Food

What Are Your Most Burning Questions About Food?

What Are Your Most Burning Questions About Food?

If you are anything like me, food is on your mind all. the. time. Which is why I am so excited to announce a new advice column…

It’s called Burning Questions, and the goal of it will be to address your cooking and eating dilemmas large and small. Not just how to get the perfect sear on a pork chop, but all of it, the emotional, the practical, the downright random. (Especially the downright random!) I’ve written three cookbooks and spent the better part of the last decade writing about food on my blog Dinner: A Love Story, so if you guys send in the questions, I’ll do my best to answer, deploying experts if I can’t figure it out myself. Examples of the kinds of head-scratchers that might come up:

My boss is coming over for dinner, what should I cook?

What breakfast should my son eat on the day of a standardized test?

Why can’t I find a store-bought vegetable broth that doesn’t taste like low tide?

Help! A lacrosse-ball size kohlrabi showed up in my CSA box and I don’t know what to do with it, except use it as a lacrosse ball.

My family is visiting New York City (or Seattle or Asheville or Amsterdam). What is the one restaurant we absolutely must go to?

What can I bring to a potluck that is both delicious and easy?

What cookbook should I get for my eight-year-old who loves to bake?

Why does my pizza dough spring back to its original size after I roll it out?

Which fun food people can I be follow on Instagram?

Uh, what is the difference between “simmer” and “boil?”

How do people actually get family dinner on the table?

As our teachers used to say, there’s no such thing as a dumb question. If it’s on your mind, it’s likely on someone else’s mind, too. So, please tell me: What are your burning questions?

P.S. How to get your kids to talk at dinner and 10 rules for easy entertaining.

(Photo illustration by Maud Passini for Cup of Jo. Food illustrations by Alessandra Olanow.)

  1. Tiffany says...

    I’d love to know if you have any tips for reducing plastic food storage without compromising freshness. I’ve been working to not use plastic produce bags or clamshells but then my produce seems to go bad much quicker!

  2. Cora says...

    What spices should we shell out the big bucks for at a spice shop or ethnic market and what supermarket spices get the job done? (My Penzey’s habit is getting rather expensive.)

  3. AJ says...

    I’ve read the 10 tips for entertaining piece and it’s great, but my question is: how do you entertain in the toddler stage? Between naps that go til 3 and bedtime routines that start at 6:30/7, it just seems impossible. Not to mention the difficulty of tantrums and keeping Littles at the table. But I really desperately want to get back to entertaining. Am I doomed to stroller play dates as friend time until the kiddos get older?

    • Bren says...

      If it helps at all – my close friends and I have all started having “clean out the fridge” family dinner night! And by family dinner night, its usually just the moms and toddlers and babies but its SO fun! We all show up at someone’s house with whatever we have – boxes of Mac and cheese, frozen pizza, cucumbers, bags of cherries…leftover Chinese food! We hold each others babies, make plates for each others kids, and play referee when someone gets injured haha. We usually hang out from 4-6PM and we pick nights that our husbands are traveling or out of town and we let the toddlers blow up the place! It’s be SO fun and the kids have a blast and then we all leave when the kids start melting down around 6/6:30!

    • Erin says...

      Host brunch on the weekend. Serve something you can make or buy ahead (quiche, french toast casserole, pastries from a bakery near you … ) If guests want to bring something, suggest fruit salad or mimosa ingredients. Make sure there is coffee. Don’t worry too much about whether the littles stay at the table; it’s only brunch, so if they don’t eat enough, they’ll catch up on food later in the day. Start around 9:30 or 10; everyone goes home by nap time.

  4. Kristian says...

    Toddler meal ideas for picky eaters? or how to help a picky eater eat better (though no advice I’ve read or tried has helped at all…)

    I’d love a post about how to approach feeding or eating with people who have dietary restrictions. I wouldn’t have thought it was hard, but based on the number or people who say or assume weird (or even rude!) things about me (I’m a type 1 diabetic) this is a topic people might need help with.

    How to become a better a cook for beginners.

  5. Rachel says...

    Um, I’d like answers to all of these questions, and attempted to tap each question in the hopes of a linked answer…

  6. Sam says...

    Please have a qualified registered dietitian nutritionist answer nutrition related questions! Please and thank you :) (Like Miranda at The Crunchy Radish!)

  7. Winona says...

    How do you organize your recipes? How do you bring together recipes you saved online on websites, in pdfs, instagram, the ones your friends email you, the ones in your head, the ones in your favorite cookbooks.. I need a little bit more of a system! Thanks!

    • Emily says...

      The Pepperplate app is a great way for me to keep track of all the recipes I’ve tried online or want to try. I also add recipes friends have sent me / made for me here and make a little note about where each came from. It’s helped me stay really organized (and bonus – it’s a great way to quickly peruse answers to the infamous “what’s for dinner tonight” question!)

  8. anne says...

    My questions lately have to do with all the ways of eating out there. I was happy in my own way (eat food, mostly plants), but now I’m worried grains and gluten will cause dementia, beans and lentils are bad, lecithins are bad, chicken isn’t good, red meat isn’t good, peanut butter no longer good for me… I’d love help keeping these kind of anxieties at bay and knowing what science actually says. Also approaching 40 and something needs to change because I definitely can’t eat like I used to :(

  9. Dyana says...

    Why do strawberries always look soooo good in the grocery store and start to get moldy the second day I bring it home and put it in the refrigerator?!!

  10. Julie S says...

    Yes. Please.
    I watched Chopped- like A LOT. And they always talk about “you should have cut that with an acid” or “added something to cut the seeetness” or “another basic ingredient was missing because you don’t understand food”.
    When making a dish without a recipe what are the basics that I should know about acidity/fats/sugars that I can use to make it taste its best ….. or maybe win chopped one day. :)

    • Rohini says...

      Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat. Either the book or the tv show. It answered all these questions and more for me! And, she is just wonderful.

    • Isabelle says...

      Have to second the samin nosrat recommendation! So informative

    • Julie S says...

      Thanks for the recommendation!! I’ll def check this out.

  11. Sydni says...

    How do you cook chicken breast – making sure to get rid of all the pink, but not over cooking it?? My preferred method is on the stovetop.

  12. Alison says...

    I’ve been getting really into cooking over the last couple of years (I actually received your book for Christmas this year!). I like to try new recipes, but I often find myself buying herbs, etc and having so much left over that I don’t use and end up wasting. Any recommendations for extended use of the one-off ingredients purchased for a particular recipe? Thanks so much!!

    • Shakti Wood says...

      oh yes, please answer this one. And please don’t say grow them and just snip off what you need :)

    • Kate says...

      I am seriously waste averse! I use leftover herbs and veg and even chicken/beef in home made stock (which is easier to make than you think) or soup which I freeze for busy evenings. Most stock and soup recipes can be modified for whatever you have on hand.

    • Christine says...

      Dry them! I do it all the time. Take whatever bunch of herbs you think is about to go bad, tie a rubber band (hair tie, string, whatever) around the stems and hang them upside down from somewhere in your kitchen. They usually take 1-2 weeks to completely dry out but from that point on you have “fresh” dry herbs at your beck and call.

    • Sally K says...

      If there’s an ingredient in a recipe that I can’t or won’t use in a reasonable amount of time, I try to determine how necessary that ingredient is to the success of the recipe. If it’s not a game changer I often omit it.

  13. Annie says...

    How to get my husband to cook dinner. He’s not opposed to the idea at all, but grew up eating take-out A LOT and didn’t have modeling from his father helping his mom with meals so he’s just so lost and has no confidence/doesn’t know where to start. He needs SIMPLE ideas. (I’m the other end of the spectrum: love cooking, 2 parents who enjoyed and participated fully in making all meals at home, creatively and with variety, grew our own food.) After 12 years together, he can now cook breakfast confidently but with 2 kids under 3, sometimes I just need a bit of help!

    • Esther says...

      I’m in the same boat. I was seriously thinking about taking a local cooking class for a date night. Make cooking fun and low stress without kids may inspire him to explore more 🤷🏻‍♀️

    • Cora says...

      Have him start cooking dinner X number of times per week. My husband and I trade weeks with cooking duty. In the beginning we ate lots of tacos and burgers on his weeks (with no complaints, I was happy to have the week off), now he cooks things like chicken biryani and chicken cordon bleu. The more he cooked, the more confidence he gained, and the more he looked for resources to help him.

  14. Tara says...

    Love this idea!
    Healthy school lunches (preschool and elementary school!) that they’ll actually eat. I’d love to add some excitement to our same-old: turkey wraps, cheese wraps, cream cheese and jelly, mac and cheese, homemade mac and cheese, more pasta. And any snack ideas beyond fruit and sugary fig bars? Side note: we need to leave the house by 7:55 am. Anything that we can do the night before that won’t be soggy the next day? I usually do it all in the morning. Help, pretty please!

    • Megan RK says...

      Yes – this is my question too!

    • Colleen D says...

      I do a lot with hummus for my kids (prek and kindie). Pita sandwich with hummus, chopped olives, peppers and cucumber. Wraps with the same on tortilla, chickpea salad with chopped veggies olives and feta cheese. variations on those staple ingredients!

    • V says...

      My daughter (5) loves black bean quesadillas in her lunch. I always cook them the night before.

      We also like to do a “snacky lunch” which is sort of like a cheese platter concept? It’s easy to customize to each kid’s tastes – cheese, pepperoni, vegetables (pickles, olives, peppers, brocc, carrots!), crackers, fruit (grapes, apples, berries!), etc. I pack everything but the crackers the night before, and leave the sleeve of crackers resting in the lunchbox so I don’t forget to add them in the AM. We have a 6-compartment bento box, which makes portioning out the snacky lunch a breeze!

      For snacks, we definitely do a lot of hummus+veg as was mentioned. Also: yogurt; trail mix; cheese+crackers; assorted veggies; frozen peas (no kidding – they are actually sweet & creamy & delish); & stove-popped popcorn. We try to talk out what she’s already eaten so far that day & what food groups we need to hit on with a snack – that tends to help with variety!

  15. Hilary says...

    When traveling to a new city, town, etc…and you need to stop for a meal, what’s your best on-the-go resource for finding the best spots? Yelp? Others?

  16. LP says...

    For those of us who are new to cooking but want to start hosting and entertaining: any ideas for a delicious and simple menu for a very laid back dinner party? Ideally without a super long list of ingredients and with easy to follow steps. Thank you!

  17. Mack says...

    I’m a vegetarian. What can I make for dinner with my meat-and-potatoes-loving boyfriend that will leave us both satisfied? Frittatas have gone over well but I’m sick of always eating pasta!

  18. G says...

    Dinner party ideas and a breakdown of The timing for everything!

  19. Megan says...

    I love interesting food with garlic and onions and flavors. But I live with my mom who has IBS and needs plain (and boring) food. How can I cook for both of us without cooking two separate meals?

  20. Megan says...

    Lunches. How do I find the meeting point of simple to prepare (and ideally prep in advance) but NOT getting bored of it by the end of the week? I work from home so have the whole kitchen at my disposal, but if it takes too long to prepare I start getting itchy to get back to work…

  21. talia says...

    make my husband cook for me + our 3 kids under 4 AND (v important) make him think that it’s his idea?

  22. What are your thoughts on all of the eating trends that I see all over instagram? Intermittent fasting? Intuitive eating?!? How do I just think about food like a normal person and not obsess over following the healthiest trend?

  23. Emma says...

    Hi, I am Australian travelling to New York today for a week. Can you please recommend a few of the best delis, restaurants, places for breakfast or a drink? Thank you!

    • yj says...

      katzs deli – get the pastrami
      russ & daughters – get the gravlax and bagel with creamcheese (probably separately to get your money’s worth)
      shake shack – burger and fries
      there are way too many restaurants :)
      any deli – egg + cheese + bacon on a roll
      ramen at ippudo

    • Thought I’d chime in with some of faves :) I live in BK but assume you’ll be in Manhattan. I love Rubirosa for pizza and Italian food. There’s usually a (long) wait at peak times, but if you’re visiting you might have the luxury of getting there at 5 on a Tuesday or something like that when there’s no wait. As far as delis, Katz in the Lower East Side is touristy but also delicious. The Canal St Market is newer, a lot less famous than Chelsea Market, and less crowded, and fun for lunch if you find yourself in that part of the city (they have excellent ramen by Ippudo there which is usually a crazy long wait at the restaurant), and I also love Le Botaniste for plant based super healthy food. In China town, I love Deluxe Green Bo for inexpensive and delicious soup dumplings and scallion pancakes. Enjoy exploring!!!

    • Kay says...

      I’ll throw in 2nd Ave Deli for great corned beef sandwiches and matzo ball soup. It’s also one of the last remaining kosher delis in the city. Ample Hills Creamery for ice cream (my favorite is snap, crackle and pop) or Morgenstern’s (the lemon cardamom is delicious) Milon for Bengali/Indian food in the East Village. It’s not the best Indian food in the city but the decor is great. Also, if you go, tell them it’s your birthday even if it’s not, their birthday song is the best. Lastly, Clinton Baking Co. for great pancakes and La Colombe for delicious iced coffee.

    • Emma says...

      Thank you – great suggestions!

  24. Pilar says...

    I’m going to London with my mom (75) and two boys (8 & 9) this summer. My mom and I like good food and wine. The boys eat kid food only. Where can we all have a good meal that’s not high end but not fast food? I have lots of answers to this question in NYC so maybe there are answers for London? Thanks!!

    • Dee says...

      A Brit here. Can I make some recs? A really nice option with kids is the bar of the st Pancras hotel on Euston Rd. The food is good modern British with lots of kid friendly options (great chips, which is the British answer to fries!) It’s not horrendously expensive. The architecture is amazing! It’s buzzy but still kid friendly. And you can see trains coming and going from st Pancras station which is fun.

      A pricier option but still meeting you brief would be St Johns in Clerkenwell. This is proper gastro but relaxed enough to be doable with kids.

      A nice chain, better than fast food, is Cote Brasserie.

      Have a great trip!

    • Emma says...

      I’d love to hear your NY recommendations? (Though i’m travelling without my kids)

    • Alice says...

      Ooooh great question!! Aubaine, Granger & Co, The Lighterman, and (maybe) Flat Iron would fit the bill I think?
      (Franco Manca, Pizza Pilgrims, and Homeslice are also great pizza places if you just need to get them to eat SOMETHING!)
      Enjoy your trip!

    • Tash says...

      Another Brit here. We quite often go to Carluccio’s. Chain restaurants but reasonably priced and good Italian kids menus. Also has lots of colouring and crayons for anyone with younger kids. Ottolenghi in Upper street or borough market where everyone could choose completely different options! My kids love both food and atmosphere of the market. Enjoy your visit!

  25. Margaret B says...

    Best tupperware recommendations! I want to replace our current hodgepodge of stained, cracked, and mismatched storage containers with the Good Stuff. What’s good for (1) work lunches including (a) salad (b) soup or (c) things that need to be microwaved; (2) freezing meals; (3) storing things like cut vegetables or blocks of cheese without using plastic wrap?

    Kind of along the same lines: tips for waste reduction in the kitchen. How can I start composting at home if I live in a small, big-city apartment? What are good alternatives to plastic produce bags? How do I keep produce (especially lettuce and herbs) from going bad in the fridge before I use it up?

    • Tori says...

      Glasslock is really great for all this. Tons of sizes.

    • Emma says...

      IKEA has some really good affordable options. I try to have mostly the same size tupperware for storing meals that will be eaten away from home… basically one size that works as a portion for most things. That makes it easy to stack in the cupboard.

      Then at home, for storing bits of things, I use mason jars. My advice–commit to wide mouth jars, get the plastic jar lids (these guys: https://www.amazon.com/Ball-Wide-Mouth-Plastic-Storage-Caps/dp/B01GIAQG8K/ref=asc_df_B01GIAQG8K/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=167158323047&hvpos=1o2&hvnetw=g&hvrand=11661171377209451463&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9007897&hvtargid=pla-305486571962&psc=1), and get a few wide mouth jars–the pint size is ideal for stuff like part of a block of cheese or an opened can of beans or whatever. I use a tiny mason jar for cat food–I feed my cat about 1/3 can wet food so the other 2/3 go into the jar and gets sealed up so the fridge doesn’t smell like cat food.

      For produce – herbs should be stored in a glass of water like you would cut flowers (just a bit of water at the bottom, you don’t want stems hanging out in the water really). Greens can go in a large bin – I got some nice clear-top ones at IKEA. If there is any excess moisture, put a clean dish towel in the bottom under the greens. #1 killer for all of these ‘soft leaves’ is sitting in water/being smushed in condensation.

    • Kim says...

      I second the wide mouth mason jars and plastic lids. There are so many sizes – small ones perfect for breakfast oats to big tall ones for smoothies and salads to take to work – works especially well if you can tip it into a real bowl at work.
      We also use them to store leftovers, cheese, sauces, everything…..
      Biggest game-changer was realizing that I could portion frozen fruit, veg in mason jars in the freezer, add a scoop of protein powder and water and whiz with my immersion blender – so easy to clean, one jar than can travel … and no bulky blender (or fighting with my husband about cleaning it) on our super small counter space. I’ve had a smoothie almost everyday since!
      Find a way to get your compost in your freezer, if you’re really tight on space a paper/compost bag in the freezer might fit if a container won’t. No smells, easy to transport and you’ll be shocked by how my less garbage you produce when you take out compostables.
      If you can sew you can easily make produce bags to bring to the store from tea towels, t- shirts, sheets, etc…
      As a fresh herb and cilantro nut, the best way I’ve found to keep herbs fresh for a long time is to remove tags/elastics, spread herb ends and roll on paper towel, can keep multiple types of herbs rolled in paper towel in the same plastic bag (I keep a few plastic bags just for herbs, they wilt in my produce bags) if the paper towel gets too damp, just compost it and wrap again, only wash right before you use it.
      Arugula lasts waaaaaay lo get than other lettuces and can be mixed into hot dishes, used on sandwiches as well as salads. Tends to get dry instead of slimy, so much easier to pick out a couple dry yellow leaves, I can’t deal with slimy leaves.
      Best of luck with limitless fresh herbs and less waste!

  26. Christine says...

    There are so many comments to this post that I’m sure someone has mentioned this but:
    — how do you fill the bellies of two – always hungry – boys (we’re talking multiple servings of each meal) and one steak-loving husband when a) you’re trying to be healthy and lose weight yourself (a girl can dream!) and b) you’re on a budget (sorry fresh salmon fillets and filet mignon)?

    • Robin says...

      THIS!!! Seconded!!

    • Emma says...

      Peanuts? Haha

  27. Steph Lawrence says...

    There have been several variations of this question (because obviously I read all of them because the comments here are soooo goood). But how oh how does one get home from ft job, pick up toddler + baby, entertain lovable but very whiny babies, and then prepare food and put food on table for family and said whining babies within 20 minutes of entering home? Currently doing Blue Apron, but this is tricky because of need for 30 minutes of cooking time. Ok if husband is home but if I’m alone very hard to make time and give kids attention they need at the same time. Looking for other solutions… Love, Mama Seeking Rosé and Couch at 8pm

    • christy says...

      THIS. THIS. THIS.

      I’m lucky – most nights my husband gets home before me, and somehow magically has dinner waiting, but the evenings I’m cooking with my 13 month old, the most I can do is make eggs!

    • Carrington says...

      All this! 😂

    • Leah says...

      Hi. I have a one & two year old and work 4 days/week. My slow cooker has become my friend on work nights. I spend an hour or two on weekends pre-prepping our weeknight meals (marinating meat, chopping & sautéing veg, making meatballs etc) then put in slow cooker before work. Add microwave packet rice or frozen mashed potato & you are feeding kids in less than 5 minutes. Some ideas:
      Chicken cacciatore
      Meatballs in tomato sauce (or meatloaf even)
      Minestrone soup, split pea soup etc
      Chicken drumsticks (with various marinades)
      I hope this helps :)

  28. Erin says...

    I’m heading to Seattle this weekend. Any recommendations for affordable restaurants that cater to (or can accommodate) a vegan/gluten-free diet? Also, I know it’s *Seattle* but where can I get the best late-night tea??

    • Virginia says...

      I lived in Seattle for a long time and have brother with Celiacs. I love Portage Bay Cafe for a gluten free breakfast option (their pancake bar is a thing). Cafe Flora and Plum Bistro both have awesome vegan options, too. I know people who eat gluten free like Capitol Cider but I am not a fan. Also, check out Little Uncle. It’s the best Thai food I have ever had in my life. If you want late night stuff, hang in Capitol Hill or Ballard. Those are the big night-life neighborhoods that could do late night stuff. Have fun! The food there is so good!

    • Kylee says...

      Miro Tea in Ballard! It’s open until 9pm (Seattle late). It has any tea you could dream up.

    • Sam says...

      I lived in Seattle for a couple years. My favorite vegan place is Chaco Canyon. You can’t go wrong with anything you order – but my favorite is the artichoke sandwich.

    • Erin says...

      Thank you all so much for all the wonderful recommendations!! My boyfriend lived there for many years, but it seems so much has changed in less than a decade. We’re so excited to check discover some new gems! <3

  29. Molly says...

    My weeknight cooking holy grail crusade – How do you plan, shop for, and cook weeknight meals without becoming completely bored with and tired of trusted “stand-by” recipes? Favorite sources for straightforward recipes with a low risk of total rejection by school-aged children would be great!

    • Lauren says...

      Sprouted Kitchen Cooking Club (sproutedkitchen.com) is amazing for exactly this! Has been a lifesaver for me.

    • Melissa Blackwelder says...

      I second Lauren’s comment on sprouted kitchens cooking club! It has been a game changer with little dudes who are always clinging as well as nutty schedules! The food is always delicious. I save money shopping this way and you just can’t go wrong checking it out! I’ve never made anything bad via her site. Sort of a fan girl!!!

  30. valerie says...

    I have a toddler who I pick up at daycare at 5:30 and in those thirty minutes I need to watch him, get home and get dinner on the table by 6. Tips for very quick dinners and things to always have on hand to whip them together!

    • Andrea says...

      Reheating is your friend. We cook big batches of food on the weekend and then reheat for dinner.

    • Alice says...

      Using a slow cooker!!! You could put chilli/ curry/ pasta sauce/ a whole chicken in there and then when you get home you just need to do sides?

  31. Kathryn says...

    Full-time working mother with insane job. Three kids: 7, 5 &3.
    No joke: 20 min from walking in the door to serving.
    Just links, don’t even need recipes.
    HELP!
    (Zero dietary requirements, other than: FOOD)

    • Sara says...

      This is my life as well! One thing that has worked for me is to do big batches of things on the weekend and freeze the leftovers in meal sized containers. So instead of eating the same leftovers all week from the fridge, it feels like we are eating something different. Spaghetti sauce, pulled pork, salsa chicken (for enchiladas, quesadillas, on top of a salad, etc), chili and tons of other soups, individual meatloaves, etc. I just take out a package of something before I go to bed and put it in the fridge, it thaws overnight, and I reheat for dinner and throw some salad in a bowl to go with it. One other huge lifesaver is that I have an oven that I can program to turn on and heat up when I’m not home. I program it to turn on heat up and it’s waiting for me when I walk in the door. I throw some veggies on a sheet pan, olive oil, s &p and roast as I get everything else out. Crispy broccoli 4ever! Not sure if any of that is helpful…but that’s how I survived this year. Also…breakfast for dinner! Hang in there, mama! You got this!

  32. Hanna says...

    Menu for a gluten free dinner party? :)

    • harmeg says...

      Yes! And/or vegan brunch :)

  33. Robin says...

    I attend an annual crockpot potluck party, all guests must bring a crockpot of something delicious to share. After a few years, I’m struggling to come up with a dish that hasn’t already been done by several other friends. Any suggestions for interesting things to make in a crockpot?

    • Ally says...

      They probably feel the same way. Why not switch up the theme?

  34. Rachel says...

    My son is 16 and trying to gain weight! How can I cook dinner for the family that’s health conscious (read we’re trying to lose!) without cooking two different meals. I’m running out of “add-on’s” for him!

  35. Jojo says...

    I am cooking for a vegan, a vegetarian and two omnivores in my family. In the States, this would be easy (even if I may still complain). I live in Serbia and there is a seriously limited supply of anything I would use in the States. I am lucky if I find good cauliflower, I often face a bin of rotten onions at the store, there is one place with tofu in the only Asian market in the city, and there is no tempeh or the type of exotic ingredients I find commonly State-side. To top it off, our kitchen is the size of a hotel kitchen and my counter space is laughably small. What resources would you recommend when I am deciding upon dinner (or lunch- I often make extra so my vegan husband can bring it to work).

    • shade says...

      When I (a vegetarian) lived in the middle east – it was impossible to find canned beans. We ended up soaking and cooking large batches of dry beans and lentils and making lots of stews and soups. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  36. Stacy S. says...

    I want to eat less meat,but I grew up in a family where the main cook didn’t like many vegetables. So I don’t know how to cook different types of veggies that will be fulfilling for my meat loving husband! I mostly stick to sweet potatoes, asparagus, broccoli, and green beans. I want more variety, but I’m lost in the produce section at the grocery store!

    • Blandine says...

      Check Ottolenghi’s cookbooks, especially ‘Simple’. He has really accessible, delicious recipes but a fig focus on eggplant, cauliflower and cherry tomatoes. Lots of grains and legumes recipes too.

    • Emily says...

      Roast some root veggies in the oven! There are so many options, and basically guaranteed to taste good (also pair well with meat).

  37. Carrie says...

    What are some things I can keep on hand to turn the contents of my CSA vegetable box into a meal? And, how do I pull it off?

    • Lydia says...

      I often use the starch+protein+lots of veggies formula and just throw it all in a bowl. As a vegetarian my protein is often an egg or beans and occasionally tofu or tempeh. The veggies are either fresh or roasted in the oven (or just wilted on the stove top for greens). The grain I cook pretty plain (often in a veggie broth for some extra flavor) so they can be used with any combination of flavors. The formula is simple but the combinations are endless. Polenta+fried or poached egg+wilted spinach (add some garlic to the pan), roasted zucchini and eggplant. Quinoa+black beans+corn, bell pepper, fresh tomato, avocado (add a spoonful of salsa and a sprinkle of cheese). Rice+tofu (throw it in the over while the veggies roast)+mushrooms, carrots, broccoli, onion (add a drizzle of soy sauce). I always have rice, pasta, quinoa, couscous, and polenta in the pantry because they keep forever. Same with beans, whether they’re canned or dried. As long as I have some eggs and/or tofu, a big box of CSA veggies, and some basic spices and condiments I can pull together a meal in just a few minutes.

  38. Shivani says...

    How do I get my super picky boyfriend to start cooking and enjoying home cooked meals with me? On lazy Sunday mornings, I offer to whip up eggs and he says no. On casual Friday nights I offer up an easy recipe (salmon! roasted veggies! a quick curry!) and am received with so much hesitation its not worth the fight.

    What are some fool proof (no Italian! he’s the worst) recipes to get him to realize cooking at home can be easy, satisfying, and even fun?

    • Caitlin says...

      What if you did a tacos and guac night? You could enjoy margaritas while cooking! And guac is so fun to make.

  39. Laura Schlickman says...

    how do you deep fry at home without burning down the house?

  40. “Why can’t I find a store-bought vegetable broth that doesn’t taste like low tide?” – OMG, how did you get a direct link to my brain???? :)

  41. Abbi says...

    How do you turn cooking from a chore into a passion?

  42. Taryn says...

    My colleagues and I have a Friday breakfast club where we all take turns bringing in food for the whole team. What’s something easy to cook for a crowd that will taste good even if it’s lukewarm? I’m a 45 min metro commute to the office!

  43. A comprehensive, step-by-step bread-baking for dummies post would be AWESOME. I want to get into fermentation but I’m worried that I’ll end up harboring a museum of mold in my fridge.

  44. Angela says...

    What things make natural or beneficial pairings ie what should I roast with carrots?
    What spices or herbs pair well with certain veggies or proteins? I’d like to figure out how to use different spices or herbs than the typically ones – what do I do with coriander or turmeric after buying for a 1 time use?

    Rules or guidelines surrounding cooking oils- I hear high smoke point and I am clueless. I’ve heard coconut oil is actually bad for you. I’m totally clueless about which oil to use when.

    I’m soon to be packing lunches for two picky 4 year old and I need all the help I can get.

    Second other comments about kitchen must haves, whether that is food staples or utensils or cookware.

    • Meg says...

      I’m not Jenny, but Angela, I just wanted to share one of my favorite books. The Flavor Bible by Karen Page. It’s basically a list of ingredients and things that pair well. I think it even does, for example, herbs like mint or parsley, and I believe spices, too. It’s a great kitchen resource.

  45. Kathy says...

    How can I stretch my pizza dough onto the very hot pre-heated pizza stone?

    • Coriander says...

      Try stretching your dough out onto parchment paper before sliding it onto your pizza stone.

  46. Megan Lec says...

    Easy meals that freeze well? Vegetarian lunchbox ideas for daycare (my son’s school is kosher)? Meal services that work for vegetarians? How long do eggs last in the fridge? How do I tell if the cantaloupe/watermelon is ready at the grocery store?

    Honestly love this series idea. I could go all day.

  47. Stef says...

    What are the best/easiest dinner and lunch recipes to make for toddlers? What is an ideal summer dinner menu for a small dinner party? What is your best salad recipe? How do you cook a medium rare steak on the stove or in the oven?

  48. Jo says...

    I’ll just add to the 6000 other questions -I hope you see it.
    I have a small-medium sized repertoire of great dishes that I know most people enjoy. I love being creative in the kitchen, and always want to try new recipes but I am scared that they won’t turn out well, or won’t be well-received. I have no time to just experiment in the kitchen for fun. How would you suggest I slowly but surely expand my repertoire and try new things while keeping it quite “low risk” (as I still have a bunch of people to eat and limited time).

  49. Sarah says...

    I want to make an ice cream/sorbet/fro-yo with eggs in it but not milk or cream or coconut milk (I’m allergic to coconut milk, my husband is low-lactose but can eat yogurt without problem). Is there such a thing? Do I have to experiment my way into it? Will eggs help make it creamy and rich like I think they will or are they not necessary? I just want a creamy frozen treat that doesn’t upset anyone’s tummy!

    • Bren says...

      I know it’s not “real” ice cream, but have you tried freezing bananas and making banana based ice cream?? You just slice up a bunch of ripe bananas, stick in the freezer, and then add to your food processor and blend until it looks like ice cream! It’s magic! We add almond or peanut butter to it, frozen strawberries, cocoa powder to make it chocalately!

  50. I says...

    I have a new baby! What are meals I can cook in batches and then dress up in different ways? (Bonus: meals I can eat with one hand!)

    • Chantal says...

      You should get her book Dinner a Love Story. Prefect for new moms — both the recipes and personal stories! :)

    • Carlie says...

      I second this! I’m expecting my first baby in September and already struggle with meal planning for the week, so this is one of the things I’m most worried about post baby!

  51. Brenda says...

    This is awesome! Can’t wait for column. I need help with quick weeknight family dinners – half the family is lactose intolerant, my husband will not eat mayo and the two kiddos won’t eat anything remotely spicy or that looks like salad. All the quick dishes with cheese or milk in them are out; so is anything with cream sauce. I’m getting bored with chicken, broccoli/asparagus/name your veggie, and a starch!

  52. Jane Horstmann says...

    would love some summer recipes that won’t make my house 15 degrees hotter. we don’t have a grill too.

    • sarah hornsby says...

      this question! i

    • Jo says...

      same. ditto!

    • ditto!

  53. Kristina says...

    My three-year-old only eats Müsli (we live in Germany), fruit and spinach. He won’t try any cooked meals or food that is new to him (no meat, no Pizza). However, he is a healthy, happy and very funny little guy!

    • Lauren says...

      Wow! I love that spinach is included in his list of favorite foods! I’d love to know your secret! :)

    • Sally K says...

      Just keep serving him small servings of the foods he won’t eat and don’t comment when he doesn’t eat the cooked food. You eat and show your enjoyment of those foods, but don’t overdo it. Sooner or later he may decide that they’re worth a try.

  54. Gemma Grover says...

    Baking bread in a high altitude setting. Help. I live in Utah and I’ve been trying to bake my own bread for years, but it always ends up as a dense wheat-rock thing.

    • ND says...

      I also live in Utah and haven’t had a problem with bread. I use Ken Forkish recipes for artisan style bread and this comes out beautifully. I have had a terribly time with cakes though and am still experimenting.

    • Danielle says...

      I live in Colorado and I haven’t tried it but I’ve heard great things about the Pie in the Sky cookbook for high altitude recipes and advice!

  55. Emily says...

    How do you find those perfect vacation restaurants? Yelp? Google? I like to do some planning prior to a trip so we eat great meals, but I find the research so overwhelming.

    • Emily L says...

      100% yes!! (I also try to google “best Dublin vegetarian restaurants” or something similar and scroll through the results.)

    • EmilyG says...

      If you’re traveling to a city, my method has always been to check the James Beard award website to see if any restaurants have been nominated in the area. You can search by location (and be sure to include nominees and semifinalists in the search!).

    • Heather says...

      Im in the middle of this right now so thought I’d share – I use a couple different sources, but start with eater ( they list essential 38 for every major city and have a heat map for newer ones), then design sponge city guides as well. Then if I’m looking for something specific like pizza or coffee, I’ll use help and sort of narrow it down to areas of town I’ll be in.

      I find the suggestions on yelp help too and really, I keep my searches based on the areas I’m want to explore so they’re more focused. Good luck!!!

    • Brooke says...

      I also have this question. What is the most trusted source?

    • Heather says...

      Ak! Help = yelp

    • Dana says...

      My dad used to travel a lot for work, and he used to look up our last name in a local phone book, call the number and say “hi, I’m also a xxx, here visiting from San Francisco. I was wondering if you could tell me the best restaurant in town (or coffee shop, or dessert place, or whatever)”. Often, he’d end up in great conversations, and was occasionally invited to dinner at the persons home.

  56. Beth says...

    Excited for you and for me and all the readers of Cup of Jo! :o) Please answer all the example questions you shared especially how you get dinner on the table when you and your spouse work full time and have children. Also, ALWAYS looking for quick and delicious dishes to bring to a potluck that everyone will love!

  57. Daria says...

    PS: just a detail for my previous question about toddlers + junk food: I am looking for a way to explain to my daughter why she should not eat certain foods, but I would like to avoid passing on judgment on other kids/parents who do eat those foods! Because, obviously, she is going to integrate & repeat any argument I’ll bring to the discussion… And I wouldn’t like my toddler sounding like a jugmental know-it-all if asked why she doesn’t eat something…

    • Karen says...

      Our approach is “this is how our family does it; others have different ways and that’s OK.” It helps keep the judgment out of it and works for any topic: bedtimes, screen time, etc. So, instead of saying sugar cereal is terrible, you can say, “In our family, we like to eat eggs for breakfast.” If offered something you don’t want to eat, all you have to say is a polite “no, thank you” or, if asked why not, “I don’t care for any, thanks.”

    • Alix O says...

      Yes! Want to hear the answer to this question because it’s looming for me as well.
      Is it something along the lines of Amy Poehler’s classic “Good for her, not for me?” (Although I just tried to come up with a witty example of this and fell completely short.) I am all ears about this!

  58. Daria says...

    Great idea! Love DALS!!!
    My burning question: How do I explain to my daughter (now 3 year old and entering pre-school) why other kids are allowed to eat junk food (NB breakfast cereal? Sugary junk food! Sorry!) and she is not? We’re in France, so snacks are maybe healthier than in the States, but still there are a lot of parents who have NO idea who harmful the food they feed their children is…

    • Maggie says...

      This is tough! For our small kids, when they question differences (“why do our get to neighbors watch long movies all the time?”) we usually say, “In our family we get to watch a short video each night if the kids haven’t gotten three strikes. The X family does it a different way, and that’s ok!” Might work for your food questions too!

  59. Janey says...

    What to cook for a family with sporty teenagers who want to eat before sports practice then need a meal later in the evening…..plus all needs to fit in with driving them to and from their sports. It’s such a challenge because I don’t use ready meals, like to know what we are eating and for it to be healthy. Plus these boys have BIG appetites!
    I love this column already! Going to be one of my favs I think!

  60. Claire says...

    I love to cook, which constantly surprises me. Especially as my mum (who did all the cooking growing up) came from the cooking school of thought of “whack it in the oven and/or boil it to death”. I don’t recall my dad ever cooking anything beyond “scrambled eggs in the microwave”.

    Currently though, I live alone (no plans on changing that status quo). And I was wondering, does a list exist anywhere, with a simple (and fairly cheap) shopping list, that would produce for me a weeks worth of dinners, where I don’t feel like I’m eating the same exact meal for 3 nights in a row?
    For instance, I LOVE roasting a chicken at the weekends sometimes, but then I’m stuck with the same exact thing for 4 nights. I don’t want to have to buy loads of additional things to make each meal unique!

  61. What’s a good meal to “cook together” on an early date? Important: not cook for him, but cook with him, because cooking together is fun and sexy, right? Well, not for a control freak who doesn’t know what she’s doing in the kitchen! HELP!

    Also, all things eggs. How to scramble them right. How to hard boil them and peeling the shell in less than one million pieces . How to fry them without burning the edges. How to boil them so they are just a little mushy in the middle. For some reason, I find myself googling these things every. single. time.

    • Alison says...

      Hi Allyson, from another Alison :) I saw this video from Bon Appetit called “Every Way to Cook an Egg (59 Methods)” linked from Kottke a few weeks ago and even though multiple friends made fun of me for watching a 27 minute video about eggs, it was SO interesting and helpful! What’s the difference between a soft-boiled and poached egg? Now I know!

      “Every Way to Cook an Egg (59 Methods)” by Bon Appetit
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWAagS_MANg

  62. Melissa says...

    Omg, yassss! Jenny, I’m so happy you’re doing a food advice column!
    How genius! I love your blog — not only do you know cooking, but you and Andy are fun, entertaining writers! I have two questions:

    1. How can you change a pancake recipe into a waffle recipe? I’ve seen some great pancake recipes (like this one: https://food52.com/recipes/80522-cynthia-chen-mcternan-s-buttermilk-mochi-pancakes) that I’d love to use in my waffle maker, but I want to make sure it comes out with the crisp of a waffle and is not too soft and doughy.

    2. Can you suggest a few menu ideas? When I have friends over I stress about what salad/starter, main dish, side, dessert would go well together. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

    • Finn says...

      Listen – everyone needs to know about my go to quinoa recipe. A cup of quinoa, two of broth (or water and some spices), a can of black beans, however much frozen corn you want. All dumped in a pot and simmered until it isn’t soup anymore. Top with whatever you want. I’m partial to cheddar, but avocados, cilantro, sour cream, siracha, kimchi and hummus have all been hits. I also dump all my leftover veggies in this when I need to. Tastes good cold as well and converts to a chilli the next day with the addition of a tin of tomatoes and some spice.

  63. My 3.5 year old daughter had developed a love of cooking – but really just wants to bake cakes! I’m concerned about all the sugar so we’ve been experimenting with Xylitol as a sugar substitute, but we’re not always getting great results… (I’m looking at you blueberry muffins). Any tips for healthier baking? Or better yet, any fabulous healthier cake recipes you can recommend?

    • Hilary says...

      Hi there! Check out Ambitious Kitchen and Cookie and Kate- AK, especially, has tons of muffins and quick breads sweetened with honey and maple syrup. Lots of them are whole wheat as well and super tasty. Also, just an FYI, sugar alcohols can have a laxative effect so use sparingly ;)

  64. Emily says...

    I’m starting medical school in the fall. This is a pie-in-the-sky dream come true, but good lord is it expensive and time-consuming. So, for all us busy, hungry, and broke folks…how do I create a weekly rotation of meals that require very little brainpower and very little money? Like, is there a magical list of all-purpose weeknight winners that come together after a cadaver dissection? Lentils that reheat beautifully before a biochemistry test? A non-nutritionally devoid pasta that provides comfort, both the kind of comfort that’s covered in cheese and the kind that comes from eating vegetables?

    • Sheila says...

      I lived with Med students when I was in dental school. I loved big, easy salads with hummus as dressing (so I could make them ahead of time and store them in the fridge, locker, etc without them going bad). Chop a head of Romain across, add grape tomatoes, pre-shredded carrots, other inexpensive prepared stuff (shredded red cabbage, beans), and top with a HUGE serving of hummus. Eat with bread.

      One of my roommates practically lived off of frozen broccoli sautéed with Chinese black bean sauce/paste (the kind that’s lightly fermented in a jar) with brown rice.

    • Amanda says...

      Second this request!

    • Angel says...

      I made a lot of quesadillas. Cheap and easy, and easy to customize with rotisserie chicken, canned beans, veggies of choice. Boxed mac and cheese with frozen peas stirred in at the end. Best with shells because the peas fall into the cheesy shells.

    • Terry says...

      PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE I second this so much. I’m also in grad school + working full time and I desperately need coaching around creating meal plans that work and don’t devolve into frozen pizza 2x/week.

  65. Raveen Bhaskar says...

    go to dinner party ideas! with grocery shopping lists etc!

  66. Mara says...

    Why does my homemade graham cracker crust stick to the glass pie dish despite using 5T of melted butter AND a spritz of cooking spray on the dish first?

    I see so many ways to bake salmon — 400-some degrees for shorter, 300-some for longer — what is the best way to get tender but cooked-through baked salmon?

    • Elena says...

      350 for a half an hour. (This is for a large 1lb fillet). I always check on it in the last five minutes, just in case it’s cooked. I’ve been cooking it this was for a couple of years and it’s pretty much foolproof. Hope that helps.
      P.s. I do it in my toaster oven. It still turns out great and no my toaster oven does not smell like fish. :)

    • Colleen says...

      Salmon at 300 for 22 minutes is amazing.

    • Sally K says...

      Put salmon on baking sheet in cold oven. Turn on to 400˚F and bake for 20 minutes. Perfectly done.

    • Tori says...

      My no fail is salmon at 425 for 10-12 minutes (as per my MIL).

    • K says...

      All of the responses below (or above – I have no idea how this will post), made me laugh. Everyone is being so helpful, but also making Mara’s point about baking salmon! Not a single point of consensus.

  67. Katie Larissa says...

    Could this be a weekly or even twice-weekly column? Obviously it resonates with your readers!!

  68. M says...

    Any holiday sides that I can literally cook the night before then reheat on the day of? I do this with potatoes gratin but am wondering if there are other sides out there that won’t be soggy, mushy, etc after reheating.

  69. Katherine says...

    I pack my luch every day, and have always hated it- please help! Here are my criteria. The only think I’ve found so far that fits the bill is pb&j, which I hate.
    Must be easy to make ahead/morning of.
    Must be healthy and filling.
    Must not be stinky
    Must not require re-heating
    Must not be messy, or require too many utensils (I usually eat on-the-go during a 10 minute break).
    Must be vegetarian, but not farty
    Bonus if it doesn’t require refrigeration.

    • H says...

      These are my daughter’s lunch box requirements!! Recent hits- TJ’s veggie dumplings, Japanese fried rice, and vegetable ravioli. Various grain salads, Dolmeh, and Indian snacks like dhokla have also been popular. We usually supplement with yoghurt and some fruit.

    • Rosie says...

      Non-smelly cheese, crackers, grapes or clementine, carrot sticks.

    • Ki says...

      That’s tough criteria. What about trying to replicate those Starbucks/gas station protein packs? Get a bento box and fill it with nuts, crackers, cheese, mini pitas, fruit, hard boiled eggs. I’d probably add cherry tomatoes, snap peas, olives, fancy app finger food stuff.

    • Sarah says...

      “Vegetarian, but not farty” !! Oh girl if this isn’t my requirement for 2/3rds of the meals I eat. I like grain salads (vinaigrette on the bottom, tabbouleh or couscous/quinoa/Israeli couscous + chickpeas + feta or avo + veggies like bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives + toasted nuts). There are lots of components, but it’s easy to portion things out in advance and then pour vinaigrette in the day of so your veggies don’t get watery.

    • Dominique says...

      Tortellini pasta salad – load it up with good veggies and some cheese to make it healthy and filling. It is easy to make a big batch on the weekend and eat it for several days.

    • Hilary says...

      Check out Ambitious Kitchen- she has lots of grain salads that pack really well for lunch. I also like Skinnytaste’s mediterranean quinoa and southwest quinoa. Pinch of Yum has some great peanut noodles as well that are really versatile and make for great leftovers.

  70. Chay says...

    I’m a nurse who eats breakfast at 5 am and lunch at 1. What can keep me full that I can either make ahead or takes 10 min to whip up in the morning?

    • Ashley says...

      Omelette! Just prep your add-ins the night before!

    • Becca says...

      I’m a teacher with a similar schedule! I’ve found I need lots of fats and some carbs to keep me full until lunch. I eat 2 pieces of bacon, 2 fried eggs, a hashbrown, and half an avocado – and then if I’m feeling really hungry (maybe I had a great workout the previous evening or something), I’ll add greek yogurt and berries. It takes me about 20 minutes to make and eat this, which I like stretch to 35 with a few cups of coffee and reading. Love starting my days off with this early morning routine!

    • Kay says...

      I love a good crusty piece of sourdough toast with a schmear of ricotta and a drizzle of honey. Quick and satisfying!

  71. Eleanor says...

    What’s an easy, portable meal to take to a new mother?

    • Ali says...

      Recent new Mom here! These were my faves:

      Vegetarian Chili and some fresh bread! This is a great recipe:
      https://cookieandkate.com/vegetarian-chili-recipe/

      Curries (just chicken and packet curry mix from the store), packs of frozen veggies and rice.

      Taco mince, cheese, wraps and avocado.

      Also really fabulous was people that brought sweet treats, not just for me to eat but to serve to visitors. This slice lasted for days and somehow got more delicious by the day:
      https://www.bestrecipes.com.au/recipes/caramel-walnut-slice/c3sswh8q

      Also well received we’re cookies and frozen cookie dough for later!

  72. Jessica says...

    What’s the best meal I can bring a friend who just had a baby, just had surgery, going through a difficult time, etc? A few musts for me: healthy; can be easily reheated; simple enough to make ahead of time since I’m also a full time working mom to 3 kids of my own!

  73. Kayla says...

    Since it was mentioned in the post, what is the one place we have to eat at in Seattle (adults only)? And while we are at it, how about in Denver (this time, with a two and four year old)? We are visiting both for the first time this summer!

    • Sara says...

      Do you want something casual for the kiddos or like an upscale-but-kids-allowed place? And are you staying downtown?

    • Gabrielle says...

      Mercantile Dining & Provisions in Union Station is amazing. Make sure you save room for dessert!

  74. Em says...

    Definitely curious about the pizza dough!!

    • Erin says...

      I think it’s the temp of the dough. When I let my dough rest at room temp for an hour before I roll it out, it rolls out much easier.

    • Kelly says...

      Same! It always springs back on me despite varying my technique.

  75. Lora says...

    How do you chop vegetables and/or cook a healthy meal with a toddler?!!!!! Please help. She’s a year old and we’re living primarily on frozen peas/beans or a lame side salad + simple main dish.

    • M says...

      I bought a learning tower on Amazon. Best invention ever. Kids can play, color, craft, etc at the kitchen island/counter while I prep dinner next to them.

    • Julia says...

      Yes! Learning Towers are the best and can fit 2 kids, easily. You can often find them on Craigslist.

      Both my kids started using knives at age 2. I started them with a bamboo knife and cutting bananas and mushrooms. Then transitioned to using a steak knife, soon after.

      I found doing box mixes or making little energy/coconut-y balls were the easiest to start with. And if you’re concerned about all the sweets, you can take after dinner walks and deliver little dessert packs to your neighbors.

    • julia says...

      Sorry didn’t finish my thought there – those things are easiest to start with until their “helping” actually becomes helping. Otherwise, I found it frustrating for everyone to be hungry, wanting dinner and have them slowly and inaccurately doing things. Easier to carve out a special moment to make something together.

  76. Sarah says...

    What are some ways to make a dinner party feel effortless, care free and not uptight and stressed? I feel confident in my cooking but sometimes I feel my efforts come across forced or too stiff. I love a challenge and worry it looks like I’m trying too hard when I really just want people to enjoy themselves and the food!

    • M says...

      Great question!

  77. Hilary says...

    Yes to some good high altitude baking recipes! Everyone always directs to that stupid King Arthur website with generic conversions. Would love some tried and true cake, cookie, bread, and pizza dough recipes. There have to be some professional bakers in Denver that have it worked out(?). Thank you!! :)

    • Amy says...

      I get a lot of my baking recipes (I live in Denver!) from Oh Lady Cakes. She’s a good blogger but she also lives here!

    • Emily says...

      Yes to this!

  78. Ashley says...

    Two from me:

    1) I want to host a group of people (8-10) for a casual lunch/dinner/whatever. I have a small rooftop area now and would love to host informal groups like this for friends throughout the summer. I know people will bring stuff but usually I find that people will bring drinks, not food, and I also want it to be casual enough where they don’t have to formally RSVP or can come and go for a short period as they please. So basically, I want to be able to provide the majority of the sustenance. BUT hosting a group that large and providing food for that many people not only entails a lot of work, but it’s also expensive to be feeding that many folks. What would you rec that’s easy, filling, but not too expensive?

    2) I often see recipes for quick meals, healthy meals, or cheap meals, and sometimes 2 of the 3, but rarely 3/3. Aside from salads, pasta, and stir fry (all of which I’ve exhausted to death), what could I make that would hit all 3?

    • Grace says...

      When I lived in NY, one of my friends had a wonderful tradition—weekly soup night. She made a huge pot of soup, and people brought bread, cheese, fruit, and drinks of course. It was wonderful and she didn’t even need to know how many people were coming, the pot stretched so well.

    • Hannah says...

      to number (2), I just made indian dal (lentil soup) this week and it totally fits your criteria *all three*! Or try the red kidney bean curry on Smitten Kitchen – the whole is more than the sum of its parts! Also check out the website Budget Bytes.
      xo, a fellow quick, healthy, and cheap aficionado

    • Kathy says...

      Socca – chickpea flatbread. Easy, quick, and you can add different toppings.

  79. Amber says...

    Do you have any recommendations or recipes for incorporating fruit into dinner? I would like to eat more fruit, and don’t necessarily dislike it, but I prefer savory over sweet for all of my meals and snacks. The only ideas I can think of are things grilled chicken/fish with mango salsa, or pork chops with apples. I’d love more ideas along the same lines!

    • Kaitlin says...

      One of my favourite recipes, and it’s more of a fall deal, is chicken with apples and onions and swiss cheese. It’s a one pot deal, and so warm and comforting.

    • Katie Larissa says...

      Try Pioneer Woman’s pork chops with (fresh) pineapple fried rice. So delicious!

    • Heather says...

      I have a few great recipes – look for pork tenderloin with cherry sauce, pork with blueberry balsamic sauce and chicken with peaches. There are a bunch of different versions of those combinations but I make them all frequently in the summer!

    • E says...

      I like to incorporate fruit into a salad. Two easy salads in our rotation are apples, blue cheese, and walnuts with a creamy balsamic vinaigrette dressing (I like to use butterhead lettuce, but you could use a more nutritious type); and baby spinach, strawberries, grated or shredded Parmesan (flakes are best but shredded also works), walnuts (bonus if they’re candied), a drizzle of honey, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. You could add grilled chicken to the salad and make it more of a meal.

      This salad also looks good: https://minimalistbaker.com/pear-salad-dried-cherries-candied-walnuts/

    • Pailey says...

      During the summer, I have these salads are in heavy rotation:
      1) sliced cantaloupe + basil + prosciutto, drizzled with some finishing EVOO + balsamic vinegar
      2) grilled peaches (or seared in a pan) + burrata + arugula (really good paired with grilled crostini)

  80. michaela says...

    I’d like to know how people cook with their partners and/or kids! Not just what they make together, but the logistics (and heck, emotions!) I’ve always wanted a family culture where we all pitch in at meal time, but the way it goes right now, my husband and I each take different days where we’re responsible for getting dinner on the table (no set days, just depends on who’s busier with what.) On the rare occasions we do cook together, I end up feeling like I’m relegating my husband to the role of prep chef while I actually cook, because I have more experience cooking and it’s more efficient. I’d really like for him to start gaining that experience and confidence too though, I just don’t quite know how to bring it all together!

    • Ginny says...

      I cook with my husband almost every night and it basically goes how you describe. I do the cooking and he preps and tidies as we go.
      I’ve found that the longer we’ve gone on like this the better we’ve become at our jobs. I’ve got better at asking for help and giving directions. For example, if I can manage to cook the whole meal by myself, I can manage to cook half and give directions for the other half. I’ve noticed that he’s got better at cooking from us cooking together.

      It’s more difficult when we’re both busy, so I try to have a plan for the meal ready for when I get home. If I know what we’re eating then I also know who can do what.

      Does your husband mind being the prep chef? Mine enjoys it. We have a pretty happy rhythm now.
      Sometimes if I’m not in the mood for cooking he’ll take charge and I’ll ‘prep chef’ for him. (sometimes is difficult just to let him direct rather than taking over!)

      I don’t have children of my own but when I cook with my nieces I give them small age appropriate jobs. The more they learn the more they can do. It can be quite stressful though, especially when they want to do EVERYTHING!

    • Grace K. says...

      I’ve found it’s easier when you’re making a familiar dish! If it’s a new recipe and you’re both trying to read it, it can be difficult…but a solid tip is to usually divide and conquer. One of us will prep and cut the meat/entrée portion, and the other will work on the vegetables or sides. My husband loves working with meat and I find chopping raw chicken SO tedious, so I usually give that to him. I have more experience cooking than he does, as well, and giving him manageable things (like sautéing onions and garlic, frying eggs, or measuring in soup ingredients) was a good start.

      My top tips are:
      1) be patient and try to relinquish control because you will inevitably get frustrated with each other at some point (we spent Easter trying to make Eggs Benedict, somehow grossly misunderstood what the other person was doing, and ended up arguing…we laughed about it a few hours later after we’d both cooled down). Cooking together won’t always be romantic and idyllic, but the great thing is you can always laugh and kiss the other person if things get too tense.
      2) pick easy meals for the ones you want to cook together (pasta dishes, fajitas, chicken and vegetables, soups, stir-fry, casseroles, homemade pizzas, omelets, etc.).
      3) let him pick a meal that you can both figure out together over time, through trial and error (for us it was frying wings and learning how to cook steaks on a stove…those are now my husband’s “signature dishes” that I let him handle completely, because he cooks them far better than I do!)
      4) chill background music and some type of snack/drink helps…and it doesn’t have to be alcoholic. Jazz, French music, sparkling water, iced tea are all good options.

    • Sarah says...

      When I met my husband, I was very much into cooking and he mostly assembled food more than actually cooked it. As he was just building his kitchen comfort, he would mostly learn knife basics, and I was the primary cook for the majority of our relationship. We actually took a knife skills class for our anniversary one year, which was super fun (and honestly wayyy more useful than a cooking class– we still reference things we learned in it, and that was 5 years ago). I found that he gravitated towards cooking the meat so I’d back off of that, which led to him sauteeing other components of the meal, etc. This was a long and bumpy process, so I’d focus on short simple meals over project meals that leave you both overwhelmed. Over the course of months (years?) I backed myself down from head chef to his sous chef, to sort of working around him and cleaning up the kitchen (or making a dessert or lunches for the next day, so I’m in the kitchen if he needs a hand). It’s been a bumpy road– I don’t enjoy NOT being in charge so it’s hard for me to step back and not boss him around :) but also so nice to not be the Dinner Coordinator. Now, 7.5 years into our relationship, he cooks more than I do and really loves it. It’s been really cool to see his pride and confidence in the kitchen grow, and it’s actually been a huge trust-builder in our relationship.

  81. Claire says...

    Sugar and chocolate come from plants – so those are good for you, right?

  82. Katherine says...

    Best dish to bring over for a meal-train? (For new parents, the recently bereaved, etc.) Something I can make ahead that’s easy to run over to their place after work would be a huge bonus.

    • Katie Larissa says...

      Having given birth three times and been blessed with friends who fed us for two weeks all three times (!!) I have some suggestions! A friend brought over home grilled burgers one night, with all the fixings. The only thing she had to cook were the burger patties. She brought an easy salad (with strawberries and almonds in it) and kettle chips as the side.
      Another hit was a hearty Mexican layered dip, plus queso and chips on the side.
      And one friend who works full time went to the grocery store and brought a fresh rotisserie chicken, frozen mashed potatoes (which were surprisingly good!) frozen rolls, a package of frozen french green beans that I quickly sautéed in butter before we ate, fun yogurt for the kids, and fancy ice cream for the adults. It was a hit, and I appreciated that she made the effort to care for us, even though she didn’t have time to cook something.

    • A says...

      This is a great question!! Thanks for asking. I never know what to bring and it kinda paralyzed me into doing nothing. Most recently I just bought a bunch of snacks, TP, and diapers along with some take-out salads topped with protein to a friend with a new baby. I think it worked but I would prefer to being home made food!

    • Caroline says...

      At least for new parents, I found they’re usually overloaded with lasagna and other entrees so I always stick to bringing healthish, easy-to-eat-with-one-hand snack food. Cut up fruit—pineapple, watermelon, or whatever is in season. Homemade granola bars, cookies, and herbal iced tea have always been well received!

      When my father died, all I wanted was for someone to bring me a big, fresh salad with homemade dressing!! I really wanted something to balance the heavy, processed food people dropped off!

    • Sara B says...

      YES to the cut up fruit and veggies! I always wanted those for a snack when I had tiny babies but we always ended up with baked ziti or whatever. I would have LOVED if someone brought over a taco salad with the meat and toppings stored separately so we could just dump it together and go.

  83. Jenny Rosenstrach says...

    Wow! Enough questions to last for years — so many great ones! Thank you so much and can’t wait to hunt down some answers. xx

  84. Anna Wagstaff says...

    I just wanted you to know I am buying Rao’s Homemade Marinara at your suggestion from the taste test. THANK YOU!

    Also, it is now sold at Costco (its $10-ish for 2 jars!!) YESS!!!

  85. Katie says...

    My husband and I both work and have two young boys. They still eat dinner relatively early – around 5:30 PM. What meal prep should I be doing over the weekend so dinners Monday – Thursday are healthy, easy, and mostly ready to go when we walk in the door right before they eat? Sometimes I feel like I spend all Sunday cooking multiple meals and prepping ingredients, and without fail, we’re out of leftovers by Wednesday! Help, please!

    • Lauren says...

      Yes, this is exactly my situation! And I pack the boys’ lunches and snacks every day for daycare, so we usually don’t even have (or want) leftovers from the night before for dinner again… I have about 30 minutes to get a meal pulled together, while also appeasing a 2 and 5 year old after they haven’t seen me all day. Please help!

  86. Lisa says...

    Why does my frittata stick to my cast iron pan? Is the heat not high enough or not enough fat? I want it to come out of the pan after it’s cooked!

  87. Heidi says...

    I would love good ideas for picnics that aren’t all sandwiches, that don’t require lots of prep, are delicious and crowd pleasing. Not too big of an ask is it?

    • Vero says...

      Greek salad!

  88. Jen says...

    Well, now I want answers for all of your sample questions!
    Also, best cake recipes that use maple syrup/honey as sweeteners?

  89. Kay says...

    Foolproof rice. PLEASE. I am thirty years old and always burn the damn rice.

    • Robin says...

      I can answer this one. Rice cookers are awesome. Get a proper Japanese one – Zojirushi is a good brand. Mine just has one button. Push it down for cook. When it’s done, it flips to warm. Unplug to turn off. Makes any kind of rice, quinoa – somehow it detects what kind of rice and cooks it the right amount of time. Just put in 2 parts water to 1 part rice/quinoa and it turns out perfect, every time, with no fuss, and will wait until you’re ready to cook/eat it. I haven’t burnt rice since I got one and it’s the BEST. I’ve had mine for more than 10 years and it still works great. Best appliance I own!

    • Kim says...

      Bake it and keep it shallow. Oven to 400. 2 cups basmati + 3 1/3 cups boiling water from kettle + pinch salt + teaspoon butter. Place all in metal roasting pan. Cover tightly with foil. Bake in oven 25 minutes. It comes out fluffy and perfect, no mess, no thinking, no appliances. It’s an Ottolenghi recipe.

    • Deanna says...

      Girl, boil it like pasta. Big pot of boiling salted water, add rice, cook 10 minutes for white, 20 for brown, drain return to pan, and cover with the lid until you’re ready to eat.

    • I second what Robin says. It took me years to get a rice cooker, because it was another thing to take up space in my small kitchen. But I use it almost daily and rice (and other grains) always come out perfect. The little rice cookers still make 3 cups of cooked rice.
      If I’m in a big rush i will often dissolve some miso in a little bit of water in a frying pan, add frozen veggies and heat, put on rice- done! Easy, healthy meal. Bonus points for sprinkling hemp seeds on top.

    • Vero says...

      This was my dilemma! I relied on a rice cooker and then it broke so I had to learn again. I used to burn it all the time if I made it in a pot but this is foolproof.

      Ratio:
      1 cup of rice to 2 cups of water
      2 cups of rice to 4 cups of water
      Etc.

      Put the rice in a bowl, fill it with tap water, rub it around and then rinse it several times until the water runs clear.

      Put your 2 cups of water in a pot and bring it to a boil. When it boils, add the rice. Bring it to a boil again, then put the lid on, turn the heat down as low as it can possibly go and leave it for 15 minutes. Don’t touch it or open the lid! After 15 minutes, lift the lid and fluff it with a fork. It works every time :)

    • Kay says...

      THANKS everyone. Once again, CupofJo community to the rescue! I currently have many rice cooker tabs open, and am super intrigued by the baked rice trick….<3

    • Sally K says...

      I cook rice on the stovetop. I start with 2 cups of water and 1 cup of rice. Bring the water to a boil, add 1 tablespoon of butter and a teaspoon of salt. Add rice. Reduce heat immediately to low or turn off the heat. Let sit for 20 minutes.

  90. Sara says...

    Love love your books, Jenny! Have even given them as presents multiple times! And the thing that continually stumps me is HOW ON EARTH YOU HAVE A DINNER PARTY and small kids (ages 4, 2, and anticipated arrival 10/17/19)??? I thoroughly read your chapter on it and it still eludes me. Please talk more about “dinner parties” ie what I think of as having friends over as a grownup. We live in a smallish apartment without a separate dining room (but with a charm deck!) and I’d love to at least start daydreaming about hosting my first dinner party before my kids are teenagers. Thank you!

    • Robin says...

      I can answer this one too – take out! Or cook a big quantity of something simple, like chilli, and put out some fixings, and let people serve themselves. You’re in the thick of it, no-ones expecting white tablecloths. It’ll be fun and not fancy and the kids will be all over the place. We have friends over a lot for meals (often bringing their kids to add to ours). Usually for a sat afternoon 3 or 4 pm – 7:30ish, so afternoon hang out and early dinner. It’s never quiet and we usually spend more time than I’d like doing dishes after bedtime but it’s fun.

    • Robin says...

      We even do Fridays after work sometimes, with three families (2 kids each) taking turns hosting. We can them ‘no fight Friday nights’ as in, don’t get fancy or worry too much about the state of your house – do some easy food/take out and just enjoy time w friends and the end of the week.

    • Sara B says...

      Hi Sara! I just wanted to say that I have a 4 year old, 2 year old, and a 3 month old and even though it sounds like our house is nuts (it is) having three kids has been amazing! Congratulations on your pending arrival, I’m jealous of those first squishy newborn days.

  91. Maria says...

    How do you cook anything in a pan with oil (especially meats) and avoid making a huge, splattering mess? (Splatter proof tops don’t work when you need to check the food often)..

  92. Ann S. says...

    Any ideas for an app that keeps track of restaurants you want to try when you are travelling?

    • Molly says...

      I use CityMaps2go! I think I had to pay for it originally, but you can download maps for places you’re traveling and use them offline and then mark different things you’re interested in trying. We used it on our trip to Europe last year and I marked all the places I was interested in and then when we were wandering around I could pull it up to see if there was something I was interested in trying nearby (and never wasted a meal because of it!). You can take notes and then also mark which ones you’ve actually been to. I love it!

    • Jodi says...

      I save ones I hear about on Google Maps! You can create your own category, so I have one that is “Restaurants to Try” and once I try and like it, I move to a “Restaurants I Love” category. That way if I find myself on the corner of X and X in NYC, I can see what I’ve saved that’s close by.

  93. Roselyn Gonzalez says...

    Breakfast that is not egg, yogurt, or smoothie! I’m bored :((((((

    • Gabrielle says...

      I’ve been obsessed with overnight oats for months. So versatile and filling!

    • I agree and add oatmeal to the list!

    • Vero says...

      Overnight oats are my go-to! They take 5 minutes to make the night before, you can make 2-3 days of breakfasts at a time, they’re super healthy and you can switch up what you add to make it interesting. I’ve been adding blueberries, gojis and lots of seed. The texture is also great for people who don’t typically like oatmeal because of the chia seeds and the fact that they’re uncooked. Check out the recipe from Oh She Glows.

    • Pailey says...

      I really like avocado toast topped with furikake or TJ’s everything bagel seasoning, and drizzle good finishing EVOO over top. If I’m feeling fancy, I’ll add a smear of labneh on top of the toast before topping it with the avocado

  94. Barbara Dweck says...

    Is there a healthy alternative to American cheese? My kids could probably survive on those individually wrapped orange slices! Help!

    • Tori says...

      You could get one of those party trays that have all different kinds, Trader Joe’s sells one for $5 and fun crackers and have the kids try them and let you know which they like!

    • Sally K says...

      Try buying cheese at the deli in your grocery. I can get orange or white American cheese that’s “real” cheese.

  95. Hilary says...

    And what’s the best herb to replace cilantro/parsley if you’re one of the people that hates cilantro/parsley?

  96. Julia Lynch says...

    Why does chicken marinated in yogurt stick to the grill no matter how much oil I use?

  97. Liz says...

    Can you help with sauteeing technique? This is a complete recipe deal-breaker for me because it makes such a greasy mess…

    • t says...

      maybe try a deeper pan, you can sautée in a saucepan for instance if the spatter drives you (and it) up the wall.

  98. Jen says...

    What do you do with leftover green salad that has already been dressed? The next day it’s always a gooey, witly mess and I end up throwing it out.

    • Michelle says...

      Yes!!!!🤞🤞🤞 please tell us!

    • Christina says...

      If you replace the vinegar with lemon in your homemade dressing, it won’t wilt the lettuce as quickly!

    • Tiffany Cain says...

      I love to put day old salad between two slices of very good crusty sourdough! It’s a delicious sandwich.

  99. JC says...

    Feels like I get stuck in a rut with my weekday dinners every now and then. I am very interested in easy one-pot weekday meals that involves protein and veggies. Ideas and inspiration, please!

  100. MC says...

    I have more of a courtesy/etiquette Q: an in-law identifies as vegan, yet doesn’t really stick to it—I’ve seen her make many exceptions for home-baked cookies, and I know she eats eggs and occasionally other meat/dairy things. Yet when we get together for a meal, the expectation is to make everything vegan. Now, I have no problem making vegan dishes, easy enough, but it’s frustrating asking my family members to accommodate her when I know she isn’t as strict as she makes herself out to be. Do I say/ask something? Suck it up and let it be?

    • Anna says...

      I would say make the main vegan and don’t worry about making the sides/dessert anything in particular and just let her know before hand what components of the meal are vegan and which aren’t.

    • Claire says...

      just pretend you forgot?
      I wouldn’t cater to her, whatever you decide. Maybe have an extra vegetable and let her know the menu in advance and invite her to bring a vegan dish to share.

  101. Katey says...

    Herbs! A recipe will call for a small amount of cilantro or parsley, etc. and I can only buy a big bundle of it and inevitably what I don’t use gets wasted. Any tricks for keeping herbs longer?

    • M says...

      Yes this!

    • Kelly says...

      Bon Appetit had a great article on this recently! Good advice on how to store them (working wonders for me) as well as how to not have so much left when they start going bad. 1) Use more herbs in recipes that call for them! 2) Use herbs in all sorts of things that might not even call for them!

      https://www.bonappetit.com/story/herb-prep-cleaning-tip

    • Anna says...

      Katey you could always make an herbal lemonade. What ever fresh herb (cilantro, parsley, rosemary…anything!) 1-2 lemons honey to taste and water. Blend and either drink the pulp ( I don’t mind t or strain before serving)

    • Amber says...

      You can chop them, mix them with a little oil, and add that mixture to an ice cube tray. Then pop out the cubes to add to hot foods you’re cooking like pasta.

    • Em says...

      Idk where they got this tip, but my parents told me to keep herbs in a slightly open plastic bag with a paper towel. It works!!

    • Emily says...

      Also how do you wash herbs without them getting all soggy?

    • Pailey says...

      I like taking leftover herbs and making a chimichurri, salsa verde, or pesto sauce, and then just using those sauces for everything (salad dressing, eggs, roasted vegetables, fish, etc).

  102. Caitlin says...

    I can’t wait for this column! I can answer the vegetable broth question. Better than bouillon vegetable broth paste. It will change your life! I kind of feel like it’s my life mission to spread the word. The first time you use it, you will think wow this recipe is good. It is the broth. I’ve taken to gifting it to friends and everyone always raves!

    • Yulia says...

      AGREED. Better Than Bouillon is amazing. It may seem pricey (it’s usually around $5.50 where I live) for such a small jar, but the flavor is amazing and it makes soups so, so easy and truly delicious. I suggest everyone buy a jar at least once in their lives!

    • Hannah says...

      Oh gosh, Caitlin, I completely agree! I learned about this from my 88-year-old grandmother and have been spreading the word ever since. It’s the best!

  103. ero says...

    is it ok to finally just accept the fact that i hate to cook? I’m 35.

    • K says...

      Same here! I get ZERO JOY from cooking and I’m so envious of people who are genuinely passionate about food and preparing it.

      That’s just not me. I guess I could say I simply eat to live, I don’t live to eat.

  104. Kristin says...

    I have so many burning food questions! I’ll try to limit myself to three.

    1. How can you make homemade (vegan) granola that is actually clumpy?

    2. What ingredients do you think you should splurge on and which can you get away with cheapy versions?

    3. Is there any way to save something that’s been overly salted?

    • Eva says...

      Ditto on 2 and 3!

    • Deanna says...

      Ooh, for number one, try using aquafaba! 101cookbooks has a great recipe. Clumpy and crispy!

    • Laura says...

      for 1. I just made a granola recipe with maple syrup and coconut oil as the liquids, very crispy and clumpy. I’ve also found that you need to make sure you use enough of the liquid ingredients. When I’ve skimped for whatever reason, the granola was crisp, but didn’t stay together in clumps.

    • sunny says...

      For #3 I add stuff that like to suck up salt. Like potatoes are good for stews/soups, etc. Or if tomato sauce is too salty, I’ll maybe throw in something like zucchinis.

    • Jen says...

      I’m sorry I can’t remember the answer to #3, but I remember that Samin Nosrat covered this specifically in her book (Salt Fat Acid Heat) at the end of the Salt chapter. It’s a great resource in general!

    • Pailey says...

      For #2, I really like good EVOO, balsamic vinegar, and flakey sea salt, since I use these all the time for salad dressing, drizzling on top of avocado toast, roasted vegetables, topping off on a bowl of pasta, etc.

      I also really like to use high quality spices (and spice blends) since a little goes a long way. I order my spices from Oaktown Spice. My favorite blends from them are: Market Harvest Spice, Poivre a la Mode, Persian Lime Curry Rub, and Bombay Orange.

  105. K. Singson says...

    We get a VERY large basket of veggies/fruit in our CSA weekly from June through November. We can pick what we like but its hard to get out of our current routine. I live in Denver so we don’t have a ton of variety but I would love to know how you would use a large amount of veggies/fruit weekly. Typically I can get peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, onions, potatoes, melon, apples, tomatoes, peaches. We can get some other items but weather plays a big part with spring storms and drought. Thank you!

    • Hilary says...

      Can I ask what CSA you get? We are native Denverites and missing the Bay Area produce we enjoyed when we had a brief (8 year!) fling with San Francisco.

    • Sarah says...

      I’d love to know what csa you are using here in Denver!

  106. Marina says...

    What are the breakfast options beyond egg and oatmeal?

    I can’t live without eggs. And bacon, and everything breakfast. Our daughter on the other hand has eczema reaction to eggs and dairy which limits our breakfast option dramatically. Thank you!

    • T says...

      Oooh I have a suggestion for you!!! When I lived in Nicaragua we had rice and beans with an avocado and/or grilled tortilla on the side for breakfast. It’s amazing, especially with coffee. And you can add a fried egg on top for you :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      YUM, T!!!!

    • Stefania says...

      Ditto ditto ditto

    • Hannah says...

      Eggless breakfasts!!!! My almost-4 year old is obsessed with all things egg, but he is seriously allergic to them. So we basically stopped buying eggs for the house to prevent him from even playing with them. I would love egg-free breakfast recommendations that are filling! (He’s also allergic to oats, so no oatmeal, either. ) Thanks!!!

    • Marisa says...

      Avocado toast!!! PB&J! We’re vegan and those are our standards.

    • KA says...

      My daughter had an egg and dairy allergy when she was a toddler—(oats, too, and avocado) We experimented with a few different things, but vegan waffles were the hands down winner. The recipe we used had OJ in it and was quite good. Kept the batter in the fridge for the week and topped with peanut butter fresh off the waffle maker. She also loved toast with peanut butter with sliced strawberries or bananas, smoothies, or a plate of cut up fruit and nuts. But, if you’ve got bacon cooking, I might try a BLT or avocado toast with bacon.

    • Lauren says...

      For people with egg allergy or sensitivity, but who love scrambles and omelettes and frittatas and french toast and … (you get the idea), try JUST egg, a plant-based egg substitute that’s mostly mung beans. Won’t take the place of a fried or poached egg, but otherwise pretty great! :)

    • Liz says...

      My daughter had an egg allergy as a young child (thankfully outgrown with careful management from her paediatrician!). Our go to was sardines on toast – lightly toast your bread, then top with one or two sardines from a tin which you kind of mash onto the toast (choose a robust bread!). Top with a squeeze of lemon and some salt and pepper (and a slice of fresh tomato if you like), and pop under the grill for a minute. DELISH! She’s six, and an egg eater now, but this is still a go-to, protein-rich breakfast for all 3 kids (and my husband and I).

  107. kath says...

    My kids are allergic to nuts, eggs, and dairy. What should I serve them for breakfast? We do oatmeal, cereal, avocado toast but we need more variety and I worry the super carby meals aren’t filling or healthy. Thanks!

    • Karen says...

      Smoothies! With dairy free milk!

    • Margaret says...

      I feel you, Kath. We have those allergies, too.
      – Sunbutter and banana on toast, or sunbutter and raisins on the banana.
      – Chicken sausages and fruit. I’ve made breakfast sausages by chopping boneless, skinless chicken thighs in the food processor and mixing with chopped onion, grated apple, thyme, and a little maple syrup. Form into patties, bake or pan fry. It’s a fair amount of work but they’re a hit with my kids and they freeze well. Or just buy the precooked ones.
      – Tofu scramble with salsa and avocado on (or in) a tortilla.
      – Leftovers or savory convenience items. I make fried rice on Friday with peas, carrots, garlic, a drizzle of soy sauce, and whatever onion/veg/protein is leftover from the week. Reheats beautifully. One of my kids loves potstickers. He microwaves them himself with some frozen peas. The other likes hummus in a whole wheat pita.
      – A (reheated) roasted sweet potato with crumbled bacon.

  108. Jody says...

    What do I cook for dinner in summer when it is perpetually over 100 degrees outside and I do not have centralized AC? The oven is an absolute no-go, even standing at the stove feels too hot. What do I eat?!

    • michaela says...

      Caprese salad! Canned chickpeas + canned tuna or salmon + capers + herbs + olive oil + vinegar! Charcuterie with cheese and crackers! Avocado toast! Cold noodle salad with shirataki noodles (found in the refrigerated section; they don’t require cooking)! Those are my go-tos when I simply can’t turn on the oven (I also don’t have A/C). That, or suffering for an hour at the start of the week while I make one huge batch of something that I can just microwave the rest of the week.

    • Here’s an amazing recipe: cantaloupe, cucumber and feta salad with a bit of vinaigrette, plus flatbread or other bread on the side. So good!

    • MJ says...

      yes, please! i’d like to know this answer as well…thanks!

    • Hannah says...

      Also, try using the crock pot to make hot things if you have one! It doesn’t heat up the kitchen in the same way.

  109. liz says...

    How do i keep from wasting food?
    I cook a lot and have ideas in my head for the week, but i don’t have a set list of meals . Inevitably , i find my self throwing out leftovers ( i do freeze some) but also other things that have not been used and have gone bad. It drives me crazy. Maybe i should shop more daily, but that is challenging .

  110. Silver says...

    if you defrost a chicken then decide not to cook it – how long is too long to put it back into the freezer?

  111. Hope says...

    I’m at ease + blissed out baking, but still in the quasi-terror zone while attempting to cook. My 12 year old looks despondent when Daddy is out for the night because omelettes again?! (He’s an excellent cook who makes dinner nearly every night). Question: what can I cook for a handful of guests and their kids that won’t push me over the too-many-things-happening-at-once edge? Thanks, Jenny! ps: we eat everything.

  112. Erin says...

    How to make oven baked chicken fingers that are crispy. No matter what I do mine always turn out soggy. :( I’ve tried using a rack on the sheet, baking them at high temperatures, experimenting with egg wash, starch and flour to seal in moisture, and using crispy coatings from cornflakes and panko – still no success. There has to be a way that doesn’t involve the deep fryer!

    • RBC says...

      Have you tried coating the chicken in some mayo before the panko? Also, baking on parchment paper keeps things way crispier than baking straight on the sheet (magical stuff I tell ya). Good luck!

  113. Diane says...

    Hello- thanks for doing this. . Any tips for baking at high altitude would be great

    • agnes says...

      I have lived in Mexico city for 20 years, and I’ve learned that you can not improvise dinner if you’re starving. Even pasta takes too long! SO: for a planned dinner party, cook the night before so you just have to reheat and for spontaneous meals, always have cooked food in your freezer. Good luck!

  114. Lauren says...

    Delicious lunches for the week that I can make ahead (busy grad student here!) and are gluten & dairy free. Oh and bonus points if they include simple ingredients or frozen vegetables bc I live in northern Canada and things like fire roasted tomatoes and masala are only things I can get on a trip to a bigger city and in the winter a lot of the fresh vegetables are sad looking by the time they get up here :P

    • Anna says...

      Make ahead a big pot of soup and then jar it in single serving portions and refrigerate:) easy to pick up and go. No heating source out and about? Heat it up while your getting ready in the morning and put it in a soup thermos :)

  115. Darcee says...

    What is the best way to store recipes? My recipes are all over the place – cookbooks on the bookshelf, handwritten in a recipe book, pinterest, a folder on my computer. I cant figure out the best way to keep them all in one spot and when I go to meal plan it is super frustrating!

    • Molly K says...

      You can try my system. I have recipes all over too. So I wrote out a list of the meals we’ve liked, and after each meal I write a note saying where to find it (binder, recipe box, certain cookbook, etc). I group similar meals together on the list, and it helps me with meal planning to glance at that. If I have extra time some weeks, that’s when I search through all the recipes for something new to try. It always feels good to add a successful meal to the list. Sometimes we get sick of things and have to cross something off too. I’m curious to hear about others’ meal-planning strategies too.

    • Jen says...

      I feel more than a little bit nerdy sharing this BUT I have printed favorite recipes and how-to’s and sorted them in two binders (one for dinner recipes and the other for how-to’s, breakfasts, baking, etc). I keep in the kitchen. In the front clear sleeve I keep a list of my family’s favorite meals for quick inspiration when meal planning. That being said, I still end up using my phone while I cook sometimes. However, it’s much less.

    • Tori says...

      @Jen-same system! It works well.

    • Darcee says...

      These suggestions are great! Thank you!!

  116. Lauren says...

    Wahoo! So excited for this column! I would love dinner party menu recommendations for friends with different dietary restrictions. Ex: a Kosher dinner party, a gluten-free dinner party, a paleo dinner party, a vegan dinner party.

  117. Ann says...

    For the love of god, please explain to me how to use a cast-iron skillet. Everyone I know raves about them, but I received one as a gift years ago and am terrified to use it. I *think* it is pre-seasoned (whatever that means?!?!).

    • Julie says...

      We didn’t use ours for years out of fear either but after a summer of cooking everything on the Weber Baby-Q grill outside, my husband just started cooking everything this winter in the cast iron… it kinda seems to work the same way but I’m not the one cooking so I don’t know how.
      I do the dishes though and you just have to make sure you hand wash without detergant and use a pladtic scrubber if anythings stuck on, and then dry it immediately so it doesn’t rust!

    • Jen says...

      They’re the best!
      Cooking- use oil and allow it to warm just as you would any other pan
      Cleaning- coat in water and then sprinkle salt on top and scrub it with a paper towel. Dry immediately and put a little olive oil or veg shortening on, heat up and rub oil in with paper towel.
      There’s also brushes made specifically to do this job :)
      Happy cooking!

    • allison says...

      I have three Lodge cast iron pans (two that are about 20 years old and one that’s about five years old) and I’ve helped multiple friends prep their new pans. With a brand new pan, I’ll wash it with soap and water and a plain old kitchen sponge, then dry it. Then I smear a thin layer of Crisco all around the inside and up the inner sides of the pan with a paper towel. Set that on top of the stove on the lowest heat setting and let it hang out for a half an hour or so. After the heat is turned off and the pan has cooled, I’ll wipe out any extra grease and put the pan away for later use.

      After that I’ll use the pan as frequently as possible in the first month or so, always starting with olive oil or bacon. It really doesn’t matter what to cook, just that the pan has a chance to be used for sauteing or frying. Each time, I’ll clean it by scrubbing the cooled pan with about 1-2 tablespoons of salt and a thick paper towel (Viva brand ftw). Scrub with salt, rinse it out, then scrub again (just dump the water out first) if needed. In these first few weeks I’ll rub a very thin layer of Crisco on the dry pan after it’s clean, just to make it shiny, and let it sit til next use.

      Now that my current pans are well seasoned, I hand wash them with soap and water after cooking. Sometimes I use a scrubby sponge, other times a hard bristle brush. Since they’re seasoned so well I just overturn my pans in a dish drainer and let them air dry. They very rarely need a salt scrub or a Crisco finish these days… maybe once or twice a year at most.

      Cast iron is relatively cheap but it benefits from an initial investment in time. Good luck in learning to love yours!

  118. Jana says...

    Did I miss where we would find all of the answers to these great questions?

    • Molly K says...

      I assumed she will address them in a regular column on cupofjo?

    • Eileen says...

      Seconded…please go ahead and answer your “examples,” Jenny!

  119. Andrea says...

    My son goes to a Jewish preschool so snacks & lunch must be vegetarian, and because of a few but allergies in class, nut free as well!! I have hit the wall in terms of lunches he will eat that give him enough protein & energy to keep him going. Also he is 5, so a salad will he left uneaten, as will any undisguised veggies.

    • Karen says...

      Hummus on a sandwich? Not for everyone but we love it!

    • KA says...

      At that age, my kiddo ate toothpick kabobs for her lunch—grapes and cheddar; cherry tomato, basil and mozzarella; red peppers and cheese; different fruits. It all seemed more fun on a toothpick! Also, soup in a thermos.

    • Claire says...

      Sun butter or wow butter are great alternatives to peanut butter for sandwiches.(I would definitely let the staff know if you do though, it does look like peanut butter).

    • Jess. says...

      My son eats a quesadilla on ww tortilla (made with quite a lot of refried beans) every morning for breakfast. I, personally, also find they’re great at room temperature. Or a full-on bean burrito*, maybe?

      *If he doesn’t find beans to be yucky, I like to make bean burritos with both refried and whole beans, which makes them feel more like a real meal. xox

  120. Natalie says...

    How do we assure the animals whose bodies we eat (or who provide our eggs, cheese, etc.) are treated well and live happy lives?

    I’ve tried Butcher Box (not a huge fan based on the packaging)… what other other ways to guarantee the animals are well treated? Providers, certifications, tips…

    (Timely with the Fairlife farm gut wrenching animal abuse expose, but ALWAYS important. And, I feel like with the reach/reader pool of this site we could actually move the needle on this by voting with our dollars if we knew how…)

    • teegan says...

      If you can find a farm within driving distance, check it out yourself! Lots of farmers love to sell direct as they can get things to you fresher, and you can see the animals and how they live.
      You can also look up local CSAs (yes, for meat/dairy/eggs) and find people selling at farmers markets. Even if you can’t make it to your market or CSA pickup at that time/place every week, lots of farmers are willing to arrange a time for you to pick things up or a different dropoff time, or you could team up with a friend and trade off.

  121. Sara B says...

    What can I bring for breakfast at work? I like oatmeal but only so many days I can eat that without swinging by a coffee shop for a pastry.

    • Katey says...

      Oh my goodness, yes! Please answer this for us, Jenny. I am the same….by Wednesday the coffee shop is calling my name (not so good for my waistline and wallet!).

    • Laura says...

      YES to this question. Weekday breakfast is such a struggle.

    • Rosie says...

      Greek yogurt parfaits! Yogurt, berries and granola on top. Putting the granola on last ensures that it won’t get soggy by the time you get to work and start eating.

    • diana k. says...

      Make mini-quiche in a muffin pan. Like fork up a few eggs, throw in some veggies like spinach or bell pepper and some cheese, maybe some bacon, cook a few at a time and keep them in the fridge. You can microwave them at work or throw them in the toaster oven and munch on your way to the train or whatever.

    • Jennifer says...

      I’ve never tried this at work, but do it at home lots. Scrambled eggs via the microwave. I know that sounds weird, hear me out. Scramble them nicely with a fork then put them in a somewhat shallowish bowl, microwave for approx 45 seconds, stir, then put bowl back in to microwave for maybe 45 more seconds or until mostly firmed up. Even better if you add salt and a bit of butter.

      I’d imagine you could throw all of this in a container before you leave the house (crack the eggs, throw in a pat of butter, go!), then microwave once you get to your work.

    • Andrea says...

      I do a yogurt parfait. 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, 1/2 C frozen berries from Trader Joe’s and then top with 1/4 c trader joe trail mix. We make them up on Sunday and then just grab and go through the week. I keep the trail mix at work, so it is crisp when added. You can also use some sweetener, if you want, but you don’t have to have it.

      We also make egg white cups for my husband. Once made, you can freeze and let thaw.

  122. Jenifer says...

    What is a good low carb breakfast that does not involve eggs?

    • teegan says...

      plain yogurt with peanut butter! (and berries, depending on how low-carb we’re talking)

  123. Amy says...

    My daycare has recently started charging separately for meals. Because of this, our family is doing a test run over the summer where we will feed our three-year-old breakfast at home. What kinds of things can I prepare ahead of time on the weekend that are both nutritious and quick to warm up and eat? Our daughter loves cheese and baked goods more than anything, but I would love to incorporate fruits and vegetables!

    • Alexandra says...

      My 3 year old loves breakfast muffins like banana spinach, zucchini, shredded carrots (think carrot cake with way less sugar). Egg cups are great and you can put lots of veggies in. They’re super easy and you can throw a little shredded cheese on top and heat them up in the morning. Also, overnight oats make life way easier in the morning. Hope that helps!

  124. C says...

    As a disabled non-meat-eater, what meat dish can I mostly make in advance for guests when I can’t taste it to see if it’s good/ready?

    • Jill says...

      Any kind of braised meat that you cook low and slow in the oven or slow cooker would allow you to make ahead and also not need to really check for “doneness” or hit a specific temperature. I’ve never had a braised meat not turn out well, and there are tons of options – Beef Stew, Barbacoa Beef Or Carnitas for tacos, or in my opinion, Jenny’s best recipe – Pork Shoulder Ragu With Paparadelle. It’s in her first cookbook, Dinner a Love Story, but also on her website I believe! Can you tell I’m a fan?! :)

  125. Amy says...

    I’m here for literally anything Jenny does! Can’t wait for this column.

  126. Laura says...

    I have a question about the basic saute with oil scenario (for onions, mirepoix, etc.) at the beginning of a lot of recipes. I have heard people say you want to heat the pan, not the oil–and that heating the oil often ruins its taste–but I’ve also read many a recipe that tells you to get the oil warm or hot. So which am I supposed to do? And if I’m heating it, should I just use a low-quality oil and save the good oil for drizzling, etc.?

  127. Tristen says...

    Is Teflon going to kill me?
    What frozen dishes can I bring to a new mom who is vegan/gluten free?
    I rent and have a crappy/inconsistent oven. What can I bake on the stove?
    Best camping recipes?
    Dinner party for 6 in 2 hours and under $100. Aaaaaaaand go!

    • Jess says...

      Our neighbor dropped off meals like dal and chana saag (both easily made vegan and naturally GF) with cooked rice in the weeks after we had our baby. It was great because they froze so easily, were comforting and hearty (December baby) and were a WELCOMED break from all the lasagna!

  128. Eleanor says...

    Definitely need some easy healthy dinner options that can be thrown together either the night before, during my lunch hour, or during the 15 minute window between my arrival home from work and the zoo’s arrival shortly after. :)

  129. Jess says...

    “Taste like low tide” is the funniest/most on point description of boxed vegetable broth.

  130. Braising! I never know how hot, how long, how long to wait when it still seems tough (or is it already tough?). Tips appreciated!

  131. Ellie says...

    How can I fall in love with cooking?! I love to bake…I’ll spend all day needing dough or frosting a cake made from scratch…and then just order pizza for dinner. I don’t know what it is but cooking just seems hard; too many things to do at one time. Help!

    • Ellie says...

      kneading* omg, sorry.

    • Yulia says...

      I think what helped me fall in love with cooking was watching other people do it successfully and with enjoyment. I learned how to do things from cooking shows that are go-to techniques for me now. YouTube has tons of videos too. I wonder if you might explore there to get some inspiration? And hey–if you can make dough and you like pizza… why not start with making your own pizza or flatbread dough?

  132. Sarah M says...

    Please answer all the sample questions that you wrote up! Especially this one: “How do people ACTUALLY get family dinner on the table?”

  133. Does everyone spend as much time cooking as I do? I feel like I’m constantly in the kitchen even if I don’t necessarily want to be.
    Also, life hacks appreciated for busy people who are totally committed to a healthy diet of whole foods (on the cheap-ish).

  134. Julie says...

    Love this idea!!! So many questions. First few that are constantly on my mind:
    1. Better (from Mother Earth’s perspective) to: buy local vs buy in bulk with own containers and items with no packaging vs eat plant based diet??? Unfortunately where I am the above choices are often mutually exclusive – local veggies/fruits from CSA and even farmers market often come with plastic packaging, items available in bulk/no packaging are often not local items, and eating a local plant based diet in dead of winter in Northeast USA is challenging!!
    2. Vegetarian meals to make for my meat craving husband who doesn’t like leftover meat so even making a meal and adding a one serving size piece of meat to it for is a challenge for me!
    3. Quick delicious dinners so I don’t spend half the day getting dinner ready – I enjoy cooking and making intricate recipes, save me from myself with go to delicious and easy recipes! Bonus points for being vegetarian.

    • Julie says...

      A vegetarian meal my meat-loving husband likes is bean-and-cheese burritos. I use this recipe: https://www.budgetbytes.com/make-ahead-bean-and-cheese-burritos/
      You could even make something with meat the night before and put the leftover meat shredded into your husbands burrito – even if he “doesn’t like” leftover meat it might be different when its not exactly left over but purposefully cooked in advance then added to a meal…

    • Teegan says...

      1. Not sure where you are, but there’s a bean/grain CSA out of central MA that does an annual pickup in January in different spots in MA and NY. You choose in December based on what they have (beans, oats, popping corn, flours, rice, etc) and half or whole share. https://localgrain.org/

  135. Robin says...

    A best of for gadgets and essentials like flatware, utensils to spices and sauces you can’t live without with special guests featured. Like a beauty uniform, but for the kitchen ;)

    • Eloise says...

      Yes, please!

    • agnes says...

      “a beauty uniform for the kitchen!” yes!!

    • Lindsay says...

      Ditto! This please! :)

  136. Greta Wesslen says...

    Does it matter if I use my garlic press when a recipe calls for minced garlic?

    +

    What is the optimal time to eat dinner for your health? Is it better to eat a healthy dinner that takes longer to prepare later at night or a less healthy dinner that is quicker earlier in the evening?

  137. Susan Akeley says...

    My husband makes a LOT of eggs in Teflon pans. He insists on using butter (because it tastes better-DUH) but I think the butter might be the reason the pans don’t last more than a handful of months before they are no longer non-stick. What do you think?
    Also, I’m thinking about getting him a carbon-steel pan for his eggs. Will this be the solution?

    • Justine says...

      Yes! Why do no-stick pans suddenly start sticking?

    • Wendy says...

      If the Teflon pans don’t last longer than a few months, it might be that they aren’t good enough quality or someone is too rough with them while cleaning them. I’d expect Teflon pans to last a few years.

    • Alice says...

      The thing I’ve seen ENDLESS people do with teflon/ non stick pans that ruins them is putting cold water in them when they’ve just come off the heat. You have to let them cool down naturally before washing! Is that possibly a reason? And don’t use a scourer on them!!! The butter shouldn’t be doing it as far as I’m aware…

  138. I’m going to be staying at a friend’s for 4th of July weekend and would like to make something for breakfast. Got any suggestions for something delicious that won’t make a mess of his kitchen?

    • Ashley says...

      Yes! Avocado toast with radish, basil, hard-boiled egg, and sea salt. Slice the radish super duper thin and layer on top, cut the basil into 1/8″ skinny strips, slice the egg (non-hard boiled is yummy too), sprinkle with sea salt. Yum!

    • Tori says...

      Breakfast strata, the website once upon a chef has a spinach and cheese one. So good. And you assemble the night before and bake for about 45 min in the am

  139. Yael says...

    How do you use a meat thermometer? Should I be using one? When?

    How do you fry things without burning them?

    Should I buy a bread machine?

    What spices am I currently not using that would be awesome to know about and use?

    And most importantly, how do I get my kids to stop playing with food and drinks instead of eating and drinking them? :)

  140. Ess says...

    Umm could you please answer all of your example questions? Live this!

  141. Meredith says...

    My ABSOLUTE burning question that I cannot find a satisfying answer to is what is the most environmentally sustainable cooking oil to use? What oils that are used in home cooking or packaged goods should I be avoiding for the same reason?

    Thank you!

  142. Rachel Lane says...

    What do I cook for a boyfriend who is an extremely picky eater? I’m talking his vegetable intake is limited to potatoes, olives on pizza, and pico de Gallo and avocado on tacos. I LOVE cooking and love vegetables, and I know that I am not going to be making him sautéed kale or spinach anytime soon, but what are some things we can eat together that are semi-healthy also?

    • Julie says...

      My husband was extremely picky and is now much less picky after 12 years of me working on him but the things he doesn’t like are unfortunately the ones I do like a lot or make for easy dinners (eg, tomatoes, avocado, etc).
      I would suggest working on one or two things at a time but realistically we eat a lot of sides of bland steamed veges (carrots, broccoli, beans if they are in season, cauliflower sometimes – which is basically potato so your boyf might like it haha), and a lot of side salads where mine is giant and colourful and has three different dressings on it and his is a pile of iceberg with carrot and cucumber and celery but that he still enjoys.

      One thing I have started doing which my husband “hated” but suddenly loves is roasting cauliflower! It’s delicious!

    • Deanna says...

      I serve a salad as a “first course” on the regular, especially if food needs to rest or cool. My husband will eat pretty much anything, but given the choice he’ll always eat more of the meat or potatoes. Serving salad first means he eats more of it (less waste!) and less meat (which is good for the waist line and the overall budget).

      Similar to you though, my best friend’s husband is not a fan of vegetables, but she’s discovered he’ll happily eat them in soup, so now she makes a big vegetable heavy soup at the beginning of the week and he either gets it for lunch, or they have it as a first course before dinner.

    • Caitlin says...

      Have you tried covering vegetables in cheese? I’ve had casserole type things with cauliflower or broccoli covered in cheese. So good.

    • Caitlin says...

      My husband was extremely picky, and probably did not eat a single green vegetable before turning 20 (really). I’m vegetarian and do all the cooking, so something had to change!

      After a lot of trial and error we realized that 1) he does not like crunchy vegetables, but will happily eat them if they’re roasted, and 2) he will eat pretty much anything if it is spicy or has a tasty sauce on it. It was definitely a process, but I’m so glad we both stuck with it and were willing to try new things to find what worked for us.

      Now we eat a lot of enchiladas, burrito bowls, curries, and Asian-inspired sauces over roasted veggies.

  143. Brynn says...

    Yay – this will be such a fun column! I need to know…my husband and I keep DESTROYING non stick pans. We just got new Greenpans which are great so far, and I noticed that they specifically say to never cook with unrefined olive oil (which I’m assuming equates to all the extra virgin olive oil that I’ve used every single time I’ve sauteed something in my adult life). Anyways, I’ve started to use canola oil in lieu of cooking with olive oil, and the pans are still pristine (no uncleanable oily baked on residue in sight). And, honestly, I don’t notice the difference in flavor at all. Is this a mistake I’ve been making my whole life? If so, why does every recipe tell me to use EVOO?

  144. Jessica says...

    I’m a single 30 year old female and try to mostly cook at home for myself. I get so frustrated with recipies that require things like 1/4 cup or a small amount of some random ingredient that I’ll never use again, or can’t fully use up before it expires and have to end up wasting it. Are there any cookbooks or blogs that have recipes that avoid this issue?? Thank you!

    • Tania says...

      Or multiple recipes that use a particular sorta random ingredient! (like, I bough Nilla wafers for a banana pudding dessert and then found this blackberry icebox cake on bon appetit for the rest — a book that does the work for you would be great!)

    • Kaitlin J says...

      Check out BudgetBytes – her site is awesome. Lots of small scale affordable recipes, many of which are based around feeding one or two people, and she’s got a feature on there where you can play with the number of servings and it adjusts the recipe accordingly.

      She’s also super budget conscious (hence the site name) and frequently offers up other options/substitutions for when you just don’t want to buy a whole bunch of parsley just to use a bit and watch it wilt in the fridge.

      Finally- she’s extra great at teaching you how best to store the food you’ve made to get the longest life out of it. A lot of her recipes are designed to be frozen and reheated later, and when done right this method offers a lot of variety as opposed to eating the same thing all the time!

  145. Aimee says...

    I want to eat supper Yummy and Healthy foods for dinner, but by the end of the day I am done done done. How to I get excellent food with minimal effort. Help!

  146. Danielle says...

    So.many.questions.

    1. How do you cook chicken – seriously. I either over-cook (aka it’s super dry) to make sure I don’t get salmonella, or I’m so worried I under cooked! I can do thighs, but I can’t eat them all the time because they are fatty. I also just get so BORED with chicken, anything cool I can do that’s easy-ish?!
    2. Which ingredients should I always have on hand to whip up something that’s healthy/tasty with no time for the grocery store?!
    3. Any meals for 1 / 2 people are always helpful! My boyfriend loves leftovers but I get sick of it by day 3… ;)
    4. I hate doing the dishes. One-pot or one-pan meals FTW!?!

    • Eva says...

      YES to number #1! Consistently dry out chicken based on insane salmonella fears!

    • Leah K says...

      Always use a meat thermometer! Chicken is safe when at 165 degrees.

    • Susie says...

      Instant Pot to make chicken! It’s a miracle. And you can make it straight from the freezer, in 13 mins. It comes out juicy and so tender. I usually add 1/2 cup of broth and whatever seasoning I feel like.

    • Liz says...

      “That Chicken” from Jenny’s DALS blog will change your dried out chicken life.

  147. Amy says...

    So much of your writing is dedicated to food as a ritual for relationship and family. I’m 5 months pregnant and doing a lot of thinking about how to mark this season. How have you seen people use food as a ritual in pregnancy? What are your favorite transitions into motherhood?

  148. Lizzie says...

    Ok, here is a random one: do you rinse raw chicken before you cook it? I’ve always done that after taking it out of the package (I think this is what I saw chefs on the food network do when I was learning to cook years ago?), but it recently came up in conversation and my friends were like “why on earth would you do that?”… Now I’m not sure!?! But also, who knows where this raw chicken thigh has been??

    • Jess says...

      I have the same question, but about fish! My wife rinses it and I never understand why. Who is right?!

  149. Katelyn Brewer says...

    Why am I always hungry 20 minutes after eating a salad? Are there ingredients that would make them more filling?

    • Leah K says...

      Adding fat (like avocado or olive oil, and nuts!) and protein (also nuts, meat, beans) along with veggies will help stick to your ribs! Also some carbs like some rice or quinoa.

    • Kelly says...

      Beets, avocado, butternut squash, and browned potatoes are my go-to s for a filling salad. Would love to hear other ideas….

  150. Robin says...

    How to make pie crust! I still haven’t mastered the pie crust even though I feel that I’m a pretty decent home cook. They turn out too flaky, too tough, or soggy on the bottom. Thanks!

    • Rosie says...

      This! I am more than capable in the kitchen but have given up on making pie crust from scratch and just buy it at the store. Cutting myself slack that not everything has to be homemade.

    • Katherine says...

      Replace half the liquid with vodka! It moistens dough enough to mix, but doesn’t form gluten. The alcohol bakes off, and you can’t taste the difference!