Tag Archives: Sauces Dips and Dressings

Had I known that we would love pumpkin butter as much as we do, I would have made a double or even triple batch. The first round of pumpkin butter was decimated within hours.

My favorite pumpkin butter uses so far have been on overnight oats (or the lazy girl’s 1-hour oats) and on toast. I really want to try some on vanilla ice cream, but we lack the self-control necessary to own ice cream for more than like five seconds.

Perhaps I just need to go with take-out ice cream. Sinless Cake Batter ice cream from Cold Stone would be a perfect carrier for pumpkin butter.

Speaking of carrier foods, does anyone else employ carrier foods solely for the purpose of transporting their favorite condiments? We do. Big time. Sometimes you just want ketchup for dinner, so you have to make fries to go with it.

Chris and I are both condiment fiends. We double and triple stock many of our favorites to ensure that we never run out mid-week. I know, right, the world might end if we run out of barbecue sauce.

It wouldn’t even be so bad if the condiment stockpile stopped at barbecue sauce, but we go so far as keeping backup tubes of wasabi and at least two bottles of “island” teriyaki next to our extra 1.03 gallons of ketchup.

Prepared.for.disaster. Whew!


  • 1 cup pumpkin purée
  • 6 oz no sugar added apple cider
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • pinch of salt
  • Optional: If you like a sweeter pumpkin butter, add an additional 1/4 cup light brown sugar.


  • Combine ingredients in a sauce pan.
  • Simmer for approximately 30 minutes, stirring regularly.
  • Makes about 1 cup.

Servings ~ 8 (2 tbsp) servings
Calories ~ 43, Fat ~ 0 g, Carbohydrates ~ 13 g, Protein ~ 0 g
Calories (w/extra brown sugar) ~ 69, Fat ~ 0 g, Carbohydrates ~ 23 g, Protein ~ 0 g

After we decided on Mexican Pizza for dinner on Saturday night, we knew that standard pizza sauce wouldn’t do, so I began scouring the internet for a good recipe. Nothing was really catching my eye until I saw this one.

“Chris, do you want to try Mexican pizza sauce from a Mexican inmate?”

“Wait, you found a recipe from some guy in a Mexican jail?”

“Not exactly, he is a Mexican guy in a Connecticut jail. Do you want to try that one?”

“Sure, it has to be good!”

It sure was! The only issue I had was the quantity of sauce it makes. Most of it ended up in my freezer for future Mexican Pizzas.

Note: Vinny works at the prison, he is not the actual inmate.

Adapted from Vinny DiLeo.


  • 1.75 cups diced stewed tomatoes
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 1/4 small onion, diced
  • 1 clove elephant garlic, sliced
  • 1 small jalapeno sliced with seeds removed
  • 1/2 tsp orageno
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder


  • Combine ingredients in a food processor.
  • Blend for several minutes until smooth and well combined.

Servings ~ Makes enough for three to four large pizzas.
Calories (per recipe) ~ 251, Fat ~ 2 g, Carbohydrates ~ 57 g, Protein ~ 12 g

Warning: Do not read this immediately before making the dressing.

You’re totally going to read it now, aren’t you?

I bought my very first can of anchovies to make this dressing. I’m typically a pretty adventurous eater, but something about eating whole fish kind of skeeved me out. Whatever. I was instructed to use anchovy in the dressing. I figured that I would at least comply the first time that I made it.

As I was standing in the kitchen mixing up the ingredients, I got to the anchovy part, thought “Here goes nothin’!” and threw them in there. It smelled a bit fishy, not so much in the dressing, but just because I was standing next to an open tin of anchovies. I immediately tossed them in the trash.

I continued to mix up the dressing, with Duke by my side sniffing like a mad man when it occurred to me that those anchovies in the trash can might not smell so good in a few days. It also occurred to me that since Chris was out of town it might be quite a while before I filled the kitchen trash can enough to take it out to the garage. (Well, without wasting a trash bag anyway.)

What would a logical person do here? They would dig the anchovies out of the kitchen trash and place them in the garage trash.

What did I do? I saw Duke with his nose in the air sniffing like crazy. I dug the anchovies out of the trash and poured them in a bowl. I set the bowl in front of Duke and told him to “wait” for what probably seemed like an eternity to him.

Duke is a drooler. He waited, and waited, and as the drool began to hang in long ribbons from his cheeks I finally said “Good boy! Go on!” Duke promptly ate his anchovies. He loved the anchovies. He licked the bowl and the whole floor surrounding the bowl clean.

So why was this such a bad move?

For the rest of the night, my puppy, who trails me around the house like a shadow and sits next to my favorite chair with his head on level with mine was burping anchovy. Duke is big, he weighs in at over 200 lbs. Duke’s burps are like man burps.

That smell like anchovy.

The moral of the story is that you should have a plan for how to use the remainder of the anchovies when you open the can. A better plan than I had.

One last thing:  Although I don’t recommend feeding the anchovies to your giant dog, I did really enjoy them in the salad dressing.

Adapted from Back to Her Roots

  • 1/4 cup silken tofu
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 anchovies, minced
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp fat free mayonnaise
  • Dash Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar


  • Whisk all ingredients together.
  • Let chill in refrigerator at least two hours for flavors to meld.

As Cassie mentions in her recipe, don’t leave out the anchovies! I was hesitant to put them in also, but they didn’t make the dressing fishy. All was well!

Servings ~ 8
Calories ~ 26, Fat ~ 1 g, Carbohydrates ~ 2 g, Protein ~ 2 g

This dipping sauce had a good flavor, but it was too runny for lettuce wraps. Next time I make it I will heat it and mix in some corn starch, xanthan gum, or guar gum to thicken it. Definitely still in progress, would be great as-is over rice or stir fry though.

From Our Best Bites.


  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp minced ginger
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds


  • Combine ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Enjoy!

Servings ~ 2
Calories ~ 53, Fat ~ 1 g, Carbohydrates ~ 11 g, Protein ~ 2 g

Ok, so I’m on the pumpkin bandwagon. I never would have jumped on except that my CSA gave me a pumpkin and I had to use it. I promised Chris that if I joined the CSA I wouldn’t make a habit of wasting the random produce items.

Well, maybe some of them. I’m still not sure how I am going to eat ten super ripe tomatoes in the next few days. Keep your eye out for a “how to freeze tomatoes when your CSA gives you a billion of them” post.

I’m not a pumpkin pie fan or a pumpkin cheesecake fan, but I sure do like Pumpkin Yogurt (and Pumpkin Ravioli too)!

Once again I baked my pumpkin and food processed it to make my own pumpkin puree. It turned out great, but was probably more effort than it was worth. From now on I will probably just buy cans of pumpkin because one thing that we are definitely short of at Duke’s House is free time. Notice the lack of blog posts?

As soon as I make time for grocery shopping I will be having pumpkin yogurt again for sure!


  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 1/3 cup sweetener (I used Splenda, but any sweetener will work.)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg


  • Drain pumpkin in cheesecloth for a few minutes if you are using fresh pumpkin.
  • If you are using non-Greek yogurt, consider draining yogurt some as well.
  • In a small bowl, combine spices.
  • When pumpkin and yogurt are sufficiently drained, combine all of the ingredients.
  • Serve chilled with apple slices and graham crackers.

Servings ~ 2 as yogurt or 3 as dip
Calories (as yogurt) ~ 78, Fat ~ 0 g, Carbohydrates ~ 14 g, Protein ~ 7 g
Calories (as dip) ~ 52, Fat ~ 0 g, Carbohydrates ~ 9 g, Protein ~ 5 g

After letting these green beans sit in my refrigerator for far longer than should be acceptable, I decided to give in and bread them. I seem to be on a faux frying kick lately.

We had awesome fried green beans a few weekends ago when we went out for lunch downtown. They were supposed to be served with a curried mayonnaise dipping sauce, but the restaurant was all out of it and gave us ketchup instead. On one hand, I was bummed. On the other hand, I knew that I didn’t need to be dipping fried food into mayo.

I briefly considered making curried mayo for these, but gave in to better judgement and chose a sour cream based wasabi dipping sauce. Chris and I both really liked the wasabi sauce and liked it even better when double dipped in ketchup. Tastes like cocktail sauce, huh? Mmmm.

Maybe next time we’ll do a shrimp and green bean dinner. That totally sounds like an odd combo, but we’re not above having odd dinners at Duke’s House and it would be tasty, trust me!

Green Beans adapted from Jordie Porgie.
Wasabi Dipping Sauce adapted from My Recipes.

Oven Fried Green Beans Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. fresh green beans
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 egg
  • olive oil spray

Oven Fried Green Bean Directions:

  • Wash and trim green beans and cut into halves and thoroughly dry them.
  • In a medium bowl, combine breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne.
  • Whisk eggs to break them up completely.
  • Pre-heat oven to 425.
  • Coat a baking sheet with non-stick spray.
  • Keeping one hand dry and one hand wet, dip a green bean in the eggs, lift it out and shake off any excess egg, put green bean in bread crumbs mixture and coat completely, lift out and shake off any excess bread crumbs, then transfer green bean to prepared baking sheet.
  • Repeat with remaining green beans.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes, turning once, until browned, crispy, and tender to the bite.
  • Serve hot. We like ours with wasabi dipping sauce and then double dipped in ketchup. (Horseradish sauce would work too!)

Servings ~ 4
Calories ~ 134, Fat ~ 2 g, Carbohydrates ~ 25 g, Protein 6 g

Wasabi Dipping Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1/2  cup  reduced fat sour cream
  • 1/2  teaspoon  grated lemon peel
  • 1  teaspoon  lemon juice
  • 1 1/2  to 2 teaspoons prepared wasabi

Wasabi Dipping Sauce Directions:

  • Combine ingredients.
  • Adjust wasabi/sour cream to taste.

Servings ~ 4
Calories ~ 42, Fat ~ 4 g, Carbohydrates ~ 1 g, Protein 1 g

When I go for my fruit and veggie pickup at my CSA it is kind of like an assembly line. I go down the line and take the designated number of each item out of its box. It is pretty good as long as you get there early. I make a point to go during lunch because it is always pretty picked over by the time I get finished with work.

Last week the last items on the table were pumpkins. Not jack o’lantern style pumpkins. Just little guys in a deep orange color. I immediately though “What the heck am I going to do with this?” We are not really “seasonal decorators” at Duke’s House.

Sadly, last year we didn’t even bother to put up our Christmas tree. Yes, it is that bad. Part of that was Duke’s fault. He was still just a little guy and we didn’t trust him not to eat it or knock it over.

This year Duke+Christmas tree will still be a little dicey. He has about zero sense of spacial relations and has no idea where his tail is and what it may be knocking over. Maybe next year. With plastic ornaments. 

Back to the pumpkin. I finally read the CSA newsletter that tells you what types of fruits and veggies you have. Usually this whole identifiying the produce thing is pretty self-explanatory, but it was helpful to know that the ugly little pumpkin was a pie pumpkin. Aha!

Knowing that if I baked a pie Chris would have one slice and I would end up devouring the remainder, I decided to find an alternate use for that thing. Pumpkin Ravioli it is. Yet another dish to get the Duke’s House “We could serve this to other people.” seal of approval!

This was seriously good. I can’t wait to eat the leftovers!


From The Picky Eater.


  • For ravioli
    • 1 1/4  cups  pumpkin purée
    • 2  tablespoons  dry breadcrumbs
    • 2  tablespoons  fresh grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
    • 1/2  teaspoon  minced fresh sage
    • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/8  teaspoon  ground nutmeg
    • 28 wonton wrappers, round would be best
    • 1  tablespoon  cornstarch
    • Cooking spray
  • For Gorgonzola Sauce
    • 1  cup  fat-free milk
    • 1  tablespoon  all-purpose flour
    • 1 1/2  tablespoons  butter
    • 1/2  cup  (2 ounces) crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • Garnish
    • 3  tablespoons  chopped walnuts, toasted


  • Spoon pumpkin onto several layers of heavy-duty paper towels, and spread to 1/2-inch thickness. Cover with additional paper towels; let stand 5 minutes.
  • Scrape the pumpkin into a medium bowl using a rubber spatula. Stir in breadcrumbs, Parmesan, salt, minced sage, pepper, and nutmeg.
  • Working with 1 wonton wrapper at a time (cover remaining wrappers with a damp towel to keep from drying), spoon 2 teaspoons pumpkin mixture into the center of wrapper.
  • Brush edges of wrapper with water and fold in half, pressing edges firmly with fingers to form a half-moon.
  • Place on a large baking sheet sprinkled with cornstarch. Repeat procedure with remaining wonton wrappers and pumpkin mixture.
  • Fill a large pot with water; bring to a simmer.
  • Add half of ravioli to the pot (cover remaining ravioli with a damp towel to keep from drying).
  • Cook 2 minutes or until done (do not boil), stirring gently.
  • Remove ravioli with a slotted spoon; lightly coat with cooking spray, and keep warm.
  • Repeat procedure with remaining ravioli.
  • To improve the texture of the wontons, heat a pan over medium heat, spray it lightly with cooking spray, and quickly pan-fried the ravioli to make their texture “crispier” and more ravioli like on the outside.
  • Combine milk and flour in a saucepan, stirring with a whisk.
  • Bring to a boil; cook for 1 minute or until thick, stirring constantly.
  • Remove from heat. Add butter, stirring until butter melts.
  • Gently stir in Gorgonzola.
  • Place 7 ravioli in each of 4 shallow bowls, and drizzle each serving with 4 tablespoons Gorgonzola mixture.
  • Sprinkle each serving with 1 1/2 teaspoons walnuts.
  • Serve immediately.

Servings ~ 4
Calories ~ 350, Fat ~ 12 g, Carbohydrates ~ 48 g, Protein ~ 14 g

Back in the days before grilled pizza and home-made pizza dough…you know, like last week…one of Chris’s most frequent complaints about my pseudo pizza experiments was that I never used “pizza sauce”.

I completely agree with him, pizza sauce and tomato sauce are not the same thing even though I relentlessly insisted on using them interchangeably.

The problem is that I had never tried a grocery store pizza sauce that I liked. For that matter, I am pretty sure that the only good pizza sauce ever made was made by Naples Pizzeria in Oak Ridge, New Jersey. We love what we know, what can I say?

Sadly, Naples and their pizza sauce are no more. It was basically like pizza sauce doomsday when that bomb was dropped on me. The sauce makes the pizza and good pizza became a thing of the past.

Anyway, back to our pizza. Now that we are making grilled pizza creations that even the best pizzeria in town can’t compete with, I decided that it was time to get serious about pizza sauce.

I read many recipes until I found one that sounded about right and I am convinced that this one may become the Duke’s House standard pizza sauce.


Based on Exquisite Pizza Sauce.


  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp honey (We were out of honey, I used Splenda. The sweetness is just meant to cut the acidity of the tomato paste.)
  • 3/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp dried red pepper flakes
  • salt to taste


  • Combine ingredients.
  • Let sit for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors combine.

Servings ~ Calculations are for whole recipe.
Calories (with Splenda) ~ 212, Fat ~ 5 g, Carbohydrates ~ 34 g, Protein ~ 14 g
Calories (with honey) ~ 340, Fat ~ 5 g, Carbohydrates ~ 68 g, Protein ~ 14 g

Several weeks ago I had a salad for lunch at a new restaurant that opened up in my town. Ever since then I have been trying to recreate their salad dressing.

Well, not exactly. Theirs was so good that it couldn’t possibly be good for me. It is not something that I would dump on a “healthy” salad every day.

My goal was to come up with something very tasty with many of the same flavors as the original dressing that was also low-ish calorie. I finally came up with a winning combination!

Since Chris is just as happy eating frozen dinners as my “real food” was working late I decided to have a big salad for dinner topped with this dressing.


  • 4 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  •  1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt to taste

Servings ~ 1
Calories ~ 80, Fat ~ 9 g, Carbohydrates ~ 1 g, Protein ~ 0 g

Tzatziki sauce is super easy to make and it is tasty on falafel, gyros, and almost any other kind of sandwich as well!


  • 1 cup nonfat yogurt (either Greek or regular that has been strained)
  • 1/2 cucumber diced and drained
  • 2 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp lemon juice


  • Combine ingredients.
  • Serve cold.
  • To strain regular yogurt, I line a strainer with paper towels and let the yogurt drain over the sink for several minutes.

Servings ~ 5
Calories ~ 35, Fat ~ 0 g, Carbohydrates ~ 5 g, Protein ~ 3 g