A recipe exchange!

8 April 2020

It appears the world actually IS ending, because yesterday I forwarded to 20 friends a “chain email” for the first time since approximately 1999. Yes.

I was sucked in by the promise of 36 recipes*, but also by the innocently throw-back vibe of a chain email showing up in my inbox in 2020.

*Let’s pause on that math for a sec. If I sent the email on to 20 friends (which I did), and they each sent it on to 20 friends (doubtful), and those friends each sent me a recipe (extremely doubtful), then I would hypothetically receive… 400 recipes?????

Though that math is a little more intimidating than exciting, this whole chain email situation did inspire me. I’m always looking for fresh recipes (plus, one of my yearly goals is to streamline meal planning!). While my in-person meal planning potluck is on hold, I thought we could have a virtual recipe exchange right here, right now!

If I was able to invite you all to this potluck (that would be fun!!), what dish would you bring?

Just like my future potluck, let’s consider this a chance to come together and share our blue-ribbon, sure-fire, 100%-guaranteed, all-star dinner recipes with each other – the ones we make when friends come over, the ones that never let us down on a busy weeknight or slow Sunday.

If you had to pick just one dinner favorite, what would it be? Drop a link in the comments (or type out the whole recipe, if not online!) and tell us why you love it!

I’ll go first: the obvious pick is our sausage, kale, and chickpea pasta. But since y’all already know that one, I’ll add this one. It’s a yummy, easy beef ragu that also includes a boatload of zucchini, so you can feel good about getting your veggies! We like to serve it with garlic bread and a green salad.

Your turn! Can’t wait to see your favorites, and for all of us to snag a few new recipes to try in this season at home!

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April 8, 2020 6:45 am

This Thai chicken meatball recipe is one of my favorites! I’ve made it with both the meatballs and fish, and both tasted great! I also added peppers and onions to the mix. It’s quick to make, and it makes a lot, so it’s good for large crowds.

April 8, 2020 7:44 am

This would be a little messy to serve at a potluck, but we love this eggplant parm recipe and it’s a staple (esp when avoiding meat on Fridays right now). My husband, who is typically very skeptical of vegetarian dishes, is all about it. https://www.skinnytaste.com/lighter-eggplant-parmesan-5-pts/

I love this idea for a blog post, esp during the quarantine when we’re all likely spending a little more time in our kitchens!

April 8, 2020 8:20 am

For busy weeknight, I would go for naan pizzas! Here is my favorite one:
– One package of garlic or plain naan (usually has four naans, so for the two of us that’s two meals!)
– Sweet or Spicy Italian Sausage or Chicken Sausage (1 sausage is good for 2 pizzas)
– Pesto (storebought, homemade, anything goes!)
– Shreddeed mozzarella

I just cook the sausage on the stove. Then I put pesto, sausage, and mozzarella on top of the naan in that order and cook for about 8-12 minutes at 425 degrees. I usually serve with a big green salad on the side. Delicious and easy!

For a recipe I make when people come over, one hundred percent this one! It tastes just like the bolognese at your favorite Italian restaurant. https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/bas-best-bolognese

April 8, 2020 8:20 am

This is so fun! Our most frequently made meal is most definitely the Taco Soup from Cup of Jo (thanks to you!) but another favorite in our frequent rotation is the Southern-Style Hamburger Steaks from Defined Dish (we omit mushrooms for preference and double the onions), served with mashed potatoes or mashed cauliflower and a vegetable: http://www.thedefineddish.com/hamburger-steak-with-onion-gravy/ :)

April 8, 2020 9:18 am

I love a build your own theme for dinners with friends and a taco bar often is the menu of choice. I always make this beef: https://www.skinnytaste.com/madisons-favorite-slow-cooker-beef-tacos/

April 8, 2020 9:41 am

I love this! My go-to recipes usually involve a crockpot and a cheaper cut of meat. A crowd-pleaser is Korean Beef Tacos (https://damndelicious.net/2015/02/21/slow-cooker-korean-beef/), served with shredded lettuce, shredded carrots, chopped cucumber, shredded cheese, on a flour tortilla. Looking forward to adding a few new go-to’s from here to our rotation.

April 8, 2020 10:03 am

We love this easy stir fry for weeknights – it’s delicious and makes enough to have leftovers for lunch the next day: https://sites.google.com/site/zoomjerrecipes/Home/30-minute-rookie-cook/thai-rrific-basil-stir-fry. It’s from Company’s Coming “30 Minute Rookie Cook” book! I’ve never added peanuts (as the recipe suggests), but you could if you want extra crunch!

April 8, 2020 10:21 am

I love this tomato sauce that is made in the oven. So easy and delicious! The recipe calls for bucatini noodles but any noodle shape would work. And even if anchovies aren’t your thing, I’d recommend giving them a try – they pretty much dissolve in the oven and add so much non-fishy flavor! https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/bucatini-with-butter-roasted-tomato-sauce

April 8, 2020 11:11 am

This is so fun! It’s so hard to pick just one recipe, but I would say Ottolenghi’s Conchiglie with Yogurt, Peas & Chile ( https://www.thekitchn.com/ottolenghi-pasta-recipe-265913 ) is our spring favorite. Sounds weird, but it’s delicious and I only make it once each spring which makes it special and we always look forward to it.

April 8, 2020 11:24 am

I was also sucked into the recipe chain email yesterday, across the country in Missouri! Ha! I shared The Lazy Genius’s Change Your Life Chicken, which has indeed changed our life over the last few months. It’s ridiculously simple! For the veggies, we do a mix of new potatoes, carrots, green beans, and half a red onion. http://www.thelazygeniuscollective.com/blog/change-your-life-chicken

I tried a new-to-me recipe last weekend that we’ll add to our rotation, too — white bean, orzo, and spinach soup, served with warm crusty bread. I added Italian sausage and will do a little less lemon than it calls for next time, but it’s a great meal for a cold night! https://www.cocinadecoco.com/post/white-bean-orzo-spinach-soup

April 13, 2020 11:09 am
Reply to  Mollie

Change your life chicken is great! I think that’s a great one to add!

April 8, 2020 11:45 am

Changing things up here with two sweet recipes! Made these https://smittenkitchen.com/2009/11/salted-brown-butter-crispy-treats/ yesterday and they were amazing. A total upgrade on the world’s easiest ‘dessert’. Also, my newly found go-to chocolate chip cookies: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/chocolate-chip-cookies/?fbclid=IwAR3vMJJLmBKH4M1U0HjGYWjU856H15CgDKvMaVosF99SHZI4QBZMHu-bXLY surpassed any other recipe I’ve tried in the past few years!

April 8, 2020 12:16 pm

Ah! One of our go-to meals, especially when its crummy out, is this black bean soup recipe! With a crusty loaf of French bread, it’s comfort food, but not too-unhealthy either! https://www.cookingclassy.com/black-bean-soup/

April 9, 2020 12:54 am

I love this idea and I love all your recipe posts. One of the recipes I’ve been loving that is super easy is Our Best Bites Chicken Sheet Pan Fajitas https://ourbestbites.com/sheet-pan-fajitas/. They are so simple and yummy. I can’t wait to try out all of the other recommendations. Thank you!

April 9, 2020 7:03 am

Two of my recent faves are Thai crunch salad from Iowa Girl Eats, https://iowagirleats.com/thai-crunch-salad-thai-peanut-dressing/, and crispy tortellini with peas and prosciutto from Smitten Kitchen, http://smittenkitchen.com/2016/05/crispy-tortellini-with-peas-and-prosciutto/. Both delicious and super easy to make!

April 9, 2020 10:10 am

Such a great post and comment thread! My go-to is Skinny Taste No Bean Turkey & Sweet Potato Chili: https://www.skinnytaste.com/no-bean-turkey-and-sweet-potato-chili/ (although I always throw in a can of black beans :)) Everything cooks in one pot and it makes enough for leftovers for dayssssss.

Kelly Strawberry
April 10, 2020 10:54 am

I usually have chicken and waffles on the menu each month. Barefoot Contessa Overnight Waffles are my favorite and Paula Deen’s southern fried chicken is my go-to.

Kelly Strawberry
April 10, 2020 10:56 am

Just to clarify, I do the “overnight waffles” backwards for dinner…make batter in the morning to let it sit during the day, and it’s ready in the evening when I get home. :)

April 10, 2020 12:04 pm

I love this easy crustless quiche / frittata! A few years ago a friend had me over for Easter brunch where she served this and I’ve loved this simple flexible recipe ever since! This is a great way to use up any veggies or bits of cheese you have, recipe explains how to mix and match! I love quiche but this saves time of making or getting a crust and makes the dish a little lighter! Pair with a green salad and you’ve got an easy dinner or brunch! https://aprettylifeinthesuburbs.com/crustless-quiche/

This is another fail safe recipe that can be made almost entirely in the microwave but feels so fancy, lemony shrimp risotto! I prefer subbing the peas for asparagus, but frozen peas are more likely to be on hand in my freezer. Both work really well here! https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/food-recipes/a4698/lemony-shrimp-risotto-659/

Bethany Howe
April 10, 2020 4:59 pm

Not dinner, but this is my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe: https://www.averiecooks.com/soft-mm-chocolate-chip-cookies/. It’s so popular, that it’s all my family requests that I bring to any function! (Funnily enough, they aren’t my favorite cookie!)

Sarah Jean
April 10, 2020 5:51 pm

Oh I love this post! So looking forward to finding some new recipes to add to our rotation! For a potluck my new favorite is this creamy lemon & pea pasta salad https://carlsbadcravings.com/creamy-pasta-salad/
As the weather warms I am so looking forward to making that one again! As far as dinner goes two of favorite quick meals are chicken taco salads with this chicken – http://www.thedefineddish.com/chicken-street-tacos/ or this sheet pan dinner (I could honestly eat this everyday!) – https://www.kelseynixon.com/greek-chicken-with-peppers-potatoes/ Alex from @thedefineddish has some amazing stir fry dishes that are also SO good!

April 11, 2020 5:00 am

So fun! I just made this Instant Pot meal last night which has been a recent addition to our rotation: https://eatinginstantly.com/instant-pot-greek-chicken-and-rice/ I will say, having feta and tzatziki sauce (easy to make!) really makes it – it would be a little sad otherwise :) But it is yummy and makes a lot of leftovers for lunches!
I’ve also made pot roast in the Instant Pot a few times recently, which makes my husband VERY happy. For some reason I always thought it was more intimidating to make than it is? I used the Pioneer Woman’s recipe: https://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/instant-pot-pot-roast/
Also, we often make this giant couscous salad when we have guests (or to bring to a potluck): https://laughingspatula.com/crunchy-mediterranean-couscous-salad/

April 11, 2020 11:09 pm

This is one of my favorite recipes, and it comes together pretty quickly! Since moving back East I usually just make it with beef since grocery store bison isn’t as good. I plan to try dark meat turkey and pork as well. My little tweaks are using Romano cheese instead of Parm because that’s my personal preference for all recipes, add more garlic, and baking them instead of pan searing. Just because I don’t have time for that! I do 375 for about 40 min but depends on how big I make them. I also always double the recipe! Be careful to spread the red pepper flakes equally across the bowl before you mix otherwise you’re gonna get some with more of a kick and if you’re a wimp like me, you’ll know it quick!


Bethany Donnell
April 14, 2020 3:14 am

We’ve made this Crispy Chicken Stir Fry almost weekly, especially since our shutdown started three weeks ago. It just relies on pantry staples and doesn’t have many ingredients or steps– a win in my book. You can sub the green beans for any other veggie that you have. We often use frozen green beans or broccoli. It’s seriously tastier than any takeout options I’ve ever had. We serve rice with it and sometimes double the sauce so that the rice has some flavour too.


April 15, 2020 9:19 am

This soup https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/cheddar-ham-soup/ is excellent for Easter Ham leftovers!! Bacon is also a good sub for ham if you don’t have it :)
Comfort food in a dish!

Megan Harrington
April 16, 2020 8:47 am

Chicken Picatta -it’s giada’s recipe. https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/chicken-piccata-recipe2-1913809 We have it memorized and it’s easy and SO good!! Sometimes, if you need to thicken the sauce or make it go a little further for pasta, just sprinkle in a little flour as needed and turn the heat up, wisk a bit, and adjust with white wine or stock as needed. We’ll serve with roasted broccoli-I love to use EVOO and roast on 400/asparagus or a simple salad! We recently did it with Salmon (skipped the dredging, and just added the salmon into the sauce after it was cooked and our 4 year old gobbled it right up), but I prefer chicken!. I always just get the jarred capers and they last a while in the fridge! Top with parmesean cheese. Pairs well with a sauv blanc or chardonnay

(note-we often make this with gluten free noodles/ gluten free flour and it can be done dairy free as well–just use df butter and nutritional yeast to top off and it’s still amazing!)

Megan Harrington
April 16, 2020 8:48 am