Home Cooking: Bold flavors for quick dinners and my quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookie

Yes, you can get dinner on the table in 30 minutes or less. And yes, this dinner can be made from whole foods with bold flavors and be worthy of inviting a friend or two to join you outside on the deck.

If you can plan a couple hours or a day before, you can even serve dark chocolate chip cookies for dessert.

Skirt steak with sweet potato fries and kale salad
Courtesy Suzanne E. Anderson

Skirt steak with sweet potato fries

  • 1/2 pound skirt steak per person
  • 1 sweet potato per person

Marinate the skirt steak in your favorite marinade, (I used a teriyaki sauce) for 30 minutes up to overnight. Remove from fridge 15 minutes before cooking and pat dry.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Peel potatoes, cut into fries and place on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt and a Southwest seasoning. Bake fries for 15 minutes, turning halfway through the cooking time.

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Cook the skirt steak for 3-5 minutes, turning frequently. Remove steak, and allow it to rest.

Kale salad with avocado-cilantro dressing

  • 1 bunch of lacinato kale
  • 2 lemons, juiced (divided)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons Parmesan, grated
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, remove bottom 2 inches of stems
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (I use Nancy’s non-fat yogurt)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Remove the kale from the stems and tear leaves into bite-sized pieces. Massage kale for 1-2 minutes to “soften” the leaves. Sprinkle with olive oil, the juice of one lemon and the grated parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Allow to rest for 15 minutes.

Put the remaining ingredients — including lemon juice, cilantro, avocado, garlic and yogurt — into the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. If you want a thinner dressing, add 2-3 tablespoons of water.

Roasted tomatos, shrimp and feta
Courtesy Suzanne E. Anderson

Roasted tomatos, shrimp and feta

This could not be easier or more delicious! Serve it with a crusty bread to dip into the sauce. Serve with a simple salad, and you have the perfect dinner to enjoy with friends.

  • 2 15-ounce cans of tomatoes, diced or stewed
  • 1 block of feta cheese
  • 1 pound large shrimp
  • Hot pepper flakes to taste

Add all ingredients to a baking dish and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until shrimp is cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for three minutes.

Dark chocolate chip cookies
Courtesy Suzanne E. Anderson

Dark chocolate chip cookies

Honestly, I never get tired of trying new chocolate chip cookie recipes. They are my favorite cookie. Lucky for me, there are as many versions as there are bakers.

  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped

Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add in vanilla, eggs, half-and-half and cinnamon. Then mix in the dry ingredients, the chocolate chips and nuts.

At this point, I like to scoop the cookies into large, egg-sized balls, place them on a cookie sheet, cover with plastic and let them rest in the fridge for two hours or overnight. The point is to bake them when they are cold so that they will spread less.

Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them so they are not over-baked. Allow to cool before enjoying.

Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson

Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson’s column “Home Cooking” publishes biweekly on Thursdays in the Summit Daily News. Anderson taught herself to cook after college when she discovered dinner parties were a cure for loneliness. Her latest cookbook is “A Year in the Mountains Cookbook.” She has lived in Breckenridge since 2016. Contact her at

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