Category Archives: simple

Spinach Pie


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Ughhh, I love this so much. It’s like a giant spanikopita, which is one of my favorite foods in the world. It’s both healthy and indulgent enough, needs almost zero seasoning, and can be prepped the day before, then assembled after work for a quick meal that’s ready in no time flat.

  • 32 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained really well
  • 1.5 tbsp. EVOO
  • 1 large vidalia onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. dried dill
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 C. crumbled feta
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • One sheet puff pastry
  • 1 egg (for egg wash on puff pastry)

1.Preheat oven to 375.

2.Heat the 1.5 TBSP EVOO over medium in a large saucepan.

3.Dice onion and mince garlic, then add to the saucepan and stir until soft and translucent.

4.Remove onion mixture from saucepan and set aside to cool.

5.Wring out as much liquid as possible from thawed spinach, using a cheesecloth, or in small fistfuls with your hands.  This is key so you don’t have a soggy spinach pie.

6.In a large bowl, combine the spinach, the room-temperature garlic and onion mixture, the feta, nutmeg, salt, pepper, dill, lemon and two eggs. Mix well to combine. If you’re going to make this the day before, so the flavors really meld together, leave out the eggs until the next day.

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7.Roll out the sheet of puff pastry according to directions, then line a standard-size pie pan with it.

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8.Top the pastry with the spinach mixture, evenly spreading it around the pie pan.

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9.Fold pastry over itself, then brush with the egg wash (use the remaining egg for this).

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10.Bake for 45 minutes or until pastry is puffed and golden.

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11.Let cool for five minutes, cut and serve.

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Lemon Chicken

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This was honestly one of the best meals I’ve made in a long, long time. First of all, it’s super easy. Second of all, it made our house smell amazing. Third of all, it’s bright and light and so delicious we both were practically licking the sauce from the plate. I couldn’t wait to have leftovers the next day.

LEMON CHICKEN (serves 4 – recipe from Ina Garten)

2 lbs. chicken breast, skin on (this is critical to the dish, don’t get skinless breasts)
1/4 c. EVOO
8 cloves minced garlic
1/3 C. dry white wine
Zest of two lemons (be sure not to grate into the white part, or the “pith” – this will make the dish really bitter)
Juice of two lemons
1 Lemon, cut into six quarters
1.5 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
Kosher Salt & freshly cracked black pepper

1.Preheat the oven to 400.

2.In a small saucepan, warm the EVOO over medium heat, then add the mined garlic and cook until fragrant, about 60 second. Remove from heat.

3.Add white wine, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, thyme and 1 tsp. salt, stir to combine. Pour into a medium size baking dish.

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4.Pat the chicken breasts dry and season with kosher salt and pepper on both sides. Add to the baking dish with the sauce, skin-side up.

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5.Take the six quarters of unsqueezed lemon and tuck them among the chicken breasts.

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6.Bake, uncovered, for about 30-40 minutes or until the chicken is done and the skin is light brown. If you use a meat thermometer and it indicates the chicken is done, but the skin isn’t brown and crispy, just crank up the broiler and cook for about 2 minutes, making sure not to burn it.

7.Remove, loosely tent with foil, then serve. We had this with quinoa and roasted veggies, and spooned the lemon sauce all over everything. So, so good.

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Bacon-wrapped Asparagus


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What’s better than grilled asparagus? Grilled asparagus, wrapped in bacon. These were so simple to make and completely delicious, and totally worth the little bit of a smoky kitchen. Throw open those windows and get ready to make this fantastic side!

BACON-WRAPPED ASPARAGUS (serves 4)

  • 1 lb. asparagus, ends trimmed
  • 4 pieces bacon
  • 1 tsp EVOO
  • Pinch of Kosher salt

1.Preheat the oven to 400.

2.Trim the asparagus – you can either just snap off the ends or cut them. Wash and dry well.

3.Divide the stalks into four even bundles.

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4.Wrap one piece of bacon around each bundle, making sure not to overlap the bacon as much as possible. This is key to getting the bacon to cook at pretty much the same rate the asparagus does.

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5.Place each assembled bundle on a cooling rack over a foil-covered baking sheet (this will create a little convection-cooking and allow the bacon to cook evenly). Brush the asparagus with a little olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt.

6.Bake for approx. 25 minutes or until bacon is cooked through. Serve and enjoy!

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Blood Orange Citrus Salad with Honey, Basil and Sea Salt


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Winter in San Antonio has been…not terrible. While the poor East Coast is getting Snowzilla’ed, we’re outside enjoying the sunshine. And Central Market is currently having their Citrus Celebration, which features about 60 different kinds of grapefruit, oranges, lemons, etc. It’s beautiful and delicious and makes me happy every time I set foot in that store.

This salad is perfect as either an appetizer or a dessert. Blood oranges are seasonal, and sweeter than a typical orange, but the addition of a little drizzle of honey, some flaked citrus salt (if you have it, if not, regular salt will work too) and some julienned basil is the most amazing combination. So many flavors!!

BLOOD ORANGE CITRUS SALAD WITH HONEY, BASIL AND SEA SALT (Serves 2)

  • Two blood oranges
  • Local honey, approx. 1 tsp. per salad
  • 7-8 basil leaves
  • Pinch of flaked citrus salt or regular sea salt
  1. Cut off the top and bottom of the orange, so it can stand on one end. Then, carefully remove the skin with a sharp knife, making sure you don’t cut away too much of the orange.

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2. Cut orange into slices, width-wise, and arrange on a plate.

3. Drizzle with honey, sprinkle with sea salt and top with julienned basil. Serve immediately.

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Look at all this citrus!!! Come on!!

Paleo Chicken Fingers (Gluten-free)


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Ok, to preface this  – I am not “going gluten-free.” However, I’m half Sicilian, and I love pasta way too much. And I also have a wedding dress I need to fit into in seven months, so something’s got to be done. So for the past few weeks, I’ve been experimenting with gluten-free recipes during the week, and “cheating” during the weekends. It keeps me in check with what I’m consuming, especially down here in Texas, and the portion control piece of all of this is also working out better than I expected. After three months of indulging in our new city, it’s time to reign it back in. And it’s a testament to these recipes that Brendan had NO CLUE I’d decided to start eating, and cooking, gluten-free. These were seriously delicious.

PALEO CHICKEN TENDERS (serves 4)

  • 1 lb. chicken breast or chicken tenders
  • 1.5 C almond meal (Bob’s Red Mill makes a great combo of the meal/flour)
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Prep your setup: in one bowl, have the eggs. In another, larger bowl, combine the almond meal with the spices. IMG_0559
  3. Using a fork (this will keep your hands from getting all breaded, themselves) dip the pieces of chicken first in the eggs, then on both sides in the almond meal, lightly pressing to make sure the almond meal forms a good coating on the chicken.
  4. Spray a cooking sheet with cooking spray or rub some olive oil on it.
  5. Place the “breaded” chicken on the baking sheet, then bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping once, until golden and chicken is cooked through.
  6. Serve with a side of honey mustard – I made this by just combining dijon mustard with a little honey and a little mayo – and some green beans.  So good.

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Roasted Red Pepper Dip




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Every good soft pretzel bite deserves something even better to dip it in or spread on it. There’s this awesome restaurant in town, POSH at The Scranton Club, which serves fresh-made soft pretzels accompanied by this incredible dip in lieu of your usual bread basket. Their food is fantastic, so even though I usually want to eat this whole basket, I try to show some self-control so I can still have room for dinner.  Then, I just make this soft pretzel bite/roasted red pepper dip at home.

I don’t even like roasted red peppers, but this – blended with cream cheese, feta, lemon and seasonings – is out of this world. I’ve taken this combo to a couple parties this year, and it quickly became my most-requested recipe.

ROASTED RED PEPPER DIP (inspired by POSH at The Scranton Club)

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Soft Pretzel Bites



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A confession:  I never made anything bread-related before this, and these (along with the feta and roasted red pepper dipping sauce) were one of the biggest hits of anything I’ve ever made. That’s how easy this recipe is. You can go full flour on this recipe, or half it with whole-wheat flour for a healthier version – they’re equally delicious (seriously.)

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Homemade Chicken Stock

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This is so easy to make that it actually makes you feel guilty about buying chicken stock from the store. You basically have to force yourself to be lazy enough not to make this, especially when you make roasted chickens as much as we do. It’s basically a collection of what’s left in your fridge, some simmering, then freezing for fresh chicken stock all day, all the time.

HOMEMADE CHICKEN STOCK (makes about 3 quarts)

  • 1 chicken carcass (from a roasted chicken – I use this after we’ve used the bulk of it for recipes)
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • handful parsley
  • 1 onion, cut into quarters
  • Kosher salt & pepper, approx. 1 tsp of each

1. Get a big stockpot, the biggest you have.

2. Throw in the chicken carcass, parsley, carrots, onion, salt & pepper.

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3. Fill to the top with water – for me, this was about 12 cups.

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4. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Simmer for about 3 hours over very low heat, stirring every once in a while.

5. Taste, season, then remove all the chicken, veggies & parsley.

6. Store stock in large mason jars in the freezer (I stuck them in the fridge for a couple hours so they didn’t break while going from boiling to freezing) and thaw to use when needed. Enjoy.

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Chinese Pork Dumplings


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If I could pick one food to eat for the rest of my life (pasta is a given), it would be these. I love dumplings, especially the really good ones. Unless you live in a city, good-quality dumplings are really hard to find – most of the ones I order around here are either too thick, not flavorful enough, or some sort of variation on Asian pierogies.

That said, these are fantastic. Perfect consistency, great filling, light and super tasty. Brendan and I made them together, and it was amazing how many of them we got out of 1 lb. of pork. I gave in and stuck to the basics with this recipe, but I’m already planning what version we’re going to make next. These were a really fun kitchen project, AND they froze really well too. Who needs city Chinese food?? Ok, me. I do. But when I can’t have it, this is a pretty great substitute.

CHINESE PORK DUMPLINGS (makes a ton. Freeze whatever you don’t make in an airtight container)

  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 3 scallions, green parts only, thinly chopped
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 egg
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp. minced ginger
  • Pot Sticker wrappers (I found these at a little Asian specialty store)

1. In a large bowl, combine the pork, scallions, sesame oil, salt & pepper and minced ginger. Mix to combine.

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Loaded Baked Potato Soup


IMG_6896This “Arctic Freeze” makes me want to get into pjs, curl up under a blanket and eat a big bowl of soup. You know, pretty much like last year.  I love loaded baked potato anything, and now’s the perfect time of year for this soup. It was comfort food to the extreme, keeps amazingly well, is thick and rich and totally indulgent.  Plus, bacon. Mmmmmm.

LOADED BAKED POTATO SOUP (serves 6)

  • 3 lbs. potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 in. chunks
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. EVOO
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • bay leaves
  • 5 strips bacon, cooked until crispy
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 dashes nutmeg
  • 1.5 tsp. kosher salt
  • chopped chives
  • sour cream for garnish (optional)

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