Time to Cook!

Inspiration for wholesome weeknight & weekend cooking.

Posts tagged ‘easy’

This is my easy, weeknight (and weekend) vinaigrette that I make all the time, all year round.  It’s so easy to make — it only takes about 3 minutes — and you can make 2 or 3 X the recipe to keep in the fridge for the week.  Some nights, even making a 3-minute dressing is just too daunting, right?

Basic White Balsamic Dressing

 

Basic White Balsamic Vinaigrette

1 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar (Trader Joe’s brand is the best!)
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
pinch of Maldon sea salt flakes
pinch of fresh ground pepper
pinch of marjoram and/or dill

In a small glass dish, add balsamic vinegar, then slowly whisk in the extra virgin olive oil until combined.  Finish with salt, pepper and herbs.  Add vinaigrette into your greens in a salad bowl, tossing to see how much you need.  Taste a leaf.  If your salad has no taste, it just needs another pinch of salt and that will bring out all of the flavors.

To make a green salad special (I usually favor Butter / Bibb or baby lettuces), I often add toasted nuts and a sweet fruit like pears, persimmons, or apples.  I also like the combination of scallions and avocado.

 

 

 

 

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I love these shaved brussels sprouts (I found them raw in a bag at Trader Joe’s and I think Safeway now carries them too).  This would be a lot of work to cut these delicate sprouts up so thinly, so I love that the prep work is already done for you.  I should note that I hated brussels sprouts growing up (I think my Mom boiled them and added no seasoning) … but prepared this way (shaved and roasted), they are so tasty, delicate, salty and crispy — they are sure to turn any brussels sprout sceptic into an enthusiast.

Shaved Brussel Sprouts

Roasted Brussels Sprouts Ingredients: Two (10 ounce) bags of shaved brussels sprouts 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper Directions: Spread the brussels sprouts onto 2 rimmed baking sheets, so they have plenty of room to roast (if they are too crowded, they will steam and stay too moist).  Toss with the olive oil, salt and pepper.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until nicely browned and a bit crispy.  Season to taste with more salt.  Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 4-6.

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Here is a yummy, nutritious mini muffin that’s great for kids — serve with breakfast or as a snack.  The only change I made was to add some shredded zucchini to the original recipe.  Any extra muffins can be frozen to be gobbled up later.

Toddler Muffins

Recipe slightly adapted from one I discovered on  Erika Follanbee’s photography blog and originally posted on Allrecipes.com.

 

Toddler Muffins

Makes 24-30 mini muffins

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large bananas, mashed
1 (4.5 ounce) jar baby food squash
2 carrots, grated

1 large zucchini, grated

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup oat bran
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 24 mini muffin cups.
  2. In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar until smooth. Mix in the mashed bananas, squash, carrots, zucchini and eggs. Stir in the flour, oat bran, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt until just combined. Spoon the batter equally into the prepared muffin cups.
  3. Bake about 18 minutes. Cool in the pans for 5  minutes, run a knife around the edges to loosen them up, before removing to cool completely on a wire rack. Enjoy immediately, or they freeze beautifully!
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I’m always looking for new chicken recipes, so was excited when I found this one.  It’s super easy and tastes like “fresh”, flavorful Chinese food.  I’ve tried this with breasts (white meat) and thighs (dark meat) and liked both.  We serve with brown rice.  This was a hit with the entire family … I’ll be making this again and again.

Lemony Chicken Stir-Fry

Recipe from Food and Wine (contributed by Todd Porter and Diane Cu).

Lemony Chicken Stir-Fry

TOTAL TIME: 30 MIN
SERVINGS: 4

“Bright and lemony, this superfast chicken stir-fry makes an excellent weeknight dinner.”

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts or trimmed
thighs, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 tablespoon soy sauce, plus more for seasoning
1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon
finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 scallion, thinly sliced
Steamed rice, for serving

Directions:

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the chicken and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned all over, 3 minutes. Stir in the soy sauce and sesame oil, season with salt and pepper and stir-fry until the chicken is cooked through, 3 minutes longer. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon zest and lemon juice. Season with salt, pepper and soy sauce. Transfer the chicken to a platter, top with the sliced scallion and serve with rice.

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I love this veggie — it’s healthy and tasty (almond coating adds a nutty taste to the vegetables) and each bite offers a different flavor: carrot, parsnip or sweet potato.  Note: you can grind the almonds in a mini prep processor or I have an extra coffee grinder that I dedicate to grinding nuts and spices only.  I double this recipe (you’re going to want more!) and roast on two baking sheets (you don’t want to crowd the veggies).

Root Vegetable Fries

Recipe from cookbook “The Little Paris Kitchen.”

Baked Vegetable Fries

Ingredients:

3 1/2 tablespoons ground almonds

2 tablespoons sunflower oil

salt and freshly ground pepper

1 sweet potato, cut into thin strips

1 parsnip, cut into thin strips

1 large carrot, cut into thin strips

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large bowl, mix together the ground almonds, oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and some pepper.  Toss the vegetables in the mix and then spread them out on a baking sheet in a single layer.  Bake for 30 minutes or until crisp, shaking the sheet halfway through.

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Certain foods are supposed to bring you good luck for the year if eaten on New Year’s Day — cabbage, black eyed peas, etc.  Here is my favorite cabbage recipe that I plan to make.  Cabbage is so good for you (high in lots of nutrients, filled with antioxidants, can lower bad cholesterol, and is very low in calories and fat) and inexpensive, but often gets a bad rap.  It does have a strong, funky smell when you cook it (that’s how I remembered it growing up) — and it can give you gas!  Just don’t eat like three servings in one sitting!  This cabbage recipe is awesome though – it’s fresh and delicious.  You will want more than one serving!  Great served with pork chops, pork tenderloin, or grilled sausages.  Note: I lowered the amount of salt in the recipe below.

Sauteed cabbage and leeks

Recipe from blog Simple Bites.

Sautéed Cabbage & Leeks with Apples

Total time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 whole leek
  • 1/2 green cabbage head
  • 1 large apple
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Prepare leeks by cleaning them, drying and chopping them into 1/2 inch rounds. Divide cabbage into two quarters, lay them on a flat, cut side and roughly chop them into chunks, avoiding the core. Separate the cabbage pieces slightly.
  2. Heat a 5 quart French oven or a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and butter and heat until butter is bubbling.
  3. Add leeks to melted butter and sauté for two minutes. Add the cabbage all at once and immediately stir thoroughly to coat the cabbage with butter. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Partially cover and cook on medium heat for about 7 minutes, stirring often, until cabbage has wilted significantly. During this time, quarter and core the apple and roughly dice.
  5. Add the apple to the cabbage as well as the apple cider vinegar. Sauté on medium heat for another three minutes, stirring often. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Serve hot.

Note: Chardonnay vinegar can be substituted for apple cider vinegar and the whole dish would be lovely with a sprinkling of caraway seeds sautéed in the mix.

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