I have always found white rice to be very tricky to make. The ingredients have to be measured exactly and carefully, and the timing has to be perfect or it can easily burn. I finally found a friend who taught me how to prepare it. She helped me meticulously measure all the ingredients, and now I can make it with much less effort and worry.

This recipe is really quite simple. I love the addition of the orzo pasta, which gives this dish a luxurious texture and taste. The rice and pasta are cooked in chicken broth rather than water, which gives this dish an appealing depth of flavor. The ingredients in this recipe combine wonderfully and I will be adding this to my “short on time” recipe repertoire.

This recipe is courtesy of Allrecipes.com and, although they did not specify how many people it will serve, I will say 4-6. Your family is going to love this new way of enjoying white rice.

Ingredients for Sarah’s Rice Pilaf

2 tbsp. butter
1/2 cup orzo pasta
1/2 cup diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup uncooked while rice
2 cups chicken broth

Melt the butter in a lidded skillet over medium-low heat.

Cook and stir orzo pasta until golden brown.

Stir in onion and cook until onion becomes translucent, then add garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Mix in the rice and chicken broth.

Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the rice is tender, and the liquid has been absorbed, about 20-25 minutes.

Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.

It’s that simple!

This recipe appealed to me because of its enticing combination of ingredients. It is a perfect recipe for fall.

The Brussels sprouts and onions are roasted, until they are beautifully browned and caramelized. Once the apples are added, the recipe takes on an entirely new, rich depth of flavor. Finally, it is topped with honey roasted pecans. The result is a fantastic, savory dish which exceeded my expectations. 

This is a simple recipe. The only thing you have to be very careful about is roasting the pecans. You really need to set your timer and be vigilant about checking them. They tend to burn easily if you are not careful. The honey roasted pecans add a layer of nutty, salty crunch. They are so delicious, you might find yourself popping one or two in your mouth! Just make sure to leave some for the Brussels sprouts.

When roasting the Brussels sprouts, check them as well, and remove them from the oven when the tops are browned, and the sides are still a beautiful shade of green. This will ensure that they are not overcooked.

This is a recipe that I will definitely be making again. It might even make it to my Thanksgiving menu next year!

This recipe is courtesy of The Meatball Shop cookbook and will serve 4-6 people who will be delighted with this different, delicious, new combination of ingredients!

Ingredients for the Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Apples and Honey-Roasted Pecans

1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1 large onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp. salt or to taste
2 baking apples, such as Braeburn or Granny Smith, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar 
1 cup honey roasted pecans (recipe follows)
Freshly ground black pepper

For the Honey Roasted Pecans:

1 cup pecan halves
2 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 325.

Place the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle on the honey, add the salt and toss to coat.

Roast, tossing every 5 minutes, until the pecans are deep brown, well roasted, and emit a strong, nutty aroma, about 20 minutes.

Remove pecans from the oven and allow to cool before using or serving.

For the Brussels Sprouts:

Preheat oven to 500.

Place the Brussels sprouts and onions in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. (I cheated and used an aluminum pan. Feel free to do the same. Easier clean-up!)

Add the olive oil and salt, and toss to coat.

Roast until the Brussels sprouts begin to brown, about 15 minutes.

Add the apples, mix, and return to the oven. 

Continue roasting, turning every 10 minutes, until the Brussels sprouts and onions are fully cooked and tender and the apples are beginning to soften, about 20 minutes.

Remove the dish from the oven, add the vinegar, and toss to incorporate.

Season with additional salt, if desired, and transfer to a platter.

Top with the pecans and a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Serve immediately.

It’s that simple!

This recipe is authored by Marcy Goldman, and is taken from her Jewish Holiday Baking cookbook. It is one of the best baking cookbooks out there. My friend Beth bought this for me almost 20 years ago – it was one one of my first cookbooks – and I was instantly hooked. It continues to be one of my favorite cookbooks to this day.

Marcy named this recipe “My Mother’s Fancy Apple Cake”. She writes that it is one of her best childhood memories. I can understand why. This cake is mostly made up of apples that are combined with a scrumptious vanilla sauce. The crust that surrounds the cake is light, delicious and easy to prepare.

To be completely honest with you, this recipe is not simple. However, it is not very complicated either. It just requires a long prep time. Peeling and slicing the apples takes a while, so if you are planning to make this cake (and you definitely should) give yourself a little extra free time for this one.

To this day, it remains my family’s favorite dessert. So I take the time to make it. What better reason could I have than that?

You should too. You will not be sorry you did!

Ingredients for the Apple Cake

Cake Crust

1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter or margarine, melted and cooled
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups all- purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

Apple Filling

7-9 cups peeled and sliced apples ( or enough to fill up your cake pan)
Juice of 1/2 lemon, to sprinkle on the apples
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Vanilla Sauce

3 tbsp. unsalted butter or margarine, melted
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon


Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Crust: In a large bowl, combine all of the crust ingredients to make a soft but stiff dough. 

fancy cake dough in mixer

Add a bit more flour if needed to ensure that you do not have a batter, but a soft dough.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill for 10-15 minutes.

fancy cake dough

Filling: In a bowl, toss the apples with the lemon juice and sugar.

fnacy cake apples in lemon

Brush the bottom and sides of a 10- inch springform pan with melted butter.

Preheat oven to 350.

Pat the dough evenly over the bottom and the sides of the pan (it should be between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick).

fancy cake dough lined pan

Fill with the apple slices, pressing gently. 

Fancy cake apples filled to top

Cover the pan with aluminum foil.

Bake the cake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Remove foil after 15 minutes or until the apples are soft. The top apples will seem dry; the interior apples should begin to feel soft to the touch. 

Vanilla Sauce: In a bowl, combine the ingredients for the sauce in the order given.

fancy cake vanilla sauce 

Pour the sauce over the hot cake, trying to get it to drip into all the crevices.

fancy cake apples with vanilla

Bake for an additional 20 minutes.

fancy cake finished bake in pan

Refrigerate for at least 4 to 6 hours or overnight.

Dust it with confectioners’ sugar before serving.Fancy cake eaten

It’s that simple!

This is a very simple recipe that you can get on the table in no time.

As you know, I am a lemon-lover. Lately I have been adding lemon-zest to many recipes in my repertoire. While roasting brings out the natural sweetness and delicious caramelization of any vegetable, the zest of a lemon, lime or orange adds another enticing dimension. Pick the fruit you enjoy and give it a try.

The lemon, garlic and crushed red pepper add a lot of flavor to the delicious roasted vegetables. Make sure that you roast them just until they start turn brown, so they are still crispy when you serve them. The colors of the green beans and red pepper make this dish look beautiful. 

This recipe will serve 4 people who will enjoy the combined sweetness and tangy flavor of this dish.

Ingredients for the Roasted Green Beans and Red Pepper

1 pound French green beans
2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced
zest of 1 lemon
Juice of one fresh lemon
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2-3 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 -1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4-1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper

Preheat oven to 500.

Place French green beans, red pepper and garlic in a large bowl.

French beans with oil and garlic

Toss with olive oil.

Add lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper .

French beans with lemon zest

Mix well to coat evenly.

Place in roasting pan, making sure to pour all the juice over the vegetables.

French beans on baking pan

Roast 10-15 minutes.

It’s that simple!

Another weekday dinner to plan!

I did my research and found this wonderful recipe, courtesy of Giada De Laurentis.

This is one of my family’s favorite meals. It is simple and tasty. Who knew that “agrodolce sauce” could be so easy! It may sound intimidating, but trust me it is not! Agrodolce sauce is an Italian sweet and sour sauce. “Agro” means sour and “dolce” means sweet. It is made by cooking down, or reducing sweet and sour ingredients, such as the vinegar and honey in this recipe.  

You can serve it with rice or potatoes. Just make sure to put a little bit of glaze on anything you make with it, because it will be delicious on those as well.

Her original recipe was made with pork chops. Feel free to make it with those. I substituted chicken bottoms and it was was delightful.

Giada never disappoints. Her recipes are always dependable and fantastic.

Add this one to your list of “must make”. It really was wonderful! This recipe will serve 4 people who will love this delicious sauce!

Ingredients for the Chicken

1/4 cup of olive oil
3 chicken bottoms, (thighs and legs attached)
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. pepper

Ingredients for the Glaze 
(Agrodolce Sauce)

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup honey
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 scallions, pale green and white parts only, chopped
1 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 stick of unsalted butter (4 tbsp. cut into 1 inch cubes at room temperature
1 tsp, kosher salt
1 tsp. pepper

Preheat oven to 350.

In a heavy, oven-ready skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with the red pepper flakes.

Place chicken bottoms (skin side down) in the skillet and set your timer for 7 minutes. After 7 minutes, thighs should be golden brown. Turn thighs over and set your timer for an additional 7 minutes.

Place pan in oven for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Take out of oven and set aside.


In a small saucepan, bring the vinegar, honey, garlic, scallions and rosemary to a boil over medium-high heat.

Stir occasionally until honey has dissolved.

Simmer for 9 minutes (set your timer) until mixture is slightly reduced.

Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter until smooth.

sweet sour sauce

Add salt and pepper.

Arrange the chicken thighs on a platter and drizzle with the glaze.

It’s that simple!