This guest post is from our favorite ladies, Natalie and Holly, over at The Modern Proper. Their mission is to reinvent proper for the modern homemaker, one delicious meal at a time. Check out more of their delicious recipes here.
I became a mom for the first time right around the time Pinterest began to gain popularity. It was great for those long nursing sessions with nothing but a phone to keep me occupied, not so great for my rising anxiety level that I wasn't doing everything perfectly, making everything from scratch, and creating picture perfect moments at every opportunity. As a creative individual and someone who loves to cook and entertain, I think I'm naturally inclined to strive for perfection in those areas anyway, but I'd be lying if I said I'd never reached total burnout in the quest to do it all “right.” Now, as a blogger and mom of three kids under five, I've learned what really matters to me, what areas in my life deserve more time and attention, and when and where I can allow myself (perfectionist that I am) to take shortcuts, even in the kitchen. Yes, even I take shortcuts when it comes to my weekly meal rotations (a great natural rotisserie chicken from my local grocer to add to soups and salads is a favorite), but I've also discovered the places where shortcuts aren't necessary. Sometimes making something from scratch is absolutely worth it. Homemade salad dressings are one of those things I've found are worth the 60 seconds of extra time (yeah, you heard me! That's all it takes!) required compared to opening a bottle of store bought stuff. Sure you could buy a really nice bottle of organic dressing, but it will easily cost you $5 and not be anywhere near as flavorful as if you'd made it yourself.
I began making my own dressings when I was newly married and had the luxury of time and culinary experimentation, and fortunately, it was a habit that stuck. It's as simple as throwing an oil, acid, herbs and seasonings into a blender or food processor and pulsing a few times. Done. The result? Fresh, brightly flavored dressings (which could be used as marinades, too) that adds that extra touch of love to whatever they're put on. When it's that simple, why not? Because it's summer and summer means SALAD, I've assembled a list of my go-to dressing staples. Feel free to sub ingredients with whatever you have on hand. Dressings are really hard to mess up, as long as you have the sweet, sour, salty balance right. I love that no matter what I have in my cupboards, I can always make a delicious dressing with what's on hand; no weird ingredients or special trips to the store required. Do yourself a favor, make one or all of these from-scratch dressings (pro-tip: make them ahead of time and store in mason jars and feel like an absolute super hero every time you open your fridge) and pat yourself on the back that you really CAN do it all. Honey Mustard
¼ cup olive oil ¼ cup good mayonnaise 2 tbsp honey 1 tbsp stone ground mustard ¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice ¼ tsp salt ¼ tsp pepper Balsamic Vinaigrette
½ cup extra virgin olive oil 2 garlic cloves ½ sea salt ¼ tsp freshly ground pepper ¼ cup balsamic vinegar 1 tbsp honey Caesar
½ cup olive oil ¼ cup good mayonnaise ⅛ tsp cayenne 2 tbsp fish sauce ¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice ½ tsp dijon mustard 1 tsp worcestershire Asian Sesame
¼ cup olive oil ¼ cup toasted sesame oil ¼ cup rice vinegar 2 tbsp lime juice 1 garlic clove 1 tsp fresh ginger (or ½ tsp ginger powder) 2 tbsp honey Salt and pepper to taste 2 tbsp sesame seeds (added after blended) Chipotle Lime Vinaigrette
½ cup olive oil 1 garlic clove ¼ cup apple cider vinegar ¼ cup lime juice 1 chipotle pepper ½ cup loosely packed cilantro Salt and pepper to taste Method
Blend all ingredients in a high powered blender, food processor or with an emulsion blender until smooth.