Genius Pico de Gallo, 3 ways.

The original skinny snack dip! Learn how to make my favorite pico de gallo recipe, plus 2 variations that will have you skinny dipping all the time. Heh.

Homemade Marshmallow Creme

So, here's the thing: This marshmallow creme is not organic. It is not made with particularly wholesome ingredients. In fact, it isn't even made with unrefined sugar. On the contrary, it's made with the one of the most refined sugars available to home cooks. But it's a tasty special treat that contains no chemicals or artificial additives. The store bought kinds can't say that so, if you're going to make anything from scratch, it's this. You buying my argument? I hope so, because this is so fun to make and even more fun to eat. (more after the jump)

Vegan Salted Caramel Dip

This vegan Salted "Caramel" Dipis one of my kids' favorite snacks that I've ever made. Sweet, vanilla flavor in a plant-based treat without any added refined sugar. Just be warned: Addiction is likely.

Easy DIY Vanilla Extract, aka last-minute holiday gift gold

Making vanilla extract at home is beyond easy. Make some for yourself or put a bottle together as an easy DIY food gift.

Quick Chia Seed Strawberry Jam from The Grain-Free Family Table cookbook

A cookbook packed full or delicious recipes designed for grain-free families, but delicious enough for us all.

Pizza with Provolone and Caramelized Onions

I love a pie loaded with inventive ingredients, but sometimes you want just a slight variation of a plain pie.

Mushroom and Lentil “Bolognese” Sauce

I'm on a serious Italian food kick. Ever since returning from Italy, we've been feasting on easy summer pestos, meatballs, fresh mozzarella and tomato salads, prosciutto sandwiches, and even fruit and mascarpone dessert pizza! Having just been in Bologna, one of my biggest cravings has been meat sauce. Having just returned from an eating vacation, I've also been wanting to lighten up. So, unlike my restaurant-style approach with Chicken Marsala, I riffed on classic bolognese to make a healthier version. This Mushroom and Lentil "Bolognese" sauce is not meant to taste like a stand in for real meat-sauce, but it is just as hearty and full of umami flavor as the real thing. Totally delicious and satisfying. (more after the jump)

Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce

I wanted strawberry rhubarb pie, but didn't feel like making pie crust. So, instead, I made an easy cake—this Flourless Almond Cake, to be exact—and this Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce. It hit the spot. Plus, this sauce did double duty and made a batch of Strawberry Rhubarb Margaritas for the grown ups and Strawberry Rhubarb Lemonade for the kids. So, yea, it really hit the spot. Twice. And the crazy thing is that there are a million other ways to use this sauce. (more after the jump)

Herb Buttermilk Dressing

I never really talk about my weight here. It's not that kind of place but, you know, bathing suit season is coming up. And though I should probably start getting acquainted with one-pieces, I'm a bikini girl at any size. So, yea, I get all salad-y and rock out with the smoothies this time of year. It only lasts until the ice cream truck shows up—or, really, until I pull out my ice cream maker—but every light bite counts these (three) days. And I like even my light bites to be delicious, which is why I've been all about this easy, naturally lower-fat Herb Buttermilk Dressing. (more after the jump)

All the Cinco de Mayo recipes you could ever want… and then some.

Monday is Cinco de Mayo and, if you've been following for a while, you know that means I'll be celebrating this weekend. It's one of my favorite holidays though, I have to admit, for no other reason than I love Mexican culture, food, and drink. Any excuse to celebrate the three is a treat for me. With these Cinco de Mayo recipes and family activities, it can be a treat for you, too. Cinco de Mayo is one of those holidays that gifts us an opportunity to use food and drink to explore culture with our kids. Yes, our my interest in the holiday started with guacamole and my favorite drink—rocks, no salt—but all's not lost in margaritaville. Give the holiday meaning by using delicious Mexican food and drink to learn more about Mexico and Mexican culture with your kids. Read up on Cinco de Mayo, doll up your digs, whip up a festive meal, and do a fun project (ideas for all of this below!). Eat, celebrate and learn. It's a beautiful combination. (so much more after the jump)

Charoset recipes from around the world for your Passover seder

[caption id="attachment_14618" align="aligncenter" width="560" caption="Photo: Tori Avey, Shiksa in the Kitchen"][/caption] Passover is one of my favorite Jewish holidays. As someone who grew up Greek Orthodox, a church where I was expected to sit still, be quiet, and listen from a very young age, I was blown away by the first seder I attended. There was conversation, questioning, debate—all things that I understood as unwelcome in the church in which I was raised. And, like with any good holiday, there was great food on the seder table, too. That, of course, sealed the deal. I try to find my way to a seder every year and every time I develop a new appreciation for one of the symbolic foods on the table. This year, I'm all about charoset, a sweet spread made of fruit and nuts that is said to represent the mortar used by the ancient Jews who toiled under the rule of Pharaoh. Mortar is not pretty stuff and, honestly, charoset isn't the most attractive food on the Passover table. But the sweet, sometimes tart, and often warmly spiced charoset is always among the most delicious seder foods. And, really, I'll take delicious over pretty any day. (more after the jump)

{video} Easy recipe hall of fame: Quick Curried Eggs

I shared this easy recipe way back before most of you were reading One Hungry Mama, along with a really great overview of why eggs are a great family food. And to this day, I still make eggs—and these quickest Curried Eggs—all of the time. The best part about this recipe is that you can use eggs that you've cooked in advance. So you can hard boil a dozen eggs in 10 minutes at some point during the week and have them on hand for healthy breakfasts, school lunch, and this easy dinner. Talk about efficient cooking! (more—including the video—after the jump)

Make-Ahead Red Enchilada Sauce

I have a fierce love of Mexican cuisine, from light Vera Cruzana seafood to cheesy Tex-Mex, from intense Oaxacan moles to Mexico City street food that booms in your mouth as loudly as the city booms in your ears. Many years ago, when I first got serious about cooking, I bought my first serious—and still most worn—cookbook by Mexican food expert, Diana Kennedy. I took a class on Mexican cooking at a culinary school in New York City where I learned how to patiently mash and layer flavors in my new molcajete, a traditional Mexican mortar and pestle carved out of stone. I showed off by throwing dinner parties where I served 15 people regional Mexican feasts, every bit, down to the chips, made by scratch. I explored my love of Mexican food and honed my skills as a cook at the same time, with a voracious appetite that never felt sated, in the best way. Then I had kids. I haven’t made a mole by hand in 10 or 12 years. And, other than a quick pico de gallo or guac, I thoughtfully prepare a regional salsa about once a year, usually for a dinner party or Cinco de Mayo. And that’s about all the action my molcajete sees. Ever. It may not be about cooking for you, but you know the story. This doesn’t mean that we don’t eat Mexican at home. Not all Mexican food is hard earned. Rather, much of it, like this red enchilada sauce can come together easily, even from scratch. (more after the jump)

How to make all-natural Hoisin Sauce in 7 minutes

Just like when I posted my recipe for homemade ricotta, I bet a lot of you are scratching your heads wondering why in the world you'd bother making hoisin sauce from scratch. It's a fair question and, unless you're super into cooking with plenty of time to enjoy scratch kitchen projects, I don't generally expect you to make basics like condiments from scratch. Unless, of course, it's difficult to find a healthy version, which I've found to be the case with hoisin sauce. We love hoisin sauce in my house, but I've been uneasily turning a blind eye to the fact that I can't find an all-natural version without preservatives, coloring agents, and/or MSG. (Even the organic house brand at one of the big all natural markets has "caramel color" and a bunch of fillers.) I've been telling myself that it isn't a big deal since we use so little at a time and otherwise enjoy a diet free of chemicals, but it's been really bugging me. And then, just like that, I found a recipe—an easy recipe—for homemade hoisin sauce. It's good, too. (more after the jump)

How to make homemade Ricotta Cheese. Yes, really.

Right now I bet that a bunch of you are thinking, "Seriously? Homemade ricotta? I can get perfectly good ricotta at the market, thank you very much, One Hungry Mama." Totally legit, but hear me out: This is an awesomely easy kitchen project that can be done with the kids and will make you feel like a badass domestic goddess. Like the rockstar family cook that I know you are. I do not (necessarily!) expect you to make homemade ricotta all the time, but I hope that you'll experience the deep satisfaction that comes from making a foundational food like bread or cheese from scratch. Even if just every once and a while. Or just once, period. Think of making homemade ricotta as a small step towards discovering health and fun in your kitchen this year, and take the step this weekend. I know making homemade cheese might sound more like a leap, but I promise it isn't. If you try and I'm wrong, I promise you can come back and yell at me and I won't delete your comment. Deal? (more after the jump)

Easy Balsamic Tomato Jam

Earlier this week I mentioned small steps. Getting back on the horse. A slow and steady return to healthy eating. But, man, is it hard! I still want pie. I know. It's out of control. It shouldn't be possible, but it is! I. Still. Want. Pie!! Everything in moderation, so don't be surprised when you see a pie up in this joint at some point soon. Plus, I have yet to try a recipe from my new Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book and I have to do that soon. In the meantime, I'm trying to moderate myself back to moderation. I've been rocking these detox smoothies for breakfast, keeping dinner light and delicious, and sticking with a light lunch. Mostly that means salad, but this week I was craving more. Salad—and only salad—felt like a shock to the system, and remember slow and steady? My solution was to whip up this very quick and easy Balsamic Tomato Jam to pack on big flavor without—you guessed it—added fat. (The theme of the week!) It worked like a charm. I'm addicted, and so are the kids. (more after the jump)