A Big Little Recipe has the smallest-possible ingredient list and big everything else: flavor, creativity, wow factor. That means five ingredients or fewer—not including water, salt, black pepper, and certain fats (like oil and butter), since we're guessing you have those covered. This week, we’re sharing this year’s greatest hits.
While I imagine there is very little, if anything, that any of us would like to repeat from 2020, I hope that you also found some recipes to carry into January and beyond. I’m biased, I admit, but this year made me appreciate minimalist cooking and baking more than ever before—those dishes whose ingredient lists ask very, very little of us and never apologize for their simplicity. These are the most popular Big Little Recipes from 2020. Let’s take them with us toward a brand-new year.
Don’t pour olive brine—juice, whatever you call it—down the drain. This bonus ingredient is a ready-to-rumble spa where chicken thighs can kick back and consider the meaning of life, only to hop into a sizzling skillet and turn into the happiest dinner you’ve had all week.
Sugar, milk, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla extract, even all-purpose flour? We don’t need any of that. These three-ingredient pancakes come together like that with just a banana, a couple of eggs, and a scoop of almond flour.
Sure it’s winter, but you don’t have to wait until summer for this savory fruit salad. Just swap in some juicy citrus segments, say oranges or grapefruit. Even apples, even pears. But don’t you dare mess with the anchovy-hyped vinaigrette.
I’m surprised and touched that you loved this two-ingredient sweet potato yogurt as much as I do. From afar, it looks like baby food, and maybe it could be! Either way, top it with granola, swirl it under sautéed cauliflower, smear it on an avocado sandwich, and don’t stop there.
What if a bagel was an omelet? What if an omelet was a bagel? These are the sort of thoughtful questions my husband is used to me hollering out from the shower. And the answer is this: a gooey, creamy-cheesy omelet generously freckled with seedy everything seasoning. Serve with a bagel if you’re wild.
Blitz together peanut butter and kimchi—two hardworking staples that are never not in my fridge—and you get a spicy, tangy, creamy sauce to slick whatever noodle is nearby. For the colder months, I have a hunch this would slap spooned over roasted broccoli too.
This one goes out to you, Grandma! With a shattering pastry shell and mushroom-soupy belly, these puffs are always number-one in my heart. In the Before Times, they were a staple at holidays and parties, but don’t let that stop you from making a batch all for yourself.
Who wouldn’t love to be rubbed down with brown sugar? These savory-sweet, extra-juicy, pan-seared pork chops can attest to the results. Sauteed peppers, teamed up with vinegary pepperoncini, turn it into a meal.
Sure, I could talk about how these cookies need only three ingredients, how their edges are crackly, how their middles are fudgy. But what I really want to talk about is how you can freeze the dough blobs or the baked cookies for a sweet treat on the fly.
Winner winner chicken dinner! Some yogurt is a marinade, more yogurt is a salad dressing. Some onions are sauteed, more onions are simply slivered. Make the most of what you have indeed.
I’ll see you in 2021, but not as soon as you might think: We’re taking a brief intermission from the column to dust off and polish up—and come back bigger and littler and better than ever. Talk soon!