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Black Beans & Rice Skillet Casserole with Smoked Chicken

The Recipe: Late-summer casual comfort food, a simple rice and black bean casserole, amped up with smoky flavors, smoked chicken plus special smoky seasonings. Makes enough for a crowd, freezes beautifully too. ~ Skip Straight to the Recipe ~


How to Smoke a Chicken.Here's the one and only way I know to smoke a chicken. It's super-easy albeit some times it costs you. And it can take a few days.Here's how I do it. I say, "Honey, would you smoke a couple of chickens this weekend?" :-) Yes, "he" smokes the chickens, usually three or four since it's a several-hour process no matter how many.The first night, we invite family over to gorge on smoked chicken hot off the smoker. Smoky heaven, that dinner! Later that night, I throw a carcass or two into the stockpot with some water. A few hours later, the kitchen smells wonderful and there'll be a couple of quarts of chicken stock topped with chicken fat, what's called "schmaltz".And let me …

What Is Vichyssoise?
Nothing More Than a
Simple Leek and Potato Soup

Pronounced VEE-shee-shwaz, vichyssoise is a simple leek and potato soup. Serve it hot on cold days and cold on hot days. Either way, it is, in two easier-to-pronounce words, simply sublime.

Just Five Ingredients! A Classic French Soup. Soothing Comfort Food. Great for Meal Prep.

Easy Apricot Jam with Rosemary

The Recipe: A small batch of fresh apricot jam, barely sweet and with a bare touch of rosemary and lemon. And then? No canning required! This is a rustic and fruity refrigerator jam that's super-super apricot-y. We can't get enough! ~ Skip Straight to the Recipe ~


Ah, August and September's Bounty!Last week's score was two crates of peaches and tomatoes and three quarts of apricots – all seconds, all on the cheap.Within a few hours, I cranked up the stove to make this year's batch of an old family recipe. (We call it "Sharon's Pickle" for my cousin Sharon, who loves it so much but for others I call Ripe-Tomato Relish with Peaches & Pears.) It's a project, for sure, three hours just to prep the fruits and vegetables, then some hours of cooking, then canning.If you're like me and only can every so often, reviewing my Practical Home Canning Tips is a good way to get back into the groove.
Small Batch Refrigerator JamSharon's Pickle left me w…

Blueberry Cheesecake Pie

A no-bake creamy cheesecake pie. The crust is made with ground almonds and the cheesecake filling is topped with a barely sweet homemade blueberry pie filling. We cooks love to elicit moans of approval, this one's not to be missed!
~ Skip Straight to the Recipe ~


The Donut DietThe Donut Diet, that's what I call the way my 90-year old father eats since he came to live with us almost four months ago now. Sure, he eats meat, vegetables and fruits with considerable gusto. But really, it's only the sweets that give real pleasure.His Donut Diet started with actual donuts from old-time bakeries across St. Louis. Yes, we'll drive 20 miles for a good donut! So far, we'll drive out of our way for:The Donut Stop in Lemay Ferry and St. Charles (oh! the peanut butter donut!)Old Town Donuts in Florissant and CottlevilleBakers Dozen in Overland (oh! the c-i-n-n-a-m-o-n twists!)Fenton Old Towne Donuts in Old Towne Fenton near the river (famous for its bacon donuts!)We've learne…