3 Easy Salad Dressing Recipes

Roasted Garlic Parmesan Dressing Everything is always better homemade (at least in my opinion), and salad dressing is no exception. A homemade dressing is the difference between a salad that’s just a salad, and a salad that’s delicious and explodes with flavor in your mouth. And of course, without all the added preservatives, you won’t feel quite so badly when you want to slather one of these dressings on your vegetables, or marinate your meat in it, dip your bread in it, or just plain eat it off the spoon (What?? Who?? Me?? Never!). 

Two of these salad dressing recipes (the Italian and the Shaker), have been made in my family for years (Great-Grandmother, Grandmother, Mom). In fact, my Grandmother always has a bottle of each in her fridge, and when I was younger, and she would prepare mashed potatoes for dinner, I would always sneak a couple of the potato skins and dip them in the shaker dressing (so yum!). The roasted garlic dressing I recently made up solely based off my obsession with roasted garlic. The creamy texture you get without having to add mayonnaise has quickly made it a favorite of mine not only for salads, but also for dipping bread.

I hope you enjoy these easy salad dressing recipes to jazz up your next salad, and I’d love to know- what’s your favorite salad dressing?

Shaker Salad Dressing Creamy Balsamic Italian Dressing

Roasted Garlic Parmesan Dressing
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Total Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 head of roasted garlic (about 12 cloves)
  2. 1/2 cup olive oil
  3. 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  4. Juice of half a lemon
  5. 2 tablespoons of water
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  7. Dash of pepper
  8. 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a Cuisinart or immersion blender. Pulse for a few seconds, until all ingredients are blended together. Store in a glass jar (or other airtight container) in the refrigerator for up to one month. Shake before using.
Notes
  1. To roast garlic- cut the top off a head of garlic. Place it, cut side up, on a foil lined baking sheet, then drizzle about a teaspoon of olive oil on top. Wrap the foil loosely around the top, then bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour.
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/
Shaker Salad Dressing
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Total Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup olive oil
  2. 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  3. 2 teaspoons salt
  4. 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  5. 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  6. Pinch of thyme
  7. 3 dashes of Tabasco sauce
  8. 4 cloves of garlic
  9. 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  10. 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  11. 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  12. 1 tablespoon parsley, fresh (or 1 tsp. if dried)
  13. 2 tablespoons onion, minced
  14. 2 tablespoons green pepper, minced (optional)
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a Cuisinart or immersion blender. Pulse for a few seconds, until all ingredients are blended together. Store in a glass jar (or other airtight container) in the refrigerator for up to one month. Shake before using.
Notes
  1. This will solidify in the refrigerator so make sure to remove it about 30 minutes prior to using, or run the bottle under hot water for a few seconds.
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/
Creamy Balsamic Italian Dressing
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Total Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup olive oil
  2. 1/2 cup mayonnaise (I've also done this with 1/4 c. Greek yogurt, 1/4 c. mayo)
  3. 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (you can also use apple cider or red wine vinegar)
  4. 1 tablespoon sugar
  5. 3/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning (I've also used a handful of fresh basil)
  6. 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt (regular salt will work too)
  7. A dash of pepper
  8. 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese, optional
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a Cuisinart or immersion blender. Pulse for a few seconds, until all ingredients are blended together. Store in a glass jar (or other airtight container) in the refrigerator for up to one month. Shake before using.
Notes
  1. This will solidify in the refrigerator so make sure to remove it about 30 minutes prior to using, or run the bottle under hot water for a few seconds.
Adapted from My Great-Grandmother
Adapted from My Great-Grandmother
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/

Homemade BBQ Sauce

Homemade BBQ Sauce Y’ll (I feel like y’ll is totally necessary since we are talking bbq…you have been warned). I’ve lived in one of the BBQ capitals of the country (what up Kansas City?!) and traveled to some of the others, but y’ll, nothing even begins to compare to my Mom’s sauce. It is the bees knees y’ll (are you sick of me saying y’ll, y’ll?) And better yet, it is made in one pan. Like the one-pot spaghetti….except this is one pot sauce. Obvi. And just like that the dilemma of what to make for this weekend’s bbq has been solved. Happy Friday (y’ll)!

quick and easy Homemade BBQ Sauce

Homemade BBQ Sauce
Makes about 2 cups

1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons of brown sugar
2 cups of ketchup
1/3 cup worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon of molasses
1/4 teaspoon of pepper
A dash of salt
*Occasionally I will also add in a few tablespoons of orange juice

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Toss in the onions and garlic and saute for 10 minutes, or until they begin to wilt.

sauteed onions

Add in the remaining ingredients and turn the burner down to low.

how to make Homemade BBQ Sauce

Homemade BBQ Sauce ingredients

The sauce will be ready in 10 minutes, or if you wish, you can continue to simmer it for several hours. When it is done, it will be very thick and dark brown (like the picture below).

easy Homemade BBQ Sauce

To make bbq chicken- Prepare your meat with a little salt and pepper and begin to bake it at 350 degrees in a shallow glass pan. When it is about half way done, pull the pan out and baste the chicken with some of the sauce, making sure to completely cover all sides of the meat. Continue baking until the chicken is cooked through. Spread more sauce on top and serve any remaining bbq sauce on the side. The bbq chicken pairs nicely with homemade potato or macaroni salad.

easy Homemade BBQ chicken

To make bbq ribs- Season 2 slabs of ribs with salt and pepper. Tightly seal in foil and place on a baking sheet. Cook at 400 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. Unseal the foil and cover the ribs with sauce. Broil on high for 3-4 minutes. The super juicy ribs will fall right off the bone! I love to serve this with coleslaw and cornbread, or charred corn salad.

Store any remaining sauce in an airtight container in the fridge.

Sweet & Sour Spaghetti Sauce

NYFW ending means 2 things- 1) London Fashion Week is next (and I am extremely envious of  anyone that attends that!) and 2) We can start consuming carbs again (as if I ever really stop!).

Pasta will always hold a spot in my heart for favorite carbs (that would be the Italian in me), and this sauce is a favorite from childhood. Not only is it delicious and different, it’s super easy to make (meaning you can start consuming those carbs even sooner!).

 

Sweet & Sour Spaghetti Sauce

2 lbs. red onions (about 2 large or 3 medium), sliced

1/4 c. butter

2 tbsp. olive oil

1/4 tsp. of each salt and pepper

1/2 tsp. each dried basil and rosemary

1 bay leave

1 tsp. of sugar

A dash of cinnamon

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 qt. of canned tomatoes

2 c. dry red wine

1/4 c. dried currants or raisins (can be omitted)

1/4 c. red wine (or apple cider) vinegar

 

In a large skillet heat your butter and oil. Toss in the onions and saute until very tender, at least 30 minutes. Add in the garlic and spices and saute a few more minutes.

Stir in the remaining ingredients and let simmer, at minimum 15 minutes (you can keep this simmering on very low heat for several hours if you want to make this in advance). Serve over pasta with a sprinkling of parmesan.

Recipe from my Mom

 

DIY Vanilla Extract

DIY Vanilla Extract || Runway Chef When I first heard about diy vanilla extract, I assumed it wouldn’t be easy (extracting just sounds hard). Well let me tell you, I assumed wrong. Making your own vanilla is a dream (especially if you’re a vodka lover you have vodka on hand) and will save you from weekly (expensive) vanilla runs (if you love to bake as much as me). All you need are vanilla beans, cheap vodka (like dirt cheap), and bottles (I got mine at the Christmas Tree Shop but they can also be found here). 

I made 3 bottles so I have back-up when one runs out, although these bottles do last a while (mine I started using in January looks almost untouched). FYI these also make great gifts (just ask my mom!). One more FYI, definitely let this sit for the full 2-3 months, otherwise it will just taste like shots of vanilla vodka…which you may be ok with if you’re a vodka lover and all…

easy diy vanilla extract

Supplies
Vanilla Beans (3 per 8 ounces of vodka)
Vodka
Bottle with a tightly sealed lid

how to make vanilla extract 1. Place the vanilla beans in your bottle (make sure you split the beans before adding them to the bottle). Fill the bottle with vodka. 

DIY Vanilla Extract 2. Tightly close the lid and place the bottle in a cool, dark location for about 2-3 months.  

DIY Vanilla Extract 3. Shake occasionally.

vanilla extract how-to 4. Whenever you finish a bottle, just refresh with a new bean or two and refill with vodka.

DIY Vanilla Extract || Runway Chef

Steak Dinner…With a Twist

Dave and I recently decided we should try to eat less gluten so we could attempt to be healthier and such.

To celebrate we made this meal.

Basically it says “Congratulations on giving up gluten! Have a heart attack instead!”

And yes, every bite was worth it!

Cocoa Rubbed Steak with Bacon Stout Gravy

Inspired by recipes from the Food Network Magazine, March 2012

For the Steak

1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

2 1/4 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. brown sugar

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

32 oz. steak (about 1 1/2 in. thick)

1 tbsp. butter

A dash of truffle oil (if you have it)

For the gravy

5 strips of thick cut bacon, cut into pieces

1 leek, sliced

1/2 c. sliced mushrooms

1 tbsp. flour

1/2 c. of a stout beer (I used a chocolate flavor;save the rest for a dessert a will be sharing soon)

3 c. chicken broth

2 bay leaves

1/2 c. heavy cream

Pepper

For the steak-Mix together the cocoa powder, brown sugar, cayenne pepper & 2 teaspoons of salt.Rub on both sides of the steak and set aside.

For the gravy- In a medium-sized skillet over medium heat cook the bacon until crisp. Set aside on a paper towel lined plate. In the bacon fat, cook the leeks and mushrooms until wilted, about 3 minutes. Stir in the flour and then the beer and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Add the chicken broth and bay leaves and continue cooking until the mixture has reduced by about one-quarter. Continue to cook until the gravy is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. Finally, stir in the cream, reserved bacon and a dash of pepper. Set aside and keep warm.

To cook the steak, heat a large cast iron pan on high for about 3 minutes. Add the butter (and truffle oil, if desired). Once the butter has melted place your steak in the pan and sear each side for about 8 minutes or until a dark crust has formed. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

Along with the gravy, we also had peas and sweet potatoes mashed with a splash of OJ, a little butter and topped with blue cheese crumbles. We then indulged in a flour free but definitely not guilt free cake that I will be sharing with you soon :)

*Note- We tossed the leftover gravy and sliced steak with some pasta (gluten-free of course!) the next night and it was just as delicious!