Belgian WafflesWaffles for breakfast! Chicken and waffles for dinner! Invest a few bucks in a waffle iron and you are ready!Dawson’s Favorite Banana Chocolate Chip MuffinsIt's a great day for all of us when Jill makes these amazing muffins for Dawson. There are two uses for old bananas in our house. Most of them get peeled and put in the freezer to use in a smoothie. But some of them, the lucky ones, live to a ripe old age, and get privilege, nay, the honor, of being the start of Dawson's favorite Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins. Old bananas, we salute you!Biscuits with Black Pepper and Cheddar Cheese (or without!)The Arkansas kid in me still loves biscuits. I have tried a variety of recipes, but now I have the one I'm sticking with. Yes, it has an obscene amount of butter in it. But maybe you just shouldn't worry about it for this one thing? I adapted it from Joanna Gaines Magnolia Table cookbook, and I just love it. The black pepper and cheddar cheese make them savory additions to breakfast, brunch, or dinner. You can make the dough ahead and cut the biscuits up to 3 days ahead, then pop them in the oven when you absolutely need to have them. I think you'll love them!Eggplant ParmesanThis is Jill's favorite dish that I make. Therefore, I make it a lot! A little marital advice from principalchef: when your spouse is nice enough to be clear about what he/she likes, try to do THAT as much as you can. Of course, if that something is a bit too much, then Meatloaf was right. Where was I? Oh yes - this is Jill's favorite dish - she loves the non-fried eggplant slices, and the bread crumbs are incredible. The bread crumbs are like a dish by themselves! My thanks to Ina Garten for another great recipe!Jilly’s Chocolate Chip SconesOne of our favorite days happens when Jill makes scones (she pronounces them with a short O sound from her year in Australia. She's not alone in that pronunciation.) She uses this recipe from an old Williams Sonoma Chocolate cookbook, and it is a crowd pleaser!Split Pea SoupI've had this recipe for over 30 years, written on a note card. I can't even remember where I got it. But I love it and it's a staple in our house in the fall and winter. I serve it with my Irish Soda Bread recipe and it always feels like a wholesome, healthy, and very tasty meal.Jill’s Green Sauce/Dip/DressingThis is one of the best things to happen in our house in 2018. Jill found the "Magic Green Sauce" recipe from Pinch of Yum. It's so easy and so awesome! We have served it over chicken, tofu, as a dip, on a sandwich, on potatoes, and so many other ways. It's like chimichurri sauce without the bite and the smooth jazz feel of avocados!Fried RiceI love fried rice. For us, it's not a side dish. It's a one bowl meal. The key is thinking a little bit ahead and having some one to three-day old rice in the fridge. If you keep some shrimp (Trader Joe's Argentinian) in your freezer, or if you have some crab (Costco) in your fridge, you are ready. Take stuff that's already in your fridge, freezer, and pantry, add some cooked rice from the night before, and go out there and be a fried rice hero!Not That Bad for You Banana Cream PieThat pie shaped empty space that's been in my life so long? It's all good now.
When I was in my mid-forties, I remember telling Jill that I missed the days when I could eat anything and my weight just remained constant. I told her, "I was living the good life and I didn't even know it." Well, those days are long gone, but, to quote Joel Goodson's dad in Risky Business, "Every once in awhile you just got to say, 'what the heck' and take some chances." It's a pretty sad testament to my risk taking at this point in life that banana cream pie is up there. But there you have it. I just have repeat my Stuart Smalley mantra, "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it people like me."
Skillet Apple Blackberry PieI adapted this recipe from the amazing chefs at Cooks Illustrated. It's fun to use when you have fruit, and you ALWAys have apples and frozen blackberries. It's super tasty, it's easy, and it's one more chance to showcase your cast iron skillet. BBQ Chicken with Balsamic GlazeBBQ Chicken. It's a pretty perfect food. The only food more perfect than BBQ chicken may be fried chicken. And I don't have that perfected yet. But it will be mine. Oh yes. It will be mine.
Where was I? Oh yes, the virtues of BBQ chicken! You can serve it at a dinner, a lunch, a picnic, or anything, and if you do it right, it makes great leftovers. Don't be that chef who cooks the chicken over a hot grill, ending with the outside burned and the inside raw. You're better than that! Here's my version.Heather’s Crab CakesMy friend Heather is well known as the person who does just about everything in our school district. She's amazing at work, and to top it off, she's a spectacular cook! This is one of her favorite recipes, and now that she's shared it, it's one of mine too.Pizza with Homemade Pizza DoughPizza Night is a big deal in our house. And you can buy dough at Trader Joe's or your supermarket, and it's just fine. But why settle for just fine, when making great pizza dough is so easy to do! And when people ask if you made the dough yourself, you calmly answer, 'Why yes I did." It feels good.
You need at least 90 minutes of time, and preferably two hours, but 90% of that time is waiting for it to rise. Try it out!Garlic ChickenHaving a variety of high quality chicken recipes is essential After I wrote that, I decided to add Yardbird to my categories list, just so I can see how many chicken recipes I have. This one is outstanding! So easy, so inexpensive, and pretty darn awesome! How can you not like it if if has garlic chicken gravy?!?Cambodia Yellow Curry SauceIn December of 2018, Jill, Dawson, and I took a big trip to Cambodia. Jill's sister was living there at the time, and we took the opportunity visit their family, and travel with them around Cambodia. It was amazing! The sites, the brutal and beautiful history, and the food all made an impact.
My favorite foods there were Crab Fried Rice, Fish Amok, and Kep Fish. This mild Cambodian curry dish is a my combination of Fish Amok and Kep Fish, except that there is no fish. You choose what to serve it with - fish, shrimp, tofu, and chicken all work well. Serve over jasmine rice and you have a full one-dish meal!Karen’s Canadian Christmas Wreath CookiesYou can't get much more Christmas traditional than my friend Karen. Do what she does and make her Christmas wreath cookies! These cookies are easy to make and the walnuts make them spectacular! So bring a little Canada into your Christmas, or anytime of the year!Silver Palate Wild Rice SaladMy friend Kim brought this over for Friendsgiving Dinner and it was a huge hit! She told me that she got the recipe from The Silver Palate cookbook and I felt a wave of nostalgia. I used that cookbook so much in the 80s and 90s and I loved it! Somehow, I lost that book an my moves around, so I'm grateful to Kim for reminding me. The recipe feels fresh and filling, and is a great dish to serve at home or at a pot luck.RisottoRisotto is one of those dishes that you don't make ahead of time. You make it while you are talking to your guests and it's part of the entertainment. You have all of your ingredients ready, and there you are, cool, collected, creative and all you're doing is making a delicious dish right in front of your guests eyes. It's dinner and a show!Quiche – So Hot Right Now – QuicheWhy don't I make quiche more often? That's what I always say after I make this quiche! There was a funny book published in 1982, Real Mean Don't Eat Quiche, by Bruce Feirstein, that nearly destroyed the American Quiche industry. The whole point of his humor was that such thinking is male lunacy! Dudes! It's OK! A slice of quiche and a side salad is a spectacular lunch or dinner. The problem is, two slices make it even better.Ham on the Green EggHam on the Green Egg is a perfect brunch food. It's hard to screw up! The ham is already cooked. You're just giving it some extra flavor and showing off your smoking passion and skill. This recipe is a perfect Easter Recipe. And if you don't have a big enough crowd to finish the ham, you can freeze the leftovers in small bags, and use them in omelettes, quiche, and a wide variety of recipes. A little ham (or bacon) never hurts any recipe.Chimichurri SaucePesto sauce is to Italian cuisine what chimichurri sauce is to Argentinian and Uruguayan cuisine. But this sauce is meant to accompany the amazing meats served at South American asados. Want to make almost anything better? Add chimichurri sauce! It's beautiful on the table, and spectacular on almost anything. It features parsley and garlic, and as much heat as you want to add. And it's better after it's been sitting and blending for a few days. Try it out at your next event where meat is a feature of the meal!Tomahawk SteaksI had been eyeing the Tomahawk Steaks at our local grocery store for sometime. They were the showcase feature of the butcher's display case. A few years ago (when Dawson was just 14), I decided it was time and invited our friends Steve and Karen - great cooks themselves - over to enjoy. Steve, who burns about 17,000 calories a day biking all over the Santa Monica Mountains, thinks that one of these is just about a perfect serving size!
These super big and super thick steaks are quite a show and really fun to cook, serve, and eat! Cooked low and slow, then seared at the end, they are super tender and just amazing.“Put Some Mustard On That!” Warm (or cold!) Potato SaladA fantastic go-to potato salad for dinner or a picnic/bbq lunch.Irish Soda BreadWhen I was 16, my family ventured to Ireland for a 3 week bike trip. It was not a tour, but just my adventurous dad leading us around the country. We camped half the time. We were always hungry after a big ride, and we would love anything our parents would make at camp. This is where my dad uttered his wisdom that I repeat often: "There's nothing like food when you're hungry!" Truer words have never been spoken.
When we stayed in bed and breakfasts, the brown irish soda bread was my absolute favorite. It filled me up and gave me energy for the day, and I absolutely loved it with good creamy butter. And I still do!
I found this recipe many years ago at recipeland.com. I have not changed it, and it is a super easy bread to have in the house any time.
What I love about this lasagna is you can really taste all of the different flavors. I can’t explain it – normally, lasagna is a great conglomeration of flavors, but when I eat this one, it feels like I am tasting a lot of individual flavors. I love it. Jill got the ideas for this recipe from her friend Jacqui and from Cooks Illustrated. Her Aunt Joanne suggested the artichoke hearts. I hope you enjoy it.