Fun / Eats

Lazy Sunday: Cooking with MDK

By Kay Gardiner
April 5, 2020

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  • My current favorite is Sweet Peppers and Pork with Sage and Honey It is a membership but the current trial is $1. Totally worth it. I’m sure any protein will deliciously sub for the pork. (beef and thyme maybe?)
    And, I could eat Sarah’s Puttanesca six days a week. Everything I’ve ever tried from the My New Roots website has been delicious and the photography is Rowan magazine worthy.

  • Mexican Chicken: 2 lbs. Chicken. 2 cups salsa, One slow cooker. 8 hours on low. Optional: add shredded cheese at the end. Anyone can make this. Anything from soft tacos to salads.

    • I also have been relying on the NYT Cooking app. Some current favorites: Sheet Pan Chicken with Mustard Glazed Cabbage, Five Spice Roasted Carrots with Toasted Almonds, Baked Greek Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta, BlackBerry Jam Crostata. The youngsters would probably enjoy the Chocolate Mug Cake made in a minute in the microwave. When things seem bleakest, I always turn to Ruth Reichl’s spaghetti carbonara (from My Kitchen Year). Apparently dinner is the high point of the day here too.

      • ooh thanks! I have cabbage and I also have some frozen shrimp.

    • Yes. And the leftovers become Mexican Chicken Soup with the addition of a can of beans and corn from the freezer.

    • Hi Patty, I made this and it is really good! I did an Instant Pot variation. I admit, I was skeptical, but I had to write and tell you it’s a winner. 🙂 Thanks!

  • My husband told me for the sake of his calorie counting to STOP baking these, but chocolate is in one of the main food groups, right?!

    • A friend has been baking a single cookie (per person) each evening – they make a batch of cookie dough and freeze it in advance, then have a fresh cookie each night. I adore that idea – and these cookies look so delicious – I might have to try both!

      • That’s a great idea! I need built-in self control!

  • Two of my favorite easy but really tasty recipes are from “Italian Meatball Soup Rapido” and “Slow-Cooker Green Chicken Chili” The latter makes a double recipe (at least in our house).

  • I love to make Foiled Again Burgers. Four 4 people, cut 4 pieces of foil about 12X 12 each. Put a hamburger patty ( unseasoned) of 1/3 to 1/4 pound in each one. Top with 1/2 T of crush boullion cube. To each one add 1 large cut carrot ( in circles or chunks), pieces of cut potato and a large onion slice. Add any other veggies you want. Seal each packet well. Put them on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 for 20 mins.

    • This is called a Hobo dinner. They have been sound for about 60 years.

    • Sounds like a Girl Scout recipe!

  • Here’s the most used link on my Pinterest “Go-To” recipes board…the recipe I most often send to friends: The Best Steak Marinade in Existence, from Plain Chicken (love the irony). Make some extra, and keep it in the fridge. Also…you can’t go wrong adding a bag of butterscotch chips to a batch of Toll House cookie batter. Just saying. I’ve made two batches of these cookies so far on lockdown. The trick is to scoop them out super close together on a parchment lined cookie sheet, freeze overnight, then put in a ziploc bag and back in the freezer. You can put the frozen nuggets of deliciousness on a cookie sheet and bake as usual as many or as few at a time as you like.

  • We love everything Smitten Kitchen makes: Her Sesame Noodles; Broccoli/Sweet Potato Miso Rice Bowls; One Pot Farro and Tomatoes are our favorites. For a fun light meal or appetizer when you miss sushi: Skinnytaste Shrimp Stacks

  • I too use the NYTimes cooking app/page often. One of my current favorites is Masoor Dal – Spiced Red Lentils. Sweet potatoes and red lentils with spices — not hot just very flavorful. Easy to make and modify with what you have in house. Plus, vegetarian for those meatless days.

  • I see this articles refers to a recipe in the NYT cooking which requires a paid subscription. Ladies, is it worth it?

    • Susi, I don’t subscribe to the NYT recipes and still have access to many of their recipes.
      I have a small garden and get minimally handled veggies from a local organic farm that does CSA. Making soups w roasted veggies and blended beans. Fave is sauteed onions potatoes and sausage. Add stock simmer and add lemon before serving.

    • The nightly Everyone All In Family Dinner is a weird and kind of nice side effect of this virus (we are all healthy I mean while trying to stay that way). A new favorite is a one skillet
      Cheesey Beans from that NY Times
      App. Broccoli Rubble from Smitten Kitchen also a fave -or was until farro ran out and it’s kind of meh made with quinoa.
      Also sweet potato black and red Bean chili , I never put a sweet potato in chili till this last month and it’s an upgrade.
      I’m checking out that one pot pasta trick xox

    • Totally worth it.

    • Absolutely worth it! Thousands of excellent recipes, tested, with feedback from readers. Plus you can use it to store favorites from any other site, so it becomes one stop shopping for your favorites. And no pesky ads!

    • I’ve signed up for the free NYTimes Cooking Newsletter emails instead. A few free recipes each week, including many that have been mentioned here, and I’ve still chosen more than I could ever use!

    • I’m not certain the recipes are worth it, but to me supporting actual journalism (vs. fake news) is.

      • What Nancy said, Support the (not failing but still needs subscribers) NYT! Also, the recipes are absolutely worth it.

        • What Deepa and Nancy said! Yes, worth it!

    • Right now they have lifted the pay wall on more of their recipes so it’s worth checking out!

    • Totally worth it, and I hate cooking. I use it to find, save, and organize easy recipes with not a lot of ingredients. One pot or sheet pan are the magic search words. I have made this one-pot spaghetti several times. Despise kale, so I use one full pound of spinach, which seems like a disaster at first but cooks down to just the right amount. I also use about double the tomatoes. As written, it felt like it needed more spinach and tomatoes to be a stand alone meal.

    • I will say yes. For a while I resisted. But that paper is just the best. Love it. The morning breeding is awesome and now the corona update, and I totally trust that pAper.

    • Absolutely worth it.

  • New York Times food website is definitely worth it!
    Shout out to Melissa Clark, whose recipes have become standards.
    In particular, Crispy Fried Rice with Bacon and Cabbage- cook some rice now so it will be almost instant gratification. It does call for kimchi, I live near a Korean grocery so have a supply, but is still good without the extra spice. Also, I have learned to roast chicken in the propane grill-Grilled Chicken with Spinach-Ricotta Crostini. I just make the whole chicken, so good!
    Cooking is almost as satisfying as finishing a knit project.

  • With cabbage in season, I have resurrected Cedric (Adam’s) Casserole from the battered pages of mom’s 1956 Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook Second Edition–just Google “Cedric’s Casserole.” I substitute ground turkey and olive oil for beef and butter, (and add celery and garlic because I can’t help myself). Because we could not eat out for darling husband’s birthday, I made a Googled “Cafe Latte’s Chocolate Turtle Cake” (a-la-oblong-pan for ease).

  • I’m a fan of It has a searchable recipe database and great foodie stories (for when you don’t feel like cooking fancy but want to listen to stories of others doing so).

    My go-to (lazy!) bread recipe is Jim Lahey’s no-knead bread recipe. But a friend suggested I try Bon Appetite’s best bread recipe. It’s a 3 day event, and requires aerobic level dough handling. I’m thinking it counts as a bread baking triathlon of meditation-cardio workout-gluten consumption. (I’m currently training hard for it — ha ha.)

    (Someone already mentioned Smitten Kitchen. Let me just echo that everything I’ve cooked from her site has been delicious!)

    • Lahey’s no knead bread is the best! Made 2 loaves this weekend. 🙂

  • Q for MDK Brain Trust: Is the NYT cooking subscription cost the same whether or not you subscribe to the Times? I swear I have been all over their FAQs and cannot find the answer to this question. If anyone knows, my thanks!

    • I believe it is included with a digital subscription, but their offers change.

      • I have the NYT print and digital su s eruption, and the cooking subscription is extra. It’s totally worth it, because of the full access and the ability to save recipes to my recipe box.

        • Yes, I’m thinking its worth it, too! I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing out on some deal :). Thank you, Deborah!

  • I make Lidia Bastianich’s citrus roasted veal but substitute pork shoulder for the veal and cook a bit longer. Any recipe on her site is wonderful. Bon Appetit’s chocolate chip cookies, you melt the butter, brown some of it and stir in the eggs and sugar, no stand mixer necessary.

  • I am a vegetarian living with an avid meat eater. I rely on the Love and Lemons blog for great recipes and ideas that even a meat lover will tolerate. I have the two cookbooks as well, My other source is Rebecca Katz Her cookbooks are full of healthy meals (both veggie and non) and she generously shares many of them on her blog. Thanks for starting this thread!

    • Jean, I think you would love Rabbit and Wolves. She makes a lot of things I would consider comfort foods that I think a non-veg would enjoy.

  • I am baking a lot of bread these days, since we can’t go out: focaccia, ciabatta, sourdough. With soup or salad and a bit of meat it’s a meal. and got toast and sandwiches, this bread recipe from KAF is and helps me stretch my uncertain AP flour stock because it uses mostly whole wheat, still more readily available at my grocery. Bread is always so soothing to make (and eat).

    • Wow, sorry for the terrible typing, proofreading there. Not enough coffee yet!

  • Such a timely post! Looking at the MDK recipes, I clicked on Lemon Chicken and discovered that, thanks to a can of artichokes that has been lurking in my cupboard forever, I have all the ingredients! (Well, okay, I don’t have the zucchini, but maybe there’s something in the freezer that will substitute.)

    • Lemon Chicken is a new go-to at our house since it came out. In non-quarantine times, there’s some teen-age girls I cook for, from time to time. It’s one of the things they request.

  • My go to is Smitten Kitchen. This crispy rice bowl with egg is a go to in our house. We normally just do a clean out of the veggie drawer for this recipe and use what we have. We haven’t found a veggie combo we don’t like. And its great with salad greens too.

  • Hard same on the pleasures of dinner these days! I’ve been romping through and so far loved all of the recipes I’ve tried. If you’re craving takeout, try her kung pao cauliflower or sweet Thai basil chicken. The Italian wedding soup was very nice, and the Cuban sheet pan chicken is a new every-week staple.

  • I’ve been using Baked Spinach-Artichoke Pasta

    (Sorry I cant figure out the link on my iPad) from NYT cooking as a base for my quarantine casserole fetish. It needs more flavor by a lot for me so I start with onion and garlic, I use marinated artichokes and we like it with mushrooms and other greens as well. I’ve been using Greek yoghurt instead of cream and a bit of lemon juice and/or zest. It is basically clean out your kitchen casserole. Not quite one pot, but a pasta pot is easy to clean.

  • Anything from
    All her recipes are gluten free, she usually gives dairy free options as well.

  • I use the Copy me That app on my iPhone and I love it! I can tag my recipes and search that way or simply search by ingredients or name. The recipes in the community are diverse and I’ve made many. Best of all, it’s free.

  • Anything on

  • I have a cheap subscription and it’s not included, but was able to add access to the recipes at low cost on a special offer last Christmas. But the daily cooking newsletter subscription is free & each post has many links to recipes, all accessible w/o subscription -plus- the Times says it has made a bunch of its recipes free to everyone, to assist during this period of involuntary hygge. That combination might be a way to avoid fees.

    • Sorry, thought I was replying do discussion on cost of NYTimes cooking subscription!

  • NYT Cooking has been my favorite for a long time, the latest from it is “sardine toast”, believe it or not. It’s very flexible, the sardine can expiration date is endless, the bread can be so varied – rye, sourdough, leftover English muffin, the toppings can be what-ever-is-lurking in the veggie bin.
    And it is a whatever meal you want kind of recipe.

    Though, the best recipe one day was a banana split for lunch in a moment of edginess. It hit the spot.

  • Smitten Kitchen’s “chicken, leek & rice soup” is a slam dunk. Easy and wonderful comfort food. The first time I made it I accidentally doubled the rice – now I do it on purpose. It even works with frozen chicken – just cook it longer. And obviously if you don’t have the chopped fresh herbs to add when serving it doesn’t really mater – it’s wonderful with them, but not necessary.

  • I too rely on the NYT cooking app, and my current easy and super-delicious favorite is Melissa Clark’s Chickpea Vegetable Soup with Parmesan, Rosemary, and Lemon. Oh, my goodness! The flavor combination is magic, somehow. And even better the next day. This week ended festively with Ina’s Weeknight Bolognese, so, so good, with plenty of leftovers. My all-time fallback comfort dinner comes from one of those old local cookbooks with a comb binding and is called, glamorously, Dutch Meatloaf. This is a close replica, although the old-cookbook version has a few more ingredients, including Worcestershire sauce in the meat mixture and also, I believe, a bit of dried thyme. In the topping the mustard is powdered, not prepared. And the can of tomato sauce is the smallest size, not 14 oz.

    There is no better leftover than a meatloaf sandwich.

  •! It’s been my go-to recipe spot for years. You can save your favorites, and the shopping ain’t bad either

  • Rachael Ray’s Spanish Style Beans & Rice. I’ve always made it with Trader Joe’s soy chorizo, because my husband is allergic to sausage (or some preservative therein – anyway, he can’t eat it), and this meant I didn’t have to change anything when my kids went vegetarian. 🙂 I leave out the chile because TJ’s soy chorizo is pretty spicy already, and I often sub in spinach or Swiss chard for the kale. Whatever leafy green you have on hand is fine. Basically, this recipe is absolutely delicious and doesn’t mind if you mess around with it a bit!

  • Funny, I knew who That Girl was (saw her once when I was a cashier in Brentwood) but not Mrs.Patmore! I haven’t cooked dinner since my husband passed. I just eat Pizza Rolls, canned soups, pnut butter & pickle sandwich,…whatever!

  • What a marvelous post! So many new things to find and try! The NYT food section is a great source; my other favorite is More: Jen (above) suggested adding butterscotch chips to Toll House Cookies; let me also recommend making them with white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts. And a nut hack – any time you use nuts, especially in baked goods, toast them first. You won’t believe the difference!

  • Smitten Kitchen & NY Times are my besties right now: and this (though I roast the sprouts in the oven, and I sub pickled lemons for the zest and halve the butter) are two of my favorites that my non-vegetarian eater will also eat.

  • My son and I made Bon Appetite’s best ever lasagne. It took two days, but the result was fabulous!

  • I love to bake, though my husband doe the Serious Cooking at our house (and you’d better believe I am sending him this url!). I’ve been baking cookies like crazy, but we don’t need to EAT all those cookies. So I’ve been taking them off the cookie sheet with a spatula, then putting them into baggies with tongs (so they are Untouched By Human Hands) and taking them around to the neighbors, two per person. There are 30 households on our block, and we have a pretty good sense of how many people live in each house, so I’ve been doling them out accordingly. It’s a nice way to bring the neighborhood together.

    • Does, not doe. Also, this is a great way to find out which recipe really makes The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever.

    • I love this! What a wonderful way to spread cheer, while not completely wrecking anyone’s self-control.

  • I’ve been making homemade food for 20 plus years. I mostly use my battered collection of Fine Cooking mags. Since the pandemic I’ve gotten my first full time job and rarely cook. Today I have off so I’ll help my daughter make bread. Life is so weird.

  • America’s Test Kitchen’s cast iron chicken is amazing. Weekend chicken dinner and then make soup for lunch during the week. It’s also easy and quick enough for weeknight dinner. They have a video posted on YouTube.

    • Anything from America’s Test Kitchen!!

  • More NYT Cooking suggestions here!
    – Turmeric Black Pepper Chicken (tastes like serious comfort food – something about the texture is reminiscent of mall-food-hall Chinese that you can make at home with almost no effort)
    – Cauliflower Cashew Coconut Curry (seriously delicious, comes with the smugness from making an excellent vegetarian curry from scratch)

  • I just made spam fried rice, inspired by a Filipino friend. Found a lonesome can of Spam in the pantry. Scrambled some eggs (5). Toasted some minced onions (1/2 small onion). Some frozen veg (Trader Joe’s soyucatash ~1 c. 3 cups jasmine rice. Cubes and pan heated the Spam. Assembled all ingredients. I might have added some green onions if I had any. So delish!!!

  • Michael Symon has been doing some wonderful live cooking videos on his Instagram page (chefsymon). You can watch them after the fact and he posts recipes…they are all easy to make with ingredients from your pantry or what should still be available at the stores. He offers lots of substitutions too, so just about anything will work. We’ve tried The Pasta Bake, Chicken and Root Vegetables, and Sweet Potato Stew, with more recipes planned; they’ve all been delicious!

  • Beans, glorious beans. Lots of delicious free recipes online with many variations/substitutions. Steve Sando, the founder, is a food hero also a wonderful writer.

    Is NYT Cooking worth the price? You bet. And so are the Crosswords/Puzzles. In fact, Food & Puzzles are each available separately and may be more valuable than the actual news.

  • My sister in Iowa shared this easy fix with me — “salt” thick porks chops with Lawry’s seasoning salt and bake in beer or hard cider or I use water and a generous dose of soy sauce — I cover them and bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Moist and yummy.

  • Kay,
    Lots of great recipe ideas here. Think about switching things up and taking turns cooking for all, or you could do teams. Valuable lessons about thinking outside the box and a chance to shine. Then they will also have good stories and perhaps a few new recipes or skills when this plague ends.

  • This recipe for Chicken Panang Curry is delish. Amazon carries the recommended curry paste if you don’t want to go foraging for it.

  • Just discovered MDK and LOVE YOU!!!!! Jamie Oliver is my new bestie with
    and Love the knitting, music is a must and now food–how can you beat that in these times. From Newfoundland to you–stay safe.

  • Back to the 80s. Chicken Marbella from Silver Palate (Google it) used to be my go-to for big gatherings when you don’t have time to fuss. Then I made a bucketful and the party didn’t happen, leading to the discovery that it freezes wonderfully, keeps forever. Especially made with thighs (bone or boneless), the texture is just as good as when it’s not frozen. You can make a roasting pan-ful and have dinners for a week (well, almost a week). Double the olives and fruit (dried cranberries as good or better than prunes) unless you hate olives.

    • That is a delicious one, I agree!

  • I have been rediscovering my cookbooks to make use of my odd, sad ingredients because it’s been a month since I shopped at the grocery store! (Going tomorrow). Last night I found a delicious stir-fried cabbage recipe in a yard sale Paleo cookbook using a little coconut oil, half a red onion, and some red pepper flakes. Half a cabbage made a huge batch (4+ servings). I’m adding bacon to tonight’s leftover meal.

    Another good resource is The Dinner Doctor cookbook by Ann Byrne. Relies on many prepackaged and convenience foods, pantry staples, and the like. Grocery list in the back of good things to keep on hand. Nice mix of appetizers, mains, pasta, veggies, desserts, etc.

    I also use the Yummly app. Just about everything I’ve made has been a winner and you can search using ingredients in hand.

  • It’s good to have a site that won’t let you down ! One of my favs is Smitten Kitchen and one of the recipes that I first learned about there is Shakshuka, it’s wonderful. When Zoé was recently home on her March Break we took some to a friends’ for brunch and it is hereby de-baptized Kama Sutra.

  • I find great recipes on Cookie and Kate. Kate’s lentil soup is the best. I can even eat it cold in the summer.
    My other favorite place on the web is Suzy’s “The Mediterranean Dish”. I absolutely love her cabbage soup.
    These women are using ingredients that are not too difficult to find. I like that their recipes are mostly accessible even for those on a slim budget.

  • These recipes are my kids’ faves and have transformed how I make pasta.

    I come from a 5000 year old culinary tradition, and am a really good cook. But my kids are American kids. ‍♀️ Though in fairness they do eat and enjoy a lot of Indian dishes.

    I also recommend Priya Krishna’s Indian-ish book, if you love Indian food but are a little bit intimidated. She’s done a great job of making it accessible.

  • Anything from smitten kitchen. Tonight we ate sheetpan meatballs with crispy turmeric chickpeas. Delicious!

  • Tonight we’re having homemade pizza. It’s my husband’s turn cooking, so I don’t know yet what’s topping it. We have ham, olives, sun dried tomatoes, frozen spinach, and canned pineapple among other things, so my guess is that toppings will be some combination of things from that list.

    Last night I made chicken, broccoli, and rice casserole. Um…I basically used the recipe in Joy of Cooking, but added rice and a topping of bread crumbs and cheese. I think tomorrow night I’m going to make zucchini gratin topped with a tomato sauce.

  • Hoping to stay out of stores and always having an excellent backup supply of nonperishables, I have been eating one of my favorite ‘can/jar’ meals: saute a little minced garlic (fresh or jarred) in EVOO, open a can of chopped clams, add clams with just a small amount of the clam juice and heat for about a minute. Add around 1/4th cup of white wine (if none on hand, I’ve also just used about 1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice). Heat until the wine (or juice) boils off a bit, then add this mix to some cooked pasta. Sprinkle with parmesan. If you have parsley, chop and sprinkle it over dish. Hot pepper flakes are also nice. This has been heavy in my rotation these past couple weeks!

  • I love eating, loathe cooking. Unfortunately, it has to be done—over and over and over. Sigh. On Feb. 16th, the NYTimes (paper version, but probably online as well) produced a separate cooking booklet: 24 One Pot/Pan/Skillet meals. In a rare burst of inspiration, I’ve made a bunch of these, and they’ve all been easy and delicious. Also, most use ingredients one is likely to have around. Highly recommend.

  • Camp Fire Girl, Kay! Don’t forget my favorite Camp Fire Girl’s camp lunch! Peanut butter & BROWN SUGAR! On white bread back then but even better on multi grain! You are welcome!

  • I love to cook. I love to eat. Not always the best combination. But having lost over 130 pounds, I still love to cook and I still love to eat. I have had great success with every recipe I’ve made from and have also purchased and used the cookbooks. Chicken taco chili, egg roll bowls, too many soups to mention…

  • Poppy Seed Chicken from the Southern Living cookbooks is easy comfort food. The recipe is free online, but a little bland as written. I season with whatever I have on hand. A splash of white wine or cooking sherry is a favorite. Garlic, salt and pepper help a lot too. Crock pot beef stew is up for tomorrow nights dinner. Sloppy Joe’s and mac and cheese are up this week, too. We’re doing a lot of casseroles and stews that have lots of leftovers

  • Cauliflower curry, Indian style with roasted chicken added, homemade
    Naan and cucumber raita made me queen of everything for a few days.

  • Anything/Everything Smitten Kitchen. Ann Marie would think it’s ”terrific”

  • We are big (well, I am and these days I cook because other half spends too many hours working) on sheet pan cooking. I’ve discovered potatoes and sweet potatoes are so much better if I throw them in the microwave for a bit. My go to is potatoes, onions, asparagus (especially since it’s practically free right now) peppers, grape tomatoes and chickpeas. Toss with plenty of garlic powder and Italian seasoning with a bit of oil. Roast at 400 for 40 min or so. If you like the asparagus not so crunchy add it half way through. Cheap, heathy, uses anything about to go.

    We are also making tons of banana bread. It turns out no one wants to eat the bananas but I seem to keep buying them. Note to self- no more bananas, the freezer is full. I use date sugar and whole wheat flour so it’s a reasonable breakfast especially with a smear of nut butter.

    • Our alternative to banana bread is what are known as Chunky Monkey cookies at our house. Oatmeal banana cookies with chocolate chips and walnuts in them. If you leave out the chips, I think they’re a reasonable breakfast treat.

  • The Internet has been my godsend when searching for recipes for which I am minus an ingredient or two. Literally, just a minute ago I found a recipe for Mayonnaise-less coleslaw, having just discovered that my supply was past it’s prime (by about a year). Also, desserts are important for morale. Maybe your contributors have some recipes for those?

  • Just recently I made Halfbaked Harvest’s Golden Rice with Greens and Spiced Chickpeas (or some such lovely title) for the third time, and though husband, (now returned from big city) younger son and I didn’t come to blows over the leftovers, we did eye each other with a bit of hostility. This is amazingly good, and amazingly easy. This time around, trying to keep shopping to a minimum, we didn’t have fresh herbs for garnish or sesame seeds because I’d forgotten we were out, but. . . wow. This is delicious and deeply satisfying. We added more greens (kale and semi-wilted spinach) than called for. Enjoy!

  • homemade bread – easy but time consuming, hearth bread, recipe from King Arthur Flour. then mash up avocados, smear on bread or toast, top with soft boiled eggs and lox.

  • I’m in the same boat, and have really enjoyed Kitchen Treaty food blog. Also Stonesoup, by Jules Clancy who specialises in really simple dishes, offers lots of alternatives for,low carb/vegan/vegetarian etc.