Hello and welcome to Kelly's Kitchen.  I've got another delicious post for you today: a Spring & Summer pasta roundup.

Below, I've collected 5 of my favorite pasta recipes from the past year and put them together for you.  If you're interested in making any or all, just follow the links for the full recipe card.

The Summary

  Kelly is sharing 5 pasta recipes perfect for Summer & Spring.

  You can get the full recipe card for a dish by clicking the link at the end of each section

Spring & Summer Pasta Roundup

1. Mediterranean Tuna Salad With Pasta

Today I have an incredibly easy salad, customizable and so very delicious. A citrus dijon dressing dresses this tuna salad; with celery, cucumber, radishes, green and red onions, and plenty of herbs, Kalamata olives and Pepperoncini for flavor.

The pasta is totally optional; this salad is fantastic on its own or as a sandwich. But I had a craving for cold pasta, and I love how the spirals of perfectly al dente Rotini pick up bits of tuna, lemon zest, seasoning and herbs – Oh my goodness, this is so good!

Let’s get to the recipe: Mediterranean Tuna Salad with Pasta.

tuna salad with pasta

2. Pasta and Sugar Snap Peas with Burrata

We are kicking off this first week of May with a lovely bowl of Pasta and Sugar Snap Peas with Burrata. But it’s so much more than that. We have bouncy fusilli pasta and crunchy green snap peas, tossed with lemon juice, fresh garlic and olive oil; topped with fruity, spicy Calabrian chilis; creamy burrata, and toasted breadcrumbs.

There is a wonderful harmony when these ingredients come together; between the flavors and the textures, this dish is a bowl of ultimate satisfaction. Let’s do it!

pasta sugar snap peas burrata

3. Easy Baked Feta Pasta

Apparently Baked Feta Pasta took the internet by storm a while back. I came late to this internet craze, but fortunately for those of us not on the cutting edge of things, there is no expiration date on easy, delicious recipes. I have a Baked Feta appetizer recipe on the blog, so today, we take that a few steps further with Easy Baked Feta Pasta.

This is a choose-your-own adventure kind of recipe so consider what veggies you might like to swap in or out – get creative! Let’s jump right in.

baked feta

4. Summer Pasta With Zucchini and Tomatoes

It’s almost summer, so I thought a nice, light summer pasta dish might be just the ticket for today. This dish comes together really quickly; it’s so fresh and veggie forward with fresh herbs and a lot of fresh garlic.

We are using Pappardelle pasta for this recipe. I love the Cipriani Pappardelle because while it is a long, wide strip of pasta, it’s very thin and light. Let’s get right to it, like I said, it’s a quick cook recipe – perfect for a weeknight.

summer pasta

5. Pasta with Spring Vegetables and Creamy Goat Cheese

This is a great pasta recipe; creamy, light, and so easy to customize to whatever veggies and herbs you have in the fridge. Today, I have asparagus and fresh English peas, with tarragon, dill and basil. The creamy, tangy goat cheese sauce is super simple – just goat cheese and pasta cooking water. As for the pasta shape, use your favorite!

I happen to really like large tubular pastas because they tend to gather and hold herbs and veggies inside, so it’s easy to get a perfect bite, loaded with veggies and flavor. Let’s make Pasta with Spring Vegetables and Creamy Goat Cheese.

pasta spring vegetables goat cheese

In Case You Missed It

Saturdays are a 2-post day.  This morning, Marlene recounted her Mother's Day memories over tea and coffee. Make sure to click the title or image below to read the article.

Hello and welcome to Kelly's Kitchen.  We've got another delicious post today:  5 classic salads perfect for Spring and Summer.

Below, I've rounded up 5 of my favorite salad recipes from my blog and put them together in one place.  If you're interested in making any or all, just follow the links for the full recipe card.

The Summary

  Kelly is sharing 5 classic salads perfect for Summer & Spring.

  You can get the full recipe card for a dish by clicking the link at the end of each section

5 Classic Salads Perfect For Spring & Summer

1. Classic Wedge Salad

Today I have one of my favorite steakhouse starters; the Classic Steakhouse Wedge Salad. Buttermilk blue cheese drizzle, dressed tomatoes and bacon pieces; this salad is so simple, yet so refreshing and savory.

I think the Wedge Salad is often maligned because of the iceberg lettuce (mostly), but then also the bacon and blue cheese don’t do it any favors in the nutrition department. But I don’t care what anyone says; I love a well-balanced Wedge Salad. Let’s do this Wedge!

steakhouse wedge salad

2. Chef Salad

Sometimes a giant salad loaded with veggies, meats and cheeses is the perfect kind of supper. Especially if you’re feeling creative but not in the mood to do much cooking.

Making a big salad like this really gets the creative juices going; arranging the ingredients according to color and texture is so satisfying. And then you end up with a gorgeous bowl of salad that is worth presenting to a dinner party! Let’s get to it!

classic chef salad

3. Cobb Salad

This is a perfect meal for a lazy summer Sunday. A salad of epic proportion; the Cobb Salad has bacon, rotisserie chicken, avocado, eggs, tomatoes and gorgonzola. Dressed in a simple red wine vinaigrette. We love a big salad at the Djalali House, sometimes it’s just for convenience. But other times, like this time, we are pulling out all the stops.

By which I mean, we made our own rotisserie chicken. Recently Alex got a rotisserie grill accessory, and I have to say, this thing is pretty cool. As we watched the chicken turn on the spit, visions of rotisserie-d everything were dancing in my head. But I digress, Let’s get to the recipe!

classic cobb salad

4. Antipasto Salad

Today, we have an Antipasto salad that is great any time of the year. I first saw this recipe on Bon Appétit as a summer salad that called for fresh basil. I went to two different grocery stores on two different islands and there was no basil to be found!

So I have swapped the basil for fresh flat leaf parsley, and I think it works out just fine. I also mixed things up a bit by using two different kinds of salami; one spicy and one mild.  So, let's get to the recipe.

classic antipasto salad

5. Classic Caesar Salad

Today I have another favorite post from Kelly’s Kitchen: Classic Caesar Salad. Sure you can buy a bottle of Caesar dressing from the grocery store and there are cheats to making your own Caesar dressing; I have used them. Namely, using mayonnaise as a base.

This is totally fine. But I will say that when you make the whole thing from scratch, the difference will surprise you. The result is more luscious and doesn’t have that mayonnaise tang. Let’s get right to it!

classic caesar salad

In Case You Missed It

Remember, Saturdays are a 2-post day.  This morning, Marlene put together a great Mother's Day Gift guide.  Make sure to click the title or image below to read the article.

Hello and welcome to a Sunday edition of Kelly's Kitchen.  Usually, we post on Saturdays, but because of technical difficulties we pushed.  Still, I think we've got a fun and delicious post today:  a Spring & Summer Sandwich round-up.

Below, I've collected 6 of my favorite sandwich recipes and put them together for you.  If you're interested in making any or all, just follow the links for the full recipe card.

The Summary

  Kelly is sharing 6sandwich recipes perfect for Summer & Spring.

  You can get the full recipe card for a dish by clicking the link at the end of each section

Spring & Summer Sandwich Round Up

1. The Best Roast Chicken Sandwich

Hello and welcome! Today we have an easy recipe today for a Roast Chicken Sandwich. I love these sandwich recipes because you can use leftovers and small bits of what you have left in the fridge to dress up the sandwich.

I am using leftover roasted chicken breast from the Chef Salad we had yesterday. Also, leftover lettuce, dill and a shallot – perfect for topping this sandwich. You can use whatever kind of cheese you like. Also, omit the chicken if you want to make a veggie sandwich – anything goes! Let’s get to it, The Best Roast Chicken Sandwich!

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2. My Take On The Southern Tomato Sandwich

I have another recipe that puts the tomato at center stage. As luck would have it, my tomato plants set a ton of fruit this year and a whole bushel of tomatoes are ready at the same moment. After a sad showing of tomatoes last summer, I did a bunch of research for this summer’s growing season and it’s been quite rewarding to see that effort pay off.

A Tomato Sandwich is a very simple sandwich, but this recipe is so much more than a few slices of tomato on bread with mayo.

I took a big detour with this recipe and instead of the classic white sandwich bread, I used sourdough focaccia I made and froze back in the wintertime. A departure from the classic Southern Tomato Sandwich, but no less delicious!

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3. Picnic Sandwich with Artichoke Pepper Spread

Picnic season is upon us and today, we are making a great Picnic Sandwich. This is one of those easily customizable recipes that you can throw together over the course of a morning and have it ready for an afternoon picnic, or keep it wrapped in the fridge until the next day.

I think the real star of this Picnic Sandwich is the Artichoke Pepper Spread – artichoke hearts, garlic, basil, sweet Piquanté peppers and Calabrian chilis processed together and stirred with olive oil to make a savory, sweet and spicy sandwich spread. Let’s get to it!

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4. Hawaiian-Style Barbecue Chicken Sandwich

We had a string of sunny days before the rain set in (thanks to Tropical Depression Fred), so we headed out to the grill for Hawaiian-Style Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches. Sesame teriyaki-marinated chicken thighs grilled and sandwiched with coleslaw and crispy onions, between a pillowy-soft Hawaiian sweet bun.

These sandwiches require minimal effort; they are super flavorful and perfect after a day at the beach or by the pool. Plus, there is a possibility of leftovers, which work out just as well cold to pack along for the next day’s activities. So let’s do it!

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5. My Take On The Italian Sandwich

I have an easy one today – my Take on an Italian Sandwich. I am eschewing definitions for this sandwich though. Because honestly, I suppose the only traditional Italian thing about it is the Italian dressing and the fact that it has a few meats, some provolone, tomato, lettuce and a homemade giardiniera. Get as creative as you want to with this one! Let’s get to it.

Screen Shot 2022-04-24 at 1.36.52 PM

6. Best Ever Tuna Melt

Like the Wedge Salad, the Tuna Melt is an American invention. The story of the Tuna Melt though, is that of an accident. The story goes that during a busy shift at the Woolworth’s lunch counter in Charleston, South Carolina, a bowl of tuna salad perched above the griddle, fell atop a grilled cheese sandwich while it was open-faced, on the griddle.

So maybe it’s more like the accidental invention of Toasted Ravioli, when a ravioli accidentally fell in the deep fryer. I love it when an accident becomes an icon! Let’s do this Best Ever Tuna Melt!

Screen Shot 2022-04-24 at 1.38.45 PM

In Case You Missed It

Because of technical difficulties, we moved Kelly's Kitchen to a Sunday.  If you missed our normal Sunday Post, make sure to click the title or image below to read the article.

Hello and welcome to Djalali Cooks. Easter is upon us! With a few days left to go, today I am sharing a round up of recipes that would make great additions to your Easter Brunch…even if it’s a small affair, or you don’t have any plans, here are several recipes perfect for brunch – plus a few sweet ideas. It’s the Easter Brunch Recipe Round up.

The Summary

  Kelly is sharing 10 recipes perfect for brunch

  You can get the full recipe card for a dish by clicking the link at the end of each section

Easter Brunch Round Up

1. Quiche Lorraine

Quiche hit its hey day in America in the 1980’s. And that’s when quiche became kitsch. Remember the book, Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche…(written by Bruce Feirstein) It came out in 1982 and was a tongue-in-cheek guidebook that satirized the masculine stereotypes of the era.

The title is a direct response to the fad of quiche being a feminine, “ladies who lunch” type of food. Funny, because quiche has a long European history dating all the way back to the 12th century. So today we’re going back to the origins of quiche with Quiche Lorraine.

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2. Shrimp and Grits

I love shrimp and grits. I am compelled to order them any, and every, time I see them on a menu. But, I had never made them myself. Well, that had to change, especially while we’re here at Tybee. So today, we are making cheesy grits and shrimp, with an egg, for breakfast.

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3. Spinach and Mushroom Frittata with Feta

I love a frittata any time of day; serve it with a salad and you have a nice, well-rounded meal with plenty of veggies and nutrients. Plus after a week of heavy holiday food and sweets, it’s a welcome change of pace to eat a little on the lighter side. Let’s get right to it!

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4. Ham and Cheese Breakfast Croissant Sandwhich

Let’s go for broke and make a Ham and Cheese Breakfast Croissant Sandwich. I love the flavors of a Croque Madame, so are we starting there and throwing in our little twist with the croissant. This recipe is super easy, you can make a bunch of them at a time if you have a house full, or you can do one or two. The effort is pretty much the same. Let’s do these Breakfast Sandwiches!

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5. Crab Cake Eggs Benedict

I know brunch is a thing all year long but, to me, the best brunches are those dined al fresco. So naturally, spring feels like brunch season. Today, I am sharing a recipe for Crab Cake Eggs Benedict – perfect for making any brunch a special one, al fresco or not. This recipe might seem intimidating but I have written it step by step – what to do when – so everything will come out together without frazzling your nerves. Let’s get right to it!

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6. Street Style Breakfast Tacos

There are three things we always have on hand in the fridge; eggs, Mexican chorizo and corn tortillas. And it just so happens that the combination of these three items makes a perfect breakfast. Easy, quick and delicious, these simple Street-Style Breakfast Tacos can be topped with onions and cilantro. You can toss on some cheese, if you like. Today, I am going with a little Mexican crema and hot sauce. Let’s get to it!

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7. Buttermilk-Vanilla Panna Cotta with Berries and Honey

Panna Cotta is light and refreshing, and it always seems fancy, even when it’s presented simply – so I had to feature it in today’s Easter Brunch Recipe Round Up. Panna Cotta is one of the easiest desserts I have ever made! It’s perfect for a cookout or barbecue because you can present it simply in a glass or plastic cup and have individual portions all ready to serve, covered in the fridge. Let’s get right to the recipe!

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8. Coconut Macaroons

Coconut Macaroons are a hit all year long. Crispy on the outside, lightly sweet and chewy on the inside. They’re light and perfectly sized for a sweet bite. Dip the bottoms in dark chocolate for a decadent treat. Super easy, quick and gluten free, these cookies are a wonderful addition to a holiday spread.

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9. Dark Chocolate Brownie Cookies

I really love these cookies because they are exactly like the best part of a brownie; slightly crunchy edges and a crackly top, with a soft and chewy center. Super chocolatey and fudgy. A slightly salty edge tempers the rich chocolate and rounds out the flavor. Absolutely perfect with a cup of coffee in the morning, or a cup of tea in the afternoon. Or, maybe a glass of red wine after dinner. Let’s get to these Dark Chocolate Brownie Cookies!

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10. The Best Sugar Cookies

No matter the holiday, Sugar Cookies are always a winning treat. They can be cut into whatever shapes you like and decorated to your heart’s desire. I have come to realize that having a reliable, easy (read: hard to screw up) Sugar Cookie recipe is a must. It is typical for me to over-work dough; this recipe really solves that problem because it all comes together in the food processor. Let’s get to the easiest, Best Sugar Cookies!

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In Case You Missed It

Remember, Saturdays are a two-post day.  Marlene showed us how to decorate for the Easter holiday. Click the title or image below to read the article.

Hello, welcome! I am happy you’re here today. Today’s recipe is a special request from Alex, who has been sorely missing his favorite falafel sandwich. Falafel is a chickpea fritter, with herbs and spices, fried to a golden brown. It’s often served in a pita with cucumbers, tomatoes, and tahini sauce or hummus. My favorite place to get falafel was near my old office in Cupertino, California and you could get your falafel sandwich with herby french fries tucked inside. So good! Today, we can do it however we like because this easy and delicious falafel homemade falafel I have ever tasted! Let’s do it, Falafel with Tahini Yogurt Sauce.

Start by soaking the 8 ounces (about 1 and 1/4 cups) dried chickpeas overnight. It’s not recommended to use canned chickpeas because they will make the falafel stodgy, and I reckon it’s because the canned chickpeas are already cooked, so instead of going into the mixture firm and uncooked, they will just get overcooked and mushy in the hot oil.

Tahini Yogurt Sauce

Let’s make the sauce first, so the flavors can mingle while we make the falafel. This is a really simple sauce; equal parts tahini and full fat, plain Greek yogurt; mixed with a little lemon juice, salt to taste, and water to thin it out. Mix the tahini, yogurt, and 1/4 cup lemon juice to a smooth consistency. Add a tablespoon of water at a time to thin it out to your desired consistency and then add a pinch of Kosher salt at time, and taste to add more salt as necessary. By the time we add the sauce to our falafel, you may want to add a little more water to thin it out a little more.


In a food processor, process the chopped parsley, cilantro leaves and stems, chopped onion, garlic, coriander, cumin, salt, and cayenne to a pesto-like consistency.

Then add the soaked and drained chickpeas to the processor and pulse several times, until the chickpeas are chopped into sesame seed-sized pieces.

Transfer the falafel mixture to a large bowl and set aside. Now for the unexpected part. A cooked flour mixture will bind the falafel so we can form it into balls. The cooked flour (rather than dry, uncooked flour) will help keep the falafel moist and tender. In a small bowl whisk 1/4 cup flour and 1/4 cup water to a smooth, lump-free consistency.

Now, microwave this mixture 5 seconds at a time, stirring at the intervals, until the mixture cooks into a thick pudding-like paste. Depending on the power of your microwave, this can take 10-50 seconds. My mixture took about 18 seconds. I overcooked it 2 times; it’s overdone when the mixture becomes a hard lump. The original recipe suggests checking it every 10 seconds, but for me, even 20 seconds was overcooking it. So I played it safe and checked and stirred it every 5 seconds.

This is a properly cooked flour paste

Then we add two teaspoons baking powder to the cooked flour mixture. While the cooked flour mixture will keep the falafel moist, the baking powder will keep the falafel light. Stir in the baking powder and you will see the flour mixture immediately lighten up and get fluffy.

Now, add this flour/baking powder mix to the falafel mixture and stir until the flour mix is completely incorporated.

Form the Falafel

Line a sheet tray with a sheet of parchment and set it next to the bowl of falafel mix. I have a two-tablespoon cookie scoop that I am using to shape the balls.

I scooped the balls to get them all measured out, and then went back and formed the scoops into balls, like a meatball. This mixture yielded 18, 2.5 tablespoon falafel balls. Place the sheet tray in the fridge while we set up the fry station. Add 2 quarts of vegetable oil to a dutch oven fitted with a thermometer; place a wire rack inside a sheet tray (to catch the fried falafel); set a spider or slotted spoon nearby.


The key to successful frying at home is organization. Setting up your fry station thoughtfully will make the frying go smoother, minimizing the likelihood of burnt food and hot oil accidents. It will also help keep things clean. Set up your pot of oil on a corner front burner. Then place one sheet pan on either side of the pot. One for the food to be fried, and one for the food that is already fried. Have your spider skimmer close. Use a candy thermometer that clips to the pot securely. Have your kosher salt near the fried food tray so you can season the food as soon as it comes out of the oil.

Over medium-high heat, get the oil up to 325 degrees. While we wait for that, slice some cucumber, grape tomatoes, iceberg lettuce, and rough chop some cilantro and parsley. Set those toppings aside. When the oil is at temp, drop in about 5-6 falafel. Wait about 30 seconds, then use the spider or a long-handled spoon to gently stir the falafel balls in the oil to keep them from sticking. Gently dislodge any falafel if they stick to the bottom of the pot.

When they are deep golden brown (about 4-5 minutes), scoop them out and set them on the wire rack, and season with Kosher salt. Repeat with remaining falafel. Adjust the heat as necessary to maintain the 320-325 degree temp of the oil.

Plate it up!

When the falafel is all fried to golden perfection, warm some pita or flatbread (I have lavash) and place the warmed bread on a plate.

Add a small handful of shredded lettuce, then drizzle on some of the tahini yogurt sauce. Place a few falafel and drizzle on some more tahini sauce. Top with cucumber, tomatoes, herbs, and hot sauce, if you like.

So gorgeous, colorful, fresh, and flavorful! The falafel is crunchy and light, and the interiors are perfectly cooked, not at all stodgy. Restaurant-worthy falafel right in your own kitchen!

To serve on a flatbread like lavash, just assemble the ingredients lengthwise down the center and roll up the long sides like a burrito or fold like a taco and enjoy!

I hope you make this Falafel with Tahini Yogurt Sauce! It’s so good; a wonderful light, vegetarian meal. And while I am not a huge fan of deep-frying, the little falafel balls are not messy to fry and the whole thing goes really quickly. You can find a similar sandwich, but with Chicken Kofta, on the blog, and I definitely recommend trying this wonderful falafel recipe! Let me know if you make this dish, reach out to me on Instagram or Facebook, or leave a comment below – I love to hear from you! Take care and be well, xo Kelly

[Click here to get KELLY’S RECIPE CARD]

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In case you missed it

Remember, Saturdays are a two-post day.  Make sure to check out Marlene’s guide to building a Spring tablescape.

Contributor Kelly Djalali shows us how to make hot honey chicken.

Hello, friends. Welcome to Djalali Cooks. Today we have a Hot Honey Chicken that gets me a little closer in my quest for recreating my favorite Honey Chili Chicken; a dish that I have been missing for several years. Chef Gia’s was a Hunan restaurant in San Francisco’s Chinatown. I frequented Gia’s for 17 years. Every time I moved from The City, I missed Gia’s most of all. And every time I moved back to SF, it was the first place I went. This dish is similar only in flavor, but for me it’s a step closer to my beloved Honey Chili Chicken. So let’s make Hot Honey Chicken!

The original recipe, by Cooks Country does not call for dredging the chicken pieces in flour, but I am doing that today because I am using skinless, boneless thighs and I want the outside of the chicken to get a golden crust. Opt out of this step if you like, but I think it gives the chicken a nice crunch that holds up to the sauce nicely. You can use any combination of bone-in chicken pieces you like best; skin-on, or skinless. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, we will finish the chicken in the sauce, in the oven.

Pat the chicken dry and season both sides with a mix of cumin and salt. Dredge each piece of chicken in the flour and shake off the excess, set the dredged pieces on a wire rack placed in a sheet pan. Set the finished pieces aside and we can make the hot honey.

Hot Honey

Honey, Franks Red Hot Sauce and minced garlic are the only three ingredients for the hot honey. The Franks Red Hot is not super spicy and the vinegar in the sauce is a really nice compliment to the honey, a very well-balanced hot honey sauce. Mix these three ingredients to together very well, to fully emulsify the honey.


An Adjustable Measuring Cup is such a handy tool for measuring sticky ingredients like honey. It’s also great for ingredients like mayonnaise and other sauces that are hard to scrape out of a traditional measuring cup. It features plunger-style bottom piece that you use to push the ingredient out; with a silicone coated base to cleanly sweep all of the measured ingredients from the sides of the cylinder.

Brown the Chicken

In a 12-inch, oven-safe skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of grapeseed or vegetable oil over medium-high heat until the oil just begins to smoke. Add the chicken pieces to the skillet and brown both sides. I had to work in two batches to get all 8 thighs browned initially. Once all your chicken is browned, transfer the chicken to a plate momentarily and drain off the fat in the pan. Then, return the chicken to the empty skillet.

Pour the hot honey sauce evenly over the chicken pieces and place in the preheated oven for 17-20 minutes, until the thighs register an internal temperature of 175 degrees. If you’re cooking breasts, those are ready when the internal temperature reads 160 degrees.

When the chicken is cooked to temp, remove from the oven and let the chicken rest in the skillet for about 10 minutes. Transfer pieces to a platter and return the skillet to the stovetop. Over medium-high heat, bring the pan juices up to a boil and let thicken slightly, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to low and whisk in butter and lime juice. Whisk until butter is melted. Remove from heat.

Hot Honey Chicken

Spoon sauce evenly over the chicken pieces.

Top with sliced scallions.

This dish is so delicious! It’s spicy and sweet; the chicken has a nice crispy exterior and the interior is moist and juicy. The fresh scallions give a little crunch and pop of fresh onion flavor.

As I mentioned at the top, flavor-wise, this dish comes very close to the Honey Chili Chicken in my memory. Gia’s Honey Chili Chicken is fried in small pieces – Gia’s is much spicier, but all the right notes are here. This is a step closer for me, as I try to reconstruct Gia’s dish from memory; I will get there eventually, and when I do, I will be so excited to share the recipe here, with you!

Recently, I did another dish that reminded me, once again, of the power of certain foods and recipes to transport us to times past: Not So Sloppy Joe’s, check out that recipe if you’d like a delicious trip down memory lane!

Thank you so much for spending some time with me today. Definitely make this recipe for Hot Honey Chicken, it’s outstanding – a sure winner! Pin it on Pinterest, because this recipe is one you will want to repeat. Take care and be well, xo Kelly

[Click here to get the RECIPE CARD]

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In case you missed it

We run two posts on Saturday:  Kelly’s Kitchen and Marlene’s tips for home design.  This week Marlene shows us how to add April flowers and scents to your homes.

Hello friends! Welcome to Kelly’s Kitchen on this beautiful fall Saturday. Way back, mid-summer, a reader requested a specific comfort food that I was so excited to make, but also felt like it would be better to wait until the weather turned cool. So, I put it on the back burner, so to speak. This week, though, I felt that it would be a great fall recipe to share with y’all. Today, we are making Arroz con Pollo – Latin chicken and rice. 


Don’t quote me on this, but I am pretty sure every culture has a chicken and rice recipe. The comfort food of a nation, chicken and rice has it all. No matter the cuisine, comfort is inherent to the humble main ingredients. We covered a Persian version with our Joojeh Kabob recipe, so let’s do a Latin version today.

Sazon Spice Blend

The main seasoning for this dish is a Latin spice blend called Sazon. You can find it already blended at some supermarkets, but it’s easy to make it yourself, as I did. Sazon consists of Coriander, Cumin, Oregano, Garlic Powder, Black Pepper, Salt and Achiote. 

Achiote gives this dish its golden color. It is interchangeable with Annato, which may sound familiar to you. Achiote and Annato are spices, but are more widely used as natural coloring agents for things like cheddar cheese, or chorizo.  

I don’t have Achiote or Annato in my spice cabinet, so I used Turmeric. Also, I have whole Coriander seeds, so I ground them in my handy spice grinder. Then I just whisked all the spices together and the result is a distinct Latin flavor and fragrance, mostly from the Cumin, but the fresh ground Coriander gives it a floral scent.

Sazon Seasoning

  • 1 tbsp Ground Coriander
  • 1 tbsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 tbsp Turmeric
  • 1 tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tbsp Kosher Salt
  • 2 tsp Oregano
  • 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  1. Combine all ingredients, mix well.

Arroz con Pollo

To start, I am using four bone-in skinless chicken thighs. But you can use anywhere from 4-8 thighs. Boneless or bone-in. Get the chicken thighs marinating in a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon Sazon, garlic powder and adobo. Let it come together while you prep the rest of the ingredients.


Rinse 2 ½ cups of long grain rice in a fine mesh sieve until the water runs mostly clear and set aside. Then, roughly chop the scallions, cilantro, ½ bell pepper (I am using red, but you can use whatever color you like), ½ onion and 3 cloves of garlic. These four ingredients will go into the food processor to create a chunky salsa-like consistency. Dice up the tomato and set aside. 

Then, in a dutch oven or a deep heavy bottom skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add the chicken thighs. Brown them for about 5 minutes each side. Then remove the thighs from the pan and set aside. 

Add one tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and sautè the onion, cilantro, pepper mixture until soft, about 3 minutes. 

Add the diced tomato and sautè for another minute. Then add the rice, sautè fora another minute and add the 4 cups water and bouillon. Stir well to dissolve the bouillon.

A note on the bouillon: I prefer Better Than Bouillon, to the powdered, cubed bouillon. Better Than Bouillon is a paste and I find its flavors are more concentrated and less salty; it melts instantly and a little goes a long way. If you haven’t tried it, I recommend you pick some up! 


Bring this to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer. At this point, I went rogue by adding a bag of frozen veggies. You can do this or not, I just wanted to add more texture and veg. Taste the broth and add more salt if needed. 


Then add the chicken thighs back to the pot and simmer until most of the water is reduced and you can see the rice near the top of the pot, about 7-10 minutes.

Now, reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid and let it simmer for 20 minutes. Then, turn off the heat altogether and leave the pot to sit, covered for 10 minutes. 

Finishing Touches

Plate up you Arroz con Pollo with a generous helping of rice and place a thigh on top. I added a squeeze of lime juice, a sprinkling of fresh cilantro and a pinch of finishing salt. I like Jacobsen or  Maldon Sea Salt Flakes for a nice crunch. 

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. I hope you try Arroz con Pollo – Latin Chicken and Rice. I am thinking that over the course of the season I will tackle Chicken and Rice recipes from different cuisines. So, if there is a Chicken and Rice dish you have always wanted to try, or that is special to you or where you’re from, please do let me know! Don’t forget you can find me on Instagram and Facebook too! Take care everyone, be well. xo Kelly

Arroz con Pollo – Latin Chicken and Rice

  • 4-8 Skinless Chicken Thighs
  • 1 tbsp Vinegar
  • 2 tsp Sazon Seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp Adobo Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 3 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Onion
  • 1/2 bunch Cilantro
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 5 Scallions
  • 1/2 Bell Pepper
  • 1 medium Tomato, diced
  • 2 1/2 cups Long Grain Rice
  • 4 cup Water
  • 1 Chick Bouillon Cube or 1 tsp Better Than Bouillon
  • Kosher Salt to Taste
  1. Season chicken with vinegar, 1/2-1 tsp sazon, adobo and garlic powder and let it sit at least 10 minutes.

  2. Place onion, cilantro, garlic, scallions and pepper in mini food processor. Process to a chunky salsa consistency.

  3. Heat a large deep heavy skillet on medium, add 2 tbsp oil when hot.

  4. Add chicken and brown 5 minutes on each side. Remove and set aside.

  5. Add remaining teaspoon of olive oil to the skillet and sauté onion mixture on medium-low until soft, about 3 minutes.

  6. Add tomato, cook another minute. Add rice, mix well and cook another minute.

  7. Add water, bouillon (be sure it dissolves well) and remaining sazon, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.

  8. Taste and add more salt if needed.

  9. Add chicken and bring to a boil. Simmer on medium-low until most of the water evaporates and you see the rice at the surface, then reduce heat to low heat and cover.

  10. Cook 20 minutes without opening the lid. Shut heat off and let it sit with the lid on an additional 10 minutes.

  11. Top with a squeeze of lime, a pinch of finishing salt and more cilantro.


Hi everyone! Welcome to Kelly’s Kitchen. Several weeks ago, a reader requested we cover salad dressings from scratch. You know the ones: Ranch, Caesar, Thousand island, Italian…I contemplated doing one big post with all of them, but then I thought I’d break them out a bit because at least one of them is slightly more complex. So that one is the star of the show today. Hello, Caesar! 


There are cheats to making your own Caesar dressing; I have used them. Namely, using mayonnaise as a base. This is totally fine. But I will say that when you make the whole thing from scratch, the difference will surprise you. The result is more luscious and doesn’t have that mayonnaise tang. 

Hello, Caesar! 

The ingredients are basic. We have olive oil and vegetable or grapeseed oil, lemon juice, egg yolks, garlic, Dijon, salt, pepper, parmesan and anchovy fillets. 

Y’all probably know this by now, but I like everything prepped and ready to go. So do that first. Trust me, it makes all the difference in the world if you just take the time to get it all prepped. 

Grate your Parmesan on the fine side of a box grater. Then gently rub the grated cheese between your fingers to create more of a granular texture, rather than stringy. It ends up being more like store bought grated cheese. All set.


Then, chop your one clove of garlic, a pinch of salt and six anchovy fillets together.

Once chopped, use the flat side of a wide chef’s knife to make a paste with the anchovies and garlic. Using your left hand (or right, if you’re a lefty :), apply pressure to the knife side as you drag the flat side of the knife down. Then push the mixture together and repeat pressing,  flattening and dragging the knife through the mixture until a smooth paste develops.

I like to use a large bowl with a rubberized bottom whenever I am whisking and pouring at the same time. If you have one, use it, or you can place a damp towel under a glass or plastic bowl. 

Then, scrape your anchovy paste into the bowl and whisk in your two egg yolks, two tablespoons lemon juice and ¾ teaspoon Dijon. Whisk until well mixed.

Then, a drop at a time start whisking in the two tablespoons of olive oil. Then in a steady stream, whisk in the ¾ cup of vegetable or grapeseed oil. (I like the grapeseed oil because it feels lighter than vegetable oil.)

Keep whisking until the mixture is thickened and glossy. Finally, whisk in the three tablespoons of finely grated parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Add more lemon juice, if you like. Then just set the bowl aside while you make the croutons.


Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. I am using half a loaf of homemade sourdough, but you can use a country loaf or other crusty bread. If all you have around is sandwich loaf bread, that’s OK! No matter what type of bread you’re using, just be sure to tear your pieces of bread to create a lot of craggy edges to collect the olive oil. 

I like to toss my bread chunks with olive oil in a large bowl, then spread them out on a rimmed sheet pan. Then, I season with salt and lemon zest. I had some leftover grated parm so I sprinkled that on too. Because, why the heck not!

Bake the croutons, toss them at least once, for about 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown. 

I don’t like my salad to be too weighed down with dressing, so I poured about ⅔ of a cup into a separate measuring cup, leaving about ⅓  cup in the mixing bowl. I tossed in my Romaine and poured about ⅓ of the dressing over the top and tossed it with my hands to coat the lettuce. 

Then I scooped the dressed lettuce into a serving bowl and set aside. Then I tossed my still warm croutons in the dressing left in the mixing bowl. Go ahead and pour a little more dressing over the croutons and toss to coat the croutons. 

Top the dressed lettuce with your dressed croutons and use a Y peeler or wide slice side of a box grater to shave ribbons of parmesan to place on top. Add more fresh cracked pepper, if you like. Hello Caesar!


And that’s it! I had some dressing leftover which I will use as a sandwich spread, probably. Or as a dip for some sourdough focaccia I made this week. Homemade Caesar dressing feels intimidating at first. Maybe it’s the anchovies. Or maybe it’s the egg yolks…? But it really is easy. It’s not like making a hollandaise sauce or anything that involves the eggs scrambling. Or butter and eggs breaking. So don’t be intimidated! 

I hope you say Hello, Caesar! and give this recipe a try. It’s a good one to have in your repertoire and it will definitely impress your friends and family when you can tell them it’s homemade Caesar dressing! 

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. If you’re interested in another classic salad, try my recipe for Three Bean Salad, or German Potato Salad. Stay tuned, I will cover more from-scratch salad dressings; and with the holidays coming up, let me know if there is anything in particular you’d like to see in this column. Don’t forget you can find me on Instagram and Facebook too! Take care everyone, be well. xo Kelly

Hello Caesar!

Caesar Dressing

  • 6 Anchovy Fillets, oil packed and drained
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • Kosher Salt
  • 2 large Egg Yolks
  • 2 tbsp Lemon Juice, plus more
  • 3/4 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup Vegetable or Grapeseed Oil (preferred)
  • 3 tbsp Parmesan Cheese, finely grated
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper


  • 3 cups Torn Bread Pieces, about 1" x 1"
  • 3 tbsp Olive Oil
  • Lemon Zest, optional
  • Grated Parmesan, optional
  • Kosher Salt
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  1. Chop together anchovy fillets, garlic, and pinch of salt. Use the flat side of a knife blade to smash into a paste, then scrape into a large bowl. Whisk in egg yolks, 2 Tbsp. lemon juice, and mustard.

  2. Drop by drop to start, gradually whisk in olive oil, then vegetable oil; whisk until dressing is thick and glossy. Whisk in finely grated Parmesan. Season with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired.

  3. Preheat oven to 375°. Tear bread into 1" chunks. Toss bread with olive oil in a bowl. Spread on a baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Bake, tossing occasionally, until golden, 10–15 minutes.

  4. Pour off 2/3 cup of dressing into separate cup, leaving 1/3 cup in the mixing bowl. Add Romaine to bowl and add about 1/3 cup more dressing on top. Toss with your hands to coat the lettuce and transfer to a serving bowl.

  5. In mixing bowl, toss croutons in dressing remaining in bowl, adding more dressing if desired. Toss to coat croutons in dressing. Top salad with croutons and shaved parmesan. Top with cracked black pepper, if desired.


Hello everyone, welcome to Kelly’s Kitchen. I am so happy you’re joining me today. Although fall has arrived, the temperatures in Athens this week have been in the high seventies. It’s been a very lovely fall so far. The warm sunny days haven’t deterred my cravings for brothy, savory soups though! So today, we are making Pork Noodle Soup with Ginger and Garlic. 


This recipe is by Alison Roman. It appeared on the NY Times Cooking site about six months ago. I made this pretty much to the recipe, without many modifications. But I am already looking forward to making it again with a few tweaks and additions, which I will share as we go along.

Pork Noodle Soup with Ginger and Garlic

For the grated ginger, I use my zester, but you can use the fine side of a box grater too. Also, don’t bother to peel the ginger, it’s not necessary, especially since you’re grating it, the skin virtually disappears. 

Also, a mandoline will give you nice even, thin garlic slices.

The recipe calls for one pound of ground pork, but I am going to cook off two pounds and remove about a pound of the cooked pork for something else. But first, let’s toast our garlic. You want to use a neutral oil, like vegetable oil or my favorite, grapeseed oil

Let the oil get hot over medium heat, toss the garlic into the pot in a single layer, if you can. Stir them frequently so they don’t get too dark, otherwise they will be bitter. Just a nice golden color. Use a slotted spoon to scoop them out and lay them on a paper towel. If some get too dark, you can just pick them out.

Add your pork and the crushed red pepper flakes to the same pot you toasted the garlic in. Season with Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Brown the pork and break it up into bite size pieces as it’s cooking.  

When your pork is browned, add your four cups of chicken stock, four cups of water, and three tablespoons of soy sauce. When I make this again, at this point I will add a tablespoon of Red Boat Fish Sauce

Bring this up to a simmer and add half the onions and all of the ginger. Taste it to see if it needs more soy sauce, salt or pepper. 

While it’s simmering, I got my water boiling in a separate pot for the noodles. The rice vermicelli only takes about 8-10 minutes to cook. Once the noodle water is boiling, turn off the heat, drop in the noodles, cover and set a timer for 8 minutes. 

Meanwhile, back to my soup. Now I add my spinach, and stir to wilt the leaves. I turned down the heat to very low and let it all come together.

When your noodles are cooked, strain them and I like to run cool water over them just to stop the cooking. The hot soup broth will warm them back up.


Let’s Plate Our Soup!

I like wide shallow bowls for noodle dishes like this, when I have a variety of toppings. I use about a handful of the rice vermicelli, and I just plop it into my bowl.

Then I ladled my soup over the noodles, making sure I scooped from the bottom of the pot to get a good amount of pork.

Then top with cilantro, remaining sliced onions and toasted garlic. I also added sliced red peppers for extra heat. My red peppers are actually Serranos that have turned red. But jalapeño or Thai chile would be good too. 


In addition to adding fish sauce to this broth, I would also add a little rice vinegar or lime juice right at the end. While the store bought chicken stock is more convenient, next time I might make a richer stock with pork or beef bones. But ultimately, this recipe is an easy weeknight dish with great flavors. The fresh onion and toasted garlic really amp up the savory richness. 

I love a brothy Asian-inspired soup any day of the year, but there’s something about the turn to fall when almost all I want to eat is soup! What’s your favorite fall dish to make? Let me know in the comments below! 

If you like Asian noodle dishes, you might like my recipe for Vietnamese Grilled Pork Noodle Bowls, it’s great any time of year! Thanks everyone for stopping by today, I hope you give this recipe a try. Don’t forget you can find me on Instagram and Facebook too! Take care everyone, be well. xo Kelly

Pork Noodle Soup with Ginger and Garlic

  • 3 tbsp Neutral oil like Grapeseed or Vegetable
  • 8 Garlic Cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb Ground Pork
  • 1 1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, more to taste
  • Kosher Salt and Black Pepper
  • 4 cups Chicken Broth
  • 4 cups Water
  • 3 tbsp Soy Sauce or Tamari, more to taste
  • 1 Large bunch pea leaves or spinach, stems removed, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp Finely Grated Fresh Ginger, from about 1 1/2" piece of ginger
  • 6 oz Rice Noodles, cooked and drained
  • 1/2 Medium yellow, white or red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup Cilantro, roughly chopped, stems and leaves
  1. Heat vegetable oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium.

  2. Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the slices become nicely toasted and golden brown, 2 or 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove garlic and set aside.

  3. Add pork and red-pepper flakes to the pot, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, using a wooden spoon or spatula to break up large pieces, until the pork is well browned and in small bite-size pieces, 5 to 8 minutes.

  4. Add chicken broth, soy sauce and 4 cups water. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 5 to 8 minutes or so, until the pork is very tender and the broth tastes impossibly good. (Give it a taste and season with salt, pepper, red-pepper flakes and soy sauce, if you want.) Add pea leaves, half of the onion slices, and all of the ginger. Stir to wilt the leaves.

  5. To serve, ladle soup over noodles and top with remaining onion, cilantro and toasted garlic.


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