Soup for Supper: Weeknight Seafood Chowder

Our recipe for “Quick dinner: Fantastic seafood chowder” (San Jose Mercury News)

This seafood chowder is really pretty quick to make and definitely feels like a little bit of luxury for weeknight dinner. Love that you can use any mix of seafood that you choose (fish, shrimp, clams whatever!). In thinking about this recipe our main goal was to avoid the clump factor that you can sometimes get with some of the traditional chowder recipes that call for a flour-based roux mixture to thicken them. So, this recipe leaves out the roux altogether and results in a chowder that lands on the more brothy side of things (which I personally don’t mind). It’s brothy but it does feel substantial if you keep the pieces fish and potatoes chunky and you’re generous with the amount of seafood that you add. But if you happen to be a chowder fan (like my dad for one) who prefers a texture with a bit more body, you can try this quick trick:  just mash some of the potatoes into the soup once they’re tender.

I absolutely love this with a hunk of good, sourdough bread and a tossed salad — glass of white wine or a beer wouldn’t hurt either 😉 ! Click here for our recipe in the San Jose Mercury News’ “Fast & Furious Weeknight Cooking” column.

Comfort Food Cravings: Nonni’s Quick Chicken Parm

Chicken Parm

Yeah, Chicken Parm!

Cooking withnonni

Nonni Laura in the Kitchen

In my last blog post, I introduced you to the one and only Nonni Laura who showed you (via this video) how to make a humongous pot of minestrone, Italian grandma-style. Yum yum!

I wanted to share another of our very favorite Nonni recipes: this time ooey, gooey chicken parmesan, a true Italian-American classic…. and a meal near the top of my kids’ all time “most requested” list. It’s pretty hard not to love that magical combination of rich tomato sauce, melty cheese, herbed breadcrumbs and juicy chicken.

This particular version of chicken parmesan is mostly Nonni’s recipe, but with a few added tweaks and shortcuts by me to make it a bit more doable for busy weeknights.   [The recipe recently appeared in the “Fast and Furious Weeknight Cooking” column for the San Jose Mercury News.]

Hope you’ll give it a try…BTW the leftovers make killer sandwiches!

Get the recipe for Nonni’s Quick Chicken Parm.

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Nonni hugs are the best!


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Easy Weeknight Cooking: Asian Fish Parcels

asian-fish-parcels_blog-2This super easy recipe is one that our kids can make by themselves in the kitchen.  And easy in this case, doesn’t mean lacking in taste at all.  It’s the perfect combination of French technique (“en papillote) and Asian ingredients.  It’s kind of an origami project for the kids to wrap up the fish in foil or parchment.  The drama of opening the packets table-side always impresses everyone.  You can omit the chile paste if you want to, to make the dish more palatable to little taste buds.  Happy weekend!

Check out the recipe on San Jose’s Mercury’s Quick Dinner Weeknight Cooking section……

Fast & Furious Weeknight Cooking: Simran’s Chimichurri Black Beans

chimichurri-beans

These brothy, flavorful chimichurri beans are so versatile — a tasty base for soups and stews; a hearty sidedish; or, of course, a filling for tacos, quesadillas, tortas and yes… nachos! Simran developed this recipe after enjoying a similar dish when she was in Belize and it’s our latest article for our “Fast & Furious Weeknight Cooking” series for the San Jose Mercury News. Read the article and get the recipe right here. Continue reading

Nasi Goreng: Malaysian Fried Rice

nasi goreng

Every year, Stacie and I, in teams with our summer campers lead a fried rice cook-off and every year, I “somehow” seem to lose.  I always blame the judges and their “lame” palates and tastebuds, but maybe, just maybe Stacie is better at making fried rice. 🙂

This nasi goreng is a pretty simple, but quite a delicious and satisfying dish.  It takes a Chinese classic and spices it up a little bit.  The magic of this Malaysian-style fried rice lies in the flavorful base, a spice paste of chiles, garlic and shallots.  Leftover rice usually works best as it is drier and fries up better. This dish is a great vehicle for other leftovers as well – you can add leftover chicken, other cooked meats, leftover vegetables and tofu as well.  It is a bit of a spicier dish, but you can adjust the amount of chilli or use milder chillies.  Or frankly as your kids get older, have them try some spicy dishes (raising the spice level as time passes) – constant exposure will get them eating dishes with more spices/chilli in them. Continue reading

Cacio e Pepe, A Taste of Rome

Cacio e Pepe

Cacio e Pepe collage

Learning how to cook an Italian classic.

 

This is one of those recipes that is so easy it hardly even needs a recipe. It has a list of 3 ingredients (maybe four, but more on that later) and is just only slightly more complicated than boiling pasta. But despite it’s basic-ness Cacio e Pepe one of the most delicious and satisfying pasta dishes ever dreamed up. In fact, when my husband and I were in Rome this last summer we of course made it a point to eat as much great food as possible (no surprise there). Despite the many absolutely amazing meals we had, the one we returned to on our last night (and we were both in total agreement) was a bowl of Cacio e Pepe, a slow-roasted porchetta sandwich, a simple salad and a glass of wine from a little stand down by the Tevere which was set up as part of a summer festival along the river. Last meal in Rome? No contest. Okay maybe dining al fresco by the light of a full moon, bathed in the special magic of one of our favorite cities had something to do with it, but the food really was perfect.  Continue reading