Friday, May 23

Chicken & Broccoli Stuffed Potatoes

Twice-baked potatoes stuffed with roasted vegetables and leftover rotisserie chicken

Chicken and Broccoli Twice Baked Stuffed Potatoes

I came down with the flu last weekend. It was our first wedding anniversary, and I was planning on writing a post about the special wines and champagne we drank and how we recreated the bed picnic we had in Paris over our honeymoon. But in an unfortunate turn of events, I've spent most of this week in bed trying to recover from a sickness I hadn't experienced in nearly ten years. My appetite has been finicky - I'm still quite hungry at times but only certain foods sound good. There's been a lot of soups, and rice, and a store-bought rotisserie chicken we've been snacking on all week. These stuffed potatoes were the first real meal I felt energetic enough to make, and I made extras so that I could have them again the next day. The baked potatoes are hollowed out and mashed with roasted broccoli and onions and leftover rotisserie chicken before being spooned back into their shells and baked again with a little cheese on top. They're soft and comforting and appealed to my (thankfully) healthy husband as much as they did to me.

Related Recipes:
- Chicken and Broccoli Fried Rice
- Turkey Noodle Soup
- Fauxtisserie Chicken and Roasted Potatoes

Chicken & Broccoli Stuffed Potatoes:
  • Preheat the oven to 400F.
  • Scrub and dry 3-4 russet potatoes and place directly into the oven.
  • Cook for 50-60 minutes, or until a fork slides easily into the center of the potatoes.
  • Meanwhile, cut 1 head of broccoli into small florets and thinly slice one onion.
  • Toss the vegetables on a sheet pan with 1/2 tbsp. olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Add the vegetables to the oven during the last 15 minutes of cooking the potatoes.
  • Remove the sheet pan and the potatoes from the oven and let cool slightly.*
  • Slice the tops off of each potato and scoop the flesh into a large bowl, leaving the skins intact.
  • Mash the potatoes with 1/3 c. milk and 1 tbsp. butter and salt and pepper to taste. Add more milk if necessary.
  • Chop the broccoli and onions into small pieces and fold into the potatoes, along with 3/4 c. of cooked  and shredded chicken.
  • Spoon the potato mixture back into the potato skins and top each with 1-2 tbsp. of grated Monterey Jack cheese.
  • Place the stuffed potatoes on a baking skeet and cook in the oven for another 15 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.

Serves three-four
*This is a great make ahead meal. You can bake the vegetables and potatoes a few days ahead and keep in the fridge.

Thursday, May 15

Curry Coconut Chicken

Tender pieces of white meat chicken simmered in a curry coconut sauce

Easy Curry Coconut Chicken

We were in New York last week for a wedding and had a whirlwind trip to the city and upstate. We didn't get home until late Sunday night, so there was no time to go grocery shopping or plan meals for the week. I was still exhausted on Monday but knew I wanted to get back to cooking after way too much eating and drinking at restaurants during our trip. This cheap and easy chicken curry was the perfect thing to make that night. I picked up a few fresh ingredients from the store, made a big pan of this curry, and had enough leftovers for a couple of work lunches. Unlike a lot of curries, the amount of spices and specialty ingredients required is really pretty minimal. I always have cumin, curry powder, red chile flakes, salt, and pepper (you can omit the turmeric if necessary) in my pantry and use them all the time. They add a great spice to this dish and are mellowed by the sweet and creamy coconut milk.

Related Recipes:
- Coconut Curry Lentil Soup
- Thai Chicken Curry
- Coconut Basmati Rice

Curry Coconut Chicken:
  • Dice 1 1/2 lbs. of boneless skinless chicken breasts into 1" pieces and toss with 1 1/2 tsp. curry powder, 1 tsp. salt, and a pinch of pepper.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together 3 tsp. cumin, 1 1/2 tsp. curry powder, 1 tsp. turmeric powder, and 1/2 tsp. red chile flakes. Set spice mixture aside.
  • Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp. coconut oil* in a large heavy skillet over medium heat.
  • Add in 1 diced onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until soft. Add in 2 cloves of minced garlic and cook for another minute.
  • Stir in the spice mixture and cook for a minute, then stir in 2 tsp. tomato paste until combined.
  • Add the chicken to the skillet and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the outside has browned.
  • Add in 1 c. light coconut milk and 1/4 c. of water and bring to a heavy simmer.
  • Let the chicken finish cooking in the sauce for about 5 minutes, or until the chicken is completely cooked through.
  • Stir in the juice of 1/4 lime and a handful of fresh cilantro leaves. Check for seasoning.
  • Serve over rice.

Serves four
*Or vegetable or canola oil.

Wednesday, May 14

Burrata, Beet, Tangerine, & Arugula Salad

This filling salad makes a great lunch or elegant appetizer

Burrata, Beet, Tangerine, Arugula, and Walnut Salad

This is a simple but hearty salad that I had for workday lunch the other week. I got the beets at the farmers' market and roasted them over the weekend, which meant that it only took minutes to do the final salad assembly before eating. I layered the salad in a tupperware - burrata on the bottom, then the beets and tangerine segments, then the arugula on top - and kept the walnuts in a separate bag on the side. To assemble, let the burrata stay at room temperature for a few minutes (this will enhance its creamy texture) and pull it open, then scatter the remaining ingredients on top and drizzle with balsamic and olive oil. It's such an easy dish to make but it feels fancy and special. Try serving it as the first course at your next dinner party, too.

Related Recipes:
- Beet, Butter Lettuce, & Blue Cheese Salad
- Burrata with Persimmon-Pomegranate Relish
- Roasted Beets with Burrata & Arugula

Burrata, Beet, Tangerine, & Arugula Salad:
  • Preheat the oven to 400F.
  • Slice the tops off of 1 bunch of beets and wrap each beet in aluminum foil.
  • Place the beets in the oven and cook for 35-50 minutes, or until a fork is easily inserted into the center.
  • Let the beets cool, then unwrap and rub off the skins with your hands. Cut into bite-size pieces.*
  • Pull apart 2 balls of burrata cheese and arrange on a platter.
  • Scatter the beets on top, the segments from 1 tangerine, 2 c. of baby arugula, and 1/4 c. toasted walnuts.
  • Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper.

Serves three- four (lunch)
Serves six-eight (appetizer)
*Beets can be prepared several days in advance and kept in the fridge.

Tuesday, May 13

Soba Noodles with Crispy Kale & Coconut

A quick and healthy meal of roasted kale, coconut, and avocado over buckwheat noodles

Soba Noodles with Roasted Crispy Kale, Coconut, and Avocado

I first got the idea for this kale and coconut topping from a recipe I posted a couple years ago from Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Every Day, and have been tweaking with the recipe ever since. I believe I've finally perfected it with this soba noodle version. The kale gets tossed with a soy-sesame-olive oil mixture and roasts with unsweetened coconut and sliced jalapenos until almost kale chip crispiness. It's salty and crunchy and adds texture to the soft noodles. I've really been into adding avocado on top of everything lately, too, and love how it adds a creamy texture and body to this noodle bowl. It's a super quick and healthy weeknight meal and has been showing up on our dinner table at least once a week. Try it at room temperature as the weather gets hotter.

Related Recipes:
- Kale Coconut Farro Salad
- Tofu, Brussels Sprout, & Kale Soba Noodles
- Raw Kale & Soba Noodle Bowl with Ginger-Lime Dressing

Soba Noodles with Crispy Kale, Coconut, & Avocado:
  • Preheat the oven to 415F and bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  • Wash, dry, and remove the center ribs from 1 large bunch of kale and chop it into bite-size pieces.
  • Arrange the kale onto a large baking sheet* and add in 1 c. unsweetened coconut flakes** and 1/2 seeded and thinly sliced jalapeno pepper.
  • Whisk together 1/3 c. olive oil, 3 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce, and 1 tsp. sesame oil in a bowl.
  • Pour 2/3 of the sauce over the kale mixture and toss to combine.
  • Cook the kale in the oven for 15-20 minutes, turning once, or until kale is crispy and coconut is golden brown.
  • Cook 5 oz. of soba noodles in boiling water according to package instructions, usually about 4 minutes.
  • Drain the noodles and toss with the remaining sauce.
  • To serve, divide the noodles into bowls and top with some of the kale and coconut mixture and a few slices of ripe avocado.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves two
*The kale should be in a pretty even layer on the baking sheet. You may need to divide onto two baking sheets so that the kale doesn't overcrowd.
**Sometimes called coconut chips. Do not replace with sweetened coconut or shredded coconut.

Monday, May 12

Roasted Carrots & Avocado with Lemon Dressing

This combination of warm carrots, creamy avocado, and lemon vinaigrette is one of my favorite side dishes ever

Roasted Carrots with Avocado and Lemon Dressing

These roasted carrots with avocado and lemon vinaigrette are currently one of my favorite things to eat. It's actually just a lazier version of this carrot and avocado salad that I posted awhile back, but I prefer this stripped down version over the original. It's just roasted carrots (I used some gorgeous purple carrots from our farmers' market, but any old carrot will work) and ripe avocado slices that are drizzled with my everyday lemon-mustard-olive oil dressing. It's seems like an unusual pairing but the combination of flavors and textures and temperatures really work and make for a unique side dish or simple snack or lunch. I'm a strong believer that a proper meal needs to include some kind of starch, but this dish is so filling and satisfying that it makes a great substitute for roasted potatoes or bread. Give it a try as a side dish to grilled or roasted fish.

Related Recipes:
- Lemon Tahini Carrot Soup
- Cara Cara Orange, Avocado, & Butter Lettuce Salad
- Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Roasted Carrots & Avocado with Lemon Dressing:
  • Preheat the oven to 425F.
  • Peel 1 bunch of carrots and chop off the green tops.
  • Cut the carrots lengthwise into uniform pieces no larger than the width of a finger and arrange on a baking sheet.
  • Toss the carrots with 2 tbsp. olive oil and a large pinch of salt and pepper, then spread into a single layer on the baking sheet.
  • Roast the carrots for 15-20 minutes, or until crisp-tender and browned in some areas.
  • Meanwhile, whisk together 3 tbsp. lemon juice, 1 tsp. dijon mustard, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in 1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil. Set dressing aside.
  • Transfer the carrots and any juices to a serving platter, then scatter 1 thinly sliced avocado and 1 handful of chopped parsley* on top.
  • Drizzle the carrots and avocado with the dressing and serve.

Serves two - four (side dish)
*Optional. Any other soft fresh herb (like cilantro) would work too.

Wednesday, May 7

Revisited Recipe: Turkey Burgers with Green Apple & Brie

I have over 600 recipes (and growing) in the Kitchen Sink Diaries archive. Some of them have been tweaked and improved since their original post or were just really special to begin with. These revisited recipes are some of my all-time favorites that deserve a second look.

Turkey Burgers with Green Apple and Brie

It seems like summer came early this year and my husband and I have been spending most of our nights eating dinner outside in our backyard. Our grill has been getting a lot of use, which led to the revival of a favorite recipe for these turkey burgers with green apple and brie. In my opinion, a lot of turkey burgers turn out to be wannabe cheeseburgers, but the crunchy sweetness of the green apple and melty funky brie work much better with poultry than beef. As a result, this recipe is uniquely its own and will make a turkey burger lover out of even the most macho meat eater. It makes for a pretty inexpensive meal, and as a healthier burger alternative, it's a dish you can feel good about eating all summer long.

Turkey Burgers with Green Apple & Brie:
  • 3/4 lb. ground dark meat turkey
  • 2 burger buns
  • 1 Granny Smith apple
  • 3 oz. brie cheese
  • A few handfuls of baby arugula
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Serves two

Click here to see the entire original recipe.

Tuesday, May 6

Baked Cod with Sherry & Butter

This elegant baked fish recipe will turn anyone into an amazing home cook

Baked Cod with Sherry & Butter

This baked cod with sherry and butter is a recipe that is going to prove people wrong. Don't think you like fish? Try baking a fresh, meaty fillet in booze and butter and then think again. Think you're too busy to make dinner tonight? This recipe only requires about sixty seconds of active prep time and less than fifteen minutes in the oven. It takes longer to make a frozen pizza or order delivery. Don't know how to cook? Even the kitchen illiterate can dump three ingredients in a baking dish and put it in the oven. Despite how easy this recipe is, though, it's incredibly delicious. The sherry and butter absorb into the fish and add a richness to the cod that tastes like it came from a fancy French restaurant. The juices pool around the fish and any other sides you serve with it, flavoring rice or vegetables with a boozy-buttery sauce. Remarkably, my husband claimed it was one of the best things I've made in months... which begs the question, why spend more than fifteen minutes on dinner ever again?

Related Recipes:
- Pesto Dijon Salmon
- Sole Meuniere
- Roasted Salmon with Radish Raita Sauce

Baked Cod with Sherry and Butter:
  • Preheat the oven to 400F and grease the inside of a small baking dish with butter.
  • Season 2 fillets of boneless, skinless cod* generously with salt and pepper and place in the baking dish.
  • Spoon 2 tbsp. of dry sherry over the fish, then dot the top of the cod with 2 tbsp. of diced cold butter.
  • Sprinkle the fish with 1 tbsp. chopped parsley and place in the oven.
  • Cook for 12-15 minutes, or until the fish is opaque all the way through and flakes easily.**
  • Divide the fish onto plates and spoon the juices on top.

Serves two
*Or any fresh, firm white fish. Look for fillets that have an even thickness throughout and are about 1" thick. Thinner fillets will cook faster.
**Feel free to insert a fork into the center of the fish to check that it's done.

Baked Cod with Butter and Sherry

Monday, May 5

Chicken Piccata

Pan-roasted chicken breasts in a lemon caper sauce, served over buttered spaghetti

Chicken Piccata

This is a classic chicken piccata recipe (from Food52) that will rival the version from your favorite Italian restaurant. The thinly pounded chicken gets cooked in a hot skillet until golden brown and then rests while some lemon juice, capers, and stock simmer together for a quick sauce. It's got a little bit of butter in it, but the bright lemon and briny capers cut through the fat to add a ton of bright flavor to the dish. I like to serve it over a bed of buttered spaghetti, which is delicious on its own and even better after it has absorbed some of the sauce and juices from the chicken. It's a quick weeknight meal that still is special enough for company, and the one-pan cooking process makes for a fast cleanup.

Related Recipes:
- Crispy Rosemary Lemon Chicken Thighs
- Lemon Asparagus Risotto
- Roasted Lemon Chicken & Sunchokes

Chicken Piccata:
  • Heat a large heavy skillet over medium high heat and add in 2 tbsp. olive oil.
  • Pound 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts to 1/4" thick and season with salt and pepper.
  • Dredge the chicken in flour and shake off any excess, then add to the hot pan (you may need to do this in batches).
  • Cook for 3-4 minutes per side, or until golden and cooked through.
  • If needed, add more oil and finish cooking the remaining chicken.
  • Set the chicken aside on a plate and loosely cover with tin foil and reduce the heat on the skillet to medium-low.
  • Add in 1 minced shallot and cook for a few seconds, then add in 1 c. low-sodium chicken stock, 5 thin slices of lemon, 1/4 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice, and 2 tbsp. capers.
  • Let the sauce boil and reduce until about 1/3 cup remains, then turn off the heat and stir in 3 tbsp. butter until melted.
  • Add the chicken back in, sprinkle in a handful of chopped parsley, and coat in the sauce.
  • Divide the chicken onto plates and serve with buttered spaghetti.

Serves four

Friday, May 2

Revisited Recipe: Maple Roasted Bacon

I have over 600 recipes (and growing) in the Kitchen Sink Diaries archive. Some of them have been tweaked and improved since their original post or were just really special to begin with. These revisited recipes are some of my all-time favorites that deserve a second look.

Maple Glazed Bacon in the Oven

This maple roasted bacon is probably my most-used recipe on KSD. My husband and I love to cook breakfast at home on the weekends and this bacon is served with the meal the majority of the time. If you're still cooking bacon on the stove, you absolutely need to try this recipe. It's a game changer - and it's just as easy to make for two people as it is for ten. I like to lay the bacon on a baking rack over a sheet pan (which I cover with aluminum foil for easy cleanup), but if you don't have a baking rack you can cook it directly on the sheet pan and drain any excess fat off before you brush on the maple syrup. The bacon cooks evenly in the oven and stays flat, so you're not left with curled-up pieces that are burnt in some areas and limp in others. The maple syrup adds a sticky-sweetness that cuts through the saltiness of the pork and is utterly addicting. While you're waiting for the bacon to cook, try whipping up another KSD revisited recipe, like these waffles or green eggs and ham.

Maple-Roasted Bacon:
  • 8 slices of thick-cut bacon
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup

Serves two-four

Click here to see the entire original recipe.

Thursday, May 1

Recipes for a Cinco de Mayo Fiesta

Five easy Mexican recipes that are perfect for your next fiesta

Mexican Cinco de Mayo Recipes

It's officially May, which means that Cinco de Mayo is almost here. Although it's barely even a recognized holiday in Mexico, it's a great excuse to enjoy some tacos and drinks with your friends. And now that spring is fully here, it's time to fire up the barbecue and enjoy dining outdoors again. One of our favorite ways to entertain is to grill a bunch of meat and vegetables, lay out tortillas, salsa, and other toppings, and let everyone make their own tacos, fajitas, or burritos. It's such an easy and stress-free way to host an event and it's fun to let everyone customize their own plate. Here are some other favorite Mexican recipes that are great for large parties.

Cinco de Mayo Recipes:
  • Queso Fundido Dip - This cheesy dip is the perfect party appetizer and always a crowd-pleaser. It's called queso "fun"dido for a reason.
  • Chicken & Black Bean Nachos - Everyone loves nachos, and they're great finger food for parties. The key is to layer the toppings evenly so that no one gets a handful of bare chips.
  • Grilled Skirt Steak Tacos - Fire up the grill for this spice-rubbed skirt steak. Slice and serve with an array of topping for a make-your-own buffet.
  • Pork Carnitas - This is a dirt-cheap recipe for serving a crowd. Slowly braise a big cut of pork shoulder before guests arrive, mound it on a platter, and let your friends go crazy. 
  • Jalapeno Margaritas - A fiesta isn't complete without homemade margaritas. These have an optional spicy kick and are one of the best I've ever had. Prep everything in advance and place the drink in a pitcher without ice so that you don't have to make each drink to order.

See a full list of my Mexican recipes here.