My Top 10 Recipes of 2020

Earlier this week, I shared your favorite recipes from last year. Here are my favorites. This is always a tough list for me to make since I…

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top 10 vegetarian recipes 2020

Earlier this week, I shared your favorite recipes from last year. Here are my favorites. This is always a tough list for me to make since I legitimately love every single recipe that makes it the blog.

You might be aiming to eat healthier after the holidays (me, too) so I tried to select meals that are pretty darn healthy and enticing at the same time. Granted, if you’re craving comfort food, try this spinach artichoke dip or a soothing mug of creamy golden milk.

We’re setting into our new home and I finally have an organized pantry and desk space. I’ll be back next week with brand new recipes. Stay well!

best burrito bowl recipe

1) Fresh Black Bean Burrito Bowl

Gluten free and easily vegan

This bowl is basically what I want every meal to be! Super fresh, flavorful and satisfying. Make the components on the weekend and enjoy them throughout the week.

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Your Top 10 Recipes of 2020

Drumroll please… Presenting your top ten recipes from 2020! I don’t have any rosy comments to offer about the difficulties presented last year. Perhaps you cooked more…

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cookie and kate's top 10 recipes of 2020

Drumroll please… Presenting your top ten recipes from 2020! I don’t have any rosy comments to offer about the difficulties presented last year. Perhaps you cooked more than ever last year, perhaps you still are. I hope my recipes and resources proved helpful. That’s always my number one goal.

Here’s a little look back at your favorite recipes from the past year. I spy some luscious yet redeeming soups that are perfect for cold weather. Plus some comforting Italian dishes, my go-to homemade granola bars formula, and few more delicious options. Cheers to good health and happiness in 2021! I appreciate you so much for being here.

best pasta e fagioli recipe

1) Pasta e Fagioli (Italian Pasta and Beans)

Easily gluten free and vegan
“This is absolutely delicious!! It will surely become a new staple recipe in our home. I love that it contains veggies, carbs and protein for a complete meal :) Thank you Cookie and Kate for another awesome recipe.” – Marie

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How to Make a Cheese Board

Confession: I brought a sad cheese plate to last year’s Friendsgiving, and it went ignored in the corner. It was an embarrassing moment for a cookbook author,…

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cheese board recipe

Confession: I brought a sad cheese plate to last year’s Friendsgiving, and it went ignored in the corner. It was an embarrassing moment for a cookbook author, and I’ve been determined to improve my cheese board game ever since.

I walked into the party to find a gorgeous and elaborate cheese board nearly spanning the full length of the dinner table. My friend Jordan has a degree in sculpture, and she can sure put together a beautiful cheese board.

I took the opportunity to study her design. I can’t say that my efforts are quite to her level yet, but I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks to share with you today.

cheese and crackers

Building a beautiful cheese board feels like a fun art project. We’ll mix different flavors, colors, shapes and textures to build an enticing appetizer board. Give yourself some time to put it together, and you’ll enjoy the process all the more. The trick is to fill every little space on the board with nuts and fruit so it looks completely abundant.

A cheese board is the perfect excuse to break out your special serving items. If you don’t have a dedicated cheese board in your cabinets, though, don’t fret. For your base, you can use a nice wooden cutting board, a large serving platter, or even a tray or baking sheet covered with parchment paper. If you don’t have a set of cheese knives, offer butter knives, cocktail forks, cocktail picks or toothpicks.

Basically, anything goes, and no occasion is too minor for a cheese board. You just might have everything you need at home already. How about a cheese board with your French 75 this evening?

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Easy Tapenade

Olive lovers, tapenade is for you! Tapenade is an olive spread or dip hailing from the Provence region in France. It’s bold, zippy, briny and salty, though…

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easy tapenade recipe

Olive lovers, tapenade is for you! Tapenade is an olive spread or dip hailing from the Provence region in France. It’s bold, zippy, briny and salty, though we’ll be sure to keep the salt level in check.

Served with crostini or crackers, tapenade is a wonderful appetizer with drinks. It offers some welcome contrast when served with creamy dips, like hummus or spinach artichoke dip. You can also spread it onto sandwiches, dollop it onto salads, and more. Tapenade will keep for a week or two in the fridge, so you’ll find many uses for it.

tapenade ingredients

Tapenade is named after the Provençal word for capers, tapenas. Over the years, olives have become the predominant ingredient, and I used capers as a subtle accent. Similar olive spreads have been served in the Mediterranean for ages, which is why tapenade is a natural pairing with your favorite Mediterranean flavors.

Traditional tapenade also includes anchovies, but being vegetarian, I omitted them. This dip is loaded with complex flavor regardless, and it’s suitable for vegans and those with shellfish allergies as well.

To make this easy tapenade, you’ll need just a few basic ingredients and a food processor. It comes together in about 10 minutes with mostly pantry ingredients! You’ll need Castelvetrano and Kalamata olives, fresh parsley, capers, olive oil, garlic and lemon juice. Let’s make some already.

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Vanilla-Pear Holiday Punch

This holiday punch is unlike any I’ve ever had, and I think you’re going to love it. It’s not too sweet. It tastes like pear, vanilla, spice…

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naturally sweetened punch recipe

This holiday punch is unlike any I’ve ever had, and I think you’re going to love it. It’s not too sweet. It tastes like pear, vanilla, spice and everything nice. It’s a smooth, easy sipper, even with tequila inside. Yep, tequila!

This pitcher of cocktails was inspired by an oldie but goodie, my Pear Nectar Cocktails with Reposado Tequila. That cocktail is proof that simple ingredients can yield a delightfully complex cocktail. If you’re just making one or two drinks, follow that recipe instead.

You won’t need any fancy liqueurs for this holiday punch recipe, just some pear juice, reposado tequila, plus a few basic ingredients—lemon juice, club soda, cinnamon and vanilla extract.

holiday punch ingredients

I know we’re skipping the holiday parties this year, but I just couldn’t keep this recipe to myself until next December. If you’d like to batch some cocktails for your family, this punch is just the ticket.

Or you could drop off a jar of cocktails with friends or neighbors to share some holiday cheer. I wrote the recipe to yield eight drinks and you can divide or multiply as you’d like.

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Creamy Spinach Artichoke Dip

This hot spinach artichoke dip is pure comfort food. Sign me up. This dip recipe comes together in under 20 minutes with basic ingredients: spinach, artichoke, cream…

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creamy spinach artichoke dip recipe

This hot spinach artichoke dip is pure comfort food. Sign me up. This dip recipe comes together in under 20 minutes with basic ingredients: spinach, artichoke, cream cheese, sour cream, plus green onions and poblano pepper or bell pepper.

We’ll cook the green onions until they’re a little golden and frazzled around the edges, which is an easy way to yield tons of flavor. I’m obsessed with using lightly spicy, tender poblanos in this recipe (a great twist on standard spinach artichoke dip) but you can use a red bell pepper for a mild dip (also delicious!).

creamy spinach artichoke dip ingredients

The end result is not the most beautiful dip in the world, but it’s definitely amongst the most tasty. It’s creamy and indulgent, yet tastes fresh and full of flavor. This dip is fully loaded with veggies and greens, so it’s actually more redeeming than you might think.

I hope you’ll whip together this spinach artichoke dip on the holidays, or for movie nights, or just any time you get a hankering for it. I’m daydreaming about serving this dip at parties next year!

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How to Cook Farro

Let’s talk about farro! Have you tried it? Farro is a whole grain that has been cultivated for thousands of years. In fact, it may be the…

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how to cook farro recipe

Let’s talk about farro! Have you tried it? Farro is a whole grain that has been cultivated for thousands of years. In fact, it may be the world’s oldest cultivated grain. We’ve even found it in Egyptian tombs.

I love farro for its reasonably quick cooking time, nutty flavor and satisfying chewy texture. Farro is a hearty addition to salads and soups. I love to use farro in savory meals. It’s especially wonderful with some garlic and olive oil stirred in while it’s still warm.

dried farro

Farro is a nice alternative to wild rice, brown rice, quinoa and other whole grains. It’s a healthy plant-based source of protein, iron and fiber. As a bonus, it freezes and defrosts well. So, you can make a big batch to enjoy over the next few months.

Today, I’m clearing up some common farro misconceptions and sharing my go-to farro cooking method. Keep on reading for more about farro!

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Roasted Delicata Squash, Pomegranate and Arugula Salad

Have you made this salad before, by chance? I pulled this recipe from the archives and updated the photos to catch your eye. This stunner just might…

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delicata squash arugula salad recipe

Have you made this salad before, by chance? I pulled this recipe from the archives and updated the photos to catch your eye. This stunner just might steal the show at your Thanksgiving feast, and for good reason. Glittering pomegranate arils and golden squash taste just as good as they look.

Delicata squash is a lovely winter squash. It’s unique because its skin is so, well, delicate that you don’t need to peel it before roasting. The maple-balsamic dressing, arugula, pomegranate and goat cheese go great with the squash, of course, but also with apples and pears. If your oven is full, try sliced fruit instead, or simply roast the squash the day before.

salad ingredients

When I revisit older blog posts, I’m always amazed by the parallels in my life over the years and the seasons. When I originally shared this post seven years ago, I was dreaming of a better living/work space. Since that time, I’ve upgraded from my tiny apartment to a little rent house where I made the cookbook, then to a new apartment with a functional kitchen. Then we got married and I moved into my husband’s cozy home, which we’ve outgrown.

We’re actually in the process of purchasing our dream home now. It’s everything we could ever hope for, including a recently renovated kitchen that’s so pretty, I can hardly stand it. We’ll move in time for Christmas and I’m looking forward to setting up our tree and sitting by the fireplace.

To be honest, all I really care about now is keeping Cookie healthy, but our new home is a bright ending to an acutely difficult year. I’ve left my original sentiments below, just in case anyone would like to read them. I hope you are staying well and cozy out there.

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Perfect Roasted Potatoes

Well hello, golden potatoes. You are exactly what I crave with dinner after a long day. More redeeming than French fries, yet just as nice. I’ll admit…

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rosemary roasted potatoes recipe

Well hello, golden potatoes. You are exactly what I crave with dinner after a long day. More redeeming than French fries, yet just as nice.

I’ll admit that it took me quite a few tries to perfect this roasted potatoes recipe. So, I have a few tricks to share today. This method yields substantial hunks of potatoes that are beautifully golden on the outside and pillowy-tender on the inside.

sliced potatoes

These roasted potatoes are lovely on weeknights and perfect for the holidays, especially when you add the optional rosemary. Sometimes, I load them up with some sour cream, chives, dill, flaky salt and pepper for a variation we could call ranch potatoes. They’re also great with a drizzle of Easy Green Goddess Dressing.

Bottom line, you can’t go wrong with these roasted potatoes. Serve them up!

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The New Old Fashioned Cocktail

Who wants a drink? It’s been a long week. Let’s relax with an Old Fashioned, one of the oldest cocktails around. The Old Fashioned is for whiskey…

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old fashioned cocktail with maple syrup

Who wants a drink? It’s been a long week. Let’s relax with an Old Fashioned, one of the oldest cocktails around. The Old Fashioned is for whiskey lovers, certainly, but it also might convince naysayers to become whiskey cocktail drinkers after all.

Like mulled wine, the Old Fashioned is perfect during the holidays, on chilly evenings, and basically any time you find yourself sitting around a fire. It’s a bold, dynamic drink that’s a little citrusy and a little sweet.

I came up with one delicious twist on the classic recipe, which also happens to be a shortcut. If you’ve been following this blog for a while, I bet you can guess what it is.

old fashioned ingredients

That’s right, I used maple syrup instead of simple syrup. Historically, Old Fashioned cocktails are made with a sugar cube or simple syrup. I’m here to tell you that they taste better with maple syrup, which complements bourbon’s caramel notes and stirs in like a dream.

Back when the Old Fashioned gained popularity, maple syrup was not readily accessible. Lucky for us, it is now. I hope you’ll give it a try!

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