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Creamy Weeknight 20-Minute Pumpkin Chicken Curry

I love how this curry is extra creamy with the addition of pumpkin puree! It's an easy sauce and goes great with chicken, and I love making it on a busy weeknight when I get home late. It's sooooo much better the next day too so I love reuing it for leftovers! Yum recipe! I love how this curry is extra creamy with the addition of pumpkin puree! It's an easy sauce and goes great with chicken, and I love making it on a busy weeknight when I get home late. It's sooooo much better the next day too so I love reuing it for leftovers! Yum recipe!

This creamy, 20-minute pumpkin chicken curry will be your new weeknight fave!

Curry is one of my definite go-to’s in the kitchen and it’s the bomb on a busy weeknight; just mix some stock and coconut milk with curry powder or curry paste, add in some veggies and protein, and serve over rice.

It’s also fabulous AS leftovers, too!  A huge pot of curry made at the beginning of the week makes for a few days of quickie, easy-pack lunches.

As a leftover lunch, this curry saves my life some days.

Since I work from home, I get a lot of work done in the quiet moments of naptime, early mornings, post-bedtime, and the three half-days a week that my kids go to the babysitter. This means that I have to capitalize on every moment they’re not with me and to be honest, there are a lot of days that i skip lunch or eat it super late.

Thankfully, those rushed lunches are best when there’s a leftover curry in the fridge. It reheats easily and tastes even better the next day or so after it’s made.

Picture this: it’s been a long ass day. You’re tired. You come home and you’ve got ingredients in the fridge… for a different recipe that you do not feel like dealing with right now. What happens next?

Ok, possibly takeout. But what if you don’t want to deal with that, either?

What if you could make something that takes roughly the same amount of time?

Something that uses those languishing ingredients in your fridge, and is stupidly easy to throw together?

The answer, my wonderfully busy friends, is a simple curry sauce.

Curry in a hurry is always the answer on a busy night. And this pumpkin chicken curry is quick and delicious!

If you’ve never made it before, don’t worry! You’ll be shocked at how simple it can be. The building blocks of curry store really well, so they’re an easy backup top keep around for busy nights. it takes as long as you need to cook rice in a pot, and dinner is served.

The best part? It’s even tastier the next day. Double duty bonus time.


20-Minute Creamy Pumpkin Chicken Curry
Author: Ruthy Kirwan
  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder or curry paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • for garnish: pepita seeds about 1/2 cup
  1. Combine the rice and 1 1/2 cups water in a small saucepan with a tight-fitting lid.
  2. Bring to a boil, then cover and turn the heat to low.
  3. Cook, stirring occasionally, 12-15 minutes or until the rice is cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside until serving.
  4. While the rice is cooking, heat the oil in a large saucepan until shimmering.
  5. Add the chicken to the pan and cook until the chicken has browned on both sides.
  6. Add the onions and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened and the garlic has become fragrant about 3-5 minutes.
  7. Stir in the curry powder or paste and ginger and toss to combine, then slowly whisk in the coconut milk, pumpkin puree, chicken stock, fish sauce, and lime juice.

  8. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer 10-12 minutes. Stir occasionally and let the sauce thicken slightly.
  9. Remove the sauce from the heat, cutting up the chicken into bite-sized pieces if desired.
  10. Serve the chicken sauce over the rice and garnish with pepitas.

Heck yes, that sounds awesome!

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Quinoa Risotto Baked Tomatoes

Creamy quinoa risotto stuffed baked tomatoes make a perfect vegetarian main course! This filling dish is sure to warm any heart.

Quinoa Risotto Baked Tomatoes
Author: Ruthy Kirwan
  • 1 small acorn squash seeds removed
  • for the quinoa risotto:
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small onion diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups tap water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • for the baked tomatoes:
  • 4-6 large tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • olive oil to taste
  1. Heat the oven to 450* and slice the acorn squash down the middle. Remove the seeds with a spoon, then place the squash on a baking sheet or wrap in aluminum foil and roast for 30 minutes, or until the flesh is soft and can be easily pricked with the tip of a knife or a fork. Set aside and let cool slightly. When the squash is cool enough to handle, mash the squash and reserve one cup. Any squash left over will freeze beautifully. (The squash can be roasted and mashed ahead of time)
  2. for the quinoa risotto:
  3. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, melt the butter over medium heat and add the onions, cooking until they are soft and translucent. Add the garlic and quinoa and stir until the garlic is very fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the cup of mashed squash, vegetable stock, heavy cream, and tap water and stir to combine. Turn the heat to low, and cook, uncovered and stirring often, for at least 1 hour to 2 hours. The risotto is ready when most of the liquid cooks away and the grains are soft all the way through.
  4. for the baked tomatoes
  5. Preheat the oven to 350*F. Cut a hole in the top of each tomato and, using a paring knife or a serrated spoon, dig a hole into the tomato, taking care not to pierce the bottom. Fill this cavity with the finished risotto, and top with a layer of panko breadcrumbs. Drizzle the breadcrumbs with a little olive oil.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until the skin on the sides of the tomato has just started to split and the flesh is hot. If the breadcrumbs are not crispy enough, broil the tomatoes for a minute or two until the breadcrumbs have browned.
  7. Serve hot.

15-Minute Homemade Beef Lo Mein with Bok Choy

This is crazy! It takes my delivery guy like 30 minutes to come to my house, so I gotta start making this easy beel lo mein recipe instead- wow! Good pin.

This is crazy! It takes my delivery guy like 30 minutes to come to my house, so I gotta start making this easy beef lo mein recipe instead of waiting on him- wow! Good pin.

Why order takeout if this easy beef lo mein only takes 15 minutes from start to finish?!

Every busy person has a few delivery places up their sleeve… or in the app on their smartphone. But what if you could make your favorite Chinese delivery option even faster than the guy can show up at your house!?

Bonus: you’ll know EXACTLY what goes into this beef lo mein. No hoping the restaurant went light on the oil this time, and you can add in as many extra veggies as you wish.

Or no veggies. Your call.

Whatever it is, you’re gonna go crazy for this insanely easy recipe.

I first made this beef lo mein with my students at the Percolate Kitchen Cooking Class for Busy People. It was done so quickly that I had to come up with a second recipe to make, just so we could adequately fill the time!

In fact, that’s what’s so great about this easy beef lo mein recipe; that you can totally add in as much or as little veggies as your heart desires.

But the real easiness lies in the fact that you don’t have to seek out traditional lo mein noodles if they’re not readily available in your area; you can just use regular pasta noodles from a standard Western grocery store.

Traditional lo mein is made with a wheat based noodle, so subbing a thin noodle like angel hair or spaghettini still gets you the same texture you’d find in a more authentic beef lo mein recipe.

So here’s what I would do, if I were you:

Buy a pound of hangar steak and a bottle of oyster sauce.

Get yourself some mushrooms and a box of angel hair pasta.

Make this lo mein on a night when you’re tired, you’re drained, you don’t feel like a big all-out meal. Relish in the fact that it takes 15 minutes to prepare.

If you’re feeling fancy, throw some spicy chili paste on top.

And congratulate yourself. Who needs Seamless delivery!?

15-Minute Beef and Bok Choy Lo Mein
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
15 mins
This is a simple, quick weeknight dish that not only packs a lot of flavors, but it’s incredibly versatile; I’ll often throw in as many veggies as I have since the sauce goes so well with everything! 

Lo mein is traditionally made with wheat flour based noodles, which means substituting regular old pasta-aisle noodles will work just as well as finding specialty noodles in the Asian aisle. Try to use angel hair or spaghettini (thin spaghetti) noodles; they won’t suck up as much sauce and keep the texture well-balanced.

Author: Ruthy Kirwan
  • 12 ounces spaghettini noodles (or angel hair)
  • 1/3 cup beef broth
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 3 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 3 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound hangar steak sliced thin against the grain
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms sliced
  • 1 large bunch bok choy ends trimmed and roughly chopped (about 4-5 small heads, or 10-12 large leaves)
  1. Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the package, then drain and set aside.
  2. While the noodles are cooking, mix the sauce ingredients together in a plastic container that has a tight fitting lid. Add the lid, making sure it’s secure, and then shake the contents until the sugar and ground ginger have dissolved. Set aside until needed.
  3. While the noodles are cooking, heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan set over medium heat. Heat until the oil is hot and shimmering.
  4. Add the beef and brown both sides.
  5. Add the mushrooms and bok choy and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have started to soften and the bok choy is beginning to wilt, about 3 minutes.
  6. Add the sauce and stir to combine, then bring to a simmer.
  7. Add the noodles and stir to combine. Let cook, stirring occasionally, for another 5-8 minutes or until the sauce has thickened slightly and the mushrooms have softened all the way through.
  8. Remove and serve hot.

Heck yes, that sounds awesome!

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Pan Seared Spinach Stuffed Chicken and Mushroom Marsala

An easy one pan chicken recipe with a sauce so delicious, you’ll want to lick the pan clean.

But maybe don’t, because not only is that a little like, you know, germy, but the pan could be hot.

Kind of not really a good look. You know?

But seriously, this is an easy one pan chicken marsala recipe that you’ll want to add to your weeknight recipe repertoire, pronto.

It does have a decent amount of butter and oil, and the base of the sauce is made with marsala wine (obvi), so this is not a low-fat diet recipe you pull out when you’re looking to lose some weight.

But what this easy chicken marsala recipe is is a comforting, delicious, savory and warming weeknight dinner, and I think your family is gonna love it.

You know those kinds of recipes that you just keep in your back pocket for the nights when you want to just… kinda fancy?

That’s this easy one pan chicken marsala, straight up.

The marsala makes it feel ever so fancy, but really it’s just a basic fortified wine you keep in your cupboard so it’s ready when you are. Leave the good wine for drinking. Marsala wine is slightly sweet and makes a way better sauce base.

I know I keep going on about this sauce, but this is another thing I love about it: the sauce is thickened with flour that the chicken has been dredged in, which accelerates the browning of the chicken while adding body to the marsala sauce.

A word about the spinach stuffing; I tested this recipe using frozen chopped spinach, which I found to mix great with the grated parmesan. I haven’t tried using fresh spinach, but if that’s what you have on hand, I think using about a third less than the recipe calls for and roughly chopping it before mixing with the grated parmesan would work just as well.

Oh, and that ‘lick the pan clean’ marsala sauce? It goes best with a simple starch on the side, like egg noodles. There’s a lot of richness from the parmesan and spinach stuffing, plus the buttery marsala sauce, so a mellow starch balances out the dish.

Adding in a mellow starch like egg noodles keeps this easy one pan chicken dish squarely in the kid-friendly camp, as well.

Because hands up if your kid prefers to only eat the boring stuff you serve them and not the actually delicious stuff.

(raises hand)

Which means that this is a dish that keeps the whole family happy!

And in the meantime, who’s got tips on how to actually get my kid to eat dinner?

Um, asking for a friend.

Anyway! Easy one pan chicken marsala with melty cheese and mushrooms for the win!


Pan Seared Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Marsala Wine Sauce
This recipe is inspired by a number of classical recipes, especially spinach stuffed chicken and marsala chicken, but it’s a flavor all its own. Even better? It comes together in an easy 20 minutes, making it a perfect weeknight dinner option. I prefer using pre-chopped frozen spinach in this recipe since I feel it binds best with the grated parmesan. Feel free to play around with fresh spinach in similar quantities, if it’s what you have on hand. Also, I use pre-mixed shredded “Italian blend” cheese in this recipe, which is often just a combination of mozzarella, parmesan, and provolone. If you can’t find a pre-mixed blend of these cheeses, substituting with provolone or mozzarella is fine.
Author: Ruthy Kirwan
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1.5 cup chopped frozen spinach thawed and drained of excess liquid
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup white flour
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup unsalted chicken stock or broth
  • 1 ½ cup marsala wine
  • 8 ounces shredded Italian blend cheese
  • Toothpicks for securing the chicken breasts
  1. In a large bowl, combine the spinach and grated parmesan and stir to combine.
  2. Using a sharp knife, cut a slit in the side of each chicken breast. Season the breasts al over with salt and pepper.
  3. Stuff each breast with about 2 tablespoons spinach and parmesan mixture. Use a toothpick to securely close the opening and set the breasts aside.
  4. In a large, wide saucepan set over medium heat, add the butter and olive oil. Stir to combine and heat until the butter has melted.
  5. While the butter is melting, pour the flour onto a plate.
  6. Once the butter has melted, dredge each chicken breast in the flour, coating each side of the breast. Place the chicken breasts in the pan on by one, leaving a small amount of space between each breast.
  7. Cook the breasts in the butter and oil, turning once or twice, until each side has lightly browned.
  8. While the chicken is browning, mix together the chicken broth and marsala wine in a bowl or large measuring cup.
  9. Once the chicken has browned, add the mushrooms to the pan, distributing evenly around the chicken breasts. Pour in the chicken broth and marsala mixture and turn the heat to medium-high.
  10. 10. Bring the sauce to a simmer and let cook 5-8 minutes, or until it has started to reduce, the chicken breasts have cooked through, and the smell of any alcohol from the marsala wine has burned away.
  11. 11. Sprinkle the cheese evenly on top of each chicken breast. Let the cheese melt, then remove the pan from the heat and serve.

Slow Cooker No Soak Rosemary Black Beans

This slow cooker rosemary black bean recipe means I don’t have to remember to soak my beans the night before they cook!

I mean, I don’t know about you, but do you EVER remember? Even when I’m writing my meal plan, I’ll add in big letters ‘SOAK BEANS’ and I still forget.

I would love to blame this on the fact my brain is now fried after having children but if I’m being honest, I never remembered to soak beans before kids came along, either.

This leaves me purchasing more cans of black beans than I care to admit, but in the effort to lower our families’ salt intake, ditching the canned black beans is a good idea. And dried black beans are way cheaper than canned, pound for pound, so by using dried beans, I’ll be saving us cash in the process.


That is, until I forget to soak the beans.

Enter the slow cooker, God’s gift to the busy person. No soak beans, coming right up!

With a slow cooker, I can toss in my dried black beans, add broth and seasoning, and set it and forget it. Four hours later, I’ve got a batch of creamy, flavorful, just-right black beans. With no extra sodium and no overnight soak!


I mean come on. I heart my crockpot for many things, but when the ol’ trusty slow cooker saves me time, like with this recipe, I heart it even more.

This recipe brings the warm flavors of rosemary into play, which goes so well with black beans. There’s just a little cumin for kick, and the entire pot is cooked down with chicken broth. Feel free to substitute vegetable broth if you’re going vegetarian!

I love these beans in tacos, quesadillas, and any dish that’s Mexican inspired. I think they’ll be great made into refried beans, too, so I plan on trying them out in this beloved recipe soon.

The possibilities are endless, actually. Thank goodness for the slow cooker!


I NEVER remember to soak black beans before I cook them! This recipe is so helpful, since I can just throw them in a crockpot with no soak and still get easy black beans that taste yummy. God bless the slow cooker, lol. Great pin!
Slow Cooker No Soak Rosemary Black Beans
Servings: 4
Author: Ruthy Kirwan
  • 1 pound dried black beans
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary about 1 ounce
  • ½ teaspoon dried cumin
  • salt, to taste
  1. Add all ingredients except for the salt to the slow cooker and stir to combine.

  2. Secure the lid, and cook on high for 4 hours, or low for 6.
  3. Remove and add salt to taste. Serve warm.

Pear, Leek, and Cheddar Bread Pudding

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I brought this side dish to my company Thanksgiving Side Dish Only party, and it was a HUGE hit! What's better is, it's a totally make ahead recipe, too- I made it two days beforehand and let it sit in the fridge til I was ready to bake. So easy! Can't wait to bust it out for my holiday dinner recipes, too. Great pin!

This easy make-ahead savory bread pudding makes a GREAT Thanksgiving side dish!

I have made it a couple of years in a row on Thanksgiving, and it’s always popular for being just a little different and out of the box- but still really well suited as a holiday dinner side dish.

What I really love about this simple bread pudding is how well it does when it’s made ahead, and left to sit in the fridge before baking.

You know how some soups and sauces are even better the same day?

That’s the same idea behind this pear, leek and cheddar bread pudding! Letting it chill out in the fridge for a while makes the flavors come together even better than when you make it the day of.

And when it comes to the cheese you use in this savory bread pudding, let me tell you – the sharper the cheddar, the better the flavor.

I like using really sharp, blow-your-mouth-off cheese in this dish. Sharp cheddar really holds its own against the sweet flavor of pear and the chewy, crusty texture of the bread cubes.

Plus, I mean, we’re talking about cheese. I get all the heart-emoji over cheese, in any form.  So when it’s added to a Thanksgiving side dish, I’m a pretty happy bunny.

Thanksgiving side dishes can get a bad rap sometimes, I think.

In the balancing act of tradition with new-ness, sometimes side dishes can be either boring as all heck, overplayed, or just weird.

This pear leek and cheddar bread pudding is none of those things.

➡It hangs out really well with savory turkey, especially when said turkey has an herby crust.

➡It’s a perfect foil against creamy, crunchy green bean casserole.

➡It’s a sweet-enough side that kids dig it.

And it actually holds up banging as a leftover. The next day when you’re throwing together that perf turkey sandwich, add a spoonful of this bread pudding on top.


You’ll be thankful you did (see what I did there?)

It’s time to change up the roster of your usual Thanksgiving side dish, guys. Try adding this sweet, savory, cheesy Pear, Leek and Cheddar Bread Pudding to your holiday table!


Pear, Leek, and Cheddar Bread Pudding
Servings: 4
Author: Ruthy Kirwan
  • 2-3 cups diced day-old bread let it get good and dried out
  • 1 cup minced leeks
  • 1 pear peeled, cored and diced
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 4 eggs beaten
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350*F.   In a large bowl, toss together the bread, leeks, diced pear and cheddar.  
  2. Combine the eggs, heavy cream, garlic and salt. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and toss to distribute evenly.

  3. Dump the contents into a 9"x13" ovenproof baking dish and spread out evenly, making sure all the ingredients are still evenly distributed.
  4. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the egg and cream mixture has set and the top bread cubes have browned and crisped.  Remove from the oven and serve warm.