Beef & Mushroom Stew

A classic recipe for beef and mushroom stew. On the table and flavorful within an hour, better still the next day. This is a great way to make a small amount of beef go further, with the addition of thick slices of firm, almost-meaty mushrooms. Butchers of the world, listen up, please! Meat is way too confusing!It’s no wonder we cooks turn to what we know again and again. Think chicken breasts, pork tenderloin, baby back ribs, even hamburger. Now these are easy: they are easily recognized in the meat cooler and we know how to cook them. But what’s all that other stuff?I once condensed a primer on pork cuts – and still have no idea what to buy, especially since the names vary. Who would guess that a pork butt is just another Boston shoulder? Have you ever seen a hog with a butt for a shoulder? Not me.And my eyes glaze over at the thought of cutting up a whole chicken, even though all “real” cooks say it’s easy and economical. The search engine Google cites 14,000 web pages that explain…

Bacon & Egg Breakfast Bake

A make-ahead breakfast strata, with bacon 'n' eggs, plus healthy spinach too! A friend has me thinking about breakfast. Not the hurry-up breakfasts that mark our every-day work and school lives but instead, the leisurely weekend breakfasts that open with mugs of steaming coffee and linger on around a big table.The breakfasts that follow early church for the faithful and extra-long runs for the faithful exercisers.The breakfasts where how many chairs are filled changes as the kids finish to play outside and grandfather excuses himself for an early Sunday afternoon nap.The breakfasts that can be prepared with little fuss, like with this make-ahead BACON & EGG BREAKFAST BAKE, a sort of bacon ‘n’ eggs for a crowd. BACON CHUNKS When bacon is on sale, buy a pound or two for “bacon chunks”, small pieces fried slowly, removing the fat but intensifying the flavor.First, slice the entire slab crosswise in about one-inch pieces with a serrated knife. Cook in a large skillet over medium…

Skillet Cornbread

My first and still-most-favorite recipe for corn bread, an adaptable, forgiving recipe. Thanks to folding in whipped egg whites, it stays moist for a couple of days.
"Made this for my dad ... we nearly ate the whole pan." ~ Ali
"This recipe saved my [cornbread] reputation! It's very forgiving ..." ~ CJ
Lengthening days foretell the coming of spring. The sunny faces of the first daffodils remind how a nephew, at age four, took to calling these sunny harbingers of spring “laff-o-dils".And just a few days ago, a seventy-degree Sunday brought forth Easter-festive dresses at church and then kids in shorts on bikes, dog walkers, strolling families, even a few winter-plump joggers.But the forecast is for winter white: flurries for tonight and a possible "big winter event" within ten days.So even in sunshine, today’s afternoon air holds an insinuating chill, one that triggers dusting off the woodpile’s last logs for supper by the fire.What to …