Baked Rigatoni with Sausage, Butternut Squash and Rapini

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I came into the butternut squash fan camp way late in life.  I am embarrassed to say – given my mantra to my kids, “at least try it before you say you don’t like it!” – that it wasn’t until last Fall that I discovered my extreme love of this roasted beauty.  I had assumed (and you know what they say about assuming …) butternut squash would taste like sweet potatoes, one of my culinary arch-nemeses. By St. Boogar and all the saints at the backside door of purgatory!! I was wrong and am in the throes of making up for lost time.

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Lunch Lady Pizza

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With much deference and a huge blop of literary license, I have dubbed this monstrous-good, locust-and-friends-favorite Lunch Lady Pizza.  I bow to those everyday superheros.  Cafeteria crews who work, day in and day out, to prepare and serve the (oftentimes not wonderful) goods provided them to the sometimes unappreciative (sometimes quite deservedly so) wee masses deserve our respect.   This pizza is easy, tasty, comforting, and budget-friendly… things the lunch ladies worry on our behalf about every day… and so I name it in their honor. Continue Reading

Grilled Korean Chicken

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It’s that time of year again when any meal sounds so much more appealing coming off of the grill.  Mingling with the scent of a fresh-mown lawn and newly turned mulch, nothing goes better with a post-yard work beer than something off the grill.  I say this almost selfishly gleefully since I am generally not she who mans the grill.   That being said, I do sometimes like to play with fire – a family trait so I hear – and this chicken recipe is my go-to favorite.

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Bacon Caramel Popcorn

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I love popcorn.  I eat it almost every day for my afternoon snack; some days it’s lunch. Drizzled with unsalted butter and Old Bay is best ….  I know, I know; living on the edge.  And I live in a house where there is always a hunk of BD’s home-smoked bacon in the freezer.  It was kizmet; eventually I was going to find a way to get those two crazy kids together.

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Taco Seasoning

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3 Tbs chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1 Tbs teaspoons ground cumin
3 tsp kosher salt
3 tsp black pepper

Put all ingredients into a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake.  This will last a few months in the pantry.

If using for tacos, start with 2 tbs per pound of meat and add to taste. When I use 1 lb meat and 1 can (rinsed and drained) black beans, I use 3 tbs of taco seasoning.

 

Nana’s Puerto Rican Rice

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Just as Juan Ponce de León searched for the fountain of youth and adventurers, to this day, comb the peaks of the Himalayas for their yetis, I have been – until now – on a heretofore futile mission to recreate Nana’s Puerto Rican Rice. Not nearly as sexy as preternatural beauty or as exciting as a vicious bear-man, this elusive dish with bits of pork goodness and the brininess of green olives dancing a culinary waltz with sofrito and just a whisper of tomato’s acidity rightly sent me into a search from which I could not return until its luscious flavor secrets revealed themselves to me. Lordy, this is good stuff that, yes, makes me write bad prose and most likely bad checks if that need ever arose.

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Pumpkin and Lemon Blueberry Muffins: The Stories You Don’t Share With Your Children …

Years ago, in one of my former lives filled with escapade and mayhem, I would wander the saloons of the West seeking adventure and a quick bit of coin playing Texas Hold ‘Em with anybody who had the cash and gumption to make it interesting. I’d made my way through all of the cities that sounded up to the challenge – Deadwood, Wichita, Tombstone – when I decided to get off the beaten path. My reputation was preceding me and finding a high-stakes table was getting harder and harder.

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