Eats real food. Often with hot sauce.
Tell us about yourself!
Heyo. I’m Serena Wolf. I’m a classically trained chef and have worn a number of hats since graduating from Le Cordon Bleu Paris…recipe developer, blogger, private chef, author, etc, but I find it’s sometimes easiest to describe what I do the way I explain it to small children: I make food and tell stories to make people feel happy. And I talk to my phone a lot.
I’ve written two cookbooks The Dude Diet: Clean(ish) Food for People Who Like to Eat Dirty and The Dude Diet Dinnertime: 125 Clean(ish) Recipes for Weeknight Winners and Fancypants Dinners. The Dude Diet actually started as a column on my blog about my then boyfriend (now husband) Logan’s ridiculous eating habits and how I was convincing him to eat a little bit better by giving his favorite foods healthy makeovers. I called it The Dude Diet just because I liked the way it sounded (and Logan is the ultimate dude), but it ended up being embraced by so many people—men, women and children!—looking to eat a little bit healthier without giving up the foods they loved. The first book covers all the comfort food classics in various categories (from takeout favorites to cocktails and desserts), and Dinnertime aims to help hack the daily dinner dilemma. So many of us eat the same things for breakfast and lunch (or we’re on the go), and dinner is the one meal we make most often. My goal with this book is to show comfort food fanatics and picky eaters alike how to get a delicious, nutritious, and filling dinner on the table without a fuss—sometimes in less than 30 minutes.
I’m into tequila, medium-trashy novels, and baths, preferably at the same time. Laughing makes me feel good, so I do it a lot, including at my own jokes. I’m a shameless skincare junkie, fancy hoarder, and celebrity gossip enthusiast. I live for beach walks, Sundays at Rubirosa, and my husband, Logan.
Share your approach to food with us: what do you like to cook? Why?
I’m a big believer in cooking with real, whole food ingredients to create delicious, healthy meals that don’t require obscure ingredients or hours of slaving over a hot stove. My goal has always been to make eating well realistic, accessible, and most importantly, FUN, and I like to think my cooking style and recipes reflect that mission.
Describe your food personality in 5-7 words
Eats real food. Often with hot sauce.
What are your 3-5 favorite recipes? Why? Tell us about them!
Cheeseburger Quinoa Bake
This is hands-down the most popular recipe from my cookbook, The Dude Diet, and it’s a personal favorite as well. It’s basically a cheeseburger in whole-grain casserole form, and it’s oddly addictive.
Brown Rice Jambalaya with Shrimp and Chicken Sausage
This jambalaya is the ultimate one-pot wonder. It’s hearty, but not overly heavy, and packed to the gills with Creole flavor. The brown rice takes on a creamy, risotto-like texture as it soaks up the broth and toasted spices, acting as the perfect base for lightly browned andouille sausage and tender shrimp.
Slow-Roasted Chicken Tacos with Mediterranean Salsa
This chicken is the most perfect, mind-blowingly tender, unapologetically moist chicken that I’ve ever made. The meat can easily be pulled from the bone with your fingers, and the skin is a dreamy combination of crisp and sticky. It’s delicious on it’s own, but I love adding it to tacos with a garlicky yogurt sauce, a refreshing Mediterranean “salsa,” and a sprinkling of feta.
Fall Sheet Pan with Butternut Squash, Chicken Sausage and Red Onion
This simple sheet pan medley of roasted butternut squash, chicken sausage, and red is one of those “no recipe recipes” that I’ve been making for as long as I can remember. It’s ridiculously easy, tastes great, and is a good mix of protein, satiating carbs, vitamins and minerals (especially that glow-boosting beta-carotene, which I obviously love). Plus, it’s endlessly adaptable, keeps well in the fridge and can be easily re-heated in the microwave or in a skillet, making it perfect for meal prep.
Spiced Turkey and Zucchini Meatballs with Basil Yogurt Sauce
These unbelievably tasty grain-free meatballs rely on zucchini to keep them extra tender and the magic of chia seeds to bind them! I serve them with a cooling and tangy yogurt sauce that takes all of 2 minutes to whip up. They make a fabulous fancy finger food for spring and summer soirees, but I also love them as a weeknight meal over quinoa, sauteed greens or salad, or thrown in a pita with some cucumber, sprouts and crumbled feta.
What’s your favorite thing about Want the Recipe?
I love that it makes organizing the recipes that pique your interest easy to catalogue and find. As a somewhat disorganized human, I often have recipes saved everywhere (read: endless lists of ideas and recipes on my phone/screenshots saved to my computer, Instagram photos bookmarked, etc.), and WTR makes it easy to compile, and then revisit, recipes you’ve seen and loved when you need that inspiration.
What food can you not live without?
Pizza! My husband and I have a standing Sunday night reservation at a restaurant called Rubirosa in SoHo, and their pizza is my lifeblood. If you ever make it there, get half Rubirosa Supreme, half Tie-Dye (vodka sauce, with fresh mozzarella, and pesto), and thank me later.
What kitchen appliance do you swear by?
Nearly impossible to choose, but I’m gonna go with my Vitamix. Mostly because I blend so many smoothies, but it also makes the silkiest soups and vegetable purees.
What are your favorite blogs/ Instagram accounts that you follow? What do you like about them?
@whatsgabycookin for bright, happy food and beautiful photography. Most of her photos are shot by her best friend and photographer, Matt Armendariz, who also photographed my cookbooks!!
@lizmoody for creative healthy recipes and honest, non-preachy wellness discussions
@thedefineddish for fabulous and accessible recipes, cooking hacks, and positive vibes.
@edeneats for good food and general hilarity.
Do you have any advice for our food community?
Don’t be afraid to experiment in the kitchen! I think a lot of new cooks can often be afraid to deviate from a recipe, but part of the fun of cooking is using recipes as a roadmap and making them your own. The more you go “off book” in the kitchen, the more confident you’ll become. After all, what’s the worst that can happen?
Do you have a favorite kitchen hack/ trick?
I’m going with the Idiotproof Method for cooking boneless skinless chicken breasts! It’s printed in my cookbook The Dude Diet, and there’s a video tutorial on my blog, but this is the gist:
- Pat boneless, skinless chicken breasts dry with paper towels and season all over with salt and pepper (or whatever spices you like).
- Heat a large skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add a little olive oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat to medium and add the chicken breasts. Cook for 1 minute, then flip the breasts over. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid, and cook for 10 minutes. DO NOT LIFT THE LID.
- After 10 minutes, turn off the heat and let the chicken sit, covered, for an additional 10 minutes. Again, DO NOT LIFE THE LID. Resist the urge.
- After the full 20 minutes, remove the lid. Boom, done. (Your chicken will be cooked, but if you’re still nervous, you can check it with an instant-read thermometer to make sure it has an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees.)
What’s your Instagram handle, blog link, any other social media or accounts you’d like us to share!
You can find me on:
My blog: domesticate-me.com