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How to Make Rice Without a Recipe

How to Make Rice Without a Recipe

If all you need is a plain bowl of rice to serve with dinner, this is the easiest, most foolproof method that I know.

You don’t need measuring cups, a recipe, or even a specific water-to-rice ratio — just cover the rice with a few inches of water, bring it to a boil, then simmer until the rice is tender. Drain the rice, return it to the pot, and let it steam in its own residual heat until you’re ready to serve.

Super easy, right? It’s nothing fancy, but I promise that it gets the job done.

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Watercress Salad with Strawberries and Feta

Watercress Salad with Strawberries and Feta

Spring has finally arrived, and with it the appearance of longed-for exhilarating spring flavors. Like strawberries!

Once you have savored these fresh, ripe berries for breakfast, in a pie, and in a bowl covered with cream, you’ll start looking around for other ways to use them.

Might I suggest this simple, yet beautiful, spring salad?

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Pork Tenderloin with Figs and Olives

Pork Tenderloin with Figs and Olives

This recipe is brought to you in partnership with The California Olive Committee.

Looking for ideas for a special dinner? Consider pork tenderloin! It’s terrific for entertaining. The challenge is that because tenderloin is such a lean, tender cut of meat, it can easily be over-cooked and dry.

You can address this in a couple of ways. The most important thing is to not overcook the pork. Pork tenderloin can quickly go from perfect to overdone, so use a meat thermometer, pay attention and pull the meat from the heat when it gets to the right internal temperature.

Another thing you can do to help keep the moisture in the meat is to marinate the tenderloin in a lightly briny solution. Ideally, a sweet and salty marinade will not only infuse the meat with flavor, but will also act as a gentle brine to help the tenderloin retain moisture as it cooks.

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Fish Stew with Ginger and Tomatoes

Fish Stew with Ginger and Tomatoes

One spring at friend’s house on Cape Cod, I found a lot of fresh ginger in the fridge. My friend’s husband had just stopped by the local fish market, so I combined the fish and ginger with a can of tomatoes to make a quick and easy spring stew. We absolutely loved the results.

The fresh ginger won’t knock you over the head with its intensity in this stew. It adds warmth and its distinctive gingery flavor to the pot, but it’s a fairly subtle flavor.

The fish is still the main star – which it should be, considering how expensive seafood is!

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Chicken Florentine Pesto Pasta

Chicken Florentine Pesto Pasta

Dear chicken Florentine. I like you. I like your spinach and your cream sauce.

But honestly? I don’t love you. You’re missing a little pizzaz.

So, I would like to introduce you to my friend pesto pasta.

You kinda need that punch from the pesto’s garlic, basil, and Parmesan.

Now we have the makings of love. Go forth and multiply.

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Green Mojito Smoothie

Mojito Smoothie

There are two things I know for sure about my friend Tess Masters. One is that she knows smoothies. The other is that she has an extraordinary palate. Which means when she comes up with a smoothie idea, it’s going to be a winner!

The Green Mojito Smoothie from The Blender Girl Smoothies is a perfect example. Like the mojito flavors of lime and mint? Blend in some pineapple, coconut water, and kale, and you have not only the zesty refreshing taste of a mojito, but it’s good for you too.

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4 Tips for Building the Perfect Mason Jar Salad

4 Tips for Building the Perfect Mason Jar Salad Blog Post

Mason Jar Salad

I'm always looking for healthy lunch ideas that I can make ahead and bring to work. I've gone through the sandwich phase, the soup phase and, of course, the not-so-healthy takeout phase. But lately, I've been on a new kick.

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We ❤ Vegetables—and We Want You To Love Them As Much As We Do!

We ❤ Vegetables—and We Want You To Love Them As Much As We Do! Blog Post

Grilled Summer Vegetables

My no-fuss answer to cooking up the haul from the farmers' market: Toss vegetables with olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill until crisp-tender. Drizzle with vinaigrette made with minced shallot and plenty of fresh herbs. Pile leftovers on crusty baguette with melted fontina or fresh mozzarella for lunch the next day.

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A Food-Lover's Mother's Day Gift Guide

A Food-Lover's Mother's Day Gift Guide Blog Post

Figuring out what to give my mom for a Mother's Day gift used to be easy. When I lived close to her, I'd always cook up one of her favorites—black-and-white cookies, a roast chicken and risotto, homemade cheese crackers—then grab a card, arrange some flowers and call it a day. But ever since moving 800 miles from home, I find I need to do a little more planning. Since she loves to cook and eat as much as I do, here are a few of my favorite food-related gifts that I think any mom will enjoy.

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Chia Pudding with Blueberries and Almonds

Blueberry Almond Chia Seed Pudding

Have you ever tried chia seeds? They’re nutrient dense, fiber rich tiny seeds of the chia plant that expand when you soak them in liquid to something like tapioca, but with really small pearls.

You can add them to smoothies for extra protein and fiber, or let them soak for a while and plump up to make an easy dairy-free pudding.

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Cooking Advice From Mom

Alice Bauer in her kitchen

Updated from the archives with new photos, first posted in 2008 when Elise’s mom was 73, she’s now 82. Happy Mother’s Day!

Years ago I was asked to write about what I’ve learned from my mother about cooking. Since at the time I was living with my parents and cooking with my mom almost every day, this wasn’t a difficult exercise. I’m still learning from her, though now occasionally she learns something from me too. ;-)

My mother is one of those intuitive cooks in the kitchen. Having raised six kids, she doesn’t follow recipes anymore. If you watch her while she cooks, the timing just appears to happen seamlessly.

Whereas I’m best at making one dish at a time, mom can coordinate a whole meal for 8—a main course protein, one or two veggie sides, a starch, and a salad—without getting remotely flustered.

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Potato and Broccoli Curry

Potato Broccoli Curry

Years ago, when I asked my friend Arthi for her favorite curry recipe, she gave me this sauce, which she adjusted to make what I call her “supermarket” version. That meant I could grab the ingredients at my local market without a special trip to her Indian grocery.

I love this sauce! It’s rich, but there’s no cream. It’s spicy, but not too hot. When it’s done cooking, you want to eat it with a spoon.

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Turkey Meatball Soup with Spinach and Orzo

Turkey Meatball Soup

These baby meatballs are so cute you’ll fall hard for them. Use your hands to mix them in a bowl with a little Parmesan and some parsley – you’ll feel like an Italian nonna!

Once shaped, the meatballs go into a soup with orzo and lots of baby spinach. It’s an easy, hearty meal that everyone will love.

Turkey Meatball SoupMeatballs were traditionally made with scraps of meat, often pork or beef, and stale bread. They were a make-do meal for people who had little.

Today, most of us just buy ground meat at the store whenever a craving strikes. But meatballs are still an economical meal, especially when mixed with whatever sandwich bread or leftover dinner rolls need using up.

Turkey Meatball SoupI like to quickly sauté the meatballs to brown their outsides, but you can skip this step if you’re in a hurry. Then, just cook them in chicken broth along with the orzo and spinach. A dusting of grated Parmesan added at the end brings out the flavor of the cheese in the meatballs and adds to the scrumptious tastes in your bowl.

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Cheesy Bruschetta Chicken Cutlets

Cheesy Bruschetta Chicken Cutlets

This is a fast-as-it-gets weeknight dinner, perfect for those midweek nights when you’re ready to cave and order a pizza instead of cooking.

Put the phone down, open the pantry, and you’ll have these cheesy bruschetta-topped chicken cutlets ready in about fifteen minutes!

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Salmon Avocado Poke Bowl

Salmon Avocado Poke Bowl

The first time I ever ate raw fish was when I was about ten or eleven years old. I was at a Japanese buffet, and my mother told me to eat only the expensive foods so we would get our money’s worth, which meant seafood and sashimi. Of course, I didn’t particularly enjoy raw fish, but being the dutiful daughter, I heeded her advice.

It wasn’t until I started eating poke bowls a few years ago that I warmed up to the idea of dishes with raw fish!

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Ham and Egg Bakes

Baked Eggs and Ham

Drop an egg into a skillet with butter and you get, well, a fried egg. But slip that same egg into a buttered ramekin and let it cook gently in the oven, and you get something entirely different: a soft, spoonable custard that’s so much fun to eat.

Add some ham, a spoonful of tomatoes, and a side of toast, and this makes a perfect breakfast!

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The Only Recipe You Need to Make a Perfect Skinny Margarita

The Only Recipe You Need to Make a Perfect Skinny Margarita Blog Post

There's a lot to love about a classic margarita. Hey, it's classic for a reason, right? But juicy grapefruit, mango or blood orange margaritas sound pretty good too. This margarita formula allows you to mix up a pitcher with whatever fruit flavor you're in the mood for. We use just a touch of simple syrup and add fresh fruit juice for sweetness, flavor and color. Plus, these margaritas taste so good no one will miss the cloying sweetness of a restaurant-style or premade-mix margarita—which can have 10 to 15 teaspoons of added sugar.

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3 Mother's Day Breakfast-in-Bed Ideas to Make Mom Feel Like a Queen

3 Mother's Day Breakfast-in-Bed Ideas to Make Mom Feel Like a Queen Blog Post

I'm a working mother of two kids under 5. What do I want for Mother's Day? Breakfast in bed. I want to sleep in till 7 (gasp!). I want my hubby to bring me a cup of coffee and that stack of magazines I've been meaning to read for months years. And I want my family to make me breakfast while I sit lazily in the comfort of that lovely piece of furniture that doesn't see enough of me: bed.

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4 Healthy Reasons to Eat Avocados

4 Healthy Reasons to Eat Avocados Blog Post

Avocados are not only delicious, they're super satisfying and help keep your body healthy too. Just in case you need even more encouragement to eat your avocados (c'mon guacamole isn't reason enough?) here are 4 healthy reasons avocados are so good for you.

Get It: Healthy Avocado Recipes We Love

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The One Formula You Need to Make a Killer Healthy Salad

The One Formula You Need to Make a Killer Healthy Salad Blog Post

Sponsored By The Marzetti® Brand

I try to make a ginormous salad every day for lunch or dinner. Healthy salad recipes pack in a lot of nutrients for not a lot of calories—as long as you pay attention to the ingredients. It's easy to come up with healthy salad recipes in the summer when the market is overflowing with summer-ripe tomatoes, loads of veggies and a variety of salad greens. But dinner salads can be just as delicious and satisfying in the cooler months. I just adjust the mix for the season.

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The Best Spiralizer for Making Vegetable Noodles

The Best Spiralizer for Making Vegetable Noodles Blog Post

When I was tasked with testing vegetable noodle makers—aka “spiralizers”—I was hesitant. Growing up with a Chinese father, I primarily ate an Asian-inspired diet that included a lot of rice. But on special occasions, I had another option: noodles. And like most kids, when given the choice between rice and noodles, I’d always pick noodles. Noodles, in this case, meant ramen, lo mein, soba or egg and I loved them all—and still do. I was afraid that vegetable versions of my beloved noodles couldn’t come close to my enjoyment of the starchy originals.

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Sheet Pan Chicken with Asparagus and Potatoes

Sheet Pan Chicken with Asparagus and Potatoes

If you’re feeling grateful for spring and eager to put fresh spring vegetables on your table, pull out your favorite sheet pan and make this simple supper.

Start with new potatoes, super-sweet onions, sliced lemons, and aromatic sprigs of lemon thyme. Roast them all together on your sheet pan until they’re tender, then add the chicken pieces. Continue roasting, and wait until everything is close to done before scattering the asparagus all around the pan.

It’s a clever way of making an entire meal at once, and you don’t even need a sauce because you’ll have chicken juices in the pan to spoon over the meat. Your trusty sheet pan does it again!

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Shaved Asparagus and Potato Pizza

Shaved Asparagus and Potato Pizza

This time of year, asparagus begs to be used in all sorts of ways. Shaving the spears with a vegetable peeler produces a lovely green tangle that I like to put on top of a pizza.

Add some roasted potato slices and gouda cheese, and you have a winning combination and a winning start to spring.

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Easy No-Knead Pizza Dough

No-Knead Pizza Dough

It seems that every time I decide to make pizza at home (usually on a Friday night) my well-laid plans are disrupted by a last-minute impulse to go to the movies or to meet with friends.

That’s why I love this dough recipe.

You can make it and let it rise, then use it — or change your mind and leave it in the fridge for the next day. Or even the day after that. Or even freeze it for a few weeks. It’s a very forgiving dough!

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Spring Minestrone Soup

Spring Minestrone

Welcome spring with this savory soup from Hank. ~Elise

Minestrone is one of my favorite soups, and it is infinitely malleable with the seasons. This version celebrates springtime, when fresh, new vegetables begin to show up at the market.

I know to make this soup whenever I can get asparagus, artichokes and peas all at the same time. These vegetables form the backbone to the soup.

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Flank Steak Stir Fry with Asparagus and Red Pepper

Flank Steak Stir Fry with Asparagus and Red Bell Pepper

This Flank Steak Stir Fry is perfect for a midweek meal when asparagus are in season. It’s easy enough to make and everyone raves about it!

When it comes to stir-fry, it’s all about the prep. The dish itself cooks up so quickly that you need everything prepped and ready to go before you start adding the elements to the hot pan.

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Easy Lemon Pudding

Easy Lemon Pudding

This lemon pudding couldn’t be easier. It’s made with just four ingredients: whipping cream, sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice.

All you do is warm everything up, then let the pudding set. It’s like magic.

Elegant, simple, and with a velvety texture that is positively dreamy, this lemon pudding is perfect for Easter dinner, Mother’s Day brunch, and everything in between.

No one needs to know it only took you 15 minutes to make.

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Rhubarb Fool

Easy Rhubarb Fool

There’s no fool like a rhubarb fool, and now is the time for it. The arrival of rhubarb in the market always cheers me. Spring is here!

This British dessert goes way back — we’re talking about a few hundred years — and it was originally made with custard and pureed fruits, most notably gooseberries.

I’ve lightened it up with whipped cream instead of the custard and swapped the gooseberries for seasonal rhubarb. It’s an easy-peasy dessert for a weeknight dinner or a spring party!

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Creamy Asparagus Soup

Creamy Asparagus Soup

When spring arrives and asparagus are in season, they are hard to resist, right? Those green soldiers salute us as we enter the produce section of the market, challenging us to make good use of them while we can!

Here is a fresh and easy asparagus soup that makes delicious use of our seasonal asparagus. The base is just onions, a little garlic, lots of chopped asparagus, broth (either chicken or veg), and chopped fresh parsley.

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Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns

Have you ever made hot cross buns?

They’re an Easter tradition, a soft, slightly sweet, spiced yeast roll speckled with currants and often candied citron.

They’re marked with a cross on top (hence the name), signifying a crucifix, and are typically served on Good Friday, the Friday before Easter Sunday.

Hot cross buns are a rather old English tradition, dating back to the Saxons who marked buns with a cross in honor of the goddess Eostre, the goddess of light, whose day of celebration eventually became Easter.

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About this site

Preparing food with heat or fire is an activity unique to humans, and scientists believe the advent of cooking played an important role in human evolution. Most anthropologists believe that cooking fires first developed around 250,000 years ago.

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