You'll find over 300 of my favorite recipes here, including ideas for Quick meals, Cooking for 2, Feasting on Leftovers, and cooking with 5 Ingredients or Less. I'm adding new posts regularly; you can subscribe by email or RSS feed if you'd like to receive the latest recipes. Bon appétit!
By Kath Dedon
There’s no reason to buy commercial blue cheese dressing when you can make a vastly superior Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing in just a few minutes.
As with any recipe, use high quality ingredients for best results. I prefer Maytag Blue Cheese. Whichever blue cheese you choose, buy a small piece and crumble it yourself. The packages of already crumbled cheese do not have nearly as much flavor.
I chose Darigold 3.5% Bulgarian Buttermilk. I’m sure I have used this buttermilk before, but I had forgotten that it is much thicker than the Lowfat Buttermilk that I usually buy. The finished dressing, while absolutely delicious, was a bit thick. It worked well on the lettuce, but it was thick enough to be a dip.
We loved this Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing! I love the fact that the recipe makes just ¾ cup, the perfect amount for a small family.
Next time I’ll try it with Lowfat Buttermilk to make salad dressing. If I were to make a blue cheese dip, however, I’d definitely reach for the Cultured Bulgarian Buttermilk. It would be a perfect blue cheese dip to serve with Buffalo chicken wings and celery sticks!
Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing served over a wedge of iceberg lettuce
Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing
(Adapted from a recipe in The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook: 2,000 Recipes from 20 Years of America’s Most Trusted Food Magazine, by The Editors at America’s Test Kitchen)
Makes about ¾ cup
2½ ounces blue cheese, crumbled (about ½ cup)
3 tablespoons buttermilk
3 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar (I used white balsamic vinegar.)
¼ teaspoon honey
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
2-3 drops Tabasco
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1. Mash the blue cheese and the buttermilk together with a fork in a small bowl.
2. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.
3. Cover and refrigerate for up to 14 days.
By Kath Dedon
I made an Easy Flourless Chocolate Cake for Carrie’s birthday this week. I had searched my cookbooks and the Internet for a Flourless Chocolate Cake. I settled on Jesse Rosenberg’s Flourless Chocolate Cake in Molly O’Neill’s One Big Table. Jesse grew up in Paris and she learned how to bake this cake from a Parisian woman.
Many of the other recipes I found involved separating eggs and/or baking the cake in a water bath. I loved the simplicity of Jesse’s cake. It has just four ingredients and is, indeed, very easy to make.
This Easy Flourless Chocolate Cake is very rich without being too heavy. We all loved it! It’s a great cake for any special occasion. It would be a wonderful dessert for Valentine’s Day!
Easy Flourless Chocolate Cake
(Adapted from a recipe in One Big Table)
The original recipe says it serves 8, but this cake is so rich that I found it easily makes 14 – 16 servings.
½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus a tablespoon more for buttering the pan
1 cup sugar (200g), plus a little extra for the pan
14 ounces dark chocolate (60% cacao bittersweet), broken into pieces
8 large eggs
Parchment paper for the pan
Start with great ingredients. Cook’s Illustrated prefers Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Baking Bars and that’s what I used.
1. Preheat the oven to 300˚.
2. Use the extra tablespoon of butter to grease a 9-inch round cake pan. Use about 2 teaspoons of it to grease the pan. Then cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan. Put the paper in the pan and use the remaining teaspoon of butter to grease the paper. Sprinkle the extra sugar (about 1 tablespoon or so) in the pan and shake it back and forth to cover the bottom. Pour out any excess.
3. Melt the 2 sticks of butter and the chocolate together in a heavy medium saucepan over low heat. Stir it constantly once it starts to melt. When it has all melted and blended together, remove from the heat and allow to cool a bit.
4. Beat the eggs with a mixer until light. Add the sugar a bit at a time, mixing at medium speed for about 6 – 8 minutes. The mixture should be pale and fluffy.
5. Fold the egg mixture into the chocolate and gently stir until well blended.
6. Pour into the prepared 9-inch cake pan.
You can see that my 9-inch pan was nearly full.
7. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Check the cake after 45 minutes. The top should be a bit crusty (kind of like brownie tops) and the cake should feel firm. You can test with an instant read thermometer. Put it in the center of the cake without touching the bottom of the pan. If the temperature is at least 140˚ the cake is done.
The cake will be puffed up when it’s done.
8. Cool the cake on a cake rack.
The cake will deflate as it cools.
9. When cool, run a knife along the side of the pan and turn the cake out on a serving plate.Serve with ice cream or whipped cream, or simply dust with a bit of powdered sugar.
By Kath Dedon
Carrie found a Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce recipe on Budgetbytes.com. It’s an appealing recipe because it uses mostly pantry items and it’s easy to put together. Beth, from Budget Bytes, just puts everything into the slow cooker and cooks it on low for 8 hours.
Carrie used Beth’s method and reported that the onions were a “just a little bit crunchy”. She thought it was fine, but I opted to sauté the onions over medium-low heat in a bit of olive oil until they were soft before adding them to the slow cooker. I think sautéing them enhances their sweetness and adding a bit of olive oil to the marinara certainly can’t hurt.
Besides sautéing the onions, I increased the garlic and added a bit of red pepper flakes. The garlic and red pepper did not overwhelm the sauce. I think they just added a little more depth of flavor.
Using a tip from the America’s Test Kitchen, I used soy sauce (actually gluten free tamari) instead of salt to season the sauce. They claim it helps to add a “meaty” flavor to the sauce. I didn’t use as much as they did because I did not want the sauce to be too salty. I can always add salt if it seems that it’s needed when I use it in recipes.
The Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce recipe yielded about 7 cups of sauce. I used some the first night, refrigerated the rest of the sauce, and then put it in pint canning jars to freeze the rest. Each jar holds about 1½ cups (or 13.3 oz).
I learned from an online search that you should not use large jars with “shoulders” for freezing because they will crack. Wide mouth pint size jars are best. Chiot’s Run has a good post about freezing in glass jars.
I do think Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce is a worthwhile slow cooker recipe. Even with the extra step of sautéing the onions, it goes together quickly and makes a marinara that is much better than the ones you can buy. It is thick and has a rich tomato flavor. I’m going to love pulling it from my freezer for quick meals!
Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce
(Adapted from a recipe on the Budgetbytes.com blog)
You can certainly omit the extra step of sautéing the onion, if you prefer. Simply put all of the ingredients except the salt or soy sauce in your slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours. Then taste and add salt or soy sauce to taste.
Makes about 7 cups
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 (28 oz) cans crushed tomatoes
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed into the sauce in the slow cooker
2 whole bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried basil
½ tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon brown sugar (or maple sugar or mild honey)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ cup water
A few grinds of black pepper
1 tablespoon tamari sauce (or 1 teaspoon kosher salt)
1. Heat the oil over low heat in a skillet. Add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened but has not yet started to brown. This will take about 10 minutes.
Onion softened and ready to go into the slow cooker
2. Put the onion with the oil into the slow cooker. Add all of the other ingredients except the tamari sauce.
3. Stir all of the ingredients together; cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
4. Stir, remove the bay leaves and taste for seasoning. Add the tamari sauce (or Kosher salt) if desired.
After using some of the sauce on the first night, I refrigerated the leftover sauce. The next day I put it in wide-mouth pint size jars to freeze it.
The jars I used have lines that shows how much to fill them for freezing. Below, you can see where I marked the line with black so it would be more visible in the photo.
Each pint jar holds about 1 1/2 cups, about 13.3 ounces. I put the 3/4 cup of sauce that was leftover in a Ziploc bag.
By Kath Dedon
It was 4 years ago today that I started this little blog. Time does fly….
I’m closing 2013 with this little recipe from Tom Douglas in Tom’s Big Dinners. Tom uses the Maple Molasses Pecans to garnish a salad made with arugula, radicchio, Belgian endive, and apple slices. Fantastic, I’m sure, but they also make a tasty little snack on their own.
Be sure to use parchment paper to line your baking pan. I hate to think of what it would have taken to clean my baking pan if I hadn’t used parchment paper.
Happy New Year to all! May you have good eats with family and friends in 2014!
Tom’s Maple Molasses Pecans
Maple Molasses Pecans
(Adapted from a Tom Douglas recipe in Tom’s Big Dinners)
Makes about 2 cups of nuts
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon molasses
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of kosher salt
½ pound pecan halves
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
Finely ground sea salt, to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 375˚. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Combine the honey, maple syrup, molasses, vanilla, and kosher salt in a large bowl.
3. Stir the pecans into the syrup mixture and stir well so the pecans are well covered.
4. Spread the pecans in a single layer on the parchment-lined baking sheet.
5. Bake for 8 minutes. Stir the pecans and bake for an additional 7 minutes.
6. While the pecans are baking wash and dry the bowl. Put the melted butter in the bowl.
7. When the pecans are done, put them in the bowl with the butter and stir well to distribute the butter.
8. Line a clean baking sheet with a new piece of parchment paper. Spread the pecans out on the paper to cool. Sprinkle with a bit of finely ground sea salt, if desired.
By Kath Dedon
For many years Teriyaki Salmon was one of my favorite entrées at Ray’s Boathouse in Seattle. Today, under the leadership of Executive Wayne Johnson, the restaurant is still fantastic but I don’t believe they currently offer Teriyaki Salmon.
I’m glad that the recipe can still be found in Ken Gouldthorpe’s 2003 book, Ray’s Boathouse: Seafood Secrets of the Pacific Northwest. The recipes are from the Charles Ramseyer era; he was the Executive Chef at Ray’s for 15 years, from 1991 to 2006.
This Teriyaki Salmon is very easy, but it requires some advanced planning. The marinade is made at least 24 hours before it’s used. This, I believe, is the key to the recipe. The flavors mingle and the sum becomes more than the parts.
The cookbook uses wild coho salmon fillets, but you can use any type of salmon. In fact, the cookbook suggests that it is excellent with other varieties of fish, as well as with chicken and meat.
We were lucky to have some wild sockeye salmon in our freezer that our friends had caught in Alaska. (You know who you are. Thank you! ) I defrosted it and marinated it to make this fantastic Teriyaki Salmon.
(Adapted from a recipe in Ray’s Boathouse: Seafood Secrets of the Pacific Northwest)
This is delicious grilled as it is in the original recipe. However, if you don’t have a grill, or the weather is bad, it is equally good roasted as I did for this recipe. This roasting method is adapted from Christina Orchard’s recipe in Christina’s Cookbook.)
1 cup soy sauce (use wheat-free soy or tamari sauce for gluten-free)
½ cup dry sherry
¼ cup toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons peeled and chopped fresh ginger
2 green onions, chopped
¼ cup light brown sugar
4 (6-ounces each) salmon fillets, skin on
1. Mix the marinade ingredients at least 24 hours before you plan to use it. Refrigerate.
2. Remove the pin bones from the salmon fillets with tweezers or pliers, if desired.
3. Put the salmon fillets in a glass baking dish and pour the marinade over them.
I cut the defrosted 15-ounce fillet into two 6-ounce and one 3-ounce fillets.
4. Turn the fillets so they’re skin-side up. Cover, refrigerate and marinate for 4 – 24 hours. (The longer they marinate, the stronger the teriyaki flavor will be. I marinated mine for about 8 hours.)
5. Preheat the oven to 400˚.
6. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place the salmon, skin-side down, on the foil.
7. Roast for 8 – 10 minutes, until firm to the touch.
By Kath Dedon
Happy day after Thanksgiving (and Thanksgivukkah)! After the big turkey feast, and after sandwiches and reheated turkey and stuffing, you may be looking for ideas for using the rest of the bird.
Here are a few of my favorite recipes for leftover turkey. Just click on the links above the photos to see the recipes.
My hands-down favorite recipe for leftover roast turkey is Turkey Carcass Soup! I have made it for years just as it’s written here, and it’s one of our favorite soups of all time.
I originally made a Tetrazzini recipe with leftover Cornish game hens, but it would be terrific made with turkey or chicken. This one uses 2 cups of meat to make a small casserole that will serve 3 – 4. If you have 4 cups of leftover turkey meat, it will easily double to make a larger casserole to serve 6 – 8.
Quick Chicken or Turkey Curry is not a sophisticated curry, but it is a quick, easy, and tasty way to use some leftover poultry. We’ve enjoyed it for years.
I’ve made Pasta with Mediterranean Chicken Sauce using leftover turkey many times. You can stretch just one cup of leftover meat to make a dinner for four.
What are some of your favorite ways to use leftover turkey? As much as I love these, I’m always on the lookout for new ideas.
By Kath Dedon
Meet my new favorite chili – Poblano-Chicken Sausage Chili!
Carrie told me how much she liked Cooking Light’s Poblano-Turkey Sausage Chili. I knew I had to try it, especially since I have some poblano chiles from the Chico Farmers Market in my freezer!*
I used Isernio’s Italian Chicken Sausage instead of turkey sausage simply because I prefer it to any turkey sausage I have tried. Because my poblano chiles are quite hot, I used just one instead of two. The chili was perfect! Both Bob and I loved it.
I know I’ll be making this Poblano-Chicken Sausage Chili again soon. It’s quick and easy enough for a weeknight dinner and the leftovers reheat beautifully for lunch or another dinner.
A steaming bowl of Poblano-Chicken Chili
Poblano-Chicken Sausage Chili
(Adapted from a Cooking Light recipe)
Cooking Light uses 2 poblano chiles. Mine are quite hot so I just used one.
Serves 4 – 6
2 teaspoons light olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces Italian chicken sausage (If in casings, remove from the casings)
1 tablespoon chili powder
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 or 2 poblano chiles, seeded and finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 cup chicken broth
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
½ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Optional condiments for serving:
1. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally for about 4 minutes or until it has softened and is starting to brown.
2. Add the garlic and stir for about 1 minute.
3. Add the sausage, chili powder, oregano, cumin, poblano chile(s), and bay leaf. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 4 minutes or until the sausage is browned.
4. Add the broth, tomatoes, and beans. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer without a lid for about 30 minutes. The chili will thicken up a bit as it simmers.
5. Stir in the cilantro and black pepper. Remove the bay leaf and serve.
*The Chico Farmers Market poblano chiles ready to be broiled.
After broiling them for about 5 minutes on each side (until they were charred), I put them in a bowl and covered it with foil. After they had cooled off, I peeled the skin off, slit them down the side and scraped off the seeds. I then spread them out on a baking sheet and put them in the freezer. After they were frozen, I put them in a Ziploc bag in the freezer. I can now pull out one or two at a time to use when I need them.