Simply Recipes

Turkey Meatball Soup with Spinach and Orzo

Turkey Meatball Soup

These baby meatballs are so cute you’ll fall hard for them. Use your hands to mix them in a bowl with a little Parmesan and some parsley – you’ll feel like an Italian nonna!

Once shaped, the meatballs go into a soup with orzo and lots of baby spinach. It’s an easy, hearty meal that everyone will love.

Turkey Meatball SoupMeatballs were traditionally made with scraps of meat, often pork or beef, and stale bread. They were a make-do meal for people who had little.

Today, most of us just buy ground meat at the store whenever a craving strikes. But meatballs are still an economical meal, especially when mixed with whatever sandwich bread or leftover dinner rolls need using up.

Turkey Meatball SoupI like to quickly sauté the meatballs to brown their outsides, but you can skip this step if you’re in a hurry. Then, just cook them in chicken broth along with the orzo and spinach. A dusting of grated Parmesan added at the end brings out the flavor of the cheese in the meatballs and adds to the scrumptious tastes in your bowl.

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Salmon Avocado Poke Bowl

Salmon Avocado Poke Bowl

The first time I ever ate raw fish was when I was about ten or eleven years old. I was at a Japanese buffet, and my mother told me to eat only the expensive foods so we would get our money’s worth, which meant seafood and sashimi. Of course, I didn’t particularly enjoy raw fish, but being the dutiful daughter, I heeded her advice.

It wasn’t until I started eating poke bowls a few years ago that I warmed up to the idea of dishes with raw fish!

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Rhubarb Fool

Easy Rhubarb Fool

There’s no fool like a rhubarb fool, and now is the time for it. The arrival of rhubarb in the market always cheers me. Spring is here!

This British dessert goes way back — we’re talking about a few hundred years — and it was originally made with custard and pureed fruits, most notably gooseberries.

I’ve lightened it up with whipped cream instead of the custard and swapped the gooseberries for seasonal rhubarb. It’s an easy-peasy dessert for a weeknight dinner or a spring party!

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Creamy Asparagus Soup

Creamy Asparagus Soup

When spring arrives and asparagus are in season, they are hard to resist, right? Those green soldiers salute us as we enter the produce section of the market, challenging us to make good use of them while we can!

Here is a fresh and easy asparagus soup that makes delicious use of our seasonal asparagus. The base is just onions, a little garlic, lots of chopped asparagus, broth (either chicken or veg), and chopped fresh parsley.

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Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns

Have you ever made hot cross buns?

They’re an Easter tradition, a soft, slightly sweet, spiced yeast roll speckled with currants and often candied citron.

They’re marked with a cross on top (hence the name), signifying a crucifix, and are typically served on Good Friday, the Friday before Easter Sunday.

Hot cross buns are a rather old English tradition, dating back to the Saxons who marked buns with a cross in honor of the goddess Eostre, the goddess of light, whose day of celebration eventually became Easter.

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Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus

Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus

Whenever I’m in the mood to give oven-roasted asparagus a little pizzazz – for Easter brunch or Mother’s Day, for instance — I wrap thin slices of prosciutto around the asparagus spears. This is such an easy way to make the roasted asparagus look fancy!

I also love how the salty flavors of the prosciutto complement the subtly sweet flavor of roasted asparagus.

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Easy-Peel Hard Boiled Eggs in the Pressure Cooker

Easy Peel Hard Boiled Eggs in the Pressure Cooker

Like many of you, I abandoned the dream of finding one surefire method for making consistently perfect hard boiled eggs some time ago. After trying a few too many “foolproof” tricks with spotty results, I relegated easy-peel eggs to the same category as unicorns and cheap airfare: nice to fantasize about, but if they were truly real, you’d think we’d have heard about it by now.

But that’s the thing about myths — just when you’ve thrown your hands in the air and walked away, something new comes along to rekindle your hope. Like Fox Mulder, we want to believe.

For me, that something new was my pressure cooker and a friend’s improbable suggestion that I try using it to make a batch of eggs. Just like that, the dream was alive again.

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How To Make French Crêpes

How To make Crepes

For a dish that seems so fancy, crepes are surprisingly easy to make at home. After all, they are just thin pancakes – but oh, what pancakes!

The ancient origins of crepes are found in Brittany on the coast of France, where their popularity spread to make them one of today’s most beloved national dishes. Crepes can veer sweet or savory with plenty of filling options for either.

Forget about intimidating chef skills or fancy equipment. Crepes require only patience. Once you get the hang of making them, there is no stopping you.

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Asparagus Quiche with Fontina Cheese

Asparagus Quiche

There’s a bakery near my house in Boston that makes a quiche with the most wonderful smooth and creamy filling. Every time I ask the owner for her recipe, she shrugs and says something about having made it this way forever. She has no intention of telling me more.

But I figured it out! If you want an exceptionally creamy filling in quiche, use all heavy cream.

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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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Easy Lemon Pudding

Easy Lemon Pudding

This lemon pudding couldn’t be easier. It’s made with just four ingredients: whipping cream, sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice.

All you do is warm everything up, then let the pudding set. It’s like magic.

Elegant, simple, and with a velvety texture that is positively dreamy, this lemon pudding is perfect for Easter dinner, Mother’s Day brunch, and everything in between.

No one needs to know it only took you 15 minutes to make.

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Shrimp Fried Rice

Shrimp Fried Rice

Do you ever have leftover rice in the fridge? A great way to use it up is to make fried rice! Fried rice works best with chilled leftover rice actually. Fresh rice can fry up a bit mushy. But leftover rice that had a chance to dry out a bit? Perfect for frying.

Pretty much anything can go into fried rice—usually a combination of veggies, beaten egg, and a protein such as the shrimp we are using in this recipe, or chicken, fish, or tofu.

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Pressure Cooker Beef Brisket

Pressure Cooker Beef Brisket

My family has always cooked our Passover brisket in the oven, low and slow. It’s delicious, but takes over three hours to make! This year, I wanted to see if I could speed up the process using a pressure cooker.

And you know what? You can.

Using a pressure cooker, you can make tender, deeply flavorful brisket with a thick, rich gravy in about half the time!

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Chicken Biryani

Chicken Biryani

Biryani is a beautiful, simple South Asian rice pilaf that’s easy to make at home. It’s typically served at celebrations in India, and my Indian friends here in the United States talk about this dish with such nostalgia.

You can make it with all kinds of meats (like goat or seafood!) or just vegetables. The rice is often golden with turmeric and studded with raisins and nuts.

Biryani can also be a fantastic weeknight meal since it’s made all in one pot and is ready in under an hour. Today, I’m sharing my version of biryani with chicken.

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Steak Salad with Miso Vinaigrette

Steak Salad with Miso Vinaigrette

I come from California, the land of salad for dinner. You can’t ask for a much simpler homemade meal (I mean, unless cereal counts).

With this easy and delicious steak salad, pan-seared skirt steak sits atop a bed of spring greens, carrots, radishes, and apples. The miso vinaigrette- tangy, sweet, substantial, and full of umami, provides another layer of wow.

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Soba Noodle Bowls with Spinach and Poached Eggs

Sesame Soba Noodle Bowls

Is it spring yet?!

Where I live in the Northeast, the sun says it’s spring but the temperature outside says it’s anything but. We could still have a major snowstorm as late as April!

This noodle bowl is perfect for this in-between time. Poached eggs add a satisfying richness to the meal. They are also symbol of renewal, and right about now, I’m ready for one.

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Spinach Risotto

Spinach Risotto

When spring finally makes an appearance around here, it does so with an explosion of green. Trees that have stood gloomily bare for months begin to leaf out all at once, beckoning us to wake up(!) and get ready for the warmer days to come.

Thus the inspiration for this lovely green spinach risotto.

It’s a simple risotto—made in the classic way with risotto rice, stock, wine, and Parmesan—with the addition at the end of a half pound of chopped baby spinach with a little lemon zest and juice to brighten the flavors.

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Roasted Cabbage with Bacon Gremolata

Roasted Cabbage with Bacon Gremolata

Cabbage doubters, prepare to be seduced.

Here we have thick slices of cabbage roasted until the edges are crispy and golden, and then served with a crunchy, salty, nutty, bacon-y gremolata scattered over top. Plus Parmesan cheese. Helloooo, gorgeous.

This recipe comes from a new cookbook from my friend Andrea Bemis, the farmer and co-owner of Tumbleweed Farm up in Oregon. She lives and breathes vegetables every day, so if anyone knows how to give veggies some serious curb-appeal, it’s her.

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Quick & Easy Hamburger Soup

No matter what season, the chances are soup is a good answer to “what’s for dinner?”

It may be the answer on a cold and chilly day, or just when you have no other ideas for dinner and need something fast. Soup is warm, comforting and always delicious.

This hamburger soup is a quick meal when you need it, but that tastes like it has been tucked away on the stove for hours,

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Quinoa, Arugula, and Feta Salad

Quinoa Arugula Feta Salad

Have you ever seen siblings who are almost identical but have different hair color? That’s what red and white quinoa are like!

The two are nearly identical in terms of flavor and texture — I think red quinoa is every so slightly chewier and nuttier — but one is pale and the other is a distinctive red brick color.

I like using red quinoa because it’s so striking, particularly tossed in a salad with baby arugula and creamy cubes of feta.

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Fish Chowder

Fish Chowder

My first job out of college was in Boston, in the financial district downtown. My local friends did their best to initiate this wide-eyed Californian into New England traditions of every sort, especially food.

We feasted on as many menu items as we could afford at the Union Oyster House and the No Name Restaurant, and $5/lb lobsters I would buy from the Italian fish monger across the street from where I lived in the North End.

One dish I could never get enough of was “chowdah”. Clam chowder, fish chowder, seafood chowder, whatever, I loved it.

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How to Make Quick and Easy Poached Chicken

How To Quickly Cook Chicken on the Stovetop

I have a lot of recipes in my regular rotation that use just a small amount of shredded or sliced cooked chicken, like my go-to lunch salad, these BBQ burrito bowls, and any number of quick weeknight soups.

If I have some leftover chicken in the fridge, I use that for these easy meals. Otherwise, I use this poaching method to quickly cook a few chicken breasts when I need them!

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Kale Pesto

Kale Lemon Pesto

Move over basil, kale would like some room at the pesto table!

I recently needed some pesto for a recipe and thought I would pick some up ready made at the market. Oops! I forgot, basil is a warm weather plant, and it and its pesto are hard to find around here in winter.

No problemo. It’s easy enough to make pesto from scratch with kale. Like its basil pesto cousin, kale pesto is terrific with pasta, potatoes, sandwiches, and with any and everything which calls for pesto.

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Chicken Tikka Masala

My husband is British, and therefore incredibly picky about Indian food. He bemoans the lack of restaurants that serve “proper curries” in our neighborhood.

This is why, on our annual trek back to UK to visit his family over the holidays, we’ve started the tradition of going to an Indian restaurant on New Year’s Eve. We skip the champagne, the sparkles, and the countdown in favor of eating our fill of spicy curry.

In an effort to ensure that we’re not deprived of Indian food the rest of the year, I am learning how to cook more Indian dishes at home. I’m starting off with the quintessential British Indian dish: chicken tikka masala.

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Joe’s Special (Scrambled Eggs with Spinach, Beef, and Mushrooms)

Joe's Special Scrambled Eggs with Spinach, Beef, and Mushrooms

Have you ever heard of Joe’s Special? This is a classic San Francisco diner dish dating back to the 1920s. It’s a hearty scramble of eggs, ground beef, spinach, mushrooms, and onions.

This scramble is great any time of day, but in my house growing up, we always had it for dinner, with thick slices of San Francisco sourdough bread alongside.

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Shrimp Gumbo with Andouille Sausage

Shrimp Gumbo with Andouille Sausage

It’s Mardi Gras season, time for gumbo! If you question anybody from Louisiana or the Mississippi Sound about making gumbo, the first thing they will tell you is about making the roux.

My college roommate (from Metairie), my brother’s girlfriend (Biloxi), and my parent’s neighbor of 35 years (New Orleans), have pretty much all told me the same thing, “My mother used to take out an old penny and sit it next to the pot. ‘You’re done when the roux is the color of this penny.’”

Now, these women certainly did not have the same mother, but they shared the same story. I’m guessing making a proper roux must be a rite of passage for a kid from around those parts, and probably a bit challenging because it requires a little patience. 25 minutes or so of stirring can seem like forever to a 10 year old!

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Spicy Lamb Stew with Chickpeas

When you add lots of spices to a dish, sometimes that’s all you can taste. But I’ve found that lamb is one ingredient that can handle a lot of spice.

This hearty lamb stew is well-seasoned with cinnamon, cumin, coriander, and cayenne. The meat keeps its delicious and distinctive taste, while the seasonings add intrigue to every bite.

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How to Make Overnight Oatmeal

How To Make Overnight Oatmeal

There is a certain beauty in discovering a shortcut that is both convenient and just as good — if not better — than the real thing.

Steel-cut oats normally require a good ten to twenty minutes of stovetop simmering to render them creamy and soft. This is worth the effort for a fantastic bowl of oatmeal, but let’s be real here: not many of us have that kind of time in the morning.

Overnight oats, on the other hand, only require you to mix the oats with water and let them hang out together in the fridge overnight. A minute or two in the microwave the next morning, and you’re good to go.

For a not-at-all-morning person such as myself, this is game-changing.

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Blood Orange French 75 Cocktail

Blood Orange French 75 Cocktail

Valentine’s Day just begs to be celebrated with something red and bubbly, right?

Enter one of my favorite cocktails—the classic French 75—but instead of using lemon juice, we infuse the drink with something to make it brilliant pinkish red—blood orange.

So pretty! And just as lovely to drink as the original, if not more so.

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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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Quick Chicken Pho

Quick Chicken Pho

A few years ago, I’d never even heard of pho, let alone tasted it. Now, giant bowls of this traditional Vietnamese noodle soup are a regular meal in our house.

There are three things I can thank for this change: 1) Moving to a part of the country where pho restaurants are as common as pizza joints. 2) Several months of gluten-free eating last year due to a health issue. 3) Meeting and becoming friends with Vietnamese cooking expert Andrea Nguyen.

Andrea has now published a new book entirely devoted to — what else?! — pho, and I’d like to share with you her recipe for Quick Chicken Pho.

This recipe is a great introduction to pho if you’ve never had it before. And for pho addicts like myself, it’s a good one to have around when a pho-craving strikes.

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Omelette in a Mug

Mug Omelette

Friends, I have a new favorite way to cook eggs—in a mug, in a microwave.

No kidding. For reals!

Why??? Well first, it takes only a couple minutes to make, and clean-up is easy.

Second, while so many microwave mug recipes result in a poor substitute for something properly cooked, a microwaved mug omelette is surprisingly tender and delicious.

Third, when I’m trying to eat light, this way of cooking eggs cuts down substantially on added fat. It just uses a quick spray of cooking oil (or a wipe of olive oil) on the inside of the mug. (For those of you who count calories, I counted 200 in this recipe, your analysis may vary.)

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Moroccan-Spiced Sweet Potato and Chickpea Stew

Moroccan-Spiced Sweet Potato and Chickpea Stew

It doesn’t get much healthier than this vegan vegetable and chickpea stew!

Humble veggies like carrot, sweet potato, and parsnips shine when paired with the intoxicating Moroccan seasoning known as ras el hanout.

Have you ever tried this spice mix? The main components are cumin, coriander, ginger, and cinnamon — they make a warming blend that’s perfect for perking up a hearty vegetable stew and serving on a cold day.

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