For a while now I have been trying to get away from buying packaged foods as much as possible. I know that fresh foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, are much more healthful than processed foods, and I want to feed my family foods in their natural state as much as possible. One result of this is that I have a really hard time buying packages of things like pre-made taco seasoning, which can be loaded with extra sodium and other not-so-nutritious additives.
To make my own homemade taco seasoning, I began by researching various recipes online. The differences between recipes are great, and when creating my own I used a combination of the recipes I found. I wanted my taco ... [Continue Reading]
Salted caramel sauce has been on my list of things I wanted to make for quite a while. I just needed a good reason to make some. I know, I know, having salted caramel sauce in the refrigerator should be reason enough, shouldn't it?
The caramel is delicious on top of ice cream, especially if you have homemade brownies to make brownie sundaes (which we did!). I'm looking forward to making another batch of this caramel sauce soon to enjoy with some homemade vanilla ice cream. It's true, the sweet and salty combination is irresistible!
One year ago: Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Raspberry Filling
Salted Caramel Sauce
Makes about 1 cup
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp. light ... [Continue Reading]
On Tuesday I posted the recipe for this New York Cheesecake, and promised to share this strawberry sauce with you as well. The cheesecake was so good it could almost stand alone, but this sauce brought the dessert to a whole new level.
After serving this strawberry sauce with the cheesecake, I still had quite a bit of sauce left. You could certainly halve the recipe, but if you make the full recipe there are plenty of good ways to use this sauce. It would be delicious on top of some vanilla ice cream, or maybe on a slice of chocolate cake or pound cake. Drizzled over waffles or pancakes? Yum. You could even use it to sweeten Greek yogurt or your morning oatmeal.
The recipe below allows you ... [Continue Reading]
While I've been making homemade pizzas for years, pizza sauce is something that I've never thought too much about. I used to buy pizza sauce at the store, but didn't like paying $4 for something that I only used a small amount of, and that wasn't that good to begin with. Recently I've just been using a can of plain tomato sauce as pizza sauce, topped with a sprinkling of Italian seasoning if I was feeling fancy. But now that I've tried this homemade pizza sauce, I'm sure that I'll be taking a few extra minutes to make my pizzas that much better.
The sauce can be made ahead of time and refrigerated, saving you time when you're ready to assemble your pizza. This recipe makes more sauce than ... [Continue Reading]
The recipe for this super simple tomato sauce has been appearing all over the blogosphere recently, so I knew it was only a matter of time before I had to try it myself. Then I realized that the recipe is from a cookbook that Brad and I received as a wedding gift, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan, a classic Italian cookbook. This is a cookbook that I really should have been making better use of, rather than let sit on my shelf untouched for years. As I turned to this tomato sauce recipe, I realized that it's one that I've tried before, many years ago. I can't remember anything about how it turned out that time, but after making it again I can tell you that it is as ... [Continue Reading]
Homemade salad dressing is one of those things that is far better than store bought, and it hardly takes any effort to make. This recipe is especially easy, and can literally be made in less than 3 minutes. (Yes, I timed it!) I always have the ingredients for this dressing on hand, so even at the last minute I can mix up some of this homemade salad dressing.
I've been meaning to try other salad dressing recipes, but haven't had much incentive to because we love this dressing so much (and again, it's so easy and I don't have to buy any special ingredients). I'm sure I will sometime soon, though, because we're probably missing out on many other great salad dressing flavors!
I like to mix ... [Continue Reading]
Brad and I made these enchiladas last night, and they were so good I just couldn't wait to share them with you today. This is a healthier version of your typical enchilada because vegetables and beans take the place of the meat (and part of the cheese) that usually fill enchiladas. The filling is so hearty and flavorful that we didn't miss the meat at all.
The enchiladas are filled with onion, bell pepper, zucchini, spinach, and black beans. I also put a cup of shredded Monterey Jack cheese in the filling. The original recipe called for either queso fresco or feta cheese, but I had forgotten to buy one of those cheeses during my grocery trip. It worked out though because the jack cheese ... [Continue Reading]
These chicken fingers come out of the oven crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The chicken is dredged in three different mixtures before baking. Toasted panko breadcrumbs contribute crispiness, and small amounts of garlic powder, cayenne pepper, Dijon mustard, and thyme give the chicken the perfect amount of seasoning. I posted another chicken fingers recipe a few months ago, and while those were good, the ones I am posting today are much better and I will use this recipe from now on.
We like to dip our chicken fingers in homemade honey mustard sauce, and I have included the sauce recipe below. Barbecue sauce (or ketchup, which is usually Julia's choice :) ) is a great dipping ... [Continue Reading]
You may have noticed that beginning this week, I am now including a "Printable recipe" link in my posts. I hope this will make it easier for you to print those recipes that you want to try!
Since posting this Crispy Chicken Fingers recipe, I have since found a new favorite chicken fingers recipe that I think is even better. Visit this post for the new recipe.
These chicken fingers are a great way to satisfy a craving for chicken tenders, but in a home-cooked, healthy way. A quick soak in buttermilk tenderizes the chicken, while you prep the other ingredients for the dish. The crispiness of the chicken fingers comes from coating the chicken pieces in crushed ... [Continue Reading]
If you are looking for a simple yet delicious dessert to bring to a holiday get together, look no further. This spiced applesauce cake has hints of cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. If you enjoy cream cheese frosting, then you will love how the sweet, cinnamon frosting complements the moist apple cake. I just made this cake last weekend, and I'm already looking for another occasion to make it again.
I made homemade applesauce for my cake, but you could also use store-bought if you are short on time. I've included simple directions for making homemade applesauce below.
Spiced Applesauce Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 ... [Continue Reading]
I love the flavor of butternut squash, and often make butternut squash soup during the winter and fall months. One of my favorite meals at my favorite restaurant is butternut squash ravioli. So naturally, I was very excited to find this butternut squash sauce that I can easily make to eat with pasta at home. This sauce is creamy and slightly sweet, and is a great way to satisfy my craving for butternut squash ravioli at home. I didn't think of it until we were halfway through this meal, but toasted walnuts would be a delicious garnish for this dish. Enjoy!
Pasta with Butternut Parmesan Sauce
Makes 4 servings
1 butternut squash weighing about 2 1/2 pounds
8 oz. penne ... [Continue Reading]
I keep a binder of favorite recipes that I've made and loved. Chicken with Provençal Sauce has earned a spot in my binder of favorites because of its simplicity and flavor. First, you pound the chicken breasts to 1/2-inch thickness, which helps to tenderize the meat and promotes even cooking. After cooking the chicken in a skillet, you make the Provençal Sauce, a combination of garlic, chicken broth, herbes de Provence, butter, and lemon juice. Since you make the sauce in the same skillet that you cooked the chicken in, the browned bits from the bottom of the pan are incorporated into the sauce, giving it even more flavor.
This time, I served green beans and brown rice alongside the ... [Continue Reading]
I almost didn't try this recipe. I had planned to make a new type of ice cream, which included a caramel swirl. First, I thought I'd make my own caramel sauce. Then I thought, no, I'll just buy some because that will be easier. Finally I decided to just go for it and I'm so glad I did. It ended up being a lot of fun to make homemade caramel sauce! (And it wasn't very difficult, either.)
The caramel sauce has an almost butterscotch-like flavor and goes really well with vanilla ice cream. If you are going to try this recipe, I suggest having all of your ingredients and tools ready before you begin. Measure out the heavy cream ahead of time, and have a whisk and potholders ready. When the ... [Continue Reading]
This is a super easy and tasty tomato sauce. I included chopped onion, carrots, mushrooms, and red bell pepper in the sauce because I wanted to increase the amount of vegetables in our meal. I also like the added flavor from the veggies. First, I sauteed the vegetables in a small amount of olive oil. I added the onion and carrots to the pan first, since they take more time to become tender. Then I added the red pepper and mushrooms, and the garlic went in the pan last because I didn't want it to burn. Finally, I poured in two cans of tomato sauce and added a few dried herbs. I used Italian seasoning and oregano, but feel free to use whatever you prefer.
I was in a hurry to get dinner on ... [Continue Reading]
We have made this pizza three times now and it is quickly becoming one of our favorites. The recipe was inspired by a pizza that we enjoyed at a local pizza restaurant. I love the pesto as the pizza "sauce;" it is the perfect match for pizza crust. Tomatoes and pine nuts (and of course cheese) finish off the pizza. Enjoy!
Pizza with Pesto and Tomatoes
1 rolled out pizza crust, on parchment paper (see recipe here)
About 1/2 cup pesto sauce (recipe below)
Mozzarella or monterey jack cheese
1 tomato, sliced
1/4 cup pine nuts
Place a pizza stone on rack in lower third of oven. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees for 30 minutes.
Spread pesto sauce onto ... [Continue Reading]