Nothing says comfort food quite like a big bowl of macaroni and cheese. This recipe is a lightened-up take on this classic dish—a sneaky way to boost your veggie intake and I promise you won’t be sacrificing that hearty, cheesy, gooey deliciousness of the real thing. And with one-pot cooking, clean-up will be a breeze!
One-Pot Butternut Squash “Mac and Cheese”
I first had Greek lemon potatoes 3 years ago in a fabulous little Greek restaurant near my old office. I had never thought about pairing lemon with potatoes before, but boy was I missing out on something so comforting and delicious. Ever since, I’ve been trying to recreate the magic of those Greek potatoes at home. My recipe is definitely not as good as the real thing (I don’t know how they do it!), but it’s pretty close. At least, it serves as an elevated side dish to just about any main course.
Greek-Inspired Lemon Potatoes
To me, a perfect fish taco is crispy, spicy, and fresh. Although this dish is a lot of prep work, it’s one of the rare occasions when I prefer to do it myself when the craving strikes, having been disappointed by way too many limp, greasy, and bland fish tacos at restaurants. If you know exactly what I mean, then try my take on fish tacos. On the side, I recommend a sweet and smoky grilled corn salsa with caramelized shallots.
Crispy Fish Tacos with Chipotle Sauce and Charred Corn
If you love Mexican food and you love sushi, why not put them together? Granted, this creation is a loose application of the word sushi, but you get the idea—they’re bite-size roll-ups of bean, cheese, and avocado goodness! Similar to that addictive umami flavor of sushi, these roll-ups pack a ton of flavor, especially if you use a flavored tortilla: spicy salsa balanced by creamy avocado; the heartiness of the beans balanced by the freshness of lime juice and cilantro; and the crunchy topping balanced by the lusciously smooth filling.
These roll-ups make a fun appetizer for entertaining. Or, make them into a meal by adding a side of chips and salsa and a simple quesadilla. Ole!
Vegetarian Mexican “Sushi”
I recently signed up for one of those grocery subscription boxes—you know, the service that mails you perfectly portioned ingredients and the recipes to cook 3 meals per week. It’s a luxury for sure when one plastic-wrapped garlic clove and the smallest bottle of olive oil you’ve ever seen arrive on your doorstep every week. I justified the cost of the service as a trial to be inspired by ingredients and dishes I wouldn’t otherwise spend money on at the grocery store or at a restaurant to try. I opted into the vegetarian subscription service—not because I’m vegetarian—but because I entertain a few vegetarian friends, and in my own attempt to eat a little less meat, I wanted to explore some heartier, non-meat sources of protein. It’s been a few months now, and so far, so good! I’ve discovered I actually like mushrooms and tofu (gasp!), and there are a TON of high-protein grains I never knew about, which is a huge relief for my pasta addiction, like bulgar, red quinoa, and fregula sarda (see below). However, I usually deviate from the recipes that the service provides and make my own creations, often adding other ingredients I already have on hand and subtracting some of the ingredients that don’t fit with the flavors I’m going for. So last week, I ended up with a few odds and ends that haven’t made it into any of my dishes. Wondering what to do with these mismatched ingredients, it dawned on me: wait, this looks familiar… it’s Chopped! This long-winded story was my way of sharing the inspiration behind this “whatever’s on hand” dish that turned out surprisingly wonderful! Nutty pasta, earthy mushrooms, both buttery and crispy beans, and a touch of lemon juice and grated cheese bring it all together into a light dinner or a savory side dish. I hope this recipe inspires you to star in your own personal episode of Chopped!
Fregula Sarda with Mushrooms and Butter Beans
Don’t ask me why, but when I moved into my first apartment, I strongly associated quiche with my newfound independence. I had never made quiche before, but I suppose it looked like a fancy, impressive dish to prepare for my fancy, impressive friends on a Sunday brunch. Unsurprisingly, I’ve yet to host a brunch party at my new place. But on a recent lazy Sunday, I decided to take a stab at it. To my delight, I discovered that quiche is about the easiest thing in the world to make. Plus, it keeps in the fridge for up to 1 week, making it a perfect dish to keep on-hand and heat up for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Broccoli, Carrot, and Cheddar Quiche
Many of my recipes are inspired by two questions: (1) I don’t feel like shopping – what’s in the pantry and (2) I want to eat now – what can I cook quickly? This recipe is extremely versatile, lending itself well to whatever you have on hand, and if you follow my time-saving tips, you’ll have a delicious, hearty side dish for breakfast, lunch, or dinner in no time.
Cheesy Skillet Potatoes With Poblano Peppers and Butternut Squash
I call this the “Day-After-Popeye’s” dinner based on my own guilt-inducing experience having indulged in a satisfying-in-the-moment dinner comprised of fried chicken, Cajun fries, and of course, the buttery biscuit. This is a great dinner for those nights when you want something (relatively) guilt-free and easy on your stomach, but also more satisfying than a plate of lettuce. This also makes a sensible side dish for a chicken, steak, or pork dish.
Guiltless Green Dinner With Light Lemon Sauce
… that’s how amazing this recipe is. Oooooh, I bet your mouth is watering now. The components of this recipe can stand alone, but together, they make a satisfying bite. Each forkful is a total package deal when you get a piece of the nutty polenta cake, the peppery greens, the burst of acidity from the tomato, and, of course, the luscious melty mozzarella cheese.
Crispy Parmesan Polenta Cakes With Caprese Salad