Spice Life and Everything Nice was born a year ago! It’s time for a round-up. Best of Spice Series (BOSS) is all about the things we love – the recipes that readers love and the household favorites that we have on permanent repeat.
First, some stats:
I’ve written 160 posts.
That’s 225 pages.
Sleepless nights. (thanks, kids.)
Highs and lows.
I’ve dabbled in a new language- SEO, CPC, CSS, HTML, PHP, PPC, RSS.
I have lots more to learn.
I have lots more to write.
Cheers to more good years to come.
Thanks for joining me on this journey.
Favorite Brunch Fare: Egg and Tomato Stir-Fry. Egg stir-fry for breakfast? Absolutely. Tomatoes and eggs pair well together, and they’re downright delicious as a stir-fry. Serve the dish with rice and you have a wonderfully homey and comforting meal. Simple and satisfying, quick and easy, light yet substantial, Egg and Tomato Stir-Fry checks all the boxes of a good breakfast. Pair it with Bok Choy and Shiitake Mushroom Stir-Fry, Chicken and Peppers Stir-Fry, Hoisin Tofu, or Chicken with Garlic Sauce Stir-Fry for a brunch to remember. Top it off with some jasmine tea or milk tea and you’re set to conquer the world in the most delicious of ways. Not sure about stir-fry for breakfast? My Favorite Toastie or Patriotic Yogurt Parfait has gotten me through many a morning.
Favorite All-Around: Really Good Mini Quiche. Loaded with prosciutto, caramelized onions, chives, and two kinds of cheese, the mini quiche is packed with flavor. These little guys are the mini version of this big guy. The mini quiche is more versatile than its big brother and doesn’t need to be blind-baked. Serve them as appetizers, brunch fare, lunch buddies, or grab-and-go breakfast treats. They can be made ahead and served at room temperature and they’re freezer-friendly – perfect for a party!
Favorite Appetizer: Pizza Dip. This is a must-try for pizza lovers. This crowd-pleaser is often the first to go at parties. It’s a perfect choice for an office, sports, family-friendly, or casual party. My love of this dip might be clouded by the fact that it’s one of the few things that my partner makes, and since he makes a double batch – half for parties, half for dinner – it’s one meal I don’t have to prepare. The dip can be made ahead and it freezes well. Best part: you can make Pizza Spaghetti Pie with the leftovers. So. Stinking. Good. Do you need something a little more high-end for a party? Try G&D’s Bacon and Onion Dip. Yum.
Favorite Comfort in a Pot: Sickness plagued our household this winter. We turned to Peruvian Chicken Noodle Soup for comfort. Peruvian Chicken Noodle Soup is the dressed up, a dance party in your mouth, sexy cousin of good old chicken noodle soup, and it’s delicious. It hits all the right moves of a good bowl of chicken noodle soup, then it breaks out of the mold and brings something new to the table, some extras that bring the party to your mouth. Or try these other chicken soup riffs for comfort with a twist: Curry Chicken Ramen or Kurdish Lemon Basil Chicken Soup. If you want something more classic, try Seriously, the Best Potato Leek Soup. Seriously, it’s really good.
Favorite Healthy Mexican Fusion: Gosh, Blackened Tilapia Tacos are so easy to make that they’re sure to become your new favorite taco come Taco Tuesday. The art of blackening, covering a protein in Cajun spice and then frying on high heat, acts to flavor and seal in juices. The result: tasty, juicy fish that cooks in no time. Meals don’t get much simpler, flavorful, or better than this, especially when you serve Blackened Tilapia Tacos alongside Mexican Quinoa. Hands down, this is my absolute favorite way to serve quinoa. Loaded with crunchy vegetables, lime, herbs, and spices, Mexican Quinoa is zesty and bright, and it’s the perfect compliment to the tacos. You’re in for a treat.
Favorite One-Pot: One-Pot Greek Chicken and Rice Pilaf. One-pot cooking makes me happy: happy that I’m manning a single pot, happy that everything cooks at the same time, and happy that I save time on clean-up. So I’ve created several one-pot meals on my quest for total happiness come dinner time, which is difficult when you have hangry little monsters underfoot. And this one – marinated Greek chicken cooked in a rice pilaf with toasted orzo – makes for one heck of a one-pot meal. Serve it with tzatziki and White Bean and Arugula Salad, then bliss out. Hangry monsters appeased, one pot to clean, happy bellies, happy home, full heart. One-pot cooking, I thank you. Does one-pot cooking excite you? Be sure to try One-Pot Blackened Chicken and Shrimp Jambalaya or One-Pot Jerk Chicken and Caribbean Rice with Island Salsa.
Favorite Pressure Cooker Time-Saver: lentils. A little over a year ago, I overcame my pressure cooker phobia and cooked with the pot for the first time. It was love at first fork-tender meaty mouthful, and it shortly became my favorite cooking vessel. Over the last year, I cooked A LOT of lentils in the pot, because pressure cooker lentils are so easy and scrumptious. From Cajun Lentil and Kielbasa Stew to Thai Massaman Lentil Curry to Black Bean and Lentil Chili to Lentil Sloppy Joes to Indian Lentil Curry to Lentil-Barley Pilaf there are lentil dishes for every occasion. New to lentils? Start with Cajun Lentil and Kielbasa Stew. Don’t like lentils? (Blasphemy!) Try Super Easy BBQ Country Rib Meal or Pressure Cooker One-Pot Beef Ragu with Orecchiette.
Favorite Instant Pot: Cassoulet. This is a sexy dish. With an all-day simmer taste, four proteins, and a hint of herbs de Provence, this dish tastes luxurious and decadent despite its use of more economical and accessible meats such as pork ribs and kielbasa instead of the more classic duck confit and goose fat. Even sexier is that Cassoulet comes together in no time, freezes well, and has a wow factor that makes it a perfect dish to serve to guests. I made Cassoulet in my new favorite appliance: the Instant Pot, but it works just as well in a dutch oven or a stovetop pressure cooker.
Favorite Fish: Soy Ginger Salmon. Hands down, this is my absolute favorite way to eat salmon. The ginger, soy, and garlic in the sauce compliment the fish very well. Broil or grill the fish and the sugars in the sauce caramelize and create a lovely textural and flavorful crust for the fish. Best part: the sauce works double duty to flavor vegetables so you can cook everything together for a no-fuss, quick and easy meal. I like to serve the salmon with asparagus or a sugar snap medley. Serve everything alongside Sesame Noodles for a perfect meal. Can you ever have enough fish?! Check out Basil Butter Mahi Mahi with Tomato Basil Pasta or Pan-Fried Cod with Barley-Lentil Salad and Herb Roasted Tomatoes.