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Smoked Salmon Mini Naan with Horseradish Raita

Smoked Salmon Mini Naan

I’m not a freezer hoarder, but I do keep Stonefire naan and pizza crusts in there for last-minute dinners like barbecue chicken pizza. But the convenience of these quick-to-reheat breads doesn’t mean they’re limited to desperate weeknights. On special occasions, the naan and the crusts come in handy too. This dish makes the most of two particularly special ingredients, smoked salmon and salmon roe, to turn mini naan into gorgeous, fancy bases for a Mother’s Day lunch or appetizer.

Warm Chocolate Pudding Cake

Warm Chocolate Pudding Cake | Big Girls Small Kitchen

We seem to remember the gooiest desserts best. Puddings and cakes that feel familiar gratify us like no dolloped, perfectly assembled, fancy sweet ever can.

Almost every reference to Chocolate Pudding Cake comes with a heap of nostalgia. People remember the one-pan dessert when they think of their grandmothers, their church groups, and the way they cooked in the 1980s. The method is miraculous, and it wedges itself in your memory. Here’s how the process goes: after you stir together the thick batter, you sprinkle sugar and cocoa on top, then finish the assembly with hot water. The oven transforms this odd organization into a light chocolate cake that sits on top of a lush chocolate pudding. You scoop up from the bottom, so every portion gets cake and pudding and tastes like a fluffy brownie topped with hot fudge. Ice cream happily melts on top.

 

The recipe appeared on the HERSHEY’S Cocoa can in 1992, 1993, and 1997, though an early version appears in the archives as far back as 1981, according to Linda Stahl, manager of HERSHEY’S Kitchens. The recipe was already iconic by then, circulating among family and friends. The back-of-the-can recipe has a decent amount of sugar, some of it brown sugar, which heightens the chocolate-y taste from the cocoa.

Barbecue Chicken & Cheddar Pizza

Barbecue Chicken Pizza

Well, now you know. When I’m looking to turn a traditionally vegetable-free meal into a dinner I don’t have to make a side-dish vegetable to serve alongside, I automatically add some kale leaves to the soup or the pasta, or, here, the pizza.

There was an article on the wall in the pizzeria I went to growing up about how you could do worse in a desert island food than pizza. You had the carbs, the vegetable, and the protein. You could eat a pie every day. You could eat a slice at every meal. It was a soft sell–you read the columns once you’d already bought your pizza, after all–but I took that message to heart.

This is why I’ve never once even ventured to label pizza as junk food. It’s just not. Especially when you load up a crust with chicken, kale, caramelized onions, and barbecue sauce.

The possession of a good frozen pizza crust transforms your apartment into the kind of dream desert island where pizza’s on offer all the time. From the starting point of this prized crust, the toppings can be serious, straightforward, and intentional, when pizza for dinner is truly a plan, or they can be a little more hodgepodge, like a mad lib that goes [insert sauce here] and then [insert toppings].

What’s funny and cool about barbecue chicken pizza is that you could plan to have it for dinner in all seriousness–go shopping, buy the right things, eat cole slaw on the side. Or, you could realize that your desert island also lays claim to leftover chicken, a jar of barbecue sauce, an onion in the pantry, and some cheese–and that pizza crust in the freezer–and you could enjoy such a divinely inspired concoction as barbecue pizza with no forethought at all.

Stonefire makes this Italian Artisan Pizza Crust that looks like a delicious flatbread before you put it in the oven. Afterwards, the edges and the bottom crisp up like pizza dough from scratch, and the center firmly holds up the big pile of kale/onion/chicken/bbq sauce/cheddar/jalapeño that you arrange on top.

This post was sponsored by Stonefire. Thanks for supporting the sponsors that keep Big Girls, Small Kitchen delicious!

Caramelized Onion & Kale Soup au Gratin

Caramelized Onion & Kale Soup with Roth Alpine-Style Cheese | Big Girls Small Kitchen

This is the soup that needs no introduction. The dish that launched (maybe?) the soup and grilled cheese pairing. Plus kale.

The best thing you can do for onion soup is decide yesterday you’ll probably crave a bite today. If you make broth, caramelized onions, and, for this particular rendition, kale when you have that realization, then when you–surprise!–want the soup, you can actually have it in almost no time and with almost no work. Now this is cooking.

I can’t remember a time I didn’t love onion soup. The sweetness of the onions and the richness of homemade broth (usually: beef; here: chicken) is perfect together from the start.

Even more perfect? The way that good bakery sourdough bread absorbs some of that goodness right from its toasty underside. On its crispy top, the final flavor note is rich, nutty alpine-style cheese–I use the aged Wisconsin cheese, Roth Grand Cru. I didn’t invent the combination, but I could easily celebrate it weekly.

Though I’m accustomed to serving a rich, whole-meal soup like this with a green salad alongside, here I added garlicky kale right into the soup, turning classic French Onion Soup into a truly current one-pot/four-crock meal.

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Cookie Brownies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies | Big Girls Small Kitchen

Imagine a cookie. Okay, now imagine a brownie. Which one do you want? If you answered one of each, then this recipe is for you.

In high school, when my sister Kate and I baked a lot, the cookie-brownie debate extended beyond what we felt like eating. It was more about what we were in the mood to bake. Cookies promised a little more of an activity–you had to cream the butter, choose the mix-ins, and roll ball after heaping-tablespoon-sized ball to place on cookie sheets. They baked quickly, however, and didn’t require much rest time in between baking and downing that first bite. Brownies came together miraculously quickly but baked for longer, and, technically at least, needed to cool some before becoming sliceable into neat squares. Back then, I wish we’d thought of this hybrid: if you’d like to make both cookie and brownie, this chocolate & peanut butter recipe is for you as well.

The chocolate chip cookie is the classic recipe, rich in brown sugar and chocolate chips. Instead of making cookies, you press all the dough into a pan and par-bake. This is the first layer.

The second layer, the brownies, almost acts like an icing–a peanut butter-studded icing. I poured rich, creamy REESE’S Peanut Butter Chips right into the brownie batter. The chips, to me, look like the yin to the cookie layer’s chocolate chip yang.

Before I give you the recipe–which was a huge hit with peanut butter lovers, chocolate lovers, cookie lovers, and bar cookie lovers–I wanted to share a note about Hershey and the company’s support of Dr. Mark Manary’s Project Peanut Butter. In Ghana, which maintains big peanut and cocoa production, malnutrition persists among children. Project Peanut Butter’s goal, therefore, is to distribute packets of nutrient-packed Ready to Use Therapeutic Foods. The core ingredient in the packets is the peanut; they also contain the vitamins needed to help kids survive malnourishment. Founded in Malawi in 2004, the project has been recognized by the United Nations, World Health Organization, and World Food Program as the standard of in-home care for malnutrition.

Then, in 2012, with funding from The Hershey Company, Project Peanut Butter announced an expansion into Ghana, where not only did it plan to distribute the remedies but to source the peanuts and produce the packets too. Over the summer, PPB’s Ghana team began test runs of the local factory they’d built along with Hershey’s manufacturing expertise, and hopes to feed two-thirds of Ghana’s hungry kids.  You can get updates about the Ghana project here.

Thanks for reading!

This post is sponsored by The Hershey Company. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the sponsors that keep Big Girls, Small Kitchen delicious!

Singapore Curry Noodles with Golden Tofu

Singapore Curry Noodles with Golden Tofu | Big Girls Small Kitchen

If you’ve ever wondered why some of us find food fascinating long after the dinner dishes are cleared, look no further than the case of curry.

When I say curry, you might think of a leaf, a paste, or a powder. You might begin to crave savory Indian stews, dream about bowls of spicy Thai soup, imagine portions of sauce-smothered Japanese katsu, or salivate after thoughts of German currywurst. You might even think of Singapore Noodles, an entry in the dry–not stew-like–curry list. All are valid food fantasies. There are a lot of curries!