Category Archives: David Favorite

Real Simple + One Pot = Happy Momma

Soooooo, I know I’ve said it here before and it’s pretty good odds that I will say it again but, being a parent is all at once terrifying/exhilarating/exhausting/priceless. One area where I’ve noticed a big difference is dinner. By the time we get her home, fed, bathed, rocked and put to sleep it doesn’t end there. While David is folding laundry, I’m taking out the trash, cleaning the cat litter boxes, putting up dishes and wiping toddler food crust off my new work shirt, I’m practically drooling looking at my menu plan and what I have to make for the night. I have learned to plan ahead and let me just say, my days of a chicken a la something on a bed of wilted something or other with a foam of blibbity blob is loooong gone. Enter the days of dishes I can braise or roast, half prep in the morning or are super quick or no cook. And I’ll take it if it means more time with her and David as I know these moments are going to whiz by and I can get back to my gourmet meals while fretting about my daughter in college. It will be here before we know it.

Enter these fantastic dishes from Real Simple magazine in a section called One Pot Wonders and wonderful they were. We tried three out of the five and all of them were delicious, once again in order of favorites:

Chunky Italian Vegetable Stew: this was super fast and DELICIOUS. For something so quick and easy, the depth of flavors were insane. The leftovers were even better the next day.

Braised Chicken Thighs with Almonds and Raisins: the Moroccan infused ingredients in this were killer, from the turmeric to the ginger and crunchy almonds everything was just perfect. And y’all, it’s braised chicken thighs, come on.

Loaded Bacon-Potato Soup with Cheddar and Chives: You would think with a name like that this would be first on my list. Don’t get me wrong, this was good but I think I’ve made too many Baked Potato style soups in the past that just can’t be trumped. Do give this one a try as it was easy, breezy and perfect for any baked potato lover in the house.

Chunky Italian Vegetable Stew from Real Simple
Chunky Italian Vegetable Stew from Real Simple

Bananas Good Banana Bread


Banana Bread with Chocolate Glaze
Banana Bread with Chocolate Glaze (Photo from

As I was typing the title to this post all I could think about was that damn catchy Gwen Stefani song, “this sh*t is bananas, b-a-n-a-n-a-s” and now it’s going to stick with me all day long. Kind of like this AWESOME Banana Bread with Chocolate Glaze from Cooking Light.

I’m amazed that I’ve never made this as it’s been a heavy reader and staff favorite for 17 years. 17 years ago it made its debut and is still going strong. Most marriages don’t last that long! All I know is that I will be making it for 17+ years myself because not only was it about the quickest bread I’ve ever put together, it’s insanely delicious and moist…hold on, I’m grabbing another slice…my goodness, this is so good. If you have ripe bananas, I highly recommend making this right now. I think this is one dish I will always have in my house for the entire fall season! Happy first day of fall!


Southwestern Cobb Salad with Sweet Onion Dressing

A conversation about this amazing Southwestern Cobb Salad with Sweet Onion Dressing.


Emily: “It’s defnitely the toasted pecans that make this salad awesome, definitely.” Chomp, chomp, chomp.

David: “Oh really? See, I think it’s the eggs and bacon.”  Chomp, chomp, chomp.

Emily: “Maybe the pecans with dressing? That dressing is manna from heaven.” Chomp, chomp, chomp.

David: “My favorite dressing you ever made for sure. But I still think it’s the eggs and bacon. And maybe the bleu cheese.”  Chomp, chomp, chomp.

Emily: “Don’t even get me started on the sprouts, such a great addition. And I love the tomatoes and corn.”  Chomp, chomp, chomp.

David: “Wow, I just figured out why this salad took you so long to make! There’s so much to it! Are you going to check this under ‘lengthy recipe but worth the whisking, sweat and tears?'”  Chomp, chomp, chomp.

Emily: “Yes honey…I still say it’s the pecans.”  Chomp, chomp, chomp.

Seriously, this salad did take a while since there are so many components but, this was one of the top five favorite salads that I’ve ever made in this house. Definitely give it a try and don’t leave out the pecans.  Chomp, chomp, chomp.

Sufferin’ Succotash

I always know it’s a Kealey house favorite when David gets excited about the leftovers the next day. We’ve decided to go meat-light/almost vegetarian the next few weeks since the two of us love meat and I think it’s always good to push the reset button every once in a while.  What a fantastic dish to start with! If this is how our vegetarian adventure is going to be for the next few weeks I’m pumped!

This Summer Succotash Gratin recipe by Chef Michael Romano is super simple and I liked that you can easily tweak it to include any kind of veggies you might have laying around. I know there are times that we just haven’t gone through all of our veggies in the crisper and this is a perfect way to use them up deliciously. I included some ripe tomatoes and mushrooms to our mix and then followed everything else just as it called for. This is definitely my go-to recipe when I’m in a time crunch and a perfect summer vegetable dish. Yum!


Summer vegetable succotash gratin A130326 FW Handbook July 2013


Sweet Potato and Cheese Gratin

Sweet potato

So, we’ve had a tumultuous past few weeks with my husband and I both attacked by RSV/sinus infections but even way worse, our little one was admitted to the hospital for an infection. Hospitals are never fun, but watching your four-month old being set-up with an IV and poked and prodded made me an absolute basket case. Thankfully, we are all home and on the mend but oy lambs. I’m hoping for a lot of normal (whatever that means right?), for the next few months after this little sickness dance we’ve been doing.

With said sinus infection, I couldn’t taste or smell a thing. I kept telling David this should be the time that I just eat kale at every meal since I can’t tell the difference one way or another. Today, I finally got back some of my lost senses and actually could taste the dinner I made! Now, you might be taking this review with a grain of salt considering I haven’t tasted my food in four days and therefore cat food might actually taste good, but fear not y’all, I can tell you that this Sweet Potato and Goat Cheese Gratin was all that and then some.

This was an absolutely satisfying vegetarian dish and perfect for all the sickness going around. Did you know a sweet potato has more Vitamin C than an orange? Perfect timing! There were two changes I made to this. First, I had some fresh thyme on hand and included it in the milk/cheese mixture and placed some on top after baking and second, I used panko bread crumbs since I forgot to pick some up the store and I was not packing up the baby and all that jazz for breadcrumbs when crunchy panko would do the trick. I served this with a simple hearts of romaine salad and my lemon shallot dressing. Yum!

I did make another recipe on Monday but since I couldn’t taste it I really can’t tell you much about it, however my husband raved on and one and said I should let you know from a flavor standpoint it rocked. From a assembly standpoint, it was easy breezy so, hey, give this Tarragon Chicken with Spring Greens recipe a try too!

Let’s Talk Tikka

Mind blowing is the only phrase I can think of for this Tikka Masala recipe from Bon Appetit. My husband and I love Indian food but don’t typically make it at home (as you can tell from this blog), but after making this it will go on heavy rotation in our house.


This was a bit of lengthy recipe with a bunch of steps but the end result was well worth it. We loved the deep, rich and spicy flavors the marinade and sauce provided. We also made the Cilantro Yogurt Sauce and Spicy Sautéed Spinach. I loved the surprising addition of mustard seeds in the spinach, YUM! The only thing I didn’t make in their fabulous Indian food smorgasbord was the onion naan. Seriously, HEB store bought works just fine. :)

David was taking the leftovers for lunch and when he was about to leave them behind, I almost didn’t say anything so I could have them all to myself. Haha, that’s so wrong. If you are up for a unique dish for a crowd, this line-up is definitely an excellent choice. Make this now!

Turkey Sausage and Spinach Lasagna


It’s no secret that I love Cooking Light, well I’m obsessed with all of the food magazines I’ll admit, but I love that Cooking Light can still throw a mean punch even with one hand tied behind it’s back. While others can lean on butter, tons of cheese, fatty meats etc, Cooking Light has to bring flavor AND nutrition to the table and this Turkey Sausage and Spinach Lasagna recipe is perfect example of how they can nail it. KAPOW!

Our little one was still sick and had actually gotten worse (cursed daycare!) and while she was screaming and yelling, I still wanted to get a home cooked meal on the table for us both. You need something to keep your strength up right? When I looked up what I had chosen for the night, I sighed loudly and thought about making something else given that we have a screaming kiddo and lasagna can take time and patience, both things I was running very short on at the moment. However, and maybe it was the heat of the moment, the lack of sleep or both, I whizzed through this recipe in no time. It was in the oven and done and what felt like five minutes later my husband and were gobbling this up. I’m not a ricotta fan at all and really shy away from lasagna at most places for this reason, but, because Cooking Light can’t put in too much ricotta this recipe was right up my alley. It’s a very different take on lasagna and to me (and David) it was just perfect. So perfect that even I went back for seconds which is something I rarely do since I want to get to my dark chocolate after-dinner treat as soon as I can.

Once we were done hoovering our food, we looked up at each other, bleary eyed and covered in who knows what of bodily fluids (I never knew so much snot could come out of something so small), holding hands we went back to her room to check on our little sick one. I have to say, I have a whole new appreciation for my parents, and any parents for that matter, now!

Chile Braised Short Ribs



It’s no secret that The Hubs and I like short ribs, heck, we had them at our wedding (bless you Primizie, bless you) and when I see a recipe for them I have to make it, it’s like an itch I gotta scratch!

With that, I just had to make these Chile Braised Short Ribs from Bon Appetit because of our aforementioned love of short ribs and because I randomly had a ton of dried New Mexico chiles in our pantry. What an odd thing to have a lot of huh? I was worried that this dish was going to be too spicy for my gentle husband, who loves spice but let’s just say it doesn’t love him back. Actually, the weren’t spicy at all but instead had a great smoke flavor and they were perfect in the falling off the bone department that all great short rib dishes require. We also loved the addition of the fingerling potatoes, carrots and the salty olives. I served this over some braised collard greens since it is my goal for us to eat a leafy green each day. We will be healthy damnit!

I would recommend this for people who have been around the short rib block a few times and want to try a new avenue of short rib deliciousness – you won’t be disappointed, trust me!

Food & Wine Week!

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always loved recipes from Food & Wine magazine but I’ve noticed as of late that they have really inspired me to want to cook. Like these whimsical Garlic Bread “Fries” with Marinara “Ketchup” or the three bomb diggity dishes I made the past two days.

Lila just started daycare and while she’s fine, I’m the one losing it with worry and well, missing the heck out of her. So, while I was waiting for her and David to get home, I did what I know will help calm me down and keep my mind off of things…COOK! What better way than to honor the Chef who found sheer joy in cooking than the one and only Julia Childs. I tried this Julia’s Favorite Roast Chicken recipe from Food & Wine and to start, it was divine! Roasted chicken always sounds so simple but to nail it, it takes great timing, and a few simple ingredients to really make it shine and shine this one did. I’m not going to lie, there’s a lot to this but I didn’t mind the effort given the return when it was done. We both raved about this and I followed the instructions to a “T” to ensure I honored Miss Julia. As recommended, I paired it with the Bread Salad with Currants and Pine Nuts.  This was bonkers good and perfect with the roasted chicken. I would recommend a smidge more dressing than it calls for since I felt it needed it at then end to dress it up and add a little more flavor. Otherwise, perfect.

For tonight’s State of the Union speech we made this Antipasto Salad with Bocconcini and Green-Olive Tapenade from another icon of women chefs, Nancy Silverton. Simple should be this recipes middle name and out-of-this-world delicious would be its last. YUM. We snarfed this down in no time, and while I was hoping for leftovers the next day for lunch that was just not the case. The only thing I added was toasted bread to add a bit more crunch and texture to the salad.

I’ve got to say that roast chicken recipe was probably my favorite. It’s lengthy and a bit more of a food workout than normal but worth it! As Julia would say, Bon Appetit!

Antipasto Salad with Bocconcini and Green-Olive Tapenade

© John Kernick

A Winning Night

Yowza! I don’t care what side you were on last night, that was a nail biter at times huh? I wanted to make something quick and simple so we could get back to watching the pundits dissect and predict every single swing state for hours upon end until the polls actually closed and the good stuff got started. I chose this Butternut Squash and Mushroom Tart from Cooking Light with a simple spinach side salad drizzled with my homemade Lemon Oregano dressing.

First, the crust. You know I make crust for a living so I was intrigued by this one with its salt, pepper, baking soda and olive oil as the fat to bind. Interesting. It was like a shortbread crust but savory, and yummy! The combo of butternut squash, eggs, Gruyere cheese, bacon and mushrooms was simply divine. Added bonus, I’m so super duper pregnant right now that I was thankful this was a quick and easy recipe. I’m telling you I can’t stop cooking, I love it too much!

This soared passed any predictions we had and won the popular vote in our house. For picky eaters or if you are in need of a quick crowd pleaser, this definitely has the ability to reach across the aisle and make everyone happy. Oh dear, I’ve been watching way too much CNN.