Easy Chimichurri Sauce

Chimichurri has been my favorite thing to make all summer. It’s super easy, brings a ton of flavor to the table and always gets rave reviews. It’s also very forgiving: Measurements need not be exact; just taste and adjust accordingly.

It has a billion uses: Pour over steak, chicken, fish or grilled veggies. Toss with pasta or roasted potatoes. Make chimichurri bruschetta. Dress a panzanella salad. Use as a dip. Spread on a sandwich. Eat by the spoonful. It doesn’t last long in our house!

Adapted from Bon Appetit‘s Chimichurri Sauce.

Ingredients

1 small shallot, chopped fine
1 Fresno chile, seeded and chopped fine
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup red or white wine vinegar
juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 bunch cilantro, chopped fine (leaves and tender stems; about 1 heaping cup)
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped fine (leaves and tender stems; about 1 heaping cup)
1 cup olive oil

In a medium bowl, stir together the shallot, chile, garlic, vinegar, lemon juice and salt. Let it sit while you chop the cilantro and parsley.

Add the cilantro, parsley and olive oil, then whisk with a fork to combine. Add salt to taste. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

Pictured: Pyrex Ivy 441 Cinderella Mixing Bowl

5 Instant Pot Recipes to Make Over and Over Again

I was late to the Instant Pot craze, and I never thought anything could replace my beloved slow cooker. But the magic and speed of pressure cooking has really won me over! I’ve tried a bunch of different recipes and experimented on my own a bit, and everything has generally come out pretty good. When it comes to recipes that I’d want to make again, though, only five have made the cut so far. Here they are, in no particular order.

Note: I use the 8-qt Instant Pot Duo Plus, but I think all of these recipes would work in the 6-qt size Instant Pot or other similar pressure cookers.

Instant Pot Perfect Brown Rice Pilaf
This is my new favorite way to cook brown rice. It comes out nutty and flavorful, with just the right texture, and goes well with just about any entree.

Easy Pressure Cooker Chicken and Chickpea Masala
This curry tastes complex but is truly no-fuss. I like to use boneless skinless chicken thighs, which changes the pressure cooking time to 8 minutes. I also prefer to stir in the spinach at the end, rather than pressure cooking it as the recipe directs.

Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup
This rivals the brown rice pilaf as the recipe I’ve made the most. It’s super easy, infinitely customizable, and smoky-spicy-delicious.

Instant Pot Korean Ground Beef
One of the fun things about this recipe is that it employs the pot-in-pot method, where the rice cooks in a separate bowl at the same time as the beef. The beef is really yummy on its own, but also makes a great taco filling.

Easy Pressure Cooker Pork Chile Verde
Just wow! Besides being both easy and delicious, this recipe is fascinating because it does not call for any liquids up front. The onions, chiles, tomatillos and pork release enough moisture to attain pressure in the cooking process, and provide ample sauce. So much sauce, even, that I think I will try using 5 lbs of pork next time rather than the 4 in the recipe.

Pictured: Corning Ware Grab-It Bowl, Corning Ware Grab-a-Meal Bowl, Pyrex Salad Bowl 444 Cinderella Mixing Bowl, Pyrex Gold Wreath 043 Oval Casserole

Any Bean Hummus with Miso

One of my favorite things to do is cook with pantry staples — I love it when all the ingredients I need are already in my kitchen. So recently when I was in the mood for hummus, I decided to make my own. Since I didn’t have any chickpeas, I used black beans instead. Also I’ve been experimenting with making my own miso (and using it to add umami to lots of different dishes), so I threw that in too. The hummus turned out great, and I’m convinced the recipe would work well with just about any type of bean.

Admittedly, miso and tahini may not be staples for most people, but they are great to have on hand, if only to make more hummus!

Ingredients

1 can beans, drained and rinsed
3 tbsp tahini
2 cloves garlic
3 tbsp lemon juice (about one lemon)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp white miso
1/2 tsp cumin
salt

In a medium bowl, combine beans, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, 2 tbsp olive oil, miso and cumin. Use an immersion blender (or food processor) to puree until smooth. Add more oil or a little water if needed for desired consistency. Add salt to taste.

Pictured: Pyrex Butterfly Gold 443 Cinderella Mixing Bowl, Corning Ware Wheat W-43-B Petite Pan, Corning Ware Wheat W-1-B Casserole

Hominy Stew with Bacon and Poblano Peppers

The weather is warming up in Northern California, and I’m having a hard time letting go of stew season. Plus, I’m on a mission to test out recipes that might freeze well for ready-made summer camping meals. This one fits the bill, though I might try adding white beans next time for extra protein.

Side note: Ever since I made this Slow Cooker Pork Stew with Hominy, I’ve been wanting more hominy in my life! I don’t know how I overlooked the chewy goodness of nixtamalized corn kernels for so long. This hominy stew really lets them shine.

Adapted from Food & Wine‘s Hominy Stew with Bacon.

Serves 6

Ingredients

8 oz bacon
2 medium onions, chopped
3 poblano peppers, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeƱo pepper, seeded and chopped fine
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 15-oz cans white or yellow hominy, drained and rinsed
1 14 1/2-oz can diced tomatoes (undrained)
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
zest (about 1 tsp) and juice (about 2 tbsp) of 1 lime
1 tbsp masa harina (optional)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
salt
pepper

Use kitchen shears to snip bacon into 1/2-inch pieces, then place in a large pot or Dutch oven. Cook over medium heat until browned and crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer bacon to a plate lined with a paper towel and set aside.

Remove all but 1-2 tbsp of the bacon grease from the pot, then add the onions, poblanos and jalapeƱos. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper, then saute over medium heat until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more.

Add the hominy, tomatoes, chicken broth and lime juice and stir. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.

Uncover and continue to simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in masa and simmer 5 minutes more. Add lime zest and cilantro, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve topped with bacon.

Pictured: Descoware Flame Dutch Oven, Pyrex 024 Lime Round Casserole

St. Patrick’s Day Dinner 2019

Corned beef and cabbage is a must for any St. Patrick’s Day feast. And if haven’t cured your own corned beef, you’ve gotta try it! It really is pretty easy if you plan ahead — like brining a turkey, but for 5-7 days. The one special ingredient you need is curing salt (sodium nitrite), also known as prague powder or pink salt (not the same as Himalayan pink salt). It’s easiest to purchase online — I bought this one a couple years ago and it will probably last me forever.

Typically corned beef is made from brisket — but any tough cut will do (must be suited for long, slow cooking, like a pot roast). So this time I’m trying it with a chuck roast. That has led to a slight hiccup in my menu planning: Because the roast is thicker than a brisket, there’s no room for cabbage in my slow cooker! Consequently I’ve added a mustardy coleslaw to the lineup, which I think complements the corned beef pretty well.

This year’s St. Patrick’s Day menu:

  • Home-Cured Corned Beef (roughly based on this curing recipe and this cooking recipe)
  • Mashed Potato Casserole with Cheddar and Green Onions (recipe)
  • Braised Collard Greens (recipe: Braised Winter Greens from Cook’s Illustrated‘s More Best Recipes)
  • Mustardy Cabbage and Apple Slaw (recipe)

Pictured: Corning Ware Green Macrame P-332 Roaster, Corning Ware April DC-1 1/2-B Designer Casserole, Pyrex Spring Blossom 043 Oval Casserole, Pyrex Verde 444 Cinderella Mixing Bowl

Sausage and Spinach Spaghetti Pie

I’ve been on the hunt for a casserole that is fun, dramatic and delicious in equal measures — and I think I’ve found it! I love this recipe because it’s a meal in itself, but a side of garlic bread and salad wouldn’t hurt. I’m also planning to try making it again with other ingredients — a meatless version would still be tasty, as would other vegetables (eggplant? chard? zucchini?). Just be careful not to add too much moisture, or the final product won’t set properly.

If you don’t have a springform pan, an 8-inch cake pan will do. But you’ll miss out on the fun of releasing the sides of the pan and letting the pie stand on its own.

Adapted from Food Network’s Beefy Cheesy Spaghetti Pie.

Serves 6

Ingredients

6 oz uncooked spaghetti
2 tbsp olive oil
8 oz bulk Italian sausage (remove casings if you’re using links)
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 15-oz can crushed tomatoes
12 oz baby spinach, roughly chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream
salt
pepper
4 large eggs
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
8 oz small mozzarella balls, drained
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cook the spaghetti according to package directions, until it’s just al dente. Drain, transfer to a large bowl, then toss with 1 tbsp olive oil to keep it from sticking together. Set aside.

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook sausage in 1 tbsp olive oil, breaking it up into crumbles, until no pink remains. Spoon it out onto a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.

Add the onion to the skillet and saute until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about one minute more. Add the tomatoes and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.

Add the spinach a handful at a time, stirring until wilted. Stir in the cream and simmer for about 5 minutes to thicken the sauce. Add salt (about 1 tsp) and pepper to taste.

Stir together the spaghetti, sausage and sauce. Allow to cool slightly. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs and 1/4 cup Parmesan, then stir into the spaghetti mixture.

Grease a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Transfer half of the spaghetti mixture to the pan, then dot with half of the mozzarella balls. Add the rest of the spaghetti mixture, then top with the rest of the mozzarella balls and 1 tbsp Parmesan.

Bake until the center is set, the edges are browned and crispy and the cheese is starting to turn golden, about 25 minutes. Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.

Pictured: Pyrex Verde 444 Cinderella Mixing Bowl, Corning Ware Snack-It Plate

Homemade Vegetable Broth

Making vegetable broth from scratch is so easy to do, and tastes so much better than the store-bought stuff — it’s totally worth the effort! If you have a little time, some empty containers and some freezer space, you can stock up and never have to buy a can again. I like to freeze it in 1- or 2-cup portions so I can defrost just the amount I need at any time

Of course if you’re really diligent, you can save up vegetable scraps over time (storing them in the freezer) and use them in place of some of the ingredients below. The exact quantities aren’t super critical, so mix and match as you see fit.

Yields 6-7 cups broth

Ingredients

18 cups water
4 ribs celery, cut into large chunks (including any leaves)
3 carrots, cut into large chunks
3 leeks, cut into large chunks (clean carefully to get rid of any grit)
2 parsnips, cut into large chunks
2 small yellow onions, quartered (skins left on)
1 bulb garlic, cut half horizontally (skin left on)
2 bay leaves
10 whole black peppercorns
1-2 tsp salt

In a large stock pot, combine all ingredients except salt. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 2 hours.

Turn off the heat. Remove most of the vegetable pieces and place them in a colander over a large bowl. Press with a spoon to help squeeze out excess liquid. Then place a weight on top (such as a bowl full of water) and let sit until the veggies stop dripping. Discard the veggies and put the released liquid back into the main pot of broth.

Add salt to taste, then strain the broth through a cheesecloth-lined colander and into a bowl. Chill the broth by placing the bowl in an ice water bath. Transfer to containers (leaving about an inch of head space) and freeze until needed.

Pictured: Pyrex Measuring Cup, Hazel Atlas Egg Beater Cup