Category: featured recipes
Tuesday, March 4
Tacone is one of my favorite take-out food joints. They have great wraps and the best homemade potato chips EVER. Sadly, there are very few Tacone restaurants in the world and I hardly ever get my fix!
While I know I’ll never be able to replicate their potato chips, I can copycat my favorite Tacone wraps. My most favorite was always the Malibu Melt. It’s simple but oh-so-delicious. And the homemade version is just as good as the restaurant. Bonus: this recipe is super quick and easy, which is always my favorite kind of recipe!
Happy wrapping!Malibu Melt WrapsPrep timeTotal timeInspired by the restaurant Tacone, one of our favorites!Author: Jane MaynardIngredients
- Flour tortillas
- Cooked chicken breast, chopped, either grilled or breaded (I personally love the Bread Chicken Tenderloin Breasts from Trader Joe’s in the freezer section)
- Chopped tomatoes
- Chopped romaine lettuce
- Shredded mozzarella cheese
- Avocado, cut into chunks
- Honey mustard salad dressing (click here for a homemade recipe; I also love the Ken’s Steakhouse honey mustard from the store)
- Lay out the flour tortilla and spread some honey mustard dressing down the center. Add the chicken, tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, and avocado. Top with another drizzle of honey mustard then wrap it all up like a burrito!
Wednesday, February 26
As a kid my favorite dinner was beef stroganoff. My mom didn’t make it often and she only liked to make it when she could get the meat from a particular butcher in town, so when we did have stroganoff it was such a treat. I suppose I’ve been a sucker for sour cream and mushrooms since the early days!
I also rarely make beef stroganoff and, until now, always just used those dried sauce packets from the grocery store. I must admit that I liked how it tasted and it didn’t require any thought. But what I like more is cooking food from scratch whenever I can, so I decided it was time to try completely homemade beef stroganoff. And, in all honesty, it wasn’t any harder than using one of those sauce packets!
This recipe is simple but delicious. I researched tons of different recipes as I thought about how I wanted to put the dish together and this is what I came up with. The sauce was creamy and tasty, the meat was tender and I totally had seconds (just like the old days). I also love meals that use meat sparingly. This recipe makes a ton of food with just 1 pound of steak – I love that!
In the interest of full disclosure, Anna did not like it, but I think she just doesn’t like stroganoff to begin with. (She also doesn’t like chicken pot pie, so can we trust her? I think not.) Owen only ate two bites, but that was more a function of Anna giving him a giant granola bar 5 minutes before dinner without telling me. Soooo helpful. Cate said it was really good and worthy of sharing on the blog and Nate agreed. At least I have some supporters in the family!
Wednesday, February 19
Confession: Our family hardly ever eats fish. I cook it once every few years or so and that’s about it. There are a few reasons for this. First, Nate does not like fish, which is shocking since he comes from a long line of seafood-loving New Englanders. The second reason is I just don’t know the best ways to prepare seafood since I never do it. Practice makes perfect and there just isn’t any practice going on in my kitchen!
The Salmon Council reached out to me recently about doing a salmon recipe in support of American Heart Month (which is right now!) and I thought it would be a good opportunity to get some fish going on in our house. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating fish because it’s a good source of protein and high in omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon is at the top of their fish list and the AHA recommends eating two servings of heart-healthy fish TWICE A WEEK, which can reduce your risk of dying from a heart attack by up to one-third. I guess my twice a decade isn’t quite up to snuff!
I decided it would be fun to throw together a simple and delicious salmon recipe, in the hopes that my kids would go for it. As I was making dinner last night, Cate walked in and asked what we were having. I told her salmon, to which she replied, “I don’t like fish.” I asked her, “Well, what fish have you had?” She didn’t have an answer, so she said she would give it a try and as soon as the salmon came out of the oven, she asked for a bite. She was immediately converted. In fact she had three servings for dinner and exclaimed that it was “AWESOME.” She also said that the “salmon people” would be happy with my blog post because I could tell everyone kids love it. It was super, duper, crazy cute. She also asked if we can have salmon more often. Success! Anna wasn’t quite as enthusiastic, but she did like dinner and cleared her plate no problem! Nate is still on the fence – he said the recipe is good, but…you know, fish. But he promised he would never voice those opinions out loud in front of the kids since they like are really liking fish and it’s so healthy!
This recipe is so incredibly simple it’s surprising. Even if you’ve never cooked fish before you’ll have success! The leftovers were pretty good, but honestly, when the salmon is fresh out of the oven it is IRRESISTIBLE. So flavorful and moist with great texture, Cate and I were swooning!
Also, Cate told me I should take a picture of she and Anna enjoying their salmon. I obliged. How could I not?
In celebration of American Heart Month, the Salmon Council is giving away a fun salmon starter package! One randomly-selected winner will receive a $30 Visa gift card (to get your salmon!), a Hooked on Salmon Thermo-tote, and 1 pack of Weber Firespice cedar planks (visit Weber.com for recipes and tips including this step-by-step guide for perfect salmon planking). Here’s how to enter the giveaway! (Comments must be posted by Midnight PT on Tuesday 2/25. Winner must have a U.S. address.) Leave a comment on this post – any comment! Easy peasy! Bonus entry: Leave an additional comment with your favorite salmon recipe (either share the recipe or a link!) Bonus entry: Follow The Salmon Council on Facebook! (leave a separate comment indicating you’ve done so) Bonus entry: Follow This Week for Dinner on Facebook! (leave a separate comment indicating you’ve done so)
The giveaway winner was comment #77, Natahsa P. Congratulations, Natasha!
Without further ado, the super easy, even more scrumptious recipe for Maple Soy Glazed Salmon!
Posted by Jane Maynard at 11:59 am 118 Comments
Categories: featured recipes, Healthy Eats, main dishes, Recipes Tags: easy dinner recipes, fish, iheartsalmon, salmon, seafood, sponsored, the salmon council |
Tuesday, February 11
I’m kind of in love with French toast. And I think the love might be genetic because Cate is equally obsessed with it, too. Which is why it’s surprising that with this deep abiding devotion, I’ve never made stuffed French toast before. Crispy French toast? Check. Baked French toast? Check again. Begging for delicious French toast recipes from all of you? Triple check! But for some reason I’ve never ventured into the world of stuffed French toast…until now.
A few months ago we met my sister in Dana Point for breakfast. I ordered cream cheese-stuffed French toast because, well, who wouldn’t? And, in all honesty, I was supremely disappointed with what came to the table. I was expecting a cream cheese filling but got slabs of straight-up cream cheese. I was expecting magically stuffed bread but got two slices of French toast lying on top of each other with the aforementioned cream cheese just sitting in the middle. The dish did not at all live up to my expectations. This weekend I finally decided to make what I had envisioned a reality. (Yes, I have French toast visions. I told you it was serious.)
My homemade version was everything I imagined the restaurant version should have been. The right amount of sweet, the right amount of gooey, the right amount of cheesy. Nate really liked it, which is saying something because he does not in fact love French toast the way I do. (Never has the case of “opposites attract” been more true than with Nate and I!) Cate of course loved the stuffed French toast just as much as I did.
This stuffed French toast recipe was inspired by the Banana Cream Cheese Pie from the Dodo in Salt Lake City. Side note: I have been trying to recreate that pie at home but I’m finding it’s nearly impossible. I know some of you have been waiting for that recipe to appear on the blog but it may never happen, which is tragedy of epic proportions. While I may not be able to get the pie perfected, at least I can enjoy it in breakfast form!
I had leftover cream cheese frosting from when we made the chocolate heart sandwich cookies last week. I just used that for the filling and it was perfect! You could also simply let cream cheese soften to room temperature and mix in a bit of powdered sugar, vanilla extract and, if needed, a bit of milk to make it easier to mix up. Just add sugar to taste. You don’t want it to be too sugary, but you also want some sweetness involved.
Wednesday, February 5
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, which means it’s time to break out the cookie cutters!
Anna and I decided to make some cute heart sandwich cookies yesterday to deliver to the neighbors. We used my favorite recipe for chocolate cut-out cookies (SOOOO good) and my other favorite recipe for cream cheese frosting, combined into one delicious sandwich of goodness. You can, of course, make these any time of year with different shapes and we do!
A quick rundown of how we made the shapes for the sandwiches and why this is a great way to decorate cookies with kids. If you want to make them exactly how I did, you’ll need 3 heart-shaped cookie cutters that are different sizes but the same shape. Using the largest cutter, cut an even number of cookies. In half of those cookies make holes with the next smaller cookie cutter. Plan it so you end up with an even number of the middle-sized cookies, too. Then take the smallest cookie cutter and cut out holes in half of the middle-sized cookies. Get what’s happening? In the end you will have two different sizes of peek-a-boo sandwiches and a bunch of tiny, super cute chocolate cookies. You can of course still do this with just two heart cookie cutters, you’ll just have one size of the peek-a-boo sandwich cookies.
I really liked having the two sizes of sandwiches along with the tiny cookies because it looked really cute on the plates for the neighbors.
Once the cookies are all baked and cooled, spread frosting onto the rough side of a cookie with no hole and top with a cookie that does have a hole, then fill the exposed frosting center with pretty sprinkles or colored sugar. This ended up being a really great way to decorate cookies with kids. It’s super easy for them to fill the holes with sprinkles and Anna had such a fun time with it. The other nice thing about making these cookies with Anna was that she was able to spread frosting on the cookies and it didn’t have to be a perfect spreading job because the frosting gets sandwiched inside the cookie and then covered with sprinkles. The project ended up being empowering for her because she could make a sandwich cookie from start to finish without any help and they looked just like mine, well, with maybe a few more sprinkles.
Without further ado, chocolate cream cheese cut-out sandwich cookies!
Rolled Chocolate Cut-Out Cookies
Recipe found on AllRecipes.com - I added in my own notes when typing the directions
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 1/4 cups white sugar
- 1 egg
In a medium bowl, sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. In another medium bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth – this will take several minutes. Beat in the egg and mix well. On low, beat in the sifted ingredients and mix until you can’t see any white flour.
Divide the dough into two and form into round balls. Place each ball on a large pieces of plastic wrap then press the dough out into a dish, about 1/2″ thick. Refrigerate for about an hour. You can refrigerate longer than that, but you’ll need to let it soften up a bit before you’ll be able to roll it out. It is important to refrigerate it so that the dough is workable, otherwise it’s too sticky, but the original recipe said to refrigerate for 2 hours and whenever I do that the dough is just too hard to work with.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). On a surface that has been floured pretty heavily, roll out the dough to 1/8 inch thickness. When I do sandwich cookies I go pretty think when rolling it out so that when you bite the cookies later they aren’t too heavy on the cookie. You’ll definitely need to flour the rolling pin and make sure you keep the surface below the dough floured to avoid sticking. Even after refrigeration, the dough is prone to sticking.
Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place cookies on cookie sheet – I like to line mine with a Silpat. The original recipe says to place them 1 1/2 inches apart, but the cookies do not spread that much, you can definitely get them closer together, about 1/2 inch apart.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven (mine are always done at 8 minutes). Cool cookies on a baking sheet for 5 minutes then carefully remove them with a spatula to cool on a wire rack completely.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 1/2 – 4 cups powdered sugar
Cream the butter and cream cheese with a hand blender or in a stand mixer until smooth. Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add powdered sugar and beat on low speed until combined, then on high speed until frosting is smooth. Add powdered sugar until you get the consistency you want, somewhere around 3 1/2 to 4 cups. (Whenever you add powdered sugar, be sure to start on low and then work the speed up so you don’t blow powdered sugar all over the kitchen. I may or may not have done this many times before. I plead the fifth.)
Tuesday, January 28
This post is years overdue. I throw “Kitchen Sink Quesadillas” up on my menu fairly regularly and I’ve always just linked to a page with the recipe typed straight out of a Real Simple magazine, with no notes or pictures. Since it’s such a reliable go-to meal around here, I figured it deserved a bit of attention!
I got the recipe from Real Simple long before I started this blog. In fact, it was one of my first attempts at vegetarian cooking. I’ll never forget the first time I made kitchen sink quesadillas. As Nate and I finished eating, he looked at me and said, “I didn’t even realize there wasn’t any meat.” We were both surprised how delicious and filling our dinner was!
Our family has come along way since then – nowadays about half of our dinners are vegetarian. I really think this recipe all those years ago helped me realize that eating less meat is no big deal!
Anyway, vegetarian or not, this is a great go-to meal and a nice step up from the basic quesadilla with very little extra work. They are simple and fast to prepare and there is also an option to cook the quesadillas all at one time, which can be especially helpful when cooking for a family.
Kitchen Sink Quesdadillas
Adapted from Real Simple
- 1 can black beans, drained
- 1 can corn kernels, drained
- 3/4 cup salsa, drained (you don’t have to drain the salsa, but it makes for a much less messy quesadilla, so if you don’t mind the step it’s good to do)
- Small flour tortillas (twice as many as the number of quesadillas you want to make
- Shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack
Optional side salad ingredients:
- 1 tablespoon minced red onion
- 1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Juice of 1 to 2 limes
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
If cooking the quesadillas in the oven, heat oven to 400° F. In a medium bowl, combine the beans, corn, and salsa.
Place 4 tortillas on a parchment- or foil-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with cheese. Lightly spread the bean-corn-salsa mixture over the cheese, then top with more cheese. Place flour tortillas on top. Bake until cheese is melted, about 5-7 minutes. You can also cook the quesadillas on the stovetop one at a time if you prefer.
If you would like to whip up the side salad, while the quesadillas are in the oven, combine the onion, cilantro, salt, pepper, lime juice, oil and sugar. Mix well. Toss with the chopped lettuce. (I hardly ever make the salad!)
Cut quesadillas into wedges and serve with the salad. Also good with salsa, sour cream and guacamole!
Thursday, January 23
Over the years I have been lucky enough to have several close friends who are Mexican and they have all introduced me to various wonderful foods. Those friends are all also really good at cooking beans. And, for whatever reason, no matter how many times they have told me how to cook beans and assured me that it’s easy, I had a mental block. Every time I would go to cook a bag of dried beans, I would freeze. Seriously, total mental block. I just could never remember exactly how to do it and felt dumb always asking “one more time” how to cook beans!
Well, I have finally broken down my bean barriers. One of my neighbors is Mexican and I finally just sucked up my pride and asked her (multiple times) how to cook dried beans. And then I actually did it. I cooked beans! And, surprise surprise, they were easy to make and mighty delicious!
For real, it’s easy. You’ll need to be home for a few hours to check on them occasionally while they cook, but that is seriously the hardest part of the recipe. I like to cook a big pot of beans at one time and then freeze the leftovers into 2-cup containers. The beans are easy to defrost and I love having them on hand. And they really do taste better than canned beans.
How to Cook Dried Beans
- Bag of dried beans (Black, pinto, peruan, whatever variety you like! Peruan is the variety you see in these photos.)
- Big pot
- 1/4 of an onion
Ari (my neighbor) will sometimes soak the beans overnight, but it’s not necessary. If you forget, no worries!
Place the beans in a big pot (I use my french oven). Add water to cover the beans (if you soaked the beans prior, drain that water and add new water to the pot). Place 1/4 of an onion (large pieces is fine) in the pot along with some salt (maybe about a teaspoon or so). Bring to a simmer over medium to medium-high heat, then cook over medium-low to medium heat for 2-3 hours (longer if you didn’t soak the beans before hand). Stir the beans occasionally throughout the entire cooking process. You may need to add more water at some point if the water is running low but the beans are still not cooked through. The beans are done when they are soft and yummy!
Remove the onion and add more salt if needed. If you want them to be more like refried beans, just mash them up a bit!
Wednesday, January 15
You GUYS. I found a truly perfect recipe for salted caramel corn. It’s just, well, perfect. Each piece of popcorn is coated just right, the texture is light and crispy, the flavor is amazing. The best part? The popcorn is wicked easy to make.
I found the recipe on my friend Brenda’s food blog A Farmgirl’s Dabbles. It’s her mom’s recipe for microwave caramel popcorn. I love Brenda and her mom forever for sharing it with us. Seriously, I don’t even know how many times I’ve made it in the last two weeks. Good thing I’m not on a diet for new year’s!
Because Brenda’s recipe makes a TON of popcorn, I figured out how to adjust everything down for a half batch. I posted the smaller version on Babble with step-by-step photos.
In December I had the chance to write a few pieces for the ABC Family 25 Days of Christmas website. And then, once Christmas was over, the posts were gone! Two of the posts had some mighty fine recipes, so I just added them to the Babble website so they can still be accessible.
The first, hot cocoa as thick and rich as melted chocolate bars. You know, like in The Polar Express. The dreamy, wonderful hot cocoa we all imagined as kids!
The second is a super simple cookie recipe that is SO GOOD. You definitely want to add this one to your recipe box – Lemon Cream Cheese Cookie Sandwiches!
Wednesday, January 8
I wish you all could have known Gram Maynard. She was one of those truly good people that you only come across a few times in your life and I am grateful every day that I had the chance to know her. Gram didn’t cook very much, but, despite that fact, some of my favorite recipes and kitchen tips came from her. Today I’m going to share one of those recipes because we had it on New Year’s Eve and, along with inspiring fond memories, it is simple and delicious and needs to be shared!
This is one of those recipes that almost isn’t a recipe because it is THAT EASY. These meatballs are perfect for parties and for watching football games. Or, in Gram’s case, Red Sox games!
Gram’s Super Easy Sweet and Sour Meatballs
From Barbara “Gram” Maynard
- 1 package frozen cooked meatballs (between 20-30 ounces)
- 1 12-ounce jar Heinz chili sauce
- 12 ounces grape jelly (yeah, I know, it maybe sounds weird, but it tastes amazing!)
- Cayenne pepper (optional)
In a large sauce pan, mix together the chili sauce and grape jelly. Place over medium-high heat and add meatballs. Bring to an almost boil (will be spluttering, so you will need to stir regularly), then reduce heat to a simmer (medium or medium-low) and cook until meatballs are hot.
Gram never did this, but if you’d like a bit more heat to the meatballs, sprinkle a bit of cayenne pepper in at the end to taste.
See Comment #3 below for crockpot directions!