I love Greek and Middle Eastern food and I love eggplant.
So baba ganoush is right there in my wheel house.
I order it every time we are out at a Greek or Turkish restaurant, but for some reason I never thought to try making it. It’s funny, meme (husband’s grandmother) always made hummus and yogurt dips, but she never made baba ganoush. I guess because she, master chef, never made it, I assumed it was hard.
It’s essentially a fire-roasted or grilled eggplant puree mixed with tahini.
Well, I hosted Greek Easter this year for the first time, and, ya know, since I didn’t have enough to do what with all the other food, I turned to my husband and said I’m making baba ganoush.
Have I got news for you all: it’s so easy!
You don’t need a grill or even a stove with gas burners.
All you need:
- 1 eggplant
- 2 tablespoons tahini (or more or less to taste)
- white pepper
- food processor
Preheat your oven to 450.
Slice the eggplant in half lengthwise and then score the flesh with your knife in a cross hatch pattern, not going all the way through to the skin. Drizzle with a little olive oil.
Place cut side down on a foil-lined cookie sheet and place in the oven.
Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the eggplant has basically collapsed.
Let cool then flip it over and scrape out the awesomely roasted eggplant with a fork.
Place the scooped out eggplant into the food processor
And add the tahini, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth.
Serve immediately or put it in the fridge to chill. Amazing with veggies or with pita.
This is the best dessert I have ever made.
It’s incredibly delicious.
It’s no bake.
It’s 4 ingredients.
And it takes like ten minutes to make.
That right there is the recipe for the best dessert ever.
You will need
- 16 oz container of ricotta
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk
- mini chocolate chips
You will also need something to dunk into the dip. Strawberries were delicious. Italian cookies, biscotti, or even broken up ice cream cones would be great.
Into a large bowl, dump powdered sugar and ricotta.
Carefully stir so you don’t get powdered sugar everywhere.
If the mixture is too thick, add a little bit of milk just to loosen things up. Then switch to a whisk and whip the mixture to incorporate some air.
add your chocolate chips
place in a nice serving bowl and top with a few more chocolate chips
You can serve immediately or refrigerate for a bit.
Serve with strawberries or cookies.
Every time my husband goes to Austin he comes home raving about the enchiladas.
We make quite a bit of Mexican food, but I had never tried enchiladas.
This was a decidedly team effort.
- because he is the one who has eaten these fabled enchiladas from Austin
- and two, because as you read on, you’ll see you need four hands for this one.
I decided to keep the filling fairly similar something we would make for tacos. So I went with
- 3 diced green bell peppers
- 1 diced onion
- 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
- shredded rotisserie chicken
Preheat the oven to 400
Start by tossing the peppers, onions and beans into a pot with a drizzle of vegetable oil. Cook over medium until the peppers and onions have softened.
Toss in the shredded chicken. It’s already cooked so we’re just looking to warm it up a bit. Season with salt and pepper.
You can stop there and have some awesome tacos. Just scoop the filling into tortillas and add some cheese and guac.
To turn them into enchiladas you will need:
- 2 cans red enchilada sauce
- shredded taco cheese
You will also need a wide, shallow dish (like a pie pan) to dump the enchilada sauce in and a 9×13 baking dish to bake the enchiladas in.
Oh, and a partner. You definitely will want a partner for this one.
Pour some sauce into the 9×13 pan. Just enough to coat the bottom. Pour the rest into the shallow dish.
Set up an assembly station with the pot of filling, cheese, tortillas, dish with the sauce and 9×13 baking dish. (ignore the bananas in the picture. We have a small kitchen. I had nowhere else for them to go)
Fully dunk a tortilla in the sauce.
Hold the tortilla and have your partner spoon some of the filling into the center. Careful you don’t overfill- you need to be able to roll these.
Have your partner sprinkle on some cheese.
Carefully roll the tortilla, bringing both sides together
And place seam side down in the baking dish.
Repeat this process until you are out of tortillas or until the baking dish is full.
Pour the remaining sauce from the dish over the tortillas
Top with cheese and bake for about 30-40 minutes
Serve up with a side of guac.
By the way, we made a lot of enchiladas because my brother in law was coming for dinner. But I definitely recommend making a big dish of these because 1. it’s a messy process, so get messy for a big reward, and 2. they keep well in the fridge, so you can have leftovers!
Remember last week when we were super French and made Croque Monsieurs and Ham and Cheese Quiche?
Also remember how we tried keeping the number of ingredients we had to buy to a minimum?
Well after a weekend in Atlantic City, we need some meals that don’t require a lot of ingredients (the slot machines are not always kind) and that are on the lighter side (there may have been a lot of drinks and 3am Taylor Ham sandwiches).
With the French theme from last week in mind, I kept turning to brie.
Now brie is not exactly light and healthy, but it packs a ton of flavor in a tiny amount. So used sparingly, and paired with fresh greens, we may be on to something here.
I’m a big fan of salads for dinner. And I’m an even bigger fan of cheese, so I thought about combining the deliciousness of brie with a salad. Then I thought, what’s better than brie? Exactly. Warm brie.
So for this dinner you will need:
- greens, (I used a mix of baby spinach and spring mix)
- some brie
- some honey
- I had walnuts on hand from the Mushroom Walnut Ravioli the other week, so I tossed those in as well.
- Also added a handful of dried cranberries because I always have them in the fridge.
Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees.
Place your brie in an oven safe dish and drizzle with a bit of honey.
Bake for about 10 minutes, but don’t walk too far away from the oven. The brie goes from still coldish to melted like that.
You just want it to be a little soft and runny.
Carefully top your greens with the warm brie and walnuts. Add dried cranberries or whatever else you wish.
Tuesdays are worse than Mondays.
I don’t know why. They just are. Mondays at least you can talk to your coworkers about what you did over the weekend, and somehow in retelling the weekend fun, you can kind of extend it beyond the two days. But Tuesday? Tuesday is like okay for real now, you have to work. No excuses.
So I’m even more excited about the ham we made Sunday being in the fridge and ready to be transformed into a super easy super yummy dinner than I was yesterday.
Yesterday was all about the Croque Monsieur. Today, we’re going to take the same ingredients (minus the bread) and make a ham and cheese crustless quiche!
So easy. If you made the Croque Monsieur yesterday, you’ll have all the ingredients on hand. If not, the shopping list is still super simple.
- ham, cut into one inch cubes
- cheese, shredded (any kind works- mozzarella, swiss, cheddar- whatever you have)
- five eggs
- splash of milk
- butter, for greasing the pan (you can use cooking spray too)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and butter a pie pan.
To the buttered pie pan, add your chunks of ham in an even layer.
Then sprinkle over your shredded cheese.
In a bowl, crack five eggs
Add a splash of milk
And whisk until combined.
Pour your milk and egg mixture over your ham and cheese.
Bake for about 30-45 minutes, until the center is firm.
Slice and enjoy.
To continue the French theme, serve with a salad of greens topped with a mustardy vinaigrette. It will cut through the richness of the eggs, ham and cheese, like it did yesterday with the Croque Monsieur.
And there you have two meals from a few simple ingredients- eggs, milk, ham, cheese, butter and bread.
That’s two itty bitty city kitchen friendly meals from 6 ingredients!
So my favorite thing in the world is when I can cook one thing and get more than one meal out of it.
Okay it’s not my favorite thing in the world, but it makes me really really happy.
I had a ham in my freezer from an Omaha Steaks order from my aunt. I had kind of forgotten about it. Then I saw it tucked in the back and the wheels immediately started turning.
If I cooked that one ham on Sunday, we could have Croque Monsieurs on Monday and a Ham and Cheese Quiche on a Tuesday. Even better? All of the ingredients for both meals are essentially the same, so less to buy at the store. Score!
Croque Monsieur is basically the best ham and cheese sandwich you will ever eat. When we were in Paris, my meals largely consisted of Croissants, Croque Monsieurs and Steak Frites. Croque Monsieur is sort of like a ham and cheese, meets grilled cheese meets savory stuffed French toast.
The ingredients are super simple, like a lot of French cuisine. It’s really just about the execution.
You will need:
- bread (any kind you prefer)
- ham, sliced
- swiss cheese, sliced
I cooked the ham on Sunday, let it cool, sliced it and popped it in the fridge. This way, Monday after work I only had to assemble the sandwiches and cook them until the cheese melted. But I am getting ahead of myself.
Start by placing a few slices of ham on one slice of bread.
Add the cheese and then add the other slice of bread.
In a shallow dish, add two eggs and a splash of milk
and whisk until combined (see, kind of like French toast.)
Next, carefully take the whole sandwich and place it in the egg and milk batter.
Press it down so it is fully coated and then flip so the other side is coated as well.
Repeat with your other sandwich.
Melt some butter on a skillet and place your sandwiches in the melted butter.
Cook on the first side until golden brown (maybe 5 minutes over medium heat) and then flip and cook on the other side.
The bread will be all golden and custardy and the cheese will be melting into the ham.
For a very French touch, and to cut the richness of the ham and the cheese, serve with a salad with a mustardy vinaigrette. The mustard and the vinegar is the perfect balance to the richness of the sandwich.
Enjoy your sandwich, and store the leftover ham and cheese in the fridge for tomorrow’s dinner. We’ll keep it French again with a ham and cheese quiche.
One of the things that’s really tough when it comes to city living is grocery shopping.
Whatever you buy you have to be able to carry home, because unlike the suburban dwellers, us city folk don’t have a car trunk to transport the cans of chick peas, boxes of pasta and gallons of milk.
This means a bit of strategizing goes into my grocery shopping ventures. I try not to buy milk and orange juice at the same time, or do a restock on canned goods when i need to buy eggs (can be utterly disastrous).
The other grocery conundrum is while there may be a fabulous deal on cereal or pancake mix, and while it is true that these things have a long shelf life and can be bought in large quantities, my itty bitty city kitchen cannot hold large quantities of anything.
So, what’s a city chef to do?
Well, I’ll tell you.
Start thinking about how you can buy just a few things and transform them into one or maybe even two fantastically flavorful meals. That’s exactly what this dinner is. Three ingredients (plus butter and olive oil, which I always have) that go a long way when it comes to flavor, won’t take up a lot of room and aren’t too heavy to carry home.
Bring a pot of water to boil and cook your ravioli according to package instructions.
In a skillet, drop in sliced mushrooms, some butter and some olive oil (I never measure butter and oil, so use your best judgment)
Cook until the mushrooms are browned.
And then add in your chopped walnuts.
Cook until the walnuts are warmed, stirring so they don’t brown.
Drain your ravioli and top with the mushroom walnut mix. For extra decadence, you can add a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.
Decadent, indulgent, and super easy.
As soon as there is the tiniest hint of Spring in the air, all I want is lemon.
Lemon with shrimp, lemon with pasta, and especially lemon desserts.
I guess after a winter of heavy and rich soups and stews, my taste buds are craving something as bright and zingy as the beautiful sunshine streaming through the windows.
This is a fantastically light and fluffy cake. And the best part? I almost always have all of the ingredients on hand.
For this recipe you will need:
- 1 ½ Cups Flour
- ½ Cup Greek yogurt
- ½ Cup Canola Oil
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 2 Eggs
- 2 Tsp Baking Powder
- ½ Tsp Salt
- Lemon zest (as much or as little as you want)
- ¼ Cup Lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
Preheat the oven to 350 and grease an 8 inch round cake pan.
In a large bowl, which yogurt, sugar and eggs.
until you have a well combined batter
Add lemon juice, oil and lemon zest
It’s going to look like it wants to separate
but keep whisking until well combined
Add flour, salt and baking powder to the wet ingredients
And whisk (carefully so you don’t have flour all over your kitchen) until you have a smooth batter.
Pour into your greased cake pan.
And bake for about 30 minutes. Until a toothpick comes out clean.
After the cake cools, remove from cake pan and dust with powdered sugar. If you want to get fancy, you can cut a shape out of parchment paper and use it as a template for the powdered sugar.
Slice and serve with some whipped cream.
Lemony, light and oh so delicious.
And kind of healthy!
No butter and not a lot of sugar. Plus Greek yogurt. Which is so good for you.
Coming to you from mom’s not so itty bitty, just outside of the city, kitchen.
Since it was Easter, we spent the weekend at my parents’ house.
Since it was Good Friday, we couldn’t make our usual Friday night pepperoni pizza and salami bread.
The pizza was no problem- just lose the pepperoni and there you have Good Friday ready, meat free dinner.
But what to go with it?
Salami bread without the salami is just bread.
How about take some bread and stuff it into peppers?
Italian stuffed peppers and pizza? Perfect Friday night dinner.
You will need
- cubanelle peppers
- bread, any kind will do, leftover rolls, white bread, whatever
- Italian seasoned bread crumbs
- olive oil
- vegetable oil
Wash the peppers, cut off the tops and remove the insides.
In a bowl, loosely tear the bread. We made four stuffed peppers and used 7 slices of white bread. The amount of bread will depend on how big the peppers are. Worst case scenario? You start stuffing peppers and run out of stuffing and make some more.
To the sliced bread
add about 1/4 cup bread crumbs
and drizzle in 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
mix and add more oil or bread crumbs as needed. you want a moist but not oily mixture.
Take your hollowed pepper
and start stuffing, making sure to push the bread all the way down
and stopping a bit from the top. If the pepper is overstuffed, the filling will fall out when you are trying to fry the pepper.
place your stuffed pepper in a skillet with enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom of the pan.
Stuff your remaining peppers and place in the pan.
Cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes total, turning the peppers so they are cooked on all sides.
You want the skin to get nice and blistered and the filling to get crispy.
The perfect light dinner with a big salad or the perfect accompaniment to Friday night pizza!
So, back in the day, my family owned a pizzeria in Orange, NJ.
It’s still there – Toast of the Town- but it’s not in the family any longer.
My mom worked there with her aunt Mary back when mom and dad first got married. She ripped the tops off her gym socks to make a sweatband on hot nights while Aunt Mary screamed out number 69.
Welcome to my Family.
So, while we no longer have the pizzeria, we do still have… drum roll… the pizza pans!
Mom has one and grandma has one. I’ve been jonesing for one.
And now, finally, this beauty is mine.
Do you see the perfectly seasoned pan? Do you understand that no matter what I did my pizza would not taste the same as my mom’s or grandma’s because no matter how i seasoned or topped it, it was not baked on this pan.
My grandfather recently passed away and we are cleaning out my grandparents’ house and moving grandma into a cute little apartment. She no longer cooks for herself, so when mom asked what I wanted from the house, I asked for the pan.
Now, my Friday night pizza tastes just like mom’s.
Pizza night is such a great family tradition that we’ve been doing as long as I can remember. All you have to do is buy good dough (our grocery store has great frozen dough), defrost it in the morning and then stretch it, top it and bake it when you get home.
Drizzle some olive oil on the pan so the dough doesn’t stick and place your stretched dough on the pan.
Add canned pizza sauce
Slice pepperoni (because dad says you can’t have pizza without pepperoni)
And bake at 425 for about 15 minutes.