simple recipes

From Italy to Thailand: 5 Simple Recipes to Mix Up Dinner

Cross international borders for dinner! We’ve got a line up of recipes that will last you the whole week, and you won’t eat in the same country twice.

Tara Bench shares recipes from across the world, so simple, you can find all the ingredients at your grocery store.

Find more of Tara’s recipes on her website,


Green Chile Beef Tacos with Black Beans

Yield16 tacos


  • 1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 4 oz cans green chiles
  • 1 cup canned black beans
  • 1 cup frozen corn thawed
  • 16 crispy taco shells
  • Lettuce, cheese, tomatoes
  • Sour cream, avocado, cilantro


  1. In a large 12-inch Circulon skillet over medium-high heat cook ground beef, onions and garlic until beef is cooked through, breaking up into small pieces with a spatula, about 10 minutes.

  2. In a small bowl stir together the oregano, chili powder, cumin, coriander and cornstarch. Add to the beef and stir to coat. Add the green chiles and cover the pan to cook about 2 minutes until any juices have thickened. Stir in black beans and corn.

  3. Serve in taco shells with lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, sour cream, avocado, cilantro and pickled onions if desired. Meat mixture can be made ahead and/or stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.


Cashew Chicken

Yield4 Servings


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1¾ lbs total), thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp dry sherry
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic sliced
  •  tsp cornstarch
  • ¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • ½ cup unsalted toasted cashews
  • 2 scallions thinly sliced
  • ¼ tsp red-pepper flakes


  1. In a bowl combine chicken, sherry, ginger, garlic and 2 tsp cornstarch. Chill 30 min. In another bowl combine broth, soy sauce, hoisin, vinegar, sugar and 2½ tsp cornstarch; set aside.
  2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, with 1 tsp canola oil. Sauté half the chicken until cooked through, about 5 min; transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining chicken and oil.

  3. Return chicken to skillet. Stir in broth mixture and bring to a simmer; cook until sauce thickens, about 1 min. Add cashews and serve with scallions and red-pepper flakes.


Pesto and Red Pepper Italian Meatballs

Yield48 meatballs


  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 small onion finely diced
  • 1/2 cup finely diced roasted red pepper
  • 1/3 cup prepared pesto homemade or storebought
  • 1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup part-skim ricotta
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper


  1. In a bowl combine the ground beef, onion, red pepper, pesto, bread crumbs, ricotta, salt* and pepper. Mix together well.

  2. Roll meatballs into 1 1/2 inch diameter balls. You can freeze them or cook right away.

  3. To saute meatballs on the stove, heat 2 tsp canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add a few meatballs (taking care not to overcrowd the pan). Cook, turning frequently to brown on all sides, until cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Repeat with remaining meatballs.

  4. To bake meatballs, heat oven to 350ºF. Place meatballs single file on a rimmed baking sheet or in a glass baking dish. Bake until cooked through, about 25 minutes.

  5. Serve with marinara and spaghetti, try them on a hero sandwich, layered in lasagna or simply with a side of veggies.

Recipe Notes

• *If the prepared pesto you buy is salty, reduce the kosher salt in the recipe or eliminate it altogether.

• If you freeze the meatballs to cook later, plan to defrost them before cooking, or defrost slightly and just bake, giving them several extra minutes of baking time to cook all the way through.


Thai Coconut Shrimp Soup

Yield5 cups


  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 14- oz can unsweetened light coconut milk
  • 1 tsp red curry paste
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce nahum plah
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 clove garlic crushed
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup 4 oz green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3/4 lb medium shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 2 scallions thinly sliced
  • Lime wedges
  • Cilantro for garnish


  1. In a medium pot over medium-high heat, combine chicken broth, coconut milk, curry paste, fish sauce, ginger, garlic and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  2. Add green beans and cook 2 min. Add shrimp and cook until pink, 5 min. Top soup with scallions and serve with lime.

Recipe Notes

If you’d like you can swap the shrimp for thinly sliced chicken breast or even diced tofu. To make it completely pescatarian (not vegetarian because of the fish sauce) use vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth.


Chicken Biryani

Yield6 Servings


  •  cups basmati rice
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion sliced root to tip
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  • ¾ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp turmeric
  • ¾ tsp kosher salt
  • 4 (about 1¾ lbs) boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into large pieces
  • 5 tbsp biryani curry paste or mild curry paste
  • ½ cup raisins or currants
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • ¾ cup frozen peas thawed
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • ½ cup sliced almonds toasted


  1. Soak rice in warm water for 10 min, then rinse in cold water until the water runs clear; drain well in a fine sieve.
  2. Heat butter in a 4- to 5-qt casserole or Dutch oven over medium heat and add the onion and bay leaf; cook until soft, about 10 min. Stir in the cardamom, cinnamon, turmeric, salt, chicken and curry paste and cook until aromatic, about 2 min. Stir in rice, raisins and broth. Cover, increase heat and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until chicken is done, 15 to 18 min. Uncover and cook until liquid is gone, about 5 min. Turn off heat, replace lid and let stand for 10 min.
  3. Gently stir in the peas and half the cilantro. Top with the rest of the cilantro and almonds.

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