I’ve started hand writing some of my favorite recipes into a notebook. I hope, a long time from now, it ends up with worn pages and food stains from years of use. A good chunk of my free time is spent salivating over food blogs and pinning new recipes, eager to find new favorites. There’s only a small handful of recipes I make the over and over without variation because I know they’re fantastic (Paula, I’m talking about your red velvet!). My goal is to fill up the notebook with recipes Leia will consider comfort food because I make them often, with lots of love.
By the way, she’s still recipe obsessed and wants to get dirty in the kitchen everyday – I could not love this girl more! Here’s what we’ve made recently that are definitely worth a spot in the notebook.
Since I take crappy pictures, I borrowed their lovely photos.
Gingersnaps (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
- 2 cups flour (I used half whole wheat and half cake flour since I was out of all-purpose)
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 3 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 2/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 large egg (or substitute 1 tablespoon ground flax with 3 tablespoons water)
- 1/3 cup unsulphured molasses
- extra granulated sugar for rolling
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and spices. In a large bowl, mix together oil, sugar, egg (or flax and water mixture) and molasses. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until just combined.
The dough is going to be really soft, so put it in the fridge for at least two hours to firm up. Preheat oven to 350°F and roll dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar and spread at least two inches apart on baking sheets that have been lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Press down each cookie slightly. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes depending on your soft vs. crispy preference. Don’t over bake, they’re really soft straight from the oven. Let them cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a cooling rack.
I’m not sure how long they last in an airtight container because the whole batch got devoured in a day (not by myself, although I could have). These cookies have the perfect texture, crispy and chewy. I’m definitely making a few batches for holiday gifts.
Salsa (adapted from The Pioneer Woman)
- 1 can (14 ounce) diced tomatoes with juice
- 1 can (10 Ounce) Rotel
- 1/2 small red onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated with a zester
- 1 whole jalapeno, sliced thin (take the seeds out if you’re fragile)
- 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4-1/2 cup cilantro, depending on taste
- Juice and zest of a lime
I divided her recipe in half (keeping spices and cilantro the same) and it made plenty of salsa. I also opted to add the lime zest in because I really love the flavor. This recipe is totally flexible, which is why I love it so much.
I don’t have a food processor, so I used an immersion blender. Just toss everything in a bowl (or food processor) and blend until you get a consistency you like. Let it sit in the fridge for a few hours so the flavors come together, if you can resist the temptation.
Turkey Meatballs (adapted from Iowa Girl Eats)
I had every intention of using the zucchini called for in this recipe, before I realized I didn’t have any. I also didn’t have an egg. So I substituted mayo and added more onion. I also added cheese, because life is better with it. This is another really flexible recipe as long as you keep the moisture consistent.
- 1/2 small onion, grated
- 4 cloves garlic, minced or grated
- 1lb ground turkey
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs (I used half panko and half store bought Italian flavor)
- 1/4 cup grated parmesean
Run the onion over a cheese grater and a zester for the garlic. In a large bowl add ground turkey, mayo (or 1 egg), Worcestershire, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, bread crumbs and cheese in a large bowl. Use your hands to mix everything together, but be gentle. Shape into 1″-2″ balls (I used a cookie scoop). I got 24 meatballs.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees then place a wire rack over a foil-lined baking sheet. Since oven safe wire racks are not coated, spray it with olive oil or non-stick spray. Place onto the wire rack and bake for 20-22 minutes, or until no longer pink the center.
I made these specifically for freezing (to use in the crockpot for chili or spaghetti later in the week). To freeze meatballs, cool completely on the baking sheet. Put the baking sheet in the freezer for an hour, then transfer to a bag.
Avocado Hummus (adapted from The Delicious Revolution)
- 1 can of garbanzo beans/chick peas (I didn’t know these were the same thing until this year!), drained and rinsed
- 1 avocado, peeled and pit removed
- 1 clove garlic, grated
- ½ cup cilantro leaves
- Zest and juice of two lemons
- 3 tablespoons tahini
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
Toss everything in a food processor or blender and give it a whirl. I used my immersion blender, mostly because I hate cleaning my regular blender. Put hummus in the fridge for a bit to chill and let flavors blend. If you have any fancy flavored oils, add a drizzle on top before serving with veggies, pita chips, crackers, etc. It’s pretty much the love child of guacamole and traditional hummus, so it goes well with anything.