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You'll find over 335 of my favorite recipes here, including ideas for Quick meals, Cooking for 2, Feasting on Leftovers, and cooking with 5 Ingredients or Less. I'm adding new posts regularly; you can subscribe by email or RSS feed if you'd like to receive the latest recipes. Bon appétit!

Tortilla Soup

January 22, 2015

By Kath Dedon

I can’t believe I haven’t shared this Tortilla Soup recipe before today. It used to appear fairly regularly in my dinner rotation because it was something the whole family enjoyed.

The original recipe is from the 2001 edition of Cook’s Illustrated’s The Best Recipe: Soups and Stews. The folks at Cook’s Illustrated concluded that canned broth works just fine in this recipe which makes it especially quick and easy for a weeknight dinner.

Tortilla Soup is also perfect for easy entertaining. I multiplied it by 1.5 to have enough to serve 9 people on Christmas Eve. It was simple to serve and I think everyone enjoyed it.

When serving the soup, make sure the broth is boiling hot so it doesn’t cool down too much when added to the chicken, avocado, and tortilla strips in the bowls.

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Tortilla Soup 2

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Tortilla Soup

(Adapted from a recipe in Cook’s Illustrated’s The Best Recipe: Soups and Stews)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 6

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6 corn tortillas

1 tablespoon oil for the soup, plus more to brush on the corn tortillas

1 medium chopped onion (about 1 cup)

2 large cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons chili powder

2 quarts chicken broth

2 tablespoons lime juice, plus 1 lime cut into wedges

16 – 20 ounces boneless and skinless chicken breasts, cut in half if large

1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained

2 medium ripe avocadoes, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/2-inch dice

1½ cups grated Monterey Jack cheese

2 medium jalapeno chiles, thinly sliced

½ cup packed fresh cilantro leaves (very good, but optional)

If I don’t have homemade broth I use Swanson’s Natural Goodness Broth.

chicken broth

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚.

2. Place the tortillas on a large baking sheet and brush with oil.

Brushing tortillas with oila

3. Stack the tortillas and cut in half. Then cut the halves into thin strips.

Cutting tortillasa

4. Spread the strips out on the baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, until crisp and lightly browned.

Toasted tortilla strips

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5. Heat the 1 tablespoon oil in a large pot. Add the chopped onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is soft and starting to brown. This will take about 5 minutes.

6. Add the garlic and chili powder and cook, stirring, for about 15 seconds.

onions

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7. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.

8. Add the lime juice and chicken breasts. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes, with the pot partially covered, until the chicken breasts are cooked through. (Cut the largest breast piece in half to see if it’s done.)

simmering

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9. Remove the chicken from the pot and shred it into bite-sized pieces.

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Cooked chicken breasts

chicken breasts

Shredded

Shredded chickena

10. Add the tomatoes to the broth. Bring it to a boil and cook for about 5 minutes.

11. To serve, put some tortilla strips, chicken, and avocado pieces in each bowl.

avocado, chicken and chipsa

12. Top with hot broth and serve.

Broth addeda

13. Pass the cheese, jalapeno peppers, and lime wedges at the table for everyone to add to their soup. (And the cilantro, if you’re using it.)

Jalapeno, jack cheese, lime wedgesa

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Tortilla Soup 3

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Pork Ragu for a Crowd

January 2, 2015

By Kath Dedon

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Pork Ragu for a Crowd is a perfect choice for a winter dinner party. It easily serves up to 12 people and it can be made ahead of time. In fact, it is one of those dishes that tastes even better the next day.

I found the recipe for Pork Ragu for a Crowd in Domenica Marchetti’s Big Night In – More Than 100 Wonderful Recipes for Feeding Family and Friends Italian-Style. Domenica says it makes enough to sauce at least 3 pounds of pasta and she recommends using a short pasta shape, like rigatoni. I decided to serve it with polenta instead and I loved the rich, meaty sauce paired with the creamy polenta. (Bob totally disagreed but that’s because he just doesn’t like polenta.)

I made the ragu a couple of days before the party and refrigerated it. Then all I had to do was heat it up on the day of the party.

Whether you use pasta or polenta, I absolutely recommend that you try the Pork Ragu for a Crowd even if you’re not serving a crowd. The leftover ragu will freeze beautifully for future meals.

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Pork Ragu for a Crowd, served with Easy Slow Cooker Polenta

Pork Ragu for a Crowd served with polenta_edited-2

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Pork Ragu for a Crowd

(Adapted from a recipe in Domenica Marchetti’s Big Night In)

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Technically, the ragu I made was Pork and Chicken Ragu because the grocery store was out of pork sausage and I used chicken sausage. It worked fine, but I would use pork sausage next time.

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 10 – 12

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Some of the ingredients for the ragu

ingredients

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3 pounds boneless pork shoulder, in one or two pieces

Kosher or sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil

2 large yellow onions, diced (about 5 cups)

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup dry red wine

7 cups chopped canned tomatoes with their juices

4 bay leaves

1 large or 2 small sprigs of fresh rosemary

1 pound mild Italian pork sausage

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I cut the large roast into 2 pieces

boneless pork shoulder roast

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  1. Heat the ¼ cup of olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  1. Salt and pepper the pork on all sides. (I cut the large roast into 2 smaller pieces.) Brown the pork on all sides in the hot pan. Remove the browned pork from the pan.

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Browned pork removed to a stainless steel bowl.

browned roast

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3. Reduce the heat to medium and add the 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Add the onions and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until the onions are softened.

onions

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4. Put the pork back in the pan and add the wine. After it has cooked for about 1 minute, add in the tomatoes with their juices, the bay leaves and the rosemary sprigs.

5. Reduce heat to medium-low. Remove the sausage from its casing, break it into small pieces and add it to the sauce.

6. Cover the pot and simmer for 2 – 2½ hours, until the pork roast is very tender. Adjust the heat, if necessary, so the ragu is gently simmering, not boiling. (I had to turn my burner to the lowest setting to maintain a gentle simmer.)

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Gently simmering

Ragu simmering

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7. When the pork is fork-tender, remove it from the ragu and shred it using two forks. Add it back to the ragu and heat briefly so the meat and the sauce are both hot.

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Shredding the pork

Shredding pork

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8. Serve with pasta or polenta. Leftover sauce can be frozen.

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Finished ragu

After simmering a while_edited-1

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Served with Polenta

Pork Ragu for a Crowd

Easy Slow Cooker Polenta

January 2, 2015

By Kath Dedon

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Easy Slow Cooker Polenta couldn’t be easier. I used the America’s Test Kitchen’s recipe for Easy Polenta in Slow Cooker Revolution. You simply whisk the polenta and salt into water in a slow cooker and cook it on Low for 4 – 6 hours. When it’s done, you stir in Parmesan cheese and butter and serve.

This is the perfect way to make polenta if you’re entertaining. There’s no last minute-stirring at the stove. In fact, you can have the polenta finished before your guests arrive and it can be held on the warm setting of your slow cooker for 1 – 2 hours. Just stir in a bit of hot water if it gets too thick.

I made this Easy Slow Cooker Polenta to serve with Pork Ragu for a Crowd and it was a perfect pairing.

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Easy Slow Cooker Polenta with Pork Ragu for a Crowd

Pork Ragu for a Crowd served with polenta_edited-2

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Easy Slow Cooker Polenta

(Adapted from a recipe in ATK’s Slow Cooker Revolution)

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(print the recipe)

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Be sure to get polenta, not just any kind of cornmeal. Polenta is finely ground, but it doesn’t have any powdery bits of corn flour. According to the folks at the America’s Test Kitchen, if you use a cornmeal that does have floury bits in it they will make your polenta “taste gluey”.

Polenta

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Serves 8 – 10

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Vegetable oil spray

7½ cups water

1½ cups polenta

1½ teaspoons of salt

2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons butter

Additional salt and pepper, to taste

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1. Spray the inside of a slow cooker with the vegetable oil spray.

2. Add the water to the slow cooker. Whisk in the polenta and salt.

Whisking in polenta

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3. Cover and cook on Low for 4 – 6 hours.

4. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and butter.

Freshly grated Parmesan

Grating parmesan_edited-1

5. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

6. Serve immediately, or hold on Warm for 1 – 2 hours. If held on Warm, stir in a bit of hot water if it thickens up too much.

Today is the 5th Anniversary of my blog!

December 31, 2014

By Kath Dedon

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Today is the 5th Anniversary of my blog! WordPress.com even sent me anniversary greetings! I made public note of my 1st anniversary in 2010 because I was actually kind of amazed that I had kept at it for a full year. And now, here I am on the 5th anniversary. It’s been a fun ride! Looking at my stats, the most popular recipe today is Smoked Sausage and Black-Eyed Peas. I guess everyone needs their good luck black-eyed peas. I know I’m making this great recipe for New Year’s Day tomorrow. As good as it is, it didn’t make the top five of the year. a

Happy New Year with Emeril Lagasse’s Smoked Sausage and Black-Eyed Peas Smoked Sausage and Black-Eyed Peas 3

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Here are the top five recipes for 2014:

#5 Quick and Easy Chicken Noodle Soup has been a favorite in our family for over 15 years. Quick and Easy Chicken Noodle Soup a

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#4 Boiled Lobster Tails is ridiculously easy for a special occasion. Boiled lobster tail a

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#3 Slow Roasted St. Louis Style Ribs – Yes, you can enjoy great ribs in the dead of winter! Slow Roasted Pork Ribs 2 a

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#2 Melt-in-your-mouth Homemade Cheese Crackers Until this year, this cheese cracker recipe was the most popular post on my blog. crackers a

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#1 Perfect Rib Eye Roast This recipe was the most popular this year and it also became the #1 recipe of all time, pushing the cheese crackers into second place. It’s also the recipe that has received the most comments, mostly favorable. ;) Slices of Perfect Rib Eye Roast a

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I still have a few recipes from 2014 that I will be posting soon – a fabulous Italian Pork Ragu that’s perfect for entertaining, a slow cooker recipe for Polenta that is so easy, and a tasty blueberry muffin that is wheat-(and gluten-)free. And, I’m excited to explore some new cookbooks that I received. (Bob declared that this Christmas was the year of the cookbook. Not that he is complaining.) I’ve already started sticky-noting the recipes I want to try.

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Cookbooks 2014

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And Byron chose a wonderful cookbook for me, Sharon Kramis’ & Julie Kramis Hearne’s The Dutch Oven Cookbook. However, it’s one that I like so much that it’s a book that I already own. I’m thinking of exchanging it for Cooking Light’s Global Kitchen. I checked this one out from the library and I’m pretty sure I need to add it to my collection.

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See all those blue sticky notes marking interesting recipes in this library book?

Global Kitchen

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So I’ll be busy in the kitchen in 2015. Because I do like to eat well! And I’ll continue to share the good stuff on this blog. So stay tuned. Happy New Year! Thank you so much for taking the time to visit In the kitchen with Kath. I appreciate each and every one of you. I hope you’ll be sharing many happy meals with family and friends in 2015!

Almond Flour Pie Crust

December 30, 2014

By Kath Dedon

I have made Elana Amsterdam’s Paleo Pie Crust two or three times since Thanksgiving. It makes a great grain-free option for pies. Everyone seemed to enjoy it and it’s very easy to make. I thought it was about time I shared it.

I used this Almond Flour Pie Crust to make pecan pie, but it could be used with whatever filling you like. Elana uses only 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, but I found that 3 tablespoons worked better for me. It was a little crumbly with the smaller amount.

Honeyville Blanched Almond Flour is the flour I used. I can find it at my local Costco. It is a much finer grind than other almond flours or meals. You could probably use other brands, but I haven’t tried any of them.

If you, or someone you love, eats wheat-free, gluten-free, grain-free, or paleo, give this Almond Flour Pie Crust a try. You’ll be their super hero!

 

Pecan pie in an Almond Pie Crust

Pecan pie in an almond crusta

 

Almond Flour Pie Crust

(Adapted from Elana Amsterdam’s recipe on elanaspantry.com)

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Be sure to use the baking sheet in the oven. I found that each time I made the crust, there was oil on the outside of the pie plate after I baked it. I’m not quite sure how to avoid that; I was glad to have used the baking sheet.

 

(print the recipe)

 

2 cups blanched almond flour

¼ teaspoon sea salt

3 tablespoons coconut oil

1 egg

Blanched almond flour

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  1. Place a large rimmed baking sheet on a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350˚.
  1. Put the flour and salt in a food processor and pulse.
  1. Add the coconut oil and egg and pulse until it comes together.

almond crust in the cuisinart

  1. Press into a 9-inch pie plate.

almond crust ready to fill

  1. Fill with your preferred pie filling and bake on the preheated baking sheet for 40 – 50 minutes. (Exact time will depend on your filling. 40 minutes was plenty for my pecan pie.)
  1. Or, for a pre-baked crust, bake it without filling on the baking sheet for 8 – 12 minutes.

Pecan pie in an almond crust 2

Curry Dip with Crudités

November 17, 2014

By Kath Dedon

 

This Curry Dip with Crudités is a flash from the past for me. Because my dad worked for Northwest Airlines, we luckily had the opportunity to fly often and we were often upgraded to first class. This was back in the day when first class food was pretty delicious.

Northwest served this Curry Dip with vegetables to first class passengers in the late ‘60s and/or early ‘70s. It was quite popular. In fact, I think my mom got the recipe from either the Minneapolis Star or the Minneapolis Tribune, the local newspapers at the time. It had been published at the request of a reader.

The Curry Dip became one of mom’s “go-to” recipes when entertaining. The whole “crudités with dip” thing was quite popular at the time, and this dip was better than average.

Flash forward to the early ‘80s when Bob and I were hosting a dinner party. I wanted an easy appetizer to serve so I called mom to get the recipe. I still have the list of ingredients that I wrote down on Bob’s sailing paper.

It had been years since I last made it, but it turns out that Curry Dip with Crudités is just as good as I remember it. It’s great for the upcoming holiday season because it can be made ahead of time and covered and refrigerated until needed. In fact, it probably is best to make it ahead of time so the flavors “marry”.

I kept it simple with carrot sticks, celery sticks, and sugar snap peas, but you could use any raw vegetables that you like. It’s a great way to get your family and friends to eat a serving of vegetables before they even sit down at the table!

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Curry Dip

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Curry Dip with Crudités

(From a recipe that Northwest Airlines served in first class)

 

I was tempted to use more curry powder, but I stuck with the recipe. I did use a “hot” curry powder, however. The curry flavor is subtle and works well with the other ingredients.

 

(print the recipe)

 

Makes enough dip to easily serve 6 – 8

 

1 cup mayonnaise

2 teaspoons Heinz chili sauce

½ teaspoon curry powder

1/8 teaspoon dried thyme

½ teaspoon salt

Dash pepper

2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar

 

1. Whisk all of the ingredients together. (How easy is that?) Cover and refrigerate until serving time.

2. Serve with vegetables of your choice.

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The list of ingredients I wrote down when I called my mom

Recipe for Curry Dip

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Curry Dip 2

Maple (or honey) Sweetened Pumpkin Bread

October 31, 2014

By Kath Dedon

 

One of the most popular pins on my Pinterest boards is the one for my Pumpkin Bread, and for good reason. It’s delicious and it is so easy to make.

I have wondered if I could successfully make it using honey or pure maple syrup instead of the 1½ cups of sugar in the original recipe. Yesterday I gave it a try.

I used ¾ cup of grade B maple syrup instead of the sugar. I also eliminated the 1/3 cup of water since I was using a liquid sweetener.

I was quite pleased with the way this Maple Sweetened Pumpkin Bread turned out! It did not rise as high as the original one did, but the texture and the flavor are excellent.

There are two things I’ll do differently the next time I make this Pumpkin Bread. I’ll try honey instead of maple syrup. I liked the subtle sweetness of this bread, but Bob thought it wasn’t quite sweet enough. I think using honey, which is sweeter than maple syrup, will make it perfect. I might try baking it in a smaller 8” x 4” pan so it won’t seem so flat.

I’ll definitely try it again! My favorite way to enjoy pumpkin bread is to toast it and spread butter on it (preferably Kerrygold salted butter!). It’s easy to toast it in a toaster oven. If you have a regular toaster, be sure to cut a thick enough slice so it won’t fall apart.

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Maple Pumpkin Breada

Pumpkin Bread Sweetened with Maple Syrupa

 

Maple (or honey) Sweetened Pumpkin Bread

(Adapted from a classroom recipe; original source unknown)

 

(print the recipe)

 

Makes one loaf (I used a 9” x 5” pan, but I recommend using an 8” x 4” pan for this recipe.)

 

1 1/3 cups (160 g) flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

¾ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

½ cup oil

2 eggs

1 cup canned pumpkin

¾ cup pure maple syrup (or honey)

 

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚.

2. Grease an 8 x 4-inch bread pan.

3. Mix flour, soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl.

4. Make a well in this mixture. Pour in the oil, eggs, pumpkin, and the maple syrup or honey. Mix well with a sturdy spoon.

5. Pour into the greased baking pan. Bake for 1 hour or until done.

Maple Sweetened Pumpkin Bread

6. Cool in the pan for about 15 minutes, and then remove the bread from the pan and continue to cool on a wire rack.

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T Pumpkin Bread Sweetened with Maple Syrup

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