Homemade Potato Chips

We don’t eat that much junk food in our house, but one thing I do enjoy once in a while is a good kettle-cooked potato chip. There’s just something about that salty crunch that I love with a good hot dog or cheeseburger! I’m surprised it took me this long to make them at home – as they were so easy and so much better than the stuff from the bag.

I used my mandoline to slice the potatoes, but you could certainly thinly slice them using a knife. The slicing attachment on your food processor would also be another great option. I used the technique that I do with my oven fries, and soaked the sliced potatoes in a bit of salted water first – to remove some of the starch, as well as add a bit of flavor. Then made sure to dry them really well before adding them to the hot oil – you don’t want a splatter scenario!

After a quick fry and then drain on paper towels to remove the excess grease, I season them with some sea salt and a bit of cajun seasoning for a little kick. I also frequently do Old Bay to make a homemade version of a Maryland favorite – crab chips! Salt and vinegar is another one of my favorites, so a version of those is definitely next on my hit list.

If you’ve never made your own potato chips at home, these warm weather months are the perfect time to do it. It makes that outdoor lunch or dinner a little bit more special – and the flavor and crunch is unparalleled. Give it a try!

Pork Egg Rolls

Homemade egg rolls were one of the first things I learned to make at home, thanks to my mother-in-law. She’d been making egg rolls for her hungry boys for years, and her teaching me the craft was time that we really enjoyed spending together when we were first getting to know each other…long before Jon and I were actually married!

I remember the process being kind of frustrating in the beginning – before I got the feel of rolling them correctly, and my knife skills weren’t really up to par (would take me 2 months to shred a head of cabbage!). But now after making them for a good 10 years, I can make a batch for an easy weeknight dinner with no problem. I usually go for the chicken version – which is the “OG” for us, but sometimes I like to switch it up with other meats…in this case, ground pork. Shrimp is also great!

They can be made and rolled a couple of hours in advance, but I wouldn’t recommend any longer than that – as the wrappers tend to dry out and rip. Also, a great shortcut with the veggies is to use a couple of bags of shredded coleslaw mix instead of shredding your own cabbage and carrots. Saves a little bit of legwork at least!

I like to serve them with some veggie fried rice, and plenty of Chinese hot mustard and sweet chili sauce for dipping. Once you’ve made and enjoyed them at home, every egg roll you’ll get from a Chinese restaurant will always pale in comparison. Just a forewarning! You’ll be making them for years to come.

Broccoli & Cheese Soup

A good recipe for a soup that doesn’t take all day to make is a real lifesaver. Especially one as hearty and filling as this broccoli & cheese version. It takes only a few short minutes to throw together, and the flavors are just out of this world.

It’s rich and hearty, but still doesn’t weigh you down the way many dairy-based soups do. The addition of fresh broccoli really adds a freshness to the flavor, and you can never go wrong adding plenty of cheddar cheese to anything in my book.

My girlfriend came over for lunch about a month ago or so, and I made this served with some crusty bread and a salad. We both loved it, and I’ve been thinking about making it again ever since. It reheats great as well, which is always a plus. Would also be great for a last minute, easy dinner!

Source: slightly adapted from Yammie’s Noshery

Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

In my quest to make more and more things homemade in my kitchen, I was shocked to realize I hadn’t tried and shared a great recipe for a homemade buttermilk ranch dressing. I’d been relying on the packet style mix – which is still better tasting than the stuff from the bottle, and more economical. It’s also full of weird stuff I can’t pronounce in the ingredient list, which is just no good!

Not the case with this version. Basic ingredients found in your refrigerator, a mix of herbs (dried and fresh) and a touch of fresh garlic from the pantry, and you’ve got yourself a delicious homemade salad dressing that comes together in just a few moments. It keeps for a couple of weeks too, which is also convenient. We love to dip fresh veggies into it for an after-school snack or while waiting for dinner to finish up. Or, it’s also pretty amazing to dip pizza crusts into as well.

I’m always happy to find yet another item that I can kick the store-bought variety to the curb for, and I’m stoked to add this one to my repertoire. 

Source: adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook via Confections of a Foodie Bride