Simply Recipes

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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Chamomile-Honey Hot Toddy

Chamomile Hot Toddy

What is a Hot Toddy?

Children who are having trouble falling to sleep are often prescribed a glass of warm milk to help them nod off. Their parents, having spent the night cajoling, ordering and begging their children to go to bed, may need something a bit stronger.

Enter this chamomile hot toddy. It’s a drink of whiskey, honey, and lemon mixed with chamomile tea to help you doze off in no time.

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Shrimp and Grits

Easy Shrimp and Grits

A Classic Southern Dish

Shrimp and grits is one of those iconic Southern dishes that stir something deep inside those who grew up with them.

Originally from the oceanic South—Georgia, the Low Country coast of the Carolinas and Gulf Coast states all have their versions—this homey bowl of awesome was historically a simple fisherman’s breakfast: Grits, with some bacon and a few shrimp tossed on top.

If you’ve ever eaten it, you can understand why shrimp and grits has burst from the seaside shrimp shanties.

The grits are soft, buttery, and often cheesy, with a savory, bacon-studded sauce surrounding them, and lots and lots of shrimp. Maybe some parsley or green onions for color and crunch.

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Fudgy Gluten-Free Brownies

Fudgy Gluten-Free Vegan Brownies

We have a lot of friends on a variety of restrictive diets right now, and as someone who loves to entertain, I wanted to make sure I had a treat that everyone could eat. But first and foremost, it had to be something everyone would actually want to eat.

I began scheming up a super fudgy, no-frills brownie that could be gluten-free, egg-free, and dairy-free — and still leave us all reaching for more. Mission accomplished.

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Roast Chicken on Angel Hair Pasta

Roasted Chicken on Angel Hair

If you’ve ever watched a rotisserie chicken turning slowly on a spit—my local supermarket has several going at once— then you’ve seen the tray underneath the birds to catch the drippings. Those drippings are gold!

Now, imagine those chickens roasting over a baking dish filled with pasta: All those juices from the bird would drip into the pasta and give it an unbelievably delicious roasty flavor.

This idea of roasting meat on top of other ingredients is actually an ancient technique from when individual families didn’t have their own ovens, and cooks brought pans of meat or poultry and whatever went with it to the local baker to roast in the baker’s big oven. This approach inspired this recipe.

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Chocolate Chip Pancakes with Raspberry Sauce

Chocolate Chip Pancakes with Raspberry Sauce - close up of pancake stack

Weekend breakfasts are a big deal around our house. We don’t get too crazy or complicated, but we do like to slow down and hang out in our pajamas a little longer than usual—especially around a stack of pancakes.

After a week of oatmeal or smoothies consumed on the way out the door (or at the desk), pancakes always feel extra special.

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Meal Plan for February Week 1

This month, Megan Gordon is here to give us a look at what meal planning looks like for her family! Megan is a writer and recipe developer living in Seattle, WA, the author of Whole Grain Mornings, and mom to a 2-year-old. Please welcome Megan!

February can feel like one of the longer months in Seattle, where I live. The weather is often wet and cold, and we’re all starting to itch for signs of spring.

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7 Easy Ways to Make Any Soup Better

7 Ways to Make a Better Soup

Soup is soul food, satisfying and warming on a cold day or night. Sometimes, though, you make a pot of soup that’s good and fine, but maybe you wish it were a little bit… better. Maybe you want to take this soup to the next level, and give it something extra to improve the taste, texture, or complexity of flavor.

Here are a few tips to take you beyond the recipe and make all your soups sing.

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Not Your Grandma’s Mushroom Barley Soup

Mushroom Barley Soup

Barley is one of those grains that your grandmother probably always had in her pantry. And like many other treasures tucked away on those shelves, barley is chic now and a star ingredient on many trendy restaurant menus.

With this modernized recipe, we’re adding barley to a pot of vegetarian soup along with both dried and fresh mushrooms, and seasoning it with a surprising combination of soy sauce and balsamic vinegar.

The bowls of soup have a satisfying saltiness and an alluring sweetness—it’s an entirely new take on traditional mushroom barley soup.

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Slow Cooker Brats and Beer Cheese Dip

Slow Cooker Brats and Beer Cheese Dip

Being stationed in Germany for six years gave me a deep appreciation for two things: beer and bratwurst (sausages) of all kinds.

This Brats and Beer Cheese Dip was born out of my love for this German fare and for hosting Super Bowl parties. Honestly, I have no clue about how football is played—I just love any reason to have a party.

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Meal Plan for January Week 5

January Week 5 Meal Plan

Welcome to 2018! Our contributor Summer Miller is back to share her meal plans for the month of January. 

January is always a reprieve from the hectic holiday season and the one month where our family is light on sports commitments. Fall soccer has ended, spring soccer has yet to begin, and the cold weather keeps us huddled together playing card games indoors.

It’s a month of renewal as I prepare for the flurry of activities that hit our home from February through July.

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Vietnamese-Style Sticky Chicken Skewers

Vietnamese Sticky Chicken Skewrs

There’s a lot to love here with these sweet, sour, spicy nuggets of chicken on a skewer — barbecued when the weather cooperates, or broiled in the oven when it does not.

They’re real crowd-pleasers (watch out, Super Bowl food competitors, this one’s in the running!), but they’re so good that you’ll want to put them on the menu every week!

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Stuffed Delicata Squash with Quinoa and Mushrooms

Stuffed Delicata Squash

I’m a card-carrying member of the Delicata Squash Club. When I see mounds of delicata squash at the market, I make a beeline.

This squash takes so well to roasting — the sweet flesh hardly needs any adornment because it has so much flavor. The skin is also edible, so there’s no need to peel. After roasting, you can cut right through the skin with a fork!

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Meal Plan for January Week 4

I lived as a vegetarian for more than a decade, and then I met my husband, who happens to be a hunter. I slowly tiptoed into the world of eating, and later, preparing meat, but it took a good while to find comfort in cooking foods so unfamiliar to me.

The first time I made a pot roast the thing was tough as leather. I was in my early 30s and, of course, I had invited people over for dinner to share this pot roast. They were gracious about this first attempt, and I went on to cook many roasts, all of which fared better than the first.

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Hot Reuben Dip

Hot Reuben Dip

I’m from Omaha, Nebraska, where the Reuben sandwich was born (sorry, New Yorkers), and I grew up eating this classic sandwich.

I’ve had it in the homes of my mother, grandmothers, aunts and uncles. I’ve also consumed plenty of Reubens at bars and restaurants, where they usually come with a side of onion rings.

It’s a simple lunchtime favorite, and I’ve found that it also transitions into the perfect party dip.

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Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole

Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole

Give me sausage, eggs, potatoes, and cheese for breakfast, and I know it’ll be a great day ahead.

This tater tot casserole combines all of these items into one delicious breakfast dish. It makes a great dish for a weekend brunch, or add it to your meal plan and eat it for breakfast throughout the week!

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9 Great Chili Recipes (Perfect for Game Day!)

The Best chili recipes for your game day meal!

It’s that time of year again, bone chilling weather and NFL playoffs. The perfect time for steamy hot and hearty chili!

Whether you like your chili with beans or without, with turkey, chicken, ground beef or chuck, scorchingly hot or mild, a big bowl of chili is wonderfully satisfying on a cold winter day.

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What’s in Season in January

What's in season in January

Welcome to our new series on seasonal fruits and vegetables!

When I first started cooking I didn’t understand what was even meant by “seasonal” when it came to food. It wasn’t until I started gardening and shopping at our local farmers markets that it hit home.

Every vegetable and fruit has its season—a season when it is ripe and plentiful, when it tastes the best, and costs the least.

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Pressure Cooker Paella with Chicken and Sausage

Pressure Cooker Paella

 I love using my Instant Pot pressure cooker to make an easy, weeknight version of paella. It cooks up quickly and evenly, and there’s no need to tend to a pot or pan on the stove.

The method is very simple—you sauté the vegetables with chicken and sausage, add the rice and liquid, and then cook everything under pressure for just ten minutes. That’s it!

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Meal Plan for January Week 2

It’s about this time of year where the impact of daylight savings time and early evening darkness gets the better of me. I try to combat the lack of light with outdoor daytime activities and then lots of warm cozy soups, bright fresh salads, and vegetable dishes for dinner.

These remind me winter won’t last forever and the freezing wind won’t always settle in my bones.

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8 Cozy Winter Soups That Feel Like a Great Big Hug

Slow Cooker Taco Soup

By Carrie Havranek

Soup is a regular occurrence in my house throughout the winter. A few years ago, I felt into the habit of making soup and a loaf of bread every Monday. My family learned to anticipate it, and we ended up bringing several new soups into the rotation to stand alongside our old standbys.

We can always use new soup recipes in my family!

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Cambodian Coconut Shrimp Soup

Coconut Shrimp Soup from Cambodia

Earlier last year, I had the good fortune to travel to Cambodia to visit a friend who lives there. I had a long stay, so had plenty of time to explore Phnom Penh and the surrounding areas – and eat lots of food!

Most people in Phnom Penh buy their food from the markets. I saw both live and freshly killed chickens, fish that were still wriggling, a very pungent fermented fish called prahok, and baskets piled high with all kinds of fresh produce like lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, baby (pea) eggplant, banana flowers, morning glory, and water spinach.

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Bloody Mary

How to make the best bloody mary

Welcome to the world’s most amped up tomato juice cocktail–the Bloody Mary.

It’s the ultimate weekend brunch drink. It’s also a famous hangover cure, though the benefits are due mostly to electrolyte replenishment coming from the liquid, salt, and natural sugar in the main ingredients—tomato juice, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce. The vodka? My guess is drinking more vodka isn’t going to help anyone’s hangover much. Though who knows?

The Bloody Mary is one of my favorite drinks of all time, though usually I limit the vodka to one ounce (I’m a lightweight, don’t judge!), or leave it out all together for a Virgin Mary.

My version of this drink includes the basics that you would expect—tomato juice, lemon juice, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, and pepper—and a few subtle twists.

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Easy Croque-Madame (Ham and Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Fried Egg)

Classic Croque Madame Ham and Cheese Sandwich

If you go to France and never learn a word of the language, at the very least you should come home knowing the names of the two most popular cafe sandwiches: Croque Monsieur and Croque Madame.

These are both toasted sandwiches made with ham and cheese – “croque” roughly translates as “crunch” or “crunchy.” The difference between a Croque-Monsieur and a Croque-Madame is that the Madame is served with a fried egg on top. Supposedly the yolk surrounded by the rim of white resembles a woman’s hat!

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Meal Plan for December Week 4

December Meal Plan Wk 4

This month, Summer Miller is back and excited to share her family’s meal plans for December. Happy holidays, everyone!

My general philosophy is to eat as healthy as I can, most of the time. For me, this means that not much is actually off limits, but I focus more on eating in moderation.

When planning our meals for the week, I also try to look at the week as whole and then gauge when we can indulge and when it’s better to plan something lighter.

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8 Holiday Desserts for When Your Sweet Tooth Needs a Break

Paleo and Gluten-Free Apple Tart

Christmas cookies have an enduring appeal. And then there are all the showstopper cakes, pies, and other sweets that make everyone at your holiday party ooh and ahh.

But what about when your sweet tooth needs a break? What if you love the holidays, but you prefer your sweets just a little less, well, sweet?

Here are a few desserts for when you realize that the holidays are a marathon not a sprint, culinarily speaking. They make a lovely end to a festive holiday meal, but they won’t leave you feeling too full to get up from the table.

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Slow Cooker Chickpea Curry with Sweet Potatoes and Red Peppers

Slow Cooker Chickpea Curry

This chickpea curry is so flavorful, yet so simple to prepare. Just a few minutes of prep and a press of a button on the slow cooker, and the next thing you know, the smell of curry is wafting through the kitchen.

This dish is vegan, gluten-free, and immensely delicious. To build flavor without piling up dishes, everything is cooked right in the slow cooker – no stove-top browning or pre-cooking required!

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