Weeknight Dinner: Turkey Sloppy Joes

sloppy joe recipe

  A high school classmate of mine recently referred to family dinner as a "nightly condom commercial." That's pretty grim. My kids are older than his, so my feelings about family dinner may be slightly less bleak. But family dinner is not the most relaxing twenty minutes -- because that is how long my kids will sit at the table -- of my day. … [Read more...]

Healthy Snack Idea: Homemade Plum Almond Granola Bars

homemade granola bars

It's okay to snack. Really. Snacks are part of a healthy diet. No one should be expected to go from lunch until dinner without some fuel. What do you think will happen when you sit down to dinner utterly famished? That's exactly how overeating happens. In fact, smart snacking may be the key to that new year's resolution to eat healthy that you made … [Read more...]

Duck Fat Roasted Root Vegetables

roasted root vegetables in duck fat

When I was growing up, my mother typically made dinners that had a protein, a starch and a vegetable. Dinner was always followed by a green salad. I realized recently that I almost never cook like that. Most of my dinners tend to be one-pot meals, like soups, stews, braises and casseroles. Perhaps I will serve bread or salad on the side. But I … [Read more...]

Game Day Recipes from Stephanie Izard

macy's culinary council

I am a member of the Everywhere Society and Everywhere has provided me with compensation for this post. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. In the pantheon of Chicago celebrity chefs, Stephanie Izard ranks among my favorites. Not only was Stephanie the first woman to win on "Top Chef," my favorite television show, she is … [Read more...]

January 2015 Chicago Food Swap Recap

cinnamon syrup

The Chicago Food Swap started its fourth year off with a bang at the January food swap. A few timely mentions in the local press, such as the Chicago Reader and the Check Please Planner, brought a wave of new swappers who mixed right in with the returning veterans. And there was plenty of delicious food all around. One of the highlights of … [Read more...]

New Year’s Resolution Dinner: Nicoise Salad

main course salads

Salad for dinner? In the middle of January? I know that it is comfort food season, but it is also the time of year when we atone for our sins during the holiday season and eat healthier. The goal of this recipe is to show you that eating light and healthy can still satisfy your soul, even in the dead of winter. Packed with protein from BumbleBee … [Read more...]

Drunken Shepherd’s Pie with Potato-Parsnip Crust

shepherd's pie recipe

Lamb is an underused ingredient in America. In Europe, in the Middle East and even in the Antipodes, lamb is extremely popular. But here it's an afterthought. Why is that? I know many people claim not to like the taste of lamb, and it does have a distinctive taste. But my belief is that Americans do not like the taste of lamb because they are so … [Read more...]

Earl Grey Shortbread with Truvia and Bigelow Tea

earl grey shortbread

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SweetWarmUp #CollectiveBias Have you tried baking with the natural sweetener Truvia? I enjoy Truvia as a sweetener in my morning Bigelow tea but had not tried baking with it until recently. Truvia Baking Blend bakes like sugar but with … [Read more...]

Healthy Snacking with Pistachios

yogurt parfait recipe

Are you looking to eat healthier in the new year? I certainly am. With several weeks of holiday parties and meals behind me, I am resolving to cut back on treats and start the new year off right with healthy, nutritious foods that satisfy. I have recently discovered a new ally in the fight to eat right: in-shell pistachios.   Pistachios, a top … [Read more...]

Cocoa Chicken Chili


We returned from almost two weeks in Florida to find snow on the ground in Chicago. Our spirits sank as we contemplated the return to school and work and the several months of winter ahead. The only thing to do was to hole up in the warm house and cook some serious comfort food while the blizzard came down outside. For my family, comfort food … [Read more...]

Meyer Lemon Meringue Tart

lemon meringue tart

Brace yourself for more citrus recipes. Today it is a show-stopping tart filled with Meyer lemon curd and topped with clouds of meringue. Looking for your next dinner party dessert? I have it right here. Why is lemon meringue a thing? Beyond the tastiness of the combination, there is a wonderful symmetry to the combination of lemon curd and … [Read more...]

What to Do with Rangpur Limes

rangpur limes recipes

Winter is peak citrus fruit season and I could not be more excited. I absolutely love to cook and bake with lemons, limes, oranges and their exotic cousins, pomelos and kumquats. Right now, of course, I am in Florida, which is citrus country. One of my best finds at the Saturday farmers market in downtown Naples was Rangpur limes.  This unusual … [Read more...]

Winter at the Naples Farmers Market

naples farmers market

My family is in Naples, Florida for our annual vacation. Over the decade that we have been coming to this part of the country, we have identified a number of enjoyable activities and sights beyond just the beach and the pool. One of my favorite activities, to no one's surprise, is the Saturday morning trip to the Third Street South Farmers Market … [Read more...]

Holiday Baking: Cardamom Sugar Cookies

cut-out sugar cookie recipe

Sometimes you just have to bake a batch of old-fashioned cut-out sugar cookies, don't you? It was a busy Saturday around here, as they all are: an indoor soccer game, a guitar lesson, errands, play dates, oh, and getting ready for the holidays. But somehow, in the afternoon, I found the time to bake and decorate these, my favorite sugar cookies … [Read more...]

Brisket for Hanukkah

hanukkah recipes

Tonight at sundown, Jewish families around the world will gather together to celebrate Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights. Hanukkah commemorates the victory of a small group of Jews, the Maccabees, over the army of the Syrian-Greek King Antiochus in the second century BCE. After the Jews drove the Greeks out of Judea, they attempted to restore … [Read more...]

Holiday Entertaining with Gougeres

hors d'oeuvre recipes

With Hanukkah starting this week and Christmas only two weeks away, many of you have entertaining on your mind. Let me take this moment to remind you of my favorite make-ahead hors d'oeuvres: gougères. One of the most classic French pre-dinner bites, gougères are small cheese puffs made with pâté à choux, which is the same dough that is used to … [Read more...]

Meyer Lemon Bars to Brighten Your Day

lemon bars recipe

When I was in law school, I was always the one baking for parties and student group meetings. (I was also the one who hosted elaborate dinner parties and brought homemade soup to sick friends, one of whom later became my husband.) I had two go-to recipes, my grandmother's famous Halfway Cookies and lemon bars. If he weren't going to marry me for … [Read more...]

Holiday Dessert: Maple Buttermilk Pie

buttermilk pie recipe

Did you happen to catch me on Fox 32's morning show "Good Day Chicago" talking about edible gift ideas from the Chicago Food Swap? If not, be sure to watch the clip here! When your hobby becomes your profession, it is a bit of an adjustment. For years, it was my dream to cook and write about food professionally. Now that I am in the midst of … [Read more...]

Edible Gift Idea: Caramels

how to make caramels

Despite putting up jars upon jars of jams and pickles all summer long, I still find myself scrambling at this time of year to make gifts for the friends, neighbors, teachers and coaches who have touched our lives in the past year. If you are in the same boat, be sure to tune in to Fox 32's Good Day Chicago on Monday December 8 at 9:45 am when I … [Read more...]

Cooking Demo with Chef Takashi Yagihashi

chef takashi yagihashi

I am a member of the Everywhere Society and Everywhere has provided me with compensation for this post. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. Chicago is a city rich in celebrity chefs from Rick Bayless to Stephanie Izard. One of the international celebrity chefs that Chicago likes to claim as its own is Chef Takashi … [Read more...]

Cookie Exchange: Lemony Jam Thumbprints

jam thumbprint cookies

It's holiday baking season and I am here to help with some of my best cookie recipes. This cookie came about because I wanted to showcase (read: get rid of) some of the beautiful jams that I put up this year with fruit from my beloved Oak Park farmers’ market. There is no better way to get a sense of who I am as a cook that to try some of my Black … [Read more...]

Cookie Exchange: Key Lime Meltaways

key lime cookies

I'm just back from our annual Thanksgiving jaunt to Florida, and of course, now that my beloved Oak Park Farmers Market is closed for the season, the only farmers market that I get to visit is the Saturday morning Third Street South Farmers Market in downtown Naples. My favorite stall at the Naples Farmers Market sells unusual varieties of citrus … [Read more...]

Scenes from Thanksgiving Dinner

thanksgiving centerpiece

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone. Was your meal a success? Did you try new recipes or stick with your tried-and-true favorites? My mother and I hosted my family and several friends at her house in Florida, as has been our tradition for several years now. We have honed our menu over the years and feel like we have the perfect balance of … [Read more...]

Apple Caramel Tart for Thanksgiving

thanksgiving apple caramel tart

Today's post is sponsored by Riveridge Produce, a Michigan grower and distributor of twenty-four delicious varieties of apples. Look for Riveridge apples, including Macintosh, Cortland, Jonathan, Empire, Rome and Honeycrisp, for your Thanksgiving table in fine grocery stores, such as Publix, Meijer, Mariano's, Copps, Pick 'n Save and HEB. In … [Read more...]

Homemade Cranberry Sauce for National Cranberry Day

how to make cranberry sauce

Did you know that November 23 is National Cranberry Day? I suppose it makes sense, being so close to Thanksgiving, which is cranberries time to shine. But I love to cook and bake with cranberries all winter long. In fact, I stock up on cranberries during the last few weeks of the Oak Park Farmers Market because these babies freeze like a dream. I … [Read more...]