Stacey Ballis Headshot
Stacey Ballis Headshot

Stacey Ballis

Stacey Ballis is the author of ten novels of culinary fiction including, Off the Menu, Out to Lunch, Recipe for Disaster, Wedding Girl and How to Change a Life as well as a digital cookbook, Big Delicious Life. Her nonfiction essays have appeared in several anthologies, and her food writings and recipes have appeared in Food & Wine Magazine, EatingWell Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, Bake From Scratch Magazine, Plate Magazine, MyRecipes.com, ExtraCrispy.com, TheTakeout.com, AllRecipes.com, and a recipe of hers was adapted for use in The New York Times. She was the recipe developer and culinary consultant for The Self-Care Cookbook by Frank Ardito. Stacey lives in Chicago with her husband and is currently at work on a new full-length work of fiction.
Spoiler alert: The key to success is to start your cooking in advance. From passion fruit mousse to creamy pumpkin soup, these recipes can all be made days or even weeks ahead of time.
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Punchy flavors borrowed from Sri Lankan-style curries make this curried pumpkin soup a palate-awakening starter. The tamarind onion garnish, adapted from Chef Sam Fore in Lexington, Kentucky, is a showstopping condiment. If you have any left over, they'll make your next-day turkey sandwiches sing!
This sweet potato pound cake started out as a way to use up leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner, but quickly became its own reason to make sweet potatoes. The cake gets better as it sits, so it's a great make-ahead candidate for any occasion.
Creamy Peanut Soup with Sage
Rating: Unrated
New!
This creamy peanut soup lets the flavor of the peanuts truly shine, and fresh sage adds a nice autumnal flavor. While we often call for natural peanut butters in our recipes, they're not recommended here, as they can make the soup gritty and oily.
Passion Fruit Mousse
Rating: Unrated
New!
The bright tartness of this passion fruit mousse makes a lovely ending to a rich feast. A garnish of toasted almonds brings crunch, but toasted coconut flakes would be lovely as well. Here the mousse is layered in a large dish, which is easier to bring to potluck gatherings, but you could also make  individual portions in ramekins or small dishes. By its nature, this dessert is best made ahead, to give the mousse a chance to really set up and the flavor to develop.
These cranberry-orange shortcakes are essentially a cross between a biscuit and a scone. They make a light base for a rich cranberry compote and a brown-sugar-laced crème fraîche topping. These are designed to be on the small side, since there are usually many desserts on offer on Thanksgiving, but you can make them any size you like, just adjust the baking time accordingly.
These crustless mini quiches are packed with savory caramelized onions and flavorful cheese. This technique for making caramelized onions uses way less fat, and by using sweet onions (like Vidalia, if you can find them), you don't need to add the sugar some recipes call for.
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I am living with type 2 diabetes. Learn the simple tricks and tips I've developed over the years for maintaining a healthy eating pattern while hosting a dinner party or other food-centric gathering.
Celeriac may look weird, but its flavor is familiar and its applications in the kitchen are practically endless. It's time to work this quirky root into your vegetable rotation. Here's what you need to know about celeriac (aka celery root).
These crustless mini quiches are packed with savory caramelized onions and flavorful cheese. This technique for making caramelized onions uses way less fat, and by using sweet onions (like Vidalia, if you can find them), you don't need to add the sugar some recipes call for.
I am living with type 2 diabetes. Learn the simple tricks and tips I've developed over the years for maintaining a healthy eating pattern while hosting a dinner party or other food-centric gathering.
Celeriac may look weird, but its flavor is familiar and its applications in the kitchen are practically endless. It's time to work this quirky root into your vegetable rotation. Here's what you need to know about celeriac (aka celery root).
These healthier Starbucks drinks will help you cut back on unwanted calories and sugar.
There are many types of cakes and many ways to store them. Learn how to store your cake so you don't waste a single piece. Plus, learn how not to store cake and glean some tasty cake recipes along the way.
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There are so many ways to soften that hardened brick of brown sugar that has been lingering in your cupboard. There are also ways to prevent that. Learn them all here, plus, get some fast and fantastic sweet and savory recipes using beautiful brown sugar. (Also, learn what brown sugar actually is. The answer may surprise you.)
We all have that hardened honey hiding out somewhere in the pantry. Not to worry! There are many ways for you to soften your honey and return it to its original golden, pourable form. Good thing, too, because honey is not cheap! Learn how to de-crystallize honey, plus how to store honey to avoid the hardening.
Steaming is a simple and often quick cooking method. It has the added benefit of helping to preserve the nutritional value of whatever you're serving. Best part is, you don't actually need a steamer to do it. Learn how steaming works and the various hacks you can use to easily start steaming in your kitchen today.
Aside from pesky fruit flies, bananas with brown spots are still totally usable. But exactly how brown is too brown, even for banana bread? Read on to find out the limits of brown bananas, how to use them and, most importantly, when not to use them.
You may ask yourself this question every spring when the strawberries start to pile up at the grocery store and their price per container begins to drop: What do I do if some of the strawberries have mold on them? Well, we've got answers! Read on to find out what to do about moldy strawberries and tips for how to pick the freshest-possible berries.
Chicken strips, chicken tenders, chicken fingers—whatever you call them, they are one of the most popular foods eaten in American households. Anyone who has ever prepared chicken at home has seen that white, string-like piece hanging from the chicken tender portion of the breast. So, what is it? Read on to find out, plus learn what, if anything, you should do about it.
While rice is one of the most commonly consumed foods in the world, many people don't know the proper way to cool, store and reheat leftover rice in order to avoid foodborne illness. Learn a few quick and easy techniques to continue serving and saving rice safely in your kitchen.
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We've all done it: bought a bag of spinach with the best of intentions, only to come across it later at the bottom of the crisper—wilted, withered and slimy. Why does spinach get slimy in the first place? And can you salvage the leaves that aren't? Read on to learn all this, plus more.
Mold. It can be a confusing topic when it comes to cheese because so many cheeses are made using mold in one way or another. Most of us have opened that cheese drawer in the fridge and noticed white or green flecks on a block of Cheddar or Gouda. So, is it safe to eat moldy cheese? Find out definitively so you're prepared the next time you open the cheese drawer. Plus, learn the difference between good and bad mold and how to prevent it.
When you see those green sprouts popping out of a head of garlic, do you lop them off and keep cooking? Do you toss the whole head? Or do you chop up the green parts along with the normal cloves, business as usual? Read on to find out what to do with sprouted garlic, how to choose the freshest bulbs and keep them fresh and what exactly those green shoots are.
Ever peel back the dry outer layers of an onion and find a softer, brown layer in between perfectly fresh rings of onion? Sure, we all have. But what do you do next? Read on to find out what you should be doing when your onion has a brown ring.
You may be confused as to whether or not it's OK to eat raw eggplant. You're not alone. Read on to learn the truth about raw eggplant, the array of nutrients it contains and whether or not you should be incorporating it into your eating routine.
Raw or cooked, learn how to properly freeze everyone's favorite purple-skinned vegetable.
Find out how to store fresh peaches properly.