Herbs

The Total Beginner’s Guide to Successful Indoor Gardening — Simple Gardens

Maybe you've tried to grow basil in your kitchen before? And maybe you were lucky to get four leaves — two of which you were actually willing to eat? Trust me, I get it. I didn't always have a green thumb, but now I've literally written the book on indoor gardening.

The good news: Plants don't require a ton to grow (the official list includes light, nutrients, water, and a little bit of love). Here's how to make sure those needs get met.

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3 Ways to Turn Leftover Herbs into Cleaning Products — Bring the Outdoors In

Whether you're growing your own garden or just got overzealous at the farmers market, summertime often brings an abundance of herbs. If you find yourself with a few too many, that's okay! You could simply preserve the herbs in olive oil and use them later, or you could (easily) use them to clean and freshen up your home. If you're interested in the second option, there are actually a few ways to use those extras.

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Recipe: Sausage and Greens Breakfast Casserole — Quick and Easy Breakfast Recipes

(Image credit: Christine Gallary)

When you want an egg dish to feed a crowd or make enough breakfast for the week, breakfast casseroles are just the ticket. Eggs hold together whatever ingredients you want to put in the baking dish, and in this case it's a filling combination of frozen diced potatoes, savory sausage, a whole bag of baby spinach, and, of course, a few handfuls of shredded cheese. This casserole is a bit like a diner omelette and breakfast potatoes all in one dish, and it's nice to start the day knowing you've already had a serving of greens!

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Recipe: The Easiest Cheese and Vegetable Frittata — Quick and Easy Weeknight Dinners

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

If I had a summer cooking motto it might be "frittatas forever" because frittatas are the real sweethearts of the kitchen. You always have the main ingredient — eggs — on hand, you can throw any vegetables and cheese you want into frittatas, and they cook up in a flash to be served hot and bubbly from the oven or at room temp with good bread and a salad.

This one is particularly great at using up all those farmers market vegetables that you bought with the best of intentions. Frittatas forgive you for forgetting about basil and onions in the fridge and welcome your half a bell pepper and zucchini (that's going soft) with enthusiasm, all while helping you make a summer supper that can do double duty as breakfast or lunch too. Here's the magic formula to this fridge-clearing wunderkind.

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Recipe: No-Chop Cold Veggie Noodle Bowls with Soy Lime Vinaigrette — Quick and Easy Vegetarian Dinners

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

There are two summer supper situations where you'll want to know this summer-sauté-meets-noodle-bowl method by heart. The first are those muggy evenings where after a long day outside you're ravenous, but the idea of chopping anything seems arduous. It's too hot to cook, you think, but you've also got a fridge full of vegetables and an empty belly. You could probably muster up cooking, as long as you didn't have to chop anything.

Likewise, you may find yourself in a friend's summer cabin or in a high-traffic vacation rental in which the knives have all but disappeared. There's a paring knife with a broken handle that you'd rather not use, but there is a decent peeler. That means you can pull off this hat-trick of a summer supper in that situation as well.

This summer sauté served over rice noodles is everything you'll crave in a cold noodle bowl: vegetables quickly cooked with plenty of bite left in them and one of the best soy vinaigrettes I know.

Here's the summer sauté that doesn't require a knife, only requires a teensy bit of cooking, and has enough variables that you can make it over and over again all summer long.

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Recipe: Grilled Shrimp and Vegetable Grain Bowls — Quick and Easy Weeknight Dinners

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

I am a big fan of cooking out when friends stop by for dinner, whether it's a weeknight or a Friday night. My favorite trick for making this possible is to have guests build their own dinners. Grilled grain bowls are an easy way to pull this off.

Think of grilled grain bowls as the grown-up version of the hobo packets you might have made at sleep-away camp. Essentially everyone builds their own packet of uncooked quinoa, chopped vegetables, and shrimp, and then the packets are wrapped up and cooked on the grill. It's pure summer comfort food by way of the grill. Drizzled with a creamy herb sauce and prepped in just a few minutes, you'll be making these regularly — guests or not.

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