Do you love salad dressings?

Growing up, my mom and grandmother gave me a love of eating good salads, and in the last few years I’ve started changing from buying salad dressings to making my own. Not only do they not have all the preservatives the stuff on the grocers’ shelves have, they’re also pretty easy to make. I cook for just one, li’l old me, so I’m not going to go through huge productions just to have homemade salad dressing.

Some time back I discovered Rachel Cooks when I was looking for a homemade taco seasoning recipe (there’s also a large batch recipe if you find you want to make it less often but enjoy it regularly). Then I discovered her honey mustard vinaigrette dressing and I became hooked on her recipes.

I’ve since subscribed to her email newsletter, and today’s edition was all about her yummy salad dressings. After tweeting a link I decided to share all of the salad dressing recipes I use. They’re not all from Rachel (sorry!), but they’re so good that I bookmarked them so I could find them easily. I put vinaigrettes into Good Season cruets, and right now I have a bottle of their Italian dressing just to use up one of the packets I got when I decided I wanted a second cruet for salad dressings. My creamy dressings are in repurposed salsa jars, which makes me glad I save my old jars after I empty them. (My taco seasoning is in a reused spice bottle that lives next to my nukeomatic.)

My gateway to homemade dressings was the vinaigrette from The Kitchn’s Classic Salad Ni├žoise. I don’t remember where I saw the recipe, but I quickly bookmarked it as something to try. I’ve since made it for other salads, and if I didn’t have a bottle of Italian dressing in my fridge the bottle would have balsamic vinaigrette from a stand-alone recipe.

I think I found Rachel’s honey mustard vinaigrette recipe while looking for balsamic vinaigrette recipes, and it quickly became my favorite dressing. I use Grey Poupon’s Harvest Coarse Ground Dijon Mustard in it, and I’m thinking of trying it with Zatarain’s Creole Mustard something that I grew up eating on sandwiches. I could easily use just this dressing on all my salads if I didn’t want to make sure I didn’t get sick of eating it all the time.

Every now and then I want some thousand island dressing and wanted to find recipe, but every recipe I found used a hard boiled egg. Adding the egg sharply reduces how long it will last in your fridge, and when I was ready to make it I wanted something that needed less prep work than Rachel’s recipe called for. I ended up going with a recipe from Simply Whisked, but I’ll give Rachel’s recipe a try for the next batch, but my days of buying bottles of thousand island are over.

When I was in high school, Kraft’s Catalina dressing was my go-to dressing. Since I got older I didn’t like how sweet it was, but every now and then I still want some on my salad. Rachel has a recipe for that, and it’s just what the doctor ordered. I mixed it up in a salsa jar to save a dirty bowl, but my immersion blender clearly wanted more room to work so next time I’ll dirty a bowl to make it. And I know I’ll make it again. The recipe says to run it through the blender, but I really hate having to clean my blender for such a small amount of dressing.

I’m not a big ranch dressing eater, and I rarely buy buttermilk unless I’m whipping up a batch of buttermilk drop donuts so I may buy a bottle of ranch dressing from time to time. There is one other kind of bottled dressing that I used to buy and I had a hard time finding a replacement. I love dipping my homemade chicken tenders in honey mustard dressing, but Rachel’s recipe isn’t what I want to dip my tenders in. In fact, most of the recipes I found weren’t the nice, creamy dressing I was looking for. I ended up trying the dip recipe for The Kitchn’s Turkey Wraps with Honey Mustard Dip and it’s pretty good.

Rachel’s list of salad dressings & toppings includes two recipes I definitely want to try. One is for homemade croutons, and the other is for Caesar Croutons. I really like croutons, and I used to be able to eat them right out of the box, but lately it seems the croutons I buy are bigger than the ones I got in my 20’s. Rachel’s recipes use sliced bread, which will make for the size of croutons I’m wanting. Then the only salad topping I’ll need to make myself is bacon bits, and I need to work on my chopping skills to get good bacon bits. And, of course, I need to not eat the bacon before I have a chance to turn them into bacon bits, but I know I’m not the only one who thinks there’s no such thing as too much bacon.

I’m thankful that I got my mom’s love of cooking, and her desire to do more than your basic American meat-and-potatoes cooking. Maybe it came from living in New Orleans, where your basic meat-and-potatoes meal can be as out of place as a harpsichord at a guitar shred fest. Wherever it came from, I love to cook and the only reason I don’t try more recipes is because it’s rare to find recipes that will only feed one person. That and the fact that so many recipes I’d want to try use ingredients I don’t usually buy, and I’m concerned about being able to use up what doesn’t go into the dish.