I have found so much joy creating in the kitchen recently. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen the absurd kitchens I’ve been cooking in while Walter and I build our life together in Italy! Remember the one last summer with the slanted roof? Or the one last winter with literally NO counter space? Both didn’t have an oven and had induction or electric stovetops.) When we moved into an Airbnb at the end of March this year, acting as our temporary home, I was beyond elated that it had an oven, gas stovetop and counter space. These are also the reasons I have been spending much more time in the kitchen and thriving! I am looking forward to moving into our new apartment and making that kitchen our own. The place even has a pantry! That being said, here are the best recipes I’ve made recently.
The best of, pasta recipes
The irony of the viral Tiktok recipes is that I discover them on instagram and try them far past their virality stage. I’m pretty certain this is the most popular recipe from Tiktok, aside from that salmon one wrapped in seaweed. Ok alas, I avoided this recipe for a very long time and when I decided to make it, it was only because I saw a version of it from someone I trust in the food world, Lindsey Eats.
Trofie al Pesto
I love the versatility of Pesto! Sometimes I will sub in walnuts in place of some of the pine nuts. If I don’t have enough basil on hand, I’ll add in whatever herbs I do have. Trofie pasta is a wonderful pairing with pesto, allowing the pesto goodness to get into every single nook and cranny. I love to get my Trofie pasta in the fresh pasta section of the market.
This is one of my favorite pasta recipes, because it’s absolutely delicious, super versatile and quick to prepare!
“I am not the best cook, but this 5 ingredient weeknight pasta sauce is so easy to achieve at any cooking level. The fact that Corey likes it and she asks me to prepare it often, must mean something! It is a very simple dish suitable for any season, which is exactly the feature that makes it so appetizing and special. Ready in just a few minutes with great satisfaction once on the table, it’s also easily customizable –– you can add or remove spices, veggies, meat or other ingredients depending on what you’re in the mood for or have on hand. Even the type of pasta used can be vast: from rigatoni to spaghetti, from penne to farfalle, whatever one prefers.” –– Walter
The best of, chicken and egg recipes
My priorities when roasting a chicken: crispy skin, juicy meat, nicely seasoned. I have a bit of an aversion to working with raw chicken, but am beginning to tackle more chicken recipes. The first time I made a roast chicken (last summer in Italy, ironically in a tiny convection oven), I felt so accomplished, especially because in order to get that crispy skin and juicy meat combo, you need to get up close and personal with the chicken. This recipe ticked all of the boxes for me and was so easy to make!
If your chicken begins to brown too quickly, you’re supposed to use a foil tent, but I put some parchment on top instead. I also don’t have a baster here (literally just added it to my “need to buy for the new apartment” list), but everything still worked out. I “basted” the chicken as well as I could by spooning the juices over it and actually poured some chicken broth over it at one point.
If I could choose one food creator that I relate to most closely taste-wise it would have to be Carolina Gelen. I save her recipes very often. This simple take on an egg sando is delicious!
The best of, leftover chicken recipes
I had about half of the roast chicken left, so decided to try my luck at a chicken pot pie. I was so happy to find that grocery stores in Italy have great quality pre-made pie crusts and they are much easier to work with than the ones I am used to in America. Making my own pie own crust is usually my move, but we didn’t have much counter space in the kitchen when I made this recipe.
This recipe calls for frozen veggies, but I opted for fresh. I started cooking them a bit before the stage where you are supposed to add the onion. Instead of the “foil collar” to prevent burning the crust, I used parchment cut into a circle and folded at the edges.
This is another leftover chicken recipe option! I didn’t have a pie plate on hand, since we’re at a temporary place, before we move into a more permanent apartment. This was a great alternative to a chicken pot pie! I feel like this recipe can be made during Summer, whereas a chicken pot pie is 100% for cold weather, just lighten up the filling with more veggies.
I left out the celery, frozen peas, thyme and parsley. I subbed shallot instead of the onions (which I usually do for any recipe calling for onion). Since I was using leftover roast chicken which was already seasoned, I only seasoned with onion salt and pepper. This recipe called for uncooked chicken, but worked perfectly with the leftover roast chicken. Just add it into the recipe at the end of the filling preparation. I also didn’t put the cheese on top, but will try that next time.
I left out the celery, thyme and parsley, but added asparagus that I had on hand. I love recipes that are customizable to what I need to use up in the fridge. Since I didn’t have fontina, I subbed mostly asiago with some parmigiano reggiano. I only seasoned with a bit of salt and pepper to taste since this was another leftover roast chicken recipe.
I’ve always seen other people make bone broth and thought it was so much more intimidating of a process than it actually is. Since I had the leftover bones from the roast chicken, I decided to try my hand at homemade chicken bone broth. This recipe only has a 2 hour cook time and is absolutely delicious!
This is another one of those super versatile recipes –– I have made it with only half a chicken worth of bones, the bay leaf, shallot and some salt and pepper and it still came out perfectly. Add the ingredients that YOU like! It honestly feels so rewarding to use an ingredient until it can’t be used anymore.
The best of, sweet recipes
I recently asked my Instagram audience for classic chocolate chip cookie recipes. I had 2 stipulations thought : crispy edge & gooey center. This was one of a few recipes I will be trying out. I absolutely love the chopped up chocolate, because it’s beautifully rustic – and tasty! Plus, the teeny tiny shavings get mixed throughout the dough. I also love the touch of chocolate and sprinkle of salt on top. The blog post for this recipe gives a fun history of “chocolate chips” which I found quite interesting.
I went with a dark and milk chocolate. Kristin, the gal who suggested this recipe, said she makes these with 1/4 cup less of flour. I only made a half batch and ended up using the whole egg (should have technically only been half), because it needed some more moisture. I only ended up with 11 cookies, which should have been more like 16 – may have gone overboard on portions. Whoops! I also didn’t have a sifter or mixer and they still came out delicious. I saw a comment about making these with browned butter and I will DEFINITELY be doing that next time. Browned butter, really should always be subbed out for boring old butter. 😉 Also I think that would have helped out sans mixer, since it was a bit tough to mix the butter adequately with the other ingredients by hand.
I absolutely love scones and to admit that this was my first time making them is almost embarrassing. Perhaps it’s because (no it actually IS because) there are so many fantastic bakeries in California that make buttery, delectable scones. Hey, don’t get me wrong, I have made biscuits many a time before, so that’s not too far off. These Orange Cream Scones are easy peasy and so satisfying. Can you tell I am craving consistently warmer weather? Not like deathly hot summer weather, just a nice Spring 75*F please. I will definitely be making these again soon!
I hope you find some joy in the kitchen!