amazing recipes, Now & Again is great because you really understand how much Julia loves food, people, and connecting people with food. In the intro, she says that her “forever goal” for what she cooks, eats, and writes is “to to feel connected.” Each recipe is accompanied by a little story on where it came from or why it was created, so as you read you really feel as if you’re making a new friend.

At the end of the book, there is a section titled “Give Back + Do Good,” which lists resources to support women and people of color in food, and gives ways to share food with your community—like starting a monthly potluck-style dinner club in your area to meet new and diverse people. Or exploring foods from cultures outside of your own and asking questions about it. Or getting involved in a food bank. Or having a bake sale that benefits a local organization supporting minority causes. The way she uses food to impact those around her is something I never would have thought to do. To put it simply, Julia is full of gentle kindness, and that gentle kindness radiates throughout the cookbook.

“I immediately sat down and read through Now & Again as if it were a chapter book. I didn’t get the whole way through in one sitting, and that was fine by me so I could savor it. We’ve only cooked through one full meal so far—the one Julia says she’s cooked most often since her partner, Grace, was diagnosed with diabetes—but I loved it. I even made the dessert, Raspberries with Cocoa Whipped Cream. We ate it over the course of two days because there was plenty of food to go around, and everything was delicious. I want to support Julia in all she does, and I look forward to revisiting Now & Again and using it often in 2019. —Susan Sperry

“I’ve loved everything about the book, but the leftovers ideas are really special. I’m always stuck with leftovers, but I get tired of making the same chicken soup, salad, etc. over and over. Having an exciting riff to look forward to the next day makes my cooking feel verrrry productive. The main recipes are so simple and straightforward, but they’re so delicious that I have to make an effort to leave some behind! The Vietnamese Flank Steak is an easy favorite. Also, Julia is an amazing human being who is genuinely making the world a better place! Supporting her by buying this book is a step in the right direction.” —Jane T

“Julia Turshen has a personality—and a cookbook—that is impossible not to love. I especially enjoy the way the book is split up into seasons and menus, and each of her menus tells a story and connects you to her life in a different way. Many of us strive not to waste, so the ideas for repurposing the leftovers are great. Julia makes really attainable recipes so that all skill levels of cooks can find success in the kitchen. I plan to give this book as a housewarming gift—I feel like it’s perfect for those just starting out.”
Nicole Kriedeman

“I love the way she arranges the recipes into menus and then tells a story about how she would share it with friends and family. It makes cooking feel like a full experience, not just making a recipe. I made the Chicken + Roasted Tomato Enchiladas and the Kale Salad with Pepita Dressing from the “Game Night Enchiladas” menu, and even though it wasn’t game night, it felt fun and festive.” —Caley Landau

Have you cooked from Julia Turshen’s Now & Again? Let us know what you made in the comments!

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Weeknight Ponzu Pasta – 101 Cookbooks

This one is for semi-lazy nights when you still want to get something vibrant and seasonal on the table. All things green in a quick, weeknight pasta option. It’s feel-good food that won’t weigh you down. The ponzu dressing comes together in a flash, boosted with a good dose of garlic and a thread of toasted sesame oil. The broccoli and green beans are cooked in the same water as the pasta, and everything gets tossed together in one big bowl to serve family style.

Weeknight Ponzu Pasta Recipe

The recipe is incredibly versatile – it is vegan as written, you can use GF pasta if that is a consideration, and there is very little added oil, if you’re keeping an eye on that. It can adapt through the seasons – swap in asparagus/favas in spring, roasted cubes of winter squash or sweet potatoes later in the year. 

Weeknight Ponzu Pasta Recipe

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Last Minute Red Lasagna Recipe (Weeknight Friendly)

Everyone needs a go-to lasagna recipe. A great one. And, here’s the thing, making lasagna doesn’t have to be an all-day affair. This is a true weeknight lasagna. No pre-cooking sauces, no pre-cooking noodles. You, literally, stir the first five ingredients together into a vibrant crushed tomato sauce, and start layering. Also, it isn’t a cheese bomb. I try to keep things light here. It’s the rare lasagna that is arguably healthful enough to make once a week, and still feel like it is working in your favor. Very light on the cheese front, yet still hitting the lasagna mark. Served alongside a good salad? It’s nice payoff, with minimal effort.

Last Minute Red Lasagna Recipe

A Few Lasagna Tips

A couple of related tips. If you come across fresh pasta sheets, stock up. You can freeze them, and then you always have them on hand. Alternately, if fresh pasta is hard to find where you are, stock up on no-boil (whole wheat, if possible) lasagna sheets. These are the ones I come across where I live. It’s hard to make the mental leap that they will work out. It seems impossible, because they’re like dense, stale crackers, and…no boil!? But I’m always pleasantly surprised. Try them!

Last Minute Red Lasagna Recipe

Tasty Variations

Last thing! Sometimes I spice the red tomato sauce with curry powder and a big squeeze of fresh orange juice for a fun twist – I’ll note that variation in the recipe below. I’ll also note a variation that omits dairy altogether. If you use egg-free pasta, it’s a good vegan version.

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Simple Weeknight Pasta Sauce Recipes

Simple pasta sauce recipes are weeknight lifesavers. They’re great not only on pasta, but on all sorts of vegetables and grain bowls as well. Often if you’ve got a decent condiment selection on hand, or some fresh herbs, or simply some nuts, you’re on your way to a great sauce. Also, don’t limit yourself to using these as pasta sauces, often they’re just as fantastic over simply roasted, steamed, or sautéed vegetables. Or, as spreads on sandwiches and flatbreads!

1. Five Minute Tomato Sauce – (101 Cookbooks)

I make this more than just about any other sauce in my repertoire. All you need is a handful of ingredients, and one saucepan. No need to simmer for hours, a kiss of lemon zest keeps this tomato sauce fresh and bright and perfect for all sorts of pastas, pizzas, and casseroles. The perfect weeknight tomato sauce. And, actually(!), here’s a post of three ways I work it into lunch as well. Get the recipe here.

Simple Weeknight Pasta Sauce Recipes

2. Brown Butter Balsamic Sauce – (101 Cookbooks)

I love this simple balsamic sauce tossed stuffed winter squash stuffed pastas. Or, sweet potato anything. It’s a sauce that hits squarely on the decadent side of the spectrum, with a generous amount of browned butter as the base, but it is delicious, and really hits the spot now and then. The balsamic cuts the butter with its acidity, and I like to add plenty of something green and slightly bitter to balance everything out beyond that – in this case, arugula. And a bit of lemon zest, which perfumes everything beautifully. Get the recipe here.

Simple Weeknight Pasta Sauce Recipes

3. Hemp Seed Alfredo – (Blissful Basil)

Absolutely love this hemp seed take on alfredo sauce. Pictured here with zucchini noodles. Get the recipe here.

Simple Weeknight Pasta Sauce Recipes

4. Harissa & Olive Oil Sauce – (101 Cookbooks)

If you have some harissa on your condiment shelf, you’re halfway there. Paired with olive oil, the harissa forms the base of a brick red, garlic-charged sauce. Perfect tossed with your favorite pasta, and veggies. Pictured here with whole wheat spaghettini, kale, black olives, and pine nuts. Legit, fantastic weeknight option. Get the recipe here.

Simple Weeknight Pasta Sauce Recipes

5. Tuscan Pumpkin Pasta Sauce – (Real Food Whole Life)

I like the combination of tomato, pumpkin, rosemary, and sage in this creamy sauce. Robyn uses coconut milk here, but you could also use a thick nut milk like cashew or almond. Get the recipe here.

Simple Weeknight Pasta Sauce Recipes

6. Vegan Alfredo Sauce – (The Bojon Gourmet)

I love using homemade cashew milk as a substitute for heavy cream or even coconut milk. It is silky smooth, and full of body, and works as a brilliant vegan alfredo sauce base here. Soak the cashews while you’re out fo the day, and this sauce comes together in no time. Get the recipe here.

Simple Weeknight Pasta Sauce Recipes

7. Red Pesto Sauce – (101 Cookbooks)

Sun-dried tomato fans, this one has your name on it. Pictured here with goat cheese raviolis and served them on a bed of baby spinach. Get the recipe here.

Simple Weeknight Pasta Sauce Recipes

8. Lemon Almond Sauce – (Naturally Ella)

Creamy, dairy-free, and spiked with lemon and black pepper. Get the recipe here.

Simple Weeknight Pasta Sauce Recipes

9. Pounded Walnut Sauce – (101 Cookbooks)

This Mona Talbott recipe is a hearty, pounded walnut pesto of sorts, with marjoram and parsley. And I love it. Particularly as the weather chills, and you’re looking for more substantial fare. It’s nice with a short farro pasta, but really, it’s incredible on just about everything. You could even skip the pasta and just enjoy it with roasted vegetables. Get the recipe here.

Simple Weeknight Pasta Sauce Recipes

10. Creamy Chipotle Sauce – (Dora’s Table)

Six ingredients work themselves into chipotle-based magic. This is good on noodles, but also as a finishing touch on tacos, or as a component in salad dressings (great with structured lettuces). Get the recipe here.

Simple Weeknight Pasta Sauce Recipes

11. A Favorite Pesto Sauce – (101 Cookbooks)

About ten years ago we had a pesto and gnocchi night with my visiting Italian friend Francesca and her mom. They are from Genoa, and her mom makes a beautiful pesto (and perfectly light, potato gnocchi to go along with it). She offered to share her method with us, and we’ve all reaped the benefits ever since. If you love pesto, you really have to try her technique. Get the recipe here.

Simple Weeknight Pasta Sauce Recipes

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