IN THE KITCHEN ◽ TIPS

I quit buying boxed items (for the most part) a while back and even processed or readymade items.  Of course, if time is short, I still do.  But mostly, homemade dishes of certain foods taste SO MUCH better than store bought, so I thought I’d share a few recipes of my favorites!  Sometimes, there’s no time for homemade, but if there is…you’ll want to continue the process and find time…seriously.

Guacamole

We just enjoyed a new recipe for guacamole last night.  But standard fare is always great, as well – with just lemon juice, salt and pepper!

  • 1 large avocado

  • ¼ c chopped walnuts

  • ¼ c pomegranate seeds

  • 1 cup fresh chopped spinach

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and serve with sliced cucumbers, peppers and chips!

Hummus

Some store bought hummus is delicious, but nothing beats making your own in a processor.  It just takes a few ingredients, then some pulses, and you’re done.  And hummus is a great dip for enjoying all week, with veggies and pita chips (those are good homemade, as well!)

There are SO MANY hummus recipes to try, so you can google your fave. But try some of these toppings for a variety, and serve all the fun on a pretty tray!

  • Pistachios and pomegranate seeds

  • Mixed olives, feta cheese and sun-dried tomatoes

  • Pesto

  • Toasted sesame seeds

  • Everything but the Bagel seasoning

  • Chopped veggies and olives

Granola

I’ve made so many different recipes of granola over the past couple of years, and I love the freshness and tastes of the fresh nuts and oats and raisins, etc.  It’s not hard to make at all…and you’ll have a jar full for a couple of weeks!

Here’s a recent recipe (It’s good in a parfait, too, with strawberries and whipped cream!)

  • 6 c rolled oats

  • 1 cup pecan halves

  • 1 c flour

  • 1/3 c sugar

  • 1 t salt

  • 1 t cinnamon

  • 1 cup oil

  • ½ cup honey

Preheat oven to 320 degrees. Mix first six ingredients together.  Whisk the oil and honey together and then add to the oats.  Spread on a rimmed baking sheet and bake 35 minutes, stirring a few times during baking.  Bake longer for more crunch, but don’t burn!  Allow to cool after baking.

Cookies

I do not like store bought cookies, but homemade ones are so good.  I bet most probably agree with this!  We don’t make them often, because they’re hard to resist, but homemade cookies are SO GOOD and also easy to pack up and share with friends!

These are my husband’s favorite ever cookie that I have made:

Chewy Chocolate Cookies

1 ¼ c margarine softened

2 c sugar

2 eggs

2 t vanilla

2 c flour

¾ c cocoa

1 t baking soda

½ t salt

1 cup chopped pecans

Cream margarine and sugar then add in eggs and vanilla.  Blend well.  Combine flour, cocoa, salt, baking soda – blend into creamed mixture.  Stir in nuts.  Drop by tablespoons full onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 8-9 minutes at 350 degrees.  They will be soft and flatten during cooling.  Cool until set!

Salad dressing

I NEVER made homemade salad dressing until a couple of years ago, and now I know…it tastes so good and fresh…and it’s so easy to make – all different kinds.  Great for keeping on hand for salads and such…

Easy Mustard Vinaigrette

  • ¼ c white wine vinegar

  • 1 T Dijon mustard

  • ½ t kosher salt

  • Pepper

  • 2/3 c olive oil

Whisk first four ingredients together in a bowl, then drizzle in the olive oil, whisking until thick and smooth.  Add more salt and pepper to taste. (makes about a cup).

Muffins

Coffee shop muffins are pretty darn good.  But homemade ones can be just as good, or better, and you can customize and make those flavors you can’t find in shops around town.

Banana Muffins

  • 2 c biscuit/baking mix

  • 1 egg lightly beaten

  • 1 1/3 c mashed ripe banana

  • ½ c packed brown sugar

  • 3 T milk

  • 2 T vegetable oil

  • 1 t vanilla extract

Salad dressing

I NEVER made homemade salad dressing until a couple of years ago, and now I know…it tastes so good and fresh…and it’s so easy to make – all different kinds.  Great for keeping on hand for salads and such…

Easy Mustard Vinaigrette

  • ¼ c white wine vinegar

  • 1 T Dijon mustard

  • ½ t kosher salt

  • Pepper

  • 2/3 c olive oil

Whisk first four ingredients together in a bowl, then drizzle in the olive oil, whisking until thick and smooth.  Add more salt and pepper to taste. (makes about a cup).

Pizza

Frozen pizza is okay.  But fresh pizza is the bomb.  You can vary up your crust, you can add the toppings you want, and you can keep it fresh – all things that make homemade pizza the absolute tastiest!

One idea is to use small Kaiser rolls as your base, and pile on whatever you have in your fridge!

Just spread on marinara sauce (or not), and mozzarella cheese (or not) and then add fresh veggies, onions, tomatoes, pepperoni or sausage, spinach, peppers, or whatever you like!

If you’d rather have pizza dough, make or purchase your own and be creative with your toppings, always using fresh ingredients and then bake them and enjoy.

WHICH ONE WILL YOU TRY? DON'T FORGET TO CHECK OUT OUR OTHER TIPS STORIES.
Better Homemade
by Marcy Lytle

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