Category Archives: Savory

15 Minute Stovetop Mac & Cheese

15 Minute Stovetop Mac & CheeseWhen I first moved to New York and was in grad school, I spent a lot of time on student film sets. It didn’t take long for me to get bored with that situation because it turns out that I find the repetitive hurry-up-and-wait of being on set to be utterly dull. I like screenwriting and production design, but with the way the course (and life) worked, I couldn’t be in charge of those things on every shoot.15 Minute Stovetop Mac & CheeseUnfortunately though, I’m not gifted with much else in that realm. I’m not confident enough to direct. I like to act, but was/am too timid to pursue it in any real way. My hearing is terrible, so sound is out. My arms aren’t strong enough to hold the boom mic for very long. Editing is just a “no.” The list of disqualifications goes on and on, save for one notable exception: I can cook. And so it was that the majority of my production course credits came from being craft services, a.k.a. the on-set caterer.15 Minute Stovetop Mac & CheeseNow, being “crafty” for a student film isn’t the same as what you see when you spot film shoots on the streets of New York. Not even close. I didn’t have a truck or a crew; there was no oven or microwave. I was limited to what I could make in my Upper West Side apartment and transport in a cooler and what I could prepare on-set on a single electric burner. Oh, and it had to be cheap. Options were extremely limited—there were a lot of prepared salads and sandwiches—but my 15 Minute Stovetop Mac & Cheese was always a crowd pleaser.15 Minute Stovetop Mac & CheeseI mean, what’s not to love? This macaroni & cheese has all the cheesy flavor and creamy texture you want, but is less than half the work of most traditional recipes. Where those often require a pot, a pan, a roux, making a mornay sauce, and probably an oven, this recipe requires almost none of that…but it still delivers big-time.15 Minute Stovetop Mac & CheeseIt also requires just six ingredients (seven, if you want to garnish with parsley) and two of them are salt and pepper. Whaaaaat. Since 15 Minute Stovetop Mac & Cheese is a from-scratch recipe, it will cost a few dollars more than the stuff in the blue box, but it’s also infinitely tastier. I’ll take real melted cheese over reconstituted powdered cheese any day. It’s not even a contest.15 Minute Stovetop Mac & Cheese15 Minute Stovetop Mac & Cheese15 Minute Stovetop Mac & Cheese15 Minute Stovetop Mac & CheeseThis recipe really does comes together in fifteen minutes, so it’s ideal for busy weeknights or filling a craving or feeding a bunch of student filmmakers on the fly.

  • Set a pot of water to boil.
  • Grate the cheddar and cut the cream cheese into pieces.
  • Boil and strain the macaroni. Return it to the pot.
  • Stir in the cheeses, a touch of dijon mustard, and salt & pepper. Loosen the sauce up with a little pasta water if you like.

That’s literally it. The entire recipe. Boom. Done. Finito.15 Minute Stovetop Mac & CheeseRight now, you’re just one pot, four steps, six ingredients, and fifteen minutes away from diving fork-first into a bowl of creamy, cheesy magic. What are you waiting for?!15 Minute Stovetop Mac & Cheese

15 Minute Stovetop Mac & Cheese
makes 6-8 servings

16 ounces (1 pound or 4 cups) dry elbow macaroni noodles
12 ounces freshly grated cheese of choice (I like extra sharp cheddar)
6 ounces (3/4 brick) full-fat brick-style cream cheese, cut into pieces
1/2 teaspoon prepared dijon mustard
1/2-1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
1/4-1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, to taste
parsley, to garnish (optional)

Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Season well with salt. Prepare elbow macaroni according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the starchy cooking liquid.

Return cooked macaroni to the pot. Fold in grated cheese. Add cream cheese, stirring until melted. Add splashes of reserved starchy pasta cooking liquid until desired consistency is reached. Stir in dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning. Garnish with parsley, if desired, and serve.

Mac & Cheese is best fresh, but leftovers may be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.15 Minute Stovetop Mac & Cheese15 Minute Stovetop Mac & Cheese15 Minute Stovetop Mac & Cheese

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Spinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked Potatoes

Spinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked PotatoesFor weeks, I have been eagerly waiting to share this recipe with you. I’d love to say that I feel this way with every single recipe in my archives, but that would be a lie. I only post recipes that I like and believe in, of course, but it’s rare that I get all kid-on-Christmas about one.Spinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked PotatoesSo, what’s so special about this recipe? Well, for one, it’s a vegetarian main (or hearty side), and I can never have too many of those. And two, it’s for twice-baked potatoes that are filled with the flavors of my favorite hot, cheesy dip. Need I say more?!Spinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked PotatoesThese Spinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked Potatoes are so delicious, y’all. They’re soft and creamy on the inside and brown and crispy on the outside. Oh, and there’s melted cheese involved. And a serving of vegetables. Yesssss.Spinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked PotatoesIf, by chance, you’ve never heard of or eaten a twice-baked potato…well, I’m sorry that you’ve been deprived for so long. Luckily, you can remedy that today! Let me give you a quick rundown.Spinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked PotatoesSpinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked PotatoesSpinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked PotatoesAs their name states, twice-baked potatoes are potatoes that have been baked two times. The first time, they are rubbed down with oil and salt and baked until tender.Spinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked PotatoesSpinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked PotatoesNext the potato innards are scooped out, leaving behind four potato skin “boats.” The potato flesh is mashed with other ingredients to create a filling.Spinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked PotatoesSpinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked PotatoesTraditionally, those include sour cream, bacon, cheddar, and scallions, but this recipe deviates from the norm in favor of lemony sautéed spinach, chopped artichoke hearts, butter, cream cheese, and monterey jack cheese. YUM.Spinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked PotatoesSpinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked PotatoesSpinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked PotatoesSpinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked PotatoesThe filling is then spooned back into those potato skins, topped with more cheese, and baked a second time, until golden and a bit crispy ❤ Spinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked PotatoesSpinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked PotatoesI prefer to serve Spinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked Potatoes as a main, but they also work well alongside chicken or pork. However you serve these potatoes though, they’re guaranteed to leave you wishing you’d doubled the batch.Spinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked Potatoes

Spinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked Potatoes
makes 4 servings

2 medium-large russet potatoes (about 1 pound total)
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 1/4 teaspoons Kosher salt, divided
5 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 13.5 ounce can artichoke hearts in water, drained
2 ounces full-fat cream cheese (1/4 brick)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
1 cup (about 4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Scrub and dry potatoes. Prick each several times with a fork. Massage 1/2 teaspoon each olive oil and salt onto potato skins. Place on prepared pan and bake about 1 hour, or until I small knife meets no resistance when inserted. Let potatoes cool 7-10 minutes, or until they can be handled.

While potatoes are baking, prepare the filling ingredients. Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add spinach by the handful, wilting it as you go so as not to overload the pan. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt. When all spinach has wilted, remove pan from heat. Squeeze in lemon juice and give another stir. Set aside.

Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to cut artichoke hearts into a 1/2-inch dice. Set aside.

When you can handle the potatoes (they should still be very warm), remove them to a cutting board. Slice them in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out the flesh, leaving behind the potato skin “boats.” Set the skins aside.

Make the filling. Place potato flesh in a medium mixing bowl. Use a potato masher (or two forks) to break up the large pieces. Add cream cheese, butter, 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper and continue to mash just until combined. Do not over-mash. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in spinach, artichokes, and 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack. Taste a small bite of filling and adjust seasoning as needed.

Place potato skins on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Divide filling mixture among skins (1/2-2/3 cup each); they will likely be heaping a bit. Top each with 2 tablespoons shredded Monterey Jack cheese. Bake for another 20-25 minutes at 400F, or until the cheese is browning in places. Let potatoes cool a few minutes before serving.

Twice-Baked Potatoes are best eaten the day they are made, but leftovers can be draped with a damp paper towel and reheated in the microwave, if desired. I’m sure they can also be reheated in a toaster oven or oven, although I have not tried it myself. Leftovers will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.Spinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked PotatoesSpinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked PotatoesSpinach-Artichoke Twice-Baked Potatoes

Puff Pastry Pigs in Blankets

Puff Pastry Pigs in BlanketsWhen I think back on the Super Bowl parties of my youth (and since I am Texan, there were a lot), I don’t remember who played or much else, except for the food. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (probably on Friday): I don’t care about football or the Super Bowl at all, but I *love* football food. If it’s rich, salty, creamy, cheesy, meaty and/or buttery, and can be used to distract me from a sporting event in which I’m uninterested, I. am. in.Puff Pastry Pigs in BlanketsSometimes when I am bored, I tune out and think about recipes. That said, you won’t be surprised to learn that the idea for these Puff Pastry Pigs in Blankets popped into my head during the last Super Bowl.Puff Pastry Pigs in BlanketsThese are the sorts of things I think about instead of thinking about things that are actually important. I mean, *someone* has to think about the game day food, right? No? Just me? Anyway…Puff Pastry Pigs in BlanketsPuff Pastry Pigs in Blankets are exactly what they sound like: classic pigs in blankets (aka cocktail wieners wrapped in yeast dough), made with puff pastry. Miniature hotdogs wrapped in flaky, buttery pastry? Sign me up!Puff Pastry Pigs in BlanketsThese little morsels are super easy to make. Start by rolling out a sheet of puff pastry. I like to use Rough Puff, but any all-butter puff pastry will do.Puff Pastry Pigs in BlanketsSpread a thin layer of dijon mustard over the top and then slice the pastry into strips. Wrap each strip around a cocktail wiener…Puff Pastry Pigs in BlanketsPuff Pastry Pigs in Blankets…then brush them all with egg wash and sprinkle them with poppyseeds and/or sesame seeds. This is purely for aesthetics, but I like the added texture it provides.Puff Pastry Pigs in BlanketsBake the pigs in blankets for 15 minutes at 450F. The pastry will be gorgeous and golden when they’re done.Puff Pastry Pigs in BlanketsServe ‘em with ketchup and more dijon mustard, or any condiment you like. Make sure to hoard a few for yourself before putting them on your Super Bowl table though because they’ll disappear before you know it, especially if I’m invited.Puff Pastry Pigs in Blankets

Puff Pastry Pigs in Blankets
makes about 40 pieces

Rough Puff Pastry:*
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
5 ounces unsalted European-style butter, very cold, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup water or milk, very cold

For assembly:
1 1/2 tablespoons (4 1/2 teaspoons) prepared dijon mustard
1.5 packages cocktail weiners (about 30 per package)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water
1 teaspoon poppyseeds (optional)
1 teaspoon sesame seeds (optional)

For serving (optional):
ketchup
mustard

Make Rough Puff Pastry. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Use a pastry blender or two forks to cut butter into dry ingredients until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Pour in cold water or milk and stir with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Turn dough out onto surface, and use your hands to pat it into a rough rectangle. Roll the dough into an 8×10″ rectangle. Fold dough in thirds, and give it one quarter turn. Roll into an 8×10″ rectangle again, fold, and turn. Repeat rolling, folding, and turning until it has been done six times total. Wrap folded dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to 48 hours.

Preheat oven to 450F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

Assemble the pigs in blankets. Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Unfold dough. Roll dough out to 10×14-inch rectangle. Use a large, sharp knife to trim any uneven edges. Brush surface of the dough with dijon mustard.

Use a floured chef’s knife to slice the sheet of dough in half lengthwise, and then into 3/4-inch thick strips. Working with one strip at a time, place a cocktail wiener at one end and roll it toward the other end, so that most of the wiener is coiled in dough. Place each piece, dough ends down, on prepared pans. Repeat until you run out of strips, chilling dough for 15 minutes if it becomes warm or soft.

Make an egg wash. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together egg and water. Use a pastry brush to brush all exposed dough. Sprinkle with poppy and/or sesame seeds, if desired.

Bake pigs in blankets for 15-17 minutes or until pastry is golden. Let cool a few minutes on pans before removing to a serving platter.

Serve with ketchup and/or mustard, if desired. Pigs in blankets are best the day they are made. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Note:

You may use frozen all-butter puff pastry instead. Thaw according to package directions and begin the recipe at the paragraph that begins “Preheat oven to 450F.”Puff Pastry Pigs in Blankets Puff Pastry Pigs in BlanketsPuff Pastry Pigs in Blankets

Friday Favorites: Wintry Weeknight Meals

Hey there! I hope you’ve been enjoying my annual post-holidays savory food content. While I love baking desserts and am ready to get back to it, I thoroughly enjoy changing it up for a month every year. I still have one more savory recipe coming your way this month, but it’s more Super Bowl-centric than balanced, nutritious, and delicious.

Before we start talking about cheesy dips and chili and guacamole and brownies though, I want to take a minute to acknowledge some of my favorite cold weather weeknight meals from the archives. After four Januaries (Januarys?) as a blogger, I have a lot of them. For this post, I’ve narrowed the list down to the five that I make most frequently. Three of them are soup—depending if you are a #soupseason person or not, I’ll either say “you’re welcome” or owe you an apology…in the form of a big cookie.Friday Favorites: Wintry Weeknight MealsSopa de Pollo

My iPad keeps autocorrecting “sopa” to “soap” de pollo, which sounds very gross. But this soup is the exact opposite of that—it’s delicious and nourishing with a decidedly Mexican flavor. Oh, and it’s dead easy; the prep takes all of ten minutes. Just put a bunch of vegetables, herbs, bone-in chicken and stock on to boil. Forty minutes later, remove the chicken, shred it, and return it to the pot. And um, well, that’s literally it. Easiest chicken soup ever.Friday Favorites: Wintry Weeknight MealsEveryday Cassoulet

This might be my favorite weeknight meal on this site. I’ve been making it for eight years and it always hits the spot. I mean, who doesn’t like sausages baked with tomatoes, pearl onions, and white beans?! Like Sopa de Pollo, this meal takes one hour start-to-finish and most of it is hands-off. Everyday Cassoulet is hearty without being heavy, and is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. While it’s perfect for any weeknight, I’ve made this recipe for multiple dinner parties to rave reviews. Love that versatility!Friday Favorites: Wintry Weeknight MealsSausage, Kale & White Bean Soup

If you love the flavors in Everyday Cassoulet, this soup is for you! In this one-hour recipe, Italian sausage, white beans, mirepoix (fancy French word for the combination of carrot, onion, and celery), and kale are simmered together in a tomato broth. This is the kind of good & good-for-you comfort food that I love, especially when it’s paired with cheesy Parmesan & Black Pepper Biscuits!Friday Favorites: Wintry Weeknight MealsRoasted Cauliflower Soup

I am the sort of person that generally doesn’t care for cream soups or savory dairy-based things (except for this), but this Roasted Cauliflower Soup is so good, it may well change my tune. Made by roasting cauliflower florets until golden and then puréeing them with aromatics, butter, stock and half-and-half, this vegetarian soup is one of my favorites to make and eat. I’m not alone in this—I make it at work at least once every two weeks and it always disappears quickly.Friday Favorites: Wintry Weeknight MealsPasta Bolognese

Now, you may not think of bolognese sauce as a weeknight meal because it takes a while to prepare, but if you simmer a pot on the weekend and then chill it, you can get at least two family-of-four-sized meals out of it. If spending three hours making sauce sounds daunting, just know that most of it is spent letting the sauce bubble away. When all is said and done, the final product is rich, delicious, meaty magic that will have you wondering why you didn’t make a double batch! I like to keep this stuff in the freezer for when the big-bowl-of-pasta mood strikes. And while I have not yet tried it, I imagine this sauce would make killer lasagna.Friday Favorites: Wintry Weeknight MealsHave you made these or any of my other weeknight meals? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

Pork Enchiladas with Smoky Chipotle Sauce

Pork Enchiladas with Smoky Chipotle SauceRemember that Slow-Roasted Pulled Pork I posted a few weeks ago? It’s one of my very favorite weeknight staples.

Have you tried it yet? If not, get on it! You’re in for a treat 🙂 It makes killer sandwiches, of course, and the recipe makes plenty to freeze for later. Quantity is pretty important for a recipe like that—it’s called “slow-roasted” for a reason.Pork Enchiladas with Smoky Chipotle SauceI like to freeze the leftovers by the pound, which works out to about four loosely-packed cups of pulled pork. That way, I can thaw just a little bit at a time. You know, for more sandwiches. Or salads. Or nachos. Or eating directly out of the refrigerator.Pork Enchiladas with Smoky Chipotle SauceAll of those are great options (especially that last one), but these Pork Enchiladas with Smoky Chipotle Sauce are almost certainly my favorite way to repurpose my leftovers! Succulent pulled pork wrapped in tender corn tortillas, covered in a simple homemade sauce, smothered with monterey jack and baked until bubbly? Sign me up!Pork Enchiladas with Smoky Chipotle SaucePork Enchiladas with Smoky Chipotle SaucePork Enchiladas with Smoky Chipotle SaucePork Enchiladas with Smoky Chipotle SauceI absolutely love these enchiladas. I made a big batch last weekend, ate them for dinner for four days, and was still sad to see them go! They’re meaty and smoky, cheesy without being greasy or heavy, and since the filling is prepared beforehand, they’re pretty low-maintenance as far as enchiladas go. Did I mention that the sauce can be made ahead, too?Pork Enchiladas with Smoky Chipotle SaucePork Enchiladas with Smoky Chipotle Sauce would be great with rice and beans, but I like them paired with a big salad and a few slices of avocado. They’re also the sort of dish that works just as well for a weeknight as they do for a dinner party.Pork Enchiladas with Smoky Chipotle SauceOn that note, if you’re making these for a dinner party, I would like to be invited, okay? Okay.Pork Enchiladas with Smoky Chipotle Sauce

Pork Enchiladas with Smoky Chipotle Sauce
makes about 4-6 servings

Smoky Chipotle Sauce:
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 small onion, large diced
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
1-4 chipotles in adobo + 2 teaspoons of the sauce
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons sugar, honey, or maple syrup
1/2-1 teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock

For the enchiladas:
canola oil, for frying
12-16 corn tortillas
3 1/2 cups Smoky Chipotle Sauce
1 pound (about 4 cups) pulled pork
1/2 small onion, finely diced
8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

Garnish (optional):
sliced scallions
chopped cilantro

Make the Smoky Chipotle Sauce. Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add diced onion and crushed garlic cloves and cook, stirring frequently, until onion has softened (about 7-10 minutes). Remove from heat. Add tomatoes, chipotles in adobo + sauce, cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and stock. Use a stick blender to purée until smooth. Alternatively, you may put all the ingredients, including onion and garlic, into a regular blender and purée.

Return pot to medium heat. Simmer, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Taste and adjust the salt as necessary. Sauce may be made up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated.

Make the enchiladas. Heat 1/2 inch of canola oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Using tongs, briefly fry each tortilla for 5 seconds per side before laying on a plate.

Assemble the enchiladas. Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a large casserole (9×13″) with oil. Pour in 1 cup of sauce and spread it to cover the bottom of the pan. Set aside.

Pour 1 cup of the sauce in a shallow bowl or pie plate. Take tortillas one-by-one. Dip in the sauce to get a thin coat on both sides. Fill each tortilla with about 3-4 tablespoons of pulled pork and a sprinkle of diced onion. Roll them tightly before placing them seam-side down in the prepared pan. Once enchiladas are rolled, top with remaining sauce (about 2 cups) and cheese.

Bake 25-30 minutes, or until the cheese is brown at the edges. Let cool 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with sliced scallions and/or chopped cilantro, if desired.Pork Enchiladas with Smoky Chipotle SaucePork Enchiladas with Smoky Chipotle Sauce