Baked Orzo and Cheese
I can’t tell you how hard I tried when the kids were little to come up with a homemade macaroni and cheese that they would choose to eat over that stuff in the box. They just weren’t interested. But now that they are older and have traveled a little bit, they seem to be open to new tastes. Their affection for this dish is proof.
This recipe is really just a blueprint. It is your basic macaroni and cheese baked… more »
Antipasto Salad with Parmigiano-Reggiano Dressing
This is the perfect lazy-day summer salad, since you don’t have to use the oven. You could buy the blanched broccoli or cauliflower and prepared pasta salad at the salad bar and never even turn on the stovetop. But this salad would be equally good on any night, summer or winter, when you are pressed for time. Feel free to substitute other meats or cheeses for the ones suggested below.
Makes 6 to 8 Servings
Hands-on-time: 25 minutes
Total preparation… more »
Shrimp Niçoise Salad
Niçoise salad, fairly well known in America these days, is a specialty from the city of Nice in the south of France. It consists of tuna, tomatoes, blanched string beans, boiled potatoes, hard cooked eggs, and a vinaigrette dressing. I have adapted it by pureeing the tuna in the sauce and adding shrimp. You’re welcome to replace the shrimp with the leftover-cooked protein of your choice including turkey, chicken, or ham. A cozy way to serve this salad is to… more »
Fresh and Smoked Salmon Salad
I think smoked salmon is a wonderful secret ingredient, it adds not only a unique salmon taste but also an appealing smokiness, and a little goes a long way. This is my favorite way to cook fresh salmon on a weeknight, drizzled with lemon juice and olive oil and baked in a hot oven. You could make just the baked salmon part of this recipe and then top it with any number of the quick sauces found in Sara’s Secrets … more »
Penne with Slow Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Goat Cheese
Any excuse to eat ripe tomatoes in season is a good one, but the best reason to check out this delicious vegetarian recipe is that it gives you the chance to sample and support some of the wonderful artisanal cheeses—including homemade fresh goat cheese—now being produced all over the U.S.
Taking a belated cue from the Europeans, small-time American entrepreneurs began to produce great local cheeses about 35 years ago. These producers include people like Miles and Lillian Cahn. After… more »
Basil Chicken Salad with Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato
Time and again viewers of my show e-mail me wondering, “How do I cook white meat chicken so that it doesn’t get tough?” The answer appears to be simple. Don’t overcook it. In fact, that is easier said than done these days. The threat of salmonella requires that you cook your chicken until it is well done. However, there is a brief moment, just before it dries out, when chicken is cooked perfectly. If you poach your chicken breasts according… more »
Chopped Salad with Feta, Chickpeas, and Pita Croutons
I love almost any kind of salad—and the more ingredients, the better. “Chopped Salad,” a catchall for any salad boasting a rich variety of chopped vegetables, is my favorite. This recipe was inspired by a low-fat dish I first encountered several years ago in Gourmet. Created by Chef Ed Brown of New York’s Sea Grill Restaurant, its most interesting ingredients were chickpeas and diced dill pickles. As a big fan of crunch, I transported those two items to my everyday… more »
Arugula Salad with Aged Gouda, Savory Praline, and Mustard Dressing
This is a guests are coming for dinner salad, fancier and more labor intensive than most, but the extra effort really pays off. My husband, the salad hater, scarfed it down so enthusiastically that I added extra arugula to the recipe to stretch it. All the parts can be made ahead, Just toss them together at the last moment.
I tend to prefer so-called bitter greens like arugula to milder ones like romaine and Boston lettuce—but if you don’t, just… more »
Slow-roasted Spiced Baby Back Ribs
One of my all-time favorite field trips for “Cooking Live” was to Memphis to cover the huge annual barbecue cook-off there. It is an astonishing event that attracts more than 200 teams from all around the country, from funky little crews of like-minded friends to heavily financed corporate outfits. Everyone competes not just for the best ribs but also for the best booth. Some of the so-called booths are two stories high and extremely elaborate.
Although most of the teams… more »
Orzo and Basmati Pilaf with Spring Vegetable Ragout
Orzo is a rice-shaped pasta from Italy. Basmati is a fragrant Indian long-grain rice with a wonderful nutty taste. The two of them combine to make a great side dish, but you can top it with anything and turn it into a main dish. Here we’ve chosen asparagus, mushrooms, and either lima beans or fava beans. By the way, some of the American versions of basmati would work well here too. Texmati is one that’s pretty widely available.
Makes 4… more »
Mexican Chicken Salad
This is my favorite kind of salad because it has so many ingredients—and each with a different texture, from the creamy avocado to the crispy homemade tortilla chips. I have cheated here by using leftover or rotisserie chicken. It would work just as well with leftover pork, shrimp, or beef. And if you really want to speed up the recipe, here’s another cheat: Swap store-bought tortilla chips for the homemade kind.
Makes 4 to 6 Servings
Hands-on Time 15 minutes… more »
Soon after I started making spaetzle as a side dish at home on a regular basis, it occurred to me that you could dress up and sauce this German pasta much as you would any other fresh pasta—an inspiration that automatically promoted spaetzle from a side dish to an entrée. This recipe takes advantage of ingredients available in the spring—asparagus, peas, and fresh herbs—but I want to encourage you to take the basic spaetzle recipe and run with it. Toss… more »
Vegetarian Chili Pie with Monterey Jack Cheese and Corn Bread Crust
Vegetable chili, like any stewed dish, is even better the day after you make it, when all the flavorings have had a chance to sink in. Of course, it’s also fine if you eat it the same day you make it. But whenever you make it, make a double batch and freeze the second half for another meal. Top it with the cheese and the cornmeal batter right before you pop it into the oven.
Serves 6 to 8
For… more »
Eggplant Rollatini with Four Cheeses
This recipe improves on the traditional eggplant rollatini by calling for roasted, not fried, eggplant. Consequently, it is easier to prepare (no baby-sitting the slices in the pan) and easier on your waistline (roasting requires far less oil than frying).
You’re welcome to stuff the eggplant with cheeses other than the ones I list; just make sure whichever ones you choose melt easily. Likewise, if you don’t feel like making quick tomato sauce, you can use your favorite store-bought brand.… more »
Butternut Squash Soup with Gruyère Pesto
The generic recipe for winter squash soup or puree typically begins by calling for a scary amount of the squash “peeled, seeded, and cubed,” and then steamed or boiled. Have you ever tried to peel, let alone cut, even one of these hard winter squashes? There may be no easier way to cut yourself in the kitchen. And why bother boiling or steaming a vegetable, which makes it watery, when you can roast it and concentrate the flavor?
My favorite… more »
Sara’s New Book
|In my newest book, I share more than 200 new family-tested, family-pleasing recipes. Whether you’re new to the kitchen or just looking for a way to spice up your recipe repertoire, my carefully tested quick and easy recipes will help you get dinner on the table every night of the week.