When you think of the traditional foods of the Alsace-Lorraine region of northeast France, on the border with Germany, you think of quiche Lorraine, of course, and cabbage, and sausages and mustard. And thick, chewy, buttery egg noodles. Comfort food to the max. However, we're all about the pantry, so when the urge for a dinner inspired by the flavors of Alsace-Lorraine struck, I pulled some smoked chicken-and-apple sausage (it comes fully cooked) from the refrigerator, plus shredded cabbage (cole slaw mix) and Dijon mustard. And ramen noodles. I know -- not exactly traditional, but trust me, the ramen worked, and made this dish nice and light and curly. I cooked the noodles separately (you could do this way ahead, even the day before), and... Read more →


Chicken parm without breadcrumbs, without egg, without oil or butter, without sacrificing any of the flavor: seems too good to be true, doesn't it? And yet, here it is. A few kitchen tricks make this healthier version of chicken parmigiana possible. Start with thin-sliced, nearly fat-free boneless, skinless chicken breasts from the grocery store, or slice regular chicken breasts in thirds, and pound them to 1/4-inch thin. Use sun-dried tomatoes, or your own slow-roasted tomatoes, for concentrated flavor on the inside, and tuck in a leaf of the freshest basil you can find or pick from the garden. Skip the flour-egg-breadcrumb coating, to keep this chicken parm healthy, low-carb, and gluten-free. I love that these little chicken rolls have built-in portion control, and that you... Read more →


Some people create beautiful appetizers -- elegant, interesting, the memorable appetizers, perfectly arranged on a perfect platter, that take you by the hand and lead you into the meal. Not me. I have perpetual appetizer anxiety. I want to zoom right past them, to soup or an entreé. Sometimes, however, a host must serve apps. Thank goodness for mini phyllo shells. They are the little black dress of appetizers. Any filling you can imagine looks better in a one-bite cup of phyllo dough. They come in packages of 15, ready to eat as is, or to bake for a few minutes. I've filled them with sweet fillings, and savory ones. Easy, easy, easy. These no-bake pesto cheese bites are savory, and the filling takes about... Read more →


FACT: Bacon makes everything better. It doesn't take much bacon to perk up any recipe, especially something as fundamentally bland as rice. And kids are more likely to eat a bowl of rice with vegetables if it also has easy-to-spot pieces of bacon bobbing here and there. In this recipe, bacon lends its salty, smoky notes to an already-rich risotto. After rendering the bacon fat in the pot (or the electric pressure cooker, which is my preferred way of cooking risotto these days), you remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and return it to the pot after the rice is done. The rice cooks in the rendered bacon fat, plus a little bit of olive oil. Broccoli, stirred in after the rice finishes, benefits... Read more →


Soon after we moved to the log house, my husband Ted and I, with help from our friends Candy and Dave, planted a large herb garden right outside the front door. Over the years, the garden grew and grew, and we expanded our basil patch from three plants to a dozen. Two or three times each summer, we harvested our basil. We would pile the stalks on the kitchen table, and patiently strip the leaves. And then I would turn those leaves into pesto, some to use right away, the rest to go into the freezer for winter. That was then, and this is now. We live in the city, with no garden, and no easy access to the abundant and flavorful basil we used... Read more →


My friend Sarah has the greenest thumb of anyone I have ever known. On a small plot of land in the local community garden, she grows a lush variety of flowers, herbs and vegetables. Recently a big bunch of her mint, newly trimmed, found its way to my kitchen -- thank you, thank you -- so much, so fragrant, that I wanted to keep it forever. Well, not forever, but for the summer, and I think I found a way. In the freezer, I found a bag of chopped walnut pieces, intended for baking in cookies. Into the food processor went the large bunch of mint leaves, plus walnuts and a few more things from the pantry. Voila! A mild-tasting, yet garlicky, pesto that's perfect... Read more →


A creative cook needs only two methods of cooking leftovers, two master recipes that disguise those bits and pieces and presto-change-o them into something completely new and exciting. These days we might call them kitchen hacks, but these kitchen "tricks" been around forever: toss leftovers into a soup pot, or wrap them in eggs. Fold any leftovers into any basic soup or egg recipe, and you've got a reliably wonderful "new" dish to put on the table. And that is the genesis of this frittata. I started with a single slice of smoked salmon, and half an avocado. A large fennel bulb intended for something else gave up part of its outer stalk and a leafy frond, and added a bit of crunchy, anise undertone.... Read more →