Healthy and Sane

New and old favorite recipes

September 11th, 2011 · 25 Comments · breakfast, dessert, favorite recipes, Mario Batali, pork, salad, vegetarian meal

How many of you have cooked a delicious meal, vouching to make it again… soon, only to forget of its existence days (or months later)? As someone known to live in the black & white world, I’m either not into cooking at all (bring on snacks, takeout and meals out!) or trying to make as many recipes as humanly possible in one night and/or weekend. I rarely, very rarely repeat recipes. That gives me the ability to test out more of the inspiring recipes I am constantly exposed to. The flip side, of course, is that those old favorites get forgotten. And it’s a shame. This is why I have decided that each new favorite recipe must be photographed and shared with you all on Healthy and Sane (check out the favorite recipes category on the right for previous favorites). I’ll get a chance to have a go-to place to find them again and you get to hopefully discover some new favorites of your own. Win-win!

So here we go – 3 new favorites from the past few weeks

Healthified zucchini bread from The Sweets Life


I made 2 loaves of this bread last weekend and have been enjoying a slice (or 2) each morning with some Greek yogurt and a cup of coffee. I can’t imagine a better breakfast to wake up to! This bread/cake is slightly sweet, moist and full of cinnamon flavor. And who doesn’t love hidden veggies for breakfast?


In the perfect world, I’d start my morning with the above zucchini bread and have these grilled pork chops with peppers and capers from Mario Batali’s Italian Grill cookbooksince these were the best pork chops I’ve ever made!!


The secret is brining the pork chops overnight (actually since salt is a preservative, I left them in the brine for a few days since I was too busy to cook – extra bonus points for ease!). You know how salt makes you retain water and bloated? Well brining does the same for meat. The water retention makes them super juicy!


These peppers with capers were fantastic as well – smoky and briny. Yum! And no, these aren’t onions – they’re purple peppers from the farmers market. Cool, right? I have not made one thing out of that cookbook that I wasn’t completely head over heals for. LOVE.


How about something packed with veggies for dinner? When I saw Ranjani blog about this grain salad with corn and poblano peppers, I knew those wheat berries all the way in the back of my pantry had to come out of hiding.


I will take advantage of the last days of summer, fresh corn, heirloom tomatoes, local hot peppers and all! Smile


I went light on the olive oil, used goat cheese instead of queso fresco (when is goat cheese not the way to go? amiright??), added chickpeas for extra protein… and apparently forgot the toasted pumpkin seeds. Oops. (I didn’t miss them though)


I loved the chew from the wheat berries, the sweetness of the corn, spice from the 2 kinds of chili peppers and the wonderful garlic infused olive oil dressing the grains. It’s fantastic room temperature but even better warmed (the goat cheese gets all melty and seductive. Do it!)

Oh and as proof that I’m committed to reinstating some old favorites – here is an oldie but goodie. My favorite chocolate chip cookies. Everyone needs a go-to choc chip cookie recipe. Could this one be yours?


Get a little closer…


Hungry yet?

That’s a whole lot of favorites. What are your favorite recipes? Do share. And yes, I want details!! Open-mouthed smile

PS – A new post on a summery Russian dessert is up on Russian Bites. Check it out!

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25 Comments so far ↓

  • #1 - Ranjani

    hahaha, that has got to be the best explanation of brining that I’ve seen. I’m the same way about not repeating recipes – I have a favorites tab on my blog for that reason.

    Those cookies look perfect. I could go for one with my coffee right now…and I’m glad you enjoyed the grain salad =)

    • #2 - Elina

      Hehe, that’s how I remember sciency things like that. Must make it relatable :)

  • #3 - Michelle

    I’ve been loving rediscovering recipes that I’ve tried out. Over Labor Day weekend, I made sticky chicken wings and a green bean salad that I haven’t made in months and they were a big hit!

  • #4 - shannon

    yes, goat cheese makes everything better! and i am the same way with repeating recipes… but have been thinking about it to rephotograph them! when i get a grill, i’ll have to get that cookbook :)

    • #5 - Elina

      Yes, I need to rephotograph some of the old ones too. Sounds like a fun project! :) And yes, that book is amazing!!

  • #6 - Kelly

    I’m the same way, I definitely don’t make things twice very often for the exact same reasons. Even before I started blogging I kept a log of how many recipes I tried (and which ones) so I’ve always pushed myself to try new things. The downside is I feel like I am missing out on that feeling of having a dish where you know by heart so you stop measuring or checking a cookbook.

    That said, there are a few things I repeat. I have a go to mac and cheese recipe that I’ve made quite a few times (usually when someone else requests it) and I have a standard chili spice blend that I love. With things like the latter though I at least try to switch it up every time I make it so there is a little variety. Recently, for example, I made my go to chili recipe but I tried bison in place of the usual ground beef and switched up my squash of choice.

    • #7 - Elina

      That’s exactly the feeling I’m talking about – being able to whip something up from memory, or least have full proof recipes you’ve made over and over and you KNOW will be crowd pleasers (or husband pleasers as often in my case :) ). I like that you’re building on some favorites. It’s like the old with a bit of the new 😉

  • #8 - Kim @ Eat, Live, and Blog

    I am loving your blog and will definitely start following you :) My favorite recipe is the chicken and potato curry that my mom always make. It is a comfort food of mine and is totally delicious. :)

  • #9 - sarah@spinach and spice

    My brother loves Zucchini bread, I’m bookmarking for him :)
    My favorite recipe isn’t posted yet.. but it’s Italian, gnocchi, tomatoes, cheese.. I’ll re comment when I get the post up 😀

  • #11 - inna

    your photos are looking pro-fesh, sista. love all the color. literally mouthwatering stuff :)

    • #12 - Elina

      Thanks! I’ve been really trying to style them better and all those goodies you got me for my birthday help with staging :)

  • #13 - Beth

    A new favorite and an old favorite for you. My new current favorite is the mini molten chocolate zucchini cakes I made this weekend. I just blogged about them, and while I meant to save one for the boy, I ate his before he got home from his trip. I think I liked it better than he would have anyways :) One of my go to old favorites is this Green Ginger Soup which I have made and adapted so many times that it now just lives in my head. I do also tend to want to make something new everyday, but this soup always greets me come fall. Also, I have to second Inna’s comment, your photos are wonderful. You should consider submitting some of them to food gawker of tastespotting if you haven’t already.

  • #15 - Julie (A Case of the Runs)

    Yay for hiding veggies in food… now if only you could do it with those cookies…

  • #16 - natalie (the sweets life)

    So glad you loved the zucchini bread! I made some pumpkin zucchini bread yesterday that’s to die for as well–just ate a slice and it made my day :)

  • #17 - Elizabeth

    Those cookies look amazing! Definitely going to try those out.

  • #18 - Meghan@travelwinedine

    Everything looks so good! I love the presentation on the pork chops.

  • #19 - Megan

    I definitely always say I’m going to make things again but rarely do. Some repeats around here are definitely the Zuni Cafe roast chicken and apple cider doughnuts. It’s barely fall and Jeff is already on my case about those doughnuts!

    All of the dishes you made look awesome!!

  • #20 - Joanne

    I definitely always feel bad that I never make the same thing twice and then often forget how much I love certain dishes. I love the grain salad…and I NEED those chocolate chip cookies!

  • #21 - sarah (sarah learns)

    this is a great idea! i love trying new recipes, which i usually do at least 3 nights a week! but that means we’re eating leftovers or out the rest of the week and i don’t make many things more than once.

    the grain salad looks delicious! i have some sneaky wheatberries hiding in the back of my pantry too. maybe i’ll hunt them down and put them to use!

  • #23 - kitchenbelle

    I didn’t know it was possible to accomplish a good photo of a pork chop! I love pork chops but I don’t find them photogenic! 😉 Nice work! Yours looks so juicy…my mouth is watering!!!

    • #24 - Elina

      Hehe, thanks! They tasted even better than they look. The “burnt” parts are actually caramelized sugars in the meat. The best!

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