Flourless brownies

Adapted from Unicorns in the Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 8 oz chocolate chips
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 tbsp cocoa powder

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 deg F. Coat an 8×8 baking pan with non stick spray and line with a parchment paper.
  2. Place butter, sugar and chocolate in a pan over medium heat until all melted. Let cool for a minute.
  3. Mix in the eggs one at a time using an electric mixer (this is important). Beat very well after each addition.
  4. Add in vanilla and cocoa powder. Mix well.
  5. Transfer the brownie batter into the prepared baking pan. Pound the pan on the counter twice.
  6. Bake in the heated oven for 25 minutes until the top is crackled.

Tips: It’s best to melt the butter, sugars and chocolate in a sauce pan over medium heat and NOT to use a microwave. Make sure all the ingredients are well mixed. Since this flourless brownie recipe has no leavening agent such as baking powder, over-mixing won’t cause a problem. Don’t over bake the brownies. We did not have nonstick spray — just the parchment paper. These kind of tasted like flourless chocolate cake — so really, no one could be disappointed. Mookie the cat got chastised for walking across the counter to inspect the mixing bowl (it was too far from his usual perch on the high chair by the bar counter).

~Jessica

Cinnamon granola

Adapted from Alton Brown

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup flax seed (can be grounded)
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • 6 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • butter

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Butter the pan.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients (oats, nuts, seeds, brown sugar, spices).
  3. In a small/medium bowl, combine wet ingredients (maple syrup, oil, and salt).
  4. Combine both mixtures and pour onto 2 sheet pans. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to achieve an even color.
  5. Remove from oven and cool.

I find the granola is done when it all feels dry as you stir it, and doesn’t clump together all sticky-like. I still don’t have a baking sheet, but this time I tried baking the granola in two separate dishes to cook faster. The maple syrup was a souvenir I picked while visiting my friend Francesca in Montreal. It’s some good stuff, and came in a can! Last but not least, Jesse’s tip: don’t spill.

~Jessica

Maple almond granola

Adapted from AllRecipes

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup blanched slivered almonds
  • ¼ cup wheat germ (I subbed with ground flax seed)
  • 1 (14 ounce) package flaked coconut (optional)
  • ⅓ cup unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 6 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 6 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup raisins (I prefer cranberries)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C). Lightly grease a cookie sheet with sides, or a large cake pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, toss together the oats, almonds, wheat germ, coconut, and sunflower seeds. In a separate bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, brown sugar, oil, 2 tablespoons warm water, and salt. Pour the liquid over the oat and nut mixture, and stir until evenly coated. Spread out on the prepared cookie sheet. If you want some chunky bits, squeeze some small handfuls into little clumps.
  3. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes in the preheated oven, stirring occasionally until evenly toasted. Mix in raisins. Cool, and store in an airtight container at room temperature.

I first got the idea to make my own back in grad school — partly to be healthier, and partly for hiking! Now Jesse likes a little bit of granola in yogurt (my thing for breakfast), so why not recreate this? I used to make it for friends as a homemade care package. Good stuff — although I don’t have a cookie sheet so a lot of stirring is going to take place in the baking pan. Next time I’ll add dried cranberries and different nuts/seeds! EDIT: cooked for another 30 minutes, stir, 30 minutes, stir, to ensure baked through and nice and loose.

~Jessica

Mom’s baked chicken

Adapted from somewhere…

Ingredients:

  • 6 chicken drumsticks, skin-on
  • garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt
  • 1/4 stick of butter
  • a twig of fresh thyme (if dried thyme, about 1/2 teaspoon)

Directions:

  1. Put 10″ cast iron pan into oven @ 450 degrees F.
  2. Mix garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt in a small bowl. Taste.
  3. Cover 6 chicken drumsticks with this spice mix.
  4. Take cast iron pan out of oven (leave oven on!) and put hot cast iron pan on the stovetop.
  5. Melt the 1/4 stick of butter (no need to light the stove because the pan is still extremely hot).
  6. Put a twig of fresh thyme (I use dried thyme, about 1/2 teaspoon that’s enough to cover the pan).
  7. Add the chicken into pan, coat the chicken with this butter-thyme sauce.
  8. Put the pan back into the hot oven, bake it for 15 minutes (no need to cover them), take the pan out and flip the chickens, then back into the oven for another 10-15 minutes.
  9. Take it out of oven and let it cool in the pan for 5 minutes or so.
  10. Plate the chicken, then pour the pan sauce over and serve.

You won’t believe how juicy it is, and very tasty. I used smoked paprika because that is all I have. It’s really good, people who tried my chicken later on asked me for the recipe.  Good luck!

~Kailing

Chicken stew

Adapted from Recipe Tin Eats

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1.5 kg / 3 lbs bone in, skin on chicken thighs and drumsticks (6 to 8 pieces)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 onions, halved and cut into wedges
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 large carrots, cut thick end into 1.5cm / 3/5″ pieces, thin end 2.5cm/1″
  • 4 celery stalks, cut into 2cm / 4/5″ chunks
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) white wine (or water)
  • 3 tbsp (35g) flour
  • 3 cups (750 ml) chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 sprigs thyme, or 1 tsp dried thyme (or other herb)
  • 2 bay leaves (dried or fresh)
  • 600 g / 1.2 lbs baby potatoes, halved (quarter large ones)
  • Warm crusty bread (homemade garlic bread!!)
  • OPTIONAL: Fresh thyme or parsley (chopped)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
  2. Heat oil in a large pot over high heat. Brown chicken on both sides until light golden, sprinkling with salt and pepper. Remove from pot. (Do in 2 batches if pot not big enough).
  3. If there’s too much oil in the pot, discard some. Add onion and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes until onion is translucent.
  4. Add carrots and celery, cook for 1 minute.
  5. Add wine. Stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to dissolve the brown bits into the liquid. Cook for 1 minute until liquid is mostly gone.
  6. Sprinkle flour across surface, stir.
  7. Add broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, thyme and bay leaves. Stir to dissolve tomato paste.
  8. Place chicken on top, keeping the skin above the liquid level as much as you can.
  9. Bring to simmer then cover. Bake for 45 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven, remove lid. Add potatoes, pushing them into the liquid and rearranging chicken so they sit on top (for lovely crispy skin).
  11. Return to oven without the lid for a further 40 minutes until the chicken skin is deep golden and super crispy, the potatoes are soft and the sauce is thickened.
  12. Taste sauce and adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  13. Serve with warm crusty bread on the side to dunk in the sauce – or go all the way with Garlic Bread! Optional: garnish with extra fresh thyme leaves or parsley.

Ingredients for Garlic Bread:

  • 1 French stick / baguette , ~ 60cm / 2ft long (I use half a loaf of Whole Foods peasant bread)
  • 125 g / 1 US stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tsp fresh garlic , minced (~3 – 4 cloves, pack the teaspoon)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp finely chopped parsley (optional)

Directions for Garlic Bread:

  1. Preheat oven. I left it at the same temperature as the chicken stew.
  2. Cut the French stick in half. Then cut the bread almost all the way through into 2cm / 4/5″ thick slices.
  3. Mix together the butter, garlic, salt and parsley. Taste to see if it’s salty / garlicky enough for your taste.
  4. Smear garlic butter over cut side of bread.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes until the crust is crispy (check through foil).

I wanted a Dutch oven for a long time, and my sister Jennifer recommended the affordable Lodge cast iron 6 quart. She also recommended this chef’s blog! This came out super tasty — and every reheated leftover tasted better and better. HIGHLY recommend. Perfect for cold winter’s days to heat up your whole apartment.

~ Jessie

Pan roasted chicken and vegetables

Adapted from Natasha’s Kitchen and Taste of Home

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 medium yellow potatoes, unpeeled and sliced into 3/4″ to 1″ thick pieces
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced into 1/2″ thick rounds
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 large zucchini, sliced into 3/4″ thick rounds
  • 2 red, yellow or orange bell peppers, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1.5 Tbsp garlic salt, or to taste
  • Freshly grated black pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tbsp. Canola or olive oil
  • 4 skin-on chicken thighs

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425° F. In a large bowl, combine potatoes, carrots, onion, oil, garlic, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon rosemary and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; toss to coat.
  2. In a small bowl, mix paprika and the remaining salt, rosemary and pepper. Sprinkle chicken with paprika mixture; arrange over potatoes and carrots. Transfer to a Dutch oven or baking pan coated with olive oil, roast uncovered at 450˚F for 10 minutes. The chicken will roast until a thermometer inserted in chicken reads 170°-175° and vegetables are just tender (about 35-40 minutes total).
  3. Combine the zucchini, bell peppers, and 1/2 the garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove roasting pans from the oven and quickly place the rest of the vegetables evenly over the top. Return to the oven and roast an additional 20-25 minutes or until potatoes and carrots are tender and easily pierced with a fork.
  4. Remove chicken to a serving platter; keep warm. Roast until vegetables are tender, 8-10 minutes longer. Stir vegetables to combine; serve with chicken.

I had the vegetables I wanted for my classic vegetable soup dish, but no pot or Dutch oven big enough to hand blend it. So I thought to try out the glass Pyrex baking pan I just acquired and bake some this cold weekend for dinner. The vegetables (especially the potatoes) took a decent extra time to cook through, but the Staub Enameled Cast Iron Fry Pan cooked considerably more than the Pyrex Glass Baking Dish. THIS TASTES SO GOOD.. I never got tired of reheating leftovers. In fact, it tasted better each time.

~Jessica

Zucchini pepper soup

Adapted from Stella Cooks and the spring vegetable puree

perfect with a grilled cheese

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 head of garlic, smashed
  • 1 zucchini, washed and chopped
  • 2 bell pepper, washed and chopped (red is good)
  • 1 bunch of Korean leeks (Hmart)
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 4 tbsp. tomato paste
  • pinch of salt, cracked pepper, paprika, thyme, oregano, cumin
  • ½ cup of heavy cream

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, warm the butter (or olive oil) over medium heat. Gently saute the garlic for a couple of minutes, then throw in the leeks (or onions if you have) and cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until fragrant and soft, stirring constantly.
  2. Add zucchini and peppers to skillet and saute for about ten minutes, or until they just begin to brown.
  3. Pour the rest of the ingredients (except the dairy) into the soup pot, including the vegetable broth, and heat just to boiling. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and allow to cook for about twenty minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Let cool a bit (to avoid heat splashing in the blender). Remove the soup, in batches if necessary, into a blender or large food processor and puree to desired thickness (I usually prefer smooth soups). Return the pureed soup to the pot. Taste. Stir in salt and pepper as desired.
  5. Make sure the soup is well mixed and heated throughout, then ladle out into serving bowls. Sprinkle some scallions or leeks greens on the top, add the cream (milk), and finish with a light dash of paprika. Serve immediately.

I used whole milk instead of heavy cream, but it was delicious before that. I also threw in a handful of pistachios and pancetta to clean out my cupboard (road trip coming up!), but this recipe would have been just as superb without them. I have perfected this soup, and the grilled cheese that complements it. Hooray!

~Jessica

Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (130 g) flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temp.
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temp.
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3.5 cups old-fashioned whole rolled oats
  • 1 bag Ghiradelli dark chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Whisk the dry ingredients (flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt) together. Just the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt– you’ll add the oats later.
  2. Mix the wet ingredients (butter, sugars, eggs, molasses, vanilla) together.
  3. Combine the wet and dry ingredients.
  4. Add the oats and chocolate chips. The dough will be thick and sticky.
  5. Chill the cookie dough. We did way more than 45 minutes in the refrigerator, which helps prevent the cookies from overspreading.
  6. Scoop cookie dough balls. About 3 Tablespoons of dough per cookie– yes, these are LARGE!
  7. Bake at 350°F for 13-14 minutes. The cookies are done when the edges are set and the centers still look soft.
  8. Remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. Enjoy!

These were so good — just the right amount of chewy, and really awesome texture from the extra oats. I’ve long been an oatmeal raisin fan, but I was open to Jesse’s chocolate substitution, and they were quite the hit with his apartment. He skipped the molasses and used less sugar. Everyone was a fan of the bittersweet 60% cacao baking chips.

~Jessica

Eggs with mushrooms and spinach

Adapted from Damn Delicious and Food & Wine

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced (I had white button)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • a handful of chopped parsley
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes, optional
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry, but I used some rice wine

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons of butter until shimmering. Add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper flakes. Cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring a few times, until softened, 4 minutes.
  2. Add the onion then garlic, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and the mushrooms are browned, 3 minutes longer. Add the sherry and spinach, and cook until almost evaporated, 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat, cover and set aside.
  3. In a large, nonstick skillet, melt the butter over moderate heat. Crack the eggs one at a time into a ramekin and then slip into the skillet. Cook the eggs, sunny-side up, until the whites are firm and the yolks runny, about 5 minutes.
  4. Spoon the mushroom mixture onto the toasts and top with the fried eggs. Garnish with the parsley and serve.

I was craving a change of pace for dinner, and what could be better than breakfast dinner? If you like breads, Four 1/2-inch-thick slices of rustic white bread are another way to go.

~Jessica

Starbucks cheese & fruit protein box

Adapted from Damn Delicious. Prepares 4 meals

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz. sharp two-year aged Cheddar cheese, cubed
  • 4 oz. of Brie wedge
  • 4 oz. of Gouda
  • 2 Braeburn apples, washed and halved (I cut carrot wedges)
  • 2 cups of grapes, washed (I used 20 grape tomatoes)
  • 4 Ozery Bakery Morning Round Pita Breads, or 20 nine-grain crackers
  • 1 cup Hummus, divided (saved for next time, I need little cups!)
  • fresh lemon juice, optional for apple slices (I had hard-boiled eggs)

Directions:

  1. Place fruit, carrot, celery, apple, peanut butter, cheese and pita bread into meal prep containers.

The only fruit I’m fond of are berries, and since they’re not in season, I subbed with vegetables. Grape tomatoes instead of grapes. Carrots instead of apples. I added elements of my other favorite protein boxes, like the PB&J and the hard-boiled egg (although I want to see if I can get good enough to make soft-boiled eggs!) Instead of Brie and gouda, I used Havarti (on sale at WF) and Queso Oaxaca cheese and Dubliner Cheese wedges and leftover Longhorn (Colby) Cheddar.

365 Multigrain Bread $3.39
Roth Original Havarti cheese $2.99
365 Grape Tomatoes 1 pint $2.49
2 Organic Loose Carrots $0.62
Total $9.49

~Jessica