Your Signature Meals


We asked, you answered! As part of our giveaway with Kitchen + Threads, we wanted to know what your go-to meal is to prepare for family and friends. We were so happy that our readers were willing to share their kitchen secrets with us, so we thought we would return the good graces and share them with you! Here are a few of our readers' signature meals to prepare at home:

Avocado on sourdough toast with soft boiled egg on top. It's yummy, yummy (nothing better than avocado and toast) but it is so easy prepare. It gives you more time to enjoy your dining companions.

- Wendy Hastings

Cornbread crusted pork chops with arugula herb salad and roasted cherry tomato vinaigrette. It came together by accident....pork chops on sale, cherry tomatoes on the edge, and leftover cornbread I refused to toss. Turned out so well it's now one of my go-to meals for guests.

-Karen Chrestay

My signature dish would be "Hyderabad Chicken Biriyani." Hyderabad is a region in the state of Andhra Pradesh in south India. Every region has their own spin on the classic Indian rice and meat dish called Biriyani. My spin on the dish has chicken marinated in a blend of spices which is cooked together with layers of rice, cashew nuts, raisins and saffron. The result is a balanced meal with meat and carbs all in one dish! Perfect food to heat up after a long day at work!

-Jerry George

Currently its a bacon weave. I have been doing them for a while and every one looks to me to prepare one.

-Rob Rehm

Brunch! No one has to get up too early or stay out too late, but alcohol is OK! I love to start the day before by making a beautiful butter crust for quiche. That morning, I fill and bake it – it all depends on weather! Spring can be sweet peas, asparagus, gruyere and bacon, and a wonderful fall or winter quiche has sweet potatoes, spinach and goat cheese. Then I get to work on my cheesecake - tall, rich, decadent with a graham cracker crust and berry coulis on top.

While the cheesecake is cooling, I salt and pepper up a beautiful roasting chicken – 3-4 pounds is my favorite size – and roast it on high heat to produce a crispy, juicy bird that displays like a champ. It needs nothing else. This bird is perfect, but it's great to add herbs from my garden to the serving platter as decoration.

The meal sometimes includes fish of some sort, and sometimes not – depends on whether I run out of time!

Because I hate going to parties where no vegetables are served, I love to make my guests a light greens salad tossed in homemade vinaigrette that again is influenced by the season – apple cider vinegar, cayenne and honey or a rich balsamic in the colder months and lemony dressings in the summer. I always add asparagus to the meal – one of my favorites lately is wrapping bundles of it in prosciutto and sprinkling with parmesan and butter, then baking for a few minutes. We top it all off with mimosas and fresh-squeezed OJ if the oranges are good that time of year. Bon appetit!

-Katy Smith

Ginger Salmon with grilled root vegetables. It's easy and healthy.

-Paul Moller

Everyone loves coming over when I make homemade pizzas. I make my own Italian recipe dough, which does take quite a bit longer than just pulling out a pre-made supermarket crust, but that just means we have more time to relax and chat over a bottle of wine (or two) while we watch it rise! They are definitely a crowd pleaser because I can make more than one pie to satisfy the tastes of vegetarians, carnivores, and picky eaters alike. No one else in my family knows the proper way to make them, and they get so excited to come over and share this special meal! Who doesn't like pizza?

-Tori Brake

We smoke our own meats, so my signature meal would start with our home-cured bacon, wrapped around shrimp stuffed with cheddar cheese and a little jalapeño from our backyard garden and grilled. For an entree, I would serve smoked pork shoulder with mole sauce, grilled peaches glazed with balsamic and topped with blue cheese, a grilled romaine Caesar salad and Mexican corn on the cob. To finish, an affogato, homemade ice cream drizzled with espresso.

-Robert Main

When I think of my “signature meal,” I think of: a) Something I REALLY enjoy! b) Something I’d love to share with my dear family and friends. 

I adore cheese, so included in that meal must be my goat cheese and rosemary mac and cheese. It starts with a great béchamel sauce, infused with fresh rosemary springs. I like to have at least two different goat cheeses, one fresh, the other aged. I top off the mac and cheese with buttery, salty panko bread crumbs. It’s delish!

Along with that rich dish, I like to serve asparagus (and perhaps carrots may join the party). My new favorite way of cooking them is using low-temp cooking, and then finishing them off in a hot pan with butter and fresh herbs, such as thyme and/or oregano.

For additional protein, wild, fresh salmon has been my special event protein friend. This may also be prepared using low-temp cooking, followed by a quick pan searing on the stove top.

Hmmm…technically, that’s pretty perfect in my mind. But, might as well go over the top by adding a side of some local, fresh, crusty bread. Warming it up a bit in the oven before serving it with butter and sel gris is my favorite way to eat it!

And, for the sweet tooth in me, I like to finish off a meal like this with either Christina Tosi’s crack pie or a recipe I have for an almost-flourless dark chocolate torte and serve it with a side of fresh berries, homemade whipped cream and some great Jeni’s Splendid ice cream. 

-Tery Young