Simply Recipes

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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Maple-Glazed Chicken with Caramelized Onions and Pears

Maple-Glazed Chicken with Caramelized Onions and Pears

In New England, where I live, there are so many grand maple trees that the syrup goes into everything.

You often find it in pots of baked beans instead of molasses, as well as in all kinds of cakes, pies, and other sweet desserts.

Maple syrup also makes its way into simple weeknight dishes like this skillet chicken recipe, where it turns into a glaze.

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Cauliflower Pasta Bake

Cauliflower Pasta Bake

This is a mac and cheese for grown-ups. It is not the ooey-gooey comfort food of your childhood, but something a little more refined that just so happens to be cheesy and crispy.

For this baked pasta recipe, sweet, roasted cauliflower and onions are paired with salty Parmesan and buttery Gouda and topped with a crispy Ritz cracker crust. It can be served as a simple vegetarian dinner or as a side dish for roast chicken or grilled steak.

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Plum Walnut Skillet Cake

Plum Walnut Skillet Cake

When was the last time you threw a cake together in 15 minutes? Well, this one delivers and it will make you so happy!

Juicy plums are excellent for eating out of hand, but baking with them is one of the finest pleasures of summer. Their flesh is sweet and their skins are tart, so they inspire use in tarts, crumbles, muffins, coffee cakes — or in this case, an easy walnut cake.

The walnuts also give moistness and earthy flavor to the cake, which is heavily scented with the zest of an entire lemon. The whole dough can be made in a few minutes in the food processor.

Bonus points: You don’t even have to peel the plums!

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Pasta with Butternut Parmesan Sauce

Butternut Parmesan Pasta

One of the best things about fall is the abundance of pumpkins and hardy winter squash. Ever wonder why winter squash is called “winter” squash when it first makes its appearance in the fall?

Perhaps because if stored in a cool place, they’ll last several months, well into winter.

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Grab-and-Go Oatmeal Chia Cups

Grab-and-Go Oatmeal Chia Cups

I work from home, but even though I may not be actually going anywhere, I still appreciate a quick breakfast that I can grab from the fridge.

I tend to procrastinate this most important meal of the day, sipping my coffee and checking email before plunging into work. Before long, it’s ten o’clock and hunger pangs have set in.

I love opening my fridge to see these oatmeal and chia cups waiting for me.

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Chicken Minestrone with Basil Pesto

Chicken Minestrone with Basil Pesto

You don’t really need a recipe for minestrone, so think of this recipe as more of a guideline.

The key ingredients to this ubiquitous Italian soup are beans, pasta, and tomatoes. Beyond that, you can add whatever vegetables are in season, leftover chicken from another meal, or any number of things.

What’s fresh and in season? What do you have in your crisper drawer or pantry already? Take this recipe and make it your own!

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Dump Cake from Scratch

How to Make Dump Cake from Scratch

I was first introduced to the concept of a dump cake when I was in high school. It quickly became a favorite of my mom’s because it was so easy and convenient – and, of course, everyone loved eating it!

Classic dump cakes, my mom’s included, were made with canned pie filling, a box of dry cake mix, and melted butter. The ingredients were dumped into the pan — fruit first, then cake mix, followed by the melted butter. No mixing; just layer and bake.

The whole thing came out of the oven resembling something between a cobbler and streusel.

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How to Make Easy Refrigerator Pickles

Refrigerator Pickles

Pickle chips are essential for hamburgers and sandwiches. Did you know that you can easily make them yourself at home?

With this method for refrigerator pickles, you don’t need to get out the canning equipment or have any special pickling know-how.

They’re made with a simple brine and pickle in just 24 hours right in the fridge. They’ll keep for up to a month — if they last that long!

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Chocolate Cranberry Zucchini Muffins

Chocolate Zucchini Cranberry Muffins

These absolutely gorgeous Chocolate Cranberry Zucchini Muffins are from a new cookbook that I’m really enjoying right now. It’s called The Cranberry Cookbook, and it’s by none other than Sally Vargas, one of our Simply Recipes contributors!

The pages of this cookbook are full of ideas for incorporating cranberries into every meal of the day.

Didn’t think you needed that many cranberry recipes? Think again! As usual, Sally has hit it out of the park and given us a collection of recipes that are sure to become favorites.

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Bakery-Style Cinnamon Rolls

Bakery Style Cinnamon Roll

My mom lives in a small mining town nestled among the mountains of rural Nevada, and in that town is a gem of a deli-cafe run by a Mennonite family. This family makes the most enormous, fluffy cinnamon rolls slathered in sticky cream cheese frosting that I have ever seen.

Those cinnamon rolls were exactly what I channeled while working on this recipe. I wanted to deliver a recipe for big, puffy, bakery-style cinnamon rolls that anyone can make at home.

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Chilled Cucumber Soup

Cucumber Soup

Every year I plant cucumbers in my garden. And every year, my one plant takes over the bed (climbing over trellises put in place for other vegetables) and showers me with a daily supply of lovely cucumbers.

This is all well and good, as long as I remember to pick them daily. As careful as I can be, hunting for cucumbers in the tangle of leaves and vines, I do miss them occasionally, only to discover a monster cuke hiding perfectly camouflaged under a leaf.

Like zucchini, left to their own devices, cucumbers will grow to ginormous proportions, resulting in a thick-skinned, seedy bat.

What do do with extra large cucumbers?

Make cucumber soup!

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Make-Ahead Skillet Baked Spaghetti

Make-Ahead Baked Spaghetti Skillet Supper

Here’s a great recipe for those days when you leave the house early and won’t be back until dinner time.

Prep this skillet pasta in the morning before you leave – or even the night before — and pop it in the oven when you’re home from work, your kid’s soccer practice, the last beach run of the season, or whatever activities have filled your day.

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Slow and Low Country Ribs

Slow and Low Country Ribs

When it comes to the grill or barbecue, I defer to my colleague Hank, especially when it concerns meat. Here he shows us how to cook pork country ribs, slow and low. A favorite from the archives! ~Elise

Country ribs. Big slabs of porky goodness cut from the shoulder of the hog. Sold boneless or bone-in, these are nothing like a rack of ribs. They are pork logs, laced with fat, and require slow, low-temperature cooking to become delicious.

That’s the downside: You can’t do a fast country rib.

The upside is that they are all meat, so you only need one to fill you up. In fact, I slice them in half because a full rib, which can weigh a pound, can be too much for some people.

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Sheet Pan Chicken with Roasted Broccoli and Potatoes

Sheet Pan Chicken with Broccoli and Potatoes

Everyone should have at least one meal that they can make without having to think too hard – a recipe that is easy, reasonably healthy, and totally delicious.

These chicken thighs with roasted potatoes and broccoli truly fit the bill. And the best part is that you only have one pan to clean up after dinner!

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Roasted Eggplant and Butternut Squash with Tahini-Yogurt Sauce

Roasted Eggplant and Squash with Tahini-Yogurt Sauce

You don’t need to work very hard to make this vegetarian dish look stunning. The vegetables are so colorful!

This is golden eggplant is the dish I make whenever we have company for dinner and there are vegetarians among us or I feel like something a little lighter is in order. Even the carnivores among us like a meatless meal once in a while, and besides, eggplant is such a meaty vegetable!

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Tomato Pie

Tomato Pie

Here’s one of the best loved recipes on the site—tomato pie! Perfect at the peak of summer tomato season.

One of the great things about going on vacation is I get to hang out with my friends, and sometimes meet their friends, who sometimes have OMG-this-is-so-GOOD dishes that they bring over. This tomato pie recipe is a result of one of these encounters.

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Spinach & Artichoke Sheet Pan Pizza

Spinach-Artichoke Sheet Pan Pizza

Sheet pan pizzas are seriously the only way I ever make pizza in my house anymore. I used to futz with a heavy baking stone, but I hardly ever take it out anymore!

Rolled out and stretched onto a sheet pan, a 1-pound ball of dough makes the perfect thin crust pizza.

Here’s a recent favorite: a super simple white pizza topped with garlicky baby spinach, marinated artichoke hearts from a jar, and lots of mozzarella cheese.

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Cold Pea Salad

Cold Pea Salad

Long warm summer days are perfect for chilled pea salad!

This recipe uses frozen peas, which you don’t even have to defrost, green onions, water chestnuts, and smoked almonds. The peas do thaw a bit, but they’re wonderful crunchy and cold too.

I first encountered this delightful salad at a friend’s potluck. It was one of the dishes that everyone went back for for seconds.

I’m not sure of the original source of the recipe, but since the recipes calls for Smokehouse Almonds, perhaps the almond company? It could easily be made with tamari almonds as well. You just want salty, crunchy, roasted almonds for this salad.

Do you have a favorite pea salad? Please let us know about it in the comments.

Photos and recipe updated, first published 2007

 

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Blender Piña Colada

Pina Colada

You may associate piña coladas with laid-back poolside vacations, but this mix of rum, coconut, and pineapple is actually a pillar of the tiki drink canon.

Quite a few bartenders and bars have claimed to have created the now famous piña colada over the years, but the drink’s true origins are a bit murky. There’s even evidence that traders in the 19th century mixed rum with coconut water and mashed pineapple for what would have been a sort of proto-piña!

In the end, though, I guess it doesn’t really matter. Because piña coladas are amazing.

If you’re looking for a refreshing, sultry cocktail to highlight your next summer party this is it. 

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Fresh Salmon Cakes with Spicy Mayo

Fresh Salmon Cakes with Spicy Mayo

My mother loved to mix canned salmon with a few seasonings and shape it into cakes headed for a hot skillet. This meal thrilled us as kids and it was an easy cooking night for her.

Now I make salmon cakes with fresh cooked salmon, which only adds a few minutes to the prep time and makes incredibly moist cakes. This is also a great way to use up leftover salmon from another meal!

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Spatchcocked Grilled Chicken with Orange and Ginger

Ginger-Orange Spatchcocked Chicken

This chicken with a funny name (“spatchcocked”?!) is a boon for grillers.

Spatchcocked chickens say moist when grilled over low heat – no fear of dry, tasteless grilled chicken with this recipe!

Combine this with a tasty ginger-orange marinade, and you’ve got one fantastic summer meal.

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No-Bake Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cookies

Chocolate Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies

No bake cookies will always and forever remind me of my mom, who made tons of them when my brother and I were teenagers — probably because they were super easy, could be made with pantry staples, and were perfect for that time between extra-curriculars and dinner.

Plus, they included both cocoa and peanut butter, which is basically one of the best combinations ever.

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Pressure Cooker Baked Beans

Elise’s recipe for Slow Cooker Boston Baked Beans is fantastic. If you’re in a rush and don’t have time for the full version, it turns out that you can speed it up considerably by using an electric pressure cooker like the Instant Pot!

Instead of taking eight hours to cook, I can make these pressure cooker baked beans in just over two hours!

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Farro Salad with Green Beans, Corn, and Cherry Tomatoes

Farro Salad with Corn, Green Beans, and Tomatoes

Have you ever cooked with farro before? This wheat grain is chewy, nutty, and filling. It’s also not much harder to prepare than brown rice.

Mix cooked farro with some vegetables, as we’ve done here, and you have an easy side dish for dinner or even a light lunch for the week! Just add some chicken or a poached egg for a complete meal.

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Berry and Banana Terrine

Berry & Banana Terrine

This berry and banana terrine is one of my favorite summer desserts. It’s so pretty!

It’s packed with potpourri of berries, speckled with banana slices, and held together with a grape-juice based gelatin.

Think Jello, but a grown-up, sophisticated version, with all natural ingredients and much less sugar.

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Pasta and Bean Picnic Salad

Pasta Bean Picnic Salad

A picnic table without pasta salad feels like something is missing. You can put out all kinds of beautiful dishes, but pasta salad has to be one of them. It’s dependable, kids love it — and so does Nana.

This recipe combines pasta with beans and fresh vegetables for a more substantial picnic salad. The dressing is a simple vinaigrette – no mayo – so the flavors stay fresh and bright.

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Old-Fashioned Peach Pie

Peach Pie

I could wax on and on about my love for pie. The flake of the crust, the sweet filling, that sparkle of sugar on the crust — but I’ll spare you.

Peach pie is right up there on my list of favorite things to make and eat. One of my very first memories is of riding my grandfather’s shoulders, picking peaches right off the trees in a California orchard, taking that first bite, and letting the juices flow down my arm.

This is the memory of summer for me, and peach pie is a recipe I think every baker should have in their recipe box.

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Angel Hair Pasta with Quick Cherry Tomato Sauce

Angel Hair Pasta with Quick Cherry Tomato Sauce

Every once in a while, I improvise a pasta dinner that I like so much, I end up making it twice in one week. That’s what happened with this recipe.

It’s so quick and simple: Just sauté colorful cherry tomatoes with garlic and toss them with angel hair pasta. Top it with Parmesan and you’re done

To say the sauce is quick doesn’t quite get the point across. It’s practically instant. This is one of those surprising meals that is more than the sum of its parts.

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Pressure Cooker Mexican Pulled Pork (Carnitas)

Pressure Cooker Pulled Pork Carnitas

Want pulled pork in a hurry? With the pressure cooker, you can have tender, fall-apart pulled pork in just a little over an hour!

Elise’s low-and-slow slow cooker Mexican pulled pork is fantastic, but when I forget to plan ahead or want it to be ready a little more quickly, I make this speedy version in my Instant Pot.

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Vietnamese-Style Noodle Bowls with Chicken

Vietnamese Noodle Bowls with Chicken

An entire meal in one bowl is a brilliant system. That’s one reason the bowl trend has taken off and shows no signs of declining.

Another is the ease. You can put a bowl together without any heavy lifting, and at the end of your assembly line you have happy eaters.

Here is a riff that I like to do on Vietnamese “bún” – one of the original meals in a bowl! This is a cold salad of vermicelli rice noodles, chicken, fresh herbs and vegetables, and a tangy rice vinegar dressing.

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Iced Chai Latte

Iced Chai Tea Latte

Last summer, I was all about cold brew coffee. This summer, my obsession is iced chai lattes. And my friends, I am deeply obsessed.

The size (and frequency) of my batches seems to have become larger and larger as the summer has progressed. At first, I was just drinking one or two glasses in the morning. And then another glass in the afternoon started to seem perfectly reasonable.

When I switched from water glasses to pint glasses, I knew I was in trouble.

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