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Easy Quick Chicken Tortilla Soup and How to Add Flavor to Quick Soups

When it comes to dinner, I’m an obsessive planner.  With a full time job and an hour commute and two kids, my dinnertime meals are regimented.  But lunch is more spur of the moment.  Not exactly an afterthought, but definitely more of a “What do I feel like eating today?” meal.  And sometimes what [...]

175* Recipes to Help You Keep Your New Year’s Resolution

It’s three weeks into January.  How are your new year’s resolutions going?

I’m making a concerted effort to cut down on sweet and starchy things in my diet.  I know I have a crazy sweet tooth, and I’d love to get the best of that, so there have been lots of protein and [...]

Pasta with Butternut Squash, Spinach and Cashel Blue Cheese


I have resisted pasta for many years. Other people can’t get enough of it – I could take it or leave it. But life in our household has been pretty crazy lately, and I have been embracing pasta as a way to get dinner on the table relatively quickly instead of having to resort [...]

Split Chicken Breasts with Goat Cheese and Pepper Jelly

Chicken Breasts with Goat Cheese and Pepper Jelly So today I’m offering you another chicken recipe. This one uses split breasts, with BONES (keep it juicy!) and SKIN (wonderfully crispy.) It’s also super-quick to assemble because I’m a fan of cooking for real life, though it will take some hands-off time in the oven. It’s a solution to yet another chicken breast dish syndrome, and it even tastes kind of fancy. [...]

Five No-Fuss, No-Pasta Dinners For When You Don’t Really Want to Cook

dinners   So if you listen to as many food-related podcasts as I do, you may have noticed that lately there has been a lot of talk about cooking (I blame Michael Pollan)- about how it’s healthier, and better for society, and connects you with your humanity, etc.  Which, hello? is great, and I’ve been saying for years! Yay cooking! We love it around these parts. I also, however, like to play the role of fairy godmother of the reality check. You know and I know that we would LOVE to make from-scratch, healthful dinners EVERY SINGLE NIGHT, but we also both know that sometimes that just isn’t happening. Before you call the delivery man, or open (yet another) box of pasta, I present you for five ideas for easy, quick, no-fuss dinners. They don’t require NO cooking, but they do require MINIMAL fuss and no thought whatsoever. I usually plan to have ingredients for at least one of these in the house at any given time, to account for traffic jams, late meetings, and general exhaustion. [...]

Roasted Asparagus with Creamy Tomato Sauce

Asparagus Nothing really sings of spring like Asparagus. The little stalks, poking up so proudly, and tasting so very green are the essence of all that is springtime. Asparagus was a seasonal vegetable before eating seasonally was cool – I remember eating lots of asparagus during my childhood, but only in the springtime. (Do not speak to me of the horror that is frozen asparagus or – shudder – CANNED asparagus. Part of the point of asparagus is its texture – that perfect balance between crisp and yielding with just a tiny snap as your teeth close on the stalk. [...]

Salmon On Curried Spinach

class=”aligncenter” alt=”Salmon on Curried Spinach” src=”” width=”333″ height=”500″ /> I told my husband last night that I loved him but what I really need is a 1950’s wife.  Someone who will hand me a cocktail and my slippers when I walk in the door so I can relax, pat the kids on the head and send them off to bed while sipping my scotch.  Sadly, my reality is more along the lines of leave work, pick up the baby, drive drive drive drive drive, come in, immediately rush to find dinner for the Nuni and Bootsy, feed the kids, bedtime routines, fix grownup dinner (if we didn’t eat with the kids), eat grownup dinner, and then start in on the laundry before I even get to think about a cocktail. Since weeknights are a little crazy (to put it mildly), I’m always on the lookout for meals that are a) healthy and b) quick to prepare.  And that doesn’t mean 30 minutes or an hour quick.  I mean on the table in 20 max, so I can get to my cocktail faster.  This salmon on curried spinach, which is an old recipe of my mom’s, just fits the bill. [...]

Picadillo Tacos with California Ripe Olives #kitchenplay

California Olives We’re all familiar with the role that California black olives play in traditional Cal Mex cuisine — they’re a regular feature of nachos, enchiladas, and taco salads. I decided to use them in a slightly different format, creating a taco inspired by the flavors of Latin America and the Caribbean. I used the olives to make a variation of picadillo — a spiced meat mixture that is both sweet and salty. I upped the Caribbean flair by adding to each taco slices of fried bananas. Plantains would be traditional, but I can never find plantains in just the perfect stage of ripeness, and slightly underripe bananas make an admirable and easy-to-find substitute. [...]

Summer Vacation I – New York and Street Chicken and Rice

Street Meat Fortunately, Serious Eats came to my rescue and developed a recipe for street meat. The first time I made it, the scent of the rice instantly carried me back to that summer, and I was, however briefly, 24 again. It has since become a serious staple in our house. Relatively easy to make, good to reheat, excellent to take to families with new babies and a frequent request made by my homesick husband. The Nuni loves it because I let her make the white sauce all by herself (it’s hard to screw up and a good way to train her to taste and season). In fact, it is, I would venture, even better than the original. [...]

Pineapple Avocado Salsa with Jicama

I make no pretenses that this is based on some autentico salsa especiale I tasted in a tiny cafe in Zihuatanejo. In fact, this recipe is based entirely on a pineapple I had in my refrigerator that was quickly getting a little too ripe (shopping with a 4 year old means you come home with lots of produce and few plans). But it makes use of the Mexican flavors and produce I find all over southern California — the sweet acidity of pineapple matched by savory onions, chiles and cilantro, all mellowed by avocado and enlivened with the crunch of jicama. (If you’ve never had jicama, it’s a great ingredient. Resembling a large pale brown turnip, it’s a juicy root vegetable that’s very faintly sweet and has a terrific crunch not unlike a water chestnut.) Pineapple Salsa [...]