Jan Valdez

Assistant Recipe Producer at The Kitchn

Chicago, IL

I got into this field by spending 10 years working in Research & Development and Product Development test kitchens, testing new products and recipes. For nearly eight years, I was the Senior Culinary R&D Specialist at Weber headquarters, where all the grills are designed, engineered, and tested. I've helped launch numerous best-selling, top-rated grills across the globe (you should see my grill collection at home!). One of my proudest accomplishments happened years earlier, when I had the opportunity to visit the Good Housekeeping Institue in NYC after developing an award-winning Tropical Citrus Shrimp recipe that jumpstarted my career in test kitchens and food editing. Since then, I've worked at Serious Eats (one of my favorite food sites) and EatingWell as an updates editor. I'm passionate about both classic recipes and new, unique twists. I'm constantly learning and that's what makes food and cooking so fun (just ask me how to bake light and airy pavlovas on the grill – I've tested them countless times!).
27 Coolest Ice Cream Desserts to Enjoy on Hot Summer Days
You’ll want to make them all summer long.
about 5 hours ago
My "So Flavorful" Trick for Grilling the Best Sausages of Your Life
It’s the best hack of the summer.
Jul 18, 2024
16 Easy Foil Packet Recipes for Camping and Grilling
Foil packets are a busy cook’s best friend. Simply wrap some veggies, a protein, and a sauce in a piece of foil and then take your pick between throwing the packet on the grill, in a campfire, or in the oven. That’s it. Really! The beauty of easy foil packet recipes is that they practically make themselves. Plus, with no pots and pans to wash, foil packet dinners make cleanup a total breeze. So just what can you cook in foil packets? The answer is just about anything.
Jul 18, 2024
35 Ridiculously Delicious Side Dishes to Serve with Ribs
Summer’s here, and that means one thing: it’s rib season! Whether you cook ribs in the oven, in the slow cooker, in an Instant Pot, or on the grill, they’re always the first to go at a summer cookout. While the ribs are cooking, there’s plenty of time to make tasty side dishes that are just as delicious as the ribs themselves.If you’re wondering what to serve to round out the meal, know that there are so many delicious options.
Jul 17, 2024
10 Refreshing Spritz Recipes That Go Beyond Aperol
I’m making them all summer long.
Jul 17, 2024
Southern Fried Corn Is My Favorite Way to Cook Corn Every Summer
Fresh corn on the cob is one of my favorite summer vegetables. Fresh corn has a naturally sweet flavor that makes it a breeze to cook, and the irresistible sound of kernels popping when they’re cut off the cob is music to my ears. Southern-style fried corn is a deliciously simply recipe that excels in maintaining those kernels’ natural sweetness. Despite what it sounds like, fried corn is not deep-fried corn on the cob.
Jul 16, 2024
40 Beach Food Ideas to Pack in Your Cooler
Packing food for a picnic in the park is pretty easy. But when your picnic happens to be on the beach, there’s a new set of rules and a few more factors to consider before filling your basket or cooler. For starters, there’s the sand. It’s totally obvious, but no matter how hard you plan and how many precautions you take, it inevitably ends up everywhere, so you’ll need to pack your food well.
Jul 15, 2024
55 Best Summer Potluck Ideas to Bring to the Party
Summer is one of the best times to get together with friends and family and that means backyard cookouts and potlucks galore. But what to bring? Summer potlucks seem so simple but sometimes deciding what to make can feel kinda tricky, right?! We’re here to help you out and make it easier.The best summer potluck ideas should check at least one of the following boxes (but the more, the better): they should be make-ahead friendly, easy to transport, and easy to serve.
Jul 15, 2024
45 Summer Tomato Recipes to Make Right Now
The time we’ve been looking forward to all year is finally here. It’s tomato season! Yes, peak tomato season is in full swing, and that means one thing: It’s your duty to consume as many tomatoes as possible. My cue that it’s time to dive in is when I go to the market and I can smell the table of heirloom tomatoes before I even step up to it.
Jul 15, 2024
22 "So Good" Radish Recipes You Gotta Try
For years I skipped over radishes; they felt more like a garnish in green salads than a necessary component. Then I joined a CSA and was bombarded with radishes. I suddenly had to figure out what to do with them all, only to realize radishes have a whole lot of love to give. They’re crispy, peppery, and not only a colorful addition to so many dishes, but can also stand out all on their own.
Jul 12, 2024
82 Essential Air Fryer Recipes to Make Immediately
Countertop air fryers are an increasingly popular kitchen gadget. Air fryers work by circulating super-hot air, which quickly and evenly reaches all the surfaces of the food. In other words, it gives food that crispy-fried texture and golden-brown color without having to actually deep-fry anything. If you’ve joined the air fryer club and need some ideas for meal essentials, we’ve got you covered. You can make practically anything that you would fry in an air fryer.
Jul 9, 2024
14 Delicious Fresh Fig Recipes to Make This Season
Picking up a basket of fresh figs never ceases to feel like a treat. They have a sweet, honeyed fragrance and soft, jammy texture, which make them a lovely snack on their own, yet it’s quite easy to partner figs with other foods like sharp cheese, tangy yogurt, and dark chocolate. They’re a delicate fruit with a short shelf life, so you’ll want to handle them with care and eat them within a few days.
Jul 9, 2024
47 Best Corn Recipes to Make All Summer
Summer brings with it so many vegetables that are hard to get enough of. But of all of them, I think it’s safe to say sweet corn is always the one that steals the show. Those sweet, tender-yet-crisp kernels are all too easy to love (especially when they’re grilled!). And since fresh corn is only in season for a couple months a year, we want to get our fill every chance we get.
Jul 5, 2024
How To Grill the Juiciest Pork Tenderloin in Under 30 Minutes
Picture this: You’ve got guests coming over for a cookout in less than an hour. What can you grill that will be both impressive and quick? The answer is almost always grilled pork tenderloin. Pork, especially the pork tenderloin, takes incredibly well to the smoky char of the grill. With just a smart dry rub of sugar, salt, and spices, pork tenderloin grills up with a thin, tender-crisp crust, while being incredibly juicy and, well, tender in the interior.
Jul 5, 2024
59 Best Grilling Recipes to Make All Summer
It’s time to get fired up.
Jul 2, 2024
I Sprinkle This Super-Flavorful Gremolata on Everything
Gremolata is one of those things where the whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts. Sprinkled over any number of dishes, it will make every mouthful pop with its bright, fresh flavors. Along with classic basil pesto and chimichurri sauce, it’s one of the essential condiments made with fresh herbs that you can add to practically anything grilled or roasted. Plus it’s a great way to use up a bunch of parsley!
Jun 28, 2024
25 Ridiculously Good Side Dishes to Serve with Fried Chicken
You'll want a second helping.
Jun 28, 2024
These Crispy Chicken Cutlets Are My Family’s Favorite Dinner
My family asks for it every week.
Jun 28, 2024
40 Festive Fourth of July Desserts to Celebrate the Day
As much as I love all the burgers, grilled hot dogs, and classic BBQ sides, 4th of July simply isn’t complete without an easy dessert. Maybe it’s my sweet tooth or the fact that all the best summer fruit is currently in its prime. I look forward to the festive red, white, and blue sweets, no-bake delights, gooey s’mores, and classic fruit pies. There’s so much to choose from.
Jun 28, 2024
I Bring This Ooey-Gooey Honey Bun Cake to Every Potluck
If you’re a fan of Little Debbie honey buns, you'll love this cake.
Jun 27, 2024
72 Best 4th of July Side Dishes for Your Cookout
I firmly believe a good 4th of July meal is as much about all the summery sides that fill up the plate as it is about the grilled burgers and grilled hot dogs. Whether you’re having a big backyard cookout or keeping things small, your outdoor feast is worthy of the all the best side dishes that you can possibly handle⁠—just don’t forget the dessert! When it comes to side dishes to round out the meal, there are so many delicious options to choose from.
Jun 26, 2024
This 5-Ingredient Lemon Pepper Chicken Is a Dinner Winner
In need of a new winning chicken dinner? This is it! You just need five ingredients to bring this buttery, lemon-kissed chicken to the table. Serve it alongside crispy skillet-fried potatoes and roasted broccoli for an easy weeknight dinner. It’s sure to become a new family favorite that everyone will love! Here’s how to make it. Chicken: Use boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
Jun 24, 2024
This Is How I've Been Grilling Corn for 15 Years
I make it every summer.
Jun 24, 2024
24 Refreshing Drinks You Can Make This 4th of July
With all the fun 4th of July festivities – the fireworks, parades, and the big summer cookout with family and friends — be sure to plan your menu ahead of time! From festive desserts and easy side dishes to everything on the grill, you’ll also need refreshing drinks for everyone to enjoy.Peak summer calls for icy-cold refreshments, whether it’s a pitcher cocktail or a classic glass of ice cold lemonade, these 4th of July drinks are perfect for the occasion.
Jun 24, 2024
This "Perfect" Cucumber Side Dish Is the Star of Every Potluck
It’s so crunchy and refreshing!
Jun 20, 2024
The Chicken Lettuce Wraps I'm Making on Repeat This Summer
For all the times I have ordered chicken lettuce wraps at restaurants like P.F. Chang’s, inhaled entire “appetizers” by myself, and sighed with happiness while licking sticky sauce from my fingers, it never once occurred to me to try making this dish at home. Partly, lettuce wraps have always felt like an indulgence that needed restriction to restaurant visits only.
Jun 20, 2024
60 Classic BBQ Side Dishes for Summer Cookouts
No matter what is on the grill at your next summer cookout — be it baby back ribs, tequila lime chicken, French onion burgers, or mahi mahi — you’re going to need a bounty of sides to feed those hungry crowds. From the tried-and-true classics like potato salad and creamy coleslaw to crowd-pleasers like broccoli salad and slow-cooked cider beans— these are some of our favorite BBQ side dishes for all of your backyard soirées.
Jun 20, 2024
40 Salads You'll Actually Want to Eat for Lunch
We’ve all been there: You have all the best intentions to eat a big salad filled with lots of vegetables for lunch, but by the time noon rolls around you default to a hefty sandwich or dinner leftovers. Forget those days – we have delicious and easy salads that you’ll actually want to eat for lunch! Our collection of hearty vegetable salads, pasta salads, and grain salads are a far cry from the plain ol’ green salad you may have been packing.
Jun 17, 2024
31 Father’s Day Brunch Recipes to Celebrate Dad
For the best dad ever.
Jun 14, 2024
Once I Started Making Chicken Wings Like This, I've Never Made Them Another Way
You'll want to put the sauce on everything.
Jun 8, 2024
57 Best Father's Day Dinner Recipes
Father’s Day is just around the corner! Along with the the perfect grill for the summer, cocktail gifts, and any other last-minute Father’s Day gifts, a special home-cooked dinner is the perfect way to show every dad or father figure in our lives how much we love and appreciate them.
Jun 7, 2024
6 Ridiculously Easy Poke Cake Recipes
True to their name, poke cakes are sheet cakes that are baked, then (you guessed it!) poked, then filled with a liquid or syrup to add extra flavor and moisture into each bite. These no-fuss cakes (like dump cakes) are one of oldest baking hacks in the book. If you love retro recipes like icebox cake and pineapple upside-down cake, give poke cakes a try. These crowd-pleasing desserts are perfect for potlucks, parties, and gatherings.
Jun 7, 2024