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Category: Recipes

  1. Sunday, January 8

    Barbecue Chicken Salad Recipe

    For a while I wrote a fun series of posts on Babble called “3 Kids, A Mom & a Kitchen.” For one of the article the girls and I made a super tasty Barbecue Chicken Salad recipe. I just clicked through to link to that recipe for today’s weekly menu and discovered that Babble did a website update, which means the captions that had the recipe included are missing! So, I’m reposting the recipe here, for posterity’s sake. Well, actually, mostly for my sake so I can have the recipe handy. 😉

    Barbecue Chicken Salad Recipe from @janemaynard

    This is one of those recipes that’s not really a recipe – no measurements necessary and feel free to add or omit ingredients at will. I pretty much stole the idea for this salad from a restaurant called Croutons. Enjoy!

    Barbecue Chicken Salad Recipe from @janemaynard

    Barbecue Chicken Salad
     
    Adapted from a dish served at a restaurant called Croutons
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • Grilled chicken breast
    • Barbecue sauce
    • Romaine lettuce, chopped
    • Shredded cheese, cheddar or mozzarella
    • Canned black beans, rinsed and drained
    • Canned corn
    • Chopped tomato
    • Cornbread croutons (if I can find these at the store I toast cubed cornbread in the oven until crispy)
    • Chopped Granny Smith Apples
    • Ranch dressing
    Instructions
    1. Shred grilled chicken and toss in barbecue sauce to coat.
    2. Toss everything together and serve with ranch dressing. Voila!
    3. No set amount for ingredients - plan for about ½ chicken breast per person and adjust ingredients as necessary for the size of the salad!

     


  2. Sunday, January 1

    Week 519 Weekly Menu + My 2017 New Year’s Resolution – Cook More!

    Happy New Year!

    Eat Well, Heal the Planet: This Week for Dinner 2017 New Year's Resolution - Cook More!

    Today I’m combining the weekly menu with my annual New Years Resolution post because they are closely related. Let’s talk about the resolution first then get on to the weekly menus, shall we?

    Every year I choose a resolution that helps our family to Eat Well and Heal the Planet. For 2017 my environmentally-friendly kitchen resolution is to, quite simply, cook more. And while the goal itself may seem simple, the reasoning behind it is more complex.

    This will be my eighth year where my New Year’s resolution is focused on how my behavior in the kitchen impacts the environment. These past seven years have been awesome and the resolutions have truly helped me become more conscious than ever about how my food choices impact Mother Earth. It’s been a transformative process for me and I hope my journey has had a positive impact on others, too.

    Last year our family’s food-environment resolution was to Waste Less Food. I started a compost bin, which is still going strong, and we’ve tried really hard to, well, waste less food! One of my biggest takeaways last year was that eating out was our family’s biggest source of food waste. Not only did more food get thrown away when eating out, but there was so much more garbage per person with takeout containers and the like. This is contributing factor #1 to this year’s resolution to cook more.

    Eat Well, Heal the Planet: This Week for Dinner 2017 New Year's Resolution - Cook More!

    I don’t want to jump on the whole “2016 was the worst” bandwagon, but I will tell you that, for personal reasons, 2016 was at times quite challenging and I cooked less this year than I have in probably a decade. I was dealing with SI joint dysfunction for much of the year, and then I had a crazy car accident in November, just as the holidays got going. Plus, you know, life is busy. Work, kids, etc, etc, etc…we all know how it goes. As a result, this year found me in the kitchen far less than usual. Making dinner became a source of stress and something I thought I didn’t have time for. By the end of the year, my decreased levels of cooking have really had me down. The last two weeks I’ve been cooking a lot more. I visited our weekly farmer’s market for the first time. I’ve thought a lot about my relationship to food and what it means to me. This is contributing factor #2 to this year’s resolution…so let’s talk about the resolution itself!

    I want to cook more! I want to feed my family better. I want to feed myself better. I want to care about my food again. I want to enjoy the cooking process. I want to be inspired by food rather than stressed by it. I want to go to my local farmer’s market and be inspired by the local, seasonal ingredients I find each week. And I want to help the environment – the best way I can do that in the kitchen is to simply COOK MORE.

    So, that’s the goal! Less eating out. More cooking. More getting back to the love of food and savoring the time it takes to prepare it.

    Are you with me? Are you already there? Share your tips if you are! And, in case you missed it, I wrote an article for Mom2.com in October where I shared my friends’ tips for cooking dinner every day, even when life gets crazy. There is some good stuff in there, I highly recommend you check it out!

    And now my first menu of 2017! Note: we are still going to eat out, but I’m limiting it to once a week! I will continue to post menus every weekend and hope you all will continue to share yours in the comments! I am beyond grateful for the interaction we have here on the blog and your menus are a true inspiration week after week!

    This Week for Dinner: Week 519 Weekly Dinner Menu, Including FREE Printable PDF & Ingredients List from @janemaynard

    MONDAY:
    Homemade pizza (as per the kids’ request!) – Margherita and Honey Goat Cheese

    TUESDAY:
    Pesto Chicken Salad Sandwiches

    WEDNESDAY:
    – Green Salad Topped with Grilled Chicken

    THURSDAY:
    Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos

    FRIDAY:
    – Leftovers

    SATURDAY:
    – Eat out night

    SUNDAY:
    – Roasted Vegetable Egg Scrambles and Smoothies

    Click here or on the menu graphic above to access this week’s free printable PDF of the menu and ingredients list!

    Your turn! Please share your menu in the comments…simple, fancy, whatever! And if you have any thoughts about this year’s resolution, please share those as well! Happy New Year and Happy Cooking!


  3. Thursday, December 15

    Sea Salt and Brown Butter Rice Crispy Treats

    Here’s the thing with today’s rice crispy treats. When you look at them they look like normal, everyday, boring rice crispy treats. And then you take a bite. And you’re like, “What am I eating!?!?” You’re eating sea salt and brown butter rice crispy treats, that’s what. And they are so good.

    Recipe for Sea Salt and Brown Butter Rice Crispy Treats from @janemaynard

    I discovered this recipe thanks to my friend Nikki, who is also the reason that the SoNo Chocolate Ganache Cake is in all of our lives. We went camping with Nikki and her family this summer and she brought these for dessert on the beach. As soon as I took a bite I knew she had done something different with the recipe. Sure enough brown butter was involved. And lots of it. The original recipe that Nikki uses is from Joanne Chang’s Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery + Cafe cookbook. I have adapted it and my version is below. (You can see the original recipe on Epicurious.) I use vanilla bean paste to get that wonderful vanilla bean look and flavor but without messing with the pods, which I never have on hand anyway. I also added coarse sea salt to the mix because coarse sea salt always makes everything more delicious.

    Recipe for Sea Salt and Brown Butter Rice Crispy Treats from @janemaynard

    By the way, if you don’t really like rice crispy treats then I don’t think these are going to miraculously change your opinion. They are still rice crispy treats after all…but they have a really wonderful salty-sweet flavor and I myself can’t get enough of them! Enjoy!

    sea-salt-brown-butter-rice-crispy-treats-side-horiz-this-week-for-dinner-web

    Sea Salt and Brown Butter Rice Crispy Treats
     
    Prep time
    Total time
     
    Adapted from Joanne Chang's "Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston's Flour Bakery + Cafe"
    Author:
    Serves: 32
    Ingredients
    • 2 sticks (1/2 pound) salted butter
    • Generous ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt, plus a bit more for sprinkling
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
    • 2 10-ounce bags large marshmallows
    • 10 cups rice crispy cereal
    Instructions
    1. Spray a 9" x 13" baking pan with oil and set aside.
    2. Heat a very large pot over medium heat on the stovetop. While pot is heating, gather all of your ingredients so they are ready to go.
    3. Cut butter into squares and add to heated pan. Cook, stirring regulary, for about 7-10 minutes until the butter has browned. For the first 5 minutes or so there will be a white foamy layer on top, then that will start to disappear, then the butter will start to bubble and foam up again. The butter will brown sometime after this happens. It will look light brown below the foam and have a lovely nutty aroma. Be sure to cook until butter just turns brown (you have to really look because the foam on top can obstruct your view. It is helpful to cook the butter in a light-colored pan so it's easier to see the color of the butter.)
    4. As soon as the butter has browned, reduce the heat to low and stir in the salt and vanilla paste. Mix well then add the marshmallows, cooking over low heat and stirring constantly until all of the marshmallows have melted and you have a smooth mixture.
    5. Turn off the heat but leave the pan on the stove. Add the rice crispy cereal and stir well to coat. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.
    6. Using wet hands, press the mixture firmly and evenly into the pan.
    7. Sprinkle the top with just a bit of sea salt.
    8. Let cool 1 hour before cutting. Store in an airtight container.
    Notes
    Makes 32 1½" x 2" squares.

     


  4. Thursday, November 3

    This Week for Dinner Podcast #46: Nicole Blades and Her Caribbean Coconut Sweet Bread Recipe

    This Week for Dinner Podcast #46: Interview with Author Nicole Blades + Her Favorite French Toast Recipe + A FABULOUS Recipe for Caribbean Coconut Sweet Bread

    The podcast is back! Yippee! We’re kicking off the second season with a really lovely interview with author Nicole Blades and her family’s beloved Caribbean Coconut Sweet Bread recipe. Before we get to the recipe and shownotes, a few quick notes about Nicole! Nicole is a novelist and journalist who has been writing since third grade. She’s worked for magazines like Essence and written articles and essays for pretty much everyone, from NYTimes.com to WashingtonPost.com and more. She also has a blog (link below!) and her second novel “The Thunder Beneath Us” published last week (congratulations, Nicole! Woohoo!). Nicole and I could basically talk forever (we pretty much did) and in this episode we hit on all kinds of topics, everything from the virtues and vices of digital communication, vegetarianism, ancestral DNA tests and, of course, FOOD.

    Caribbean Coconut Sweet Bread from @janemaynard

    Nicole shares two recipes in the podcast. One of them is for Caribbean Coconut Sweet Bread, a recipe that really represents family for Nicole. I wanted to make the bread before the show went live so I would have good photos to include. I am so glad I did. This bread. It is dangerously delicious! Nicole also took photos of the actual recipes she uses. The French toast came from an old magazine and the sweet bread is in an old Caribbean cookbook. I am so happy to have those photos to share with you, too. Hard copy recipes are one of my favorite things in the world.

    Caribbean Coconut Sweet Bread from @janemaynard

    I think it’s time we get down to business! First the shownotes, then the recipes, then the podcast itself! Enjoy!

    Shownotes:

    Caribbean Coconut Sweet Bread from @janemaynardLeft: Loaves sprinkled with granulated sugar; Right: Loaves brushed with sugar water. Both techniques work beautifully.

    Caribbean Coconut Sweet Bread from @janemaynardPictured: The original recipe from the cookbook “Caribbean Cookbook” by Rita G Springer

    Caribbean Coconut Sweet Bread
     
    Prep time
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    Total time
     
    This recipe is adapted from the book "Caribbean Cookbook" by Rita G. Springer. Nicole shared the recipe with me along with a few notes about how she modifies it. I have written it up in my own words below!
    Author:
    Serves: 2 loaves
    Ingredients
    • 4 cups flour
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 150 grams sugar (this is ¾ cup sugar minus 1 tablespoon)
    • ½ pound melted shortening or butter (Nicole and I use butter)
    • ¾ cups milk
    • 1 egg, beaten
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 2 cups grated unsweetened coconut (important to use grated unsweetened; Nicole said it's best if you buy a whole coconut, crack it open and grate it yourself, but store-bought grated unsweetened coconut works, too)
    • Sugar for sprinkling OR equal parts sugar-water mixture, for the top of the bread
    • Optional Stuffing: ⅓ cup unsweetened grated coconut + 1 teaspoon vanilla extract + ½ tablespoon sugar mixed together
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
    2. Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl then stir in sugar. (I used my KitchenAid mixer, which I highly recommend if you have one.)
    3. Add melted shortening/butter, milk, egg and vanilla extract. Stir in coconut.
    4. Blend ingredients well (this is where the mixer comes in handy!).
    5. Knead slightly on lightly floured board or knead in your mixer with the dough hook for a couple of minutes.
    6. Divide dough into two, shape into loaves and place in greased bread pans, ensuring dough does not fill the pans more than ⅔ full. Optional: Stuff the optional "stuffing mixture" from the ingredients list above into the center of the loaves, opening the loaf and putting the mixture in the middle and then reshaping the loaf again before putting it in the pan.
    7. Score the top of the loaf (Nicole likes to make Xs, a long line down the middle is pretty, too!) and sprinkle liberally with sugar. Alternately, Nicole likes to brush the tops with a sugar-water mixture (use equal parts water and sugar, about ¼ cup each - mix together and let sit a few minutes to dissolve before using). About every 5 minutes or so during the cooking time brush the loaves with the sugar water. Either technique works beautifully.
    8. Bake for about 40-45 minutes, or until bread is golden brown.
    Notes
    The bread is quite crumbly but far from dry...the flavor and texture are wonderful! Just use a serrated knife when slicing!

    Caribbean Coconut Sweet Bread from @janemaynard

    Here is Nicole’s favorite breakfast recipe, a French toast recipe she tore out of a GQ magazine many years ago!

    Nicole Blades' Favorite French Toast recipe

    GQ French Toast
     
    Prep time
    Cook time
    Total time
     
    Nicole Blades found this recipe in a GQ magazine many years ago.
    Serves: 4 slices
    Ingredients
    • 2 page eggs plus 1 yolk
    • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
    • 1 pinch of cinnamon
    • 1 pinch of nutmeg
    • 1 pinch of salt
    • 2 drops vanilla extract
    • 1 drop almond extract or dash of amaretto
    • 4 slices brioche or other high-quality white bread, cut 1 inch thick (Nicole uses a brioche bread made in France that is sold at Whole Foods - whatever bread you use, make sure it's good - that's the key!)
    Instructions
    1. Whisk together all of the ingredients except the bread. Cook in a skillet greased with unsalted butter on the stove over medium heat like you would any regular French toast!

     

    It’s easy to listen to the show!

    • Via the web: Just click play below!
    • Via an app: For iPhone and iPad, subscribe to the This Week for Dinner Podcast on iTunes and listen to it through the purple Podcasts app. For Android devices, use the StitcherPodcast Addict or Pocket Casts apps. In all cases, launch the app, then search for This Week for Dinner Podcast. The benefit of using an app: once downloaded, you can listen to the show without an Internet connection.

    Other Stuff!


  5. Wednesday, October 26

    Sweet & Zesty MacGyver No-Sodium Vinaigrette + Sodium Breakup + A Low-So Good Giveaway!

    I’m going to start a post about low-sodium eating with a crazy statement: I love salt. No, really. I LOVE SALT. So when I met my friend Jessica Goldman Foung (a.k.a. Sodium Girl) many moons ago, I have to be honest that low-sodium eating was something I had never even thought about. Then I heard Jessica’s story. In 2004 she was diagnosed with Lupus and learned that the autoimmune disease had attacked her kidneys and brain. As a result of all the craziness, she had to adjust her diet, including eating no sodium. This pretty much blew my mind. No sodium? How is that even possible? After following Jessica and her culinary adventures all these years she has proven to me that a life without sodium can be a rich and delicious one indeed. She is quite the inspiration.

    Sweet & Zesty MacGyver No-Sodium Vinaigrette | Low-So Good | @janemaynard

    The American Heart Association recently asked if I would help spread the word about their new Sodium Breakup campaign. I was more than happy to so that people like me (a salt lover who could definitely improve her diet to help her heart) and people like Jessica (someone who had to give up salt to save her life) could both learn all about low-sodium eating. I was honored to be given the opportunity to write the kick-off post for the campaign on AHA’s website, which you can read by clicking here! Over the next few months you can keep checking in with the AHA to get all kinds of great low-sodium information, tips and more. The AHA is bound and determined to make your breakup with sodium a breakup you are happy about!

    And I have even more low-sodium goodness for you today: a book, a recipe and a giveaway!

    Sweet & Zesty MacGyver No-Sodium Vinaigrette | Low-So Good | @janemaynard

    First, the book. Low-So Good is a beautiful resource written by my friend Jessica. The book has 70 mouthwatering recipes (hello, Jerk-ish Fish Tacos with Sauce, Slaw and Salsa, I need you in my life), but it is also a complete guide to low-sodium eating. Low-sodium novices and experts alike can benefit from what Jessica has to offer, and I love the guest articles peppered throughout the book from other food experts. The photography is gorgeous, the book is well organized and easy to read, and, best of all, Jessica’s infectiously happy personality shines through. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to cut some (or even all!) sodium from their diet…or really to anyone at all! Click here to buy Jessica’s book!

    Sweet & Zesty MacGyver No-Sodium Vinaigrette | Low-So Good | @janemaynard

    Second, the recipe. A really helpful part of Jessica’s book is advice for eating in restaurants when you’re trying to go low-so. One of my favorite recipes in the entire book is MacGyver Vinaigrette. It’s more of a formula than a recipe, providing the guidance you need to make a salad dressing on the fly with ingredients you can find at restaurants. It’s awesome. So today I’m sharing one of my MacGyver no-sodium vinaigrette creations, which is sweet and zesty! The recipe is below and sized for one serving.

    Sweet & Zesty MacGyver No-Sodium Vinaigrette | Low-So Good | @janemaynardSweet & Zesty MacGyver No-Sodium Vinaigrette | Low-So Good | @janemaynard

    Lastly, the giveaway! One of you lucky, randomly-selected people will win a copy of Jessica’s book Low-So Good. Here is how to enter! (All comments must be posted before Midnight PT Wednesday 11/2/16. Prize must be shipped to an address in the U.S.)

    And now for a no-sodium salad that will make your taste buds super happy! And good luck with your sodium breakup adventures!

    Sweet & Zesty MacGyver No-Sodium Vinaigrette | Low-So Good | @janemaynard

    Sweet & Zesty MacGyver No-Sodium Vinaigrette
     
    Prep time
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    Inspired by "Low-So Good" by Jessica Goldman Foung. If you're trying to eat low-sodium, this on-the-fly dressing can be thrown together at a restaurant! (Or at home. Because it's good no matter where you eat it.)
    Author:
    Serves: 1 serving
    Ingredients
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 teaspoons lime juice (about 4 lime slices)
    • 1 teaspoon honey
    • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • Generous pinch black pepper
    Instructions
    1. In a small bowl or in a small mason jar, add all of the ingredients. Whisk with a fork or shake well.
    2. Serve over salad!

     

     

     


  6. Friday, October 14

    Mexican Brownies + Fair Moments for Fair Trade Month

    Today I have a Mexican brownies recipe for you. And it’s fair trade. And it’s delicious. Are you ready? Let’s go!

    #FairMoments Fair Trade Mexican Brownies recipe from @janemaynard

    I love Mexican chocolate. I was first introduced to this wonderful flavor by my Mexican college roommate Estela. She brought me Abuelita Mexican hot chocolate tablets from home and I hoarded, um, I mean cherished them. (Okay, hoarded. I would not allow anyone to use that chocolate willy nilly!) Fast forward to today and basically if we go anywhere and anything is Mexican chocolate flavored, I order it. The hint of cinnamon and chile peppers paired with chocolate just makes me happy. (And it reminds me of Estela, too, which also makes me happy!)

    #FairMoments Fair Trade Mexican Brownies recipe from @janemaynard

    Fair Trade USA approached me to help celebrate their Fair Moments campaign this month, which is all about showing how our small everyday decisions can have a huge impact, something I really believe. For the post I wanted to share a recipe that used lots of great fair trade ingredients, but for some reason I was having a hard time settling on something. Then, as I was sitting in my kitchen staring at a pile of fair trade goodies with the kids, discussing what we could make, Cate mentioned brownies. Then the cinnamon started chanting, “Abuelita, Abuelita, Abuelita” and I knew Mexican brownies had to happen. (Okay, maybe that last part didn’t happen, but whatever. Close enough.)

    #FairMoments Fair Trade Mexican Brownies recipe from @janemaynard

    Brownies are one of our family’s favorites and probably the most frequently baked item around here, after chocolate chip cookies, of course. Anna and I decided to make the Mexican brownies together and had a great conversation about what fair trade means. We talked about which ingredients in the recipe were fair trade and about how they are ingredients we use all the time. It was really cool neat sharing this with my daughter and I was grateful I could show her how we actively support such a great cause day to day.

    #FairMoments Fair Trade Mexican Brownies recipe from @janemaynard#FairMoments Fair Trade Mexican Brownies recipe from @janemaynard

    The best part was taste testing with Anna and my mom, trying to get the perfect amount of cayenne pepper and cinnamon in the brownies. In case you’re wondering, we succeeded. The brownies came out awesome and everyone in the family loved them (even my mom who was most certainly suspect when I used the words “cayenne” and “brownies” in the same sentence). The cinnamon and cayenne flavors come through but in a subtle way and without too much heat.

    #FairMoments Fair Trade Mexican Brownies recipe from @janemaynard

    Before we get to the post, let’s do a Fair Trade giveaway! One lucky, randomly-selected winner will receive a package from Fair Trade USA with the following goodies:

    Fair Moments Fair Trade Giveaway at @janemaynard

    To enter this Fair Trade giveaway, please do the following:

    • Leave a comment on this post! (Optional: Tell us your favorite fair trade ingredient that you use all the time!)
    • Bonus entry: Like Fair Trade USA on Facebook! (Please leave a separate comment indicating you have done so. If you already follow, that counts!)
    • Like This Week for Dinner on Facebook! (Please leave a separate comment indicating you have done so. If you already follow, that counts!)
    • Follow This Week for Dinner on Pinterest! (Please leave a separate comment indicating you have done so. If you already follow, that counts!)
    • All comments must be posted by Midnight PT on October 31, 2016.

    #FairMoments Fair Trade Mexican Brownies recipe from @janemaynard
    And now, the recipe! I basically just used Ruth Reichl’s “A Better Brownie” recipe, which is one of my most favorite brownies. The brownies come out super fudgy and rich with this amazing crusty top that is to die for. Click here for the original non-spicy version. If you want to try the spicy version, here you go!

    #FairMoments Fair Trade Mexican Brownies recipe from @janemaynard

    Mexican Brownies
     
    Prep time
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    Total time
     
    This is one of my favorite brownie recipes, originally written by Ruth Reichl. I've given the recipe a Mexican twist with sugar and spice and everything nice...and Fair Trade!
    Author:
    Serves: 16
    Ingredients
    • 5 ounces unsalted high-fat butter (I use regular old salted butter!)
    • 5 ounces unsweetened fair trade chocolate
    • 2 teaspoons best-quality, fair trade vanilla extract
    • 1½ teaspoons fair trade ground cinnamon
    • ¼ teaspoon fair trade cayenne pepper
    • 4 farm fresh organic eggs (Jane note: my eggs are not farm fresh, everything turns out fine!)
    • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 1 cup all-purpose white flour (spooned into a cup and leveled with a knife)
    Instructions
    1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
    2. Butter a 9x9 or 8x8 square pan and line the pan with parchment paper. Butter the bottom and sides once again.
    3. Melt the chocolate and the butter in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, cinnamon and cayenne pepper.
    4. Beat the eggs and salt in a stand mixer. Add the sugar and beat on high for about 10 minutes, until the mixture has turned very light and thick. Add the chocolate mixture to the eggs, beating on low until just mixed.
    5. Gently stir in the flour until it just disappears.
    6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, place in the middle of the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 350ºF. Bake for 40 minutes; the brownies will be quite fudgy and a toothpick should come out not quite clean. Cool on a rack.
    7. Lift the brownies out of the pan by pulling up on the parchment paper. Set on a cutting board and cut into pieces.

     

    The little plates in this post are from Q Squared NYC, in case you need to buy them because they are the CUTEST.


  7. Thursday, August 11

    Cora’s Mexican Ground Beef Tacos

    I have to confess something. I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to Mexican food. I blame living 20-40 miles from the Mexican border for eight of the last 15 years, with the other seven years still being in California. One of my biggest fears of moving away from the San Diego area is that I won’t be able to access my favorite Mexican ingredients for cooking at home. No, really, it’s a true FEAR.

    Cora's Mexican Ground Beef Tacos | from @janemaynard

    Now that you know I’m a snob, I have another confession to make. Ground beef tacos are not my favorite and I refer to them as “gringo tacos” in my head (especially when crispy taco shells are involved). This isn’t to say Mexican cuisine does not include seasoned ground beef for tacos, it’s just not my first pick and ground beef is never on the menu at any of my favorite Mexican restaurants. That all said, I will still eat and even cook ground beef tacos occasionally, it’s just never my first choice.

    While we were visiting family the last few weeks, however, my sister-in-law Cora (who is a wonderful cook as well as a crazy talented photographer) made the best ground beef tacos I’ve ever had. Her Mexican friend Zu taught her how to make this delectable taco meat, and Cora has now passed that wisdom on to you and me.

    Cora's Mexican Ground Beef Tacos | from @janemaynardPlease note: The amount of meat you see in the picture above is the recipe below doubled.

    First off, you will not need taco seasoning packets ever again. Stop buying them.

    Secondly, after you make this taco meat, you will want to eat 10 tacos. You’ve been warned. (After Nate’s umpteenth taco he declared, “Why are these SO GOOD?!”)

    Cora's Mexican Ground Beef Tacos | from @janemaynard

    Thank you, Cora, for bringing ground beef tacos back into my life in the most delicious way.

    Cora's Mexican Ground Beef Tacos
     
    My sister-in-law Cora gave me this recipe. Her Mexican friend taught her how to make this meat and it is scrumptious!
    Author:
    Serves: 8
    Ingredients
    • 1½ pounds ground beef
    • 1 teaspoon cumin
    • 1 teaspoon chili powder (Cora prefers chipotle chili powder)
    • 1 teaspoon paprika (Cora uses smoked paprika)
    • 1 teaspoon oregano
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon onion powder
    • 1½ - 2 tsp seasoned salt (to taste)
    • 1 handful chopped fresh cilantro
    • ½ onion, diced
    • 1 pint quartered grape tomatoes
    Instructions
    1. Brown beef over medium heat in a large, preferably deep, skillet. Use a potato masher to really break down the meat as it cooks. (The potato masher is the secret trick to this recipe!)
    2. When the beef is about halfway browned, drain off excess fat, then add the diced onion and seasonings. Continue browning, then add the chopped cilantro and tomatoes.
    3. Reduce heat to low and cook until tomatoes and onions melt into the beef mixture, at least 20 minutes. You can add a bit of water as it cooks if needed. Also, continue to use the potato masher throughout the cooking process.
    4. Awesome served with fresh homemade salsa (like this one), pico de gallo and Cholula hot sauce...but you can eat it however you want!

     

     


  8. Friday, July 29

    Cora’s Sour Cream Banana Bread Recipe + The BEST Way to Eat Banana Bread (How have I never done this?!)

    Right now I’m in New Jersey visiting my family. Despite the fact that my sister-in-law Cora had a baby just six weeks ago, she has still been caught cooking us delicious food. Yesterday she made four loaves of banana bread, which (unsurprisingly) are already gone! Cora has been kind enough to share her sour cream banana bread recipe with us today. Everyone say thank you, Cora! {Thank you, Cora!}

    Cora's Sour Cream Banana Bread Recipe from @janemaynard

    Cora’s recipe is wonderful and tastes like butter. The day it is baked, the top is wonderfully crispy, while the bread itself is soft and moist. And as happy as I am to now have Cora’s great recipe, I’m even more happy about the fact that Cora and my brother Christian shared the greatest tip ever for eating banana bread.

    The Best Way to Eat Banana Bread | Cora's Sour Cream Banana Bread Recipe from @janemaynard

    You know how when you make banana bread or brownies or whatever that has a crispy top and it goes soft over night? WELL…Cora and Christian always toast their slices of banana bread and then slather the slices with butter. The top gets crispy again, the edges are awesome, and the bread stays soft and delicious. And then, of course, melted butter. It’s basically the greatest and I may never eat banana bread any other way again. These toasty slices of heaven might be even better than fresh-from-the-oven banana bread. Crazy talk, I know, but true.

    The Best Way to Eat Banana Bread | Cora's Sour Cream Banana Bread Recipe from @janemaynard

    Enjoy! BonANA Appétit!

    Cora's Sour Cream Banana Bread Recipe
     
    Prep time
    Cook time
    Total time
     
    From my wonderful sister-in-law Cora, who is an excellent cook!
    Author:
    Recipe type: Baking
    Serves: 2 loaves
    Ingredients
    • ⅔ cup butter
    • 1⅓ cup sugar
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla or coconut extract (either are delicious!)
    • 1½ cup mashed bananas
    • 2¾ cup flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ½ c sour cream
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
    2. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.
    3. Add vanilla or coconut extract then add eggs, beating well after each egg.
    4. Add mashed bananas and mix well.
    5. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl.
    6. Beating on low, add ⅓ of the dry ingredients until just combined. Add ¼ cup of the sour cream, beat on low until just combined. Repeat with ⅓ of the dry ingredients, then the rest of the sour cream, then finishing with the last ⅓ of the dry ingredients, making sure to mix until just combined with each addition.
    7. Pour into 2 greased loaf pans and bake for 40-45 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.

     


  9. Thursday, June 30

    Summer Grilling: Brown Sugar Bourbon Salmon Pecan Salad

    {Cue music} Summertiiiiime and the grilling is eeeasyyyy. That’s right, forget the kitchen, it’s time to start cooking all of the foods on the grill. I’ll admit, I use my outdoor grill all year, but it’s especially lovely to cook outside in the summer, and pretty much a necessity when the weather gets hot.

    Recipe for Grilled Brown Sugar Bourbon Salmon Pecan Salad from @janemaynard The Salmon Council approached me to develop another recipe with them, this time focusing on the grill. Of course I said yes because grilling salmon is my most favorite way to prepare it. The result was this delicious grilled brown sugar bourbon salmon pecan salad that our whole family loved. (Well, everyone except Owen, but he is a 4-year-old who cannot be trusted when it comes to food.)

    Recipe for Grilled Brown Sugar Bourbon Salmon Pecan Salad from @janemaynard - Preparing the ingredientsRecipe for Grilled Brown Sugar Bourbon Salmon Pecan Salad from @janemaynard - Marinating the SalmonRecipe for Grilled Brown Sugar Bourbon Salmon Pecan Salad from @janemaynard - Grilling the SalmonRecipe for Grilled Brown Sugar Bourbon Salmon Pecan Salad from @janemaynard - Hot off the Grill

    As part of the recipe challenge, the Salmon Council sent me a box of Grill Mates goodies from McCormick. They sent many wonderful Grill Mates products, but the Brown Sugar Bourbon Marinade Mix caught my eye. I decided marinated grilled salmon would taste wonderful over a mixed green salad and perfect for summer. Then I started thinking more about the spicy marinade mix and had a feeling it would be good on candied pecans. I was right! These candied brown sugar bourbon pecans are awesome on salad…or even alone as a snack! The nuts are bursting with flavor with just a hint of sweet. So good.

    Recipe for Grilled Brown Sugar Bourbon Salmon Pecan Salad from @janemaynard - Roasted Pecansbrown-sugar-bourbon-salmon-and-pecan-salad-this-week-for-dinner-prep-nuts-web

    I am so glad I had the chance to work with the Salmon Council and McCormick on this project because this recipe now exists. Enjoy!

    Recipe for Grilled Brown Sugar Bourbon Salmon Pecan Salad from @janemaynard

    Brown Sugar Bourbon Salmon and Pecan Salad
     
    Author:
    Serves: 4-6
    Ingredients
    • 1½ pounds salmon filet, skin on
    • 2 packages McCormick Grill Mates Brown Sugar Bourbon Marinade Mix
    • ¼ cup oil
    • 3 tablespoons water, divided
    • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
    • 1 cup pecan pieces
    • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon butter
    • Mixed Greens (approximately 5-6 ounce package should be good)
    • Sliced tomatoes
    • Ricotta Salata
    Instructions
    1. In a 9x13 baking dish, whisk together 1 package of the McCormick Grill Mates Brown Sugar Bourbon Marinade mix, ¼ cup oil, 2 tablespoons of the water and the vinegar.
    2. Place salmon filet in the dish, skin side down, then flip over so skin side is facing up. Cover dish with foil and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
    3. While salmon is marinating, preheat oven to 350º F and prepare the brown sugar bourbon pecans by placing the pecan pieces in a small bowl and tossing with HALF of the other Brown Sugar Bourbon Marinade packet. (You will have one half packet leftover...save it for another day!)
    4. In a small bowl mix together 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of the water and 1 teaspoon butter. Microwave for 20 seconds.
    5. Pour brown sugar mixture over the spiced nuts and stir until evenly coated. Spread nuts on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, stir, then bake for 5 minutes more. Remove from oven, stir, and let cool. Be sure to stir and break up the nuts as they cool so they don't stick to each other or the foil.
    6. When the salmon has been marinating for about 45 minutes, preheat the grill to medium heat, around 500º F.
    7. When salmon has marinated for 1 hour, remove from fridge and, using the foil that covered the dish, place the salmon skin side down on the foil, folding up the edges of the foil to catch any liquid that cooks off while on the grill. Spoon marinade from the dish onto the salmon and spread evenly.
    8. Place foil with salmon on center of the grill, close the lid and cook for 10-15 minutes, until salmon is fairly easy to flake apart. Remove from grill.
    9. Toss mixed greens with seasoned nuts, sliced tomatoes and ricotta salata. Plate mixed greens and top with grilled salmon. Serve with your favorite salad dressing.

    Thank you to the Salmon Council for sponsoring today’s post!


  10. Monday, June 6

    How to Make an Italian Soda Bar

    Last Friday Nate and I hosted our second annual lip sync/deaf man’s karaoke party (which was hysterical, by the way). Anyway, for the first annual lip sync party I created an Italian soda bar. It was delicious and fun, so I decided to make it a lip sync tradition and did it again this past weekend. Today I’m sharing some quick tips for how to make an Italian soda bar so you can do it, too! It’s perfect for summertime parties, but my kids love making their soda any old time. 😉

    How to Make an Italian Soda Bar - The Supplies | From @janemaynard

    How to Make an Italian Soda Bar from @janemaynard

    What you need for an Italian soda bar:

    • Club soda or sparkling mineral water. Seltzer water works, too, but the club soda/sparkling mineral water has a little more flavor that compliments the Italian syrup nicely.
    • Italian flavored syrup, like Torani. I went to Cost Plus World Market to buy my syrup, but you can also find it on Amazon. I provided six flavors for people to choose from. FYI: Vanilla goes nicely with every flavor, so that’s a good one to have.
    • Half & Half or Cream: Both half & half and cream work, and it gives your Italian soda a certain je ne sais quoi (or however you’d say that in Italian).
    • Cups & Straws: The people need something to mix their drink in and with! I buy clear plastic 16-ounce cups with lids. For some reason the lids really impress people. The straws work for stirring and drinking.
    • Ice: Be sure to have a big bowl of ice at the ready for your guests!
    • Vodka (optional): If you want to spike your soda, vodka is a good neutral-flavored option.

    How to Make an Italian Soda Bar from @janemaynard | Mixing the drinks!

    How to Make an Italian Soda:

    • Fill glass halfway with ice.
    • Add about 6 pumps of syrup for a 16-ounce cup. Feel free to mix and match flavors!
    • Add club soda, leaving about an inch at the top of the cup. If using vodka, add 1-2 ounces of vodka to the cup before adding the club soda.
    • Add a splash of half & half or cream (about 1 tablespoon).
    • Stir gently with a straw.
    • Enjoy!

    How to Make an Italian Soda Bar from @janemaynard

    That’s it! Creating an Italian soda bar is seriously super easy and it looks impressive at a party. {You’re welcome.} Plus, the syrups last pretty much forever, so that’s nice, too! Enjoy!