Out To Sea

A move to an island 30 miles out to sea poses the question (among many) what to pack from the kitchen? The basics were covered (heading to a furnished spot) though I had grand plans to bring my favorite gadgets, gear, and of course beloved cookbooks. Well, two packed-to-the-gills cars later I realized my kitchen box was a pipe dream, but I was able to sneak in my absolute must haves: Le Creuset Dutch Oven, Santoku Chef Knfe, Double Oven Mitt, Digital Meat/Baking Thermometer, my fave Timer, and last but not least, my beloved Milk Frother. It was actually kind of cool to pare it down to the absolute essentials to feel at home in any kitchen. And best of all, I realized that even though I couldn’t pack up my stack of cookbooks, thanks to weeknightsonly.com I have access to this amazing collection of tried and trues! I will enjoy cooking all these recipes and will certainly have a smile on my face thinking of all those who shared their go-to faves. Happy Cooking to all in kitchens old and new! PS: Visit PANTRY & TOOLS page for all the scoop on items mentioned above, and loads more.

BEHOLD, THE RED ROCKS SANDWICH

Full disclosure: it could have been the surrounding natural amphitheatre, the fantastic company of friends old and new, or the anticipation of a favorite band about to begin – but I fell in love with this sandwich at first bite. In a moment of summer retrospection, as this season comes to a close, this sandwich (and the evening itself) was a season highlight for certain.
P.S: Can be eaten anywhere, any season, but preferably off a tailgate!
P.P.S: Ingenious tip from LT – if traveling with this little bit of heaven, assemble at home and then put the entire loaf back in the original bread bag. Once at your tailgate, beach, picnic, or hopefully concert at Red Rocks (Blues Traveler’s annual 4th of July show highly recommended!), unpack the full loaf, slice on a cutting board, and serve.

Behold, the RED ROCKS SANDWICH:
– Fresh loaf of bread either country Italian, Ciabatta, or baguette
– Cut lengthwise in half, layer with fresh mozzarella, Genoa hard salami, sandwich turkey, prosciutto
– Mix balsamic vinegar and olive oil and add either good seasons packet seasoning or garlic salt and pepper
(I eyeball it but it’s more thicker than an Italian salad dressing so more olive oil…so maybe close to 1 1/2 vinegar to 1 part olive oil) slather mixture on the remaining bread slice and place on top.
– Slice loaf into thin strips and serve on cutting board

INA’S ORANGE BAKED HAM

‘Tis the season of celebrations…graduations, birthdays, communions, family time, etc. Whatever it is that brings you all together, you’ll be the hostess with the mostest with this go-to special occasion recipe. The goddess that is the Barefoot Contessa will never steer you wrong. Ever.

So who better to have by your (virtual) side than she when preparing for a special occasion? Hosting is a breeze with her divine ORANGE BAKED HAM recipe. Serve with a warmed baguette, and a simple butter lettuce salad with apples, craisins, and crumbled blue cheese, dressed with Newman’s Own Balsamic Vinaigrette.

PS. For the perfect party starter, channel your inner Mary Giuliani and serve those beloved “Tiny Hot Dogs”.

Now go celebrate!

GREEK TURKEY BURGERS

This lip-smackingly good recipe for Greek Turkey Burgers was a treat to receive in multiple ways. For starters, it’s beyond delicious, so there’s really nothing more needed from a recipe. BUT, it was also sent from a blast-from-the-past fab friend, AND is the first international submission to land on the WEEK NIGHTS ONLY doorstep – by way of London, England. I’ll spare you all the sentimentality of how cool I REALLY think it is that cooking can connect us all – whether from generation to generation, or good old social media – and move right along to the superb Greek Turkey Burger recipe. Recipe thanks to JCM who says it’s a current hit at home. And a few words to the wise, I actually forgot to pick up the red onion at the market (!!), flailed on how to defrost the frozen spinach in time, AND didn’t even put the feta in the ground turkey mix – AND THEY WERE STILL AMAZING! PS: The homemade tzatziki with fresh dill and cucumbers might be my new favorite food item ever (for any non dairy peeps out there I substituted Veganaise for the greek yogurt) – and these are definitely going to be a summer go-to.
xo CH

TO TAOS (and tacos) WITH LOVE

It’s already been a few days since Taos, but my mouth still waters just THINKING about my Orlando’s burrito, my St. Bernard cocktail, and, maybe best of all: the cardamom and frothed milk cup-o-coffee my sis in law served before our fam set off to finish our Spring Break road trip. How to cope with re-entry? First day back in the Northeast, I cooked up egg, bean, and cheese breakfast burritos, some TURKEY TACOS for lunch (hard and soft shell), and some WHITE BEAN AND CHICKEN CHILI in the slow cooker for dinner (served in taco shells, of course). Though these TURKEY TACOS should have been the first recipe I ever added to the site, based on number of times cooked, it’s on there now – hope you enjoy these as much as we do!

xo CH

SUPER SLOPPY JOES

I am a firm believer that gathering for a meal (though seemingly not so easy these days) is one of life’s greatest joys. Home made, store-bought, leftovers, take out…doesn’t matter. But the smells and sounds of a meal coming together in the kitchen create memories that last a lifetime – let alone the celebration or solace a gathered meal can bring (visit the incredible Dinner A Love Story for all things family dinner). So this recipe is one of THOSE, it brings me back to the exact time and place that I first made it and LOVED it. It’s a vintage Rachael Ray, from her earliest cookbooks, and her Food Network debut days – when watching her show and reading her books taught me everything I (desperately) needed to know to feed our new family. Her show got me through many a newborn night. And I when I made this recipe this week, fifteen years after I first learned of it (and probably hundreds of times in between), I used the same Santoku knife and Boos cutting board I learned years ago were Rachael’s must-haves. My 30 Minute Meal cookbooks are dog-eared, stained, and best of all, loaded with memories (sidenote: I still remember how fab I felt serving a visiting friend Cashew God Bless You Chicken). So dive in and dig in to Rachel Ray’s Super Sloppy Joes. RECIPE IRL: As usual I used ground turkey (I just can’t kick it), improvised from the spice drawer for the Steak seasoning, skipped the bell peppers, and squeezed in ketchup instead of adding tomato sauce. Enjoy! xo CH

MARTHA’S SHEPHERD’S PIE

In the past I’ve had some (slightly painful) reasons to believe that Martha Stewart and MY definition of “simple” differ just a bit – but when she describes this Shepherd’s Pie as “easy” and “tasty”, she’s right on the money. Of course it helped that I knew the recipe sender would never lead me astray…(thank you BS!). Of note, make sure to have your go to mashed potato recipe on hand as the recipe lists mashed potatoes as an ingredient – here’s our go to if needed: The Best Damn Vegan Mashed Potatoes. RECIPE IRL: As usual, I substituted the beef for turkey just for preference and it was a hit. I also threw in some cut up carrots since I didn’t have frozen veggies on hand. Enjoy!
xo CH

MIMI’S BOLOGNESE

With the summer solstice around the corner, it seems that grilling is the talk of the town. But some (myself included), are not grillers, though I am ALWAYS thrilled to be in the company of one. So the non BBQ recipes will keep on coming this summer from WEEK NIGHTS ONLY, and the one that follows is probably my most tried-and-true. It kind of had me at hello since it comes from my mom, and cooking from a family, extended family, or friend’s recipe brings me total joy. But, that aside, it is SO good and SO easy that it is a total keeper on its own merit. I have doubled, and tripled this on many occasions, and am fresh off a Father’s Day visit with my parents where Mimi herself whipped this up for three generations, and not a lick was left. Hope you enjoy MIMI’S BOLOGNESE.

PERFECT ROAST CHICKEN

Though I am hesitant to feature yet another chicken recipe (I will mix it up I promise), this roast chicken is too fabulous to put on hold, and it’s fresh on the mind for two reasons. First, I made it last week and it was SO good and devoured by all. AND you may have heard about a small wedding in Windsor over the weekend, well he supposedly popped the question over this dish. Full disclosure, the 1 to 1 1/2 hour cook time may take this off the table as a weeknight option – it was 1 hour for me – if you front load the emails, the put aways, and tomorrow’s to-do’s during the cooking time, it really was a breeze. I didn’t have the Thyme or red onions on hand so proceeded without, and I screwed up the gravy. And absolutely buy kitchen string next time you are at the store – you’ll have it forever, and feel like a rockstar every time you use it. I served it with steamed broccoli (the tea kettle hack for hot steam water is genius BTW) and my favorite risotto ever, it’s printed on the back of this jar. LOVED by ALL, and not one plate to scrape: Barefoot Contessa’s Perfect Roast Chicken.

LIFE-CHANGING CHICKEN SHAWARMA

Ok, ok. Life changing may be a BIT much.  But not really. Because this was one of the earliest recipes submitted by a friend (who got it from a friend) to Week Nights Only – and it instantly epitomized what I hoped to gain from the site. A recipe I had never made before in my life, and one that at first glance I would have written off as WAY too intimidating to make on a weekend, let alone a weeknight. But because I knew it was SOMEONE’s go to as a favorite weeknight dinner, that’s all I needed to get past my “I can’t make a NY Times recipe” and “marinate in the morning – that’s way too much work” mentality.  And thank goodness…because sitting down to this mouth-watering dinner was not only a treat for the taste buds, it symbolized my highest hopes of creating and sharing a recipe collective of the tried and true.  Tip: The morning marinade takes about 2 minutes – then all the work is done for the evening other than the preheat and roasting. I served over my fave Jasmati rice. So, without further ado, behold Oven Roasted Chicken Shawarma. If that link isn’t working for you, try this one. Recipe thanks to JF via LC! JF notes: Super easy and really delicious. Kids love too. I leave out cinnamon and red pepper flakes for various taste buds here and it still turns out great. We do chopped red pepper and cucumber (red onion good too) plus tzatziki as toppings for our middle eastern taco night.

xo CH