The Recipes I Really Make

You know how we post hundreds of recipes on our websites and talk about how delicious, easy, and/or fabulous they are? Well how many of those posted recipes do you actually make again? Be honest. If you’re anything like me then probably not very many.

We’re creatures of habit. A few new dishes may occasionally make it into the traditional dinner time rotation but it takes a pretty spectacular recipe to break into the top 10 typical weeknight menu offerings. Sure, I definitely try new recipes frequently. Lately I don’t really blog about them, but I get plenty of ideas from Martha, the Food Network, and Pinterest. I definitely like to mix it up in the kitchen, but there are some dishes that I always return to time and time again.

Below I’ve shared  my list of “greatest hits.” Please note that “greatest” does not mean that these are the most complicated or impressive foods, but they are the most frequent and often times comforting plates I produce. By the way, while compiling this list I noticed that very old blog posts (stuff from 2006-2008) did contain a few dishes that have survived the test of time. I wonder what that says about my blogging habits? Hmm…

Spinach Lasagna
You may remember me mentioning before that this dish was the first real meal I ever made. A decade ago I followed the instructions to the letter. These days I substitute all sorts of things. Sometimes I add roasted red peppers, feta, crumbled spicy turkey sausage, zucchini etc… I also definitely do not use parmesan cheese from a can. “Shaker cheese” (which is how we referred to this stuff when I was a kid) is not allowed in my house. However, the use of cottage cheese in place of ricotta is definitely my favorite takeaway from the recipe.

Ellie Krieger’s Turkey Meatloaf
CK and I used to have a great big thing for Ellie Krieger when she was first on the Food Network. We religiously watched her episodes and then immediately went out and bought ingredients to make her dishes. Many of the recipes from this era have become common place in our home including this hearty recipe for healthy meatloaf. I usually amp up the red pepper ratio or use multicolored peppers. I also like to make mini meatloaves instead of one big loaf. In my opinion it’s just prettier.

Vegetable Cheddar Soup
When the first snow flies in New England you can count on this naughty dish gracing our table (ok…fine…our coffee table) while we watch Supernatural episodes.

Cowboy Steak
The rub in this recipe is my favorite way to prepare all kinds of steak. I love the way the espresso, mustard, and cardamon smell while the meat is grilling. Heaven! Maybe Yankee Candle should work on replicating this one?  We could call it “Cowboy Take Me Away.”

Pasta with Sausage and Collard Greens
This dish was my gateway to loving collards and I’m ever so grateful to Kaylyn for turning me on to such a delicious green.

Fried Rice with Scallions and Edamame
Yet, another classic from Miss Ellie Kriegar. This colorful combination of ingredients is one of my favorite ways to eat Tofu. I definitely end up upping the recommended sauce measurements and also include fish and sesame oil but the bones of the recipe remain the same.

Paleo Shepherd’s Pie
Right now this is my favorite dish to make. I’ve been in love with mashed cauliflower for ages and ages and I can’t get enough of this casserole. I make it all the time. I actually like to sub ground buffalo for beef though. If you haven’t tried buffalo yet you really need to. It tastes rich and earthy and sort of reminds me a little of lamb.

Panko Crusted Salmon with Warm French Lentils
I make these two dishes almost weekly. I buy gigantic jars of dijon mustard now and order french lentils online so I always have them on hand. This has been my go-to dish for the last five months. Salmon and I are now serious BFFs thanks to Ina.

Zucchini Pasta
If you haven’t tried using summer squash in place of pasta yet then you need to add it to your “to do” list pronto. In addition, if you can get your hands on some Zebra Squash then you’re a lucky duck. I’m not sure if it grows in New England. I’ll look into that, but I bought tons of the stuff at the farmers markets in San Francisco. Zebra Squash was actually an item in the “Let’s Stay” pro and con column when we were deciding to move back east so that’s how awesome I think it is. Don’t get me wrong, I love summer squash and zucchini but for some reason I feel like the Zebra variety has a much better texture and taste when using it for your pasta replacement. I could just be projecting though.

Smothered Pork Chops
Trust me. Just make this dish and while the pork chops are cooking sauté a big batch of mixed mushrooms on the side with lots of thyme and then spoon them on top when you serve. Perfection. Seriously.

Want to try to convince me to try your favorite dinner time dish? Tell me about it or add a link in the comments.