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I have been making this recipe for a few years, and I just made it again for the first time this winter — and was delighted yet again by how fast, easy, and delicious it is. It doesn't dirty up a bunch of dishes or utensils; the "hardest" part is chopping the onion. It also makes for great leftovers. One recommendation: If you have kitchen shears, use them to cut the stewed tomatoes into bite-size pieces. Oh, and top each bowl with a big dollop of sour cream. —Rachel Wilkerson Miller
Get the recipe here.
This discovery came about after my coworker showed me a picture of this stunning upside-down banana cake. It was glossy, perfectly browned, and unlike anything I had ever seen before — I immediately went home and made it.
To make the cake, you have to make a caramel sauce, dump it in a cake pan, place cut bananas into the caramel, then top it with the batter. This might sound like a lot of work, but don't worry, it's not that bad. The important thing to remember is to let the cake cool before turning it out. The caramel sauce needs time to harden up a bit, and if you flip it too soon, you'll end up with a soggy mess (which I have done not once, but twice making pineapple upside-down cake). If you're looking for a new take on a classic, this is for you — it's beautiful, glossy, and perfect for the cold winter months. —Jesse Szewczyk
I'm really into sourdough bread baking, and I recently started tinkering around with my base recipe by adding things like seeds, nuts, and fruit.
Without question, the best "crumb" (internal structure) of any bread I've made is this pretty simple sourdough with caraway and flax seeds. I gasped when I sliced into it! The taste was spectacular — the caraway seeds were great little bursts of flavor, and the flax added some great texture. It was perfect with a little smear of Irish butter!
On impulse, I picked up some dried Smyrna figs at the grocery store. I wasn't sure what to do with them, but this fig and walnut sourdough loaf was a wildly successful experiment and I can't wait to make it again. I just chopped up some figs and walnuts and threw them into my go-to sourdough recipe, and hoooooly moly. The bread was incredible — sweet figs and crunchy walnuts are a perfect combination! It was fantastic with a little Irish butter and a drizzle of salted honey. —Cates Holderness
This is a really good twist on traditional pesto and didn't taste like a watered-down or "healthier" version at all. Most other pesto recipes I've found call for a lot of oil, which I'm not a fan of. This recipe had the perfect balance of ingredients — I actually used half spinach and half basil and it tasted amazing. I mixed it with pasta, chicken, green beans, and sun-dried tomatoes for a Christmas lunch salad. Then I used leftovers on toast and as a dip! —Jemima Skelley
I first had congee at Mission Chinese in New York and became so in love with this dish that I attempted to recreate it at home the next day. I've now been making this recipe every winter for the past two years and I'm still obsessed.
Congee is a rice porridge that's popular in East Asian countries. The idea behind it is very straightforward — overcook your rice in water until it turns into gruel — and you can customize it as much as you like.
I usually cook mine in chicken broth to add flavor and I add some mushrooms and/or precooked chicken 10 to 15 minutes before it's ready. For toppings, my faves are fish sauce, hot sauce, sesame oil, cilantro, and green onions. The whole thing is delicious, super cheap, and ridiculously cozy. What more do you need? —Marie Telling
This was so easy to make! I opted for a pre-made pie crust since I was cooking a bunch of other dishes. I added a little more spinach than the recipe called for and put in half the amount of sun-dried tomatoes, since 1/2 cup seemed like a lot. We put the goat cheese down first on the pie crust to ensure a nice bite of cheese with every bite.
The quiche was made the night before and reheated well. I covered it in foil so the crust wouldn't burn. You might need to reheat longer than the recipe says, but check until the middle is warm. The quiche looked pretty and it was all gone by the end of the brunch! —Tiffany Lo
My brother recently went to a holiday potluck where he claimed the best dish of the feast was a zuppa toscana. Inspired, I decided to try my own homemade pot. This recipe is dairy free AND Whole 30 compliant, which is a win-win since I'm both lactose sensitive and planning on starting Whole30 this month.
The recipe is super straightforward — most of my effort went into chopping up onions, garlic, and potatoes, which anyone can do. And I loved the fact that the dish called for full-fat coconut milk (don't be tempted by the 'light' stuff at the grocery store), since it made the soup feel like an actual meal, and oh-so creamy.
Overall, it was the perfect protein-packed meal on a blizzarding weekday night and made for the perfect cozy, cold-weather meal.
To give it a bit more texture, I'd consider adding bacon bits, which are also Whole30 friendly (just make sure they have no added sugar). —Michelle No
Over the holidays my mother and I did a ton of cooking together, but one recipe that stood out to me (probably because I ate two dozen of them) was these crispy-yet-chewy gingersnaps.
The recipe is super simple, and the flavor profile is nothing unusual or challenging, but the cookies were just so damn good! While the cookies had some competition (via some peppermint bark and chocolate pretzels on our holiday table), our whole family agreed that these were by far the star of the show.
The only tweak we made to the recipe was rolling them in turbinado sugar (aka raw sugar) instead of regular ol' white sugar. This gave the outside a crisp texture and made them glisten. This will certainly be a recipe we use every year. —Jesse Szewczyk
Maybe it's just me and the fact that my oven was broken until just one month ago, but I am CRAZY for roasted vegetables lately. 'Tis the season, I suppose. At this point I'm roasting vegetables almost every day, and as such, I was looking to mix it up one day when I came across a recipe for cauliflower steaks.
Now this is something I'd had out to eat at a restaurant, but never had tried at home. It seemed like too much! It turns out the recipe is very easy — cutting the cauliflower lengthwise into strips — and you can use pretty much any spices you'd like.
However, since that first attempt (see photo above) I've come to realize that the shape of your cauliflower will make a huge difference in how the steaks come out. Sometimes they'll break apart, other times they'll immediately crumble, and in general, you won't even know how they'll turn out until you've cut them. Don't despair, though — anything that doesn't end up being cut as a flat "steak" will taste just as delicious as a regular ol' roasted cauliflower floret. Good luck! —Whitney Jefferson
I wanted to take advantage of my parents' ginormous kitchen (at least compared to my own) over the holidays, so I made this fancy-schmancy salad recipe. And let me tell you, this is the most elaborate salad I've ever made. It involves roasting, chopping, food processing, and blending. It's a lot. But damn, it was worth it.
My mother — who is a big fan of cheesy pasta and takeout — literally said to me, "I need to start cooking more." The roasted sweet potato and beets blew our minds, and the lentil hummus convinced me of the magic of a food processor. I wasn’t a big fan of the dressing, though. Maybe if it involved less nutritional yeast, but I don't know, I drizzled a cilantro vinaigrette over my portion and it was so much better. —Emily Shwake
I am obsessed with chicken noodle soup, but IMO no one makes it better than my mom. Her trick, being a Jewish mother, is to use matzo ball soup mix instead of chicken stock or broth because it's so much more flavorful.
She also uses a whole chicken and big chunks of vegetables along with either matzo balls, egg noodles, or my favorite: cheese tortellini. My mom has made chicken soup for me well over 100 times, and it's the most comforting recipe I know. So when the weather drops below 20 degrees in NYC, I find myself craving it. It takes about 40 minutes to make from start to finish, but the best part about this recipe is that it makes a HUGE pot of soup, so you can freeze the leftovers in individual portions and defrost it on lazy nights. —Hannah Loewentheil
Here's the recipe:
1 package matzo ball soup mix
1 whole chicken (you can also use chicken parts, like bone-in breasts or thighs)
1 bunch celery stalks (sliced into big pieces)
1 bunch large carrots (sliced into large chunks)
1 bunch turnips (sliced into large chunks)
1 large onion (chopped)
2 bay leaves
1 package cheese tortellini
Salt and pepper to taste
Put 10 quarts of water in a large pot and stir in matzo ball soup mix. Add the chicken, vegetables, herbs, and salt and pepper to taste.
In a separate pot, cook the tortellini. Bring the soup to a boil, then simmer until the chicken is cooked through and tender, falling off the bone.
Separate the chicken from the pot to remove the skin and bones, then add the meat back to the simmering soup. Add the cooked tortellini and serve.
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