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Moo Goo Gai Pan (Chinese Chicken and Mushroom Stir Fry)

Moo Goo Gai Pan Chicken

I spent most of my time in culinary school perpetually hungry (ironically). Like most college students, I was living on pennies and most of my meals came from our “Production 201” class—a course in which we prepared food for mass consumption.

On the rare occasion when I had a few bucks to spare, I would indulge in Chinese takeout. Moo Goo Gai Pan — Chinese Chicken and Mushroom Stir Fry — was my go-to meal.

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Singapore Noodles with Shrimp

Singapore Rice Noodles Recipe

Ok, a disclaimer before we get started: The Pu Pu Platter in a Chinese restaurant isn’t something you would find in a restaurant in China. And Singapore noodles are unknown in Singapore.

My Singaporean friend was surprised when he noticed the item on a Chinese restaurant menu here in the United States, and couldn’t imagine where it was from.

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How to Make Homemade Pasta (Without a Pasta Maker!)

Homemade Pasta Dough No Pasta Machine

I’ve been making pasta from scratch for about eight years now, often with a child standing at each hip, and all without using a pasta maker.

Sometimes gadgets can be barriers to experimentation in the kitchen, but a small kitchen or a lack of funding shouldn’t prevent anyone from making delicious homemade food. I find that most meals can be made with a few simple tools that serve multiple purposes.

In the case of my homemade pasta, my rolling pin doubles as my pasta roller.

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Easy Chicken Mac and Cheese

Mac and Cheese with Chicken

As I’ve grown as a home cook, prioritizing flexibility in recipes is something I’ve learned to truly cherish. Especially now that I’m a busy parent, I find myself asking a series of questions any time I approach a recipe:

Can I substitute leftovers for an ingredient in a recipe I want to make? Can I serve this meal in a variety of ways? Is it doable to make this on a weeknight, or can I change it a bit to make it special for a weekend dinner party?

When it comes to this Easy Chicken Mac and Cheese, the answer to all of those questions is “yes!”

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Fettuccine Alfredo with Mushrooms

Mushroom Fettuccine Alfredo

If you’re a beginner cook, or even an intermediate one, it may not cross your mind to try making alfredo sauce from scratch. For me, it seemed just a tiny bit out of reach for years. Then one day, I gave it a try and quickly found myself saying, “Oh. That was really easy.”

Alfredo is one of the most underrated sauces—it’s made with just a few pantry staples, it’s always satisfying, and it’s surprisingly easy to make at home.

Every home cook should have a recipe at the ready for quick weeknight dinners. It’s certainly not just for restaurant dining!

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Skillet Pork Chops with Cabbage

Pork Chops in a Skillet

It’s hard to get really excited by cabbage—it seems so ordinary! But when I was in southern Germany recently, I enjoyed some truly outstanding cabbage with pork.

I knew instantly what made it so good: the cabbage was cooked low and slow in plenty of pork fat, and the pork served alongside was incredibly juicy. It was a memorable meal, and that wasn’t just the German beer talking.

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Chicken Enchiladas Verdes

Chicken Enchiladas Verdes

Do you ever cook with tomatillos? They look like little lanterns, with their green papery husks.

Sometimes people mistake them for green tomatoes (doesn’t help that their Spanish name is “tomate verde”); they are nightshades, like eggplants and peppers, and therefore distant cousins of tomatoes, but the taste is quite different.

The tomatillos I grow in my garden here in Northern California ripen in September and October, but most of the tomatillos we get from the market come all year round from Mexico. When my tomatillos are ripe, I make a large batch of Mexican salsa verde, perfect for tortilla chips, great with eggs, and awesome in these enchiladas!

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Meal Plan for October Week 1

October Week 1 Meal Plan

Welcome to our new series of weekly meal plans! This month, Summer Miller will be sharing with us what meal planning looks like in her house. Summer is a mom, a full-time food writer, and also helps test the fabulous recipes we bring you every week at Simply Recipes.

Getting dinner on the table with kids underfoot and work deadlines piling up can seem like an insurmountable challenge at times. I try to keep the weekday dinner insanity to a minimum by committing a little time on the weekend to prep.

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Turkey Meatballs with Tomatoes and Basil

Turkey Meatballs with Tomatoes and Basil

We used to have a cat named Jack. Jack was a sly, slow-moving, long-haired Persian that would rarely come when called, but if you put out a small bowl of vanilla ice cream, out of nowhere he would magically appear.

This is sort of how my dad is with meatballs.

All I have to do is say, “Dad, I’m making meatballs,” and he’s half-way out the door on the way over. He loves these turkey meatballs.

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Oven-Roasted Salmon, Asparagus and New Potatoes

Sheet Pan Salmon with Asparagus and New Potatoes

My dad pulled out a favorite recipe from his collection of decades old Food & Wine magazine to make and share with “the people on the website.”

A “discussion” then ensued between the rental units for at least half an hour along the lines of “What do you mean this is a favorite recipe? You always told me you didn’t like salmon.” “What are you talking about? I used to make this all the time.” “You’ve never made it in this house!…” and so on and so on.

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Chicken Florentine Pesto Pasta

Chicken Florentine Pesto Pasta

Dear chicken Florentine. I like you. I like your spinach and your cream sauce.

But honestly? I don’t love you. You’re missing a little pizzaz.

So, I would like to introduce you to my friend pesto pasta.

You kinda need that punch from the pesto’s garlic, basil, and Parmesan.

Now we have the makings of love. Go forth and multiply.

Recipe and photos updated, first published 2011

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Spring Minestrone Soup

Spring Minestrone

Welcome spring with this savory soup from Hank. ~Elise

Minestrone is one of my favorite soups, and it is infinitely malleable with the seasons. This version celebrates springtime, when fresh, new vegetables begin to show up at the market.

I know to make this soup whenever I can get asparagus, artichokes and peas all at the same time. These vegetables form the backbone to the soup.

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Flank Steak Stir Fry with Asparagus and Red Pepper

Flank Steak Stir Fry with Asparagus and Red Bell Pepper

This Flank Steak Stir Fry is perfect for a midweek meal when asparagus are in season. It’s easy enough to make and everyone raves about it!

When it comes to stir-fry, it’s all about the prep. The dish itself cooks up so quickly that you need everything prepped and ready to go before you start adding the elements to the hot pan.

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Brazilian Salmon Stew (Moqueca)

Salmon Moqueca

One of the dishes Northern Brazil is known for is their “Moqueca“, a delicious savory fish stew made with a local white fish, bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, and coconut milk.

Several years ago a Brazilian friend of mine introduced to me a salmon version of this stew she had improvised, given that the typical Brazilian fish used for moqueca isn’t found around here.

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