Category Archives: Easy-to-Make

Taste of Home

Sometimes all you need is a home cooked meal, one that reminds you of mom making supper when you came home at the end of the school day. Nothing special or out of the ordinary, just something that says, “I’m home and the day is done.”  A Latin American friend and I were talking about how the fanciest meal at a restaurant couldn’t compare with a plate of simple food—and for us that meant anything that could be served with a heaping pile of rice and beans.

Carne chorizada is one of those unpretentious recipes that makes it into the dinner rotation at least twice a month at my house. It never gets boring, despite its brief and humble list of ingredients.

Serves 4 to 6
This recipe can also be made with meatloaf mix or a combination of ground beef and ground pork. If you can’t find fresh baby corn, substitute with 1½ frozen corn kernels. Achiote paste is a common ingredient in Nicaraguan dishes and can be found in Latin American supermarkets or the international aisle of the supermarket. It’s primarily a colorant, so if you can’t find it, don’t worry and proceed with the recipe.

2 pounds 85% lean ground beef
Salt and pepper
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1 tablespoon vegetable or corn oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 small red potatoes, peeled and cut into ¼” dice (about 1½ cups)
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into ¼” dice (about 1 cup)
8 ears baby corn, cut into crosswise into ¼” rounds
1 tablespoon achiote paste (optional)
3 tablespoons cider vinegar

– Using your hands, combine the beef with 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard in a large bowl.

– Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook until it’s softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the achiote paste (if using) and cook, stirring with a wooden cooking spoon, until the onions are evenly coated, about 1 minute.

– Increase heat to medium-high; add the beef, and cook, continuously stirring and breaking up any lumps, until the beef is no longer pink and most of the released juices have been absorbed. Stir in the vinegar, potatoes, carrots, and baby corn. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.  Remove skillet from heat, season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with white rice, black or red kidney beans, corn tortillas, and/or fried plantains.

Meat & Potatoes

Meat and potatoes: poetic or prosaic? The words themselves sound clunky, stodgy, lacking in glitz. Often, “meat and potatoes” are used to describe down-to-earth, hard-working folks. But, isn’t that sturdy reliability what we sometimes crave at the end of the day? After eight-plus hours of being micromanaged, belittled, and mocked, you need an honest plateful.

Serves 2 (expect leftovers)

For the Potato Salad:

1 ½ pounds red bliss potatoes, scrubbed
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ cup olive or vegetable oil
3 scallions, finely chopped
3 tablespoons jarred roasted red bell peppers, drained and finely chopped

For the Steak:

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 steaks of your choice (sirloin steak tips featured in photo)
Salt and pepper
Worcestershire sauce

– Bring 2 quarts water to boil in large saucepan. Add 2 teaspoons salt. Cut potatoes in half and slice each half crosswise into ¼-inch-thick slices. Add potatoes to pot and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook potatoes until fork-tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and transfer to large bowl.

– Meanwhile, whisk together mayonnaise, mustard, red wine vinegar, sugar, and garlic powder. Slowly and steadily drizzle in oil, whisking constantly until fully incorporated. Whisk in scallions and red bell peppers and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add dressing to warm potatoes and gently, with a rubber spatula, stir potatoes and dressing until potatoes are evenly coated. Taste and adjust seasoning.

– Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Pat steaks dry with paper towels and season both sides of each generously with salt and pepper.  Splash each steak with 2 to 3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce.  Cook steaks until well browned on each side, about 5 minutes per side (8 to 10 minutes if you prefer a well-done steak). Transfer to platter and let rest 5 minutes. Serve with potato salad.


I eat a lot of cereal. And usually I eat it at night, rather than in the morning (last week I had a bowl of Frosted Flakes every single evening). My cabinet is stocked with all sorts: Kashi Honey Puffs. Kashi Almond Crunch. Cracklin’ Oat Bran. Frosted Flakes. Honey Bunches of Oats. All Bran. Cocoa Pebbles. Cocoa Puffs. (Yes, I have TWO different chocolate cereals on hand. I can never decide whether I like the soggy pebbles or the crunchy puffs… Maybe I should mix them). While your enthusiasm for cereal may be a little less fanatical than mine, I’m sure you often arrive home after work, exhausted and ravenous, and the first thing you reach for is a bowl and a spoon.

Seriously, though, no one should have to eat cereal for dinner every night. Or takeout. You can cook. Honest. And you don’t need a culinary degree or a long list of ingredients to put together a decent meal. I’ve been delinquent with my blog; weeks will go by without any new posts, mainly because I want something that says “WOW!” to show you, but I think I’d be of better service if I posted some simple, weeknight recipes. So I’ll start today with this super-easy, super-tasty (vegetarian) sandwich for two.


4 to 5 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 large onion, halved lengthwise and sliced into thin half-moons
2 pickled jalapeño peppers, sliced
Salt and pepper
¼ cup heavy cream
½ cup shredded cheese, or 4 slices cheese of your choice
2 8-inch pieces baguette or 4 slices crusty bread
2 large eggs

-In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter and add onion and jalapeños. Sautée over medium-high heat, stirring, until onion softens and begins to caramelize, about 10 minutes. Stir in cream and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.Transfer onion mix to bowl.
Wipe out skillet.

-Butter exterior of baguette pieces or one side of each slice of bread. Spread onion mixture on un-buttered side of one piece of bread, top with cheese and other bread slice. Grill sandwiches, pressing down with spatula, on cleaned skillet, until browned and toasted, then flip and repeat with other side. Transfer to plates.

-Melt a small pat of butter in skillet and crack eggs into it. When whites begin to bubble, add 3 tablespoons water, cover, and cook over medium heat about 3 minutes (for over easy eggs). Season with salt and pepper and serve alongside sandwich.