It was at a Christmastime potluck where I tasted a little bite of holiday heaven! This party-sized casserole came out of the oven and the entire room was engulfed with the incredible aroma of the season—a rich, tasting soufflé-like casserole of sweet and fresh yams, covered and smothered with a glazy brown sugar and pecan topping. Instantly, we all dove in and devoured. You know me. It took all of one bite and ten seconds for me to track down the owner of the casserole and beg for the recipe. This fantastic party-worthy dish is exactly the reason I think it’s unfortunate that we relegate a yam or sweet potato casserole only to holiday dinners. This dish should be made and enjoyed all winter long! It can be made with either yams or sweet potatoes—choose whichever are the sweetest in season. I’m certain that you’ll enjoy this casserole…. who knows? It may be one of your most requested dishes at your holiday feasts!
I’ve never been a picky eater. But meatloaf was not one of my favorites, even though the dish has withstood the test of time as a favorite comfort food. Well, what a difference one recipe can make! I went from never giving meatloaf a second thought to maybe thinking about it a little too much. These days I can’t get enough of this special recipe that makes meatloaf so very flavorful and moist. What secrets does this variation hold? There are several. First, the two cups of whole milk that the breadcrumbs happily soak in. That alone gives the meatloaf a rich and ultra moist texture. Second, sautéing the sweet yellow onion adds to the moisture plus gives the loaf a slight natural sweetness. Then the sauce that gets brushed over the top before baking gives this meatloaf a hint of spice, a bit of heat from the dry mustard and sweetness from the brown sugar. All in all, this is a wonderful meal for the family, especially when paired with mashed potatoes, gnocchi, pasta or just some charred crusty French bread. This quote from Bon Appetite magazine summed up meatloaf the best: “Meatloaf in its many iterations and guises was often a sort of culinary scrap heap, a refuge for leftovers, in the spirit of many casseroles and of shepherd’s pie. It was a way to stretch protein. It was a way to use up excess vegetables. It was a ragtag orchestra of ingredients on the verge of expiration. And it made music more uplifting than anyone could have anticipated.” This recipe is definitely music to my ears and a brand new one woman fan favorite!
It’s one of the most colorful traditions we have, and it all starts on January 6th, the Feast of the Epiphany celebrating the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child. The Three Kings Cake, with its colorful adornment of beads, a plastic baby hidden inside and topped with a king’s crown also kicks off the Carnival season with Fat Tuesday, aka Mardi Gras. With this treat, you’ll be feasting your eyes on fun!
Watch my How To Video here!
This one is personal! I’ve been making my special wreath bread for the holidays ever since I was in high school. I love making it, I love cutting into it (as pretty as it is) and I absolutely love giving it away as a holiday gift from my kitchen. I think I cut the recipe out of a Women’s Day Magazine many, many years ago, and eventually the clipping just disintegrated from overuse. By the time that happened however, I had the recipe embedded in my cooking DNA. The inside of this gorgeous bread wreath is filled with delicious surprises like brown sugar, walnuts, soaked raisins and spices. The outside is a thing of beauty and in my opinion, the perfect holiday wreath to share! Enjoy it as a breakfast bread or a sweet snack anytime!
Slumps, Grunts, Cobbler, Crisps, Crumbles, Pandowdy, Buckles and Betty’s.
They’re all old-timey names for some of our best-loved fruit desserts. But can you imagine the joy that grandma would experience (when no one was watching, of course) if she knew she could cut up a few apples, open a can of biscuit dough and end up with the most scrumptious dumplings in no time? The canned biscuit dough makes it convenient and the caramel liquid is the magic that makes these treats irresistible. What a nice combination! I did quite a bit of experimenting and discovered that if I used the large biscuits, like the Pillsbury Grands, I can peel each biscuit apart and get two perfect dumplings! The sauce is so easy; just heat some butter, sugar, vanilla and a few spices, then pour it over the dumplings, allowing them to just sit and soak up all the sweet and buttery goodness from below. The real secret is to reserve some liquid so that you can baste the dumplings several times during the cooking process. That will allow you to get that gorgeous deep golden glaze on top! (I also dunk a pastry brush into the baking dish during cooking to get a little of the apple flavor.) Save this recipe as a sure fire quick and easy dessert you can whip up with very little effort. Don’t forget the vanilla ice cream or whipped cream on top!
Watch my How To Video for Apple Biscuit Dumplings here!