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You'll find over 385 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!

Green Beans with Vinaigrette

June 21, 2016

By Kath Dedon

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Green Beans with Vinaigrette from Martha Stewart is a great side dish for summer entertaining. The beans can be cooked and the vinaigrette made up to a day early and stored separately in the refrigerator. Take them both out of the refrigerator about an hour before serving time and then gently toss the beans in the dressing when it’s time to eat. The beans make a lovely light side dish with grilled meats.

Martha’s recipe is for 2 pounds of beans, serving 8. I made 2 pounds for our family’s Father’s Day dinner and everyone enjoyed them. They were great with Rosemary Mustard Grilled Chicken Breasts.

I liked the beans so much that I had to make them again and take photos to share with you! I cut the recipe in half for 4 servings. Bob and I enjoyed them two nights in a row. The leftover beans were just as flavorful as the first night, although the beans lost a bit of their vibrant color overnight.

Give these Green Beans with Vinaigrette a try, especially if you have great homegrown beans this summer.

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These beans may look plain, but the simple, light vinaigrette makes them a delicious side dish.

Green Beans with Vinaigrette

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Green Beans with Vinaigrette

(Adapted, barely, from Martha Stewart’s recipe)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 4 (double to serve 8)

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1 pound green beans

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Vinaigrette

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1½ teaspoons white balsamic vinegar

½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon ground pepper

 

  1. Wash the beans and then trim the ends.

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I take several beans at a time and line them up against my knife and then cut off the ends.

Cutting beans.jpg

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2. Put the beans in a steamer basket and bring about an inch of water to boil in a pan.

3. When the water’s boiling, put the steamer basket in the pot, cover, and steam for 4 – 5 minutes. (Check a bean at 4 minutes to see if they’re done. You want them to be “crisp-tender” as Martha says.)

4. While the beans are steaming, get a bowl of ice water ready to cool them.

5. When the beans are done, put them in the ice water.

Cooling beans.jpg

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6. When the beans are cold, drain them and spread them on a clean kitchen towel or paper towels to dry. You’ll probably want to use paper towels to dry them further.

Beans drying.jpg

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7. Put all of the vinaigrette ingredients in a small jar and shake well. At this point the beans and the vinaigrette can be refrigerated separately until ready to serve.

8. Just before serving, put the beans in a serving bowl. Pour all of the vinaigrette over them and toss gently so the dressing is distributed well.

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Green Beans with Vinaigrette - Copy.jpg

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Vegan Ranch Dressing

June 18, 2016

By Kath Dedon

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Vegan Ranch Dressing is easy to make and it’s a real treat for anyone who has an allergy or sensitivity to dairy or eggs.

I searched the Internet for different recipes and decided to use the recipe on allergyfreetestkitchen.com as my template. I liked the fact that she used dried herbs because they’re easy to have on hand. And, what I’m guessing is the world’s favorite ranch dressing, Hidden Valley, uses dried herbs in their mix.

Hidden Valley also uses MSG, an ingredient many people want to avoid. MSG, however, is the ingredient that contributes umami to the dressing. That umami is what makes it so tasty and irresistible. So how could I add umami without using MSG?

Well, while searching the Internet, I also found Karrie’s recipe for Homemade Hidden Valley Ranch Mix on her happymoneysaver.com blog. She had not been able to replicate the flavor that she loved in Hidden Valley’s ranch mix until she figured out a way to add umami without using MSG. The secret turned out to be dried mushrooms. Dried mushrooms have lots of umami. Karrie used dried portabella mushrooms. I used a dried morel mushroom because that’s what I had.

I found that 1 dried morel mushroom produced about 1 teaspoon after I ground it up in my Krups coffee/spice grinder.

I made the dressing without the mushroom powder and tasted it. It was quite good. Then I added in the mushroom powder, and it really did make a difference in the taste! (For those who don’t like mushrooms, the dressing does not taste like mushrooms. The mushroom powder is just a magical secret ingredient that enhances the flavor.)

I will definitely be making Vegan Ranch Dressing again. And I’m sure I’ll also find other ways to use dried mushroom powder when a dish needs a flavor boost!

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Vegan Ranch Dressing

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Vegan Ranch Dressing

(Adapted from recipes on two blogs: allergyfreetestkitchen.com and happymoneysaver.com)

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If you don’t need the recipe to be vegan, dairy-free, or egg-free, just substitute your favorite mayonnaise for the vegan one and ¼ cup buttermilk for the coconut creamer and vinegar.

(print the recipe)

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Makes about 1¼ cups

1 cup vegan mayonnaise (I used Just Mayo brand)

¼ cup coconut milk “buttermilk” (Pour 1 ½ teaspoons of distilled vinegar in a measuring cup, and then add coconut milk or creamer to equal ¼ cup. I used So Delicious Coconut Coffee Creamer.)

½ teaspoon dried parsley

½ teaspoon dried chives

¼ teaspoon dried dill weed

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon onion powder

¼ teaspoon garlic salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon ground dried mushroom powder (Try portabella or morel. The mushroom powder is optional, but so good!)

 

  1. Make the coconut milk “buttermilk” as described in the ingredients.
  2. Grind the dried mushroom(s) in a spice grinder until it’s a fine powder. (I found one good size morel was enough.)
  3. Put all of the ingredients in a small food processor or blender and blend until it is all mixed together.
  4. Keeps for several days in the refrigerator.

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Dairy and Egg Free Ranch Dressing

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Wedge salad with Vegan Ranch Dressing

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Vegan Ranch Dressing - Copy

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Silky Smooth Hummus with No Tahini

June 10, 2016

By Kath Dedon

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Don’t want to use tahini? You can still make fabulous Silky Smooth Hummus with No Tahini. Maybe you’re out of tahini. Maybe you’re serving the hummus to someone who has a sesame seed allergy. Maybe you just don’t like tahini. You can still make great hummus.

On Martha Stewart’s site I learned that you don’t need to use any substitutions; you can just make your favorite hummus recipe and omit the tahini. That’s pretty much what I did. I omitted the 6 tablespoons of tahini that were in the original Classic Hummus recipe in America’s Test Kitchen’s The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook. I added a tablespoon of creamy peanut butter to give it a hint of flavor.

ATK’s method produces the creamiest texture! And you don’t need to remove the skins to achieve it. You grind the chickpeas and the dry ingredients in the food processor. Then, with the motor running, you slowly add the lemon juice and water blend and then the olive oil and peanut butter. The result? Silky smooth hummus goodness!

I highly recommend this method to make Silky Smooth Hummus with No Tahini. If you want to use tahini, just substitute 6 tablespoons of tahini for the peanut butter for a delicious Classic Hummus.

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Silky Smooth Hummus with No Tahini served with mini pepper strips and pita chips

Hummus with peppers and pita chips

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Silky Smooth Hummus with No Tahini

Adapted from a recipe in ATK’s The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook using advice from Martha Stewart’s site

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(print the recipe)

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Makes about 1¾ cups

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Ingredients for hummus.JPG

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¼ cup water

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon peanut butter (I used natural peanut butter. The peanut butter is optional. Omit, if you want.)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

1½ cups cooked chickpeas (or one can, rinsed and drained)

1 small clove garlic, minced

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

Pinch cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro or parsley (optional), for garnish

 

1. Stir the water and lemon juice together in a measuring cup.

2. Stir the peanut butter and olive oil together so it’s blended well.

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Mixing peanut butter with oil.JPG

I put the peanut butter/oil mixture in a small measuring cup for easy pouring.

Peanut butter and olive oil

3. .Set aside about 1½ – 2 tablespoons of the chickpeas aside to use as a garnish.

4. Put the rest of the chickpeas, garlic, salt, cumin, and cayenne in a food processor and process until it’s ground up well, about 15 – 20 seconds.

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Dry ingredients in the food processor

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ground

 

5. Scrape the mixture down with a spatula. Turn the motor on and slowly stream the water and lemon juice into the chickpeas. Scrape the mixture down again and then process for 1 minute.

6. With the motor running, slowly stream the peanut butter and olive oil mixture into the food processor. Process for about 15 more seconds.

7. Put the hummus in a serving bowl. Garnish with the reserved chickpeas, a drizzle of olive oil, and, if using, the cilantro or parsley.

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Silky Smooth Hummus with no tahini.JPG

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Small Batch Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

May 25, 2016

By Kath Dedon

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Small Batch Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies are just what you need when you want homemade chocolate chip cookies but don’t want to make a huge batch.  The recipe makes just 12 – 14 cookies. It’s quick to make, and it can be mixed in a bowl with a whisk or a fork. There’s no need to use a mixer!

The recipe was developed by America’s Test Kitchen for The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook (a great cookbook, by the way). They found that you can simply stir in melted butter, eliminating the need to cream the butter and sugar with a mixer. Talk about easy!

The recipe is supposed to yield 12 cookies, but it actually made 14 cookies for me. I baked the extra two in my new convection toaster oven, but I found that the ones baked in my regular oven turned out better.

The next time you just need to have a few chocolate chip cookies, I highly recommend that you try Small Batch Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies. They’re quick, easy, and loaded with chocolate chips! You can be pulling them out of your oven in no time to satisfy your craving!

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One dozen

 

Small Batch Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

(Adapted from the recipe in The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook by ATK)

 

(print the recipe)

 

Makes 12 – 14 cookies

 

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup packed (3½ ounces) light brown sugar

¼ cup (1¾ ounces) granulated sugar

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

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Ingredients for the cookies (flour is in the bowl)

Ingredients for cookies

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1. Preheat the oven to 350° with the rack in the middle position. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat baking mat.

2. Melt the butter and set it aside to cool a bit while you prepare the other ingredients.

3. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a small bowl.

4. Whisk the light brown sugar and granulated sugar together in a medium bowl.

Sugars

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5. Pour the melted butter into the sugar and stir until it’s well combined.

Butter added

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6. Add the egg and vanilla and stir until combined.

7. Use a spatula to gently blend the flour mixture into the sugar mixture.

Cookie dough

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8. Fold the chocolate chips into the dough.

Chocolate chips added.JPG

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9. Using about 2 tablespoons of dough for each cookie, roll the dough into 12 or so balls and place them about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet.

10. Bake for 7 minutes. Rotate the pan and bake for another 7 minutes, until the edges are set but the center is still soft and puffy.

Baked.JPG

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11. Cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet before removing. Enjoy the cookies warm or at room temperature!

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Cooling.JPG

One dozen - Copy.JPG

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Spiced Lentil Soup

May 11, 2016

By Kath Dedon

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This Spiced Lentil Soup may be the best lentil soup I’ve ever had! The recipe is from Angela Liddon’s Oh She Glows blog. Her blog and book both focus on healthy vegan recipes, many of which are gluten-free. Now I am pretty sure I will never become a vegan, but I do enjoy a good vegetarian meal. I find that I’m eager to try more of Angela’s recipes. I recommend that you hop on over to Oh She Glows to see Angela’s gorgeous photos.

The soup is quick and easy to put together and the spices are perfect. It’s very flavorful without being overly spicy. The coconut milk makes it rich and creamy. Angela said she has tried it with light coconut milk but she really prefers it made with the full-fat coconut milk.

I’m sorry that I didn’t take photos of the process, but I still wanted to share this Spiced Lentil Soup with you. At the first taste Bob and I both declared this a blog-worthy recipe. I know I’ll be making it again.

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Spiced Lentil Soup 2

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Spiced Lentil Soup

(Adapted, barely, from Angela Liddon’s recipe on ohsheglows.com)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 4

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1½ tablespoons olive oil

2 cups diced onion (1 medium/large)

2 large garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons ground turmeric

1½ teaspoons ground cumin

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground cardamom

1 (15-ounce) can unsalted diced tomatoes, with juices

1 (15-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk

¾ cup uncooked red lentils, rinsed and drained

2 cans (3 ½ – 4 cups total) vegetable broth

½ teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

5 ounces baby spinach

2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

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ingredients

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  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook over medium heat for 4 – 5 minutes, until it softens.
  2. Add the garlic to the onions and cook, stirring, for about a minute.
  3. Add the turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, and cardamom. Stir for about a minute.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes, coconut milk, lentils, vegetable broth, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for 18 – 22 minutes, or until the lentils are done.
  5. Remove the pot from the burner and stir in the spinach until it has wilted. Add the lime juice and taste for seasoning. (If your broth is salty, you probably won’t need any more salt.) Enjoy!

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Spiced Lentil Soup.JPG

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Spiced Lentil Soup 2 - Copy.JPG

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Gluten-Free Blueberry Crisp

May 8, 2016

By Kath Dedon

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Blueberry Crisp was the dessert Laura requested for her birthday. It’s a quick and easy recipe to make and delicious plain or with a bit of ice cream.

I combined some of the ingredients and methods from two other recipes, Blueberry Pie and Peach Crisp. The blueberry filling was adapted from the out-of-print 1981 Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book. The crisp is an adaptation of Mark Bittman’s recipe in How to Cook Everything The Basics.

This time I used pecans in the crisp and I chopped them as the original recipe suggested. I would definitely chop them if you’re mixing the crisp mixture by hand. I, however, used my food processor and the chopped nuts were chopped up a bit too much. Next time I would add the nuts whole to the food processor.

If you love blueberries, I definitely recommend this Blueberry Crisp! It’s quick to put together and easy (much easier than a blueberry pie) and it makes a festive dessert that serves 6 – 8 people.

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Blueberry Crisp

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Blueberry Crisp

(Adapted from recipes in the 1981 Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book and Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything The Basics)

 

(print the recipe)

 

Serves 6 – 8

 

I like to use my food processor to make the crisp but you can definitely do it by hand. Just chop the nuts, if you use them, into pieces that seem to be the right size. Then put all of the ingredients in a bowl and mash it together with your fingers until they are pretty well combined.

If you don’t need to make it gluten-free, just substitute all-purpose flour for the tapioca flour and the gluten-free flour blend for the crisp. 

 

The blueberry filling

About 6 cups blueberries, picked over to remove any stems, rinsed and well-drained (4 – 5 half pints or 1½ – 1¾ pounds)

½ cup sugar (I used maple sugar.)

1/3 cup tapioca flour

Zest of 1 lemon

 

Crisp topping

5 tablespoons cold butter, plus more for greasing the pan.

½ cup packed brown sugar (I used maple sugar.)

½ cup gluten-free rolled oats (not instant oats)

½ cup of your favorite gluten-free flour blend (I like this one)

¼ cup nuts, optional (I used pecans. Chop them if you’re mixing by hand.)

Pinch of salt

 

Vanilla ice cream for serving, optional

 

 

1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Put a rimmed baking sheet in the oven to catch any drips that might occur.

2. Use a bit of butter to grease an 8×8 square baking pan or a 9-inch pie plate.

3. Cut the 5 tablespoons of butter for the crisp topping into small pieces and put them in the refrigerator or freezer for a few minutes while you prepare the blueberries.

butter

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4. Toss the blueberry filling ingredients (the blueberries, ½ cup sugar, tapioca flour, and lemon zest) together and put them in the prepared pan.

Blueberries with sugar, tapioca flour, and lemon zest.jpg

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Blueberries in pie plate

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5. Put the topping ingredients in a food processor. Pulse a few times until everything is mixed but still has some texture.

In the food processor

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processed crisp topping

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6. Sprinkle the topping over the blueberries. Put the crisp on the baking sheet in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, until the blueberries are bubbling and the top is browned a bit.

gluten free Blueberry Crisp

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7. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Blueberry Crisp - Copy.JPG

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Oven-Roasted Mini Sweet Peppers

May 2, 2016

By Kath Dedon

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Oven-Roasted Mini Sweet Peppers make such a colorful side dish! I have cooked the peppers on the grill, but more often than not I have roasted them in the oven. It’s super easy and can be made ahead of time and eaten at room temperature.

When I serve them as an appetizer I leave the stems on. They have very few seeds; I just wash them and grill them or roast them and serve them whole.

As a side dish, however, I like to take the stems off and I remove most of the seeds. I recently served them with Gemelli with Sausage, Grapes and Red Wine.  The peppers added great color to the plate and were delicious with the pasta.

I hesitate to even call Oven-Roasted Mini Sweet Peppers a recipe, but I found that every time I made them I turned to the Internet for oven temperature recommendations and timing. I figured other people would also like go-to instructions, so here’s how I did it.

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Mini Sweet Peppers

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Oven-Roasted Mini Sweet Peppers

(Inspired by the recipe on a blog, Lady Behind the Curtain )

 

(print the recipe)

Serves 6 – 8

 

2 pounds mini sweet peppers

1 tablespoon avocado oil (olive oil is also good)

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°.
  2. Wash the peppers. Cut off the stem end and pull out most of the seeds.
  3. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or heavy duty foil.
  4. Put the peppers in the center of the baking sheet. Drizzle the avocado oil over the peppers. Toss them with your hands to distribute the oil.
  5. Spread the peppers out. Sprinkle with a bit of sea salt and ground pepper.
  6. Roast for about 10 minutes.

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Almost done

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7. Stir the peppers and then return to the oven.

8. Roast for an additional 5 minutes.

9. Put the peppers in a serving bowl. Serve immediately, or cover and serve at room temperature later.

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Oven-roasted mini sweet peppers

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Mini Sweet Peppers - Copy.jpg

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