Caro Chambers’s Favorite Things for Cooks, Friends, and Family This Season

Her favorites include festive Rice Krispies treats, honey baked ham, and hot sauce.

7 min read

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Welcome to The Save, where we ask interesting people what they order when they’re in a pinch.

Caro Chambers is on a mission — several, actually. The food and motherhood content creator shares one easy-to-master recipe a week (think: healthyish Bolognese and crunchy salmon tempura), in her hit Substack What To Cook When You Don't Feel Like Cooking. Her book by the same name comes out next summer and she recently launched the podcast “So Into That,” where she interviews people like Smitten Kitchen’s Deb Perelman about what they’re so into right now. 

While driving with her three boys in tow, she shared what she makes for at-home date night, how to dress up a bag of chopped kale, and what to get food lovers for the holidays. 

What do you order when…

…you’re stocking up on snacks for your kids?

Applesauce packs; they devour them. Any kind of bar that has chocolate chips in it is always a huge winner, and Cheddar Bunnies. I love a Cheddar Bunny. I mean, who doesn’t?

…you’re staying in for date night?

I just need a ribeye, some garlic, and rosemary. We’ll cook it in a cast iron skillet and serve with potatoes and a really big salad — a steakhouse dinner at home sitch. 

…you have a bag of chopped kale and you want to dress it up?

All of the ingredients for my SweetGreen copycat salad: roasted sweet potatoes, apple, chicken. You roast the chicken and the sweet potatoes on the same sheet pan to save time, and make this really simple but delicious vinaigrette. It’s so good. 

…your pantry is running low and you need to stock up on essentials? 

Nuts. I always need pistachios, cashews, and almonds. Coconut milk because coconut rice is one of the few things that our children — who are 4, 3, and 1 — all like. We’ll make coconut rice with either a really simple meat stir-fry situation or roast chicken. It’s such a good base. And Zack’s Mighty Chips and a really good red salsa. My go-to easy kid dinner is Goodles mac and cheese. We like it just as much as the kids do and it has tons of protein. It’s great. 

…you want the taste of the holidays? 

I love a classic honey baked ham. We always had one at the holidays. That’s my ideal holiday meal: honey baked ham, tons of carbs, tons of mustard. 

…you need a hostess gift? 

I really like to give a nice bottle of olive oil. The go-to, of course, is a bottle of wine, but then it just gets thrown in a heap and at the end of the night, nobody really remembers who brought which bottle of wine. So a bottle of olive oil wrapped up with a pretty bow and if I have time, I’ll get a cute little ornament to attach to it with a gift tag. 

…you need a cocktail to have on hand for the holiday season? 

I am a margarita person, so in the holiday season I like to add a little bit of pomegranate juice to make a cute mistletoe margarita. So limes, pomegranate, a splash of orange juice, and blanco tequila, and that’s a perfect cocktail.

…your kids ask what Santa is bringing your dog Hooper?

With three young boys, our precious fourth son Hooper often gets forgotten. I like to get him a big bone that he can chew on and a cute new chewy toy because otherwise he’ll just be chewing up all the kids’ brand new stuffed animals and things. 

…you’re making a cookie box?  

I always make Coronado cookies for neighbors and new moms — it’s my go-to. The cookies have Rice Krispies in them, so they have this crispy, crunchy bite that’s just so good. And you don’t need all of the Rice Krispies, so I also make some festive Rice Krispies treats with cute holiday sprinkles on top and call it a day; people lose their minds, they’re so nostalgic. 

…you’re shopping for stocking stuffers for a food lover? 

Really good hot sauce, jam, honey, and a bag of coffee beans

…you’re looking for a splurge item for them?

I just got myself a Ninja Creami — they're these instant ice cream makers. I think they’ll be really fun to make with the kids as an after school activity. 

…you’re shopping for a treat for yourself around the holidays?

Some new shoes: ballet flats and a pair of sneaks that look cute with jeans for running around with the kids. Maybe a new cool pair of Nikes. 

…you’re getting a friend a book to read this season? 

The first book in “A Court of Thorns and Roses” series because I always need more people to have read that series so I can talk to them about it.