30 Years of Recipes: The Everyday Favorites Our Former Editors Love Most

Photo: Ryan Liebe

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Martha Stewart Living, we asked former staffers about their favorite everyday recipes from the magazine—the ones they still make at home, years later. For Lucinda Scala Quinn, our former executive editorial director of food and the founder of MadHungry, it may have been hard to choose: Working with Martha and the Living team for 16 years, Lucinda oversaw the creation of hundreds of recipes and developed many of them herself.

Former food editor Anna Kovel recalls eating the butternut squash pizza with a hazelnut dough base in the test kitchen and being unable to stop, it was that good. About our beloved One-Pan Pasta, Jennifer Aaronson, former editorial director of food and entertaining and now culinary director of Martha and Marley Spoon, says, "We couldn't have a 30th-anniversary celebration without it." As for our macaroni and cheese, developed in 2001 by Martha Stewart Living's founding food editor Susan Spungen, it is still the author and food stylist's go-to for the ultimate comfort food all these years later.

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One-Pan Pasta

one-pan pasta
Maxwell Cozzi

"This recipe blew my mind when we made it for one of our test kitchen feature stories," recalls Aaronson. "The idea of cooking dry pasta straight in the skillet was a genius combination of convenience and yum. The starch from the pasta creates an ultra-creamy sauce. The rest is so simple but so perfect: garlic, tomatoes, basil, red pepper flakes, and parmesan cheese." Just like pretty much anyone who has tried this recipe, Aaronson says, "I could eat this every night of the week."

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Lobster and Corn Chowder

Yunhee Kim

There's a surprisingly frugal side to this luxurious and comforting recipe, which Scala Quinn developed for the magazine in 2011. "It utilizes both the corn cobs and lobster shells for the stock," she explains.

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One-Bowl Chocolate Cake

One Bowl Chocolate Cake
Dana Gallagher

"I have no idea how many times I've made this cake," laughs Aaronson. "It's probably in the three figures by now." Why does she keep baking this recipe? Because, as she puts it, "It's the most perfect cake recipe ever created and it couldn't be easier." The Valrhona cocoa powder is key, she says, "for the dark, rich chocolate flavor." As for the cake itself, expect a slice that's "insanely moist and nearly impossible to mess up (unless you forget the sugar which I did once)."

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Cauliflower Gratin with Endive

cauliflower gratin with endive
Anita Calero

A longtime fan of this fancy cauliflower casserole, Heidi Johansen Stewart, former food editor and co-founder of Bellocq Tea, says it's "sophisticated, elegant, and absolutely delicious."

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Butternut Squash Pizza with Hazelnut Dough


Food stylist, writer, and former food editor Anna Kovel recalls a beautiful feature story on hazelnuts from 2010. Not only were the images striking, she says, but the flavors were also spot on. That's why this pizza tops her list of beloved recipes. "The flavor of hazelnuts combined with butternut squash was savory and surprising on pizza. I couldn't stop snacking on it in the test kitchen!" she says.

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Macaroni and Cheese

perfect macaroni and cheese
Bryan Gardner

"This version of mac and cheese is absolutely the best and there is no reason to look further," says Spungen. "It's definitely my go-to when I want to indulge in mac and cheese!"

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Mrs. Milman's Chocolate Frosting

Moist Devil's Food Cake with Mrs. Milman's Chocolate Frosting

There's nothing quite like your mother's own recipes, which is why this pick from Hannah Milman, former editorial director of crafts, is so special. Her mom's chocolate frosting recipe was adapted by the test kitchen back in 1997 and has been a go-to ever since.

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Salmon, Asparagus, and Leek in Parchment

Ryan Liebe

An entrée that looks as good as it tastes, former editor-in-chief and creative director Eric Pike is a fan of this healthy en papillote dish. It's like a taste of spring.

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Mixed-Mushroom and Scallion Pizza

Mixed-Mushroom and Scallion Pizza
Roland Bello

For "dough and whimsy," Scala Quinn's "modern masterpizzas" can't be beat. They are truly works of art you can eat. Inspired by Picasso, she created this mushroom pizza, while this eggplant, pistachio, and pomegranate pizza is an homage to Jackson Pollock. The work of Marc Rothko is reflected in her Two-Tomato Pizza and Wassily Kandisky in the Brussels Sprout, Squash, and Sausage Pizza.

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The Best Banana Bread

Best Banana Bread KC

The recipe title says it all. This simple banana bread with walnuts "has become a firm favorite with our kids and all of their friends, and accompanies them to every birthday celebration at school (without nuts, of course)," says Johansen Stewart.

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Bluefish with Herb Stuffing


This recipe comes from a glorious feature story shot one summer, and Kovel will tell you it's one of her favorites. "It's a standout summer recipe for bluefish, which is an under-represented, delicious, and plentiful East Coast fish," she says.

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Watermelon Bombe


Milman says this is a favorite twice over: It's her favorite recipe from her favorite food story she worked on. The ice cream cake feature story was "inspired by Good Humor and Mounds bars." Of the several superb recipes created, the ice cream bombe that is formed in a bowl and looks like a watermelon stands out most—and you can see why!

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Coconut Layer Cake


"It seemed like no one was making layer cakes at the time," Spungen says of the May 1997 feature that included this coconut knockout. "It was a classic that had disappeared, and this story helped bring them back. I've baked this one many, many times over the years."

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