Tag Archives: weeknight meals

Chicken with Lemon & Olives

Chicken with Lemon & OlivesUnsurprisingly, the way to my heart is through my stomach. I mean, I’m a food blogger–of course it is.

To get specific though, it’s through salty, briny, acidic foods. Dessert is a wonderful thing, but I will happily destroy a jar of pickles or smear dijon mustard on everything or give you a tour of my salt collection (nerd alert!) any day of the week. And then I will make you a batch of cookies, because of course I will. But that’s a post for another day.Chicken with Lemon & OlivesToday, we’re talking about Chicken with Lemon & Olives, which is a dream dinner for someone like me. It’s got crispy-skinned chicken thighs, briny roasted olives and a garlicky, herby, dijon-spiked lemon sauce, so…yeah, um, hi. Sign me up.Chicken with Lemon & OlivesChicken with Lemon & OlivesChicken with Lemon & OlivesThis dish, y’all. It’s so delicious. The sauce is tangy and acidic from the lemon and mustard, and rich (but not overly so) from the chicken and olive oil. And the olives—ohhhh, the olives. They’re cracked open before cooking so that all that tangy, schmaltzy sauce gets in there and gets a little briny and…well, it’s very good.Chicken with Lemon & OlivesSpeaking of olives, I prefer to make this with castelveltranos because they’re my favorite. More of a kalamata person? Want to try a mix? Do what makes you happy. I used olives that still have their pits because, frankly, they always taste better. If you want to use pitted olives though, I won’t stop you. Just make sure to skip the step when you give them a thwack with the bottom of a cast iron skillet—nobody wants to clean that mess.Chicken with Lemon & OlivesI should note that the sauce stays on the thin side. If you’d like it to be thicker, you can reduce the amount of stock a bit when you pour it in, or remove the chicken, etc., and thicken it with a cornstarch slurry after roasting. Truly, the consistency of the sauce was the only thing I had reservations about during testing, but I like it as written. It nestles perfectly into a pile of polenta or mashed potatoes. Next time I’m going to try serving it with slices of toasted baguette.Chicken with Lemon & OlivesCan we discuss how absurdly beautiful this is? I love the golden chicken in contrast with the vibrant olives and roasted lemon wedges. This is definitely one of those mains that works as well for a dinner party as it does for a weeknight. And on that note, if you’re having a dinner party and making this, please invite me.Chicken with Lemon & Olives

Chicken with Lemon & Olives
makes 6-8 servings

2 cups olives (with pits), brine discarded (I used castelveltrano)
8 chicken thighs
1/2-3/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2-3 lemons, divided
6-8 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1/2-1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (based on preference)
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 cup chicken stock
polenta or mashed potatoes, for serving
chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 450F. Grease a large casserole dish or 9×13-inch pan. Set aside.

Crack olives. On a sturdy surface, sandwich olives between two pieces of parchment. Use a heavy object (bottom of a cast iron skillet, meat tenderizer, large can) to give them a few whacks to crack the skin open a bit. You may also use a sharp knife to lightly score each olive.

Blot chicken thighs with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the chicken and season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Use your hands to lightly and quickly massage oil and salt into the meat for even distribution.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches (unless your pan is giant), place chicken thighs in the pan skin-side-down and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Remove to a plate.

Meanwhile, juice 1-2 lemons, until you have 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice. Slice remaining lemon into 8 wedges. Set aside.

Reduce heat to medium. Discard all but 2 tablespoons of rendered fat. Add garlic, thyme and rosemary, and saute until fragrant (about 1 minute). Stir in red pepper flakes and mustard, followed by stock. Simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add lemon juice and a pinch of salt.

Pour sauce into prepared dish. Place chicken in a single layer over the top. Arrange olives around chicken and tuck lemon wedges in between. Drizzle with remaining tablespoon olive oil. Bake 45-50 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.

Let cool a few minutes until bubbling stops. Serve over polenta or mashed potatoes with a sprinkle of chopped fresh parsley, if desired.

Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days.Chicken with Lemon & OlivesChicken with Lemon & OlivesChicken with Lemon & Olives

How to Make Eggs 5 Ways

How to Make Eggs 5 WaysAaaaand we’re back! As is my January blogging tradition, this month will be less about dessert and more about savory foods and weeknight meals—the “normal” stuff. One cannot live on holiday cookies alone (but lord knows I’ve tried).

To start us off, something I make all the time: eggs! Nary a week goes by when I don’t slap an egg on something and call it breakfast, lunch or dinner. In addition to being power-lifters in baking, eggs are an inexpensive, versatile, quick-cooking protein. I always have a couple dozen around!

Today, I’m going to walk you through how to make eggs five ways: scrambled, fried, poached, hard-boiled and soft-boiled. Why so many methods? Because I like options! Sometimes I want a delicate poached egg, other times a creamy hard-boiled egg is the ticket. It’s nice to know how to make ‘em both.

I have written all the instructions and proportions based on large eggs, which are what I keep for both baking and eating. If you are using medium or extra-large eggs, you may need to adjust some cook times. I’ve also written each method to reflect using only two eggs (what I usually eat), but the recipes can be multiplied unless stated otherwise.

While I know there are approximately 742 ways to scramble, fry, poach, and hard- and soft-boil eggs, these are the methods that have consistently worked for me. If you have tips or methods that work for you, please let me know in the comments or on social media! Oh, and let me know your favorite thing to throw an egg on! #putaneggonit am I right?How to Make Eggs 5 WaysHow to Make Eggs 5 WaysHow to Make Eggs 5 WaysHow to Make Eggs 5 WaysScrambled Eggs

What they are
Eggs that have been beaten with cream, salt and pepper, until fully combined, then cooked low-and-slow, until fluffy, but not browned.

What you’ll need
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons heavy cream
pinch of salt (I use a scant 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt)
a few grinds of black pepper
1 tablespoon butter, for cooking

How to make them
In a small mixing bowl, combine eggs, heavy cream, salt and pepper. Use a fork to whisk together until combined and even in color.

Heat a small-medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add butter and swirl to melt. It may foam a bit; just wait for any dramatic bubbling to subside.

Pour in eggs. Using a spatula, start at the outer edge of the pan and push the runny egg toward the center of the pan. Repeat this motion, moving your way around the pan over and over until large curds form. I recommend pulling the eggs off the heat when they still look a tiny bit underdone, so as not to overcook them. They will finish cooking off the heat (“carryover cooking”). Serve.How to Make Eggs 5 WaysHow to Make Eggs 5 WaysSunny Side-Up Fried Eggs

What they are
Eggs with yolks and whites still intact that have been quickly fried in oil (or butter, although I don’t care for the appearance of cooked milk solids on my fried eggs). The edges get lacy while the yolks stays runny and golden. They are called sunny side-up because the yolk resembles a bright golden sun.

For those concerned, there is no need to worry about the dreaded uncooked egg whites here—they’re basted with hot oil so that they set before the yolk becomes hard.

What you’ll need
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons oil (I prefer olive or canola oil)
salt and pepper, for serving

How to make them
Crack eggs into small bowls (one bowl per egg).

Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat, swirling to coat. Add eggs and let cook until whites are no longer transparent, but not set. They will sputter and pop quite a bit.

Use an oven mitt to lift/tilt the pan so that the hot oil collects at the edge of the pan, away from the eggs. Use a heatproof spoon to spoon oil over the eggs repeatedly until whites are set and the yolks are still jiggly. Edges should be turning golden.

Immediately remove eggs to plates and serve. I highly recommend garlic-rubbed toast as an accoutrement.How to Make Eggs 5 WaysHow to Make Eggs 5 WaysPoached Eggs

What they are
Eggs cooked in simmering (read: not boiling) water until the whites are set and the yolks are still runny, or otherwise cooked to your preference. Although it’s optional, I like to add a splash of vinegar to the water to help the whites set.

I do not recommend making more than 3 poached eggs at a time, as they are extremely time-sensitive. Nothing’s worse than chasing one around the pan with a slotted spoon, only to find that it’s over-cooked!

What you’ll need
water
2 large eggs
a splash (~1 teaspoon) white or apple cider vinegar (optional)
salt and pepper, for serving

How to make them
Fill a 4-quart pot 1/2-2/3 full of water and bring to a boil over high heat.

Crack egg(s) into small bowls (one bowl per egg). Line a small plate with paper towels.

Once water reaches a boil, reduce heat to medium or medium-low, so that it’s at a simmer. Add vinegar, if using.

Working quickly with one egg at a time, bring the bowl close to the surface of the water and pour it in. Immediately drag a slotted spoon under the egg to lift it slightly (this keeps it from sticking to the bottom and has the added benefit of helping the white wrap around the yolk in a pleasing way). Quickly repeat this process with remaining egg. Let simmer 3 minutes, until the whites are set but yolks are still runny. For harder cooked eggs, add 15-30 seconds to the cook time.

Use a slotted spoon to lift eggs out of the water and onto the paper towel-lined plate to drain. Remove eggs to serving plates and enjoy immediately.How to Make Eggs 5 WaysHow to Make Eggs 5 WaysHard-Boiled Eggs

What they are
Eggs that have been cooked in their shells until both the whites and yolks are just set. No green-ringed yolks here! These can be made ahead and refrigerated in their shells for up to three days, so they’re great for on-the-go breakfasts or snacks, and making deviled eggs and egg salad, of course.

It’s as quick and easy to make twelve hard-boiled eggs as it is to make two. You can make as many as will fit in your pan.

What you’ll need
2-12 large eggs in their shells (based on need and pan space)
cold tap water
ice

How to make them
Place eggs in a single layer on the bottom of a deep pan. Add cold water to cover by about an inch. Place over high heat and bring to a rolling boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat, but let eggs sit in water for 9 minutes.

While eggs are still in the hot water, fill a bowl with cold water and add lots of ice. When the 9 minutes are up, use a spoon to lift eggs out of the hot water and into the ice bath. Let sit about 10 minutes, or until cooled.

To peel an egg, tap each narrow end of the egg shell on a hard surface, and then gently roll it on the surface to encourage cracking all the way around. Use your fingers to pick the shell away. Rinse with cold water, if needed. Enjoy.

Leftover eggs may be kept in their shells in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.How to Make Eggs 5 WaysHow to Make Eggs 5 WaysHow to Make Eggs 5 WaysSoft-Boiled Eggs

What they are
Eggs that have been cooked in their shells in boiling water until the whites are just set, but the yolks are jammy. These can be made ahead and refrigerated in their shells for up to three days. These are great on toast, in salads or even in soup (think borscht and ramen).

As with hard-boiled eggs, it’s as quick and easy to make twelve soft-boiled eggs as it is to make two. You can make as many as will fit in your pan.

What you’ll need
2-12 large eggs in their shells (based on need and pan space)
water
ice

How to make them
Fill a deep pan 1/3-1/2 way (so that it’s deep enough to cover an egg). Bring to a boil over high heat. Carefully add eggs and boil for 6.5 minutes.

While eggs are boiling, fill a bowl with cold water and add lots of ice. When the 6.5 minutes are up, use a spoon to quickly and carefully move eggs from hot water to ice bath. Let cool 5-10 minutes, or until you can handle them, before removing from ice bath.

To peel an egg, tap each narrow end of the egg shell on a hard surface, and then gently roll it on the surface to encourage cracking all the way around. Use your fingers to pick the shell away. Rinse with cold water, if needed. Enjoy.

Leftover eggs may be kept in their shells in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.How to Make Eggs 5 WaysHow to Make Eggs 5 WaysHow to Make Eggs 5 WaysHow to Make Eggs 5 WaysHow to Make Eggs 5 WaysHow to Make Eggs 5 Ways

Friday Favorites: Summer Weeknight Meals

Hello! I hope you all had a lovely Fourth of July. Thanks to some rare impulsive behavior, my parents are in town for the long weekend, so I’m spending time going to shows and museums instead of baking. Love a staycation!

Following yesterday’s festivities, I figure you might be set on dessert for a few days, but you still have to eat, right?! If you’re anything like me, you’d prefer to do so in a timely fashion, without heating up your kitchen too much, and with guaranteed delicious results! Summer is too short for boring food, y’all.

Here are some of my favorite summery weeknight meals from the archives!Friday Favorites: Summer Weeknight Meals Steak Fajitas

Tex-Mex is my comfort food of choice and, this time of year, nothing sounds more comforting to me than medium-rare steak fajitas wrapped up in flour tortillas and topped with plenty of salsa and guacamole.Friday Favorites: Summer Weeknight MealsBuffalo Chicken Biscuits

These biscuit sandwiches are perfect for game day, but since weeknight baking is rarely convenient, the quick & easy buffalo chicken filling and homemade blue cheese dressing work equally well on hamburger buns.Friday Favorites: Summer Weeknight MealsShrimp, Corn & Zucchini Sauté

This is easily my favorite summer meal. What’s not to love about a simple meal of corn, summer vegetables and shrimp?! In addition to slapping this together on weeknights, I find that this makes a great dinner party main. Just add a crusty baguette. And maybe a Raspberry Rhubarb Crisp.Friday Favorites: Summer Weeknight Meals15 Minute Stovetop Mac & Cheese

I’ve been making this recipe for more than a decade and I’m still in love with it. Quick, easy and, since it doesn’t involve an oven, ideal for a summer mac & cheese craving.Friday Favorites: Summer Weeknight MealsOlive Oil Marinated Broccoli

Every meal needs to be rounded out with a vegetable, and Olive Oil Marinated Broccoli is one that everyone loves. This easy recipe has only five ingredients, can be served cold or room temp, and gets more and more delicious as time goes on! I highly recommend making extra—you’re going to be excited to eat your vegetables.Friday Favorites: Summer Weeknight Meals
Have you made these or any of my other weeknight meals? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

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

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!