I don’t have any more house-related posts this week as we’ve halted sun room progress to host Mark’s dad this weekend. We actually have lots of guests slated to pay us a visit in the next few weeks which has got me thinking about what to cook. Since Labor Day weekend is often a time for lots o’ food, I thought I would share with y’all my favorite recipes. I tried to cover a variety of recipe types, entrees, breakfast, etc. so hopefully you’ll find something here that works for your plans this weekend.
Here we go…
Giada De Laurentiis’ White Bean Dip – Similar to hummus, this is easy to make and always is a hit at parties. Serve with either homemade or store-bought pita chips, and/or a selection of sliced veggies.
Best Breakfast Casserole
Paula Deen’s Tomato Basil Bread Pudding – This is not a typical Paula Deen recipe, but it appeared in her magazine a few years back and every time I do a brunch party, I make it. In fact it’s on the menu for this weekend.
Best Breakfast Potatoes
Bob Blumer, The Surreal Gourmet’s Blackened Home Fry Potatoes from Hell – Back in the early 2000’s when I was first learning to cook and also use the Internet, I found this recipe on foodtv.com. These take a while to make, but are so, so good. They’ve become a staple on Christmas morning.
Barefoot Contessa Coconut Cupcake/Cake – This recipe was originally in her Barefoot Contessa cookbook as cupcakes and it was so popular she later converted the recipe to a cake as well. The cupcakes are perfect for a bridal or baby shower and the cake is a great alternative to a traditional birthday cake. Don’t forget the almond extract, it’s what makes it “pop.”
Nestle Tollhouse Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies – There’s a million chocolate chip cookie recipes out there, but the one on the back of the yellow bag with oatmeal is my favorite. You can never go wrong with a chocolate chip cookie.
Lesley’s Famous Chicken Chili – My best friend in the world is also a trained chef. Her blog of recipes is amazing, but this is the one I make the most. Perfect for football Saturdays, winter Sundays, and every day you’re in the mood for comfort food.
Best “Fancy” Entree
Barefoot Contessa Asian Grilled Salmon – This one is perfect for a romantic dinner for two or a dinner party (if you can swing the cost of salmon.) The marinade/sauce is so easy and so delicious and it you can make this in less than 30 minutes. If you don’t have access to a grill or grill pan, you can just pan-sear. Serve this with my asparagus recipe below and some brown rice.
Best For a Crowd
Pioneer Woman’s Spicy Dr. Pepper Shredded Pork – This is a crowd pleaser. Again super simple ingredients and amazing flavor. You can serve this with tortillas or rolls to make tacos/sandwiches or with sides like corn pudding, cole slaw, baked beans, mac n cheese, etc.
Best Party/BBQ Side/Salad
“Mom’s” Potato Salad – This recipe is from my great-grandmother on my mom’s side whom everyone called “Mom.” I come from a long line of great cooks and to me, Mom’s potato salad is the best there is. It’s not fancy, the key is the salt. If you get the salt right, people will fall in love with this potato salad.
Gerald Colapinto’s Linguine with Pancetta and Sauteed Cherry Tomatoes – My mom gave me this recipe awhile back and while I don’t make pasta too often, this is the recipe I reach for when I do. If you’re lucky enough to live by a Trader Joe’s that sells the pre-chopped pancetta, use it. If not, and if you can’t find pancetta at all, just use diced bacon.
Barefoot Contessa Frozen Key Lime Pie – Mark and I went to Key West a few years ago and loved it, but we didn’t find any key lime pie down there that was better than this one.
Emeril Lagasse’s Pineapple Habanero Chutney – I originally found this recipe when looking for a recipe for coconut shrimp and it’s delicious with that, but is also amazing on fish, pork and chicken as well. If you (and your guests) can handle the heat, this stuff is so versatile that having some in your freezer at all times will guarantee an amazing meal is always just around the corner.
Kate’s Asparagus – I invented this recipe myself when I first started cooking and it has been a stand-by ever since. If you’re making this in bulk, use a garlic-infused olive oil to get a similar result with less effort.
Barefoot Contessa’s Cheddar Corn Chowder – This soup is everything in the winter. I make it this time of year when the corn is fresh and freeze it until it’s cold outside. (Sometimes when I do that, I leave the cheese out until I de-frost it, but you don’t have to.)
I know I have four BC recipes on here, but for “fool-proof” stand-by recipes, she’s the best. Seriously, I could list like another 10 of her recipes that I love. I literally taught myself to cook by watching her show and even before I knew what I was doing in the kitchen, I could follow one of her recipes and make an edible meal. For folks who aren’t confident cooks, try a Barefoot Contessa recipe. Although sometimes her ingredients are a little pricey, the end result is always delicious and if you’re cooking for an important/special occasion, isn’t the extra cash worth the peace of mind?
Okay, that’s my list. Please feel free to share your favorite “go-to” recipes in the comments, I am always looking for new things to cook!