Fifteen, twenty years ago, I loved cookbooks. I’d read them like I a novel: Cover to cover.
I learned to cook by reading cookbooks; I learned which ingredients pair best with which spices; I learned how to chop herbs and mince onions (I think it was a Molly Katzen cookbook illustration that gave me that skill).
But somehow, little by little, I gave up my devotion to reading cookbooks and instead started looking for recipes in this crazy place called ONLINE.
Eight, nine years ago, there was one place that everyone went online for recipes: The Pioneer Woman. Only, truth be told, much though I love a good stick (or seven) of butter, I’m not really a “pioneer” style cook. There are way too many ingredients that needed to be tweaked for my kosher kitchen. And frankly, I don’t like meat that much anyway.
I kind of fumbled for a recipe source for a while until this genius
time-suck place was invented: Pinterest. The pictures. The perfect pictures. They suck drew me in, and kind of made me lose my mind.
And so I began pinning. And pining and pinning and pinning. Every now and again, I’d actually try one of the recipes. Most of them were good. A few of them were amazing.
One of them in particular, though, was G-d awful.
(It was a one-pot lemon chicken dish with potatoes. I literally spat my food out. It was inedible. The grossest thing I’ve ever eaten. I still don’t get what went wrong because the ingredients didn’t seem weird. But the combination of them somehow resulted in complete disgustingness.)
Anyway, after that Friday Night Dinner Disaster (of course it had to be on Shabbat; we ate challah and hummus that night and I’ve never lived it down), I became wary of Pinterest recipes. Sure the pictures look amazing, but who are these people anyway? I mean, anyone can just start a blog and dispense advice and act like an expert. (Ahem.)
Now I don’t know if any of you have ever had a Dinner Disaster, courtesy of Pinterest, but I have to believe I’m not the only one to get duped like that. Which is why these 6recipes stand out as being so stellar. I found them on Pinterest, but have made them over and over again until they became a fixture in our family repertoire. These six are a sure thing.
One word of disclaimer before I share my list with you: Not everyone shares the same taste buds. It’s entirely possible that someone in your family won’t like these. And if you have “someone” under the age of 7, with taste buds engineered to only like challah, pizza and cupcakes, good luck to you.
So here you go, in no particular order….The Best Recipes I’ve ever made from Pinterest.
#1. Simple Pumpkin Soup with Crunchy Sesame Seed & Kale Topping from Minimalist Baker
I first made this on Rosh Hashana this year for my “tapas-style siman menu“. It was delicious. So much so that I made it again for Sukkot — and again for Thanksgiving. Rave reviews. It’s a very quick recipe to pull together, which also makes it perfect for lunch. The soup itself is good and comforting. But the sesame kale topping sends it into orbit. Don’t skip that part! I do save time by using canned pumpkin – I bet roasting it yourself would yield even more sublime results.
#2. Dump Ranch from Whole Sisters
I discovered this recipe in July, when I was doing my second Whole 30. It’s everything I love about my homemade mayo (creamy, comforting), but even better. I usually load my dump ranch up with cilantro and a bit of parsley. Heaven. You guys, I make salad for breakfast JUST SO I CAN EAT THIS DUMP RANCH. It does have a raw egg in it (like my homemade mayo), so use your best judgement in feeding it to the very young, the very old or the pregnant. The risk of salmonella poisoning from eggs is pretty rare these days, but I don’t want anyone getting sick.
#3. Not Your Bubby’s Honey Cookies by Overtime Cook
Frankly, I wasn’t too sure about making honey cookies. I mean, I don’t like honey cake, so why would I think that honey cookies would be any better. I am so glad I got over myself and tried these because, as it turns out, they are better! Delicious even. I made these cookies last year for Rosh Hashana and again this year. I brought them to our meal hosts and I made an extra batch for at home. Everyone gave them reviews. I had to make them again for Sukkot – the kids demanded it. And again a month later, for a friend’s son’s Bar Mitzvah. I think they need a bit more time in the oven than the recipe calls for, but that’s my only tweak.
#4. Tandoori Chicken by Whole Sisters
Another BIG winner from the same women who brought us Dump Ranch. This is one of the tastiest meat dishes I’ve ever had. As you can tell by this and #6, I’m a fan of Indian food. You can make this Thursday night or Friday morning and reheat and serve for dinner Friday night. It doesn’t dry out at all (the magic of chicken thighs), even when kept in a warming drawer for a couple of hours. I love it served over cauliflower rice or Jasmine rice. The only modification I make is leaving out the pepper flakes.
#5. Green Sauce by Pinch of Yum
I mean, seriously, this stuff is the best. It’s amazing on anything – chicken, grilled meat, roasted cauliflower (or other roasted veggies), salad… you name it, it’s better with Green Sauce. You know what the best part of me doing a Whole30 is, by the way? I can eat this stuff as much as I want. Totally “clean” ingredients. My only tweak is to omit the jalapeno (are you noticing that I’m “heat” averse? Call me a food wimp.)
#6. Creamy Crock Pot Chicken Tikka Masala by the Iron You
Not only is this one of the best chicken dishes I’ve eaten ever, but it’s made even better by the fact that the slow cooker does 99% of the work. We make this at least once a month – usually more often. In fact, it’s in my slow cooker as I type this post. I did make a few modifications: I use regular (i.e. non-organic) chicken breasts; I skip the cayenne altogether (even 1/2 tsp was too much heat for us); I use the coconut milk instead of the cream (obvs); and I skip the arrowroot powder. I didn’t think it needed thickening. If you want to thicken yours and don’t have arrowroot powder on hand, you can sub in corn starch (or potato starch). If you’re avoiding carbs, this is scrumptious over cauliflower rice.
Have you found any recipe winners on Pinterest or otherwise online? I’d love to know your favorites! Please leave us a link to check out in the comments below.