Thursday, April 16
Last weekend when we were driving through Southern Utah seeing the beautiful sights, the kids and I stayed at my Uncle Mark and Auntie Barb’s house in St. George. We had been driving all day long and, when we arrived at their house, they had a big pan of beer brats on the stove. It was so nice to have dinner waiting, especially a dinner as delicious as this one!
Barbara explained how she and Mark cook their brats and I made them myself just two days later! This is definitely my new favorite way to cook brats. And it’s super easy, with just three ingredients!
There are few notes throughout the recipe with hints and tips. I figured it’s better to just put all that info right into the recipe instead of here in the blog post. Enjoy!!!Mark and Barb's Beer BratsPrep timeCook timeTotal timeMark and Barbara are my aunt and uncle and they make the best beer brats ever.Author: Jane MaynardServes: 6Ingredients
- 6 Brats (Barbara used Johnsonville; I went shopping at Sprouts this week and bought the brats at their meat counter, which were GIANT, so I only cooked 4. I actually preferred the Johnsonville brats.)
- 2 onions, cut in half then sliced into ½" - ¾" slices
- 24 ounces beer, or enough to cover the brats and onions in the pan (Barbara used Miller High Life; I tried the recipe with Negra Modelo. Both beers were delicious - the Miller has a lighter flavor, the Negra yields a darker, stronger, richer flavor...I don't have a favorite, they're both fabulous!)
NotesBarbara mentioned sometimes they'll make these ahead of time and refrigerate or freeze them. When it's time to eat them, if frozen be sure to defrost, then heat the brats up on the grill and heat the onions in the microwave or on the stove.3.2.2925
- Place the sliced onions and the brats in a high-sided skillet. Pour beer over the brats and onions until they are covered.
- Heat over medium-high heat to bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30-60 minutes, until the brats are cooked through (internal temperature 170º F). Make sure brats are simmering, not boiling, but you don't want the heat too low so that they're not cooking.
- Remove the brats from the pan and set aside on a plate.
- Cook onions until beer is almost completely cooked off, leaving you with saucy onions.
- Add brats back to the pan, raise heat to medium and keep them on the heat until they are hot again.
- Serve brats smothered in the onions on buns of your choice with mustard of your choice.
Tuesday, September 16
My mother-in-law Pat claims she’s not a good cook, but I wholeheartedly beg to differ. Some of my very best cooking tricks, tips and recipes have come from her. And some of my favorite non-recipe “recipes” come from her. Pat has a knack for making easy-to-prep food taste really good.
Today I’m sharing one of those non-recipe recipes. It is seriously beyond easy with only 3 ingredients. The recipe is a little old school, i.e. there is canned cream-of-whatever soup involved. I rarely buy canned soups, but I certainly do for this chicken recipe! The chicken comes out so tender and juicy, and the stuffing cooks perfectly, soft and yummy where it touches the chicken with a nice crunch around the outside.
Tuesday, September 9
A few months ago I was thinking that naan bread would make a good crust for quick pizzas. I wrote it on my “to try” list and then ignored the list all summer. Then, this week, I picked up the America’s Test Kitchen magazine “6 Ingredient Recipes” (which is on newsstands now until October 20 and it’s great!) and guess what they had as one of the recipes? Naan pizza! I decided to finally get my act together and give it a try.
This past Sunday I was planning to make homemade pizza. I have really perfected the pizza-making process (not to brag or anything) and was looking forward to having pizza for dinner. (Here is my crust recipe – I will also be doing a full post about making homemade pizza soon, so keep an eye out.) But Sunday ended up being really busy as well as ridiculously hot. I simply didn’t feel like turning my oven on at 550º F for 2-3 hours. So, I broke out the naan bread and fired up the grill!
Naan bread works perfectly as a pizza crust. Following the technique below, it gets nice and crispy on the bottom but still has some chew, and it’s just so quick and easy! Making the naan pizzas on the grill worked beautifully, but I also cooked one in the oven and that worked great, too. If I had to choose I would go with the grill, but you can’t lose either way!
Naan pizzas are also a great lunch option – I made one for myself yesterday in the toaster oven and it was quick and painless!
For the record, I love my homemade crust more. But these naan pizzas are still pretty amazing and are perfect for when you need a good homemade pizza cheat!
Pizza flavors pictured: Barbecue Chicken (BBQ sauce, chicken, cheese and cilantro tossed on after cooking) and Honey Goat Cheese with Caramelized Onion
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 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 119 Comments
Categories: featured recipes, healthy eats, main dishes, Recipes Tags: easy dinner recipes, fish, iheartsalmon, salmon, seafood, sponsored, the salmon council |
Tuesday, October 22
Today I have a super fast and easy dinner recipe for you that is also delicious and healthy. That’s the best kind of recipe, right?
But first, a confession. I love ramen noodle packs. You know, the 89-cent packages of ramen noodles paired with the sodium-rich broth that is oh-so-good. But…but. The sodium. Ah, the sodium. I haven’t bought ramen in years and years because of that darn sodium. Happily, today’s recipe will let us have our ramen and eat it, too!
You will need to buy one of those cheap-o packages of ramen for this recipe, but you’re going to throw the flavor packet in the trash where it belongs. Instead, we’ll use healthy, natural ingredients and just a bit of salt to create a yummy meal that’s perfect for kids, adults and college-kids alike!
This recipe is fast to prepare and should be eaten immediately, so plan accordingly!Easy Asian Chicken Noodle Soup (a.k.a. Homemade Ramen)Cook timeTotal timeAdapted from a recipe in America’s Test Kitchen Quick Family CookbookAuthor: Jane MaynardRecipe type: Main Dish, Soup, PoultryCuisine: AsianServes: 4Ingredients
- ½ tablespoon vegetable oil
- ½ pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded*
- 2 green onions, sliced thin with greens separated from whites
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 garlic clove, minced (I use my garlic press)
- 3½ cups low-sodium or sodium-free chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce, plus extra as needed (a commenter mentioned that soy sauce can be high in sodium, so if you really want to cut back, try using low-sodium soy sauce or reducing the amount used)
- 1 3-ounce package ramen noodles, flavor packet discarded
- 1½ cups shredded coleslaw mix (I used a coleslaw mix made only with green cabbage)
- 1½ cups fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped
- ½ tablespoon sesame oil, plus extra as needed
- salt and pepper
Notes*Cook the chicken however is easiest for you – grill, sauté, boil, whatever!3.2.2925
- Heat vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add chopped white green onions (reserving the greens for later), ginger and garlic and cook for about 1 minute.
- Stir in chicken broth and soy sauce and bring to a simmer (you’ll want to turn the heat up to get it boiling gently, then reduce the heat to medium or so to maintain the simmer).
- Stir in ramen noodles and coleslaw and cook for 4 minutes.
- Add chicken and spinach and cook for 1 minute.
- Stir in the rest of the green onions and sesame oil. Mix together, taste, then add salt, pepper, soy sauce and sesame oil to taste. Serve immediately.
Friday, April 26
Last week I decided to make white chicken chili for the first time, which involved using two ingredients I’ve never worked with before: hominy and poblano chili peppers.
Honestly, I was skeptical of the hominy. Like I said, I had never used it before and when I opened the can, the smell was reminiscent of corn nuts. I can’t stand the smell of corn nuts, by the way, so I was really hoping the soup would turn out! I am happy to report that the soup not only turned out but was very delicious and a big hit with every member of the family. In case you are wondering, it tasted nothing like corn nuts. PHEW! Nate came home from work, looked in the pot and declared that he was certain he was going to love this soup, even before he knew what it was. And he did!
I used the white chicken chili recipe from The America’s Test Kitchen Quick Family Cookbook. So far every recipe I’ve used from that book has been a winner. The recipes have all been delicious and quick! This chicken chili was no exception. This recipe was simple to prepare and was no problem to throw together on a busy weeknight. I will include my various notes on the recipe below!White Chicken ChiliFrom The America’s Test Kitchen Quick Family Cookbook, with my notesAuthor: Jane MaynardRecipe type: Main Dish, PoultryIngredients
- 1 15-ounce can white or yellow hominy (ATK recommends white because it has a deeper flavor)
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed (Jane note: I used two chicken breasts)
- Salt and Pepper
- 3 poblano chili peppers (Jane note: I only used 1) – de-seed and core the pepper, then chop
- 1 onion, chopped fine (Jane note: I only used ⅓ of a large yellow onion)
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 garlic cloves, minced (Jane note: I used my garlic press)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander (Jane note: I didn’t use coriander b/c I didn’t have it in the cupboard and didn’t feel like buying it)
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (Jane note: I used ¼ teaspoon of black pepper because I am out of cayenne, which makes me very sad – I need to rectify that!)
- ½ cup tomatillo salsa or salsa verde
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro (Jane note: I bought flat leaf parsley instead of cilantro, which I didn’t discover until I took it out to start chopping. I was SO bummed because cilantro would taste wonderfully in this soup, but I just went with the parsley because that’s what I had. I am happy to report that the parsley was also very delicious! So, feel free to choose the herb you like better and go with it!)
- Process the hominy with 1 cup broth in blender of food processor until smooth.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Pat chicken dry with paper towels, season with salt & pepper then brown chicken lightly on both sides, about 5 minutes. (If you don’t have a dutch oven, a large pot should work.) Transfer chicken to a plate. Add remaining oil, poblanos and onion to the pot and cook until onions and peppers are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour, garlic, cumin, corinader (if using) and cayenne (or pepper) and cook about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in remaining 3 cups broth, deglazing the bottom of the pan. I used a flat whisk here and it worked very well, but a standard whisk will suffice.
- Stir in pureed hominy. Add chicken, along with any accumulated juices, and simmer gently over medium-low to medium heat until chicken registers 160 degrees, about 10 minutes. I highly recommend using an instant-read thermometer so that you don’t overcook the chicken – it will be super tender if you cook until 160 degrees. Remove chicken, shred then return to soup. Add salsa, cilantro and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook about 1 minute then serve!
Tuesday, April 16
Spaghetti is definitely a go-to meal around here and my kids could eat it every day, much like myself as a kid. Once, when I was in 3rd grade, my dad and I found ourselves home alone for a week. We ate spaghetti every night. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. My dad was lucky I was a clueless 9-year-old.
While I am grateful to know that my kids will always eat spaghetti (it really is a good option on a busy night), I must admit that Nate and I are less enthusiastic about the dish. I don’t know, it’s just kinda boring. The razzle dazzle of spaghetti has finally worn off for me. Sorry, Dad! 😉
Last week, however, I decided to try to make spaghetti more interesting. The result was delicious! I used a recipe for spaghetti carbonara from Christina Ferrare’s Big Bowl of Love cookbook and it came out beautifully. The ingredients are simple, the taste is flavorful, and the sauce is creamy without using actual cream.
Nate and I both really liked this recipe. I actually loved it. The girls stuck with classic boring spaghetti that night, but I don’t think they even tried the carbonara, little stinkers. Owen, however, ate three servings and couldn’t get enough!Easy Spaghetti CarbonaraAdapted from Big Bowl of Love by Christina Ferrare (I changed a few of the ingredient amounts and also some of the technique based on my experience with the recipe)Author: Jane MaynardRecipe type: Main Dish, PastaIngredients
- 2 cups peas (original recipe calls for fresh, I used frozen)
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 ounces diced pancetta
- 2 tablespoons chopped shallot (or regular onion if you don’t have a shallot on hand)
- 8 ounces spaghetti or linguine (fresh is yummier, dried is fine)
- 1 cup low-fat milk
- 1½ cups freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus additional for garnish
- If using fresh peas, remove the peas from their pods and set aside. For frozen, run warm water over the peas to separate them, drain, then set aside.
- In a cold, large, heavy pot, pour the olive oil and swirl to cover the bottom of the pan. Add the pancetta, cook over medium heat until pancetta is crisp. Remove pancetta and set aside. Add shallot to the pan and saute until crispy. Remove from heat, add pancetta back to the pot and set aside. I am lazy, so I cooked the pancetta then just added the shallot/onion to the pan without removing the pancetta. I added the shallot before the pancetta got crispy then cooked until the onions were softened. Once cooked, turn off heat and set pan aside.
- Cook pasta to package directions. Be sure to salt the water – 1 tablespoon salt per 3 quarts of water. Three minutes before pasta is ready, add peas. Drain pasta and peas, reserving 3 cups of the pasta water and set aside.
- The original recipe tells you to add the pasta to the large pot with the shallots and then mix in the sauce ingredients. I did it this way and found that the cheese was very clumpy. It tasted good, but I didn’t get a smooth sauce. So, I am modifying the directions. Return the pancetta/shallot pan back to the stove and turn the heat on to medium-high. Immediately add ½ cup pasta water, ½ cup milk and ½ cup parmesan cheese. Whisk well. Add remainder of the parmesan cheese and milk and keep whisking. If the sauce is too thick or gooey, add pasta water ¼ cup at a time until sauce is creamy. Reduce heat to low then stir in the peas and spaghetti.
- Serve topped with additional parmesan cheese and mint leaves if desired.
Tuesday, February 26
Growing up in New Jersey, I was surrounded by Italians. Literally surrounded. Three Catholic churches in our small town, 4 or 5 Italian restaurants in a 1/4-mile distance (keep in mind, there is just one traffic light downtown!) and last names like Pagnani and Martorana galore! Living around so many Italians meant lots of Italian food at community and school parties, specifically baked ziti. Baked ziti is to New Jersey as funeral potatoes are to Utah.
Needless to say, I ate some really delicious baked ziti growing up. Which makes it all the more disappointing that almost every time I’ve tried to make it, it just isn’t up to snuff. Well, I tried a recipe from my Real Simple | Best Recipes cookbook and I’ve finally found my winning ziti recipe! Woohoo! Move over, Italian mamas from New Jersey.
In case you are wondering, the recipe is also really easy to make. I wouldn’t have it any other way.Lasagna-Baked ZitiFrom Real Simple | Best Recipes with my notesAuthor: Jane MaynardIngredients
- 12 ounces ziti, cooked to package directions (for some reason my grocery store did not have ziti, so I used penne)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ⅓ onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped or pushed through garlic press
- ½ pound lean ground beef or italian sausage
- salt and pepper
- 1 26-ounce jar marinara sauce (I had a bunch of No-Cook Pizza Sauce left over and that made up the bulk of my sauce, with some leftover jarred sauce to make up the difference. The sauce was delicious!)
- 1 bunch or 1 small bag spinach, thick stems removed (about 4 cups)
- ½ cup ricotta cheese
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese (I did more than 1 cup…probably about 1½ or so)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Drain cooked pasta and add it back to the pot.
- Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Cook onion until soft and clear (4-5 minutes), then add garlic and cook about 1 minute more. Add the beef, ¾ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook, breaking up the meat, until the meat is cooked through.
- Pour meat mixture into large pot of drained pasta. Add sauce, spinach, ricotta and ¼ cup of the Parmesan cheese. Transfer to a 9×13 casserole dish. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and ¼ cup Parmesan cheese. Bake until ziti is hot all the way through and cheese is melted, about 15 minutes.
Thursday, October 4
Hello everyone! I am back from vacation and can’t wait to share the fun we had…but I still have a lot of photos to go through and some decompressing to do! So, until then, how about an awesome recipe and a giveaway? Let’s do it!
As you know, I love America’s Test Kitchen and have a great relationship with them. When I visited the kitchens this summer, I was given an advance copy of their new cookbook The America’s Test Kitchen Quick Family Cookbook. Of course I love it…delicious and reliable recipes that are FAST? Yes, please. I found a real gem of a recipe in this book that has found a permanent place in our dinner rotation…the easiest-ever chicken pot pie.
This chicken pot pie recipe is soooo yummy and it really is super easy. Everyone in our family eats everything on their plate and I’ve made the recipe several times. Boursin cheese is the secret ingredient. I love Boursin, but was a little worried it might taste too Boursin-y. It doesn’t at all, the flavor is fantastic and the gravy has perfect consistency.
Now that the cookbook has been released, I can share the recipe with you AND give away a couple copies of the book! Yippee!
Two of you lucky people will receive a copy of The America’s Test Kitchen Quick Family Cookbook. As always, simply leave a comment on this post to be entered to win! You can add extra entries by liking This Week for Dinner and/or America’s Test Kitchen on Facebook. Be sure to leave separate comments for each extra entry! All comments must be added by Midnight PT on Wednesday, October 10, 2012.
And now for the recipe, with my modifications. To get the even easier version from America’s Test Kitchen you’ll have to win or buy the book! 😉Easiest-Ever Chicken Pot PieModified from The America’s Test Kitchen Quick Family Cookbook (their version is even easier than what I outline below…get the book to see the tricks!)Author: Jane MaynardRecipe type: Main Dish, Poultry, PieCuisine: AmericanIngredients
- 8 ounces white mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 (5.2-ounce) package Boursin cheese
- 1 cup chicken broth
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- salt and pepper
- 1½ cups frozen peas and carrots
- 1 refrigerated Pillsbury pie crust
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Boil chicken breasts until just done. Cut/shred with a knife and fork into bite-sized pieces.
- Saute mushrooms until softened and liquid has released.
- Combine broth, cream, cornstarch, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper in large saucepan. Break up cheese and mix in. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until cheese is melted and mixture has thickened, about 5-7 minutes. (Note: I just leave the mushrooms in the pan where I sauteed them and add in the broth, etc and cook it with the mushrooms in there. Saves a pan and works great!) Stir in chicken, mushrooms, peas and carrots. Season with more salt and pepper if needed. Transfer to 9-inch deep dish pie pan. My pie pan was not deep enough, so I used a 10-inch cake pan.
- Carefully lay pie crust over top. Tuck overhanging dough underneath itself so crust is flush with edge of pan. Cut three 1-inch slits in top of dough. Bake until filling is bubbling and crust is browned, about 25 minutes. Rotate dish halfway through cooking. Let cool slightly when done then serve.