Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

This butternut squash mac and cheese recipe strikes the perfect weeknight balance. It’s creamy, it’s cheesy, it’s comforting and completely delicious. This mac and cheese is not…

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butternut squash mac and cheese overhead

This butternut squash mac and cheese recipe strikes the perfect weeknight balance. It’s creamy, it’s cheesy, it’s comforting and completely delicious. This mac and cheese is not so rich that you’ll get a belly ache or fall asleep immediately after dinner.

This recipe is redeeming, too—it’s full of luscious roasted butternut squash, which amps up the golden hue without overwhelming the flavor. This mac and cheese is a real crowd pleaser. Our toddler loves it and so do we.

butternut squash before and after roasting

The cooking method is a thrill. This pasta comes together in one pot. You don’t ever strain the pasta. You don’t have to fuss with a béchamel sauce. You don’t have to get out the blender for the butternut.

If you roast your squash in advance, this recipe comes together in about 30 minutes. This is a unicorn of a pasta dish and I’m so excited to hear how it turns out in your kitchen.

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Classic Martini

How about a martini? Sometimes a martini sounds just right. I’m often disappointed by restaurant martinis (unless I’m at The Campground in Kansas City—Chris makes the best…

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best martini recipe

How about a martini? Sometimes a martini sounds just right. I’m often disappointed by restaurant martinis (unless I’m at The Campground in Kansas City—Chris makes the best martini of all time).

So, I’ve been studying the martini and perfecting my at-home martini game. Today, I’m sharing what I’ve learned!

martini ingredients

While martinis may seem intimidating, they are actually the perfect cocktail to make at home. The ingredient list is short and basic. The method is easy—stirred, not shaken, which would bruise gin’s delicate flavors.

Now then, the “perfect” martini is very much determined by your personal preferences. I’ve typed up a foolproof classic martini recipe below. I’ve also provided suggested ingredients and details to help craft your perfect martini.

Whether you like your martini with gin or vodka, wet or dry, with a lemon twist or dirty with olives, this recipe is for you.

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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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Perfect Baked Sweet Potato

Some baked sweet potatoes are better than others, and these are downright perfect. These baked sweet potatoes are silky-smooth all the way through. They’re sweet, creamy and…

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baked sweet potato recipe

Some baked sweet potatoes are better than others, and these are downright perfect. These baked sweet potatoes are silky-smooth all the way through. They’re sweet, creamy and delicious.

Baked sweet potatoes are always a nice side dish. They also make a great weeknight meal if you top them well. You’ll find several of my favorite flavor variations below.

sweet potatoes before and after baking

In my baked sweet potato recipe testing, I was surprised to find so many parallels to baked potatoes. It’s easy to lump sweet potatoes (commonly called yams) and potatoes together, but they come from different plant families. They’re only distantly related, but I’ve realized that they do bake up similarly.

Both are best baked in the oven without foil, directly on the rack, at high heat. You’ll learn why and find the full recipe below!

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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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Homemade Caesar Salad

Raise your hand if you love a good Caesar salad. (Me! I do!) I have many favorite salads, but Caesar salad has been a favorite for as…

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homemade Caesar salad

Raise your hand if you love a good Caesar salad. (Me! I do!) I have many favorite salads, but Caesar salad has been a favorite for as long as I can remember. A great Caesar salad hits a satisfying balance between fresh and crisp, and creamy and cheesy.

The Caesar salad is a versatile one. It’s the perfect accompaniment to a generous bowl of soup or your favorite homemade Italian meal. It will also round out a special occasion—whether that’s a weekend dinner or a big holiday.

Caesar salad ingredients

When I was expecting our baby, Grace, I started craving all of my creamy childhood favorites, ranging from baked potatoes to ranch dressing to crisp but creamy Caesar salads. Clearly, it was time to develop a proper Caesar salad recipe, and here it is.

This recipe combines my Caesar salad dressing (it’s so simple!) and simple homemade croutons with crisp romaine lettuce and a final sprinkling of additional Parmesan cheese. You’ll find the full recipe below, written from start to finish.

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Perfect Roasted Delicata Squash

Are you familiar with delicata squash? Delicata squash is considered a winter squash along with its cousins, which include butternut squash, spaghetti squash, and acorn squash. Delicata…

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roasted delicata squash recipe

Are you familiar with delicata squash? Delicata squash is considered a winter squash along with its cousins, which include butternut squash, spaghetti squash, and acorn squash. Delicata has a thinner skin and a smaller, more oblong shape, so it’s much easier to handle than the others.

I love delicata squash for its cute scalloped edges and hearty texture. It tastes lightly sweet and earthy, like a cross between spaghetti squash and acorn squash. Delicata squash is a great addition to fall salads and whole grain bowls.

delicata squash before and after cutting

Roasting delicata squash is the quickest and easiest way to enjoy this variety. The squash is dense, but turns nice and tender in the oven while the edges caramelize.

The only downside to delicata squash is that it doesn’t store as long as the other winter squash varieties. Now is the time to enjoy delicata squash!

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Perfect Roasted Butternut Squash

Want to know something cool about roasted butternut squash? You don’t have to peel it before roasting. That’s right. You do not have to suffer through peeling…

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roasted butternut squash on serving platter

Want to know something cool about roasted butternut squash? You don’t have to peel it before roasting. That’s right. You do not have to suffer through peeling an entire slippery butternut squash if you’re going to roast it. The skin is perfectly safe to eat, and it’s hardly noticeable after a nice roast in a hot oven. You can see proof here and here.

Butternut squash is technically a winter squash, and it is indeed hearty and wonderful on a chilly day. Spring zucchini hasn’t arrived yet, so let’s use up the butternut in the pantry while it’s still good.

how to cut butternut squash

Butternut squash is naturally quite sweet. Roasted butternut squash is my favorite preparation because the edges caramelize against the pan, yielding delicious savory bits that help balance the sweetness.

Roasted butternut makes a great side dish with a few garnishes on top, but it’s more versatile than that. Over the years, I’ve used it in risotto and soup, hearty fall and winter salads, and even tacos. Again, I love to contrast the sweetness with spicy and savory ingredients, and you’ll find a list of suggestions below.

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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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Fresh Turmeric Tea

Let’s warm up with some fresh turmeric tea, shall we? It’s golden and earthy, spicy and soothing at the same time. Fresh turmeric is too precious to…

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turmeric tea recipe

Let’s warm up with some fresh turmeric tea, shall we? It’s golden and earthy, spicy and soothing at the same time.

Fresh turmeric is too precious to go to waste, so this tea is the perfect way to use up any leftover turmeric you might have on hand.

turmeric tea ingredients

If you’re a fan of fresh ginger tea, I’m confident you’ll enjoy turmeric tea. Turmeric and ginger are close cousins, after all. Like ginger tea, turmeric tea can also help settle an upset stomach.

Try turmeric tea as a mid-day pick-me-up, or wind down with a mug in the evenings. It’s simple to make, and a lovely alternative to caffeinated or alcoholic drinks.

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