Kelsey's Essential Ingredients: Recipe by Recipe

See how Kelsey preps her popular recipes by peeking at these visual ingredient guides. 

On Kelsey's Essentials, Kelsey combines commonplace ingredients with surprising, unique flavors to turn out everyday dishes that possess a little extra zing. Using simple, approachable cooking techniques, Kelsey shares her knowledge and helps home cooks prep better meals –– and have fun doing it. Flip through these photos to see how she does it.

Herbal Tea + Cucumber + Ginger + Vinegar ... 

On their own, ingredients like herbal tea, cucumber and ginger possess a certain soothing quality, but when combined, they can be transformed into a spa-inspired sipper.

Blackberry, Cucumber and Ginger Spritzer

Shake ginger-infused berry herbal tea with blackberry sipping vinegar and seltzer for a fizzy, fruit drink that’s ideal for summer parties or cooling down on a hot afternoon. Cucumber mellows the sweet berry flavors, while ginger adds just a dash of spice.

Get the Recipe: Blackberry, Cucumber, Ginger Spritzer

Olives + Chorizo + Breadcrumbs ... 

Olives and chorizo are often paired in platters of Spanish-inspired party bites, but why not combine the ingredients into one savory starter?

Chorizo-Stuffed Fried Olives

Stuff olives with a rich Spanish chorizo and cream cheese filling, then fry them in panko breadcrumbs. Once the olives are golden brown, the crispy, briny finger food is ready.

Get the Recipe: Chorizo-Stuffed Fried Olives

Pork Rinds + Cheddar ... 

Store-bought pork rinds possess a unique, meaty flavor and hit that sweet spot between potato chips and french fries. But Kelsey suggests amping up the flavor on this greasy guilty pleasure.

Pork Rind Cheese Puffs

Warm the rinds in a 350 degree F oven for a few minutes to coax out their natural oils; this will enable the homemade cheddar-ranch and chipotle-cheddar spice mixtures to adhere to the rinds, giving them an intense cheesy flavor.

Get the Recipe: Pork Rind Cheese Puffs

Nuts + Bitters + Spices ... 

Sure, it's easy enough to toss some nuts in a bowl for a bar-inspired snack or party starter. You might even consider toasting them to coax out deeper, sweet flavors.

Spiced Bar Nuts

For a salty-sweet snack that pairs perfectly with a good cocktail (or mocktail), toss nuts in a mixture of honey, brown sugar, garam masala (a spice mixture used frequently in Indian cooking), orange bitters and a few more spices before baking. Honey clumps the nuts together, making the end result a cross between a brittle and a party mix.

Get the Recipe: Spiced Bar Nuts with Orange Bitters

Sushi Rice + Fruit Leather ... 

Sushi practically begs to be assembled by a line of eager helpers –– whether miniature chefs in training or guests at a DIY party. But where there are seafood-wary eaters, something a little sweeter might be in order.

Dessert Sushi Rolls

Boil sushi rice until soft, then let it cool. Coconut milk forms a sweet glaze that enables a bevy of sweet ingredients –– dried and fresh fruits, herbs and seeds –– to cling to the rice inside the chewy fruit-leather "seaweed."

Get the Recipe: Dessert Sushi

Caesar Dressing + Hot Sauce ... 

Start with kale, creamy dressing and a solid block of Parmesan for a standard Caesar salad, made more nutritious with the dark, leafy green. But Kelsey has something in mind for all you Sriracha lovers out there.

Spicy Kale Caesar Salad

Kelsey roasts two fiery peppers with sweet red bell peppers to form an eye-watering hot sauce that mellows out when mixed with creamy Caesar. Top stale sourdough pieces with some of the sauce, too, to make spicy, crunchy croutons.

Spicy Kale Caesar Salad

Chicken + Spicy Sausage + Hot Sauce ... 

Kelsey has a no-fail classic roast chicken recipe for special occasions and everyday dinners alike. But she also has a solution for when the basic bird is just a bit too boring.

Fiery Roast Chicken with Hot Sauce Compound Butter

This chicken has a secret weapon that reveals itself when you take your first bite. Rather than rubbing regular old butter beneath the chicken skin (an important step in turning out a truly decadent bird), Kelsey slathers on hot sauce-infused homemade compound butter. Garlic and lemon juice provide an aromatic, acidic balance, and if you can’t handle the heat, tone it down with a few extra squeezes of citrus.

Fiery Roast Chicken with Hot Sauce Compound Butter

Butternut Squash + Heavy Cream ... 

All the ingredients for ice cream are lined up here, but what's with the fall squash and savory spices?

Curried Butternut Squash Ice Cream

Kelsey embraces the inventive ice cream craze by combining curried squash with a traditional ice cream base. Top with a sprig of mint for the perfect savory-sweet finish.

Get the Recipe: Curried Butternut Squash Ice Cream