Dressing Sauces & Condiments

Pass the Cook Book Club: Bobby Flay’s Crunchburger

It’s June’s edition of Pass the Cook Book Club! This month we cooked burgers from Bobby Flay’s Burgers, Fries, and Shakes and I have to say if the burger I tried is any indication of the rest of the cookbook, then it’s a dangerous one!


This burger was so insanely good, I had to put comfy pants on afterwards. Bobby certainly knows what he’s doing when it comes to burgers and you really cannot go wrong with half an inch of cheese and crunchy potato chips. Of course then there’s the sauce which you’ll want extra of so I doubled the recipe for you. Thanks to Kita and Bobby, I look forward to being in a bathing suit this weekend even less than before but it was absolutely worth it. I almost paired it up with onion rings but decided it had enough going on already, but I couldn’t skip the Bobby Flay milkshake O:-). Post soon!


One year ago: Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Cookies
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Everything Bagel Bites with Bacon-Scallion Cream Cheese Dip

For The Secret Recipe Club this month, I had Nicole of I am a Honey Bee. She actually had my blog in February and made my Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken so it was fun to return the favor, especially since I read her blog already and always like what I see. She also does Thirsty Thursdays posts with Amanda of Fake Ginger and I almost made her Red, White, and Blue Sangria, because it would be the perfect Fourth of July drink.

That was until I saw the recipe for these Everything Bagel Bites. I love making homemade bagels but shaping them is sometimes a pain. This recipe avoids that by cutting them into nuggets. However, it also results in a dangerously poppable treat as I downed 6 before I even knew what happened. I was just standing in my kitchen testing them out before photographing and could not stop! Pairing them with a bacon-scallion cream cheese dip just enhances this effect.

As a side note: I have discovered one benefit to the summer heat – letting dough rise outside! Yup, I set the dough for these bagel bites outside to rise, covered and in the shade. I am a genius.

Everything Bagel Bites

Two years ago: Red Velvet Whoopie Pies
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Smoky Sweet Potato Burgers with Roasted Garlic Avocado Cream

I love that veggie burgers come in all sorts of flavors. I myself have made a few including edamame and eggplant, and even though there’s never been a disappointment I still shy away from trying a homemade black bean burger. I have zero explanation for this especially after successfully making black bean brownies. Today I once again am sharing a non-black bean veggie burger. Maybe one day I will venture down that road, but for now let’s focus on sweet potato.

Sweet potato might be one of my favorite starches. I first fell in love with it in French fry form, and then later in gnocchi. Twice. So trying it in burgers seemed like the next step. The incorporation of garlic and smoked paprika sealed the deal for me. The flavors were incredible! And of course you know I can never say no to topping it all off with avocado, especially when in cream form.

Smoky Sweet Potato Burgers 1

Speaking of the cream, while it I mistakenly thought the avocado went into the cream instead of just sliced on top of the burgers. However, it ended up being a happy accident because it made the sauce taste that much better, and believe that the avocado slices would’ve squeezed out due to the softness of the burger patty. I should’ve just pretended I did it on purpose and not said a word to you but I’m not afraid to admit my mistakes. Especially when it turns out to not be a bad thing!

I have a feeling you are eyeing that creamy goodness in the background. Never fear for it is being posted tomorrow!

Smoky Sweet Potato Burgers 2

Two years ago: Veggie Eggs Benedict
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Chicken Burgers with Garlic-Rosemary Greek Yogurt

There are two situations in which I will always struggle to stay awake: journal club/seminar and watching TV while lying down. For journal club or seminar, it has nothing to do with the quality of the material presented but rather the darkness of the room or auditorium. No matter how energized I am before entering, I without fail will bob my head at least once. Of course when it’s over I return to my alert, awake state. Bizarre.

Then there’s falling asleep watching TV. If you ever watch TV with me, do not let me turn horizontal because I will be out before you know what happened. Again, I do not necessarily have to be tired but it’s probability of occurring increases with the lateness of the day. For this reason I have a chaise lounge attached to my sectional couch allowing me to stretch out yet stay upright and awake! And yes I own a huge sectional and live alone. ::sprawl::

However, I will never fall asleep in front of food so let’s talk about these burgers. Chicken burgers sometimes can end up a bit dry, but with the addition of Greek yogurt that does not happen here. I was drawn to these not only because of their use of Greek yogurt, but also the rosemary. The last time I made a chicken burger with rosemary it blew my mind – fresh rosemary adds such great flavor!

Chicken Burgers with Garlic-Rosemary Greek Yogurt

One year ago: Whole Wheat Thin Crust Pizza Dough
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Meyer Lemon Curd

FINALLY! I have been so curious about these Meyer lemons since last winter, but that curiosity came too late as all the stores near me no longer had any in stock. But sure enough while I was home for the holidays I found them at Trader Joe’s. Of course I then returned to Memphis and found them at Fresh Market, but that just means I can make lots of things with them now! Prepare yourself for a lot of Meyer lemon action.

First, what the heck are Meyer lemons? They are a citric fruit native to China, and are thought to be a cross between a common lemon and a mandarin orange. It is still yellow like a lemon, but round like an orange and is also sweeter than a regular lemon. Sounds good to me!

After digging through all of Tracey’s Culinary Adventures‘ Meyer lemon recipes, I decided to start out by making the Meyer lemon curd because I honestly don’t think I’ve ever had any kind of curd. What’s good about this recipe is that you can use regular lemons, but you will have to increase the sugar a bit. Then eat with a spoon, top on pancakes, or even on shortcakes as I will demonstrate for you tomorrow.

Meyer Lemon Curd

One year ago: Peanut Butter Cinnamon Raisin Apple Bars

Two years ago: Strawberry Fig Newtons
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Arugula Pesto Pasta

Time for November’s Secret Recipe Club! This month I was assigned to K&K Test Kitchen, a blog run by a mother-daughter pair where they document the results from recipes they have collected over the years.
Secret Recipe ClubPesto seems to make everything better. And with the ease at which it can be made, all kinds of variations have popped up. Since I had yet to try pesto made with arugula I decided to try it out, despite the copious amount of regular pesto I have stocked up in my freezer. The peppery bite of the arugula was a great change from traditional pesto and I especially loved the addition of sun-dried tomatoes. I am very glad that there is some leftover from this recipe to use later on.

Check out some more great K&K Kitchen recipes such as Blueberry Quinoa Breakfast Salad, and Tart Cranberry Doughnut Glaze to use up any leftover cranberry from Thanksgiving.

Two years ago: Caramel Apple Pie
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Pumpkin Bagels with Cinnamon-Walnut Cranberry Cream Cheese Spread

Now I KNOW you have leftovers from yesterday. Whether you have some from what you cooked, or from what people who cooked sent you home with to minimize the amount of leftovers they have to eat. Therefore, there is absolutely not reason you shouldn’t take advantage of this lazy Friday and make bagels with that leftover pumpkin puree you never figured out what to make with. Who needs Black Friday shopping? Not me! I’m a Cyber Monday kind of girl.

I’ve always longingly awaited the fall season when it comes to bagels, because that’s when Einstein Bros finally start making their pumpkin bagels and cream cheese schmear (I also really like their pumpkin schmear on a cinnamon-sugar bagel). So I finally decided it was time to make my own pumpkin bagels, since I already attacked the pumpkin cream cheese last fall.

But I couldn’t just make the same cream cheese spread again, I had to try this new one I saw that uses up even more leftovers – cranberry sauce! You mix the cranberry sauce into some cream cheese along with honey, cinnamon, and walnuts. Yea, it’s better than any flavor cream cheese spread I’ve ever encountered. And just like the originator, Jenn of Peas & Crayons, I want to smother it on everything in sight now.

One year ago: Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake
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Penne with Trapanese Pesto

Thanksgiving is tomorrow, so many of you are probably not thinking about what to make for dinner tonight. Since I will be on the road during dinner time, sweet potato pie oat bars will be keeping my belly filled. But for the rest of you, I have a quick and easy dinner idea. It’s called trapanese pesto and is filled with all kinds of wonderful things, such as cherry tomatoes, almonds, basil and a pepperoncini. Who knew pesto could be so much fun? If you have some time to spare, this is great served with some oven-fried chicken and a spinach side salad.

What are you plans for Thanksgiving? Are you hosting dinner or bringing a side dish to someone else’s home? Or will you be enjoying the couch, away from any responsibility in the kitchen?

One year ago: Butter Pecan with Brandy Ice Cream
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Purple Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Guiltless Goat Cheese Alfredo

I finally got my hands on a purple sweet potato!!! One day at lunch I noticed that Qing was eating something that had a beautiful purple color and I immediately knew what it was. You see, months earlier I had been searching for purple sweet potatoes after finding out they existed at all. Unfortunately my search produced no results. That was until Qing informed me that her friend grows them in his backyard! The very next day she came in and handed me the biggest sweet potato I have ever laid my eyes on. In other words, I am going to be making more than one recipe out of that baby.

This purple beauty came into my life at the perfect time too, because I recently discovered that November is “Better Nutrition Month”. Orange fleshed sweet potatoes are praised for being one of the best sources for beta-carotene (the precursor to Vitamin A). But what about purple sweet potatoes? Their purple color is caused by anthocyanins which have important antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. But no matter the color, sweet potatoes contribute greatly towards your daily intake of Vitamin A and antioxidants. Totally nutritious and delicious! Now let’s make some gnocchi out of it, because it’s my favorite thing to make out of potatoes.

Obviously, I do not expect you to find your own personal purple sweet potato grower but you can most definitely make these gnocchi with a regular sweet potato. I am not aware of any taste difference, but my color preference is most definitely biased. However, when trying to decide what kind of sauce to make with these gnocchi I was perplexed. At first I thought of a pancetta butter sauce, but felt like that was just an easy way out after the butter sauce I served with another sweet potato gnocchi recipe I posted. But then I though of the guiltless alfredo that I love so much and decided to change it up a bit with goat cheese instead of using cream cheese. Now I want to smother everything in this goat cheese alfredo sauce. It’s so stinking good! And not overpowering, for those of you that might not enjoy a strong goat cheese flavor.

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Guacamole Seasoning

I am a minimalist when it comes to my guacamole. All I do is mash up two avocados, add some diced Roma tomatoes, then a little salt and a clove or two of minced garlic. And commence inhalation. So when I saw this recipe for a guacamole seasoning, I was a bit hesitant at first because I love my simple guacamole.

But now that I’ve tried it, I would love to make a big batch of this seasoning and store it for later use. Might be a good gift too (since we are becoming ever closer to that gift-giving time of year). I also tried this guacamole with the Trader Joe’s black bean quinoa chips which were fabulous themselves. First time trying those too, and in combination with the guacamole I just might’ve eaten the entire bowl by myself O:-).

One year ago: Breakfast Quesadillas


Makes about 1-1/2 tsp seasoning for 2 avocados-worth of guacamole


1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp dried minced onion or onion powder

Pinch of cumin, to taste

1/4 tsp dried cilantro

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp salt


  1. Combine all ingredients. Store in an air-tight container if not using immediately.
  2. To make guacamole, mash two avocados with the seasoning, then stir in 1 chopped Roma tomato. Add 1/4 tsp lime juice to prevent browning. Serve.

Source: Adapted from Peas and Crayons.

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