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4 Kitchen Projects to Make With Your Extra Day


February 29 only comes once every four years, so why not maximize it? Here are a few kitchen projects, from homemade nut butter to preserved lemons, to make the most of your extra day. We know: it’s a Monday. But all of these DIYs promise little effort and big returns. Trust us: You’ll be thanking yourself later.


Flavored Honey


All sorts of flavors, from floral to piquant, complement honey’s earthy sweetness. Try making flavored honey with fresh herbs such as lavender, mint, rosemary, thyme or lemon verbena; organic rose petals; grated citrus zest; peeled and chopped fresh ginger; spices like cinnamon, cloves, allspice, star anise or cardamom; or add heat with red pepper flakes or a sliced fresh chile.

Infused Vinegar


Herb- and fruit-infused vinegars are economical to make at home, and they add fresh, bold flavors to salad dressings.

Preserved Lemons


Many preserved foods and pickles are eaten as snacks, but preserved lemons are always an ingredient, not a stand-alone food. They can be chopped and incorporated into salads or dressings, added to relishes and salsas, or braised with chicken and other meats.

From-Scratch Nut Butter

Peanut Butter Toast

Few kitchen projects are as simple and rewarding as making your own homemade nut butter—in fact, you only need one ingredient and a powerful blender. Not only will the resulting butters be more flavorful than shelf-stable ones, you can customize the flavor and texture to suit your tastes. Slightly chunky with a touch of sea salt? No problem.

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Try These 5 Lemon Preserving Projects at Home


With their bright, puckery flavor profile, lemons lend themselves easily to being the star of any kind of preserve, whether it’s a marmalade, curd, infusion, dried candy or even a savory condiment. This time of year, we especially love preserving the sweeter, more aromatic Meyer lemon, in season during late winter and early spring.


Lemon trees tend to bear fruit in sizable crops; if you have a plant nearby, don’t be surprised at the large size of your haul. Instead, next time life hands you lemons, add one—or all!—of these five fabulous lemon provisions to your larder.

1. Limoncello

How to Make Your Own Limoncello

Limoncello, the century-old digestivo that originated near Naples, Italy, gets its lemony hue and flavor from grain alcohol that’s been steeped in lemon zest with simple syrup. While limoncello is fantastic served chilled, it’s also wonderful in cocktails, like limoncello martinis.


2. Lemon Curd

Lemon curd


One can create a curd, or dessert spread, out of just about any fruit, but the most popular (and our most beloved) is lemon curd. Beat lemon juice and zest with egg yolks and sugar until creamy and thick, then serve it alongside scones or muffins. See our step-by-step how-to on making citrus curds.


3. Meyer Lemon Marmalade


Marmalade is most commonly made using oranges, but mild, thin-skinned, mandarin-esque Meyer lemons are also well-suited to the sweet, spreadable preserve. This Meyer lemon-ginger marmalade makes for a lovely weekend project.

4. Candied Lemon

Candied citrus

Crystallized fruit is one of the oldest forms of lemon preservation; glacés have been around since the 14th century. To make candied lemon, cut thin strips of lemon peel, candy them in a basic sugar syrup and roll them in superfine sugar after drying. The sweet, tangy treats make a perfect gift. (See our step-by-step onhow to candy citrus zest.)


5. Preserved Lemons

Preserved Lemons

Preserved lemon—a staple ingredient in North Africa—is becoming increasingly popular stateside, too. This condiment, which is simply lemons left to sit in salt, adds a wonderful acidity to salads, roasts and stews.

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7 Cozy Braised Meat Recipes to Make This Weekend

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Whether you’re aching for something warm and nourishing or on the hunt for an impressive dinner party dish that you can make ahead, braising is the perfect solution. The technique—which refers to refers to partially submerging food in liquid and simmering it for a long period of time—couldn’t be simpler, and it’s ideal for fall, winter and early spring months, thanks to its hearty, stew-like consistency. Brush up on the cooking method with our easy step-by-step on how to braise anything, then bookmark one of the recipes below.


Braised Beef with Autumn VegetablesBraised Beef with Autumn Vegetables
This hearty stew has everything we crave in the cold weather months: tender beef, sweet carrots and pumpkin, and plenty of warm spices.
Pomegranate-Merlot Braised Lamb ShanksPomegranate-Merlot Braised Lamb Shanks
Pomegranate juice lends a sweet-tart flavor to this slow-cooked lamb dish, while cinnamon, cumin and allspice add an undertone of spicy warmth. Serve over couscous to soak up the delicious sauce.
Red Wine-Braised Short RibsRed Wine-Braised Short Ribs
Cooked and served in a classic Moroccan vessel known as a tagine, this dish makes a dramatic presentation at the table. Accompany with fluffy mashed potatoes.
Coq au VinCoq au Vin
A traditional dish of Burgundy, coq au vin is perfect for cool autumn and winter evenings. This version calls for whole chicken legs, which emerge exceptionally moist and tender after long, slow cooking in a Dutch oven.
Caramel-Braised PorkCaramel-Braised Pork
The signature style of chef Pichet Ong of Batch in New York City is “blurring the line between savory and sweet to create a unique mix of flavors, textures and temperatures.” Here, he braises hearty pork shoulder roast and fresh pineapple in a savory-sweet sauce seasoned with plenty of black pepper.
Osso BucoOsso Buco

Braised in the Italian style, these fork-tender veal shanks are the perfect cold-weather dish. Serve with pasta or polenta for a soul-satisfying supper.


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10 Recipes That Prove Cooking With Beer is Better


Beer isn’t just for sipping—it can add dimension to a dish as an ingredient, too. Just as wine is incorporated into stews, sauces and marinades, beer can play a similar role, imparting savory, malty flavors to the finished dishes. Try using one of your favorite brews in the recipes below (just in time for St. Patrick’s Day!), and save the rest of the bottle for the chef.


Warm Beer and Cheddar Dip
Made with beer and lots of cheddar cheese, this warm, hearty dip is just the thing for casual parties. Be sure to add the cheese slowly, allowing each batch to melt before adding more, to ensure smooth results.
Beer-Steamed Mussels with Salted Black Beans
In this recipe, mussels steam in a fragrant broth of ginger, chilies and light beer, flavored with Chinese salted black beans. If you like, serve the mussels with rice noodles or cellophane noodles.
Beer-Battered Onion Rings
You can serve these classic onion rings in their time-honored role: alongside a juicy cheeseburger or riding atop a grilled steak. But they are also a winning appetizer, especially when accompanied with a pint of cold, frothy beer. Sweet Vidalia onions, which are mellower than yellow onions, are a particularly tasty choice.
Grilled Emmer Flatbread
Emmer, also known as farro, is an ancient variety of wehat with a full-bodied flavor. Here, charring brings out the toasty flavor of the grains. Enjoy this flatbread hot off the grill, and try serving it with yogurt and fresh herbs.
Beer-Can Chicken with Shrimp Skewers
This recipe offers something for everyone—crispy roasted chicken, succulent shrimp and a medley of summer vegetables—all cooked on a backyard grill.
Beer-Braised Barbecued Chicken
In our version of barbecued chicken, the chicken is first braised on the stovetop until tender in a flavorful combination of beer and barbecue sauce, then quickly grilled just before serving. Use only thighs, drumsticks and wings for this recipe; chicken breasts will turn out dry when braised and grilled.
Braised Brisket with Beer & Onion Sauce
In this version of braised beef brisket from Chef Jamie Kennedy, the meat is slowly cooked in a sauce of lager beer, chopped tomatoes and onions until fork-tender.
Beer-Marinated Tri-Tip
This quick recipe stars ground spices and lager, which has a mild taste and golden color. Serve with grilled Yukon Gold potato wedges: just parboil the potatoes in salted water for about 10 minutes, then grill alongside the beef, turning occasionally so they brown on all sides and become fork-tender.
Beer Mustard
Mustard has always been a favorite among the condiments. Add beer and it’s even better! The darker the beer that you use, the more intense the flavor will be.
Beer-Braised Pork Roast
In this recipe the flavor of beer subtly permeates pork shoulder during slow cooking. Serve the pork with buttered egg noodles or a crusty loaf of bread to soak up the flavorful braising liquid.
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Raise a Glass to the Start of Spring!


Today is the vernal equinox, when there are nearly equal amounts of daylight and darkness around the world. It also marks the unofficial start of spring after a series of cold, wet months. Raise your glass to the start of a warmer season with one of these five cocktails, like the Spring White Sangria above. Mix a batch for lunch or dinner, then invite some loved ones over. Cheers!


Spring White SangriaSpring White Sangria
This refreshing sangria combines white wine and passion fruit juice with grapes, pears and litchis, a delicately sweet Chinese fruit.
Papaya and Lime Agua FrescaPapaya and Lime Agua Fresca
Perfect for warm-weather sipping, this cocktail combines papaya, fresh lime juice, tequila and Grand Marnier. The vibrant color is a bonus for any table.
Orange Blossom Gin FizzOrange Blossom Gin Fizz
This citrusy drink is perfect for an early spring party. You can find Yuzu juice—which tastes like a combination of grapefruit and mandarin—in Asian markets, but any citrus juice will work.
Passion Fruit CaipirinhaPassion Fruit Caipirinha
Passion fruit and caipirinhas are both native to Brazil, so mix this cocktail to pretend you’re on vacation. If you can’t find cachaça, substitute vodka to make the equally delicious caipiroska.
Cucumber CoolerCucumber Cooler
This combination of cucumber and lime juice makes a refreshing alternative to sweeter cocktails. Our recipe is easy to make for a crowd, and it’s perfect for warm-weather sipping.
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5 Fantastic Sides to Go with That Ham


So you’ve lined up a gorgeous ham for this Easter. (If you’re anything like us, you opted for a bone-in spiral ham.) But you don’t know what to serve alongside the main event. That’s A-OK: We’ve taken the guesswork out of Sunday’s spread by selecting five fittingly spring-themed accompaniments, from soup to a salad featuring peak-season produce.



Spring Salad with artichokes and peas Spring Salad with Baby Artichokes and Peas 

Celebrate the arrival of the new season by combining several types of at-their-peak vegetables in this beautiful salad. For the tastiest possible plate, be sure to buy the freshest peas possible from the farmers’ market and use them within a few days of purchase, so they retain their tender texture and sweet flavor.

Carrot ginger soupCarrot Ginger Soup 

The key to this soup’s velvety texture is slowly cooking the onions and carrots over low heat before pureeing them. Garnishing the soup with toasted almonds adds crunch.

Pan-Roasted AsparagusPan-Roasted Asparagus with Garlic and Lemon 

Welcome the holiday with a classic vernal vegetable, asparagus. Use fresh, snappy stalks for this recipe, which is topped with lemon zest, garlic and Japanese bread crumbs for crunch.

Spinach and Potato GratinSpinach and Potato Gratin 

Thinly sliced potatoes soak up heavy cream perfumed with garlic and fresh herbs in this luxurious side dish, which is perfect for serving alongside roast meats. The spinach adds fresh flavor and makes the dish a little lighter than your typical gratin.

Meyer Lemon French ToastMeyer Lemon French Toast 

Golden, egg-rich challah makes the most decadent French toast, since it really soaks up the custard and adds a richness of its own. And, because the entire dish can be assembled the night before it’s popped into the oven, it’s the ideal dish for serving brunch to a house full of guests.

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6 Ways to Make the Most of All Those Leftover Eggs


The (Easter) hunt is over, and all you’ve left to show for it are countless hard-boiled eggs. So now what? Make the most of your hard-cooked treasures by transforming them into toppings for a fresh, flavorful salad. Here are six ideas we can vouch for.


Beet and Watercress Salad with Farm EggsBeet and Watercress Salad with Farm Eggs 

In this salad, peppery watercress is a good foil to the sweet and earthy flavor of beets.

Chopped Salad with Broccoli, Egg and RadicchioChopped Salad with Broccoli, Egg and Radicchio 

Hard-boiled eggs add protein and heft to salads like this one. If the flavor of raw broccoli is too strong for you, blanch the florets for a few minutes, then put them in ice water to halt the cooking.

Classic Salade NiçoiseClassic Salade Niçoise 

This classic salad of Nice, France stars haricots verts, along with boiled potatoes, hard-cooked eggs and lettuce. Olive oil-packed tuna and nicoise olives make it a hearty main course.

Shredded Kale Salad with Pancetta and Hard-Cooked EggShredded Kale Salad with Pancetta 

Shredding and blanching kale for a salad softens its sturdy texture but keeps it crunchy enough to support hearty, heavier ingredients like hard-cooked eggs and pancetta.

Celery & Herb Salad with Hard-Boiled Eggs & Anchovy VinaigretteCelery & Herb Salad with Anchovy Vinaigrette 

This refreshingly crisp and flavorful salad would be lovely served with grilled fish or chicken, but it can also be paired with a crusty baguette for a light lunch.

Cobb SaladCobb Salad 

Cobb salad is a classic favorite that has stuck around for good reason. With eggs, turkey, bacon and blue cheese, there’s plenty to love. Or, as an alternative to the turkey, hit two birds with one stone by throwing in some chopped leftover ham instead.

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How to Adapt Your Slow Cooker for Spring


Your slow cooker isn’t just for wintertime meat stews or root vegetables. As the weather grows milder and a new crop of vegetables pop up at the farmers’ market, switch to slow-cooked dishes with a more delicate character.


To adapt your slow cooker for the change in seasons, combine falling-off-the-bone meats with bright, tender spring vegetables and al dente grains. (If you’re interested in braising over the stove rather than using a slow cooker, see our slow cooker to Dutch oven conversion guide for more pointers.) These five vibrant dishes are easy to prepare, and, best of all, the cooking is virtually hands-off.


Farro with Spring Vegetables
Farro, an ancient grain popular in Italian kitchens, holds its shape beautifully as it cooks, making it ideal for salads, side dishes and soups. Here, it’s tossed together with peas, leeks and asparagus in a colorful and healthy dish that’s hearty enough to stand alone but can also be served alongside grilled poultry or meat.
Braised Salmon with Green Beans
Highly nutritious salmon becomes melt-in-your-mouth tender after a short braise in a slow cooker. The haricots verts—slender green beans—are cooked just until tender and then tossed with shallot and fresh tarragon, providing a brightly flavored counterpoint to the meaty fish.
Braised Tarragon Chicken
This one-pot meal combines slow-cooked chicken with leeks, carrots and fresh herbs. Creamy mashed potatoes are the perfect accompaniment, soaking up the delicious braising liquid.
Braised Lamb Chops with Artichokes
Perfect for a chilly spring night, this hearty dish features two iconic ingredients of the season: spring lamb and artichokes. Lamb shoulder chops are easy to find, easy to cook and—a boon for the hosts—inexpensive; however, you can also substitute smaller, leaner rib chops.
Spring Veal Stew
Flavorful veal, asparagus, mushrooms and peas combine in this one-pot meal, which makes a delicious transition from hearty winter to lighter spring fare. Now is the time to use fresh peas instead of frozen — just shell them and add to the stew with the other vegetables.
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Yes, Your Favorite Flavor Combos Do Belong in Grilled Cheese

What do pizza, French onion soup, buffalo wings and chiles rellenos all have in common? They all belong in your grilled cheese. Yes, you heard us right: Just about any of your favorite savory flavor combinations, from mozzarella, tomato, and basil to buffalo sauce, blue cheese and ranch, translate exceptionally well into warm, cheesy sandwiches. Don’t believe us? These five examples are sure to convince you.


Jalapeno Popper Grilled CheeseJalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese 

Usually we have to come up with an excuse to eat jalapeño poppers, like hosting a game day party. Thanks to Buns in My Oven, who transformed the prep-heavy appetizer into lunch form, we don’t have to anymore.


Buffalo Chicken Grilled CheeseBuffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese 

This hot wing-inspired work of sandwich art—sourdough, buffalo wing sauce, gorgonzola, beer cheese fondue—created by How Sweet Eats just might be better than the real thing.

Pizza Margherita Grilled CheeseMargherita Pizza Grilled Cheese 

As Cooking for Keeps discovered, the combination of fresh mozzarella, tomato, basil and olive oil—all the ingredients that comprise a margherita pizza—translates exceptionally well to handheld sandwich form.

French Onion Soup Grilled CheeseFrench Onion Soup Grilled Cheese 

Sweet caramelized onions and umami-rich Gruyère cheese are a classic combination, but sometimes it’s just too warm outside to reach for a bowl of hot soup. This is where Tastespotting’s grilled French onion soup sandwich comes into play.

Chile Relleno Grilled CheeseChiles Rellenos Grilled Cheese 

Chiles rellenos are poblano peppers that are roasted, filled with cheese, battered with egg, and deep-fried; Cooking Classy took the traditional Pueblan dish and grilled cheese-ified it.

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22 Budget-Friendly Recipes That Will Use Up Your Kitchen Scraps

budget-friendly recipes

There are many reasons we’ve been trying to cut down on kitchen waste — to stop tossing so much out and stretch our budgets, to name a few — but thankfully there are plenty of recipes that use up all those odds and ends in our kitchens. From the Parmesan rind and potato peels that normally wouldn’t end up on your table to last night’s bread and berries past their prime, we have 22 budget-friendly recipes that will put all those scraps to good use.

1. How To Make Flavored Salts

The beauty of flavored salts is that you can make a little or a lot at one time. All you need are some leftover food scraps — citrus peels, herbs, spices, etc. — and salt. And of course, flavored salts make a great homemade gift for friends as well. Talk about wallet-friendly gifting.

2. Tex-Mex Migas

When you are nearing the end of the tortilla pack, and you don’t have enough to make burritos or quesadillas for the whole family, opt for migas instead. It’s a great way to bulk up scrambled eggs and stretch everything just a little bit further. We like to serve this for dinner the night before going to the grocery store.

3. How To Make Stock

We couldn’t not include stock on this list about using up kitchen scraps. Like the compost bucket, the stock bag is a staple in our freezers. We keep the odds and ends that still have a little life left for making a flavorful broth. This is our primer for how to make every kind of stock or broth imaginable.

4. Why You Should Never Throw Out Potato Peels

Don’t you dare toss those potato peels! If you do, you’re missing out on one of our all-time favorite snacks: roasted potato peels. Think of them like the best part of potato skins. Once roasted, you can go classic with cheese and sour cream, or you can add your favorite spice blend or dip them in your favorite condiment.

5. Triple-Berry Quick Jam

On those rare occasions when we aren’t able to eat up all of our berries before they start to get a bit mushy, we turn to this recipe for quick jam. There’s no canning required — instead the jam keeps in the fridge for a short amount of time or in the freezer until you’re ready to eat it up.

6. Stir-Fried Noodles with Chicken and Vegetables

Rotisserie chicken is one of our favorite time-saving tricks, but we usually end up with lots of leftovers. That’s why this noodle stir-fry is a staple. Add leftover chicken of any kind, along with any veggies you happen to have in the fridge, and you have dinner in record time.

7. How To Make Zucchini Bread

Zucchini is a CSA favorite. We always end up with an abundance of the summer squash, and that means we make tons of zucchini bread. It’s a great way to use up those odd pieces that are leftover from other recipes or salads. Plus, zucchini bread is the perfect thing to keep in the freezer for later.

8. Quick, Cool Cucumber Sauce

No, this isn’t tatziki, but it does look a lot like it. Instead it’s our favorite summer spread that’s made for sandwiches or veggie dipping. While you might be inclined to make quick pickles with leftover cucumber slices, give this recipe a try next time, and we guarantee you’ll keep a batch in your fridge all summer long.

9. Garlic & Herb Marinated Mozzarella Bites

You don’t have to have the leafy parts of your herbs to make this recipe; it’s a great way to use up stems from parsley or basil. And you can save slices of lemon peel from another recipe to add to this appetizer as well.

10. DIY Candied Lemon Peel

While there’s no shortage of cleaning uses for lemons, we love the edible uses as well. Next time you have a recipe that just calls for the juice of the lemon, take a few minutes to peel the fruits first. That way you can make these candied lemon peels, which are great as drink or dessert garnishes, or edible gifts.

11. How To Make a Fruit Shrub

Another good use for berries or fruits that are slightly past their prime is to turn them into a shrub, or drinking vinegar. The combination of fruit and vinegar mellows the sweetness of the fruit and the sharpness of the vinegar into a perfectly refreshing drink. We like adding in a few herbs or spices, then topping the final shrub with seltzer and maybe a splash or two of gin.

12. How To Make Cucumber Juice

No, you don’t need a juicer to make this summer refresher. All you need is a blender or food processor and a few cucumbers. The benefit to making cucumber juice this way is that you can then use the pulp, mixed with a little simple syrup, to make a granita.

13. Crispy Brussels Sprout Chips

Don’t get rid of those tough outer leaves that you normally peel from your Brussels sprouts. Instead, treat them like kale and make roasted Brussels sprout chips. We promise these crunchy “chips” won’t last long if you set them out before dinner.

14. Free-Form Pasta Casserole

This delicious pasta bake has the benefit of clearing not just the fridge, but also the pantry. Think of it more as a guide than a recipe, as you can swap in whatever you have on hand. Just make sure there’s plenty of cheese.

15. Three-Cheese Tortellini in Parmesan Broth

If ever there was a reason not to throw out those Parmesan rinds, this is it. Whether or not you use homemade tortellini, this dish is supremely dinner-party worthy. And while it feels light, it’s really the cheesiest.

16. How To Make Bone Broth

Have you jumped on the bone broth bandwagon? If not, we recommend getting on board — especially if you’re making your own. Having extra bone broth in the freezer is like having a little bit of magic at your fingertips, and it only takes the defrost button on your microwave to activate it.

17. Pickled Rainbow Chard Stems

Rainbow chard stems are some of the prettiest produce in our kitchen, so it’s a shame that they don’t always end up in our dishes. You can prevent them from ending up in the compost bin by making them into quick pickles instead. We especially like adding Sriracha to the brine for a spicy-sweet pickle that works perfectly with grilled foods or an antipasto plate.

18. Roasted Apple Peel Chips

Just like you shouldn’t be tossing those potato peels, you should be hanging on to your apple peels as well. Roast them in the oven (making sure not to let them burn, which can happen quickly), and then toss them with cinnamon sugar for a delightful snack or ice cream topping.

19. How To Make Bacon Fat Popcorn

We hope you know better than to let your bacon fat go to waste, but if you’re looking for a new way to use it up, consider using it the next time you make stovetop popcorn. We bet you’ll never go back to using canola or coconut oil again.

20. How To Make Limoncello

Probably one of the most classic uses for lemon peels is making limoncello. All you need are the peels of a few lemons, a bottle of vodka, some sugar, and some time. Just be sure you remove as much of the white pith as you can from the lemon peels to prevent your liqueur from tasting too bitter.

21. Raspberry Vinaigrette

When you find a deal on berries that’s just too good to pass up, this dressing recipe will come in handy. Make a big batch of it and keep it in the fridge for summer salads, sandwiches, and more.

22. How To Make a Panade from Leftovers

Similar to the pasta bake, this savory bread pudding is like a choose-your-own-adventure dinner. The only required ingredients are some leftover bread, cheese, and stock. After that, all the fillings and mix-ins are up to you.

(Image credits: Faith Durand; Emily Han; Melissa Ryan; Emma Christensen; Megan Gordon; Kimberley Hasselbrink; Elizabeth Passarella; Nealey Dozier; Anjali Prasertong; Christine Gallary; Sarah Rae Smith; Kelli Foster)