Potato Soup with Chives

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The easiest potato soup recipe I know is also the most delicious potato soup I know. Potatoes and chicken stock transform into some sort of alchemy in the pot and the chives give the whole thing a baked potato vibe, in the best sort of way.

Potato soup with chives

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 2-inch pieces
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1/3 cup sour cream, plus more for serving
Salt
Pepper

1. Combine potatoes and stock in a large pot. Cover and simmer until potatoes are very tender, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes.

2. Puree potato mixture with an immersion blender, or, let cool and puree in batches in blender. Return soup to saucepan if using blender. Stir in milk, butter, and chives. Bring to simmer. Remove from heat and mix in 1/3 cup sour cream. Season with salt and pepper. Serve, garnishing with an additional dollop of sour cream.

Tofu with Wild Mushrooms and Greens

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I love this dish because it’s endlessly riffable. Don’t have Swiss chard? Use kale. Don’t have oyster mushrooms? Use straw mushrooms. You get the picture. Eat this on rice or by itself, because it’s really that good.

Tofu with wild mushrooms and greens

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon minced bird’s eye chiles or 1 teaspoon minced serrano chiles
6 cups Swiss chard or other leafy greens, stems thinly sliced, leaves sliced into 2-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups oyster mushrooms or other mushrooms like straw, wood ear, or king trumpet, cut into bite-size pieces
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons peeled and julienned ginger
8 ounces medium tofu, cubed

1. In a wok, heat the sesame oil over high heat. Add the garlic and chiles and stir-fry until fragrant. Add the chard, mushrooms, sugar, and soy sauce. Cook, tossing the greens until they are tender. (If you are using heartier greens like kale, add two tablespoons water at a time to help them wilt.) Once the greens are wilted, gently stir in the ginger and tofu and cook for another two minutes.

2. Remove from the heat and serve with rice or on its own.

Spaghetti with Ragu

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There are a million ragu recipes out there and I know there’s nothing particularly unique about this one, expect that it is SO. EASY. Internet, if you’re looking for a quick and dirty ragu recipe that is also, you know, delicious, you’ve come to the right place. Listen, I love three-hour pasta sauces as much as the next carb-lover out there, but sometimes you just want something easy.

I’ve made this with hand-rolled pasta but your run-of-the-mill grocery store spaghetti will do just fine here, too.

Spaghetti with Ragu

Ingredients:

1 pound spaghetti
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 bay leaves
1 sprig rosemary
1 pound and 2 ounces ground beef
2 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
Salt
Pepper
Parmesan cheese, for grating

1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat and add the onion and garlic, cooking slowly for about 10 minutes, until softened and lightly colored. Add the bay leaves, rosemary, ground beef, and tomatoes. Stir well, breaking up the meat with the back of a wooden spoon, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer gently for 1 1/2 hours with a lid on the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the bay leaves and rosemary from the pan and discard.

2. About 15 minutes before the ragu is done, cook the spaghetti in a separate pot according to package directions. Drain the spaghetti and stir the pasta into the hot ragu. Serve with a generous amount of grated Parmesan.

Scrambled Eggs with Sausage and Thyme

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Cream cheese does the heavy lifting in this easy scrambled eggs recipe, making for a fluffy and decadent texture. The whole thing comes together in a matter of minutes. Serve this on sourdough bread and you’re all set.

Scrambled eggs with sausage and thyme

8 eggs
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons butter
4 ounces cooked smoked turkey sausage or similar, quartered lengthwise, sliced crosswise
3/4 cup chopped green onions
2 teaspoons dried thyme
4 ounces cream cheese, cut into small pieces

1. Whisk eggs, mustard, salt and pepper in large bowl to blend well. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and saute until brown, about 3 minutes. Add green onions and thyme and saute 1 minute. Transfer mixture to bowl.

2. Add 1 tablespoon butter to same skillet; melt over medium heat. Add eggs and cheese; stir until eggs are softly set and cheese begins to melt, about 3 minutes. Add sausage; stir until eggs are just set, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer to platter. Serve with bread.

Artichoke-Spinach Dip

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The best spinach dip I’ve ever had is my mom’s: fresh and tangy and served in a sourdough boule to mop up all the good bits. This baked artichoke-spinach dip the cousin of that nostalgic Favorite Dip of All Time That I Can’t Stop Eating. Packed with loads of artichokes and spinach, the healthiness almost masks the generous amount of cheese. Say hello to your new favorite winter appetizer.

Artichoke-spinach dip

Ingredients:

6 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup shredded Gouda cheese
1/2 cup shredded low-moisture mozzarella cheese
1 to 1 1/2 cups chopped thawed frozen spinach, drained well
3/4 cup canned or frozen artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/3 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cayenne pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Crostini or crackers, to serve

1. Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Stir together cream cheese, gouda, mozzarella, spinach, artichokes, green onions, mayonnaise, garlic, salt, and cayenne pepper in a bowl until smooth. Spoon into a 1-quart baking dish; sprinkle top with Parmesan. Bake in preheated oven until browned and bubbly, about 25 minutes. Serve with crostini or crackers.