Cowboy Caviar

Y’all know I’m from Oklahoma, right? I grew up eating cowboy caviar, also called Texas caviar. It’s a classic bean salad recipe popular in the South. You…

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cowboy caviar recipe

Y’all know I’m from Oklahoma, right? I grew up eating cowboy caviar, also called Texas caviar. It’s a classic bean salad recipe popular in the South. You can serve it as a side salad or as salsa. Either way, people go crazy for cowboy caviar at potlucks.

Cowboy caviar is made with black-eyed peas and black beans, chopped tomatoes, corn, bell pepper, onion and cilantro tossed in tangy Italian dressing. I typically think of cowboy caviar as a warm weather salad, but it’s made with ingredients that are readily available year-round.

Cowboy caviar is actually perfect for New Year’s if you’re craving something fresh yet hearty, and trying to hit your black-eyed pea quota!

cowboy caviar ingredients

I have one issue with most cowboy caviar recipes—they’re often swimming in store-bought Italian salad dressing. As such, they can be way too oily and contain some unnecessary preservatives. Instead, I whisked together a simple, homemade Italian dressing from scratch. It’s easy to do and tastes fantastic.

This recipe yields a big bowl of dip, but I don’t think you’ll have any trouble polishing it off. I hope you enjoy this cheekily titled delight!

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Italian Dressing

Italian dressing has been one of my favorites for as long as I can remember. My mom always served a simple green salad with dinner, and I…

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Italian dressing

Italian dressing has been one of my favorites for as long as I can remember. My mom always served a simple green salad with dinner, and I gravitated toward Wish-Bone’s Italian dressing for drizzling on top. I was especially glad to reach for the extra zesty variety when we had it. Eating at Olive Garden was a rare treat and I took full advantage of the unlimited salad.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—homemade salad dressings taste so much better than store-bought. This classic Italian vinaigrette is bold, zesty and irresistible! My collection of salad dressing recipes was incomplete without it.

Italian dressing ingredients

This dressing is easy to make with basic pantry ingredients. You’ll need olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, garlic, and dried oregano. You’ll also reach for salt, pepper and red pepper flakes (only if you like some heat).

The beauty of making your own Italian dressing is that you know exactly what’s going into it—like real olive oil and no preservatives.

You can also adjust the flavors to suit your preferences. Whether you like extra zesty or more mellow dressing, you’ll find guidance in the simple recipe below. It’s ready in under five minutes and keeps for a week!

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Favorite Balsamic Vinaigrette

This balsamic vinaigrette recipe deserves a moment in the spotlight. When you’re improvising a seasonal salad, no matter how simple or elaborate, balsamic vinaigrette is always an…

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balsamic vinaigrette recipe

This balsamic vinaigrette recipe deserves a moment in the spotlight. When you’re improvising a seasonal salad, no matter how simple or elaborate, balsamic vinaigrette is always an excellent choice. It’s a classic for a reason, and I love the lightly figgy flavor that balsamic vinegar imparts.

This balsamic dressing strikes a delicate balance between tangy and sweet. It’s just right.

balsamic vinaigrette ingredients

This homemade balsamic vinaigrette calls for basic pantry ingredients, yet tastes far superior to any store-bought dressing. This is true for all homemade salad dressings, even when they’re made exclusively with pantry ingredients like this one.

I can’t entirely explain why freshly-combined basic ingredients taste so much better than pre-made dressing from the same pantry shelf, but the difference is undeniable. It’ll smack you right over the head.

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Easy Honey Butter

Do you have room for some honey butter on your holiday table? Let’s make some! Honey butter is creamy and utterly irresistible. It’s sweet and a little…

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easy honey butter recipe

Do you have room for some honey butter on your holiday table? Let’s make some! Honey butter is creamy and utterly irresistible. It’s sweet and a little bit salty, which always sends me back for more. It looks dazzling on the table, and it makes everyone’s eyes light up.

In fact, honey butter is so easy to make that you can whip it up for a special dinner any time of year. Start with softened butter and it’s ready in five minutes or less.

honey butter ingredients

This recipe tastes extra-special thanks to a little sprinkle of cinnamon. Finish it with a little drizzle of honey and a light sprinkle of salt for bonus points in flavor and visual appeal.

I’m telling you, if you’re looking for a last-minute holiday meal menu item, definitely bring honey butter. It’s not a cop-out contribution; it’s a revelation!

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Easy Blue Cheese Dip

This blue cheese dip just might convert blue cheese skeptics into fans. Yes, it really might. You can trust me on this because I’m a little iffy…

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easy blue cheese dip

This blue cheese dip just might convert blue cheese skeptics into fans. Yes, it really might. You can trust me on this because I’m a little iffy on blue cheese myself. Sometimes I love blue cheese, like in this peach and avocado salad, and sometimes it’s too much.

In this dip, it’s perfect. This blue cheese dip recipe is cold, creamy, and savory with an unmistakeable—but not overpowering—blue cheese funk. It’s easy to stir together and tastes even better after a brief rest.

how to make blue cheese dip

In addition to blue cheese (try a mild one, like gorgonzola), you’ll need just a few basic ingredients to make this dip: sour cream or Greek yogurt, chives or green onion, fresh garlic, salt and pepper. Rarely do I suggest Greek yogurt as a worthy alternative to sour cream, but it really works here and yields a lighter dip. For a different flavor profile altogether, try feta cheese instead of blue.

Serve your dip with Buffalo Cauliflower, or simply with raw vegetables like celery, carrot and bell pepper. Please let me know how you like it in the comments!

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Easy Green Enchilada Sauce

Fellow enchilada enthusiasts, I’m so pleased to introduce this green enchilada sauce. This recipe is inspired by the green chili sauces I’ve enjoyed on recent trips to…

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green enchilada sauce recipe

Fellow enchilada enthusiasts, I’m so pleased to introduce this green enchilada sauce. This recipe is inspired by the green chili sauces I’ve enjoyed on recent trips to New Mexico. While the real-deal sauces often feature elusive New Mexican chili peppers, this flavorful sauce is easy to make with basic grocery store ingredients. It’s a pretty ideal alternative.

Try this green enchilada sauce in place of red enchilada sauce the next time you make your favorite enchilada recipe.

green enchilada sauce ingredients

To make this recipe, I experimented with combinations of readily available chili peppers, tomatillos, broth, and flour with disappointing results. Finally, I found a great shortcut that yields the best flavor, thanks to a tip from Rick Bayless. This green enchilada sauce recipe takes advantage of store-bought salsa verde! And yet, the end result tastes much nicer than store-bought enchilada sauce.

This green enchilada sauce requires only three basic ingredients—salsa verde, sour cream and cilantro. I love how simple it is to make, especially since enchiladas are always a project. This recipe is gluten free, too, if that is a consideration for you. Let’s make some.

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Homemade Ranch Dressing

I love ranch dressing. There, I said it. As a kid, I adored Hidden Valley, but as an adult, I only get excited about made-from-scratch, real-deal ranch…

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ranch dressing recipe

I love ranch dressing. There, I said it. As a kid, I adored Hidden Valley, but as an adult, I only get excited about made-from-scratch, real-deal ranch dressing. This recipe is exactly that.

Earlier this year, as I navigated my first trimester, I found myself craving my favorite comfort foods. Naturally, I made my own ranch dressing and happily drizzled it over my salads, and my pizzas, and even my quesadillas (why not?).

ranch dressing ingredients

This ranch dressing recipe is the end result of my experimentation. It features fresh herbs, real buttermilk, and a creamy sour cream base. It tastes gourmet, and it’s certainly not too heavy. I hope you love it as much as I do!

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Roasted Red Peppers

Let’s talk about roasted red peppers! Roasted red peppers are one of my favorite recipe components. They offer rich, deep bell pepper flavor and a lovely, tender…

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roasted red peppers recipe

Let’s talk about roasted red peppers! Roasted red peppers are one of my favorite recipe components. They offer rich, deep bell pepper flavor and a lovely, tender texture. I love to add roasted red peppers to dips, salads, sandwiches and more.

Homemade roasted red peppers taste the best, no doubt about it. Since it’s bell pepper season, I’m sharing my tested and perfected roasted red pepper recipe. Now that I’ve finally nailed down all the factors, I’ll be roasting my own more often!

red bell peppers

Roasting red peppers is a fairly simple process, though certainly not as simple as reaching for a jar of store-bought roasted red peppers. The downside to using jarred roasted red peppers is that they vary significantly in flavor—grab the wrong brand and you just might ruin the whole dish (been there, done that). Divina and Whole Foods 365 are reliable winners, in my experience.

Grab a helper when it comes time to peel the peppers, and your homemade roasted red peppers will be ready before you know it. They’ll keep in the fridge for over a week, too, and liven up all your dishes in between.

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Roasted Tomatoes

Have you ever tried roasted tomatoes? Specifically slow-roasted cherry tomatoes, the best of all roasted tomatoes? If not, you have really been missing out! Last summer, our…

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roasted cherry tomatoes close-up

Have you ever tried roasted tomatoes? Specifically slow-roasted cherry tomatoes, the best of all roasted tomatoes? If not, you have really been missing out! Last summer, our garden produced more cherry tomatoes than we could eat fresh, so I roasted several batches over the weekends.

You might be thinking that it’s hard to beat fresh cherry tomatoes (and I agree), but roasted cherry tomatoes are even nicer. The flavors and textures condense in the oven, yielding spectacularly sweet-tart, rich tomato flavor. Once roasted, they keep in the refrigerator for over a week, so this is a great way to preserve tomatoes a little longer.

cherry tomatoes

Honestly, I eat these tomatoes like candy. I have to stop myself from eating them all straight off the pan. Unlike most other roasted veggies, which I typically serve as a side dish, these roasted tomatoes are the perfect addition to many summer meals. They’ll turn a simple pasta with basil into a highly memorable dinner.

You’ll be happy to hear that roasting these cherry tomatoes require a much lower temperature than normal (just 250 degrees Fahrenheit). While they do require a couple of hours in the oven, you can throw these in the oven on a hot day without overheating your kitchen.

Tomato lovers, gardeners and weekend meal preppers, this roasted tomato recipe is for you!

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Greek Salad Dressing

Who doesn’t love a great Greek salad? Make your own starting with this Greek salad dressing recipe. This dressing is bold, zippy and delicious. It’s super easy…

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Greek dressing recipe

Who doesn’t love a great Greek salad? Make your own starting with this Greek salad dressing recipe. This dressing is bold, zippy and delicious. It’s super easy to whisk together at home with basic pantry ingredients.

This Greek vinaigrette is made simply with olive oil, red wine vinegar, fresh garlic, dried oregano and salt and pepper. We’ll add a touch of honey or maple syrup to balance the flavors. That’s it! The end result tastes just like the dressings I’ve enjoyed in Greece.

Greek dressing ingredients

Homemade salad dressings always taste so fresh and vibrant—they’re simply superior to store-bought dressings and keep well for a week in the fridge. Plus, you can use healthy ingredients, like extra-virgin olive oil, and avoid unnecessary preservatives. Homemade dressings are a win all around, and this one is ready in just five minutes!

Enjoy this dressing on my Chopped Greek Salad, or improvise your own salad with fresh ingredients you have on hand. You’ll find a list of my suggested salad ingredients below, and keep an eye out for a fresh summer salad featuring this dressing later this week.

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