Category Archives: Christmas

Merry Christmas




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Happy Christmas Eve

Flying reindeer sighted in Iowa…..stayed tuned…

reindeer, flying

Yes, I have deer recipes….but who has time to cook on Christmas Eve?



Get off the internet!

See you later XoX K



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Crunchy/ Egg Nog/ Texas/Cranberry and Bacon Stuffed/ French Toast

Yep, that’s what I want, just as soon as I finish inventing it.

I started craving it yesterday, which wasn’t a particularly crunchy sort of day – a little gritty, perhaps,  but no crunch. The other elements started creeping in, one by one.

It was an open a box, take everything out and deal with it sort of day, the days one has LOTS of after moving. The ‘And just which past life of mine is this thing a remnant of?‘ sort of day. AND a total ‘Christmas is happening this week?’ denial day  sort of day.

It was also the day to Rescue the Aloe Vera.

You might remember the Aloe Vera as a carrier of toads into the ancestral abode….or maybe that was a Facebook moment…In TRUE Lucy and Ethel fashion, I can’t get whatever stupid thing will let me insert and then write some more, so it will come at the end, and therefore be in the NightCap position, not the ReCap place.

Anyhow, in some circles this plant is already famous. And before, before, before the plant was semi-famous, one of my  Pilgrim wasbands, John Forti,  gave me (and several dozen others) aloe vera divisions from his epically  happy aloe vera, that did do so well for me that several years later I gave aloe vera to any and all takers that I had divided up from my divisions….and after years (close to 2 decades) of cats who loved to knock plants over and tussle them out of their pots to play with their roots….I still had a very healthy, though beaten back, plant. I had meant to re-pot it last Fall, but it was too heavy to carry down the stairs….so it was a definite for this Spring.

But I hadn’t gotten someone bigger/stronger/younger then I (that would be my son) to carry it out for me  ….before the fire.

So the plant, with some ado,  was moved to the ancestral home and placed on the deck and was happy. So happy that it’s root-bound self started to burst out of the planter – sideways – so it was plunked into plastic waste paper bin, as a temporary measure to keep root and plant in the same zip code temporarily…. O tempora! O mores! 

The container was one of convenience, and not a judgement about the plant .

waste basket

A NICE plastic bin, like this white one. Also – MEMO to those who photograph white furnishings against a white background – not the best choice. Just sayin’.

That was in May. This is now December. Can you feel the guilt?

Back to Saturday….

First I had to find the boxes that had the pots in them; and the boxes with the saucers and the boxes with the potting soil. Then I had to wash the pots, because the ones that were the right size OF COURSE where the ones that I had put away with out washing.Wash them or toss them out, don’t save the washing up for later I tell me self and never seem to learn.

potting soil miricle grow

And I had 2 opened bags of soil….now I just have a little left of one. I did think that there was a third bag…..

As I examined the poor, sad  plant I realized I didn’t know where my garden tools were….so I improvised, thank you ceramic knife and stainless cooking spoon. Did I mention the reason I re-pot outdoors is because there are some things I have never learned to do neatly? In the end, I put a double layer of newpapers down on the bathroom floor and had to.


Three new pots of aloe vera.

And then the clean-up of the re-potting.

Somewhere in all the washing up, I started thinking about egg nog.

Like how almost NO ONE published a homemade egg nog recipe in the holiday magazines. Not that I would. More then once. Maybe twice. And then there’s that whole raw egg thing. That’s why no one makes it at home. Maybe.

But I had already purchased some, the egg nog of my youth:


Hood’s Golden EggNog – a little nutmeg on top – perfect.

And just how did egg nog become part of a Christmas tradition, when traditionally this is the time of year when hens lay least?  There is also an entire Nog family out there that has no egg…


Notice – NOG, No EGG. Don’t be fooled

Since I had the egg nog (not the no-egg nog) in the house already….could EggNog French toast be far behind?

And Crunchy French Toast, I have learned from Water St Cafe, home of some pretty fine French Toast, both crunchy and stuffed. The secret to their crunchy is …..


I have some corn chex, left from another project…..hmmmmm/

Water St Cafe also has a French Toast that is  both Crunchy and Stuffed…..with blueberry cream cheese.

This morning the Boston Globe Magazine  – baked French Toast

Now about the Texas Toast…

I got an early Xmas present of Smoke & Pickles

smoke and pickles

Edward Lee

Anyhow – Edward Lee mentions Texas Toast with several different dishes.Texas Toast is just sliced double thick bread.

Double thick bread slices in an egg nog (maybe a little rum) definitely a little nutmeg, and some sort of bacon/cranberry sauce stuffing….maple syrup is just too much sweet with egg nog, baked and not fried.  I’ll let you know what I decide and how it turns out.

The Recap/NightCap:

Kathleen Wall's photo.
Kathleen Wall's photo.
Last night, brought the potted plants in from the deck so they wouldn’t turn into plantcicles. This morning there was a little blob or blot in the floor – whatever could it be???????Not dust, but a little frog. Not the little frog in the picture, Mamma and me were tooooooooo busy scooping up said frog in a dustpan and gently holding him down with the broom bristles and going to the back door and unlocking the locks and setting the dustpan down and lifting the broom and finding NO FROG…..back inside, scooping Mr. Frogget once more and FINALLY getting him out the door. Because everyone should have an adrenaline filled Lucy and Ethel moment between coffee and breakfast.
October 19th, 2015

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Rocking the Game Hens

Plymouth Mass.

Plymouth MAPlymouth Rock


Plymouth Rock

Plymouth Rock chicken

Plymouth Rock_hen_in_backyard

A Barred Plymouth Rock hen

Cornish Game hen

CornishHenRock Cornish Game Hen

Tyson game hens

Cross a Plymouth Rock with a Cornish Game bird -voila – and both the boys and the girls are called hens, because why not be confusing??? Practically actual size.


The The Unmelancholy Dane was a birdman

and total aside – Victor Borge was an early promoter of the little bird.

Rock Cornish Game Hens with Wild Rice Stuffing

4 Rock Cornish game hens

6 Tablespoons butter – divided

½ C finely chopped onion

3 Tablespoons finely chopped celery (keep in mind the size of the birds….teeny bitty bits!)

1 ½ Cups cooked wild rice

1/3 Cup toasted chopped pecans

2 Tablespoons finely chopped dried cranberries

4 dried apricots, once again, finely chopped

1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper



Thaw the birds if their frozen. Rinse and pat dry with a paper towel inside and out. Lightly season insides with salt and pepper.

Toast the pecans in a hot frying pan; they only take a minute, not more than two. When they smell good, they’re done! Be careful not to scorch them. This step isn’t critical, but it really adds a depth of flavor, so well worth the extra few minutes and the dirty pan.

I use a little food processor to chop everything, first the celery, and the onion, then the fruits and nuts – just takes a pulse or two. All of this is going inside the little birds, so keep proportions in mind.

Preheat the oven 400° F.

Sauté onion and celery in2 Tablespoons butter until fragrant and translucent. Mix the onions, celery, wild rice, pecans and fruits together.

Stuff the mixture into the birds – about ½ Cup stuffing per bird. Because these birds are so small they don’t need to be tied, sewn ar laced closed. Put them in a baking dish breast side up.

Mix the remaining 4 Tablespoons butter with balsamic vinegar. Put on top of the birds – this is their baste and their sauce.

Cook about 80 minutes or until internal temp is 170°.

After you take them from the oven, let them rest under loosely tented foil 10 minutes and serve.

My then 15 year old son had had this for Thanksgiving with his aunt and requested it for Christmas. Actually, he said it would be good anytime! Auntie downloaded some recipes from Food Network website, and this was, more or less, among them.

Rock Cornish Hens are a cross between a Cornish Game Hen and a Plymouth Rock chicken, very modern and very American. Who knew?

KMW 1-07

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Block off the Ole Chip


Block of brownie goodness made from chocolate chips – and  few other basics.

Basic brownie history from New England Recipe website – click it

Basic Brownie

1/3 cup butter

¾ cup sugar

2 Tbl H2O

1 12-oz bag chocolate chips, divided (whatever kind of chips you want – mix it up)

1 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

¾ cup flour

¼ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

  1. Grease a 9×9 pan and preheat the oven to 325°.
  2. In a large saucepan combine butter, sugar and water. Bring just to a boil.
  3. Remove from heat and add ½ of the chocolate chips and the vanilla; stir until chips are melted and mixture is smooth.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time.
  5. Gradually add flour, soda and salt.
  6. Stir in remaining chips.
  7. Spread in the greased 9×9 pan.
  8. Bake 30-35 minutes.
  9. Cool completely before cutting.
  10. Makes 16 2 ¼ inch squares.

Adapted from the back of a Nestlés packet, c. 1985

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S Cookies

No, not scookies, or even s’cookies, but S cookies.

Cookies in the shape of an S.

Stella D'Oro Breakfast Treats are technically an S cookies - but these aren't the ones I mean. This time.

Stella D’Oro Breakfast Treats are technically an S cookies – but these aren’t the ones I mean. This time.

And being Italian, there’s more then one….

S cookies - almond

S cookies – almond

S anisecookies

S cookies – anise

S cookies....I've already lost track and we're not even out of the A varieties....

S cookies….I’ve already lost track and we’re not even out of the ‘A’  varieties….

The cookies I’m taking about are also known as Susameille. Or Susamelli.  Or Suziemella. Or Suzie Cookies.


Real Susameille are a honey of a cookie

These are my favorite cookies of the Christmas Season. I’ve discovered several versions of them and several versions of the back-story as well.  First, a cookbook version.


(Suzie Cookies)


15 oz blackstrap molasses

1 cup oil

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup sugar

½ tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 Tbsp black pepper

5 whole orange rinds, grated (about ½ cup)

6-7 cups flour

1 cup filberts, sliced

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Grease baking sheets.
  2. Mix molasses, oil, egg, sugar, salt, pepper and orange rinds. Blend well.
  3. Add flour to form a dough that can be rolled.
  4. Oil fingers. Take pieces of dough and roll like a pencil.
  5. Shape rolls into a 4-5” S
  6. Place a sliced filbert on the top and bottom of the S.
  7. Bake about 15 minutes, until just brown.

These are great wine ‘dunkers.’

Origin: Carmela Derrico

From Anna Tosti Goodman, Lake Worth/Boynton Beach Lodge #2304. In Preserving Our Italian Heritage. A Cookbook. Sons of Italy Florida Foundation. 1991.p. 178.

Preserving our Italian HeritageAccording to some sources (and these guys are all cut and pasting each other), Susameillas

are traditional Neapolitan Christmas cookies,also in Ischia, so close enough to Gaeta, that this is the place

and are S-shaped (that much we’ve got)

For two possible reasons:(I think they mean for one of two possible reasons)

First, in the past they were called sesamielli, and covered with sesame seeds.

But where else do sesame seeds show in the dolci of Gaeta?

Sesame seeds  – semi di sesamo

susamielli with seasame

S cookies with sesame

Second, they were (and are) called Sapienze, because they were made by nuns of the Monastero della Sapienza.

This is already longer and more confusing then I want it to be. And there’s more. My back-story version.

  1. These are the cookies that my Auntie Anna made at Christmas. She’s the one who passed the recipe down to various of us.
  2. Auntie Anna got the recipe from my Nonna. These were the cookies she used to make. Please note: Nonna died before I was was two, so I only know Auntie Anna’s version.
  3. Working with honey can be tricky. Auntie Anna’s recipe gave all the right ingredients, but technique is something else altogether.
  4. Auntie Anna’s brother Cosmos LOVES these cookies, and since his birthday is December, his wife Jane has been making these cookies for decades as well.
  5. Jane’s version appeared in Lo Specchio, the newsletter of the ITALIAN GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA  back in Summer 2001. The version I’m using is based on one Auntie Anna shared with me, and my cousin Flora, and Flora and I talked together and then I made them some more….


1 Lb. honey

1 bottle light molasses (Grandma’s unsulphured)

1/2 cup oil

½ oz almond extract

2 tangerines (preferably organic)

1 ½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

6 C flour

Almond halves

  1. In a large bowl, mix liquid ingredients together.
  2. Wash and peel tangerines. Cut peel into small dice and add to liquid ingredients.
  3. Mix together flour, baking powder and salt.
  4. Gradually add the dry mixture to the liquid one until it is all well blended.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
  6. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°.
  7. Shape dough by rolling walnut sized pieces between oiled hands (I fill a small saucer with oil to dip my palms in – think Kim Kardashian backside oiled…pretty slick indeed) and shape into an S.
  8. Put on a prepared cookie sheet – We’ve been using the no stick Reynolds wrap to good success- these can bake up sticky. Put three almond halves in the crooks.
  9. Bake for 10 minutes at 350.
  10. They shouldn’t brown – just be firm.
  11. Yields 2 ½ dozen

From my Auntie Anna, more or less, and commentary from just about everyone else.

susameile with almonds

This is from a bakery in Connecticut – I didn’t realize the 2 images were joined. By next Christmas I will be taking my own pictures!

Any way you try them, S Cookies  are S’wonderful!

Have a honey of a New Year!

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Cinnamon Rollin’

Christmas is when you need the familiar, the comfortable and the delicious.

Cinnamon rolls  to the rescue!

But not just ANY rolls, no, these are special rolls.

From an old family recipe  – from my son’s other side, in memory of Grandma B. Her family had put together a cookbook, so we had actual recipes to work with.

Everyone loved Grandma’s Cinnamon Rolls, so they are a sweet remembrance of her.

This is a Swedish Kanelbulle, which is the family of cinnamon rolls that Grandma had made. Notice that there is no icing. Believe you me, they don't need it!

This is a Swedish Kanelbulle, which is in the family of cinnamon rolls that Grandma had made. Notice that there is no icing. Believe you me, they don’t need it!

Cinnamon Rolls

All ingredients from white yeast bread




Follow all instructions for “White Yeast Bread” through the first paragraph.

Cut dough into 2 portions. Roll one into a rectangle and cut in half lengthwise. Combine sugar and cinnamon until it’s the color of cinnamon toast. Melt butter and add sugar mixture, keeping sugar wet but not too runny, Spread over dough not solid but not too sparsely. Cut into 1 inch strips. Roll and lay on the side in a greased pan. Be sure to leave pans that leave no extra space.   Cover the ½ of the dough and repeat, until all dough is gone. Allow to rise, covered, for one hour. Bake at 400° for approximately 30 minutes. Cover with foil if browning too fast. Top with butter after removing from oven.

White Yeast Bread

1 pkg. yeast  – I buy  yeast in bulk – by the jar or by the pound and store it in the freezer. I use a yeast measure spoon

Yeast Measure spoon - I got mine from King Arthur Flour. You can order a pound of yeast from them for less then the little bitty jar in the grocery store and do a whole lot more baking. I keep a pound of dry yeast in a 1 quart wide-mouth mason jar in the freezer.

Yeast Measure spoon – I got mine from King Arthur Flour. You can order a pound of yeast from them for less then the little bitty jar in the grocery store and do a whole lot more baking. I keep a pound of dry yeast in a 1 quart wide-mouth mason jar in the freezer.

¼ c. water

2 c. scalded milk (whole milk)

2 T. sugar

2 tsp. salt

1 T. shortening (we used butter)

6 c. flour (King Arthur Flour white)

Soften yeast in warm water (110°). Combine hot milk, sugar, salt and shortening. Cool to lukewarm. Stir in 2 cups flour; beat well. Add yeast; mix. ( add the rest of the flour) Shape into a ball; place in a greased bowl and turn over, cover; let rise about 1 ½ hours. Punch down. Let rise another 45 minutes.

Cut dough into 2 portions. Shape each into a ball and let rise for 10 minutes. Shape into loaves and put into greased loaf pans. Allow to rise 1 hour. Bake at 400° for approximately 35 minutes. Cover with foil if browning too fast. Top with butter after removing from oven. Makes 2 loaves.

Am Moak, p. 29. family cookbook

More notes from 2014 – what we did (more or less)

  • Figured on a double double –we wanted 3 9×13 plus 2 9×9 – made 3 9×13 plus 3 9×9 AND 2 loaves of white bread plus buns for me …..
  • A double double is a whole lotta buns!
  • We figured a double as 2 9×13 trays
  • Used the paper baking pans…..they were firmer then the disposable aluminum and they had lids, making them great for transport.  And no washing up or worrying about getting them back.
  • Dark brown sugar – light brown would have worked, too.
  • Lots of butter
  • 1 loaf = 1 9×13 or 2 9” pans (we thought)
  • We also made 2 loaves because rolls seemed to go on forever.

23 Dec 2014

1 pm begin – 5:15 is wrap – he took home one large and 2 small trays as well as 2 loaves white bread; I have the 2 large and 1 small tray to take to Pembroke.

Heat 4 C milk

12 C flour

2 packet yeast (the magic yeast spoon) w/ ½ C water

4 T sugar

4 t salt

Mix together. Knead until smooth. Let raise 2 hrs

2 ½ sticks butter, melted

  • 2 # brown sugar
  • 2C white sugar 2 oz cinnamon a little rum

for a double

We did this twice; the second time, with the wicked cheap $1.29 a 2 ½ oz bottle of cinnamon was better – either we’ve grown accustomed to cassia or it just works better with fat and alcohol.

There was a little left over for my own Xmas morning buns.

Notes on the paper pans – they caught fire – but just a little. Everyone was very calm and just put the little fire out. I’m currently in the market for nonstick 9x13s that have covers. Problem solved.

paper baking pans - don't let them touch the sides of the oven. It said don't use over 425 and we didn't. I keep them in the 350 range. Should I ever use them again. Probably NOT.

Paper baking pans – don’t let them touch the sides of the oven. It said don’t use over 425 and we didn’t. I would keep them in the 350 range. Should I ever use them again. Probably NOT.

Rollin’ in a River of Cinnamon Love

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The Cool Cookies

On this the third day of Christmas…   the cookie days of Christmas continue

Then there are a whole category of cookies that involve no baking and very little cooking. The Refrigerator Cookie.

The Cool Cookies.

I don't remember how I came to have this book, I just know that I do. And I've baked cookies from it. And have not-baked  from it. Mrs. Fields Cookie Book 100 recipes from the Kitchen of Mrs. Fields 1992 from Time-Life Books

I don’t remember how I came to have this book, I just know that I do. And I’ve baked cookies from it. And have not-baked from it.
Mrs. Fields Cookie Book
100 recipes from the Kitchen of Mrs. Fields
1992 from Time-Life Books

The Refrigerator Thumb Print cookie is a cookie I have not-baked. Raspberry jelly is the jelly that is called for, which is SUCH an ’80’s thing I may never be able to eat the chocolate/raspberry combo again.Although my sister made some raspberry jelly…..

And since the chocolate called for is in chip form, and there are so many chip options, my imagination has gone a little wild with this.

Of the chocolate chip family,  there are bags in range from 12 to 10 oz. (a few a 11 or 11.5 – honestly – 11.5??????? You can’t go to 12?) so you may need to make some minor adjustments. If I did they were so minor that I didn’t record them. Or remember them.

choc chip bag


choc chip dark bag

Dark – and there are lots of brands now, it’s not just Nestle



Peanut Butter

Peanut Butter

The secret ingredient is  QUICK OATS. Not to be confused instant or old fashioned  rolled. Oats.


Quaker went to the round box in 1915 - how were they selling oats before that?????

Quaker went to the round box in 1915 – how were they selling oats before that????? Each answer just generates more questions.

Quaker introduce Quick Oats in 1922 - even then people were looking for a quick and easy breakfast food

Quaker introduced Quick Oats in 1922 – even then people were looking for a quick and easy breakfast food. The box hasn’t changed a lot in all that time, although Larry, the Quaker Man, had gotten an update.


Refrigerator Cookies Suite

The Basic Chocolate  Overture

The Dark Chocolate Sonatas

The PB&J Coda

The White Chocolate Finale


The Basic Chocolate  (Overture)

¼ cup (half stick) butter

½ cup heavy cream

1 cup white sugar

2 cups (12 oz. bag) semi – sweet chocolate chips

1tsp vanilla extract

2 ½ cup quick (NOT Instant) oatmeal

1 cup well flavored fruit preserves (what do YOU like with chocolate? Apricot, Orange marmalade, cherry, ginger marmalade, cranberry jelly, seedless raspberry, (chocolate and raspberry is such and ‘80’s combo I don’t feel I need ever go there again…)…use what you have or get what you like!

  1. Combine butter, cream and sugar in a 2 Q saucepan. Warm over medium heat until sugar dissolves.
  2. Remove from heat. Add chocolate chips, 1 cup at a time, stirring so that they melt. Add the vanilla.
  3. Add the oats and stir until all combined. This is the dough.
  4. Shape the dough to 1” balls (I use a tablespoon) and place on a lined cookie sheet – something no-stick, like wax paper or a silicon sheet. They’re not going into the oven so it doesn’t have to be heat proof.
  5. Flatten the cookies either with the bottom of a glass or your impeccably clean fingers to be about 2” in diameter.
  6. Make a depression in the center of each cookie with your thumb (that’s why they’re called Thumbprint) – that’s where the jelly or the jam is going to go.
  7. Chill the cookies in the fridge for ½ hour or so until they’re set.
  8. Spoon ½ teaspoon of preserves/jam/ sweet stuff into each thumbprint.
  9. Try not to eat them all as you make them…finger lickin’ good!


The Dark Chocolate Sonatas

¼ cup (half stick) butter

½ cup heavy cream

1 cup white sugar

2 cups (10 oz. bag) dark chocolate chips

1tsp almond extract

2 cups quick (NOT Instant) oatmeal

¼ cup sweetened flake coconut

¼ cup slivered almonds

Melt, mix,drop by spoonfuls, flatten, fridge and enjoy – very much like an Almond Joy


The PB&J Coda

¼ cup (half stick) butter

½ cup heavy cream

1 cup white sugar

2 cups (12 oz. bag) peanut butter chips

1tsp vanilla extract

2 ½ cup quick (NOT Instant) oatmeal

Grape jelly

 Melt, mix, drop, make a thumbprint, chill and add jelly.


The White Chocolate X-Mas Finale

¼ cup (half stick) butter

½ cup heavy cream

1 cup white sugar

2 cups (12 oz. bag) white chocolate chips

1tsp vanilla extract

2 ½ cup quick (NOT Instant) oatmeal

Maraschino cherries, 1 jar

Mint jelly (the green stuff)

Melt, mix, chop the cherries and add. Drop by spoonfuls and make a thumbprint. Add the mint jelly and think of White Christmas – the song and the movie

Can't you see them all munching on these cookies after the finale?

Can’t you see them all munching on these white chocolate  cookies after the finale?


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Merry Christmas to All

A Hymn on the Nativity of My Savior

I sing the birth was born tonight,
The Author both of life and light;
The angels so did sound it,
And like the ravished shepherds said,
Who saw the light, and were afraid,
Yet searched, and true they found it.

The Son of God, the eternal King,
That did us all salvation bring,
And freed the soul from danger;
He whom the whole world could not take,
The Word, which heaven and earth did make,
Was now laid in a manger.

The Father’s wisdom willed it so,
The Son’s obedience knew no “No,”
Both wills were in one stature;
And as that wisdom had decreed,
The Word was now made Flesh indeed,
And took on Him our nature.

What comfort by Him do we win?
Who made Himself the Prince of sin,
To make us heirs of glory?
To see this Babe, all innocence,
A Martyr born in our defense,
Can man forget this story?

Ben Jonson (1572-1637)

 Benjamin Jonson by Abraham van Blyenberch

Ben Johnson c. 1617 by Abraham van Blyenberch

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Meatless Monday in Hurry


like when it’s near , say, a holiday that has a major food component, time seems scarce…..only because it’s being filled up with the Everyday as well as the Holiday….and you suddenly realize that although the food for a certain day that is not today is planned, shopped and prepped, today, TODAY is a meal short.

Right NOW.

Do not be drawn to the arches of gold.MacD archesYou will not be lovin’ it.

You will add guilt and indigestion to an already full week.

INSTEAD do a really jiffy quick trip to the store to pick up a few pantry staples. Staples that can also be on hand for the later then last minute eats to take or serve, will also serve you. Soon.


This is the sort of glop that often passes for nachos. Do not be fooled - this is not nachos.

This is the sort of glop that often passes for nachos. Do not be fooled – this is not nachos. These are not nachos? Ponder the singular/ pleural conundrum that is nachos. Or not.

Nachos Now with Beans

8 ounces tortilla chips (you could make your own, which are zippy fast and really good, but this is not the time for that. Somebody’s hungry!)

1 pound shredded cheddar cheese (4 cups)   (The bag sort is fine here because of everything else going on)

2 large jalapeño chiles (3/4 ounce each), sliced thin (about 1/4 cup) (or a can of chopped green chiles, with jarred jalapeño slices on the side)

Refried beans, a can

2 scallions, sliced thin

1/2 cup sour cream (4 ounces) and/or an avocado or packaged guacamole

Jar of Paul Newman Salsa ( my favorites are Pineapple and Tequila Lime)

1 lime cut into 6 wedges

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 400 °.
  2. Grate or shred the cheese if you bought a block and not a bag.
  3. Slice the jalapeno chiles and the scallions separately – tiny pieces!
  4. Spread half of chips in even layer in 13- by 9-inch baking dish
  5. Sprinkle evenly with 2 cups cheese and half of jalapeno slices.
  6. Drop about 6 oz of the re fried beans by spoonful across the cheesy landscape.
  7. Repeat with remaining chips, cheese, beans and jalapenos.
  8. Bake until cheese is melted, 7 to 10 minutes.
  9. Remove nachos from oven, cool 2 minutes, and then sprinkle with scallions.
  10. Along edge of nachos, drop scoops of sour cream, avocado, guacamole and salsa.
  11. Cut the lime into wedges.
  12. Serve immediately, passing lime wedges separately to squeeze on top.
  13. I have been know to make this in my little Pyrex baker for one…it breaks down. The trick is to not eat the chips alone. I look for unsalted chips or low salt. There’s plenty of taste in the cheese and the salsa and the jalapenos….

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated July 2002

CI ja02_nachos_article

Nacho done right Cook’s Illustrated style – they make their own guac and salsa, which can be done speedily IF you have a good avocado and good tomatoes – it’s the shopping time the prepared stuff saves you. Everyone should a 15 minute meal or 2 up their sleeve. One that isn’t a bowl of cereal, that is.

CI jul02

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