The Barefoot Contessa will save you from your cooking rut.

By Maria Yagoda
August 06, 2020
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Whenever I grow tired of the same three or four dishes I make every week, I turn to Ina Garten. The Barefoot Contessa's simple, meticulously tested recipes have helped drag me out of every cooking rut I've ever found myself in, and during the months of quarantine, I've found myself in many.

Lucky for you, Garten has shared a number of her recipes (and cooking tips) with Food & Wine. Here are a few of our favorite Garten recipes for you to make when you're feeling uninspired, or really any emotion. Like the Contessa herself, these dishes are timeless.

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Tabbouleh with Roasted Chicken

This simple, hearty dinner is wonderful with Garten's simple roasted chicken, but she also graciously gives us permission to use store-bought or rotisserie chicken for those nights we don't want to turn on the oven.

Double-Chocolate Layer Cake

“This is the most fabulous chocolate cake that I’ve ever made,” Garten when we ran this recipe in 2007. We are inclined to agree.

French Lentil and Vegetable Soup

This soothing soup recipe from the Barefoot Contessa Cookbook is a classic, plain and simple, and you probably already have all the ingredients you need to make it.

Crudités Platter

"Americans tend to think of crudités as fresh vegetables served in a basket with a dip," says Garten. "But they can also be served neatly arranged on a platter and drizzled with vinaigrette, as I present them here."

Crusty Baked Shells and Cauliflower

Cheesy, crunchy, and deeply decadent, this cauliflower-packed baked pasta dish is a marvelous vehicle for the vegetables you didn't feel like eating.

Credit: © Christina Holmes

Country Cake with Strawberries and Whipped Cream

Garten says she likes to double this recipe and make two cakes at the same time: one to serve right away and a second to freeze for later.

Chicken Pot Pie Soup with Puff Pastry Croutons

This creamy soup from Garten's cookbook Modern Comfort Food is the perfect vehicle for leftover Thanksgiving turkey or rotisserie chicken.

Credit: Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Melissa Gray / Prop Styling by Heather Chadduck Hillegas

Grilled Halibut with Tomato and Caper Sauce 

I make the sauce a couple of days ahead, so then when it's time to grill the fish, there's only a couple minutes between prepping and eating.

4-Ingredient Vinaigrette

Garten posted the super-simple salad dressing on her Instagram a while back, and I have since memorized the proportions. Simply whisk together a quarter cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, half a cup of "good olive oil," one teaspoon of kosher salt, and half a teaspoon black pepper.

Sautéed Asparagus with Sugar Snap Peas

This quick, two-ingredient side dish could not be simpler.