Category Archives: recipes

posts in this category contain recipes!!!!

scallops with white beans, kale, and bacon

Valentine’s Day in the Dunchonley household usually means cooking a new recipe together for dinner. When discussing ideas this year, John suggested “something with scallops, beans, kale, and bacon”. An internet search for guidance yielded this simple recipe (with completely ridiculous copy). It was super quick, easy, and delicious. Here’s our take on it.

valentine scallops with beans, bacon, and kale

serves 2

8 (about 1/2 lb) large sea scallops
2 strips bacon, chopped into small pieces
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (14 oz) navy beans beans, mostly drained (keep some of the liquid)
1 bunch lacinto kale, with stems removed and roughly chopped
2 tbsp butter
Juice of one lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the bacon pieces in a medium pan until crispy; remove from pan and drain on paper towel.

Drain some of the bacon fat, if desired (we didn’t), and add the onion and garlic into the pan, with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until translucent, 2-3 minutes. Add the kale and sautée until it begins to wilt, 2-3 minutes. Add the beans and cook until heated through.

Meanwhile, blot scallops with paper towel and season them with salt and pepper. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat and add butter. Sear the scallops, 2-3 minutes on each side, until caramelized.

Just before serving, add lemon juice to the kale and bean mixture and stir. Add bacon back into the mixture.

Divide kale and bean mixture onto two plates and top with scallops.

We also enjoyed a couple of bucks to drink:

valentine bucks

makes 2 cocktails

4 oz bourbon (St George’s Breaking & Entering is a current favorite)

1 oz simple syrup (make this by heating equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan until sugar is dissolved; cool before using; store in a covered container in the fridge)

Juice of 1 Meyer lemon (about 1.5 oz; you can use a regular lemon too, but the Meyer gives a really nice mellow flavor)

Ginger beer (I like the unfiltered Bruce Cost kind)

Combine bourbon, simple syrup, and lemon juice in a shaker with ice. Shake well. Pour into two rocks glasses filled with rocks (duh). Finish with a splash of ginger beer.



butternut squash & sausage baked pasta

This is a great pasta bake for a cool fall or winter night — perfect for a cabin weekend.

Butternut Squash & Sausage Baked Pasta

Olive oil
1 butternut squash
1 pound hot sausage
1 box whole wheat pasta (13.25 oz; ziti, rotini, etc)
2 cups chicken stock
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 leek, finely chopped
1 bunch kale, roughly chopped
6 oz ricotta cheese
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded mozarella cheese
1 handful fresh basil, roughly chopped
1 handful fresh sage, roughly chopped
Salt & pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 450°. Cut squash in half lengthwise; drizzle inside with olive oil and season and salt and pepper. Place face-down on a baking sheet (covered with foil) and roast for about 45 minutes, or until squash is tender and the skin is bubbling and will be easy to peel off. Remove from oven and allow to cool before peeling off the skin. Mash the squash with a potato masher and set aside. Reduce oven temp to 400°.

2. Sautée 4 cloves of garlic and leeks in olive oil until tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add in mashed squash, chicken broth, parsley, and basil. Cook until heated through and smooth; stir in ricotta and remove from heat.

3. In another pan, sautéed remaining 2 cloves of garlic until fragrant. Add sausage, stirring frequently and breaking into small crumbles. When almost cooked, add kale and cook until wilted. 

4. Cook pasta to al dente. Drain and return to pot. Add squash mixture and sausage/kale mixture and stir with 1/2 cup Parmesan and 1 cup mozzarella cheese.

5. Butter a 9×13 or 11×13 baking dish. Pour pasta and sauce mixture into dish and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan and 1 cup mozzarella cheese.

6. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Feeds 6-8.

Serve with wine and good friends. Excuse drunken photography.


Adapted from here.

best macaroni salad

i’m breaking the blog silence for this bad boy…a little late for summer, but there’s still hope for your fall cookouts and football-watching parties…

best macaroni salad
inspired by my friend mary; adapted from america’s test kitchen

1 lb ditalini or elbow macaroni
1 cup mayonnaise
2 celery ribs, chopped fine
3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped fine
1/2 cup chopped black olives
1/2 cup minced sweet pickle
3/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1 lemon’s worth of juice (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup minced red onions
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the macaroni according to package directions until tender. Drain, do not rinse, and allow to cool in a big colander. (If you need to speed up the draining/cooling process, spread the macaroni evenly over paper towels and roll/pat dry.)

Toss the macaroni with the remaining ingredients and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour (even better: overnight) before serving.

since i forgot to photograph mine, this image is courtesy of I Believe I Can Fry, who has her own legit take on this salad!

since i forgot to photograph mine, this image is courtesy of I Believe I Can Fry, who has her own legit take on this salad!

dinner party

One of my favorite things to do is cook food and have friends over for dinner. I was really craving meatloaf this past week, so…

ultimate meatloaf

adapted from America’s Test Kitchen and The Pioneer Woman

olive oil
1-2 leeks, trimmed and chopped
some garlic, minced
some onion, diced
1/2 cup milk
3 slices of bread
1 lb. (or a little more) ground turkey
1/2 cup shredded parmesan
1/8 t seasoning salt
1 t dijon mustard
1 t Worchestershire
1/4 t thyme
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup ketchup
3 T brown sugar
hot sauce to taste

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Heat some olive oil in a pan; add leeks, garlic, and onions. Season with salt and pepper and cook until softened. Set aside.
  • Put bread in a medium-sized bowl and pour milk over it, allowing milk to soak in for a few minutes.
  • In a large bowl, combine turkey meat, milk and bread, leek/garlic/onion mixture, parmesan, mustard, worchestershire, thyme, seasoning salt, and pepper. Mix until integrated, probably using your (clean) hands. Add eggs and mix some more.
  • Prepare a cookie sheet for baking the meatloaf: line it with foil and place a cooling rack on top. Shape the turkey mixture into a loaf shape and put it on the rack.
  • In a small bowl, combine the ketchup, brown sugar, and hot sauce to make a sauce. Spread 1/2 of the sauce over the meatloaf.
  • Bake at 350 for 45 minutes; pour remaining sauce over meatloaf and cook another 15 minutes. Remove from oven, slice, and serve!!

If you were fancy and/or bacon-loving, you could criss-cross or wrap some slices of bacon around the meatloaf.

We served the meatloaf with basic mashed potatoes and a simple salad (best dressing: 1 T whole-grain mustard, 3 T balsamic, 3 T red wine vinegar, 9 T olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper), and brownies for dessert.

baked butternut squash kale risotto

i moved into a new apartment last weekend! it is still mostly in shambles, but the kitchen is set up, snaut has adjusted and is back to his ornery self, the water pressure in the shower is truly remarkable, and i’ve been sleeping well. things are off to a great start.

i made dinner at home for the first time tonight — i was inspired by this recipe, which showed up in my reader this week. perfect for a chilly san francisco night in a new, warm home!

baked butternut squash kale barley risotto
(adapted from real simple)

2 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cups butternut squash (not gonna lie, I used the 12 oz., pre-cut bag of it from TJ’s, but you could peel, seed, and cut up a whole one if you want)
2 brat-sized sausages, cut into bite-sized pieces (i like the garlic herb ones from TJ’s)
salt and pepper
1 cup pearl barley
1 cup white wine
2.5 cups vegetable broth
5 oz. kale (i used half the 10 oz. prepackaged bag from TJ’s…are you seeing the trend? the new apartment is a very short walk from TJ’s…)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 T butter

preheat the oven to 400. hope the oven thermostat is correct because you forgot to bring the oven thermometer from your last apartment. make a note to get one of those.

if you have a dutch oven, get that baby on the stove over some heat. if you don’t have one because you’re saving it for your wedding registry, a big, short saucepan or even a stockpot will do just fine.

pour in a few tablespoons of olive oil. put on some christmas music while the oil heats up!

add the onion, butternut squash, sausage, salt, and pepper. sauté until the onion is translucent, five minutes or so.

feed the cat so he stops being so damn underfoot all the time, jeez!

stir in the barley and toss/toast it for about a minute.

stir in the wine and let it burn off for a minute or two. while you’re waiting, pour yourself a glass. mmmm, charles shaw. (hey, moving ain’t cheap. and neither are apartments in san francisco. you can use nice wine if you can afford it, moneybags.)

add the stock and kale; cover the pot and let the kale wilt for a minute or two. then uncover it and stir in the wilted kale. bring the everything to a boil.

if you’re using a dutch oven, throw the lid on that baby and stick it in the preheated non-dutch oven. if you’re a hopeful woman living in sin, transfer the contents of your trusty stockpot to an oven-safe 2.5-quart casserole dish with a lid, cover it, and put that in the preheated oven. (bonus points if it’s vintage pyrex!! you’re going to make an awesome wife someday!)

bake it for 35-40 minutes.

change into pajamas and type up the recipe while drinking more wine and cuddling with the cat. eat a few potato chips for a snack if you must.

once the barley is tender and the liquid is mostly soaked up, take your delicious-smelling meal out of the oven. make a mental note to get some mitten-type potholders because the ones that you hold but don’t fit onto your actual hands really don’t cut it.


stir in some parmesan (about half a cup) and a tablespoon of butter for good measure.

let cool slightly to soak up the rest of the liquid and serve in brightly colored bowls with more parmesan and more wine. watch some TV while you eat and be super thankful for your awesome life!

breakfast for dinner!

things are happening. i got a job! a social work job! it was not ideal, but i did my best for a while, until i quit. because i got another job! another social work job! so i took it. and i’m on day 6 and it is super exhausting but i am loving it. also, john and i are talking about doing all kinds of exciting things. and they all involve money! more money than we have! so we’re trying to budget and save more and spend less.

yesterday, after a few hours of boring and anxiety-provoking (for me, anyway) financial discussion, we were hungry. and since we’re not honey badgers so we couldn’t go hunting, and since we’d just spent hours looking at how we spend our money so we didn’t want to go out and spend more money, and since who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner (i certainly do), we decided to make breakfast for dinner with stuff we already had in the kitchen! like rotten bananas! and half-and-half that wasn’t bad yet! and peanut butter!

i started with this recipe as a guide and made some substitutions and additions — it’s pretty forgiving. these are a little heartier and more crumbly than classic buttermilk pancakes — perfect for dinnertime.

pantry dinner pancakes

makes about 7 5-inch pancakes

1/4 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup milk (soy milk would also be fine, or all milk would be fine, or all half-and-half would be fine, if you were really crazy. just get to 1 and 1/4 cups of some kind of milk-ish substance.)
1 mashed up, overripe banana
1 cup whole wheat flour (or regular flour, if you hate healthy whole grains)
1/2 cup quick oats (or whole oats, if that’s what you have)
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
chocolate chips

in a small bowl, combine the peanut butter, milk, and banana.

in a medium bowl, combine the flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until just combined (don’t over stir!!!).

drop by 1/3 cup-full onto a heated, buttered skillet and cook for a few minutes on each side, until done. (if adding chocolate chips, sprinkle them on top of each pancake right after you pour the batter onto the skillet.)

enjoy with maple syrup and some bacon/sausage/ham you have in the fridge/freezer and feel good about not spending any money on dinner and still eating something delicious!


I recently purchased a little propane grill, and we have been grilling like crazy.


We’ve had the same basic dinner twice in the last week: chicken thighs marinated in Worcestershire and BBQ sauce and grilled; zucchini cut into strips, sprinkled with seasoned salt, and grilled; red and yellow bell peppers quartered and grilled; corn on the cob de-silked, oiled and salted, rewrapped in husk, and grilled. One night I made sweet potato fries as an extra side, and on Friday, I made biscuits for the first time!

I combined two recipes because I didn’t want to make a thousand biscuits (we devoured the 10 this recipe made between dinner and the next morning’s breakfast, oops), I wanted them to be cheesy, and I wanted to just use what I already had at home in the pantry/fridge.

small-batch cheesy biscuits!

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1/3 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small chunks (or use salted butter and omit salt)
3/4 cup milk
1/3-1/2 cup grated cheese (I used some cheddar and some parmesan-romano)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray (or butter it, if that’s more your style).
  2. Whisk together the flours, baking powder, sugar, cream of tartar, and salt in a medium-sized bowl.
  3. Add the butter chunks and cut in with a pastry blender, two forks, or two knives until you have a “coarse meal”.
  4. Stir in the cheese and black pepper.
  5. Slowly add the milk, stirring as you go until you have a soft dough.
  6. Turn the dough on to a floured board (my dough was really sticky) and knead to bring the dough together.
  7. Roll out (I actually just pressed) the dough to about 1-inch thick and use a biscuit cutter to cut out rounds (I used a 2-inch cutter). Reshape the scraps and keep cutting!
  8. Place biscuits on prepared pan and bake for 12-14 minutes, until the biscuits are puffy and golden brown.

Makes 10 biscuits, which you’ll no doubt eat very quickly.