The best way to learn about a new place is tasting its food: through the flavors we can know more about the traditions and history of the people who live in these places.
Experimenting with new ingredients makes life interesting and if the foods are especially nutrient-dense — even better. They are so high in vitamins, minerals, and other healing compounds that health experts call them superfoods. In their countries of origin, these berries, nuts, plants, and seeds have been used for thousands of years to holistically medicate the body or just add yumminess to everyday, wholesome meals.

Sheet Pan Chicken with Roasted Eggplant Caponata

Sheet Pan Chicken with Roasted Eggplant Caponata

Caponata is a beloved sweet-sour Sicilian dish that brings together eggplant, tomatoes, celery, olives, and capers.

It’s usually served as a relish or as a topping for bruschetta. I decided to turn it into a complete meal and use it to top roasted chicken thighs.

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Chocolate Cranberry Zucchini Muffins

Chocolate Zucchini Cranberry Muffins

These absolutely gorgeous Chocolate Cranberry Zucchini Muffins are from a new cookbook that I’m really enjoying right now. It’s called The Cranberry Cookbook, and it’s by none other than Sally Vargas, one of our Simply Recipes contributors!

The pages of this cookbook are full of ideas for incorporating cranberries into every meal of the day.

Didn’t think you needed that many cranberry recipes? Think again! As usual, Sally has hit it out of the park and given us a collection of recipes that are sure to become favorites.

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Bakery-Style Cinnamon Rolls

Bakery Style Cinnamon Roll

My mom lives in a small mining town nestled among the mountains of rural Nevada, and in that town is a gem of a deli-cafe run by a Mennonite family. This family makes the most enormous, fluffy cinnamon rolls slathered in sticky cream cheese frosting that I have ever seen.

Those cinnamon rolls were exactly what I channeled while working on this recipe. I wanted to deliver a recipe for big, puffy, bakery-style cinnamon rolls that anyone can make at home.

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4 Tips for Making the Best Cinnamon Rolls Ever

Cinnamon Rolls

In the Midwest where I live, we like to eat cinnamon rolls for dinner alongside a steaming bowl of chili. The combination of sweet and savory satisfy our comfort food requirements for long cold winters.

That being said, we also like cinnamon rolls for breakfast, brunch, bake sales, and other special occasions. When you eat them as often as we do, baking the perfect roll is practically a household requirement.

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Long Island Iced Tea

Long Island Iced Tea

Let’s clarify one thing I wish I had known when I was younger: there is no iced tea anywhere in the Long Island Iced Tea. It is simply the color of iced tea.

This is critical knowledge to have if you plan to drink one. Or three. Because not knowing this will get you in a whole heap of trouble.

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Chilled Cucumber Soup

Cucumber Soup

Every year I plant cucumbers in my garden. And every year, my one plant takes over the bed (climbing over trellises put in place for other vegetables) and showers me with a daily supply of lovely cucumbers.

This is all well and good, as long as I remember to pick them daily. As careful as I can be, hunting for cucumbers in the tangle of leaves and vines, I do miss them occasionally, only to discover a monster cuke hiding perfectly camouflaged under a leaf.

Like zucchini, left to their own devices, cucumbers will grow to ginormous proportions, resulting in a thick-skinned, seedy bat.

What do do with extra large cucumbers?

Make cucumber soup!

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BBQ Pulled Chicken Sopes

BBQ Pulled Chicken Sopes

This post is brought to you in partnership with Stubb’s Bar-B-Que

On a sultry summer day, few things hit the spot like good barbecue — especially when you add chipotle, cumin, and tequila to the mix of flavors.

Sopes are thick, bite-sized tortillas shaped with a handy rim for holding in the sauce. Here they get topped with tender pulled chicken and a smoky, spicy, tequila-infused barbecue sauce.

These sopes are the perfect appetizer to serve at a backyard party while the grill is warming up. They’re like the Mexican version of sliders!

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Make-Ahead Skillet Baked Spaghetti

Make-Ahead Baked Spaghetti Skillet Supper

Here’s a great recipe for those days when you leave the house early and won’t be back until dinner time.

Prep this skillet pasta in the morning before you leave – or even the night before — and pop it in the oven when you’re home from work, your kid’s soccer practice, the last beach run of the season, or whatever activities have filled your day.

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Slow and Low Country Ribs

Slow and Low Country Ribs

When it comes to the grill or barbecue, I defer to my colleague Hank, especially when it concerns meat. Here he shows us how to cook pork country ribs, slow and low. A favorite from the archives! ~Elise

Country ribs. Big slabs of porky goodness cut from the shoulder of the hog. Sold boneless or bone-in, these are nothing like a rack of ribs. They are pork logs, laced with fat, and require slow, low-temperature cooking to become delicious.

That’s the downside: You can’t do a fast country rib.

The upside is that they are all meat, so you only need one to fill you up. In fact, I slice them in half because a full rib, which can weigh a pound, can be too much for some people.

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How to Make Easy Refrigerator Pickles

Refrigerator Pickles

Pickle chips are essential for hamburgers and sandwiches. Did you know that you can easily make them yourself at home?

With this method for refrigerator pickles, you don’t need to get out the canning equipment or have any special pickling know-how.

They’re made with a simple brine and pickle in just 24 hours right in the fridge. They’ll keep for up to a month — if they last that long!

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No Fail, Sour Cream Pie Crust

No Fail Sour Cream Pie Crust

Move aside food processor! Be gone tough pie crusts! I hath found the holy grail of pastry doughs.

It is flaky, it is buttery, it is un-fussy, and it needs no difficult-to-clean equipment, just your clean hands and a large bowl. The secret?

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Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy

Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy

Salisbury steak is such a satisfying skillet dinner! Did you grow up eating it?

The name is a little misleading — these “steaks” are actually ground beef held together with egg and breadcrumbs. They’re basically single serving patties of meatloaf that are seared and then braised in a savory mushroom gravy.

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Tomato Pie

Tomato Pie

Here’s one of the best loved recipes on the site—tomato pie! Perfect at the peak of summer tomato season.

One of the great things about going on vacation is I get to hang out with my friends, and sometimes meet their friends, who sometimes have OMG-this-is-so-GOOD dishes that they bring over. This tomato pie recipe is a result of one of these encounters.

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Chinese Smashed Cucumber Salad

Smashed Cucumber Salad with Chicken

Is there anything more refreshing than ice cold cucumber on a hot day?

This Chinese-style cucumber salad with bits of shredded chicken (or tofu!) takes almost no effort to prepare and makes a fantastic light summer meal.

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Spinach & Artichoke Sheet Pan Pizza

Spinach-Artichoke Sheet Pan Pizza

Sheet pan pizzas are seriously the only way I ever make pizza in my house anymore. I used to futz with a heavy baking stone, but I hardly ever take it out anymore!

Rolled out and stretched onto a sheet pan, a 1-pound ball of dough makes the perfect thin crust pizza.

Here’s a recent favorite: a super simple white pizza topped with garlicky baby spinach, marinated artichoke hearts from a jar, and lots of mozzarella cheese.

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12 Crowd-Pleasing Recipes with Cheese

This post is brought to you in partnership with Frigo® Cheese.

Friends, let us never underestimate the transformative power of cheese.

Even just a sprinkle of Parmesan or a crumble of feta can transform an otherwise simple dinner into something truly special.

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Quick Green Curry Chicken with Zucchini Noodles

Quick Green Curry Chicken with Zucchini Noodles

This green curry chicken dish is one of my favorite things to cook on a weeknight. It comes together so fast and it is packed with vegetables!

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Turkey Taco Salad

Turkey Taco Salad

For a quick supper, especially in warm weather, you can’t beat a big taco salad like this one.

Make the bean and turkey topping in a big skillet, and serve it warm over lightly dressed crisp romaine. Or make it ahead and serve it cold. It’s up to you.

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Cold Pea Salad

Cold Pea Salad

Long warm summer days are perfect for chilled pea salad!

This recipe uses frozen peas, which you don’t even have to defrost, green onions, water chestnuts, and smoked almonds. The peas do thaw a bit, but they’re wonderful crunchy and cold too.

I first encountered this delightful salad at a friend’s potluck. It was one of the dishes that everyone went back for for seconds.

I’m not sure of the original source of the recipe, but since the recipes calls for Smokehouse Almonds, perhaps the almond company? It could easily be made with tamari almonds as well. You just want salty, crunchy, roasted almonds for this salad.

Do you have a favorite pea salad? Please let us know about it in the comments.

Photos and recipe updated, first published 2007

 

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Blender Piña Colada

Pina Colada

You may associate piña coladas with laid-back poolside vacations, but this mix of rum, coconut, and pineapple is actually a pillar of the tiki drink canon.

Quite a few bartenders and bars have claimed to have created the now famous piña colada over the years, but the drink’s true origins are a bit murky. There’s even evidence that traders in the 19th century mixed rum with coconut water and mashed pineapple for what would have been a sort of proto-piña!

In the end, though, I guess it doesn’t really matter. Because piña coladas are amazing.

If you’re looking for a refreshing, sultry cocktail to highlight your next summer party this is it. 

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Baked Cherry French Toast Casserole

Baked Cherry French Toast

This post is brought to you in partnership with Northwest Cherry Growers.

Don’t you wish you could eat cherries all year round?

Unfortunately, the season for juicy, sweet Northwest cherries is a short one, lasting only from June until August. But fortunately, cherries freeze exceptionally well.

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Fresh Salmon Cakes with Spicy Mayo

Fresh Salmon Cakes with Spicy Mayo

My mother loved to mix canned salmon with a few seasonings and shape it into cakes headed for a hot skillet. This meal thrilled us as kids and it was an easy cooking night for her.

Now I make salmon cakes with fresh cooked salmon, which only adds a few minutes to the prep time and makes incredibly moist cakes. This is also a great way to use up leftover salmon from another meal!

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Spatchcocked Grilled Chicken with Orange and Ginger

Ginger-Orange Spatchcocked Chicken

This chicken with a funny name (“spatchcocked”?!) is a boon for grillers.

Spatchcocked chickens say moist when grilled over low heat – no fear of dry, tasteless grilled chicken with this recipe!

Combine this with a tasty ginger-orange marinade, and you’ve got one fantastic summer meal.

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How to Spatchcock (Butterfly) a Chicken

How To Spatchcock a Chicken

Have you ever spatchcocked a chicken before? It’s surprisingly easy! It’s also exactly the same as butterflying a chicken, but with a name that is way more fun to say.

There are two major advantages to spatchcocking a chicken that, for me, put this method head and shoulders above all others.

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No-Bake Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cookies

Chocolate Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies

No bake cookies will always and forever remind me of my mom, who made tons of them when my brother and I were teenagers — probably because they were super easy, could be made with pantry staples, and were perfect for that time between extra-curriculars and dinner.

Plus, they included both cocoa and peanut butter, which is basically one of the best combinations ever.

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Pressure Cooker Baked Beans

Elise’s recipe for Slow Cooker Boston Baked Beans is fantastic. If you’re in a rush and don’t have time for the full version, it turns out that you can speed it up considerably by using an electric pressure cooker like the Instant Pot!

Instead of taking eight hours to cook, I can make these pressure cooker baked beans in just over two hours!

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Apple Galette with Blue Cheese, Almonds and Honey

Apple Galette

This post is brought to you in partnership with Frigo® Cheese.

Do you love desserts that combine sweet and salty? This rustic apple galette does just that – fresh, sweet apples taste even better when paired with a bit of salty, creamy Frigo Crumbled Blue Cheese.

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Farro Salad with Green Beans, Corn, and Cherry Tomatoes

Farro Salad with Corn, Green Beans, and Tomatoes

Have you ever cooked with farro before? This wheat grain is chewy, nutty, and filling. It’s also not much harder to prepare than brown rice.

Mix cooked farro with some vegetables, as we’ve done here, and you have an easy side dish for dinner or even a light lunch for the week! Just add some chicken or a poached egg for a complete meal.

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Baked Chicken Parmesan

Baked Chicken Parmesan

Chicken Parmesan has to be one of the easiest and tastiest ways of preparing chicken, don’t you agree?

In this version we first get started on a simple homemade tomato sauce with crushed tomatoes, garlic, basil, and oregano (though you could easily use already prepared sauce).

While the sauce is simmering we take boneless chicken cutlets, breast or thigh meat, dredge them first in a mustardy coating, then in Parmesan tossed breadcrumbs (we like panko), and bake!

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Classic Margarita

Classic Margarita

The classic margarita has a nobility that’s expressed by its simplicity—tequila, orange liqueur for sweetness, and tart lime juice.

Just three ingredients, harmoniously combined and perfectly balanced.

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