A few years ago I hosted a bridal shower at my home on a steaming hot summer day. The weather was so warm that I started to panic that my menu wouldn’t hold up in the heat. I went down my list of recipes, trying to figure out what I could rework and tweak to survive the oppressive backyard sun. I got to the potato salad on the list and decided to cross off my traditional recipe (which you can find in my cookbook!) from the menu and swap it for a French-style potato salad made with a vinaigrette instead of mayonnaise. It was a winner, and something I always keep in my back pocket now for warm weather gatherings. read more

Have you noticed recently how so many people are cooking from scratch more now that everyone is at home? We have tried our hand at fresh bread, roasting chickens, and tons of baked goods. Part of it is that we’re looking for something to do at home on the weekends (cooking with kids is usually a pretty fun, if not messy, activity). But another big part of it is out of necessity! We place our grocery store order online and it’s a bit like playing roulette to see what exactly will be in the bags when we arrive for curbside pick-up. My recent order was missing an out of stock item that I was craving: tortilla chips to dunk in my favorite Heluva Good! Dips, so I decided to try and make my own. read more

Taco night is a favorite in our household. Whenever I’m stumped about what to make for dinner, the first suggestion that always gets thrown out is “how about tacos?” and I am nearly always on board. Lately we have been making it part of our Saturday routine to grill up a bunch of tasty chicken and make our own tortillas (my sister gave us this fun tortilla making kit for Christmas and it’s fun to do as a family).  One of my favorite side dishes to make when we’re having taco night is a spicy chipotle broccoli slaw. Most of the time when I make this dish, I use a broccoli slaw mix that you can get near the bagged lettuce at the grocery store. I’ve had trouble finding it lately in my grocery orders so I decided to make my own version — scroll down for the full recipe! read more

There’s a lot of tough news in the world right now, so I’ve been trying my hardest to find the silver linings wherever I can. Little bits of light and positivity make all the difference to my mood and outlook. It can be something as simple as making our weekends feel a little bit different than the weekdays, even though when we’re all at home together it all kind of feels like it’s blending together! One fun thing I’ve been doing on the weekends is mixing up some special cocktails, experimenting with the ingredients I have on hand to make something tasty. My friends at Riondo Prosecco sent me some of their delicious, bubbly prosecco to  #TakeASeccoTo enjoy a little happy hour, and I got to work mixing up this simple cocktail. read more

With kids out of school and adults working from home all day, like most people we are eating three full meals a day at home. Add to that the non-stop toddler snack requests, and my own time spent in the kitchen working on recipes for this site and my clients, I’m constantly looking for ways to make mealtime a little bit easier. It’s true, even food bloggers can use a break from all of this home cooking! One thing I’ve been doing for my own lunches lately is making a quick little snack plate to fill me up when I only have a few minutes to eat between juggling work and mom-life. It’s a choose your adventure sort of lunch, with a boost of protein from Hood Cottage Cheese, and whatever else you can find in your fridge and pantry. read more

We have been spacing out our grocery store visits quite a bit during social distancing, so getting creative with what’s in my pantry and making use of every-last-ingredient in my fridge has been a big part of mealtimes lately. We started the year off with a resolution to eat a bit less meat and swap in a few more vegetarian meals in an effort to have a lighter impact on the environment. It turns out our meat-free meal idea has translated pretty well to the current hunkered-down situation. This recipe is a winner for one of those meatless Monday lunches or dinners because it only takes about 15 minutes to make and uses a few simple pantry ingredients and my favorite Little Leaf Farms greens mix! read more

I have an endless number of variations of this pasta dish I make every spring – something simple yet buttery, a bit of white wine and pasta water for a silky sauce, and full of fresh veggies that speak to the season. My friends at Better Homes & Gardens magazine challenged me to create a recipe using delicious California Walnuts and I thought they would be a delightful and unexpected addition to a dish like this! This dish comes together quickly, so it’s perfect for weeknight dinners. read more

Soup is on repeat here the past few weeks. It’s been great for using up leftover veggies and pantry staples, pairs perfectly with all of the bread we’ve been baking, and feels like the right kind of comfort food to have during all of this social distancing. Plus the weather has been terribly cold and rainy recently: the ultimate soup weather. This soup is one that I tested a few weeks before we hunkered down, and it felt so appropriate for the times since there are lots of modifications you can make with what you have on hand. I opted for frozen fire-roasted corn, but canned works too. I used up a few pieces of bacon I had in the freezer but you can omit it if you want to make it vegetarian. You can use any kind of stock you have available, and the milk that gets stirred in the end is optional if you prefer a dairy-free version. We ate ours with some garlicky buttered naan bread that Jane and I made together using this recipe  — scroll down for the full recipe!  read more

With all that’s going on around us, I’ve been leaning a lot more into cooking. On a good day it’s my way of showing my family (who I’m in very close quarters with!) that I love them. But on a bad day, it’s also always been my escape. I find a lot of calmness in cooking, focusing on the task at hand, and embracing my creativity. This time of year, my cooking starts to lean into the change of seasons, and I love getting to see some of the first fresh spring ingredients appear –I was at a bridal shower a few weeks ago (before all of this social distancing started!) and the event had a delicious, spring-inspired menu. One dish was a beautiful green salad with big shaved slices of parmesan, and a grains salad that fulfilled my carb-needs. I mixed them both together on the plate and it made me think about how silly it is that we always separate green salads and pasta salads – why not mix them together?
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I think my ultimate goal when it comes to dinnertime is to create recipes that are fast, appeal to everyone, and require minimum clean-up. Getting a dish that can tackle all three of those requirements is easier said than done, but when I find one that works, I pretty much feel like Super Woman. I’m excited to report that the recipe I’m sharing today is one of those elusive speedy, one-pan, crowd-pleasing dinner ideas. I saw al fresco Mild Mexican Style Chicken Sausages in the grocery store and they inspired this dish, which is a marriage of two crowd pleasers – it’s one-part quesadilla, one-part pizza. read more