Easy Caramel Tarts

19 Aug Caramel tart

Since today is my birthday, instead of a cake, I opted to make something a little less traditional to celebrate. I’m obsessed with caramel—I could drink the stuff—so I decided to make a really easy caramel tart. The tarts are small, eliminating the risk of eating 4 slices, and fast to assemble, which meant I didn’t have to slave in the kitchen on a day when I should be relaxing.

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Chrusciki

7 Aug chrusciki

I will always remember a highlight of family get-togethers being the chrusciki – a Polish cookie – that my grandmother used to bring. Even though everyone in the family called them by a different name – “chirogies,” “chiregies,” never “chrusciki” – these crispy, light cookies were always a hit. Then one year my grandma declared a moratorium on chrusciki, saying they were too much trouble to make. We never had chrusciki again – until this year when I decided to take on the task.

Grandma was right. The process of making chrusciki is involved, including rolling out the dough, cutting the shapes, frying the cookies, and coating them in powdered sugar.

chrusciki dough

I rolled the dough through a pasta machine to get it this thin.

It was an all-morning cookie assembly line, but, in the end, everyone loved the treat.

frying chrusciki

Frying the cookies

Old Forge Pizza

5 May Old Forge Pizza

I tend to get obsessed over regional favorites. It’s a little bit about exclusivity and a lot about getting a feel for the culture of a place. Enter Old Forge pizza. It’s a rectangular pizza topped with a creamier cheese and it’s served in Northeastern PA (hence the “Old Forge”part). I used to have this type of pizza a lot because I have two sisters-in-law from that area (I wrecked the streak by marrying a New Yorker). It’s one of my favorite pizzas so I had to make it at home.

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Roasted Red Pepper Chicken

3 Apr chicken in lettuce cups

In my kitchen, tomato sauce—or “gravy,” as my family calls it—isn’t just for pasta. I make bulk batches that I can use to add flavor to chicken or spice up a boring rice side dish. I always have so much on hand, that it appears frequently in dinners. So, I decided to change things up a bit by switching out that same, old gravy with a zingy roased red pepper sauce.

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Italian Wedding Soup

29 Mar Italian wedding soup

As a frugal cook, I love escarole soup. It’s just greens and broth! The entire pot can cost you less than a few dollars. And when you throw a few meatballs in there, you have yourself a delicious Italian wedding soup. I like to make a ton of this soup ahead of time and then freeze individual servings for future lunches.

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Sfinges

9 Mar st joseph pastry

Last year, I encouraged you to go out and eat a sfinge, but this year, I want you to make your own. St. Joseph’s Day (Mar. 19th) is fast approaching, so I decided to tackle this recipe. It has homemade cannoli cream (which I could eat by the bucket), chocolate chips, and candied fruit. Since sfinges are my all-time favorite dessert, I anxiously await the start of Lent each year – the only time these delicious treats are available at my local bakery. Now that I can personally whip up a batch, there might be trouble. Sfinge Fridays anyone?

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Fish Chowder

6 Mar fish chowder

I’m always in the mood for any type of soup or stew. Always! This week, I decided to make fish chowder. What could be better? It’s got vegetables. It’s got fish. And it’s even got wine and cream. Basically, those are all of the ingredients that I need for a happy life.

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