When I’m looking for a recipe that’s not too complicated and guaranteed to taste great, I usually pull out one of Katie Lee’s cookbooks. Lee is the queen of mouthwatering homestyle cooking and her cookbooks have been my go-to for summer parties and events for years because she has a talent for turning fresh produce into enticing comfort food.
The television host, cookbook author and soon-to-be mom has a knack for creating meals that are simple, yet packed with flavor. Just look at this basil sesame corn sauté she recently shared.
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Today on #TheKitchen…I’m making a Basil Sesame Corn Sauté. Corn is so sweet right now, it doesn’t need much more than butter and salt, but I love the slight nuttiness the sesame seeds add and the basil gives a pop of fresh flavor. I’m also making a Green Lemonade…find out the surprise ingredient! Hint: it’s peppery 🥬🍋 (Dress is from @grettaluxe and linked in my story) 📸 @ryanbiegel
We were lucky enough to chat with this culinary genius recently and not only did she answer all of our foodie questions, she even gave us a tour of her fridge.
SheKnows: Tell us a little bit about what’s in your fridge.
Katie Lee: You can see my fridge is pretty packed! I like to keep a well-stocked fridge, freezer and pantry especially right now, because I am cooking more than ever, like most Americans. So you can see I’ve got my milk, my orange juice — which has been a big pregnancy craving of mine — I’ve got yogurt and sauerkraut. Behind the kraut, I’m not sure if you can tell that is a giant block of parmesan cheese. It started off as a 25lb block of parmesan that we got for a Christmas party and it is still going strong. We’ve got lots of produce, tofu, and miso paste which I love using to bump up flavors in different things. There’s a big jar of my husband’s pickled onions and pickled radishes in there. I make salads all the time so you can see all my green produce bags and those are my Healthy Choice Power Dressings up there on the top shelf so that I always have a good dressing on hand.
SK: What about your freezer?
KL: In my freezer, I have a lot of frozen fruit. I like to make smoothie bowls for breakfast so I always have frozen pineapple, mango and berries and then I keep fresh bananas on hand. And I put those in the blender in the morning, top it with some granola and chia seeds and I get a healthy start to my day.
SK: What’s the strangest ingredient we would find in your cabinets or pantry?
KL: Well you can see there on the second shelf next to the miso is balck garlic and that’s something that my husband ordered online at the beginning of quarantine and it’s kind of an unusual ingredient and I really love the flavor that it gives to the dishes he’s made with it.
SK: What’s your favorite Girl Scout cookie flavor?
KL: I love Samoa girl scout cookies.
SK: What does a typical breakfast look like for you?
KL: Well, my breakfast is usually fruit so a smoothie bowl or I’ll have berries with yogurt — I always try to start the day off with fruit.
SK: What was your most memorable meal?
KL: Ever?! My most memorable meal would have to be our wedding dinner. We got married in Italy at our favorite place called Lo Scoglio da Tommaso. It’s the best food in the world and we got to have a meal with all of our loved ones and just thinking about that right now, when you’re away from each other and wishing you could be together, I just wish we could go back and relive it.
SK: Do you have any controversial food opinions (for example avocados are trash, cilantro tastes like soap)?
KL: I’m not a very picky eater. I like most things. I can’t eat wasabi. That’s one thing that I just have an aversion to.
SK: What’s the one ingredient you hate to work with or encounter in someone else’s dish?
KL: Liver, I never wanna eat liver. My husband’s yelling from the other room — he loves liver!
SK: What is your favorite appliance in the kitchen?
KL: I have a mini food processor and I love that. I can get it out and make a quick sauce, or if I need to chop a whole bunch of garlic or ginger, and it can do that very quickly.
SK: What’s your go-to meal when you only have twenty minutes to cook?
KL: Well I’m big on meal prep so I always have my produce washed and prepped in my fridge so I can very easily make a vegetable stir fry in no time.
SK: What’s the strangest thing you have ever eaten?
KL: When I was filming my show, Beach Bites, I had grasshopper tacos and I didn’t really know what to expect but I actually liked it, they were crispy.
SK: Would you eat it again?
KL: Yes, I would. I might choose to go for a fish taco over it. But you know, if I had to.
SK: It looks like you’re a big fan of condiments. Do you have a favorite?
KL: I’m kind of a condiment queen. I love ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard, I always keep a lot of them including different hot sauces and we do love our pickles. My husband makes pickled onions, so I’m always reaching for something in the fridge.
SK: Have you experienced any weird pregnancy cravings?
KL: I’ve been loving grape jelly. So, peanut butter with grape jelly.
SK: Do you put it on a cracker or bread?
KL: I just put it on bread, I got up at 3:30 in the morning last night and couldn’t sleep. Then I came down here and made a peanut butter jelly sandwich and went right back to sleep!
SK: Plant-based meals continue to grow in popularity. Do you have a favorite vegetarian meal you love to make?
KL: Yes, we eat very plant-based at our house and especially right now I think that it’s a great time to have those plant-based meals. I tend to make a lot of big salads. I do love a grain salad and I partnered up with Healthy Choice Power Dressings to create a chickpea and quinoa tabouli salad. I used their Creamy Italian dressing, which is vegan and made with ingredients like cauliflower puree and sunflower oil. I toss the canned chickpeas with some of that dressing and roast them, and they get nice and crispy which gives me a big protein punch. And then I do quinoa with chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, fresh herbs and scallions. And I just keep that in the fridge and when it’s lunchtime I can get it out, put it on a bed of greens and I have a nice healthy plant-based lunch.
SK: We are huge Ina Garten Fans here at SheKnows. Do you have a favorite Ina Garten recipe?
KL: Ina is the queen as far as I’m concerned. I love her. I actually got to go to her house once for lunch and then she came to my house for lunch. I have never been more nervous to cook for someone. But she is so lovely! My favorite recipe of Ina’s I would have to say, gosh, there’s so many good ones but my most memorable Ina recipe was the one that she made when I was at her house. She did a butternut squash hummus and we sat on her porch and ate it and it was everything you would want lunch at Ina Garten’s house to be like.