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You'll find over 435 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!

A Few of Our Favorite Holiday Treats

December 11, 2018

By Kath Dedon

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Can you believe that Christmas is just two weeks away?

We don’t have desserts on a regular basis, but this is one time of year when we like to indulge in a few favorite treats. A few days ago Laura suggested that I should post some of our holiday favorites. I thought it was a great idea. So without further ado, here they are. (Just click on the names of the desserts for the recipe.)

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Our favorite holiday pies!

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Happy Apple Pie

baked apple pie 2.JPG

 

Mock Mincemeat Pie

baked mincemeat pie

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Pecan Pie

slice of pecan pie

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Naturally Sweetened Pumpkin Pie

Naturally sweetened pumpkin pie

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If you need a gluten-free option, this Almond Flour Pie Crust works very well with the pecan or pumpkin pie recipes.

almond crust ready to fill

 

Our Favorite Holiday Cookies!

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Toffee Squares

toffee squares 3

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Ginger Crinkle Cookies

Ginger Crinkle Cookies 4

 

Sugar Cookies….aka Million Dollar Cookies

Christmas sugar cookies 2

 

 

Maple Sugar-Pecan Shortbread

Maple Sugar Pecan Shortbread Cookies

 

 

Rosemary Shortbread

Rosemary Shortbread 5

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Gluten Free Lemon Bars

Gluten Free Lemon Bars.JPG

 

And one spectacular holiday cake!

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This Portuguese Orange Olive Oil Cake should be made a couple of days before serving, and it deliciously serves a lot of people. A holiday win-win!

Portuguese Orange Cake 3.JPG

 

Wishing you and yours a very happy and tasty Holiday Season!

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Gluten Free Lemon Bars 2.JPG

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The Simplest and Best Shrimp Dish

November 18, 2018

By Kath Dedon

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The Simplest and Best Shrimp Dish is my take on a Mark Bittman recipe. It is indeed simple, but is it the best? I don’t know about that, but it certainly is good enough that I made it twice in one week. Bittman calls it a Spanish tapa-style dish and says that everyone he’s served it to has loved it. Perhaps it is the Best!

The most time-consuming part of this recipe is peeling the shrimp, but even that doesn’t take too long. And if you buy shrimp that’s already peeled and deveined, the recipe is even simpler!

Be sure to have all of the ingredients ready to go (mise en place) because the cooking goes really quickly.

Bob and I really did enjoy this Simplest and Best Shrimp Dish! Just writing about it is making me crave it. The first time I made it I just served it by itself on a plate. The second time I served it with cauliflower rice. It would be great served over rice or by itself with a good bread to sop up the flavorful sauce. I’ll be making this again soon; it’s sure to be part of our regular rotation.

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Served with cauliflower rice

The Simplest and Best Shrimp Dish

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The Simplest and Best Shrimp Dish

(Adapted, barely, from Mark Bittman’s recipe on his website and in How to Cook Everything)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 4

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1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

4 cloves garlic, peeled

1½ pounds shrimp

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1½ teaspoons hot smoked paprika (Look for the word “picante” on the label.)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Chopped fresh parsley leaves, for garnish (optional)

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Ingredients for the Simplest and Best Shrimp Dish

Ingredients

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cumin and smoked hot paprika

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  1. If the shrimp aren’t already peeled and deveined, do that first and set aside.
  2. Slice the garlic into thin slivers. Measure out the cumin and paprika. (You can put them both in the same dish.) Prep the parsley, if using.

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Ingredients “mise en place” (ready to go)

Ingredients mise en place

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3. Heat a large skillet over low heat. When hot, add the olive oil and let it heat up.

oil in pan

 

4. Add the garlic to the pan and cook, stirring often, until it is starting to brown.

garlic

 

5. Raise the heat to medium-high. Add the shrimp, the cumin and paprika, and a bit of salt and pepper.

shrimp and spices added

 

6. Stir to distribute the spices.

Shrimp cooking

 

7. Cook, stirring often, until the shrimp are done. It will take 5 -10 minutes. (Timing will depend on the size of your shrimp and the heat of the pan.)

8. Serve, garnished with parsley, if desired.

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The Simplest and Best Shrimp

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Instant Pot Apple Butter

October 12, 2018

By Kath Dedon

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We had a big crop of Akane apples this year. I decided to use some of them to make Ashley Singh Thomas’ recipe for Instant Pot Apple Butter. I found the recipe on her blog, My Heart Beets. I had had my eye on her recipe for a while. When Carrie told me she made it with some of the apples we gave her and how fabulous it is, I had to make it!

I love the fact that Ashley leaves the peels on. That really simplifies the prep work. I treated myself to a Cuisipro Apple Corer which worked great. I had 4½ pounds of apples prepped in under 30 minutes.

Ashley said she used 5½ pounds of apples in her 6-quart Instant Pot, but mine was looking pretty full with just 4½ pounds so that’s what I used. I did not reduce the other ingredients.

I put the finished apple butter in half-pint jars. I have one jar in the refrigerator to eat now and the others are in the freezer. I understand that apple butter freezes really well. We can look forward to enjoying Instant Pot Apple Butter over the next few months.

If you have an abundance of apples and an Instant Pot, I highly recommend this recipe!

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A couple of Akane apples from our tree and Instant Pot Apple Butter

Instant Pot Apple Butter

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Instant Pot Apple Butter

(Adapted from Ashley Singh Thomas’ recipe on My Heart Beets)

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(print the recipe)

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The final quantity will depend on how much you cook it down in the last step. I ended up with a little over 5 cups of apple butter.

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You may wonder why this recipe only uses ¼ cup of water when Instant Pot recommends at least 1 cup of liquid. Amy + Jacky, in the comments on their version of Instant Pot Apple Butter, say that the apples release a lot of juice as they’re heated, so ¼ cup of water is enough. Indeed, it worked fine for me.

4½ pounds of apples

¼ cup water

½ teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch of ground cloves

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg, optional (I didn’t use it.)

Sugar, optional (I used 1 tablespoon of coconut sugar, but I think it would have been great without any sweetener.)

  1. Wash, core, and quarter the apples.
  2. Put the apples in the Instant Pot and add ¼ cup water.

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4.5 pounds apples

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3. Put the lid on the pot, and turn the pressure regulator to Sealing. Use Manual, High Pressure and select 20 minutes of cooking time.

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Instant Pot set.jpg

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4. When the time is up let the pressure release naturally.

5. Use a high speed blender or an immersion blender to puree the apples. (If using a blender, put the apple puree back in the Instant Pot.)

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Cooked apples, just before I blended them

Cooked apples just before blending

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6. Stir the spices and sugar into the apple puree.

7. Press Sauté and set it to Low. Cook for 30 minutes, without the lid on, stirring occasionally.

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Simmering on Low, without the lid

Apple Butter cooking on Saute

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8. When the 30 minutes are up the Instant Pot will turn off. You’ll probably want to cook it down a bit more, so Press Sauté to cook for another 30 minutes.

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Tips:

  • The apple butter will sputter when it’s cooking down. I used a splatter screen to keep it from splattering all over.
  • If you want to freeze the apple butter in jars, be sure to leave about ½ inch of space to allow for expansion.

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Instant Pot Apple Butter - Copy

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Purple Plum Torte

October 3, 2018

By Kath Dedon

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I adapted Deb Perelman’s recipe for a Purple Plum Torte to make an almost sugar-free version. Deb wrote in her Smitten Kitchen blog post that her recipe was an adaptation of the very popular version made famous by Marian Burros.

Amanda Hesser, author of The Essential New York Times Cookbook, says the Marian Burros recipe is the most often requested and published recipe in the New York Times. When she was looking for recipes to include in her book, she had 265 people rave about the Purple Plum Torte. So now it can be forever found in The Essential New York Times Cookbook.

Both Deb and Amanda point out that you can really use any fruit for this torte, but purple Italian plums are especially good when they’re in season.

This Purple Plum Torte is best made the day before you serve it, making it a perfect dessert for entertaining.

(Be sure to check out Deb’s photos of her Purple Plum Torte to see how lovely it can be when it’s baked in a springform pan instead of a pie plate.)

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Italian Plum Torte

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Purple Plum Torte

(Adapted from the Smitten Kitchen version, which is adapted from the Marian Burros recipe. Amanda Hesser included the Marian Burros recipe in The Essential New York Times Cookbook.)

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(print the recipe)

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I used granulated Swerve sweetener in the cake batter and maple sugar to sprinkle on the top. Substitute regular sugar if you wish.

A 9-inch springform pan is recommended for this recipe. I used my 9½-inch pie plate. It worked fine, although the presentation would be better if a springform pan were used.

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13 purple Italian plums (I could only fit 11 on my cake)

Italian prune plums

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1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

Large pinch of salt

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

2/3 cup granulated Swerve sweetener (or ¾ – 1 cup sugar)

2 large eggs

11 – 12 smallish purple Italian plums, halved and pitted

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons of maple sugar (or 1 tablespoon sugar)

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  1. Heat the oven to 350°.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl.
  3. Cream the butter and sweetener (or sugar) together with an electric mixer for about 5 minutes, until it is fluffy and light.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each one.
  5. Add the flour mixture and beat until it is just combined.
  6. Spread the cake batter into an ungreased 9½-inch pie pan (or ungreased 9-inch springform pan) and smooth out the top.
  7. Put the plums, skin-side up all over the cake.
  8. Sprinkle the cake with the lemon juice, and then the cinnamon and maple sugar (or sugar).

Ready to bake

Sprinkled with maple sugar and cinnamon.jpg

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9. Bake the cake for 45 – 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with no cake batter. (If you have an instant-read thermometer, the cake’s temperature will be 210° when it’s done.)

10. Cool the cake on a rack and then cover it and leave it overnight at room temperature before serving the next day.

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Baked and cooling on a rack.jpg

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Italian Plum Torte - Copy.jpg

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Tapas Salad with Grilled Bell Peppers, Olives, and Capers

September 13, 2018

By Kath Dedon

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I recently made this Tapas Salad with Grilled Bell Peppers, Olives, and Capers for a potluck party. I loved it, and several people commented on how much they enjoyed it.

The recipe is adapted, barely, from a recipe by Kalyn Denny on her Kalyn’s Kitchen blog. It’s a very easy recipe to make, and it’s perfect when you need a recipe that you can make ahead of time.

Kalyn used canned black olives. I used a jar of pitted Kalamata olives instead and liked the swap.

Next time you need an easy salad for entertaining, give this Tapas Salad with Grilled Bell Peppers, Olives, and Capers a try.

Tapas Salad with Grilled Bell Peppers

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Tapas Salad with Grilled Bell Peppers, Olives, and Capers

(Adapted from Kalyn Denny’s recipe on her Kalyn’s Kitchen blog.)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 4 – 6 (You could easily double it for more servings.)

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1 large red bell pepper

1 large yellow bell pepper

1 large orange bell pepper

1 jar pitted Kalamata olives (6 – 6.5 oz., drained)

2 Tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained

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Dressing

2 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons olive oil

1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar (or substitute white wine or white balsamic vinegar)

1 teaspoon caper brine

2 – 3 Tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram (or substitute fresh basil or oregano)

½ teaspoon minced garlic

Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

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  1. Preheat your grill with the burners on high.
  2. Wash and dry the peppers. Cut the peppers into fourths, removing the seeds and large pieces of white membrane.

peppers

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3. Put the peppers, skin side down, on the hot grill. Grill for 15 – 20 minutes until they are charred. As they get finished, remove them to a large bowl.

peppers on the grill

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4. When all of the peppers are done, cover the bowl with plastic wrap so they can steam for at least 15 minutes.

covered in a bowl

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5. Put the olives in a strainer to drain.

6. Whisk the dressing ingredients together.

7. After the peppers have steamed for at least 15 minutes, remove the charred skins. Cut the peppers crosswise into bite-size strips.

8. Put all of the salad ingredients in a bowl.

Peppers, olives, and capers in the bowl

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9. Add the dressing and toss well. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste. (The olives and capers are salty, so you may not need much salt.)

10. The salad can be kept at room temperature until you’re ready to serve.

 

Tapas Salad

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Tapas Salad with Olives

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The Ultimate BLT Sandwich

September 3, 2018

By Kath Dedon

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A few weeks ago I saw J. Kenji López-Alt’s video about The Ultimate BLT Sandwich. I challenge you to watch the video and not want to make that sandwich right away!

The thing that really puts this sandwich over the top is toasting the bread in bacon grease. Bob thought it was AMAZING! I never would have thought of doing that!

Kenji says that the most important ingredient, though, in a BLT is the tomato. He says not to bother with standard, flavorless supermarket tomatoes. This is the time of year when great tomatoes are available, maybe from your own garden. If you don’t have great homegrown tomatoes, beautiful and delicious heirloom tomatoes are available at grocery stores right now. Those are the ones to use; they’re juicy and full of real tomato flavor.

If you read the article closely, you’ll see that his favorite BLT bread is Oroweat/Arnold Country Buttermilk, unless you can get your hands on, or make, Japanese-style shokupan bread. I wasn’t going to make homemade bread, so I got a loaf of Oroweat Country Buttermilk bread.

Kenji recommends immersion-cured bacon, like Nueske’s or Wright. They may be especially good, but I found that Farmland Thick Cut bacon worked fine.

When I make one of Kenji’s recipes for the first time, I like to follow it pretty closely. After all, he’s the expert. So I used shredded iceberg lettuce on the bottom slice of toast. Bob declared that the Ultimate BLT was outstanding, but he did say that the bottom piece of toast got a bit soggy.

I’m wondering if it got soggy because it took me a while to put it all together since I was taking photos. I think next time it will fare better when I can get the sandwich put together more quickly.

I’m also wondering if the shredded lettuce allowed more of the tomato juices to soak through. Next time I would use several large leafs of lettuce, thoroughly dried, on the bottom slice of toast, and perhaps shredded iceberg on the top. I’m looking forward to giving that a try.

In the end, Kenji’s Ultimate BLT Sandwich is a thing of beauty and a great sandwich! It’s definitely a diet splurge, but it’s worth it to have a treat now and then.

Update 9/19/18 

I made this a second time for Bob last weekend, using whole lettuce leaves and working quickly to put it together. He still thought it was soggy. He declared that he prefers BLTs that are made on regular toasted bread. And with more bacon. He thinks 4 thick slices would be perfect. If you make Kenji’s Ultimate BLT Sandwich and have any insight for us, please share in the Comments. 😉

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Ultimate BLT

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The Ultimate BLT Sandwich

(Adapted from J. Kenji López-Alt’s recipe on Serious Eats)

 

(print the recipe)

 

Serves 1

 

3 strips thick cut bacon (I used Farmland.)

2 slices high-quality sandwich bread (I used Oroweat Country Buttermilk bread.)

4 tablespoons mayonnaise*

1½ cups finely shredded iceberg lettuce (or large crispy lettuce leaves, washed and thoroughly dried)

4 thick slices ripe tomato

Coarse sea salt, such as fleur de sel or Maldon

Freshly ground pepper

 

* Kenji’s recipe says to use total of 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise, but if you watch his video you’ll see that he recommends a generous amount of mayonnaise. He clearly uses more than a tablespoon on each slice. I used 4 tablespoons, about 2 on each slice, and it seemed just right.

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The ingredients, except for the bacon and pepper

Ingredients for BLTs

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  1. Turn the oven on Warm. Place the bacon in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Cook, turning often, until the bacon is crisp and that fat has rendered.

Bacon

 

2. While the bacon is cooking, prep the lettuce. Shred the iceberg lettuce or wash and dry leaf lettuce if you’re using that.

3. Slice the tomato and get the mayonnaise and salt and pepper ready to go.

4. Place the cooked bacon on a paper towel on a piece of aluminum foil. Wrap the foil around the bacon and put it in the oven to keep warm while you finish the sandwich.

5. Keep the skillet on medium-low and add the bread to the bacon grease. Toast until it is browned on the first side and then turn it over to brown the second side.

toasting bread in bacon grease

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6. Remove the toast from the skillet. Spread the mayonnaise on both slices.

Mayo on bread

 

7. Add the shredded (or leaf) lettuce to one slice of bread. Top the lettuce with the tomato slices. Generously sprinkle the tomatoes with salt and pepper.

Lettuce added

 

8. Break the bacon slices in half and lay them over the tomato slices.

tomato slices and bacon

 

9. Top the bacon with shredded lettuce.

More lettuce added

 

10. Put the second piece of toast over the sandwich. Cut in half on the diagonal and serve immediately.

cut in half diagonally

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The Ultimate BLT

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The Ultimate BLT Sandwich.jpg

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Vegan Potato Salad

August 14, 2018

By Kath Dedon

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A couple of weeks ago I used my Instant Pot to cook potatoes for a Vegan Potato Salad. Using the Instant Pot made it so quick and easy! We took the potato salad to a potluck party and brought back an empty bowl. Bob and I both loved it!

I doubled the ingredients in my All-American Potato Salad for Two, omitted the hard-cooked eggs, and used vegan mayonnaise to make it vegan. (I like Just Mayo vegan mayonnaise, which I can find at QFC and Safeway.)

Bob has mentioned at least a couple of times how much he liked the Vegan Potato Salad since I made it. I guess I’ll have to make it again soon. 😉

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Vegan All-American Potato Salad.jpg

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Vegan Potato Salad

(Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen’s recipe for All-American Potato Salad for Two)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 6 – 8

 

Most of the ingredients for the dressing

IMG_4195.JPG

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2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces

1 cup water

2 tablespoons dill pickle juice

2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

½ cup vegan mayonnaise

2 small celery ribs, minced (about 2/3 cup)

3 tablespoons dill pickle relish

1 shallot, minced (about 4 tablespoons)

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon celery seeds

½ teaspoon fine sea salt (or table salt)

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

 

  1. Put the potatoes in a steamer basket in the Instant Pot. (A steamer basket makes it much easier to remove the cooked potatoes and to drain them, but if you don’t have one just put the potatoes in the pot.)

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potatoes in the Instant Pot.jpg

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2. Add the 1 cup of water to the Instant Pot; put the lid on and lock it in place. Make sure the pressure release handle is in the sealing position.

3. Select Manual. Set the time for 4 minutes at high pressure.

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4 minutes - High pressure

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4. When the 4 minutes of cooking time are up, use the Quick Release method to let the steam out.

5. Drain the potatoes and put them in a large bowl. Immediately pour the pickle juice and the vinegar over the warm potatoes. Stir gently and set them aside for about 20 minutes.

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Pouring the pickle juice and vinegar over the warm potatoes

Vinegar and pickle juice

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6. Make the dressing while the potatoes are cooling. Stir the mayonnaise, minced celery, pickle relish, minced shallot, minced parsley, dry mustard, celery seeds, salt, and pepper together.

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Ready to mix.jpg

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Dressing for vegan potato salad

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7. After the potatoes have cooled for about 20 minutes, gently stir the dressing into the potatoes. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

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Vegan All-American Potato Salad 2.jpg

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Vegan All-American Potato Salad - Copy

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