Photo courtesy modernhoney.com
One of the best parts about staying home this spring was having more time to cook and bake, which are some of my favorite hobbies. Here are some recipes I’ve made and loved:
Brown Butter Parmesan Spaghetti (from Kitchen Treaty)
I’m a big fan of this recipe because it takes ingredients you probably already have in your fridge and turns them into a fancy pasta dish. The night I made this, I put the sauce over a meat-filled ravioli I already had in my freezer.
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 pound (8 ounces) spaghetti noodles
1/4 cup pasta water + more if necessary (Don’t throw it out!)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (not shredded) + more for topping if desired
Freshly ground black pepper
Recommended (but optional) toppings for a little variation: fresh chopped basil, cooked chopped bacon, halved cherry tomatoes
1. In a small, thick-bottomed pan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Continue cooking the butter over medium heat, whisking frequently, until the foam subsides and the butter begins to turn brown and smell nutty, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat immediately and set aside. Note: It is really easy to burn brown butter, so watch it carefully. It turns brown really fast (and can also burn really fast!)
2. Meanwhile, set a large pot of water to boil. Cook the pasta to al dente per package instructions.
3. Using tongs, lift the cooked spaghetti noodles out of the water and place in a large pasta bowl. You can drain the noodles in a colander, too, but remember to reserve some of the pasta water! It’s crucial for this recipe.
4. Pour the browned butter and 1/4 cup of the pasta water over the noodles. Sprinkle with Parmesan and add a few turns of freshly ground black pepper. Using the tongs, toss well until all ingredients are incorporated and have mixed to coat the noodles with an almost creamy sauce. Add more pasta water—a couple of tablespoons at a time—if necessary to achieve this.
5. Top with additional Parmesan cheese if desired. Serve immediately. Top individual portions with basil, bacon or cherry tomatoes, if desired.
Chicken Spinach Artichoke Rice Casserole (from Delish)
This recipe feels like a way to justify eating spinach and artichoke dip for dinner. The leftovers freeze and reheat well, and you can sub in pasta for the rice if you prefer.
3/4 cup basmati rice
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
6 ounces cream cheese, cubed
2 cloves garlic, minced
Crushed red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
1 rotisserie chicken, shredded (about 4 1/2 cups)
2 cups fresh spinach, tightly packed
1 (14-ounce.) can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
2 cups shredded mozzarella, divided
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare rice according to package instructions.
2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine whole milk and Parmesan. When cheese is melted, add cream cheese, garlic and red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper. Cook until cream cheese is melted and mixture is slightly thickened, about 4 minutes.
3. In a large bowl, stir together cooked rice, chicken, spinach, artichoke hearts, 1 cup mozzarella and cream cheese mixture, and transfer to a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking dish. Top with remaining cheese and bake until cheese is melty and golden, 20 minutes.
Banana Oatmeal Pancakes (from Modern Honey)
This recipe is a go-to in my house. It’s quick, it’s healthy, it’s easy to clean up and it’s delicious.
Some notes: I usually double the recipe, which yields about 20 pancakes. Instead of using two egg whites, I just add one extra egg (so five eggs total for a double batch). If your batter feels kind of runny after blending thoroughly, go ahead and dump in more oats. (I usually do.) This batter cooks best when the griddle is really hot—it keeps the pancakes from being too thin. And I recommend dropping in some blueberries while the pancakes are cooking and topping the finished product with peanut butter.
1/2 cup almond milk, unsweetened
1 egg white
2 tablespoons 100% real maple syrup
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla, optional
1. In a blender, pour in almond milk, eggs, egg white, banana, maple syrup, vanilla (optional), rolled oats, baking powder and salt.
2. Blend until smooth.
3. Heat skillet over medium heat. Once warmed, spray with nonstick cooking spray or place coconut oil or butter in skillet. Pour pancake batter into skillet in round circles.
4. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on one side. Turn over and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes.
5. Drizzle with real maple syrup and toppings of choice.
Applesauce Oatmeal Bread (from Cooking with Carlee)
I love a quick bread. And based on the memes I’ve seen during the coronavirus pandemic, so does the rest of America. If you need a break from banana bread, I recommend this one.
I didn’t make the butter that goes with it, but I bet it would be delicious. I did top my bread with oats and cinnamon. Also, I only baked my bread for 45 minutes, and it was still a little too done for my liking, so I suggest watching this closely while it’s in the oven.
1 cup applesauce
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup oatmeal
1 tablespoon additional oats for top
Vanilla honey butter
4 tablespoons butter, softened
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9-inch-by-5-inch loaf pan.
2. In a large bowl, mix together applesauce, sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla.
3. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and oats.
4. Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients until just combined.
5. Pour into prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle with oats if desired.
6. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean.
7. Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes and then turn out and cool completely on a wire rack.
Vanilla honey butter:
1. Mix together butter, honey and vanilla until smooth and creamy.
2. Spread over cooled or slightly warmed slices of bread.