What’s Cooking? This Month’s Best Recipes


Homemade tallarin verde, a classic and simple Peruvian dish cooked using the recipe below! (Credit: Katerina Portela)

by Katerina Portela, Student Activities Editor

Lockdown has turned many of us into amateur chefs. There’s something about serving a tasty homemade meal that makes cooking so satisfying. And with so much time on our hands, cooking is a productive way to spend a few minutes or hours, with delicious results. As someone who enjoys whipping up a quick meal, I’ve compiled a few of my favorite family recipes and others I’ve found inspired by the month of love. 


Breakfast: Red Velvet Pancakes 

Time: 15 minutes | Yields: 10 pancakes

I found this one recently when I was really craving IHOP’s red velvet pancakes. This recipe is very decadent and perfect for days when you want a “fancier” take on classic pancakes. It’s also a great way to bring out your Valentine’s Day spirit as the pancakes come out a lovely red color!


  • 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder & ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon & 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¼ cup buttermilk
  • ½ stick of butter
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon red food coloring
  • Optional: cream cheese frosting


  1. Bust out two large bowls! In one bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients and mix well. In the other bowl, combine buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, and vanilla.
  2. Melt the butter in the microwave. As the butter melts, stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredient bowl. 
  3. Once the butter has melted, let it cool a bit before folding it into the batter. At this point, it’ll be very thick, so take care not to overmix. 
  4. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. You can use this time to get out a cream cheese frosting, or maybe dance to some music.
  5. After it’s been refrigerated, heat up a non-stick pan with butter and scoop a spoonful of the batter onto the pan. Spread it out if it’s too thick, but be careful not to thin it out too much or else they won’t come out fluffy.
  6. When the pancake puffs up and bubbles begin to appear on the surface (usually about 4 minutes), flip it over and cook the other side (about 2 minutes).
  7. Stack n’ serve! Enjoy with cream cheese frosting or classic maple syrup.

Lunch: Honey Glazed Salmon

Time: 12 minutes | Yields: 4 servings

Salmon has got to be my favorite meal to cook. It’s soft, buttery, and super healthy! I made this recipe up one day when making lunch for my parents and they absolutely devoured it! For my take on an everyday salmon, I cook with organic honey for a thick, sweet glaze that’s sure to steal the heart of anyone who tries it.


  • 4 salmon fillets
  • Garlic salt 
  • Black pepper
  • Ground oregano
  • Minced garlic
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Honey


  1. Put a non-stick pan to medium heat and drizzle on the olive oil.
  2. Once oil is hot, add a spoonful of minced garlic to the pan and place salmon fillets with the skin facing down. 
  3. Sprinkle on the salt, pepper, and oregano. Pour in a bit of red wine vinegar. This will compliment the sweetness of the honey and create the brown glaze!
  4. Spread honey evenly over the top of the salmon. Once the skin is crispy, flip it over and peel off the skin. Cook until the meat becomes an opaque light pink.
  5. Enjoy! I recommend serving over salad or rice.


Dinner: Tallarin Verde (Peruvian Pesto Pasta)

Time: 20 minutes | Yields: 4 servings

Saved the best for last! My family is from Peru and this is one of my grandma’s recipes. The Italian influence of this dish gives it a classy look while the touch of Hispanic comfort food makes it flavorful and filling. Have this with your family or your significant other for a cultural February dinner!  


  • 1 box of angel hair spaghetti
  • 1 bunch basil
  • 1 bunch spinach
  • Queso fresco
  • 1 can of evaporated milk
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Salt & pepper
  • Olive oil
  • ½ cup of water
  • Steak
  • Soy sauce and red wine vinegar


  1. Put a pot of water to boil with salt and olive oil. Stir the pasta regularly as it cooks (this should take about 10 minutes).
  2. As this pasta is cooking, begin preparing the pesto sauce! Bring out a skillet and  pour on olive oil until it begins to bubble. 
  3. On the skillet, cook the basil and spinach until they shrink and turn a deep green. 
  4. Once the greens are cooked, place them into a blender or food processor. Along with the vegetables, pour in half the can of evaporated milk, ⅓ of a round of queso fresco, 2 cloves of garlic, and the ½ cup of water. Blend until it forms a smooth, green sauce.
  5. By this time the pasta should be ready: drain the water and combine the cooked noodles with the sauce.
  6. In a skillet, fry diced garlic, soy sauce, and red wine vinegar on high heat. Slice the steak into thin slices and cook quickly in the pan. Once thoroughly cooked, top the pasta with the meat
  7. Sprinkle cheese over the plate and enjoy!


These three unique recipes will surely add some spice to your month, so get out there and start cooking!