I intended to make a bunch of this seasoning salt to give as Christmas gifts this year. Didn’t quite get around to it, but I finally had a chance to make it the other day. This salt is delicious on green vegetables and it’s also delicious on poultry. I imagine it will be wonderful on seafood as well. The other night I had some green peas with a little bit of butter and a sprinkling of this seasoning salt. They were so good I would have been happy eating just peas for dinner. I had two big servings.
If you use a sea salt like Malden that has big flakes, you might want to give the finished salt a spin through the food processor to make the salt crystals more uniform in size. I bought my sea salt from Trader Joe’s and all of the crystals the same size so I didn’t have to further process mine.
If you’re a margarita drinker, this salt will be excellent on the rim of the glass. I might try some of this salt on the next batch of homemade tortilla chips that I make.
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Citrus Seasoning Salt
Recipe adapted from 101 Cookbooks
1 cup sea salt
1 Tablespoon orange zest
1 Tablespoon lemon zest
Preheat your oven to oven 225 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine the salt and citrus in a medium bowl and mix well. Really work the zest into the salt with the back of a spoon or with your fingers. you don’t want any big clumps of zest., making sure there aren’t any clumps of zest. Spread the mixture across the parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake for 70 – 90 minutes, or until the citrus is completely dried out. The zest should crumble when rubbed between your fingers. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Yield: 1 cup of seasoning salt
One year ago: Chocolate Peppermint Blossoms
Two years ago: Spinach Salad with Chicken and Apples
Three years ago: Chicken Stew
Four years ago: Jacques’ Chocolate Mudslide Cookies
Five years ago: Whole Wheat Cinnamon Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
My cousin Erica posted a picture of these spinach brownies on Facebook last week and I thought they looked delicious. I love having something in the refrigerator that’s quick and healthy for lunch and these are just the ticket. They’re good both warm or cold, straight from the fridge. The boys wouldn’t go near these with a ten-foot pole, so my husband and I ate them as a side dish the first night I made them, I actually ate them for breakfast the next morning, and I ate them again for lunch the following day.
Don’t be fooled by the word brownies in the title of this recipe. The only thing these have in common with traditional brownies is their shape. They are not sweet at all.
When you are making these, you can use 10 oz. of frozen spinach if you don’t have fresh. Be sure you really squeeze all of the water out of the spinach before you mix it into the flour and egg mixture. You don’t want to end up with runny brownies.
My brownies had a nice brown crust on them because I decided to sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of Parmigiana cheese on top of the batter before I baked them. The original recipe didn’t call for this, but I do love my cheese.
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Recipe adapted from AllRecipes.com
1 (10 ounce) package baby spinach, rinsed and chopped
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk
3 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (8 ounce) package shredded mozzarella cheese
A couple of Tablespoons of Parmigiana cheese (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.
Place spinach in a medium saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to simmer and cook until spinach is limp, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside in a strainer to drain.
In a frying pan, melt the butter. Cook the onion over low/medium heat until translucent, about 5 – 8 minutes. When the onions are translucent, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. When the garlic is cooked, turn off the heat and set the pan aside.
Squeeze as much liquid as you can out of the spinach.
In a large bowl, mix flour, salt and baking powder. Stir in eggs and milk. Mix in spinach, onion/garlic and mozzarella cheese.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Bake in the preheated oven 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool before serving.
Yield: 24 “brownies”
One year ago: Creamy Spinach Enchiladas with Red Cabbage Slaw
Two years ago: Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
Three years ago: Roasted Vegetable Frittata
Four years ago: Moroccan Spiced Chickpea Soup
Five years ago: Lima Bean Soup with Parmesan Bacon Crisp
Here’s a recipe that I found on Mark Bittman’s website. I’m always looking for good vegetarian/vegan recipes because we’re trying to eat less meat and because of our friends’ dietary preferences/restrictions. When I looked at this recipe, I thought it might be a bland vegetarian side dish, but I was willing to give it a try anyway. Au contraire! It’s loaded with flavor and it was really delicious.
When you make this, don’t skimp on the fresh basil. Use it, and use a whole cup of it as specified in the recipe. It’s good. I had a can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes, so I used it in lieu of the plain diced tomatoes. It gave the recipe a little extra oomph.
When I made this, I found the sauce to be very chunky. I ended up with two layers of eggplant, and I actually used all of the sauce when I assembled the dish. I guess I didn’t follow their instructions about using a “thin layer” of sauce between layers. Perhaps I also didn’t cook the sauce long enough for the tomatoes to completely soften and get saucy. Regardless, I thought this was delicious. I loved that it was loaded with chunky, flavorful tomato layers.
The recipe calls for whole wheat breadcrumbs. I didn’t have any whole wheat bread kicking around (our boys are white bread fans – surprise, surprise) so I ended up using Panko, which worked perfectly.
This takes at least an hour to make, so allow that much time when you’re preparing it. I’ll definitely make this again. It was perfect reheated for lunch the next day.
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Recipe by Mark Bittman
2 1/2 pounds eggplant
5 Tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
Black pepper to taste
1 onion, chopped
2 Tablespoons minced garlic
2 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes, with their juice
1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs, preferably coarse-ground (or Panko)
Heat the oven to 450°F and position two racks so that they have at least 4 inches between them. Spray two rimmed baking sheets with a light coating of oil. Cut the eggplant crosswise into 1/2 inch slices and arrange them on two rimmed baking sheets.
Use about 2 tablespoons of the oil to brush the top of each eggplant slice and sprinkle them with 1/2 teaspoon salt and some pepper. Roast the eggplant until the slices brown on the bottom and sides, 10 to 15 minutes; turn and cook the other side until they’re crisp in places and golden, another 5 to 10 minutes. When they finish cooking, remove them from the oven and lower the heat to 400ºF.
Meanwhile, put 2 Tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When it’s hot, add the onion, sprinkle with another 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down and the mixture comes together and thickens, 20 to 25 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Cover the bottom of a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with about ½ inch of the tomato sauce. Nestle a layer of eggplant into the sauce and top with some of the basil. Cover with a thin layer of tomato sauce and repeat until all the eggplant is used up; reserve some of the basil for serving. Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and lots of pepper, and drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of oil. Simmer the remaining sauce (you should have about 2 cups) over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, while the eggplant bakes.
Bake until the breadcrumbs are golden and the sauce has thickened, 15 to 20 minutes; let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature, garnished with the remaining basil; pass the remaining sauce at the table (or refrigerate or freeze it for another use).
Yield: 4 servings
One year ago: Peanut Butter Blossoms
Two years ago: Ginger Scones
Three years ago: Cherry Banana Muffins with White Chocolate Chips
Four years ago: Classic Dinner Rolls
Five years ago: Malted Milk Ball Cookies
This is my favorite new holiday recipe! I think these cranberries are incredible. They’re both sweet and tart. They have a nice crunchy sugar coating and once you break through it you get surprised with a splash of very tart cranberry juice. I served them on Christmas Eve. I made them to sprinkle around my cheese platter, and I did that, but I had a bunch of them left in a bowl (see photo above), and they ended up on the table with the hors d’oeuvres. I didn’t intend to serve them like that, but by the end of the evening, the bowl was empty. I guess the guests liked them.
This recipe is ideally started the day before you plan to eat the cranberries. The directions tell you to soak the cranberries in a sugar solution overnight. The directions also specify that you dredge the soaked berries in sugar, then wait an hour and dredge them again. Being the last-minute kind of person that I am, I started them the morning I needed them, Christmas Eve morning. I let the berries soak for 6 hours or so – then I dredged them in the sugar. I didn’t wait an hour between dredgings either. I rolled the cranberries in some organic sugar, which had granules that were slightly larger than the regular white sugar I rolled them in next. I then let them sit for an hour or so to dry while we went to church, and they were perfect!
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Recipe from 101 Cookbooks
2 cups cranberries, picked over
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
Sugar for coating – I used organic sugar for the first coat, then regular granulated sugar for the second coat
Place the cranberries in a medium glass bowl and set aside.
Make a simple syrup by bringing the water and sugar just to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Let the syrup cool for a couple minutes and then pour it over the cranberries. If the syrup is too hot the cranberries will burst, so be careful. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, drain the cranberries and toss them with larger grained sugar (I used organic sugar for this) until they are well coated. I only use a scoop of sugar at a time, and small batches of cranberries, so the sugar doesn’t get too damp. Place the coated cranberries on a baking sheet to dry for a few hours.
Do a second toss with the regular granulated sugar, this typically takes care of any sticky spots on the cranberries. Let dry another hour.
Yield: 2 cups of cranberries
One year ago: Pressure Cooker Chicken Picatta
Two years ago: Pomegranate Berry Smoothie
Three years ago: Smoked Tuna Dip
Four years ago: Curried Rice and Quinoa Salad
Five years ago: Maple-Braised Pork Chops
Made these for breakfast yesterday and three out of four boys loved them. One claims he doesn’t like lemon-flavored things. These scones were delicious. Very tender and soft, and full of lemon flavor. The boys didn’t eat them all yesterday – they wanted to, but I wouldn’t let them – so they each had a scone for breakfast this morning. I kept the scones covered overnight and they were still nice and moist this morning.
The original glaze recipe made way too much glaze for me, so I cut it in half in the recipe below. If you like LOTS of frosting, double the glaze ingredients below. The original recipe also called for 3 cups of all-purpose flour. I used half white flour and half white whole-wheat flour. The results were delicious.
These would be a perfect addition to a brunch spread.
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Recipe from AllRecipes.com
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups white whole-wheat flower
1/3 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/3 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
9 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/6 cup butter, melted
1 1/4 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoons water, or as needed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix flour, white sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Cut in cold butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Whisk milk, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, lemon zest, and vinegar in a small bowl and stir into flour mixture until moistened; turn out onto a lightly floured surface.
Knead dough briefly for 5 or 6 turns. Pat or roll dough out into a 1 inch-thick round. Cut into 10 wedges and arrange on a baking sheet leaving 1 inch between each wedge.
Bake in preheated oven until bottom edges are lightly tan, 11 to 14 minutes. Allow scones to cool for 15 minutes.
While scones are cooling, stir confectioners’ sugar, melted butter, 2 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice, and vanilla extract in a bowl until smooth. Stir water into sugar mixture if needed, 1/2 tablespoon at a time, until mixture is easily drizzled.
Drizzle glaze over warm scones.
One year ago: Nutella Chocolate Cookies
Two years ago: Holiday Biscotti
Three years ago: Individual Beef Wellingtons with Mushroom, Spinach and Blue Cheese Filling
Four years ago: Quinoa Pilaf with Pine Nuts
Five years ago: The Ultimate Quiche
I made these muffins the week before Christmas when we had some eggnog in the house. They were delicious and the boys loved them. The things I like best about these muffins are their nutmeg flavor and the fact that they’re covered in powdered sugar just like a doughnut. These are perfect to serve on Christmas morning because you can make the batter the night before and throw them into the oven as soon as you get up in the morning. I do love recipes that you can make ahead of time.
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Eggnog Doughnut Muffins
Recipe from The Kitchn
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly-grated nutmeg
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup whole-fat eggnog
For the topping:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup powdered sugar
Heat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle position. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with muffin liners.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter on medium-high speed until creamy, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the sugar and beat until light, fluffy, and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until smooth.
Remove the mixing bowl from the mixer and use a stiff spatula for these next steps. Add a quarter of the flour mixture to the bowl and mix until just barely combined. Mix in 1/3 of the eggnog until the batter smooths out again. Continue adding the flour mixture and the eggnog alternately, ending with the last quarter of the flour mixture. At this point, the batter will be fairly thick. Try not to over-mix, but make sure all the ingredients are fully incorporated.
Divide the batter between the muffin tins, filling each one almost to the top. Bake until the muffins have puffed up, are starting to brown around the edges, and a cake tester comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the muffins to a wire cooling rack.
When the muffins are cool enough to handle but still warm, melt the butter in a microwave-safe dish (or on the stovetop) and use a pastry brush to paint the tops of the muffins with butter (alternatively, you can dip the tops in the butter if you don’t have a brush; I find it less messy to use a brush). Place the powdered sugar in a bowl and dip the tops of each muffin in the sugar. When done, dip each muffin in the powdered sugar a second time.
Muffins are best when fresh from the oven, but are still good over the next day or two.
Yield: 12 muffins
One year ago: Chocolate Chocolate-Chunk Muffins
Two years ago: Baked Ziti with Tomato, Mozzarella and Sausage
Three years ago: Rosemary Parmesan Coins
Four years ago: Mashed Yellow Turnips with Crispy Shallots
Five years ago: Big Dutch Baby
This soup is delicious, incredibly satisfying and really quick to make. It’s definitely something that can be made on a weeknight and served with a nice loaf of rustic bread. Since the boys wouldn’t go near it (nothing new there), we had some soup left over and I actually thought it was better on the second day. The orzo absorbed more moisture overnight and it ended up like a thick stew, which is something I love on a cold night.
The original recipe called for sweet Italian sausage. I prefer chicken or turkey sausage to pork sausage, so I picked up a package of chicken-sundried tomato sausage from Trader Joe’s. It was perfect for this soup. Any kind of sausage will do though. While in Trader Joe’s, I picked up two packages of their Mighty Greens salad mix which is a combination of swiss chard, spinach and kale. It saved me some chopping. I was able to just dump the bags right into the pot of soup.
This recipe is definitely a keeper and is going into our regular meal rotation.
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Sweet Potato-Sausage Soup
Recipe from Martha Stewart
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced large
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
1 pound raw sausage, casings removed (I used chicken/sundried tomato sausage from Trader Joe’s. You can also use sweet Italian sausage)
2 sweet potatoes (~1 pound total), peeled and medium diced
4 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup orzo
4 cups roughly chopped mixed greens, such as kale and Swiss chard
Grated Parmesan, for serving
In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is translucent, about 6 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Add sausage and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes.
Add sweet potatoes, broth, and 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook 3 minutes less than package instructions. Reduce to a simmer, add greens, and cook until pasta is tender and greens are wilted, 4 minutes. Serve with Parmesan.
Yield: 6 servings
One year ago: Frosted Sugar Cookies
Two years ago: Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes
Three years ago: Honey Mustard Salad Dressing
Four years ago: Chocolate Dipped Meringue Cookies
Five years ago: Peppermint Brownies