At long last, in the middle of January, snow arrived in Boston. Not a huge amount yet, but more is on the way, and I'm going to make plenty of leftover mashed potato cheese soup to reward the hardy shovelers. Use your favorite mashed potatoes as the base. You could even use mashed garlic sweet potatoes. Loosen them up in a Dutch oven with a bit of vegetable stock or water; add spices; whisk in the yogurt and cheese; let everything melt together. This creamy good potato soup doesn't have any cream in it; Greek yogurt helps enrich the soup. If you don't have any leftover mashed potatoes, boil some diced potatoes until tender (dicing will make the potatoes cook faster), drain, and smash right... Read more →


Instead of a huge dinner, with one large hunk of meat at the center, I prefer to set out a selection of small dishes so my holiday guests can pick and choose and nibble their way through an evening. For New Year's Eve, the "spread" can be extra-elaborate: cheese, bread, pickled things, some slices of smoked fish (and if you're a pork eating person, you'll want some prosciutto or other ham), fruit, roasted peppers, small bowls of pasta, spiced nuts. Any combination of dishes will work, but for me, regardless of whatever else is on the table, turkey meatballs are a must. These apple, Cheddar and cranberry turkey meatball appetizer bites bring together all of the traditional flavors of a New England apple pie, and... Read more →


On the days when I'm really in the mood to cook, I love to put some meals "in the bank" -- in other words, into the freezer, for the days when I'm really not in the mood to cook. These chicken enchilada roll-ups start with one of those "in the bank" dishes, quick and easy black beans and rice, and end as an all-in-one meal you can defrost, zap in the microwave, and serve any day of the week with just a few minutes of work. At this busy time of year, it's great to have a few easy meals on hand at the end of a long day of shopping, wrapping, cookie baking or tree trimming. If you've spent a lot of time sitting... Read more →


My five-year-old granddaughter, who doesn't like anything, polished off a plate of this slow cooker lasagna, and asked for seconds. Her older brothers, and, well... all of us, loved it, too. As the family meal organizer, I loved it more than anyone, because with the sauce made ahead, the assembly job took minutes, and the lasagna sat in the slow cooker for the afternoon while we went out and did other things. I love that there's no chance of it burning in the slow cooker, as there is in the oven. And when the voila moment comes, and you take the top off the cooker to reveal the lasagna, you'll love the ooohs and aaahs, all for the few minutes of actual work you put... Read more →


Imagine, instead of a pie on the holiday table, a gigantic bowl of pies. Hand pies, individually sized, just a few bites of goodness and all the same so nobody fights for the largest slices. There would be no extra dishes to wash. And you could make them ahead, even way ahead, and reheat them in the microwave which is fast and easy and really the best way. Imagine that! Apple spice hand pies can be your reality for the holidays; all you need are some discos in the freezer, ready to defrost, and the filling you'd make for a regular apple pie. Readers of this blog know I'm a huge fan of discos, but if you can't get them, don't despair. Discos are small,... Read more →