These recipes are comforting, easy to make at home, and there's a good chance you already have the ingredients. And if home cooking is new to you, celebrity chefs have some advice.
This is the easiest pasta dish to make at home
If you have spaghetti, bacon, eggs and Parmesan cheese hanging around, then you’re already set up to make one of the most delicious pasta dishes you’d order out at a restaurant right in your own kitchen.
“It may have a fancy name, but it’s literally just pasta, Parmesan cheese and eggs, and bacon,” Jason Goldstein, a recipe developer, food blogger and “Food Network Star” finalist based out of New York told The Daily Meal. “And that is all it is.”
To make traditional carbonara, Goldstein cooks a pound of spaghetti and reserves a quarter cup of the starchy pasta water. He then fries bacon, pancetta or guanciale (cured pork jowl) over low heat in a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a Dutch oven for several minutes. While the fat renders, he combines three eggs, a cup of grated Parmesan cheese and a teaspoon of black pepper in a bowl.
He adds the spaghetti to the pan and stirs until coated in fat before shutting off the heat and adding in the egg mixture along with the reserved pasta water. Stirring it all together for about a minute creates a rich and creamy sauce with no cream required. After being plated it can be topped off with even more Parmesan.
Even though purists insist on sticking with just those core ingredients, there’s plenty of room to customize it to your personal taste. You can add onion, shallots and/or garlic to the pork as it renders, and some recipes also call for peas. Carbonara is a recipe that every home cook should have in their arsenal, as it’s just one of many easy ways to put a home-cooked meal on the table.
1 pound spaghetti
1/2 pound bacon, pancetta or guanciale
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon pepper
Cook pasta to package instructions. Save 1/4 cup pasta water. On low heat, fry bacon with extra virgin olive oil for about 2 minutes. While the bacon cooks, mix eggs, Parmesan and pepper in a bowl. Now add cooked pasta to the hot bacon oil. Shut off the heat, pour in cheese mixture and reserved pasta water. Mix quickly to combine and prevent eggs from scrambling for about 45 seconds. Top with more Parmesan and enjoy.
4 easy steps to oven-fried hot chicken
LOS ANGELES - The first day I met Jenn Harris, my #LAfriedchickenqueen colleague, I promised to take her to my favorite fried chicken shop in L.A. Broaster Kitchen in Montebello is my go-to for shatteringly crisp chicken. The secret to its chicken - which Harris and I ate for a recent episode of Bucket List - are its broaster machines, which simultaneously deep-fry and pressure-cook the chicken to maximize crunch and juiciness.
Since we home cooks do not have pressure fryers in our kitchens and deep-frying is the sort of thing that's a deal-breaker for many (it takes a lot of oil, spatters hard-to-clean greasy grime and is a mess to clean up), I turn to oven frying in times of crisp chicken need.
It's not the same but it comes close, especially if you're making Nashville-style hot chicken. The final drizzle of oil seasons and spices the crust and hits with the same satisfying wallop as the original.
To nail the other hallmarks of hot chicken, I've come up with four workarounds that will give you an easy weeknight crunchy chicken dinner:
Use only drumsticks. The meat stays juicy even in the dry heat of the oven.
Substitute a short mayonnaise marinade for a longer buttermilk one. Mayo not only helps glue on the crumb coating, it keeps the meat tender.
Boost the taste and texture of the crumb coating. I combine spices and Parmesan with panko. Cheese may seem unlikely in fried chicken, but here, it acts as an umami boost while helping the crumbs brown. Panko offers the most crunch of all the supermarket crumb options, but the pieces are a bit large to mimic flour-coated fried chicken. To achieve a similar crust, break the panko into even smaller bits by rubbing them between your fingers or pulsing in a food processor.
Bake the chicken on a wire rack. Elevating the chicken allows the heat to circulate around it, crisping the crumbs on all sides. Because nobody wants soggy-bottomed fried chicken.
As with any hot chicken, the spice oil makes or breaks it. Kim Prince of Hotville Chicken in Los Angeles, a member of the Prince family that operates Nashville's original hot chicken restaurant, says, "The goal is to make the spice oil flavorful - not just hot. You don't need to try to figure out the original spice recipe from Prince's or any other place. Just find the spices that work."
The end result is hot chicken that's as good right out of the oven as it is the next day cold from the fridge. If you're afraid of spicy heat and just want a solid oven-fried chicken recipe, use a mild hot sauce in the mayo mix and eliminate the cayenne.
OVEN-FRIED NASHVILLE-STYLE HOT CHICKEN
Time: 55 minutes
Serves 6 to 8
Inspired by Nashville hot chicken, this version swaps deep-frying for oven frying but retains the signature spiced oil that coats the chicken at the end. Crunchy and hot, it's a great option for making fried chicken at home. Use your favorite hot pepper sauce in the mayonnaise coating because it stays on the chicken and contributes to its heat level and flavor. Classic Nashville hot chicken is served with sliced white bread and pickles, the former for soaking up the spiced oil and taming the heat, the latter to provide a tart counterpoint. You can serve it that way as well.
1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus more for rack
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup hot pepper sauce, such as Frank's Red Hot
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
12 chicken drumsticks (about 3 1/2 pounds)
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1. Set an oven rack in the top third of the oven, then heat to 450 degrees. Line a half-sheet pan or rimmed baking sheet with foil and set a wire rack over it. If the rack isn't nonstick, rub with oil to lightly coat.
2. Whisk the mayonnaise, hot pepper sauce, mustard, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Add the chicken and turn to evenly coat. Let stand while preparing the breading.
3. Combine the panko, Parmesan, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon cayenne and 1 teaspoon salt in a shallow dish. Rub the mixture together with your fingers to break the crumbs into smaller bits. Roll a drumstick in the mixture to evenly and completely coat, pressing on the crumbs if needed. Shake off any excess crumbs, then place the drumstick on the rack. Repeat with the remaining drumsticks. If you have time, let stand for at least 15 minutes.
4. Bake until the chicken is golden brown, crunchy and cooked through, about 30 minutes. When you pierce one with the tip of a sharp paring knife, the juices should run clear.
5. While the chicken bakes, combine the sugar with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1 tablespoon cayenne and 1 teaspoon salt in a medium heatproof bowl. Heat the 1/4 cup oil in a small saucepan over medium heat until wavy. Pour over the spices. Once the sizzling subsides, stir well.
6. As soon as the chicken comes out of the oven, stir the spiced oil again and drizzle evenly over the drumsticks. Serve hot.
This recipe is so easy and makes you feel good from the inside out. I try to make a pot once a week so we always have some in the fridge, as it reheats really well. This recipe tastes great with water as its base; but if you want to bump up the flavor, you can add vegetable stock instead. Don't skimp on the chili flakes; it doesn't make the soup spicy on your tongue. Instead it's the kind of heat that warms up your throat. Enjoy your soup with warmed up pitas to round out your meal.
Red Lentil and Rice Soup
Serves 2 to 4
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped fine
1 carrot, peeled, chopped fine
1 tomato, chopped fine
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
6 cups water
1 cup red lentils
1/4 cup long grain white rice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, tomato, garlic and salt; cook stirring often until onions have softened and tomatoes have broken down, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in coriander, cumin, cinnamon and red chili flakes, and cook for 2 minutes.
2. Stir in water, lentils and rice; bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until lentils and rice are cooked, about 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Stir in lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
(Kary Osmond is a Canadian recipe developer and former television host of the popular daytime cooking show "Best Recipes Ever." Her easy recipes include helpful tips to guide you along the way, and her love of plant-based cooking offers healthy alternatives to some of your favorite dishes. Learn more at www.karyosmond.com.)
The Kitchn: You only need 5 ingredients for this creamy chicken carbonara
I have a deep love for classic spaghetti carbonara, the Roman dish of spaghetti tossed with crispy pork, lots of pecorino cheese and a luxe egg sauce. Here, the addition of chicken makes it an even heartier meal, but it's practically as quick as the original. In fact, you only need five ingredients and 30 minutes to pull it off.
An easy, protein-packed pasta dinner
Unlike pasta dishes that get their luxurious texture from heavy cream, carbonara gets its rich and creamy consistency from the addition of eggs. This means it already has more protein than your average pasta dinner, plus, the crispy, salty bits of pancetta provide another layer of protein and flavor. Add sautéed pieces of juicy chicken and you've got a meal that's seriously protein-packed (we're talking 41 grams per serving).
When it comes time to serve, pour yourself a glass of white wine. The crisp, cold sips are the perfect counterpart to each satisfying twirl of creamy pasta.
Easy Chicken Carbonara
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 8 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning and garnish
3 ounces Parmesan cheese
1 (4-ounce) package diced pancetta
1 tablespoon olive oil
12 ounces dried spaghetti
4 large eggs
Fresh parsley leaves, for garnish (optional)
1. Cut 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast into 1/2-inch thick strips and season all over with salt and pepper. Finely grate 3 ounces Parmesan cheese into a medium bowl (about 1 1/2 cups). Transfer 1/2 cup to a small bowl and reserve as garnish.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet until shimmering. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until just starting to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and the pancetta is crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
3. Add 12 ounces dried spaghetti to the boiling water and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes or according to package instructions. Meanwhile, place 4 large eggs and 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper in the medium bowl of Parmesan and whisk well to combine. Coarsely chop a handful of parsley leaves for garnish if desired.
4. When the pasta is ready, reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta, then immediately add the pasta to the skillet off the heat. Pour the egg mixture over the pasta and use tongs or a fork to vigorously stir and toss to combine, adding 1 tablespoon of the reserved pasta water at a time as needed to evenly coat the pasta and chicken in a creamy sauce. (You'll probably use only about 1 to 2 tablespoons of the pasta water.)
5. Garnish with the parsley if using. Serve immediately with the reserved Parmesan and a few coarse grinds of black pepper.
Recipe notes: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
(Sheila Prakash is senior contributing food editor for TheKitchn.com, a nationally known blog for people who love food and home cooking. Submit any comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
EatingWell: Stew on this
The spice blend in this healthy beef stew recipe — cinnamon, allspice and cloves — may conjure images of apple pie, but the combo is a great fit in savory applications too. Serve over creamy polenta or buttered whole-wheat egg noodles.
Slow-Cooker Braised Beef with Carrots & Turnips
Active Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 4 to 8 hours
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3 to 3 1/2 pounds beef chuck roast, trimmed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 cup red wine
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes
5 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 medium turnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Chopped fresh basil for garnish
1. Combine salt, cinnamon, allspice, pepper and cloves in a small bowl. Rub the mixture all over beef.
2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the beef and cook until browned, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker.
3. Add onion and garlic to the pan. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add wine and tomatoes (with their juice); bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits and breaking up the tomatoes. Add the mixture to the slow cooker along with carrots and turnips.
4. Cover and cook on High for 4 hours or Low for 8 hours.
5. Remove the beef from the slow cooker and slice. Serve the beef with the sauce and vegetables, garnished with basil, if desired.
Make-ahead tips: Refrigerate the browned beef (Steps 1-2) and tomato mixture (Step 3) separately for up to one day. Bring the tomato mixture to a boil before adding to the slow cooker.
(EatingWell is a magazine and website devoted to healthy eating as a way of life. Online at www.eatingwell.com.)
Celebrity chefs offer their best home cooking advice
As restaurants continue to close to dine-in customers over coronavirus concerns, people in affected areas have two choices: order in or cook. For those lacking talent in the kitchen, don’t fear. Tom Colicchio is here.
“We eat a lot of salads at home but now not realistic to get fresh lettuce every few days. Ideas for ‘side salads’ with frozen veg?” @Sandberg_Max asked.
“Keep lettuce heads whole until needed they should keep for around 10 days, when ready to use, take only the outside leaves that you intend to use. Let them sit in cool water for about 10 minutes,” Colicchio replied.
Keep lettuce heads whole until needed they should keep for around 10 days, when ready to use, take only the outside leaves that you intend to use . let them sit in cool water for about 10 minutes https://t.co/YEjOtzufpX
One Twitter user suggested stocking up on kale, Brussels sprouts and cabbage because they last longer. "You can cut shavings of brussel sprouts for salads. Add dried cranberries, apple, buts, etc. I love salads. Not all salads need lettuce. Drained chickpeas or beans w/sweet or hot peppers, onion, tomato, herbs, etc. lemon juice/EVOO," @birkirstin added, to which Colicchio said, "Great suggestions."
“If you could only have five food staples in your house right now to last you a couple weeks what would they be?” asked @64AnnyBug.
“Beans pasta frozen fruits and vegetables,” Colicchio replied.
Another user asked how long homemade pizza dough would last in the freezer, to which Colicchio replied, "A year."
The 57-year-old also shared a follower’s 13-meal plan for a family of five, which involves preparing two meals each night — one to eat and one to freeze. The provided PDF includes recipes and a grocery list.
Colicchio's "Top Chef" co-host, Padma Lakshmi, shared her two cents in a video uploaded to Twitter, in which she listed off pantry items essential to self-quarantine, including frozen vegetables, beans, lentil, quinoa and other shelf-stable foods.
A lot of you have asked what type of pantry items to get while you’re in self-quarantine. Here are some things you can buy instead of hoarding toilet paper. Remember we’re all in this together 💜: pic.twitter.com/SstLroAZVI
TV food personality Rachael Ray also weighed in and tweeted a link from her website, which includes 15 meals you can make with pantry staples.
I know the grocery shelves look bare + your pantry scares you right now, but here’s what it is: we’re all gonna spend more time at home. Time to focus on who + what we love. Cook with a little more love, lean a little more heavily on your pantry...https://t.co/BKm5TOxnyPpic.twitter.com/rxrYvwCwvu
He also tweeted a tutorial on how to properly wash your hands.
Michael Symon, host of ABC’s “The Chew,” is taking things one step further by offering cooking demos for 10 nights on Food Network Kitchen’s Facebook Live. The recipe for each night’s meal will be posted the night prior so people have time to prepare. Viewers are welcome to comment and ask questions as he’s cooking and, afterward, the video will be uploaded to Instagram.
“These recipes are meant to be flexible based off of what you guys have in your kitchen and what is available in your local grocery stores… I will talk through more of this in the videos,” Symon tweeted. “Cooking has always been my source of comfort. My hope is that these videos will bring a little bit of normalcy, a little bit of entertainment, a little bit of comfort for all of us in these unprecedented times…grateful to share this w you guys & @fnkitchen fam.”
And, though it’s not food, the first female Iron Chef Cat Cora shared her two-ingredient recipe for DIY hand sanitizer.