Dressing Sauces & Condiments

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 Club Pesto 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

GUACAMOLE SEASONING

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

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

  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.

Hazelnut Praline Paste

Have you ever heard of hazelnut praline paste? I know I didn’t until a recipe I wanted to make called for it. When I looked into buying some, it definitely was not a inexpensive item to purchase. So I sought out ways to make my own and sure enough found a recipe out there on the internet. It’s kind of like making your own Nutella but without the chocolate. Some of you may be saying “No chocolate? Why bother ?” – I say, why not? Although I am not a chocoholic (unless it is paired with peanut butter), I still think that those who are would enjoy this spread. Afterall, it’s hazelnut praline ground into a spread! I am not sure there is any way to say no to that. And actually, I ended up using it in combination with chocolate in a recipe which will be shared tomorrow.

One year ago: Pumpkin Danish
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Dark Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter

Once upon a time I made dark chocolate peanut butter banana cookies. Then once day I decided to take those same three characteristics and turn them into a peanut butter spread! Check out this recipe in my guest post on Erin’s Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts today!

DARK CHOCOLATE BANANA PEANUT BUTTER

Source: The Spiffy Cookie original

Blackened Chicken with Cilantro Lime Quinoa and Avocado Cream Sauce

Today is most unfortunate because I must return to Memphis after a very eventful weekend. Does anyone want to have dinner ready for me upon my return? I would totally be okay with something simple such as this dish. You heard correct, this long titled meal is actually easy to make.

Oh and the flavors in this dish: lime, avocado, cayenne, cilantro and some creaminess brought to you by Greek yogurt. Amazing-ness. And it’s even gluten-free. Just looking out for all my friends out there ;-).

By the way, Luke pictures from my visit are on their way tomorrow!

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Italian Dressing Mix & OXO Salad Dressing Shaker Giveaway

The frequency at which salad dressing is homemade in my kitchen is less than a salad itself. And if you’ve read my blog long enough, you will have noticed that there is a whopping 4 posts that have the word “salad” in their title.  I do eat a lot of green leafy things, but it tends to be in the form of green monster smoothies several times a week (it’s my ultimate lazy-no-bake meal option). But despite my history with salads, when I was given the opportunity to test the OXO Salad Dressing Shaker I couldn’t turn it down.

I started out by making a homemade Italian salad dressing which was destined for marinating zucchini. The markings on the side of the shaker really helped in reducing the number of dirty dishes created since there was no need for measuring cups (yay!). The dry seasoning then went for a swim before screwing the top on.

Make sure the pour spout is closed and then shake shake shake. Shake your booty! No seriously, when I shake things a lot my whole body starts to join in. But moving on… so once your dressing has been fully shaken, You just push open the spout with your finger and pour all in one fluid motion. Afterwards, any leftover dressing can be stored in the shaker with the spout closed. Did I mention this contraption reduces dirty dishes?

Now that I know how easy it is to make my own dressing at home, you might see a few more salad posts pop up in the future. Maybe I will even use the dressing on an actual salad next time - gasp!

Want a salad dressing shaker for yourself? Just answer this simple question in a comment on this post: What is your favorite salad dressing? Giveaway ends on Tuesday, May 15th at 11pm central time. Winner will be notified by e-mail and given 24 hours to respond. GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED.

The winner is #16 Lynna from Hearts in my Oven.

 

One year ago: Pineapple Chicken Kabobs
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Homemade Almond Butter

The other day while driving home at night I was being a bad driver by taking my eyes off the road to crane my neck up to see the stars out my car window. Orion is one of the first constellations I spot every time I look at the night sky, and I have always been amused by how he is upside down. That was until Bob ruined it by telling me he is in fact up right. Mind-blowing. My entire life I have believed that he was upside down and now I have to completely readjust how I look at him in the sky. I was not okay with this realization and proceeded to look away from the road to stare at Orion in disbelief. No worries I did not crash.

Yesterday Bob decided to rub it in even further by sending me this XKCD comic about Orion and his mysterious stars between his legs (the stars are what sparked the conversation about which direction he was positioned in the sky – yes I have unusual conversations with my friends). It’s cruel to keep killing my childhood memories of gazing up at the stars with my family while waiting for meteor showers. I need to move to the Southern hemisphere so that I can be correct about my views on Orion. Am I the only one you thought this?

While we are on the subject of being wrong, have you ever made a grocery list and omitted something because you “knew” you had it only to discover that it has mysteriously disappeared (aka you used it all and forgot)? This happened to me when with the almond butter in the chocolate almond cupcakes I shared with you yesterday. But I came to the rescue of myself by whipping up some from scratch! Thank goodness for my zombie-apocalypse-worthy pantry of supplies which contains several large Sam’s club sized bags of nuts.

Making this almond butter from scratch was so easy that I almost feel ashamed for buying any sort of nut butter from the store. I see many nut-butter creations in my future.

One year ago: Over Easy Breakfast Bagel Sandwich

HOMEMADE ALMOND BUTTER

Makes approximately 1.5 cups

Ingredients:

2 cups raw almonds

1 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread almonds on a 9×13-inch baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool for 20 minutes.
  2. Place roasted almonds in a food processor and grind for 15 minutes, stopping regularly to scrape down the sides. After 15 minutes the almonds will turn smooth and creamy. Add the salt and blend. Keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Source: Adapted from A Cozy Kitchen & Tasty Kitchen.

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