Pie Crust

crust ready to bake

Tis the season for holiday baking! There’s a  good chance you’ll want to make a pie for either Thanksgiving or Christmas (In my case, both) For many years I used pie crust  from the refrigerated section of the grocery store. It was reliable, and while it wouldn’t win any awards, it was at least decent. Then, something changed. At first I thought maybe I got a bad batch. I bought some more, still it wasn’t right, something had changed with the texture, the look, even the smell was different. Every time I opened a package, I didn’t like what my

Raspberry Brie with Honey and Almonds

Raspberry Brie appetizer

Today’s appetizer is a great option for all upcoming holiday get-togethers. It combines warm and melty Brie with almonds and berries in a sweet-yet-tart sauce called Raspberry Brie with Honey and Almonds. This recipe comes from my neighbor, Karen, who brought it to our monthly Bridge-Club-Where-We-Don’t-Play-Bridge-But-Just-Eat-and-Talk get together. And it was devoured! I couldn’t wait to make it myself. The recipe, of course, starts with Brie, a nice base, with the many other flavors taking the taste to a higher level. To start, toast sliced almonds in the oven for 6-10 minutes. I chose 8 minutes and they were perfect.

Grape Salad

grape salad

Thanksgiving is coming and an easy button would be handy for some sides. This grape salad recipe delivers: simple and delicious, it can be assembled in advance. No need for the Break Glass and Pull in Case of Panic switch. The ingredient list is short. Starts with – you guessed it – grapes! I like a mix of red and green grapes, just for appearance’s sake. There are different ways to handle the grapes. Some like the grapes whole, which certainly makes prep time a snap, but I like the approach taken by Country Living, which is to cut at

Pepper Steak

pepper steak

Slow Cooker or Instant Pot Pepper Steak is a classic dish that warms you through and through on a chilly evening.  It is often described as “Chinese American” but it feels mostly American to me. I guess soy sauce as an ingredient qualifies it as a little Chinese? Either way, Pepper Steak is simple and satisfying.  I’ve made this many times in a slow cooker and recently adapted the recipe for Instant Pot use, for even faster and more convenient preparation. To start, beef is cut into strips. The recipe calls for sirloin, but I have used many different cuts

Pico-Avocado Dip

pico avocado dip

So you’ve got people coming over and you need a quick snack, a dip of some kind. And perhaps you’ve got some ingredients for Pico de Gallo and guacamole, but not quite enough. Tah-dah! Pico-Avocado Dip to the rescue! The beauty of this recipe is that the base, the Pico de Gallo, customizes so easily giving you free rein to substitute. No cilantro? Skip it! No white onion? Use yellow! Forgot to buy jalapeno peppers? There’s probably a can of chilis or jalapenos buried somewhere in your pantry. Once you make this a couple of times, you’ll get the hang

German Chocolate Cake

German Chocolate Cake

November 9 is the anniversary of the demolition of the Berlin Wall, a pivotal event in world history. It seems only fitting to mark this occasion with something German. My first thought was to make a sauerkraut meal (“Crickets, crickets. . .”). Then, I switched directions and got a much more enthusiastic reaction: German Chocolate Cake! (“Massive applause, standing ovation!!!. . .”). Ironically, this cake has nothing to do with Germany. In fact, it’s named after its English-American creator, Sam German. But we’ll go with it, anyway. I found this recipe at recipe-me.com and I like the way it came

Old Fashioned Meatloaf

meatloaf

Meatloaf is a classic meal that doesn’t seem to get a lot of attention these days. Did it go out of style? Not in my kitchen. I’m feeding carnivores and meatloaf delivers the goods. In the old days, when I was feeding a family of four and working full-time, I would prepare the meatloaf mixture the evening before and stick it in the fridge. The next morning, I would place it in the oven and pre-set the timer to start cooking before I got home. That way, I could concentrate on side dishes during those precious minutes before serving dinner.