Pretty much anyone you talk to will tell you what their non-negotiable Thanksgiving dish is. For some it’s pumpkin pie or mashed potatoes. For me it’s Stovetop stuffing (original recipe).
And for my mom it’s this sweet potato pudding.
And I have to admit, it’s pretty doggone good. None of those nasty marshmallows here. No, sir. This is creamy and warm but not too sweet—the only really sweet part is the topping, which has a great crunch to it. It’s really easy to put together and is always a crowdpleaser. No question that it’s on my list of 14 never-fail Thanksgiving recipes.READ THE POST
It’s kind of crazy that I’ve never made banana cake before, because it’s something that my extended family made quite a bit when I was growing up.
But it was always with cream cheese frosting, and then a few years ago my sister had a brainwave and threw this caramel frosting on instead. And a legend was born. (I may be being melodramatic)
Now don’t get me wrong, I really like banana cake with cream cheese frosting (pretty much anything with cream cheese frosting, for that matter). But there is something about this sugary, crackly caramel frosting that just adds the perfect depth and complement to the moist, dense cake. The fact that it’s crazy easy is just the icing on the cake…so to speak.
This is also a cake that is perfect to make the night before, because this frosting really seals in the moisture of the cake. And, of course, use up the billions of browning bananas sitting on your counter.
I haven’t eaten a banana in probably six months, but I still buy them like clockwork, with the best intentions. This is a thing everyone does, yes?
Humor me…READ THE POST
With the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread coming up, I thought it would be fun to go back through and gather all of my favorite unleavened recipes into one place. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut, and I totally forgot about some of these that were favorites a mere three or four years ago!
I just found this recipe last year, thanks to my sis. I fell totally in love with it as a super easy, fast, all-purpose unleavened bread to keep on hand. It’s dense but not dry, satiating, has a hint of sweet from the brown sugar and honey, and is ready in a half hour from start to finish. It was also just as good leftover as fresh out of the oven (which is NOT always true of unleavened bread recipes). Plus, you can mix it up by hand and pat it out on the baking sheet, so very low-maintenance.
This has always been my family’s go-to recipe during the Days of Unleavened Bread. I never could understand why people would want to eat matzo, because it’s like eating cardboard. These, on the other hand, are moist and buttery and chewy and flavorful and FULL OF AWESOME. They are a little more time consuming though, but highly recommend for something like Night to Be.
I was OBSESSED with these as a kid, I would try to sneak as many as I could without my mom seeing. Problem was, they were gone so fast. Not only are these desserts perfect for any spring brunch, Mother’s Day, bridal shower, etc., they’re unleavened to boot. And basically the most delicious thing ever.READ THE POST
Somehow I totally forgot about this recipe.
I started making it in college, and pretty soon it was my standby recipe. I made it at least once a week while I was doing my internship, and later once I moved to Atlanta. Sometimes multiple times a week. It was easy and cheap, came together in the time it took the pasta to cook, and felt kind of fancy. Before I started this blog I basically had a 3-recipe rotation…
Then somehow I totally forgot about it once I started trying out lots of recipes for this site. But when I was at the grocery store last weekend trying to figure out what to do for dinner (since my Kroger was totally out of avocados, which I’d kind of needed), I saw these beautiful heirloom tomatoes and this recipe popped into my mind. It’s very forgiving, the veggie amounts aren’t super exact and neither is the feta amount. You could substitute kale for spinach, though it definitely would change the texture a little. I recommend this for a night where you just need something on the table fast, and want fresh, healthy ingredients.READ THE POST
Sometimes I get obsessed with things.
Sometimes that’s just obsessed with eating something. Sometimes it’s creating something that I can’t find. Other times it’s finding the perfect version—which may mean making it a TON of times. Homemade pad thai. Black bean brownies. Dreamy scones.
This is one of those things. I love fruit crisp, but sometimes it’s not worth the effort to make a whole pan (plus, then I eat the whole pan, which…).
I first got the idea when I made a sweet dark cherry pie for Thanksgiving last year. I’d never really worked with cherries before, always sticking instead to apples, pears, and peaches. I kind of winged it (wung it?) and made up the recipe after reading a few different ones, and it turned out great. And then one night recently I was jonesin’ for something sweet, and the idea of fruit crisp hit me (I wasn’t in the mood for chocolate for some reason). All I really had, though, was a bag of frozen cherries for smoothies. I decided to give it a go, and made two—one in the oven and one in the microwave. Shockingly, I liked the microwave version and it took WAY less time.
Since then I’ve made it several more times because I couldn’t quite get the flavors exactly like I wanted. This is a pretty fluid and forgiving recipe. You can add a little honey or sugar to the filling if you feel it needs it (or are using tart cherries), but mine is plenty sweet. Also, you could make it gluten-free by using a flour alternative like oat flour, coconut flour, almond meal, etc. I tried a few different spice combinations in the filling and topping (cardamom, ginger, etc.), but ultimately found that simpler was better—cinnamon and some almond extract.READ THE POST
Let me start by saying that this cake is way easier than it sounds. There’s something about “ganache” that sounds so fancy and unattainable.
This was the birthday cake I picked out this year, something kind of fancy but also quite simple—just good chocolate and good beer. (Although I’m sensing a theme of chocolate + alcohol birthday cakes…). This is a Smitten Kitchen recipe and it’s basically perfect. The cake itself has a dense richness, a little bittersweet from the combination of the stout and the darker Dutch-process cocoa. I also went a little scant on the sugar so the sweetness wasn’t overwhelming. I went ahead and frosted mine right away, which made the inside moist and fudgy, which is how I prefer my cake.
I’d never made a ganache before and thought it was going to be complicated and temperamental, but it was really quite simple and very fast. You want to use good quality chocolate to get the smoothest, creamiest texture and rich flavor. (I now have a more detailed post on how to make ganache, including two different easy methods.)
Overall, I would make this cake again in a heartbeat!
And then there was this gloriousness. That’s right, my co-worker wrapped my birthday wine bottles with the one and only James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser. They get me. They really get me.
Okay, back to this chocolate stout cake…READ THE POST
Does this picture not just epitomize summer?
I was back home in Kansas a couple weekends ago with my family for a memorial service, which involved a LOT of people and a LOT of cooking. Friday night we had a smaller get-together (maybe 15 people?), and we needed to figure out a dessert to feed the masses.
Strawberry shortcake is my go-to summer dessert when I have people over.
It’s basically perfect—juicy strawberries, just a hint of sugar, fluffy cake, pillowy whipped cream. Healthy(ish). And the easiest thing to throw together for an impromptu get-together.
They’re not hard to make, but they’re not good for big groups and are not as great when you make them ahead of time—like biscuits, they’re great fresh but get tougher and stale once cool.
When I started thinking about dessert for a bunch of people (plus getting dinner on the table), I knew that individual shortcakes would be too much trouble. I knew I wanted something that made a lot, and something that would stay moist so we could make it several hours ahead.
After quite a bit of digging, I discovered this recipe, and was quite pleased with the results.
It literally took less than five minutes to mix the ingredients together and throw it in the oven, and it was super moist, not too sweet, and basically perfect for soaking up strawberry juices.
My brother-in-law gave it his stamp of approval, and finished off the leftovers the next day. While it’s not quite as pretty as the traditional shortcakes, it’s got great texture and is delicious!READ THE POST
I don’t like banana bread.
There—I said it.
Cue the shock and hand-wringing and exclamations of my lack of humanity. I’ve heard it all. But I still don’t like banana bread.
THIS banana bread, however, is pretty freaking awesome.
I got the chance to fly out to eastern Washington in late January with my dad to visit my Grandma and some other family on his side. I see most of them maaayyybe every decade, often longer, so it was a great chance to catch up and reconnect. My grandma had baked some banana bread that I ended up snacking on all weekend. It was dense and moist, like a flat little cake, and studded with chocolate chips. I loved it.
She gave me her recipe and I played with it a little, including using all whole wheat flour, leaving out the coconut (partly because I forgot), and using dark chocolate chips. I also baked it in two shallow dishes instead of making a regular-size loaf, which I think actually was the best thing I could have done for even cooking and keeping everything moist.READ THE POST
Let’s be honest, chili is just an excuse to eat corn chips.
When the weather is cold, I always start getting the urge to make chili. Here’s the thing I realized this year, though. I’m much more into the *idea* of chili than in chili as its own thing.
I end up making a huge batch and then have gobs of chili leftovers, which I have to eat for a solid week to get through (yes, I realize I could freeze it, but I don’t like the texture when it’s thawed).
So once I year I make a big pot, a tradition I can’t seem to break. My recipe isn’t necessarily earth-shattering, but it’s delicious and mellow and hearty and comforting…it’s what I consider the best chili ever. READ THE POST
As the whole country knows, Atlanta has had some winter weather troubles lately. A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough not to get stuck in the 24-hour city-wide traffic jam—only took me an hour and a half to get home (vs. 20 minutes usually).
I hadn’t had the foresight to check the weather ahead of time, so I ended up being stuck at home for a few days with only the food I had stocked up in my pantry and fridge. (I did have wine this time…a few years ago I got snowed/iced in for five days without wine. #neveragain)
I started poking around to see what I could make. I was craving comfort food but knew I needed to eat somewhat healthy. Unfortunately I hadn’t bought many fruits and veggies, but I found a butternut squash in the fridge and had some wilted kale, so I figured I could make something work.
This is a true McGyver meal, but I think it came out pretty darn good. It was creamy and warm, with the salty sausage and the kale adding different textures. It’s since become one of my go-to comfort food dishes.
So BEHOLD, I give you the best mac & cheese with kale, roasted butternut squash, and chicken sausage!
Can you tell I’ve been craving comfort food? Seriously, I could have chosen to make a quinoa casserole or something, but instead I ended up with a steamy, creamy mac & cheese.READ THE POST