Just when it seems I've fed my husband Ted every imaginable variation of beef stew, I hit on another flavor combination that becomes a new favorite. So it is with this sweet and sour beef stew, made easily in the slow cooker. The seasonings for this stew draw on Moroccan tradition, cinnamon and allspice paired with dried fruit (raisins, though you could substitute dried apricots). Brown sugar boosts the sweetness, and apple cider vinegar provides the sour. Overall, the combination is lighter than my traditional wine-based stew. Carrots and butternut squash are the perfect addition, because they, too, become sweeter with long cooking. Serve the stew over pasta, as we do, or couscous or rice. Like most stews, this one freezes well, and is even... Read more →


After a week's vacation in South Florida, I have tacos on the brain. Fish tacos tempted us everywhere (have you ever tried corvina?), and every menu offered chicken, beef, and carnitas tacos, too. I love the idea of carnitas -- long-cooked shredded pork, crisped up at the end of the cooking -- but I don't eat pork. And then it occurred to me that I could make my own slow cooker carnitas out of beef or chicken, and I could enjoy those burnt edges, too. Use your favorite cut of beef, or meaty chicken thighs, for this recipe; I love brisket, so of course that's what I used here. Give the meat a dry rub, then cook it on low heat in the slow cooker.... 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 →


Do you soup swap? Whether it's an informal trade with a neighbor, or a more organized Soup Swap party with a group of friends, making and sharing soup is as comforting as a pot of soup itself. The basic idea of soup swap is that you exchange quart-size containers of soup with general appeal (everyone does not love borscht, as it turns out), that can be frozen for enjoyment throughout the cool weather months. It's great fun to make something you know will nestle into a friend's freezer, to be pulled out and savored on a chilly evening. For my next swap, I wanted to create a make-ahead-and-freeze bean soup with neither tomato nor hot pepper in any form. This turkey, red bean and cabbage... Read more →


We have a new grill! We have a new grill! My husband Ted and I have been grill-free since we left the log house, so we're beyond excited to be grilling in our little Boston back yard. First up, one of my favorite cuts of meat, boneless leg of lamb. For an overnight marinade, I combined the Middle Eastern spices I love so much on shish taouk (garlic chicken on skewers): lemon, allspice, and loads of garlic. I added a bit of cinnamon, too. On the day I made this to photograph, I overcooked the lamb a little bit (still getting used to the new grill), but the flavor was so good that it didn't slow us down at all. While the meat was cooling,... Read more →


I know what you're thinking: how can this be barbecue chicken without the drippy brown barbecue sauce? Trust me. This chicken "drips" with all of the sweet, salty, smoky flavors of barbecue, without drowning in sauce, and that makes it perfect for tacos and burritos and quesadillas. Add your own favorite salsa on top, to make this spicy or not. Adapted from my slow cooker barbecue beef brisket recipe, this version, which my grandkids stuffed in burritos, passed the kid-friendly test with flying colors (i.e., they asked for seconds!). I cut down on both sugar and spice, but left all of the things nice: a little hint of adobo sauce from the chipotle, and some chili powder for rich flavor. If you're making this for... Read more →


Is your house Party Central for your family celebrations, or the place where your friends gather to watch football/basketball/hockey playoffs or cheer on your alma mater in a college bowl? If your house is the place to be, these Tex-Mex turkey meatball sliders should be there, too. They're tasty and easy, and can be made far ahead of when you need them. Everyone loves meatballs, and these sliders are no more than that -- giant meatballs packed with your favorite Tex-Mex seasonings (and with sour cream inside). Even with a little bit of cayenne pepper, these are not spicy. However, they are a little bit messy, as the mashed avocado tends to squirt out with the first bite, so be sure to have plenty of... Read more →