Buttery Dinner Rolls

When I set out to create a dinner roll recipe, I had a few criterion I needed to hit: I wanted a firm, somewhat crusty outside, a soft interior, and extreme buttery flavor. My mind immediately went to a crescent roll flavor, although I knew that crescent rolls were too soft on the outside for my taste. After a few failed attempts at dough (and maybe some tears), I finally got them to a place that I loved. These rolls hold up extremely well to things like Thanksgiving gravy and soup. There’s nothing worse than dunking a piece of bread into a bowl of soup and having it disintegrate, and these do nothing of the sort. I hope you love them as much as I do!

Ingredients needed to make Buttery Dinner Rolls

These rolls incorporate a lot of basic bread ingredients like flour and yeast. Here’s the full list of what you’ll need:

Tools used to make Buttery Dinner Rolls

You don’t need a ton of special equipment to make these rolls, but I do highly recommend using a stand mixer with a dough hook to knead your dough. This dough takes a good 10-12 minutes to knead properly, and that’s a lot of hard work if you’re only using your hands. It can be done without a mixer, just be prepared to work the dough a lot. I have a KitchenAid mixer that was passed down from my dad, but any brand of stand mixer will work.

In addition to the mixer, you’ll want a clean work surface, such as the counter or a large cutting board, to roll the dough on. You will also need a large mixing bowl, clean kitchen towel, small mixing bowl to melt the butter, kitchen brush to brush the butter (or use a spoon), sharp knife to divide the dough, parchment paper, and a large rimmed baking sheet.

How to make Buttery Dinner Rolls

These rolls require a little forethought to make sure you have enough time to let them rise, but otherwise they’re pretty easy to pull together. The dough begins like most yeasted doughs by mixing the yeast with warm milk. I warm my milk in the microwave in two 30 second runs. I stir it in between each run, then check it to make sure its between 110-115 degrees with my meat thermometer. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, you can test it by feel. It should be warm to the touch but not hot by any means. Think of what a hot tub feels like! If it’s too hot, you run the risk of killing your yeast.

Once the yeast and milk have relaxed together for a few minutes, you’ll add that and all of the other ingredients to the bowl of your stand mixer. I like to start by mixing it for 30 seconds or so, then stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides, then going again. Once the mixture is homogenous (roughly 1 minutes of mixing and scraping down the sides), you can turn the mixer up slightly and let the dough knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. The dough will be smooth with minimal puckering and will bounce back when you press your finger into it.

Roughly shape the dough into a ball and transfer to an oiled mixing bowl, then cover with a clean dish towel. Let rise until the dough has doubled in size, approximately 1 hour. I like to let my dough rise in a cold oven with the light turned on. The light creates the perfect, slightly warm atmosphere for the dough to do its magic.

Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead a few more times to shape it into an even ball. Using your knife, divide the dough into 16 equal parts and shape each one into a ball. Place equal distance apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet and cover with the towel, then let rise again for 30 minutes or until dough balls have puffed up slightly.

Now, you’re ready to bake! Well, almost. You’ll melt the remaining butter and brush that all over the tops of the rolls just before they go into the oven. That’s it! These little guys are so perfect in my opinion, and they really stand up to Thanksgiving gravy, making them the perfect vessel for sopping up every last bit on your plate.

Looking for other Thanksgiving-inspired recipes?

Butternut Mashed Potatoes with Sage Compound Butter

Favorite Roast Chicken

Sweet Potato, Celery, and Apple Bake

Recipe Ingredients

2 ½ -¾  cups AP flour, plus more for dusting

2 ½ tsp instant yeast

1 tsp kosher salt

1 cup milk, warmed to 110-115 degrees Fahrenheit

1-2 tbsp water

5 tbsp butter, melted, divided

Recipe Instructions

  1. Warm milk to 110-115 degrees Fahrenheit and whisk in the yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine flour, salt, milk-yeast mixture, and 2 tbsp of the melted butter. Knead with the mixer until a smooth dough forms, about 8-10 minutes. If the dough is too dry, you may add 1 tablespoon of water at a time. The dough should be smooth and not puckered, and should spring back when you poke your finger into it. If the dough does not spring back immediately, it needs more knead time. 
  3. Transfer the dough ball to an oiled mixing bowl and cover with a clean dish towel. Let rise at room temperature for an hour, or until doubled in size.
  4. When the dough has risen, turn it out onto a floured work surface. Knead it once or twice to form an even ball, then cut the dough into 16 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball, and place equidistant apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with the dish towel and let rise again for approximately 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Brush the rolls with the remaining melted butter, then bake for 27-32 minutes, or until golden brown. Brush with additional butter immediately out of the oven and sprinkle with chopped herbs (such as sage, rosemary, and thyme), if desired. Serve warm! Leftovers keep nicely on the counter in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Curried Pumpkin Chickpeas with Cucumber Raita

Curried Pumpkin Chickpeas with Cucumber Raita is literally comfort in a bowl. I know you may be thinking, “I’ve definitely seen other food bloggers with recipes for curry chickpeas,” and you’re right! However, none of them are as good as mine. I say that humbly, but also based in fact. Many other recipes I came across when doing research for this recipe included hard-to-find spices (which aren’t practical for all home cooks), added water when the recipe doesn’t really need any, and so on. The balance of flavor, heat, acid, texture, and overall taste of this curry is truly amazing. Plus, it’s made using ingredients that are found in most pantries, which is what we all need right now. My protein-obsessed boyfriend didn’t even complain that this is a vegetarian main dish. It’s delicious. Bonus? It’s vegan if you substitute the Greek yogurt in the raita for a vegan alternative.

Ingredients needed to make Curried Pumpkin Chickpeas with Cucumber Raita

I like to serve this curry over brown rice, but it would also do well over quinoa, cauliflower rice, or just eaten on its own. It’s easy to substitute whatever grain or grain-alternative base you want for this recipe. In addition to the rice, you’ll need the following to make the curry:

The cucumber raita, while not necessary, is an absolutely delicious compliment to the slight heat of the curry. It adds a cooling, fresh element that leaves you with a really balanced bite every time. Here’s what you’ll need to make the raita:

  • Cucumber
  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • Curry powder
  • Ground cayenne pepper
  • Cilantro
  • Salt

Tools used to make Curried Pumpkin Chickpeas with Cucumber Raita

The tools needed to make this dish are as follows: a sharp chef’s knife for chopping, a large cutting board, a Dutch oven or large, deep-sided sauté pan, a wooden spoon, a mixing bowl, and measuring spoons. It’s fairly minimal, and the bulk of the dish is made in one pot, making for easy clean up!

How to make Curried Pumpkin Chickpeas with Cucumber Raita

This curry begins by sweating the onions with garlic, ginger, and all of those warm spices. The entire process takes about 6 minutes, but it will make your kitchen smell incredible. Once the onions have sweat and the other aromatics have been added, you’ll add the chickpeas, coconut milk, and pumpkin. Some brands of canned pumpkin are thicker than others, so if you need to add 1-2 tablespoons of water at this point, you may. Use your judgement. The goal is to simmer this curry long enough to create a thick, saucy final product that feels like it’s been cooking all day, when it really only takes 15-20 minutes. You’ll stir to combine, then reduce the heat to low and allow the curry to do its thing.

While the curry simmers, I like to make the raita. It’s really simple to pull together and takes the curry to the next level, in my opinion. As I mentioned above, it’s easy to make this dish completely vegan by substitution the Greek yogurt for a non-dairy alternative.

Start by peeling your cucumber and halving lengthwise. Then, scoop out the seeds and cut it into a very small dice. Add the cucumber to a bowl, along with the Greek yogurt, spices, and cilantro. It’s important to add salt after tasting, as some brands of Greek yogurt can be saltier than others. Salt the raita to your liking, then transfer to the fridge until the curry is finished.

Serve the curry over brown rice, quinoa, cauliflower rice, or whatever other base you’d like, then top with a dollop of raita and extra cilantro. This dish is also awesome paired with some fresh naan or pita bread. It’s so warming and stick-to-your-ribs, as they say!

Looking for other comforting dinners for colder-weather nights?

Try these other recipes from The Ardent Cook!

Pineapple Chipotle Chicken Enchiladas with Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce

Roasted Apricot Chicken

Herbed Chicken Tortellini Soup

Recipe Ingredients

For the Curried Pumpkin Chickpeas

2 tbsp olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1-inch piece ginger, minced

1 tsp curry powder

¾ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp ground turmeric 

⅛ tsp cayenne, or more if desired (I used closer to ¼ tsp)

2 (15oz) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 (13.5oz) can full-fat coconut milk

1 (13.5oz) can pumpkin puree

1 tsp salt, plus more to taste

Juice of ½ lime, plus wedges for serving

Cilantro, for serving

Cucumber raita, for serving (recipe below)

Brown rice, for serving

For the Cucumber Raita

1 medium cucumber, peeled and seeded, diced very small

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

⅛ tsp cayenne 

¼ tsp curry powder

2 tbsp cilantro, very finely chopped

Salt, to taste

Recipe Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a dutch oven or large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook 4-5 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic, ginger, curry powder, cumin, turmeric, and cayenne, and cook for an additional 30-45 seconds until very fragrant.
  2. Add the chickpeas, coconut milk, and pumpkin. If the consistency is too thick (some canned pumpkin options are thicker than others), you may add water 1 tablespoon at a time, however keep in mind you want the final product to be thick like a slow-simmered curry. 
  3. Turn the heat to low and allow the chickpeas to simmer for 30-45 minutes, until they are very fragrant and the consistency is as thick as you’d like it. Continue to simmer if a thicker consistency is desired. 
  4. While the chickpeas simmer, make the raita. Combine the cucumber, yogurt, cayenne, curry powder, and chopped cilantro in a mixing bowl. Season with salt to taste. 
  5. When the chickpeas are finished simmering, remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice. Season one final time for salt.
  6. Serve the curry over brown or basmati rice, then top with a dollop of the raita and additional cilantro, if desired. Leftovers keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Enjoy!

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Gorgonzola-Stuffed Chicken with Delicata Squash

Gorgonzola-Stuffed Chicken with Delicata Squash is a relatively low-effort meal that feels luxurious. If you’ve never cooked bone-in chicken breasts before, this is the perfect recipe to ease you in. Bone-in chicken breasts offer so much more flavor than their boneless, skinless counterparts, and I love saving the bones for making bone broth afterwards. Delicata squash, one of my favorite fall ingredients, pairs excellently with the salty gorgonzola and flavorful chicken. Everything is topped off with a quick mustard fig pan sauce that comes together in minutes and makes the whole dish.

Ingredients needed to make Gorgonzola-Stuffed Chicken with Delicata Squash

The ingredient list for this dish looks intimidating, but trust me when I say the entire meal comes together more quickly than you’d expect. This recipe calls for bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts. You’ll want to look for a cut labeled “split breasts” at the grocery store. These are simply chicken breasts with the skin on and breast-bone still intact. It looks much more frightening than it is, and I promise the breast can be removed from the bone with one knife cut. I’ll give more specific directions on how to do that below! Here’s the full list of what you’ll need:

  • Bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
  • Delicata squash
  • Gorgonzola cheese
  • Fresh sage
  • Fresh thyme
  • Fresh garlic
  • Shallots
  • White wine 
  • Chicken broth
  • Dijon mustard
  • Black pepper

Tools used to make Gorgonzola-Stuffed Chicken with Delicata Squash

This dish is primarily cooked in the oven, so you’ll need an oven-safe skillet (I used my Le Creuset cast-iron skillet) and a baking sheet to cook the chicken and squash. You also need a good, sharp chef’s knife, cutting board, liquid measuring cup, measuring spoons, and a wire whisk. However, if you’re using a nonstick pan, I’d recommend using a silicon-coated whisk such as this one.

Other than that, you’ll need a working oven and stove!

How to make Gorgonzola-Stuffed Chicken with Delicata Squash

I know this recipe sounds like a lot of technical work. It really isn’t. You’ll start by prepping the delicata squash, which is fairly simple since you don’t need to peel delicata! You can eat its skin, which is one of the best parts about it. Halve them lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and cut into ‘c’ shapes. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and pop them in the oven while you work on the chicken.

The chicken is the more technical aspect of this recipe, but I promise you can do it. You’ll want to start by familiarizing yourself with the chicken. If you’ve never seen a split breast before, it’s essentially a boneless-skinless chicken breast that you’re used to seeing just with the breast bone and skin still attached. You’ll see that the breast bone is connected at the bottom and side of the breast, so you will ultimately roast the chicken with the bone facing down and the meaty part facing up.

To separate the skin from the chicken breast, you’ll run your fingers underneath the skin and gently pull it away from the meat, creating a pocket that you can then stuff the gorgonzola-herb mixture inside of. Once the breasts are stuffed with the cheese and herbs, you’ll drizzle them with olive oil, salt, and pepper, arrange the shallots around them, and roast them in the cast-iron for 20-25 minutes, depending on the size of the breast.

When the chicken is finished roasting, transfer it to a cutting board to rest, and return the skillet to the stove over medium heat. Remember that the pan was just in the oven, so you’ll need to use an oven mitt to move the pan around (I’ve burnt myself one too many times by ignoring this tip). You’ll deglaze the pan with the white wine, using a whisk to scrape up the caramelized bits from the bottom, then stir in the chicken broth, dijon, and fig jam. This sauce is a wonderful balance of flavors from the savory chicken drippings, tangy mustard, and slightly sweet fig jam. It’s drinkable.

When it’s time to eat, I like to slice the chicken off of the bone before serving. Simply take your knife and run it along the side of the breast bone, working your way underneath the chicken. It should separate pretty easily. Then, I slice the chicken into pieces crosswise and place them back into the skillet with the mustard fig sauce. I then arrange the delicata squash around the sliced chicken, making sure it gets nestled in the sauce too.

This dish is so comforting and delicious, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Looking for other delicious chicken dishes?

Try these recipes from The Ardent Cook!

Roasted Apricot Chicken

Red Curry Pulled Chicken with Turmeric-Lime Rice

Crispy Baked Buffalo Wings

Quick(er) Chicken Shawarma with White Sauce

Recipe Ingredients

4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts

3 large delicata squash

2 tbsp olive oil, plus more 

½ cup gorgonzola cheese, room temperature

2 tsp fresh sage, minced

2 tsp fresh thyme, stems removed

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 medium shallots, halved, skins removed

½ cup white wine 

¼ cup chicken broth

2 tbsp dijon mustard

2 tbsp fig jam

Salt, to taste

Black pepper, to taste

Recipe Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the delicata in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Slice each half into half moons about ¼-½ inch thick. 
  2. Arrange delicata on a sheet tray and drizzle with the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 25-30 minutes, tossing half-way through. 
  3. In a small mixing bowl, combine room temperature gorgonzola, sage, thyme, and garlic. Use a fork to mix the herbs thoroughly into the cheese. 
  4. Pat chicken dry with a paper towel, then pull the skin up to separate it from the chicken. Be careful not to tear it completely off, you just want a pocket between the skin and chicken. Stuff the cheese mixture underneath the skin on each breast, using your finger to spread it out into an even layer under the skin. 
  5. Place chicken in a large oven-safe skillet or baking dish, then arrange the shallots around the chicken. Drizzle chicken breasts with a little oil, salt, and pepper. Bake for 20-25 minutes, depending on the size of the breasts. The chicken is finished when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  6. Remove the chicken and allow it to rest on a cutting board for at least 10 minutes. Return the pan to the stove over medium heat, and add the wine. Use a whisk to scrape up the caramelized bits from the bottom of the pan, then whisk in the chicken broth, mustard, and fig jam. Allow the sauce to reduce for 5-7 minutes.
  7. Remove the chicken from the bone. Using a chef’s knife, run your knife along the side of the breast where it meets the bone and cut, curving around the bottom of the breast until the meat separates. Slice into pieces crosswise, then place chicken back in the skillet with the mustard fig sauce.
  8. Arrange the delicata around the sliced chicken in the skillet, and serve it family-style. Enjoy!

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Wild Mushroom Farro with Parmesan and Microgreens

Wild Mushroom Farro with Parmesan and Microgreens is a quicker, easier take on a creamy risotto. Ditch the constant stirring and broth-adding that is required of risotto and replace it with earthy wild mushrooms, nutty farro, and the perfect salty punch of parmesan in every bite. I love this recipe because it highlights one of my new-found favorite ingredients: wild mushrooms harvested by my boyfriend’s sister and brother-in-law. They are foraging extraordinaires and have taught me so much about mushrooms and their amazing properties. Did you know mushrooms form intricate communication networks that cover miles in order to signal other mushrooms of impending danger?

I wasn’t always a mushroom lover, but I’ve really been enjoying experimenting with them in my recipes. I hope you love this recipe as much as I do!

Ingredients needed to make Wild Mushroom Farro with Parmesan and Microgreens

This recipe calls for wild mushrooms. I was lucky enough to score some maitake, or “hen of the woods,” from my boyfriend’s sister and brother-in-law, which is what I used here. You could use any variety of mushroom you like or that is available locally in-season. Other great options would be oyster mushrooms, chanterelles, or morels. If you aren’t experienced at foraging, I would not recommend going out into your own backyard and pulling up whatever mushroom you see. Be sure to ask an expert to identify any mushrooms you find, or visit local farm stands for the freshest options available for purchase. In addition to the mushrooms, here’s what else you’ll need:

  • Butter or olive oil
  • Yellow onion
  • Garlic
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Fresh thyme
  • Dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
  • Farro
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Milk or cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • Microgreens

Many of the ingredients in this recipe are fresh, but I have linked a few of my staple pantry items that you’ll want to have on hand for this recipe. Also, as a quick note, if you are looking for a quick recipe, you’ll likely want to use pearled farro (linked above). “Pearling” is a process by which some of the bran is removed from the farro, which in turn removes some of the nutrients and fiber, but makes for a much faster cook time. If you don’t care about the time, I’d recommend this imported farro brand or this organic farro from Bob’s Red Mill.

This recipe uses wild maitake mushrooms, but any wild variety will work!

Tools used to make Wild Mushroom Farro with Parmesan and Microgreens

Because of the varying times required to cook farro (depending on what kind you buy), I call for pre-cooked farro in this recipe. Farro is a great grain to cook at the beginning of the week to use in loads of different meals just as you would rice or quinoa, so I’ll often do that on Sundays and have it ready in the fridge for easy dinners. I’d recommend cooking your farro ahead of time or give yourself extra time before starting on the mushrooms, which take very little time in comparison. You’ll need a medium-large pot to cook the farro, such as this one.

In addition, you’ll need a large skillet big enough to cook the mushrooms and then toss everything together at the end. I used my favorite Le Creuset cast-iron, but any non-stick skillet will work. You’ll also want a large cutting board, measuring cups and spoons, a well-sharpened chef’s knife, like this one, and a wooden spoon for stirring. That’s it!

How to make Wild Mushroom Farro with Parmesan and Microgreens

If you cook your farro ahead of time, this recipe takes all of 20 minutes. If not, don’t sweat it, just be prepared for a little extra time spent cooking! Begin by trimming any slimy areas from the mushrooms and brushing off excess dirt. If you can, try to avoid rinsing the mushroom as this prevents them from caramelizing (they’ll retain too much water and steam rather than caramelize). Next, chop the mushrooms into roughly 1-2 inch pieces while you melt your butter in a skillet.

Add the onions, salt, and pepper, and cook until the onions are translucent. Then, you’ll stir in the mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes or so. You want the mushrooms to be softened, but not mushy. Add the garlic, rosemary, and thyme, and stir to coat the mushrooms and onions.

The best step? Adding the wine. This step is crucial in order to get all the caramelized bits from the mushrooms and onions up from the bottom of the pan. If you don’t care to cook with wine, you can easily substitute chicken or vegetable broth! Just make sure to use your wooden spoon to scrape up the goodness from the bottom of the pan as you add the liquid.

You’ll let this simmer on medium-low heat until all of the wine has evaporated and you’re left with delicious caramelized mushrooms. At this point, you’ll add your cooked farro and allow it to warm with the mushrooms for a minute or so. Then, add the parmesan, milk or cream, and a pinch more of salt and pepper. The goal is to have a light creamy coating, but this isn’t going to be a thick cream sauce by any means. If you want more of a thick cream sauce, you can certainly add more milk or cream and let it reduce slightly over low heat for a few minutes. I prefer just a touch of creaminess to really let the flavor of the mushrooms and farro shine.

That’s it! You’ll sprinkle on a handful of microgreens at the end for a little fresh bite, and serve immediately. It’s so delicious paired with a glass of wine and pair of cozy PJs, but elegant enough to serve for dinner- if we ever get to host dinner parties again!

Looking for other comforting vegetarian dishes from The Ardent Cook?

Ponzu Greens and Grains Bowl

Creamy Green Goddess Pasta

Potato, Leek, and Corn Chowder

Recipe Ingredients


2 tbsp butter or olive oil

½ pound wild mushrooms, such as maitake or oyster

½ medium yellow onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

3-4 sprigs fresh thyme

½ cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc

2 cups cooked farro

⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese

2 tbsp milk or cream

Salt and pepper, to taste

1-2 handfuls bitter microgreens, such as micro arugula, for serving

Recipe Instructions

  1. Prepare the mushrooms by trimming any slimy areas and brushing off excess dirt. Roughly chop the mushrooms into 1-2 inch pieces while you melt the butter in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions, along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until onions turn translucent. Add the mushrooms and cook for 5, until they are just softened. Stir in the garlic, rosemary, and thyme, then season again with a pinch of salt and pepper. 
  3. Pour the wine into the pan, stirring constantly to scrape up any caramelized bits from the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to medium-low and allow the wine to evaporate entirely, stirring occasionally. 
  4. Once the mushrooms are finished cooking and the wine has evaporated, stir in the cooked farro (make sure the farro is warmed before adding). Add the parmesan, milk or cream, and a pinch more of salt and pepper. Fold to combine until the cheese has melted and everything is incorporated. The final dish should be creamy, but not overly wet. Top with microgreens and an additional sprinkling of parmesan, and serve warm. This dish stands up on its own as a vegetarian main alongside a salad, or pair it with roast chicken and vegetables for a comforting fall dish. Enjoy!

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Herbed Chicken Tortellini Soup

Herbed Chicken Tortellini Soup is a bowl of comfort, perfect for a chilly Tuesday evening such as this one (if you live in the northeast). While many traditional tortellini soups incorporate a basic cheese tortellini, I’ve chosen to use a variety filled with a mixture of chicken, herbs, and a little ricotta for a dose of protein and extra flavor. If you’d like to keep this soup vegetarian, simply swap the chicken-filled tortellini for a cheese variety and use vegetable or mushroom stock instead of chicken broth. Make this soup dairy free by choosing a vegan tortellini (with a non-dairy filling) and incorporating canned coconut milk instead of the heavy cream. There are loads of ways to make this soup fit into your diet preference, just as long as you enjoy it with a hunk of crusty bread, wrapped in a cozy blanket. I know you’re going to love it!

Ingredients needed to make Herbed Chicken Tortellini Soup

This soup calls upon a lot of long-lasting vegetables and canned goods, making it the perfect meal for weeks when it’s already Tuesday and you haven’t made it to the grocery store for the week yet. I’m having one of those weeks. The worst. Here’s the list of everything you’ll need:

  • Olive oil
  • Yellow onion
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Fresh thyme
  • Garlic
  • Chicken stock
  • Canned crushed tomatoes
  • Tomato paste
  • Heavy cream
  • Chicken and herb filled tortellini
  • Tuscan kale
  • Fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Crushed red chili flakes
  • Black pepper
  • Parmesan cheese

Tools used to make Herbed Chicken Tortellini Soup

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I love a good soup because of the minimal clean up. You pretty much always need a good sharp knife and large cutting board to make my recipes, but other than that, you’ll just want to get out your favorite large soup pot and a ladle for serving. Optional, but not necessary, is a citrus juicer for squeezing the lemons. This one is a force juicer and it makes my life in the kitchen so much easier!

How to make Herbed Chicken Tortellini Soup

As with most soups, the base is comprised of a mirepoix. Mirepoix is a term referring to a blend of diced celery, carrots, and onions. It’s the start of many popular dishes in classical French cooking, and it’s what we use to create ample flavor for this soup.

You’ll begin by sautéing the mirepoix with some fresh thyme in olive oil. Once the onions are translucent, you’ll add the garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, and chicken broth, along with a few seasonings. This liquid gets simmered for 10-15 minutes or so, until the carrots have softened, as they take a bit longer to cook than the celery and onion.

The wonderful thing about this recipe is that it only takes about 25 minutes from start to finish, including prep time for chopping. Towards the end of the cooking, you’ll lower the heat and stir in your heavy cream, kale, and tortellini.

I recommend using fresh tortellini in this recipe, which is typically found in the refrigerated section by the deli or cheese area. Shelf-stable tortellini takes much longer to cook, and you run the risk of overcooking the vegetables in your base if you choose this variety. If you can’t find the fresh tortellini, simply add the dried tortellini (while the soup is still simmering) a bit earlier, before adding the heavy cream and kale.

At the very end, you’ll stir in the fresh lemon juice (it tends to get bitter if cooked for too long), ladle the soup into bowls, and garnish with parmesan cheese. It’s a complete meal packed with vegetables, starch, and protein, and the slightly creamy broth is so soothing.

I like to enjoy this soup with a hunk of crusty bread for dipping, or a batch of homemade garlic knots (if you’ve got the time). I don’t have my own recipe for garlic knots, unfortunately, but there are loads on the internet that don’t require too much time or effort. It’s a great Sunday project if you happen to make this soup over a weekend!

Looking for other cozy soup options from The Ardent Cook?

Chipotle Peanut Pumpkin Soup with Spiced Pepitas

Mom’s Checkerboard Chicken Chili

Potato, Leek, and Corn Chowder

Recipe Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, diced small

1 medium carrot, diced small

2 stalks celery, diced small

3-4 sprigs fresh thyme

6 cloves garlic, minced

4 cups chicken stock

1 (14oz) can crushed tomatoes

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 cup heavy cream (or coconut milk if dairy free)

1 (10oz) package fresh tortellini, filled with chicken and herbs if available

1 bunch tuscan kale, ribbed and sliced into ribbons

1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice (about ¼ lemon)

1 tsp salt

¾ tsp crushed red chili flake

Black pepper, to taste

Parmesan cheese, for serving

Recipe Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven or soup pot. Add onions, carrots, celery, and thyme and cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook for an additional minute.
  2. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and chicken stock. Stir until the tomato paste is fully incorporated. Season with the salt, crushed chili flakes, and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the carrots have softened. 
  3. Lower the heat and stir in the heavy cream, stirring constantly while pouring. Add the tortellini and kale, then let cook for the time specified on the package of tortellini (no more than 3-5 minutes for fresh tortellini). Stir in the lemon juice at the very end, then season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
  4. Ladle into bowls and top with parmesan cheese, if using. Serve with crusty bread and a big salad, family style. Enjoy!

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Apple Bourbon Spoon Cake

Here’s the deal: I call this a spoon cake. In reality, it’s not a spoon cake. It’s more like a crumbly, shortbready, delicious, hard-to-name object that comes out of your oven and tastes amazing. So I settled with spoon cake, because you have to spoon it out of the pan to eat it.

Juicy apples get cooked down with bourbon, sugar, fresh lemon juice, and spices (wait until you smell your kitchen), then layered over a shortbread-style crust with more shortbread crumbled over the top. Bake the whole thing and spoon it into your bowl while still warm… with a scoop of vanilla ice cream of course.

Ingredients needed to make Apple Bourbon Spoon Cake

To make Apple Bourbon Spoon Cake, you need the basic ingredients like flour, sugar, baking powder, etc. There’s nothing super abstract in this recipe, so hopefully you have it all readily available to you! Here’s the shopping list:

  • Apples (I prefer honey crisp, granny smith, or pink lady)
  • Bourbon
  • Fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • Butter
  • Granulated sugar
  • Tapioca flour (or cornstarch)
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Ground ginger
  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking powder

Tools used to make Apple Bourbon Spoon Cake

This is a great dessert to make when you don’t want to dirty a lot of dishes. I love my KitchenAid stand mixer, but boy is it annoying to clean. You don’t need to whip it out for this recipe, luckily! Here’s what you’ll need:

How to make Apple Bourbon Spoon Cake

This cake is quick and simple to make. You’ll begin by cooking down your apples in a skillet with the bourbon, lemon juice, sugar, tapioca, and spices. Don’t worry if you don’t have tapioca, because cornstarch works wonderfully as well! While the apples cook, you’ll make your crust in a mixing bowl. The key here is to create small pea-sized pieces of butter that are all coated in flour. When the dough bakes, the butter melts and the crust becomes cohesive. It may seem crumbly at first, but should stick together more-or-less when you squeeze it into a ball with your hands. If it doesn’t hold together (it’s ok if some pieces crumble down, but not all of them), you can add some cold water tablespoon at a time. Be careful not to add too much, or your dough will be too wet and goopy.

You’ll press half of the crust into the bottom of the pan and par-bake while your apples cooks. Once the first half is baked, you’ll spoon over your apples, which are fully cooked by the time the bottom crust is baked, over the top. I love when the timing of things cooking just works out, as in this recipe! To finish, crumble the remaining dough over top of the apples and bake again until golden brown. Spoon it into a bowl and top with vanilla ice cream. Yum!

Looking for other delicious desserts from The Ardent Cook?

Chocolate Pistachio Rice Crispy Treat

Salted Brown Butter Banana Cobbler

Peanut Butter Peach Berry Cobbler

Recipe Ingredients

Filling

3 cups apples, peeled and sliced ¼ thick

¼ bourbon

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

4 tbsp salted butter

⅓ cup granulated sugar

1 tsp tapioca flour (or cornstarch)

1 tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp ground ginger

Crust

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (or GF flour blend)

½ cup granulated sugar

½ tsp baking powder

½ cup (1 stick) salted butter, chilled and cut into ½ inch cubes

1 egg

Recipe Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and parchment-line an 8×8 glass baking dish. 
  2. Make the crust. Combine flour, sugar, and baking powder. Add the butter and mix with the flour mixture using a pastry cutter or two forks until the butter is pea-sized and coated in flour. Stir in the egg. The dough will be very crumbly, but will hold together when pressed between your hands. If your dough is too dry and crumbly, you may add 1-2 tbsp of cool water to bring it together. Some flours are more absorbent than others, so go by feel- the dough should hold together more or less when squeezed into a ball, but should not be wet and goopy by any means. If it doesn’t hold together when some pressure is applied, then it’s too dry. 
  3. Divide the dough in half and press ½ of it into the bottom of the baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes. 
  4. Meanwhile, make the filling. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the apples, bourbon, lemon juice, and sugar, and stir to coat the apples. Sprinkle the cinnamon and tapioca evenly over the top, then mix to incorporate. 
  5. Bring the apples to a boil and let cook for 2-3 minutes at this heat. Once the sugar has dissolved, reduce the heat slightly and continue cooking for another 5-7 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and the apples are soft. 
  6. Once the first bake is complete, spoon the apple filling over top in an even layer. Crumble the remaining dough over the top of the apples, then return to the oven for another 15-20 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. 
  7. Let the cake cool slightly, about 5 minutes, to let everything set up. Then, spoon into bowls and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Warm Roasted Cauliflower Salad

Warm Roasted Cauliflower Salad is a gourmet take on a traditional vegetable side. The days of steaming cauliflower are over and have been replaced by roasting. I know everyone is probably up to their ears in cauliflower recipes, from cauliflower rice to cauliflower mash to cauliflower Alfredo sauce. Lucky for you, I’m not trying to disguise cauliflower as anything but its own true self in this recipe, which is delicious!

Ingredients needed to make Warm Roasted Cauliflower Salad

It goes without saying that you’ll need a pretty large head of cauliflower, or two small ones, to make this recipe. In addition, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • Jarred pesto (I prefer using store-bought here because we’re incorporating it into a dressing… if we we’re having pesto pasta, I’d obviously recommend homemade)
  • White wine vinegar
  • Honey
  • Pitted green olives
  • Dried cranberries
  • Slivered almonds
  • Salt and pepper

Tools used to make Warm Roasted Cauliflower Salad

I always start this portion of the recipe by recommending you invest in a good set of knives. If you aren’t ready to take the plunge into a full knife block, at least get yourself a chef’s knife that has some weight to it. Here is the knife block set I’ve had for two years (and they still look and feel brand new), or an option for just the chef’s knife. In addition, you’ll need a cutting board, large rimmed sheet pan, and a mason jar with a tight-fitting lid (or a mixing bowl and whisk).

How to make Warm Roasted Cauliflower Salad

I love this recipe because you can “set it and forget it” for the most part. The only real cooking involved is roasting the cauliflower, which takes about 20-25 minutes. During that time you can easily gather all the other ingredients you need, quickly toast the almonds in a skillet, shake up the dressing, while still having time to prepare the rest of your meal. When the cauliflower is finished roasting, you’ll layer on the olives, cranberries, and toasted almonds, then drizzle the dressing over the top. Give it a final season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper and you’re ready to enjoy!

Looking for other delicious vegetable sides?

Try these other vegetarian sides from The Ardent Cook.

Cheesy Corn and Poblano Casserole

Blistered Green Beans with Garlic and Ginger

Herbed Carrot Salad

Grilled Zucchini with Feta Cheese and Zesty Oregano Chimi

Recipe Ingredients

1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets

2 tbsp olive oil

¼ cup jarred pesto 

2 ½ tbsp white wine vinegar

1 tsp honey

¼ cup pitted green olives, halved

¼ cup dried cranberries

¼ cup slivered almonds

Salt and pepper, to taste

Recipe Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place cauliflower on a large rimmed baking tray and drizzle with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the cauliflower is soft and has browned slightly. 
  2. Combine the pesto, white wine vinegar, and honey in a large mixing bowl or mason jar with a tight-fitting lid. Whisk (or shake, if using a mason jar) vigorously until the dressing is combined. 
  3. Toast almonds in a dry skillet over medium heat. Stir them frequently and watch closely until browned and fragrant. 
  4. Transfer cauliflower to a serving dish. Top with the olives, cranberries, and almonds. Drizzle with dressing and serve immediately, while the cauliflower is still warm. If you don’t use all of the dressing, store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks.

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Apple Spice Smoothie

This Apple Spice Smoothie is the perfect option for breakfast, a snack, or even dessert. It’s loaded with flavor and even has a hidden veggie, so it’s really wonderful if you’re looking to add more nutrients into your diet but don’t want to skimp on flavor.

Ingredients needed to make Apple Spice Smoothie

The base of this smoothie consists of banana, apple, and…. frozen riced cauliflower. I know you’re probably thinking, “EW,” but trust me here, you can not taste it. It adds a frozen element to this smoothie that makes the final product creamy and nutrient-dense. Then, the smoothie gets some much-needed healthy fats from sources including Greek yogurt, almond butter, and almond milk. Throw in a ton of warm spices and BOOM. Blend and serve. Here’s the full list of what you’ll need:

Tools used to make Apple Spice Smoothie

Smoothies are, well, smooth. That’s because you make them in a blender- which is all you really need to make this recipe! I use this one by Ninja. It’s so versatile and can be used for chopping, processing, and/or blending. In addition to the blender, you’ll need a cutting board and knife to peel and cut the apple before adding it to the smoothie. So easy!

How to make Apple Spice Smoothie

The process to make this smoothie is incredibly simple. You’ll want to start by peeling and cutting your apple into rough 1-inch cubes. This makes it easier for them to blend up with the rest of your smoothie ingredients. Then, simply add everything to your blender and away you go! I like to serve this smoothie with another dash of cinnamon on top. It’s amazing!

Looking for other smoothie recipes?

Try these two options from The Ardent Cook archives.

Citrus Ginger Green Smoothie

“Cake for Breakfast” Green Smoothie

Recipe Ingredients

½ ripe banana

1 apple, peeled and diced

½ cup frozen cauliflower rice

⅓ cup vanilla Greek yogurt (or 1 scoop vanilla protein powder of choice)

1 tbsp unsalted creamy almond butter

1 large medjool date, pitted

½ cup plain unsweetened almond milk

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground nutmeg

⅛ tsp ground cloves

⅛ tsp ground ginger

Pinch sea salt

Recipe Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend on high until creamy. Pour into a glass and enjoy immediately!

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Mom’s Checkerboard Chicken Chili

Perfect for game day, a chilly afternoon, or a make-ahead dinner, this Checkerboard Chicken Chili is a staple in my family. My mom used to make this for us kids at least once per week. Her secret ingredient? A jar of white queso blanco. This chili gets its name from the two different kinds of beans we use: black beans and white kidney beans (like a black and white checkerboard). It’s hearty, loaded with veggies and protein, and downright delicious.

Ingredients needed to make Mom’s Checkerboard Chicken Chili

When I asked my mom for the recipe for her chili, of course she responded by saying, “Well, you know I never really use a recipe.” Alas, I got her to give me a general idea of what she uses and how she prepares it. Here’s the full ingredient list:

Tools used to make Mom’s Checkerboard Chicken Chili

The greatest part about soups, stews, and chilis is that they are always made in one pot. Way less mess! I’ve made this chili in both my Dutch oven and my soup pot, and both work well. You just want something large enough to fit all of your ingredients. Here’s the soup pot I love. Additionally, you’ll need a chef’s knife and a large cutting board for all of that chopping.

How to make Mom’s Checkerboard Chicken Chili

This recipe has a bit of chopping to get you started, but then you’re on your way. I recommend chopping everything before any of the cooking begins. You’ll start by chopping the chicken into 1-inch pieces and chopping all of your vegetables. Next, you’ll sauté the chicken until mostly cooked-through, then add the vegetables and spices. Cover with beer, stir, and let simmer until it smells like heaven in your house. For extra oomph, I stir in a cup of jarred queso blanco. This is certainly optional if you’d prefer a thinner soup consistency, or you don’t care for queso. But if you’re open to it, you should definitely try.

Looking for other hearty recipes?

Try these delicious options from The Ardent Cook

Pineapple Chipotle Chicken Enchiladas with Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce

Potato, Leek, and Corn Chowder

Aromatic Chicken Meatball Curry

Recipe Ingredients

3tbsp olive oil

2lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 medium yellow onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

4 tbsp chili powder

2 tsp salt, plus more to taste

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1 (15oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 (15oz) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1 (28oz) can crushed tomatoes

1 (4oz) can diced green chiles

1 (12oz) can beer

1 cup jarred queso blanco

Recipe Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Chop chicken breasts into 1-inch pieces. Add to the oil, along with the bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Cook for 5-7 minutes, until chicken is mostly cooked through (it’s ok if it’s not all the way cooked, it will finish as the soup simmers). 
  2. Add the chili powder, salt, cumin, and coriander. Stir to coat the chicken and vegetables. Cook for a minute or so, then add the beans, tomatoes, green chiles, and beer. 
  3. Lower the heat and let the soup simmer for 25 minutes, uncovered. Remove the soup from the heat and stir in the queso. 
  4. Ladle into bowls and serve with loads of sour cream and fresh cilantro. Maybe a cold beer, too. Enjoy!

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Buttered Sage Breadcrumbs

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Buttered Sage Breadcrumbs is the perfect fall comfort dish. A filling of ground pork, celery, shallots, garlic, and apples is finished with delicious golden raisins and fresh sage and thyme. It all gets tossed with cubes of sharp Irish cheddar and stuffed inside tender roasted acorn squash. And the best part? These are topped with buttered sage breadcrumbs, which you can’t even imagine until you taste them. They are phenomenal. Caramelized squash, savory herbs, melty cheddar, crisp breadcrumbs…oh my.

Ingredients needed to make Stuffed Acorn Squash with Buttered Sage Breadcrumbs

These squash pack a lot of flavor, and therefore the ingredient list is semi-long. Don’t fret. It’s a super easy process and everything gets made in one skillet then baked on one sheet pan. Not as overwhelming as you thought, right? Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Acorn squash
  • Olive oil
  • Ground pork
  • Shallots
  • Celery
  • Apple
  • Fresh or dried sage
  • Fresh or dried thyme
  • Fresh garlic
  • Golden raisins
  • Sharp Irish cheddar
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sourdough or other crusty bread
  • Butter

Tools used to make Stuffed Acorn Squash with Buttered Sage Breadcrumbs

The filling for these squash comes together in one skillet, which makes for pretty easy clean-up. You’ll also need a sharp knife, large cutting board, a chopper or food processor (to make the breadcrumbs), and a sheet pan or baking dish. That’s a small list, right?!

How to make Stuffed Acorn Squash with Buttered Sage Breadcrumbs

Making these squash requires a few steps. First, we need to prep and chop our vegetables. You’ll want to wash and dry everything before use, then start by halving and cleaning the seeds out of the squash. Set those aside and finish chopping the shallots, celery, apples, and garlic. If you’re using fresh herbs, you can also take this time to mince those up.

The squash get roasted with olive oil, salt, and pepper, for about 35-40 minutes until fork tender. Moving on to the filling, begin by heating your skillet over medium heat. You’ll sauté the pork along with the shallots and celery until the pork is cooked, then add the apples, herbs, and garlic and cook for a few minutes more. Stir in the cheddar, stuff into the squash, and top with those delicious buttered sage breadcrumbs (which take about 2 minutes to make by the way). Lastly, you’ll pop them back in the oven to melt that cheese and get the breadcrumbs nice and golden. Perfection!

Looking for other flavorful autumn recipes?

Try these other comforting dishes from The Ardent Cook!

Potato, Leek, and Corn Chowder

Roasted Apricot Chicken

Harvest Steak and Goat Cheese Bowls

Recipe Ingredients

For the Stuffed Acorn Squash

2 large acorn squash

1 tbsp olive oil

1lb ground pork

2 medium shallots, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

1 medium apple, diced

½ tsp dried or 2 tsp fresh sage

¼ tsp dried or 1 tsp fresh thyme

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup golden raisins

½ cup sharp Irish cheddar, diced into small cubes 

Salt and pepper, top taste

For the Buttered Sage Breadcrumbs

2-3 large slices sourdough or other crusty bread

3-4 fresh sage leaves

2 tbsp butter

Salt and pepper, to taste

Recipe Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and strings. Drizzle each half with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake, cut side down, for 45 minutes or until squash are fork tender. 
  2. In a large skillet, brown the pork, shallots, and celery, about 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the apple, sage, thyme, and garlic and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes, until the apple is just soft. 
  3. Make the breadcrumbs. Pulse the bread in a food processor or high speed blender until a crumb forms. Melt butter in a skillet and add the sage leaves. Fry the sage leaves for 1-2 minutes until crispy, then add the breadcrumbs and stir to coat in the butter. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the sage leaves and set the breadcrumbs aside. 
  4. Remove the filling from the heat and fold in the golden raisins and cheddar cubes. Spoon the filling into each half of the squash and top with the breadcrumbs. Return to the oven for another 10 minutes, or until breadcrumbs are golden brown.
  5. Serve immediately, or wrap tightly in foil and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. When ready to eat, place the entire foil-wrapped squash half on a sheet tray and heat in the oven at 350 for 10-15 minutes. Enjoy!

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.