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Healthy Tip: Veg-ify Your Chili

2 Feb

Veg-ify Your ChiliWhen cooking for kids (or adults) I’m all for sneaking in a little extra nutrition here and there, but I’m not one of those “hide the vegetables,” spinach-in-the-brownies kind of people. (Not that I’m judging those who are–whatever works, folks!) Instead I prefer the “hiding in plain sight” approach, which (I believe) teaches my kids to recognize and like the veggies they eat. Here’s an easy way to add extra vegetables–and therefore more nutrients and fiber–to any chili recipe. Continue reading

I’m Dreaming of a White Pizza

28 Dec

IMG_7091Pizza is a fixture in our regular dinner rotation. I always have a ball or two of dough in the freezer. At some point during the week, I’ll pop it into the fridge so it’s thawed and ready to be topped for a fast dinner. Pizza is a great vehicle for veggies (and a good way to introduce new ones to wary youngsters.) One of my kids recently declared that she “doesn’t like sauce” anymore so I made this white pizza for her. Nothing earth-shattering here–it’s pretty standard fare, but I did make a nice garlic and herb oil to brush on the crust before topping it, which added a lot of flavor. I think the lesson here is to get creative and inspired with your toppings. The possibilities are endless–and a wholesome homemade dinner is easily achieved.

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Flat-Roasted Chicken with Tomato Jus

27 Sep

Every cook has a method for roasted chicken–and just about every cook will tell you what a simple yet important recipe it is. Roast chicken is almost never bad, but it can be truly incredible if you do it right. There are a lot of great ways to make it. My method is a combination of a few key tips from some of my favorite roast chicken recipes, (namely Zuni Cafe’s and Mad Hungry’s) plus a lot of practice roasting of chickens over the years. While the roasting method is basically always the same, you can finish the dish a number of ways. Here, I’ve made a simple tomato pan sauce, creating a nice summer-into-fall kind of dinner. Continue reading

The Best Steak Marinade

25 Sep

One of the keys to cooking at home is to have an arsenal of easy, go-to recipes that you can pull off dependably and quickly with ingredients that are almost always on hand. I’ve recently came up with a steak marinade that fits the bill. It’s simple and delicious–great with the the flavorful “bargain cuts” that I usually grill, such as hanger steak and tri-tip (I can’t even tell you the last time I bought a ribeye or strip steak–meat has gotten so insanely expensive, no?).

This marinade is best made with a mortar and pestle, but you could also just chop everything up very finely if you don’t have one.

Garlic-Thyme Marinade
2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
5 sprigs thyme, leaves only
3/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
5 whole black peppercorns
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  1. Place garlic, thyme leaves, salt, and peppercorns in the bowl of a mortar; mash to a paste. Stir in vinegar and olive oil. Season steaks with salt and pepper and place in nonreactive dish or sealable plastic bag. Add marinade and coat well. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or up to 24 hours, turning meat occasionally. Let meat sit at room temperature for an hour before grilling.

I made hanger steak this way for dinner the other night, along with some chocolate pudding for dessert. When I asked my 3 y/o son if he was ready for his pudding he said, “Yes, but can I have some more steak first?” It’s a keeper!

Spaghetti with Roasted Eggplant “Bolognese”

31 Jul

The farmers’ markets are bursting with eggplant these days, so I thought I’d share this simple vegetarian pasta that I developed last summer. Roasting the eggplant really beefs up its flavor–you’ll never miss the meat!

Get the recipe: Spaghetti with Roasted Eggplant “Bolognese”