This is an elegant side dish that caught my eye because, (of course), the lemon sauce. Do not be intimidated by the ingredients or the directions . When you break them down, they are really quite simple to follow.

I was originally uncertain how the lemon sauce would taste. I had never used lemon peel to prepare a lemon dressing. But I trusted Lydia, and I ended up loving this fragrant, savory sauce.

The Brussels sprouts combine beautifully with the garlic and red pepper flakes. Be careful when heating the Brussels sprouts. The leaves are very delicate, and therefore, easy to overcook. Immediately take them off the heat when they become a beautiful bright green color. Remember, they will continue to cook for a short time after you remove them from the heat, so allow time for that.

Lydia writes in her notes that the lemon sauce can be made earlier in the day and reheated. The Brussels sprouts can be prepped ahead as well.

The addition of the lemon sauce gives this dish a tangy flavor that will delight your taste buds! This recipe is perfect for company or any week-night dinner (when you have a little extra time).

This recipe is courtesy of Lydia Bastianich, from her book, Celebrate Like an Italian, and will serve 4-6 who will relish the taste of this beautiful vegetable and luscious sauce.

Ingredients for Brussels Sprouts with Lemon Sauce

Lemon Sauce:

Peel of two lemons, removed with a vegetable peeler
1/3 cup of lemon juice
5 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
2 medium onions, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 tbsp. extra- virgin olive oil

Brussels Sprouts:

1 1/2 pounds firm, unblemished Brussels sprouts
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

For the lemon sauce:

In a medium saucepan, combine the lemon peels and juice, garlic, onions, salt, red pepper flakes and 1 1/2 cups of water.

Cover and cook it at a gentle simmer for 20 minutes.

Uncover, and simmer a bit more rapidly until the onions are very tender and barely covered in liquid, about 20 to 30 minutes more.

Scrape the contents of the pot into a blender, and carefully blend as you drizzle in the olive oil through the hole in the top, until smooth.

Return to the sauce pan, season with salt if necessary, and keep warm.

For the Brussels sprouts:

Trim any rough or yellowed outer leaves. 

Seperate the leaves from the base of the sprouts, cutting the base as needed to free the leaves.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

When the oil is hot, add the garlic, and let it sizzle until just golden brown around the edges, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the sprout leaves, and season with the salt and crushed red pepper flakes.

Toss to coat in the oil, cover, and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until the leaves begin to wilt, about 4 minutes.

Toss with tongs and cover the skillet again.

Cook until the leaves are wilted and tender, but not falling apart, about 4 to 5 minutes.

Increase heat to boil away any liquid in the pan.

To serve, spread 1/2 cup of the lemon sauce on a platter and mound the Brussels sprouts on top.

It’s that simple!

If you are looking for a creamy, delicious, comfort side dish, look no further.

This side dish contains all the ingredients that will warm you up and satisfy you on these brutally cold winter days. That is, if you live in the northeast, of course.  All you other warm state people should make this also, because it is really delicious.

The pasta is mixed with gooey cheddar cheese, milk and butter. I choose sharp cheddar cheese, because that is one of my favorites, however, you could substitute any cheese you desire. Or mix it up by adding two different kinds of cheeses. That would make it even more hearty and luscious. You can substitute the carrots with red pepper or zucchini. Or just leave the vegetable out. This dish is so versatile it  would be exceptional anyway you choose to make it. It is a perfect side to any main dish. 

This recipe will serve 4 people who will be warmed by the pleasure of eating this cozy dish.

Ingredients for Cheddar Cheese Orzo

2 cups orzo
3 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. milk
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese 
3 carrots, peeled and finely chopped (optional)
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Parsley (for garnish)

Bring a medium pot to boil with generously salted water. 

Add orzo and cook according to package directions.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium sauce pan and add the carrots.

Cook until carrots are soft, about 3-4 minutes.

Drain pasta and place in a medium sized bowl.

Stir in the butter and carrots.

Add the milk, cheese, salt and pepper.

Garnish with the parsley.

It’s that simple!

What to do on a freezing cold day when you are stuck inside? Why bake of course!

This recipe is perfect for any day because you probably already have all the ingredients in your pantry.

I love any dessert with oats. I do not like hot oatmeal, which sounds crazy, but it is true. But put oats in a dessert and I am obsessed.

Not only is it good for breakfast, but why not have it as a dessert or snack as well?

These muffins are delightful. The raisins and the oatmeal give them a wonderful texture. The cinnamon topping is the ideal crown for these “perfect for anytime” of the day muffins. They are really easy to make and you can whip up a batch in no time.

Just to note; I doubled the topping, (as I always do), just in case I needed more, and of course I did.

Always remember to gather all the ingredients first ( mis-in-place). This will help you proceed faster and more comfortably. And go ahead and make these muffins, they are really marvelous!

This recipe is courtesy of and will make about 12 muffins. You might want to make 2 batches, everyone will want seconds!

Ingredients for Oatmeal Raisin Muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup olive oil
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk

Cinnamon Topping (I doubled this)

2 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. olive oil

Heat oven to 425 F.

Grease a muffin pan, or line the wells with paper muffin cups.

Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon together in a large bowl.

Stir in the oats and raisins.

In a large measuring cup, whisk the olive oil with the egg and milk.

Stir the liquid into the dry ingredients just until combined.

Fill the prepared muffin cups 2/3 full with batter.

For the topping;

Mix all the ingredients for the cinnamon topping together in a small bowl until crumbly.

Sprinkle evenly over the muffin batter.

Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool in pan on a rack until they are cool enough to be handled.

Remove from pan and eat while warm, or let cool completely and then store in an airtight container.

It’s that simple!

This dish is a terrific go-to dish if you are short on time. There is very little prep time involved, and is a light dish that is packed with wonderful flavors.

Make sure to cook the broccoli florets until they are just a beautiful, bright green. Remember they will be cooked again when you toss the pasta back in. You want to prevent them from becoming mushy and unappetizing. 

You can use any pasta you have in your pantry for this recipe. A nice pasta with ridges would work as well because it allows the sauce to get in between the edges, ensuring a perfect bite every time.

Add the reserved pasta water as needed. You probably will not need the entire cup of pasta water. Use it until you get the desired thickness of sauce you prefer.

SAVE whatever pasta water you have left over. You can use it to heat up the pasta the next day for leftovers!

This is a very versatile recipe. You can add an onion or some breadcrumbs to heighten the flavor.

This recipe will serve 4-6 people who will thoroughly enjoy it as a side dish, and will love it as a leftover!

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Ingredients for Pasta with Brown Butter and Broccoli

2-1/2 pounds fresh broccoli, cut into florets, stems discarded
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Zest of one lemon
Juice of one lemon
1/8 – 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
8 ounces linguini or spaghetti, cooked and drained
Grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese

Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil over high heat.

Add the spaghetti to the water and set timer for 2 minutes less than cooking time directions. 


Drain the rest and set aside.

Place butter and oil in a heavy skillet.

Cook until butter has become golden-brown, about 2- 3 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Add the broccoli, lemon zest, lemon juice, cayenne pepper , salt and pepper and cook until broccoli florets are a beautiful bright green color.

Toss the pasta into the pan, and mix, while adding small amounts of the reserved pasta water as needed.

The pasta water should make a light sauce.

Place into serving dish and sprinkle with the Parmesan-Reggiano cheese.

It’s that simple!

Like many people, I am a huge fan of apple pie. When I saw this recipe for apple pie bars that can be eaten for breakfast or for a snack, I knew I was going to make them immediately. 

Words can’t accurately describe this scrumptious, decadent dessert. The delicious, sweet crust is a perfect container for the apples. It is then topped with two kinds of apples that are a wonderful combination of tart, sweet and savory. The topping adds a mixture of walnuts and cinnamon. 

Each bite is better than the first. I’ll bet you can’t eat just one. Feel free to add any ice cream of your choice, or some gooey caramel. These bars are going to be delicious any way you choose to eat them.

This is a perfect dessert to bring to any holiday celebration. Don’t let all the steps intimidate you.  It may seem like a lot of work, but in reality, these bars are pretty easy to make. Perhaps you should make two of them, because these dreamy little bars are going to go quickly.

This recipe is courtesy of Ina’s, from her book, Cooking for Jeffery. This recipe will make 12 bars. Be sure to save a couple for yourself, because everyone is going to want seconds!

Ingredients for Apple Pie Bars

For the crust:

1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, tightly packed
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

For the apple filling:

1 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, quartered, cored and sliced 1/8 inch thick (3 large)
1 1/2 pounds Golden Delicious apples, peeled, quartered, cored and slice 1/8 inch thick (3 large)
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
4 tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

For the crust:

Place the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, until light and creamy.

Sift the flour and the salt together and, with the mixer on low, slowly add it to the butter-sugar mixture, being until combined.

Scatter two-thirds of the dough in clumps in a 9 x 13-inch baking pan and press it lightly with floured hands on the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides.

Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, until the crust is golden brown, and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, put the mixing bowl with the remaining dough back on the mixer, add the walnuts and cinnamon, and mix on low speed to combine.

Reduce oven to 350 degrees.

For the filling:

Combine the Granny Smith and Golden Delicious apples and the lemon juice in a very large bowl.

Add the granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg and mix well.

Melt the butter in a large (10-inch-diameter) pot, add the apples, and simmer over medium to medium-low heat, stirring often, for 12 to 15 minutes, until the apples are tender and the liquid has mostly evaporated.

Spread the apples evenly over the crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border.

Pinch medium pieces of  the remaining dough with your fingers and drop them evenly on top of the apples (they will not be covered).

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the topping is browned.

Cool completely and cut into bars.

It’s that simple!