Treasured Recipes from Food Blogs

One of the best (?) parts of being a food blogger is keeping tabs on millions of other food bloggers. This means that I’m exposed to unending stream of tempting recipes. Some of the gems that have become a part of our regular rotation are listed below. These are meals/sides that most of the family is happy with most of the time. Thank you fellow bloggers.

Ponyo Noodles from Cook Play Explore. Rent the movie. Run out and find some lidded soup bowls the next day. Make some of the funnest and easiest noodles around.

Simple Seasame Noodles from Pioneer Woman. When I am completely unmotivated to cook and the refrigerator is bare, The Pioneer Woman comes to the rescue.

Roasted Broccoli with Lime from seaweed snacks. A small part of me is excited for the onset of winter each year so that the unending stream of roasted vegetables can begin.

Dilled, crunch sweet-corn salad with buttermilk dressing from Food 52. I don’t think Food 52 is really a blog, but I’m including it anyway. This salad is unbelievable.

Broccoli Slaw from Cook Play Explore. Quick, crunchy, and delicious.

Kale and Pear Smoothie from Joy the Baker. Yum!

Apple Caramel Pie from Pioneer Woman. My husband insists upon this pie at Thanksgiving.

Curried Lentil Soup from Molly Wizenburg at Bon Appetite. Lentils used to be the kind of food I really want to be crazy about but I just couldn’t truly embrace them. This recipe, however, makes me love them.

Chipotle Roasted Vegetable Salad from Perry’s Plate. This is a picture of my salad. I put all the fixings in bowls on the table the and the kids make their own “salads” and everyone’s happy.

Tuna Melts from The Pioneer Woman. I normally turn my nose up at gooey mushy tuna melts. But this version is loaded with crunchy veggies which keep the tuna and its mushy nature at bay. They’re perfect.

And last but certainly not least, Butterscotch Oatmeal Cookies from Baking Bites.

Romesco Dip

The people of Spain who originally came up with this concoction are clearly culinary geniuses. I’m in love with this dip right now. I usually have all the ingredients on hand and it takes no time at all to make. Plus it’s vegan and doesn’t feel as heavy as the usual diary-heavy party fare.

Romesco Dip Recipe

This recipe is minimally adapted from Allison Fishman’s You Can Trust a Skinny Cook. Love this cookbook. Everything I’ve made from it has kicked some major arse.

1 slice bread, whole wheat or otherwise
1/2 cup sliced toasted almonds
1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
1/2 cup jarred roasted red pepper, dried with a paper towel
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons water

Place the bread, almonds, and garlic into the bowl of a food processor and whiz until the almonds are finely ground – about 30 seconds.

Add the red pepper, vinegar, salt, red pepper flakes, and olive oil and process until smooth. Add the water in a steady stream through the feed tube with the processor running.

I find that this dip thickens up nicely if refrigerated overnight in an airtight container. Serve at room temperature with bread or vegetables. Spread it on sandwiches. Serve it with grilled chicken, fish, or vegetables.

Yield: 2 cups
Prep-time: 12 minutes



These crostini are the backbone of dip and cheese plates that I find myself putting together in the winter months.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut a baguette  into 1/4-inch slices. Arrange the slices onto a baking sheet in a single layer. Pour 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil into a small bowl. Brush a bit off the oil onto each slice with a pastry brush. Bake until golden and dried out, approximately 30 minutes.

As far as I can tell, these will keep for months in an airtight container, if they are completely dried out. I always make way more than I think I’ll need because the kids devour them and we can always save them for the next get together.

Yield: variable
Prep-time: 10 minutes
Bake-time: 30 minutes

Best Morning Glory Muffins

Recipes that produce healthy and delicious muffins are not easy to come by. But occasionally, I stumble across a winner. What I love most about this recipe is that it uses apple butter. I’ve seen plenty of muffin recipes that use applesauce. But apple butter delivers the goods when applesauce is still busy making promises.

The muffin pictured above is topped with chopped walnuts. In reaction to some unsolicited feedback from my youngest child, I have been leaving the nuts out altogether lately. I miss the crunch and texture. But it’s not all about me, right?

Morning Glory Muffins

Adapted from Eating Well’s Comfort Foods Made Healthy. Original recipe can also be found on Eating Well’s website –> Morning Glory Muffins.

1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons wheat germ
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups grated carrots (4 medium)
1 apple, peeled, cored, and finely chopped
1/2 cup raisins
2 large eggs
1/2 cup apple butter
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a muffin pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, wheat germ, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the carrots, apple, and raisins.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, apple butter, oil, and vanilla extract.

Mix the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined. Divide the batter between the 12 muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Transfer muffins to a wire rack to cool. Serve or store in an airtight container. These also freeze well.

Yield: 12
Prep-time: 30 minutes


Honey Salad

Honey Salad is my new favorite way to use up Thanksgiving turkey leftovers. My youngest loves it because most of it is her favorite food color, white and beige, and the dressing is sweet.

Honey Salad Recipe

This salad is great sprinkled with chopped honey roasted pecans, if you have any handy. My kids refuse the addition. But, personally, I’m a big fan.

For the dressing:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 tablespoons dijon mustard

For the salad:
2 medium apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
3/4 cup chopped sharp cheddar cheese
1 heaping cup chopped cooked turkey
1 tablespoon raisins (optional)

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, honey, and mustard until well combined. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, toss together the apple, cheese, turkey, and raisins (if desired). Pour on the dressing and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Yield: 2 1/2 cups
Prep-time: 15 minutes


Homemade Vanilla Wafers

[donotprint]Even though I’m deep into this make-everything-from-scratch-with-locally-sourced-ingredients-whenever-possible phase right now, there are still certain foods that I don’t feel I have the right to acquire anywhere other than at the grocery store. Nilla wafers are a prime example. I stopped buying them probably because they contain high fructose corn syrup or some other evil ingredient du jour. I never thought about making some from scratch. I let out a little squeal of delight when I saw a recipe for them in The Commonsense Kitchen.

Is there anything better than a homemade version of a highly-processed childhood favorite? Or is it a symptom of how boring and ill-focused my life has become that I find it so thrilling?

I’m breaking a cardinal rule I set a while ago for this blog by publishing a cookie recipe. But I’m sure I’m the only one who even remembers that post. You’ll be happy know that this is in no way a healthed-up cookie. I think I’ve made peace with cookies. I say enjoy them, eat too many, and move on.[/donotprint]

Vanilla Wafers Recipe

This recipe is adapted ever so slightly from The Commonsense Kitchen. These little gems are so so much better than their grocery store counterparts.

5 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk
2 cups unbleached cake flour or all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farhienhiet.

Cream the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Add the egg, vanilla, and milk and mix well. Sift in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir well.

Spoon the dough into a gallon-sized freezer bag. This is a bit easier if the corner of the bag to be filled up is resting inside a large wide-mouthed glass. Cut off the tip of one of the corners and pipe the dough onto ungreased cookie sheets at least one inch apart.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until the bottoms begin to turn golden brown. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. Serve or store in an airtight container.

Yield: 4 dozen cookies
Prep-time: 15 minutes
Bake-time: 15 minutes


Cheese Straws

[donotprint]Lord knows why, but I’d never made a cheese straw until recently. Since I’ve been wanting to make them forever and we were having a bunch of people over I decided to make three different kinds and see what we liked best. It turned out to be a crazy amount of work that I’m not anxious to repeat anytime soon. But once I’m rested, I assume I’ll be happy to have a promising cheese straw recipe under my belt.

I started with the Lee Brothers‘ cheese straw recipe which I believe Smitten Kitchen has taken a crack at. In fact, I made a batch a few days beforehand planning on storing them in the freezer, but they mysteriously disappeared so I was forced to make a second batch. This recipe is brilliant, easy, and simple. The dough handles relatively well. The red pepper flakes are perfect. But, in my opinion, they are a tad too rich.

Next, I tried a recipe from 101 cookbooks. I used spelt flour instead of the buckwheat flour that is called for. My youngest liked these cheese straws the best, probably because they’re flavored with thyme instead of cayenne or red pepper flakes. But I found them a tad weak on flavor and the dough was hard to work with. 

Last but not least, I tried the cheese straw recipe in the New York Times Cookbook. I was a little unsure about this one because bread crumbs are a major ingredient. But I dove in anyway because a) I couldn’t find any other recipes for from-scratch cheese straws in my humble cookbook collection and b) how could Craig Claiborne steer me wrong? The recipe turned out well and was happily gobbled up by all of our guests.[/donotprint]

Cheese Straw Recipe

Adapted from The New York Times Cookbook.

8 tablespoons (1 stick) of unsalted butter, softened
3 cups soft homemade whole wheat bread crumbs
2 cups coarsely grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/2 all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cayeanne pepper
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
Dash of paprika
Grated Parmesan cheese

Combine all the ingredients except the Parmesan cheese in the bowl of a food processor. Process for until the dough starts to come together, about 30 seconds.

Remove the dough from the processor and form it into four equal-sized discs. Wrap the discs in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for at least one hour or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farhenhiet.

Remove one disc at a time from the refrigerator. Unwrap it and set it on wax paper or a silicone baking mat. (I highly recommend the later.) Roll it out until it is about 1/8 inch thick. With a pastry cutter or pizza wheel, cut the dough into 1/2-inch by 6-inch strips. Seperate the strips slightly while transfering them to a parchment lined baking sheet (or you can use your trustly silicone baking mat). Sprinkle on the Parmesan cheese. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until light brown and slightly crispy. They should crisp up a bit more once they cool.

Yield: 4 dozen
Prep-time:  30 mintues