For someone who develops recipes on the regular (OK, let’s be real…developed…it’s been a minute), I find myself lacking inspo in the kitchen as much at the next person.
Honestly, since Elle was born, we’ve been in a bit of a rut. We’re talking scrambled eggs for dinner with a side of toast or air-fried hash browns and fruit. Or roasted veggies from the CSA box with some kind of last-minute seared protein alongside.
I mean, it’s fine, we’re all eating fine. But, as excited as I get to eat just about anything, these past few months I’ve been craving a bit more.
In A Recipe Rut? These Are The 10 Best Meals (+ Dessert) I’ve Cooked Lately
So, I’ve been trying to be a little more mindful about meal planning lately. Cooking the same ol’ things a new way (this salmon!) or turning those breakfast-for-dinner hacks into something that feels more intentional (these custardy steamed eggs). Even taking advantage of evenings when Chris is working late to indulge in the odd eggplant-forward entree, silky and savory and dripping with a slick garlicky sauce that begs for lots of hot rice.
I’ve revisited some old faves of late too, and I’m happy to report they still pass muster. I think you’ll agree.
I can’t overstate how freaking delicious this roasted pork turns out, and it infuses the entire house with the perfume of salty, garlicky, crisply-edged porkiness. And it’s so dang easy! Completely hands-off once it’s in the oven. We eat it Day 1 with mashed potatoes and veggies, and then crisp up leftovers in a skillet with its own fat and a little of the roasting jus and do tacos on Day 2. (If you intend to repurpose your leftovers as well, I’ll note I prefer omitting the rosemary for a more versatile flavor.)
I’ve made this slow-roasted salmon recipe several ways: exactly as written; without the sriracha for the kiddos; and completely turned on its head using different sauce ingredients entirely but the same baking temp and time (my fave combo is olive oil, mayo, lots of finely chopped herbs, lemon, salt + pepper). It always turns out ridiculously silky and tender, almost buttery. Worth adopting the method, alone.
As alluded to above, my husband, Chris, is not an eggplant person. I, on the other hand, could subsist almost exclusively on the nightshade. Especially when it’s super-duper silky and tender and doused in a restaurant-style sauce of garlic, oyster sauce and sizzling oil. This garlic Chinese eggplant recipe comes together fast, and I love that the eggplant is steamed, not fried. So, so good.
One look at that photo, and I’m sure you can understand why these chorizo tacos are such a freaking hit. I love them as is; the girls eat the cheesy tortillas and roasted sweet potatoes separately with all the toppings served as sides. I’ve made this with plant-based chorizo too. Equally delicious.
If you’ve been here a minute, you’ve seen this white-bean recipe before. Still a favorite weeknight meal, and one that is, shockingly, tasty enough to serve to company too. Don’t be afraid of the quantity of garlic. It becomes nutty and subtle and elevates the pantry-staple beans into something else entirely.
One of my friends is from Peru, and she mentioned that her husband made her Pollo A La Brasa for Mother’s Day dinner. I immediately had to know more. 1. Homemade Mother’s Day dinner? Impressed. 2. What exactly is this “pollo a la brasa”?
Turns out, it’s roasted bone-in chicken, marinated generously in soy sauce, citrus and loads of spices. My friend’s recipe is a little different, but with the craving firmly seated in mind, I ran home and dug up this recipe, which employs chicken thighs — something we almost always have on hand.
The first time, I made it as written; the second, I did the lime zest but omitted the juice from the marinade and instead squeezed lime generously over the top right before serving. I preferred the latter version. Without the lime juice in the marinade, the chicken skin crisped up more evenly, and if you happen to leave the chicken marinating for more than a few hours, you don’t have to worry about the acid making the meat rubbery. Excellent flavors and an easy one to prep in advance.
A Chinese steamed egg recipe an easy one to flub — sometimes I nail the perfect silky custard, sometimes I don’t. But even if the eggs overcook a bit and end up with a slightly rippled, scrambled texture, they’re still ridiculously delicious. Lana likes hers with just soy sauce. I like mine with chili crisp, scallions and a generous scattering of toasted sesame seeds. With rice alongside or Trader Joe’s scallion pancakes (find them in the freezer section), it’s a perfect meal.
OK, I’ll admit, these baked chicken meatballs are not Lana’s favorite, but I could eat an entire sheet pan of them, just standing over the stove. But I keep changing up the seasonings a bit to see if I can get her to come around — and that’s the beauty of them. These meatballs are just so snacky and versatile. So far, her favorite application was when we served them up with pasta and marinara sauce (classic). Mine was when we omitted the parm, added a little five spice and oyster sauce, and served them over rice noodles with shredded carrots, hoisin sauce and loads of herbs.
I forced myself to completely take this cast-iron-skillet pizza out of the dinner rotation for a few months, simply because it’s just too good. Too easy. Too tasty. Too crispy-crunchy-cheesy. (No such thing.) We were making it one or two times a week for a while there — sometimes more. But last week, I brought it back it again, to household applause. A winner of a recipe, toot-toot. Don’t miss the salad “recipe” that goes alongside. It’s our go-to for entertaining too.
We helped out with a friend’s birthday cake in February, Elle’s birthday was in March, and Lana’s birthday was in April. For all three occasions, we made this vanilla cake recipe with this fluffy frosting, and I’ll never make a different vanilla cake again. The recipe has a couple more steps than the usual, but the instructions are meticulously detailed, so it’s extremely easy to follow. And the ingredients are as simple as any basic cake. It’s pillowy soft, tender and so (eep) moist. But the real star is the frosting, which pipes like a dream and has the texture of buttercream with but with the lightness of whipped cream, and it’s just sweet enough. There is no equal.
What have you all been cooking up lately? And in case I get back into that recipe-development thing, what kinds of recipes are you seeking? Please share!
Friends! Follow me on Instagram for accessible, easily adaptable recipes; sneak peeks of The Mom Edit content (and sales!); and more snippets of our life on the Northern California coast. And if you feel so inclined, pop over to my personal food + lifestyle blog, The Pig & Quill, where I share salty scribblings from my kitchen and home life. Byeeeeee!