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You'll find over 385 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!

Instant Pot Kalua Pork

November 6, 2016

By Kath Dedon

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Yep. I treated myself to an Instant Pot. I had a perfectly good 30+ year-old stainless steel stovetop pressure cooker, but I never used it. Older pressure cookers need to be monitored closely. Plus, while I’ve read that some people find the jiggling top comforting, I found the jiggling sound a bit disconcerting. To me, it was a constant reminder that my pot could blow its top if I did something wrong.

So, after seeing thousands of positive reviews, I started an Instant Pot board on Pinterest to collect online recipes. It wasn’t long before I was convinced that I needed one. I’m now the owner of an automatic electric Instant Pot and I LOVE it! Although it’s touted as a multi-functional cooker (Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Sauté/Browning, Yogurt Maker, Steamer, and Warmer), I am most excited about its pressure cooking abilities. I won’t be getting rid of my slow cooker or rice cooker just yet.

(Bonus: This newfangled pressure cooker cooks SILENTLY!)

The first thing I decided to make was Instant Pot Kalua Pork. I chose Michelle Tam’s recipe on her nomnompaleo.com blog. It was SO easy and we all loved it! The total time to make it is about 2¼ – 2½  hours, but since only about 10 minutes of that time is active cooking time it didn’t seem that long. And because I did keep my rice cooker, I made some rice. The pork and cabbage were great served with the rice.

I cooked the cabbage as Michelle suggests, but I only cooked ¾ of a head (6 wedges) since there were only 5 of us for dinner. Once I tasted it, I wished I had cooked the whole head of cabbage. It was melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Truly.

If you don’t have an Instant Pot, you could try Michelle’s Slow Cooker Kalua Pig. She cooks it for 16 hours, but says if you have a newer slow cooker it will probably be done in 9 – 12 hours. My 6-quart Crock-Pot cooks hot even on the Low setting and I’m sure the pork would be done in 9 hours. If you try the slow cooker version, I’d love to hear how it turned out for you.

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kalua-pork-and-cabbage

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instant-pot

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Instant Pot Kalua Pork

(Adapted from Michelle Tam’s recipe on nomnompaleo.com)

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Total time to make the pork and the cabbage is about 2½ hours, mostly unattended.

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 8

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Hawaiian Alaea Salt

salt

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3 slices bacon

5 pound pork shoulder roast (I used boneless; you could use bone-in)

5 peeled garlic cloves

1½ tablespoons of Alaea Red Hawaiian Course Sea Salt (or 1 tablespoon of Alaea Red Hawaiian Fine Sea Salt. Michelle suggests you can sub smoked salt or kosher salt.)

1 cup water

1 cabbage, cored, and cut into 8 wedges

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  1. Put the bacon in the Instant Pot. Press Sauté.

bacon

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2. While the bacon is cooking (turn it with tongs occasionally), cut the pork roast into 3 pieces. Cut the garlic cloves into thinner slivers, cutting each one into thirds or fourths. Cut slits in the roast and press the garlic pieces into the slits. Sprinkle half of the salt over the pork pieces and rub it in a bit. Turn the pork pieces over and sprinkle the rest of the salt on the pork rubbing it in.

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3. By this time the bacon should be nicely browned. Put the pork on top of the bacon slices. Stop the Sauté function by pressing the Keep Warm/Cancel button.

pork-in-the-pot

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4. Add the water to the pot, put the lid on and lock it in place. Make sure the pressure release handle is in the sealing position.

5. Select Manual. Press the “+” button until it shows 90 minutes. It will come up to pressure and the float valve will rise up. In a minute or two you’ll notice the time decreasing. The 90 minutes is the time it cooks once it’s under pressure.

6. When the 90 minutes is up, press the Keep Warm/Cancel button to turn it off. Let the pressure release naturally. This will take about 15 – 20 minutes. The float valve will pop back down when the pressure is released and you can then open the pot.

7. Remove the pork from the pot.

8. Put the cabbage in the cooking liquid in the pot. Put the lid on and make sure the pressure release handle is in the sealing position, select Manual and press the “-” button to change the time to 3 minutes. While the cabbage is cooking, shred the pork with two forks.

9. When the cabbage is done, carefully move the pressure release handle to the venting position to quickly release the pressure. Use a good pot holder, or push it over with tongs or some other tool to protect your hand. The steam will release immediately.

10. When the pressure has released (the float valve will pop back down), open the pot.

11. Serve the pork with the cabbage. You can stir a bit of the cooking liquid into the pork if you would like it a bit juicier.

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kalua-pork-and-cabbage-copy

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Wasabi Shrimp

October 31, 2016

By Kath Dedon

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It’s Halloween. I always feel that Halloween marks the entry into the holiday party season. I’m always on the lookout for easy dishes that can be made for entertaining or can easily be taken to a potluck party. Wasabi Shrimp is perfect for the holiday season!

To make Wasabi Shrimp you simply stuff cooked, peeled, and deveined shrimp with cream cheese blended with wasabi paste. The result is a tasty sushi-like shrimp appetizer.

Most markets carry shrimp that is already cooked and ready to eat. Buy cooked shrimp if you prefer to keep it extra simple.

If you start with raw shrimp, you’ll need to poach them. I used an easy method that I found on Serious Eats. I put the shrimp, still in their shells, in a pot of cold water with the juice of one lime and a heaping tablespoon of kosher salt and turned on the heat. While the water was heating I got a bowl of ice water ready. Using an instant read thermometer, I checked the temperature of the water in the pot. When it reached 170° I removed the shrimp from the water and put them in the ice water to cool quickly.  The shrimp were cooked perfectly!

The recipe is adapted from one by Rozanne Gold in Cooking 1-2-3. I find the most difficult thing about the recipe is getting the shrimp to look beautiful and not messy. Rozanne suggests stuffing the shrimp using a pastry bag. I don’t have one, but I think that may be the secret to creating a more neatly-stuffed appetizer.

Do give Wasabi Shrimp a try, even if you don’t have a pastry bag. I think you’ll agree that it’s a perfect recipe for the holiday party season.

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wasabi-shrimp

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Wasabi Shrimp

(Adapted from a Rozanne Gold recipe in Cooking 1-2-3)

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(print the recipe)

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2 pounds cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

2 tablespoons wasabi powder

2 tablespoons water

¼ teaspoon salt (I used sea salt.)

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  1. In a small bowl, mix the wasabi powder with the water to form a paste.
  2. Put the cream cheese, wasabi paste, and salt in the bowl of a small food processor. Process until well blended.
  3. Cut a slit in the back of each shrimp, cutting almost all the way through.
  4. Use a small spoon or a pastry bag to stuff each shrimp with some of the wasabi cream cheese.
  5. Refrigerate until serving time.

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wasabi-shrimp-copy

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Sambal Oelek Roasted Chicken

September 30, 2016

By Kath Dedon

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I stumbled across Kirthana Kumar’s recipe for Sambal Oelek Roasted Chicken on Food52. It sounded so good, and so easy, I just had to try it.

It takes just a few minutes to mix the flavorful marinade. It’s recommended that the chicken should marinate for at least 3 hours and overnight is fine. I marinated chicken thighs for just 3 hours and they turned out great! Next time I will plan ahead and marinate them overnight for a super easy dinner the next night.

I bought a fresh jar of sambal oelek because the one I had seemed to have lost some of its punch. (“How long has that been in the refrigerator?”) I used 2 tablespoons which we thought gave the chicken a medium amount of heat. (Maybe 2½ stars) I thought it was just right, but I did put the jar of sambal oelek on the table so Bob could amplify the heat.

If you’re looking for a new take on roast chicken, I highly recommend this easy Sambal Oelek Roasted Chicken!

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sambal-oelek-roasted-chicken

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Sambal Oelek Roasted Chicken

(Adapted from Kirthana Kumar’s recipe found on food52.com)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 2 – 4 (Could easily be doubled.)

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ingredients

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2 tablespoons sambal oelek (or to taste)

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon light soy sauce (I used wheat-free tamari.)

7 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1½ – 1¾ pounds of chicken thighs (or drumsticks)

Salt

(Optional) Sliced green onions for garnish

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1. Stir the sambal oelek, honey, soy sauce, and garlic together in a small measuring cup or bowl.

2. Put the chicken in a gallon-size ZipLoc bag and pour the marinade over the chicken in the bag. Seal the bag, getting as much air out of it as you can, and then squeeze the bag to spread the marinade over the chicken.

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marinating

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3. Refrigerate the chicken for at least 3 hours. It can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours.

4. Take the chicken out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you want to roast it. Preheat the oven to 350°.

5. Put the chicken in a baking pan. Lightly sprinkle with salt. Roast the chicken for about 50 – 60 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer reads 165° and the juices run clear. (Timing will depend on your oven and the size of the chicken thighs. Large ones can take as long as an hour. If using drumsticks, turn them over after about 25 minutes. It’s not necessary to turn thighs.)

6. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes. Serve garnished with green onions, if desired, and with extra sambal oelek.

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sambal-oelek-roasted-chicken-copy

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Salted Peanut Butter Cookies

September 23, 2016

By Kath Dedon

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It was just nine months ago that I made 3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies. They were so easy and so good!

But a few weeks ago I stumbled upon a blog post on smitten kitchen for Deb Perelman’s Salted Peanut Butter Cookies. She wrote that she had made 3-ingredient peanut butter cookies a few years ago and was underwhelmed.

Deb later had the opportunity to try a peanut butter cookie made from a recipe from Ovenly in Brooklyn, NY. It was basically the 3-ingredient cookie with the addition of a bit of vanilla and salt. She said it was “spectacular”. So, of course, she made the cookies from the recipe in Ovenly: Sweet and Salty Recipes from New York’s Most Creative Bakery, by Erin Patinkin and Agatha Kaluga.

I had to try this new version. It’s really just as easy as the 3-ingredient recipe, but it does have a couple of extra steps. The dough is put in the freezer for 15 minutes before shaping the cookies. After the cookies are shaped on the baking sheet, the baking sheet goes in the freezer for 15 minutes before baking. The chilling probably helps them to keep their domed shape a bit better. It apparently also improves the flavor and texture. Check this post to read all about it.

I made half the recipe, yielding a dozen cookies. Mine didn’t keep the domed shape quite as well as Deb’s did. It may be because I used Jif peanut butter instead of Skippy. Even without the full dome, these Salted Peanut Butter Cookies are indeed spectacular! Bob said I could quote him when he declared that they are A-1 terrific!

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You can see the cookie I cut in half  to show the inside. These cookies are a bit crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.🙂

salted-peanut-butter-cookies

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Salted Peanut Butter Cookies

(Adapted from Deb Perelman’s recipe on smittenkitchen.com which she adapted from the Ovenly cookbook.)

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(print the recipe)

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I cut Deb’s recipe in half. You can easily double this one to make more cookies. If you double it, you’ll need 1¾ cups of sugar and 1¾ cups of peanut butter. A commenter on Deb’s blog mentioned, and Deb confirmed, that a 16.3 ounce jar of Skippy contains 1¾ cups of peanut butter so no measuring required.

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A couple of comments on Deb’s blog mentioned that their cookies turned out great without the second time in the freezer on the baking sheets. I’ll be trying that next time.

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Makes about 12 cookies

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I did substitute maple sugar for the light brown sugar to make them Bob-friendly.

ingredients-for-cookies

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¾ cup + 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar (I substituted maple sugar.)

1 large egg, at room temperature

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

¾ cup + 2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter

Coarse-grained or flaked sea salt, to finish

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  1. Preheat the oven to 350° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk the sugar and the egg together until smooth.
  3. Whisk in the vanilla.
  4. Whisk in the peanut butter until it is thoroughly blended.

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5. Put the bowl of dough in the freezer for 15 minutes, stirring it once after about 8 minutes.

dough in the freezer.jpg

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6. Scoop or spoon the dough into balls on the prepared baking sheet. (Deb used a 1 2/3 tablespoon – 40mm – scoop. I used a 2 tablespoon – 44mm – scoop.)

Ready for freezer.JPG

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7. Put the baking sheet in the freezer for 15 minutes.

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I had to use the carton of ice cream to prop up the baking sheet so the parchment paper (and cookies) wouldn’t slide off.

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8. Sprinkle the cookies with the salt and bake for 15 – 18 minutes. (Mine took 17 minutes; start checking at 15.) When done, the cookies should be getting golden around the edges.

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9. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for several minutes and then remove to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

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Yes, the recipe did make 12 cookies, but Bob grabbed one as soon as I got them on the cooling rack.

cooling

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10. When totally cool, store in an air-tight container.

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salted-peanut-butter-cookies-copy

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Coconut Milk Mashed Potatoes

September 3, 2016

By Kath Dedon

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It was a revelation when I read in Heather Christo‘s beautiful cookbook, Pure Delicious, that she made creamy mashed potatoes with coconut milk! She uses vegan butter in her recipe, making it totally dairy-free and vegan. She promises that the potatoes do not taste like coconut.

Heather explains in the opening chapters of the book that people who have a true allergy to dairy products are allergic to the milk proteins found in all dairy products, including butter. Those who are lactose intolerant are sensitive not to the milk proteins, but to the milk sugars. They can usually eat butter which is low in lactose, the milk sugar.

Laura joined us for dinner last night and I decided to make Quick Roast Chicken Parts with Carrots and my easy recipe for Mashed Potatoes. This time, however, I used coconut milk! The Coconut Milk Mashed Potatoes were excellent! They definitely did not taste like coconut. We truly couldn’t tell the difference between the coconut milk mashed potatoes and dairy milk mashed potatoes.

I did use butter. If you need the recipe to be totally dairy-free or vegan, just substitute a vegan butter for the dairy butter.

If you, or people for whom you cook, have special dietary needs I highly recommend Pure Delicious. Heather is a trained chef and former caterer and her recipes reflect her professional background. You can check out her recipes on her blog, too. heatherchristo.com.

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Leftover Coconut Milk Mashed Potatoes reheated beautifully alongside the chicken and carrots for Bob’s lunch. In the background is So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk that worked so well in the recipe.

Mashed potatoes made with coconut milk

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Coconut Milk Mashed Potatoes

(Inspired by Heather Christo’s recipe in Pure Delicious)

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(print the recipe)

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Make it vegan, and dairy-free, by substituting a vegan butter for the dairy butter.

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Serves 4 – 6

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2 – 2½ pounds Yukon gold potatoes

1/3 – ½ cup unsweetened coconut milk (I used So Delicious found in the refrigerated dairy case.)

2 – 3 tablespoons butter (or vegan butter substitute)

Salt

Pepper

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1.    Scrub the potatoes well. If they’re about the same size and small, leave them whole. If not, cut them into similar-size pieces.

2.    Put the potatoes in a pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil.

3.    When the water’s boiling stir in about 1 tablespoon of salt. Reduce the heat so the water is simmering. Cover and cook until done, about 15 – 25 minutes. (Timing will depend on the size of your potato pieces.)

4.    When the potatoes are tender, drain the potatoes and put them back in the pot. Put the pot back on the burner for a few seconds to evaporate the rest of the water.

5.    Mash them right in the pot with a potato masher.

6.    After mashing a bit, add some butter and the coconut milk. Start with the lower amounts; you can always add more later. Continue to mash, adding more coconut milk and butter if needed, until done the way you like them.

7.    Season with salt and pepper. Serve, offering extra butter at the table.

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Mashed potatoes made with coconut milk - Copy

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Lesson learned about Hatch chile peppers!

August 22, 2016

I made Mika Garnett’s Southwest Chicken and Green Chile Stew again last night. It’s a recipe that we both had really enjoyed before.

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Doesn’t this stew look good?

Mika Garnett's Southwest Chicken and Green Chile Stew

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Well, I’m here to bring you this Important warning about hatch chile peppers!

This really is a great recipe, so I made it again yesterday with 4 hatch chile peppers that I found at Thriftway. They had two side-by-side boxes of hatch chile peppers that looked identical. One was labeled “Hot” and the other “Mild”. I chose the mild. Or so I thought.

When I researched hatch chiles before making this 3 years ago, I found this information someplace: “They can range from mild to medium-hot.” Wrong! I now know they can range from mild to insanely hot! 

Thinking I had identical peppers to the ones I had used before, I just added them to the chile. Just before serving I used a spoon to taste the broth for seasoning. I’m talking about 1/2 teaspoon of broth with NO visible signs of pepper pieces in it. WHOA! I don’t think I’ve ever eaten anything so hot before. I thought the top of my head was going to blow off.

Now, I’ll admit I am a bit of a sissy when it comes to hot stuff. (I order 2* at Thai restaurants and it’s plenty hot for me.) But this was insanely hot! I knew there was no way I could eat this stew last night. Bob offered to take me out for dinner, but I just quickly popped an emergency freezer meal into the microwave for my dinner.

Bob, Mr. 5*-Thai-food-guy who usually asks for extra hot sauce to add to his food, said he’d eat the stew. Well, he did finish his bowl, but I have never seen him sweat so much when he eats hot stuff! After he was finished, he admitted that it was even too hot for him!

So we threw the leftovers out.

I’m passing on the lesson I learned from all of this. Never assume your chile peppers are mild or medium. Taste a bite before adding them to your recipe. Had I done that, I would have used 1/2 – 1 of these crazy-hot chiles and it probably would have been fantastic. Lesson learned!

I still highly recommend the recipe, just be careful with your chile peppers. I might take the super-safe route and use a 4-ounce can of chile peppers next time.😉

I’ll be back with a new recipe soon!

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This volunteer sunflower sharing a pot with geraniums and lobelia bloomed the day before Carrie and Rhett’s wedding!.Volunteer sunflower - bloomed 7-29-16.jpg

Quinoa Salad with Oven-Dried Tomatoes

August 9, 2016

This Quinoa Salad with Oven-Dried Tomatoes from Heather Christo’s Pure Delicious is perfect for summer parties! I made it to take to a Seafair party last weekend where it was well-received. I had to share it with you, so I made it again yesterday and took photos.

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Quinoa Salad with Tomatoes.JPG

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Yes, it has been a while since I have posted a new recipe, but we have been very busy around here with happy wedding festivities! Carrie and Rhett were married on July 30!

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Photo by Frank Bedoya

Frank's picture of Carrie and Rhett

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The rehearsal dinner the night before was at our house, beautifully catered by Café Turko. The wedding was outdoors at a lovely park just outside the Pacific Tower, the Art Deco building that you can see from I-5. Then we all went up to FareStart’s venue on the 8th floor of Pacific Tower for the reception. The Panoramic Room is a stunning location for a reception with its 180° view of the city, the mountains, and Puget Sound. It was an awesome evening full of wonderful family and friends, great food, and lots of dancing to the fun playlist selected by Carrie and Rhett.

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View of Seattle from the Panoramic Room. Photo by Frank Bedoya.

View of Seattle from Pacific Tower

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The next morning many of us met Carrie and Rhett at Volunteer Park for Starbuck’s coffee and Costco croissants and muffins. It was great to have the opportunity to have a relaxed visit with Rhett’s family and some of the other out-of-state guests before they left Seattle.

All in all, it was a fabulous weekend full of love and joy!

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♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

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OK, so back to this Quinoa Salad with Oven-Dried Tomatoes! It’s a great choice if you’re hosting people with allergies. Those who are vegan or need to eat gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, or nut-free will appreciate this option. Plus, it’s just plain delicious!

It’s a very easy recipe to make. It takes a bit of time, but that’s only because the tomatoes slow-roast for 90 minutes. While they’re roasting, you can cook the quinoa and chop up the parsley and green onions. The dressing includes some of the roasted tomatoes; after a quick spin in the blender it’s ready to go.

This is the first recipe I have made from Pure Delicious. I am looking forward to trying many more. You can check out some more of Heather Christo’s “Deliciously Allergen Free Recipes” on her blog at heatherchristo.com.

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Tomatoes

 

Quinoa Salad with Oven-Dried Tomatoes

(Adapted, barely, from Heather Christo’s recipe in Pure Delicious)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 6 – 8

Oven-Dried Tomatoes

1 pound cherry or grape tomatoes, washed and cut in half lengthwise

3 tablespoons olive oil

Salt, to sprinkle on the tomatoes

 

Quinoa

2 cups white quinoa, rinsed and drained

½ cup dry white wine (I used wine; you can substitute vegetable or chicken broth but reduce the kosher salt if the broth is salty.)

1 cup water

1 teaspoon kosher salt (If substituting table salt or sea salt, use ¾ teaspoon.)

 

Tomato Dressing

¼ cup of the oven-dried tomatoes

1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped

¼ cup red wine vinegar

¼ cup olive oil

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

 

To add to the salad

2 green onions, thinly sliced

½ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Additional salt, if necessary

 

  1. To roast the tomatoes, preheat the oven to 250°. Spread the tomatoes out on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour the olive oil over them and toss to coat. Sprinkle with some salt and roast for 90 minutes.

Oven-dried tomatoes

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2. While the tomatoes are roasting, cook the quinoa. In a 3-quart sauce pan, bring the wine, water, and salt to a boil. Add the quinoa, stir, and cover. Reduce heat to very low so it will simmer. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the burner. Do not remove the cover; let it sit for 20 more minutes. Then remove the cover, fluff it up with a fork and put it in a large bowl.

3. When the tomatoes are done, make the dressing. Put ¼ cup of the roasted tomatoes in a blender. Add the garlic, vinegar, olive oil, and smoked paprika. Blend until it no longer has any lumps of tomatoes.

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Dressing in the blender

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4. Gently stir the dressing into the quinoa so it’s all evenly coated. Stir in the rest of the oven-dried tomatoes, the green onions, and the parsley. Taste and season with additional salt if necessary. Can be kept at room temperature to serve within a few hours, or cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days.

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Gently stirring the dressing into the quinoa

Stirring the dressing in.jpg

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Quinoa with Oven-Dried Tomatoes and Smoky Tomato Vinaigrette - Copy

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