Mintywiches – Andes Candies Sandwich Cookies

A crisp, intensely chocolatey cookie sandwiching a creamy minty Andes candy, Mintywiches are the perfect addition to your cookie table … or a cold glass of milk for no occasion except your need for joy.  They are also sturdy enough to include in a cookie care package.

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These cookies are the absolute favorites of both Gladys of the Suburbs and Mahatma Sissypants (according to my recipe notes from 1999).  I’ve given their nicknames here because right now they’re stepping out on old Minty … looking for greener (literally in one cookie’s case) pastures in the chocolate-mint cookie combo… but I know they’ll be back and I don’t want to out their infidelity to the world for this minor blip.

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Baked Rigatoni with Roasted Butternut Squash, Sausage and Rapini

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This is a hearty savory pasta bake with juicy bites of sausage, a creamy cheese sauce, hits of bitter from the greens and sweet bits from the roasted butternut squash.  It hits every taste bud in just the right way.  This is easy enough for family dinners and potlucks and special enough for a weeknight dinner party. 

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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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A soft, yeasty slab pizza with the slightest amount of crisp on the crust holding up a bright tomato sauce and loads of cheese.  A crowd-pleaser.

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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. Read More


Grilled Korean Chicken

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Grilled chicken thighs or any parts really – and a medley of vegetables – marinated in this lime, fish sauce, and black pepper-centric marinade made for a grilling treat outside the normal barbecue box.

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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 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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