Instant Chocolate Pudding Mix

Rather than paying a higher price to consume artificial flavor, disodium phosphate, tetrasodium pyrophosphate, mono and diglycerides, artificial color, yellow 5, yellow 6, bha (preservative), make your own mix! It only takes a minute.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch (or all-purpose flour)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
In a container with a lid or a ziplock bag, combine all ingredients. When ready to make, pour the powder into a cold pot and add the following ingredients:
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Stir over medium heat until thickened. Enjoy warm or refrigerate until cold.

30 Minute Cardamom-Lime Chicken and White Beans

Photo from Milk Street
This is one of my favorite recipes, and although cardamom and garam masala are two of the main ingredients, I actually prefer it without.
Adapted from Milk Street

Ingredients

  • 1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2 inch chunks (bone-in would also work, but would need more cooking time)
  • 2.5 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated black pepper, divided
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter
  • 4 bunches scallions (2 bunches are plenty) thinly sliced, white and green parts used separately
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala (I usually omit this or use just a pinch)
  • 1.5 teaspoons ground cardamom (I omit this – too strong of a flavor for me)
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans cannelloni beans, drained, liquid reserved
  • 1 cup chicken broth (I use 1 teaspoon Better than Bullion with 1 cup water)
  • 2 teaspoons grated lime zest
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (approximately 2 limes)

Directions

  1. Season the chicken with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  2. In a large pot over medium-high, melt the butter. Add the chicken and scallion whites, then cook, stirring once or twice, until both the chicken and scallions begin to turn golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add the tomato paste, garam masala, cardamom, turmeric, 1.5 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
  4. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds. Add the bean liquid, broth, lime zest and juice, then bring to a boil. Reduce to medium and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a simmer, until the chicken is opaque when cut into, 5 to 7 minutes (I like to cook this, partially covered, for at least 15 minutes to allow the chicken to get really tender.
  5. Stir in the scallion greens and the beans, then cook until the beans are heated through, another 2 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Tip: Don’t forget to save the liquid when draining the beans. It adds both body and flavor to the dish. If you do accidentally discard it, simply increase the chicken broth to 2⅓ cups. The braising liquid will be thinner, but the dish will still be tasty.


Black Bean & Corn Salad (low fat)

Adapted from Rachel Ray

Ingredients

  • 1 can black beans (14 ounces), drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups frozen corn kernels (rinse in cool water to defrost quickly)
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • A few basil leaves, julienned or a handful of chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil (taste with one tablespoon and add another tablespoon if necessary)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, more to taste
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  • Crumbled tortilla chips for serving

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Let stand at least 15 minutes for corn to fully defrost and flavors to combine, then toss again and serve with crumbled tortilla sprinkled on top.


Oatmeal Pancakes (Gluten Free)

My son was 6 years old the first time he tried these and asked why we were having dessert for breakfast!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk or buttermilk
  • 1 carrot (optional)
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup oat flour (or any flour)
  • 1/4 cup flax meal (optional)
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. In a high speed blender, liquefy the carrot and milk. Pour the milk into a bowl and stir in the oats. Let sit for 20 minutes or overnight.
  2. After 20 add eggs, vanilla and sugar.
  3. In a separate bowl mix together the flour, flax meal, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
  4. Mix the two bowls together. If the batter seems too thick, add milk – one tablespoon at a time – until the consistency is pourable.
  5. Heat a greased griddle or cast iron skillet over medium-low heat. Pour 1/4 cup batter for each pancake. Use the back of a spoon to help spread the pancake so it’s not too thick.
  6. Cook until bubbles appear on top. Flip and cook the other side until lightly browned.
  7. Note: These pancakes tend to brown quickly. Adjust the heat as necessary. You may need to lower the heat and cover the pan if they seem to be browning too quickly.

Swiss Bircher Muesli (Overnight Oats)

My new favorite breakfast! Delicious, Bircher Muesli is a Swiss recipe that precedes overnight oats. It’s basically the same thing, but almost always includes yogurt and grated apples. Traditionally, the oats are soaked overnight in apple juice, but I prefer to soak them in milk, along with all the other ingredients.

Inspired by Pret a Manger

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt or greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup apple juice
  • 1 apple, coarsely grated
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds (optional)
  • Pumpkin seeds and pomegranate seeds for topping
  • Drizzle with honey (optional)

Directions

  1. Mix all the ingredients (except toppings) in a jar or bowl.
  2. Top with pumpkin and pomegranate seeds.
  3. Allow to soak overnight or at least 3 hours.

Egyptian Barley Salad

Original recipe by Americas Test Kitchen

When I made this I found it needed additional dressing than the recipe called for.

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups pearl barley (do not substitute hulled barley or hull-less barley)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ⅓ cup golden raisins
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped cilantro
  • ¼ cup shelled pistachios, toasted and chopped coarse
  • 3 ounces feta cheese, cut into ½-inch cubes (¾ cup)
  • 6 scallions, green parts only, sliced thin
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds
  • Freshly cracked pepper, to taste

Directions

1. Cook barley according to package instructions, as brands may differ; or try ATK’s instructions: Bring 4 quarts water to boil in Dutch oven. Add barley and 1 tablespoon salt, return to boil, and cook until tender, 20 to 40 minutes. Drain barley, spread onto rimmed baking sheet, and let cool completely, about 15 minutes.

2. Whisk oil, molasses, cinnamon, cumin, and ½ teaspoon salt together in large bowl. Add barley, raisins, cilantro, and pistachios and gently toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread barley salad evenly on serving platter and arrange feta, scallions, and pomegranate seeds in separate diagonal rows on top. Drizzle with extra oil and serve.

Nutrition Facts: 280 calories, 10g fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 10mg cholesterol, 41g carbohydrates, 7g protein, 7g fiber, 320mg sodium


Horseradish Coleslaw

Light, crisp, tangy horseradish coleslaw. My mom had a salad like this while visiting Prague recently and it’s become a new family favorite.

Ingredients

  • 1 bag of Trader Joe’s Shredded Green and Red Cabbage with Orange Carrots
  • 1/2 apple, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly grated black pepper, to taste

Directions

Add all the ingredients for the dressing into a jar and shake well; taste. If it’s too tart, add a teaspoon of mayonnaise, or a little more olive oil.

Pour the dressing over the slaw and toss.


Turkey & Black Bean Chili

Adapted from a food network recipe by Matt Martinez.

One of my favorite one-pot meals. This is a quick and incredibly flavorful turkey chili with vegetables.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 3/4 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 large cloves garlic, sliced
  • 3/4 tablespoon salt (I use 1/2 tablespoon)
  • 3/4 tablespoon black pepper (I use 1/2 a tablespoon)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch (optional)
  • 3/4 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped sweet white onions (I use 1/2 cup)
  • 4 tablespoons coarsely chopped green chilies
  • 1 (14 ounce) can whole stewed tomatoes (I drain the tomato juice into the pot and then chop up the tomatoes into smaller pieces before adding them to the pot).
  • 2 whole chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (I use one pepper and remove the seeds, otherwise it’s too spicy for us)
  • 1 cup fresh corn (I use frozen)
  • 1 cup finely chopped zucchini
  • 1 cup chicken stock (I add 2 cups)
  • I like to add 1 can black beans, drained and barely rinsed

Directions

  1. Preferably using a cast-iron skillet, brown the turkey in the oil.
  2. Add all the ingredients except zucchini and chicken stock, and saute for 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add the vegetables and stock, and cook for approximately 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Adjust seasoning to taste, and serve immediately.
  5. I like to serve this with fresh baked corn bread crumbled on top.
  6. *tip – Since you only need one chipotle pepper, separate the peppers in a ziplock bag and freeze for next time.

White Beans in Tomato Sauce

This is a very simple dish that comes together in 10 minutes. It’s my son’s absolute favorite meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion, diced (3/4 cup)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 ounce can tomato sauce (preferably Hunts)
  • 2 cans cannellini, great northern, or navy beans (or 1.5 cups dried beans soaked overnight in a brine of 1.5 tablespoons kosher salt to 3 quarts water)

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a medium pot, Dutch oven or stovetop pressure cooker.
  2. Add onions, salt, and pepper and cook, partially covered, until the onions are completely soft, about 7 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and cook until fragrant.
  4. Add tomato sauce and beans and bring to a boil. Cover and let cook for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you prefer the sauce to be thicker, uncover and simmer until desired consistency is reached. We like ours pretty saucy.
  5. Pressure cooker instructions: Sometimes, rather than using a regular pot, I’ll prepare this in my stovetop pressure cooker. I let it come to pressure for about 5 seconds and do a quick release. It’s amazing how much of an impact that makes on the final result.

Serve over rice.


3 Ingredient, Gluten Free Coconut Cookies

In my failed attempt to make coconut macaroons with unsweetened shredded coconut, I discovered a simple coconut cookie that is really nothing like a macaroon, but delicious nonetheless.

Ingredients

  • 1 (14-ounce) can *sweetened condensed milk
  • 14 ounces unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Directions

  1. In a large bowl add all ingredients and form into desired shape. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.
  2. Set the oven to broil and allow to brown to desired shade, approximately 1-2 minutes.
  3. Best eaten immediately.

*I had some extra sweetened condensed milk and decided to drizzle some on top of the cookies once they were finished baking. It turned out to be a wonderful glaze.