How to save $$$ at the grocery store?

After serving Beef Wellington and realizing as the butcher handed me the package that it was close to $140.00 just for the meet I started thinking there has to be a few ways to save money at the grocery store and when having a dinner party.  My next party will most likely be pasta to help make up the expense of beef tenderloin. I was lucky as I was feeding a very food appreciative group.

Here are the best ways to save money when grocery shopping, from price comparing to using coupons to buying in bulk (and sometimes frozen!)

1. Price Compare with Grocery Store Apps

Browse store flyers to find the best deals for what you definitely need. You can find out what’s on sale on stores’ websites or apps or via app Flipp, which gathers many flyers in one place). Some show specials, and others allow you to clip coupons digitally. The Ibotta app will give you cash rebates for certain larger brands at big box stores by scanning your receipt after.

2. Shop with a Calculator

If you’re trying to stick to a specific budget, then decide on that number, like not spending more than $50 at the store and stick to it. Calculate every item as you add it to your cart. You have a calculator built into your phone, so use it! I almost always have a physical and cross things off as I go, but going all-digital means you can’t lose your list and scramble to try to remember everything you were going to buy. This will help avoid impulse purchases, my downfall.

3. Plan Meals Based on What’s in Your Pantry

If you have a ton of chickpeas in the cupboard, look for recipes featuring them before you go to the store. (Cheap idea: pasta) Think of grocery shopping based on what’s in your pantry as your own Chopped challenge to see what you can make without spending any money. That means using brown rice instead of white rice for one recipe, or emptying out your crisper drawer for dab of this or that frittata.

4. Use a Smaller Cart or Basket

I hate carrying groceries and my next house, the kitchen will be closer to the garage. Using a basket or a small cart at the store will force you to only buy what you need instead of tossing in impulse purchases. If you’re only getting one night’s dinner ingredients, see if you can get it in one armful. Get into that 10-items-or-less checkout line and be a minimalist with your food purchases.


5. Buy in Bulk—Online

If you want to save money by buying in bulk, do it without purchasing a membership to a warehouse store! You can get great deals on bulk goods on Amazon, Boxed, Jet, or using Instacart to buy from Costco without membership  Only buy in bulk what you know you’ll eventually use and have pantry space for as you probably don’t need 10 pounds of pork chops or 30 cans of tomatoes.

6. Vacuum Seal Meat and Freeze It

If you use chicken breasts every single week and can get them for $0.99 per pound in bulk versus $5.99 per pound for a regular package, then use a vacuum sealer to store them properly. If you want to freeze 10 chicken breasts, taking all of the air out is imperative so they don’t get freezer burn. My favorite is the FoodSaver ($119 on Amazon), and it will pay for itself when you think about all the food you normally would have to throw away and the money you saved by buying in bulk. They’re also great for sous vide cooking, so you’ll be able to have a perfectly medium rare steak for dinner or a juicy piece of chicken anytime.

7. Shop Bottom Shelves and Outer Aisles

Grocery stores put the pricier name brands at eye level so you’re more likely to grab it without looking around for a better deal. Scan from top to bottom before you purchase as the $3 pickles may be hidden underneath the $10 ones. One of the things I think is important, is to get to know the products you buy.  Buy the cheap one and the expensive one and do a taste test. There is a definite difference in canned tomatoes, so I am sure there are with other canned goods. I do try to use a few canned goods as I can, as I prefer fresh.

8. Go Generic

If you aren’t brand loyal to a product, then try generic. I care about my butter for baking, but am willing to try generic to see if there is a difference in taste.

9. Shop from the Bulk Bins

Not sure if you like something you have not tried? Only need a cup of quinoa for a salad, or a sprinkle of peanuts to finish a dish? Hit the bulk bins. It’s a great way to experiment with new grains, dried beans, nuts, or even spices instead of committing to an expensive bag and letting it collect dust in the pantry. One day I was buying Vanilla Beans in a jar and the check out person told me to look at the bulk because it would be about $2.00 instead of $10. That is when my bulk buying adventure began.  Bulk does not mean it has to be a lot!

10. Get Dried Beans Instead of Canned

Cooking with dried beans requires a little extra time to soak, unless you have an Instant Pot—to save a lot of money. Canned is fine for convenience, but if you eat a lot of beans, dried will take your dollar further and taste better. Instead of paying $1 per 15 oz. can (which is almost half liquid and half cooked beans, so $2 per pound), you could get FOUR pounds of dried beans for $5 ($1.25 per pound dried, and they double in size when cooked). Make a big batch and freeze cooked beans in pint or quart containers for later use.

11. Buy Frozen Shrimp

Most “fresh” shrimp at grocery stores is previously frozen. To save a little cash, cut out the middleman and buy frozen unless you have a reliable fishmonger and/or live near an ocean. It will be less expensive and be there for you for a random weeknight shrimp stir-fry. I only wish my husband would eat shrimp, but he does not love it.


12. Buy Some Vegetables Frozen

There are three frozen vegetables we vouch for: peas, artichoke hearts, and cooked spinach. If any of your recipes call for them, frozen is typically cheaper and easier to use. You can throw peas directly into pasta water before you drain and they cook in 30 seconds instead of blanching a bunch of fresh ones. Spinach shrinks down  when it cooks, you get way more spinach in a frozen bag than you would fresh since it’s pre-blanched and wrung of some excess water.

13. Buy Everything  In-Season

In-season produce will be cheaper because it’s so bountiful, even at a farmers’ market. It’s more common to find peaches or tomatoes on sale in the summer than in the winter. It is better for your system to eat seasonal food, rather than food that is artificially ripened and it tastes a lot better.

14. Get Bulk Bags of Potatoes

Loose Yukon Gold potatoes can be $1.69 per pound, but $3.99 for a five-pound bag. That’s almost a 50 percent savings at $0.79 per pound in bulk. Potatoes store relatively well for a few weeks and often you’ll use a few pounds for roasted potatoes or mashed potatoes, so it’s generally better to get more.

15. Wash Your Own Lettuce

Buying pre-washed bagged greens is always more expensive—and they’re not always 100 percent clean. A 7 oz. tub of romaine leaves is about $4.49 , while three whole hearts (about 12 oz.) is $2.99. Buy and wash a ton of kale at once too, as a bunch is typically at least 7 oz. for $2.50, while a washed bag of 5 oz. runs $4.50.


16. Grate Your Own Cheese

A block of cheddar will always be cheaper per pound than a bag. An 8 oz. block of Whole Foods brand sharp cheddar is $2.99, while 12 oz. of that same cheddar pre-shredded is $6.99. That’s $5.98 per pound versus $9.32 per pound for the same thing. Once in a while a good Parmisano Reggiano will go on sale.  Stock up and freeze it.

17. Shop Online

For convenience and the ability to know exactly what I’m spending and price compare without leaving my desk, shop online. It’s the one time when laziness pays off.  You can easily compare.

Happy Shopping!

How to save $$$ at the grocery store?

Home-made Flour Tortillas

I watched this and thought, finally a way to make tortillas that might actually work.  With the steak from my left over Beef Wellington (not letting that go to waste) I will be making Steak Tacos for dinner tonight!  Tomorrow recipe for tacos and photos.

8-inch Flour Tortillas

Homemade tortillas are not as difficult as you think.


While testing recipes for our Easy Flour Tortillas, we learned that too little fat produced brittle tortillas, too little salt yielded tasteless ones, and baking powder made them doughy and thick. Adding hot water to the dough melted the shortening, which then coated the flour and prevented it from absorbing excess moisture. This resulted in less gluten development and yielded more tender tortillas. A brief rest in the refrigerator firmed up the shortening again so that the dough wasn’t too sticky to roll.


Makes 12 tortillas
2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

I plan to use low-gluten flour from Sheppards Farm that I can buy locally.  It is not gluten free, but if you are only intolerant, this may work for you.  

1 ½ teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons vegetable shortening, cut into 6 pieces
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons water, heated to 110 degrees
½ teaspoon vegetable oil


1. MAKE DOUGH Combine flour and salt in large bowl. Rub shortening into flour mixture until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in water until combined.

2. FORM BALLS Turn dough out onto clean surface and knead briefly to form smooth, cohesive ball. Roll 2½ tablespoons dough into 1½-inch balls. Transfer balls to plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes or up to 3 days.

3. COOK TORTILLAS Working on lightly floured surface, roll balls to 8-inch rounds. Heat oil in large -nonstick -skillet over medium-low heat until just smoking. Wipe out skillet with paper towels. Lay 1 round in skillet and cook until -surface begins to bubble, about 1 minute. Flip and cook until browned and puffed, about 1 minute. Transfer to plate and cover with kitchen towel. Repeat with remaining rounds. Serve.

MAKE AHEAD Tortillas can be cooled, layered between parchment paper, covered in plastic wrap, and refrigerated for 3 days. To serve, microwave on 50 percent power until heated through, 10 to 20 seconds.



After the dough has chilled for at least 30 minutes, roll out each ball to an 8-inch round.

Home-made Flour Tortillas

Raspberry Tartlets

IMG_7137For my Beef Wellington Dinner party, we had a red theme going so along with my Beet Soup I made some little Red Raspberry Tartlets.  It didn’t take long and they tasted delicious served with a little Brandy and powdered sugar in the whipped cream.  I love America’s Test Kitchen Pie dough, so made a double crust recipe.

The most important thing in a pie crust is to not use too much liquid or to work it too long.  So pulsing it to mix together the butter and shortening works as it is fast and does not warm up the dough.  Doing it by hand from then on makes it perfect.


Foolproof Pie Dough for Double-Crust Pie


We wanted to make pie dough that was tender, flavorful, and consistent. Since water bonds with flour to form gluten, too much of it makes a crust tough. But rolling out dry dough is difficult. For a pie dough recipe that rolled out easily, we use a unique mixing method that “waterproofs” much of the flour so that it can’t be hydrated and form gluten. We also use some vodka, which is just 60 percent water, and therefore produces less gluten. It contributes no alcohol flavor, since the alcohol vaporizes in the oven.


2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces)
1 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons sugar
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), cut into 1/4-inch slices
½ cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces


I use this rather than Crisco or Lard and it always comes out beautifully.  I keep this in the freezer so it last longer and is cold when I need to use it. 

¼ cup vodka, cold

I keep a small bottle in the freezer just for making pie crusts.  

¼ cup cold water



Vodka is essential to the texture of the crust and imparts no flavor—do not substitute extra water. The alcohol is key to our recipe; if you don’t have vodka on hand, you can use another 80 proof liquor. This dough will be moister and more supple than most standard pie doughs and will require more flour to roll out (1/4 cup must be used to prevent the dough from sticking to the counter).


1. Process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogenous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.

2. Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into two even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.


Key Steps to Foolproof Pie Dough

1. MAKE A FAT AND FLOUR PASTE:Completely blending part of the flour with all of the butter ensures a consistent amount of fat-coated flour in the final dough.

2. ADD MORE FLOUR: Pulsing in the final cup of flour ensures a consistent amount of uncoated flour in the final dough.

3. ADD WATER AND VODKA: Sprinkling with water and vodka ensures even distribution. No need to skimp—unlike water, vodka won’t make the dough tough.

Making Foolproof Pie Dough Without a Food Processor

If you don’t have a food processor, you can also prepare this recipe in a stand mixer: Start by bringing your butter and shortening to room temperature. Add 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar to bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment; mix on medium-low speed until just combined, 4 to 5 seconds. Add butter and shortening to mixer and mix on medium-low speed for another 15 seconds, until dough starts to form around paddle. Scrape down sides of bowl and paddle with spatula. Add remaining cup flour and mix on medium-high speed until dough has broken into smaller pieces, 2 to 3 seconds. Empty contents into medium bowl and continue recipe from step 2.

The Tart Part

The tart part for this is very simple. Make or buy the best raspberry jam you can find. Put it through mesh, to remove all the seeds.  Put a little in each baked tart.  I baked on the lowest rack at 350 degrees, cover with parchment and pie weights and cook about ten minutes, checking for a light brown color.  Arrange the biggest raspberries in a pretty circle and heat the remaining, now seedless raspberry jam and over the the raspberries.  Wha La – easy tart for desert.

Raspberry Tartlets

Beef Wellington

Let’s set the table and have a dinner party for people that love to cook and love to eat!   The best of friends!  IMG_7146

Well, it is official:  I have now made Beef Wellington and it was so wonderful I forgot to take a photo, but one of my dinner guests did, so here it is!  I took a couple photos in the process and it is quite a process.  I used America’s Test Kitchen recipe, which I will post here.

Beef Wellington

I had to use two pieces of puff paste (which I did not make) so it split on one side.

The first thing I made was the pate’ and I had to run to two different grocery stores before I found fresh, not frozen chicken livers.  I did not buy chicken pate’, but made the following recipe and it was delicious.  I would make it again as a appetizer on toast!

I will say that it took time, but there is nothing hard about it.  Mine was done about an hour before the dinner, so I put it in the warming drawer on medium and it was perfection!

Chicken Liver Pate’


8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
3 medium shallots, sliced (about 1 cup)
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1 pound chicken livers, rinsed and patted dry, fat and connective tissue removed
¾ cup dry vermouth
2 teaspoons brandy



Pressing plastic wrap against the surface of the pâté helps minimize any discoloration due to oxidation. Serve with toasted slices of baguette, toast points, or crackers.


1. Melt the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until the foaming subsides. Add the shallots, thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until the shallots are lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the chicken livers and cook, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Add the vermouth and simmer until the livers are cooked but still have a rosy interior, 4 to 6 minutes more.


2. Using a slotted spoon, remove the livers from the pan and transfer them to a food processor. Continue to simmer the vermouth mixture over medium-high heat until it is slightly syrupy, about 2 minutes longer, then add to the processor.

3. Add the brandy to the processor, and process the mixture until very smooth, about 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Season the pâté with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a clean serving bowl and smooth the top.


4. TO STORE: Lay plastic wrap flush to the surface of the pâté and refrigerate until firm, about 6 hours or up to 3 days.

5. TO SERVE: Let the pâté sit at room temperature until slightly softened, about 30 minutes. Scrape off the discolored top 1/4 inch of the pâté, if desired, before serving.


1 Beef tenderloin center-cut Châteaubriand, 3 to 4 pounds trimmed weight, about 12 inches long and 4 inches in diameter, trimmed and tied by butcher (see note)

*I would use a slightly smaller one, as I had six for dinner and quite a bit left over.  At about $40 a pound I would go light and it would look better a little smaller.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons table salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
5 ounces fine pâté, mashed until smooth
unbleached all-purpose flour for dusting work surface
1 pound puff pastry, preferably homemade (see note)
1 large egg


1 pound button mushrooms, brushed of dirt and broken in rough pieces by hand
  • I added Panchetta to make it more like a real duxelles
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 – 3 large shallots, minced (about 1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon Madeira (optional)
1 teaspoon table salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves

Red Wine Sauce


2 ½ pounds beef oxtails, trimmed of excess fat
2 medium carrots, chopped into 1-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
2 medium ribs celery, chopped into 1-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
4 small onions, chopped coarse (about 3 cups)
1 large head garlic, broken into cloves, unpeeled
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 bottle red wine (750ml)
4 – 6 large shallots, minced (about 1 cup)
1 bay leaf
10 sprigs fresh thyme
1 can low-sodium beef broth(14 1/2-ounces)
1 can low-sodium chicken broth (14 1/2-ounces)
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
6 parsley stems
¼ cup ruby port
4 tablespoons unsalted butter cold, cut into 4 pieces
Salt and ground black pepper



See timeline below. Ask the butcher to trim excess fat and silver skin from the Châteaubriand and to tie the roast at regular intervals with twine. Be sure to use a smooth-textured pâté, not a coarse country pâté. If you prefer to use store-bought pastry, look for the Dufour brand in the freezer section of better grocery stores. One 14-ounce package will be enough; defrost it in the refrigerator for 3 hours before using. Pepperidge Farm frozen puff pastry will not work because the size of the sheets is not suited to the recipe, and they cannot be rolled to the correct size. The stock base can–and should–be made in advance. But do not finish the sauce until the beef Wellington is in the oven.

1. Beef: Place roast on wire rack set above rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate, uncovered, for 48 hours.

2. Heat 12-inch heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat until very hot, about 4 minutes. Meanwhile, rub tenderloin with oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper and lightly rub into meat.

3. Set tenderloin in hot skillet, curving it to fit if necessary, and sear on first side without moving, until well-browned, about 1 minute, pressing down on meat so that bottom of roast makes full contact with pan. Using tongs, rotate tenderloin and brown on all sides, about 1 minute per side. Remove from skillet and wrap hot tenderloin tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to 24.

4. Unwrap tenderloin and cut off and discard twine. Using small spatula, spread pâté over top and sides of tenderloin (see illustration 2); set aside.

5. Dust a large sheet of parchment paper with flour. Unwrap puff pastry and place on parchment; dust puff pastry lightly with flour and cover with second large sheet of parchment. Roll into 12 by 15-inch rectangle, mending cracks as you roll. Remove top sheet of parchment and with sharp knife trim two 1-inch bands off long side to form 10 by 15-inch rectangle; refrigerate bands on parchment-lined plate. (If dough is soft and sticky or tears easily, slide parchment with pastry onto baking sheet and freeze until firm, about 10 minutes.)

6. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. Beat egg with 1 tablespoon water; set aside.

7. Remove plastic wrap from duxelles (see recipe below). Following illustration 3, invert duxelles onto puff pastry; peel off parchment. Following illustration 4, place tenderloin pâté-side down onto duxelles-covered dough. Brush edges of dough lightly with beaten egg. Following illustrations 5 and 6, incase tenderloin in dough, wrapping tightly. (There should be about 1-inch overlap forming seam; if overlap is excessive, trim with scissors.) Carefully invert dough-wrapped tenderloin onto prepared baking sheet and brush dough lightly with beaten egg; refrigerate, uncovered, 30 minutes.

8. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Bake Wellington until light golden brown, about 15 minutes, then arrange decorative ribbons on top. Continue to bake until deep golden brown and instant-read thermometer inserted into center registers between 113 and 115 degrees for rare, about 15 minutes, or around 120 degrees for medium-rare, about 20 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes, transfer to carving platter, and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices. Serve with sauce (see Red Wine Sauce for Beef Wellington, below).


1. Process half of mushrooms in food processor until chopped uniformly fine, about ten 1-second pulses, stopping to scrape down bowl after 5 pulses (mushrooms should not be ground so fine as to release liquid). Transfer chopped mushrooms to medium bowl and repeat to chop remaining mushrooms.

2. Heat butter in 12-inch skillet over medium-low heat until foaming; add shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in mushrooms, increase heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring frequently, until most of liquid given off by mushrooms has evaporated, 7 to 10 minutes. Add cream, Madeira, salt, and pepper; cook until mixture is dry, about 3 minutes longer. Off heat, stir in thyme.

3. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; turn duxelles onto baking sheet and, with rubber spatula, spread into 8 by 10-inch rectangle of even thickness (see illustration 1). Cover flush with plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely cold, at least 2 hours or up to 24.

Red Wine Sauce

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Combine oxtails, carrots, celery, onions, and garlic in large flameproof roasting pan; spray lightly with cooking spray and toss to combine. Roast, stirring every 10 minutes, until beef and vegetables are well-browned, 40 to 50 minutes, adding tomato paste to roasting pan after 30 minutes.

2. While oxtails and vegetables roast, bring wine, shallots, bay leaf, and thyme to simmer over medium heat in heavy-bottomed 8-quart stockpot or Dutch oven; reduce heat to low, and simmer slowly, uncovered, until reduced to about 11/2 cups, about 30 minutes. Set pot aside.

3. Place roasting pan over burner(s) set at high; add beef and chicken broths and bring to boil, scraping up browned bits on bottom of pan with wooden spoon.

4. Transfer contents of roasting pan to stockpot with wine reduction. Add 7 cups water, peppercorns, and parsley stems, and bring to boil over high heat; reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until richly flavored and full-bodied, 3 to 4 hours. Strain broth into large glass measuring cup or container (you should have about 2 cups), discarding solids in strainer. Cool to room temperature; cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.

5. While beef Wellington bakes, skim hardened fat from surface of stock using soup spoon and discard. Transfer stock to small saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat until reduced to about 1 cup, 10 to 15 minutes. Add port; set aside off heat.

6. While beef Wellington rests, return broth to simmer over medium heat and whisk in butter 1 piece at a time. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper and serve with beef Wellington.

Wellington Timeline

2 to 3 Days Before Serving:Dry-age the tenderloin. (This can be done 2 days before browning or 2 to 3 days before serving, depending on how long you intend to chill the browned tenderloin.)

Up to 2 Days Before Serving:Make the stock base for the sauce.

Up to 1 Day Before Serving:Make the duxelles.Brown the dry-aged tenderloin.

Day of Serving:Assemble and bake the Wellington.

While the Wellington Roasts and Rests:Complete the sauce.


Assembling Beef Wellington

1. Turn duxelles onto parchment-lined baking sheet and spread into 8 by 10-inch rectangle.

2. Cut off twine from seared roast and discard. Spread pâté evenly on top and sides of tenderloin.

3. Invert duxelles onto dough and peel back the parchment carefully.

4. Place tenderloin on dough bare- side-up, and brush dough edges with egg wash.

5. Lift dough edges up to encase tenderloin snugly, allowing for 1-inch overlap. Pinch seam to seal.

6. Turn dough corners up, as when wrapping a gift, and press to seal.

Beef Wellington

Cookies with your Grandchild

When my granddaughter Claire (age 7) comes to visit, we love to make sugar cookies.  Not we like to eat them, but she loves to use my collection of cookie cutters to make a lot of different shapes and decorate them when they are done.  Usually they are pretty piled high with way too much frosting for me, but she does love them.  I found this recipe online and thought it might be fun to make real sugar cookies that you can actually eat.




  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons nonpareil sprinkles, optional
  • vanilla buttercream frosting*, optional



  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in egg and vanilla and mix until combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl down.
  4. Gradually add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. If using, mix in the nonpareil sprinkles.
  5. Use a small cookie scoop to create dough balls about 2 teaspoons each. Gently roll each scoop of dough into a ball and place onto prepared cookie sheets, leaving about 2 inches of space between each cookie.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheets for a couple of minutes before moving them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. If desired, top or sandwich cookies with buttercream frosting. Recipe below. 


*If using the vanilla buttercream linked above, I recommend cutting it in half.

su2Basic Buttercream


Basic Buttercream– This buttercream is, fast, simple and what you see on most grocery store cakes. It’s essentially fat (butter, margarine, shortening), confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla extract whipped together.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream– This type of buttercream in made by cooking egg whites and sugar together in a bowl placed on a pot of boiling water. The mixture is continuously whisked while it reaches 140° F. The egg white and sugar mixture is then removed from the heat and whipped at high speed until it forms stiff peaks and has cooled.
Italian Buttercream– This buttercream is made by adding simple syrup, which is made by heating sugar and water (soft-ball stage) to the egg-whites and allowing the syrup to cook the egg whites and whipped to form stiff peaks.

Cookies with your Grandchild

Simple and Quick Chocolate Desert

Chocolate Truffle Torte


With such few ingredients involved, the chocolate you use truly matters. Use a blend of  Nicaraguan, Peruvian and Guatemalan chocolate, but if you can’t get your hands on those, play around with a few of your other favorites to showcase the flavor profile you like best.

Chocolate Truffle Torte

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Prep Time: 25 minutes, plus cooling time

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, plus cooling time


15 ounces chocolate (65 to 80 percent cocoa), chopped

7 ounces butter, chopped

5 eggs

2 tablespoons water

½ cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper.

2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler or microwave (in short intervals), stirring occasionally. Pour the chocolate-butter mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer (or just a large bowl if you’re using a hand mixer).

3. Add the eggs and mix at low speed, scraping the bowl as needed, until the mixture is completely smooth, 2 to 5 minutes.

4. Pour the water into a small saucepan, then add the sugar and salt. Cook over medium-low heat until the sugar and salt dissolve (a minute or 2), swirling the pan to aid in even cooking.

5. With the mixer at low speed, stream the melted sugar mixture into the chocolate mixture. When all the sugar is incorporated, turn the mixer up to medium-high speed and mix until the batter is smooth and shiny, about 3 minutes.

6. Scrape the batter into the springform pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the edges look set but the center still looks shiny. Let cool before serving.

Simple and Quick Chocolate Desert

Spiced Pomegranate Chicken

pomegranate chicken

Here is another delicious and quick dinner for your eating pleasure.  It is low in calories and I served it over cauliflower rice, which you can buy in frozen foods, or make yourself.

Ras el hanout is a North African spice blend made from cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, paprika, nutmeg and turmeric.  It is usually free of salt. Most grocery stores carry it.


2 Tbs Ras el Hanout

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs ( I used two chicken breasts and cut them in half)

1 Tbs EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

1 Tsp pomegranate molasses ( I could not find any, so used Pom and boiled over a low heat till denser

1/4 cup toasted pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)

1/4 cup pomegranate arils (these are the individual seeds)


  1. Stir together the ras el hanout, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub evenly over both sides of the chicken.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium and add the chicken.  I only used four thighs, so did it all in one batch.  Either that or use a very large pan. Cook until browned and the thermometer inserted in the thickest part register 165 degrees (about 6-7 minutes per side) Transfer to a platter and drizzle with the molasses. sprinkle with the pepitas and pomegranate arils and serve over the cauliflower rice.

I thought the flavor of the cauliflower rice was wonderful with the added flavors.  Here is to another fast and simple delicious dinner.




Spiced Pomegranate Chicken

Curried Chicken Thighs in 15 minutes

Curry Chicken Thighs

Made this simple and delicious dinner last week and wanted to share the recipe with my friends.  It is quick and easy and low in calories, as it is a Weight Watchers recipe. An average serving has 276 calories.


1 Tbs Madras curry powder

1 Tbs all purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

1’4 tsp pepper

6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs ( I used four)

Olive oil flavored cooking spray

1 cup julienne cut red bell peppers (1 pepper)

1 onion thinly sliced

1/3 cup pain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt


  1. Place curry powder in a large nonstick skillet.  Cook over medium high until toasted, about a minute. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  2. Place the flour, pepper and salt in a large ziplock bag. Coat the chicken with cooking spray and add to the flour mixture.  Seal the bag and give is a good shake to coat.  Remove the chicken from the bag, shaking off the excess flour mixture.  Add the chicken to the skillet and cook over medium until browned and a thermometer inserted in the thickest portion registers 165 degrees (about 7 minutes, turning after 4 minutes) Remove from the pan and keep warm.  I put mine in a warming drawer, but your oven can do the same thing. 
    Coat the bell pepper and onion with cooking spray, and add to the skillet.  Cook til almost crisp-tender (about 3 minutes). Stir in the curry powder, add the chicken and cool for two minutes.  Remove from the heat and add the yogurt just before serving, tossing to coat the chicken and the veggies.  

    Enjoy a lovely dinner. I served over brown rice, which I made in a rice cooker.

Curried Chicken Thighs in 15 minutes

Are you burning too much?

Here eight items you most likely try to cook too fast….

Here are eight things that you need to slow down and enjoy the process.

Caramelized Onions

c onions

Cooking caramelized onions to golden brown perfection is a labor of love. Go low and slow, stir frequently, and reward yourself with onion dip or on top a wonderful hamburger.  It’s not going to be ready in 15 minutes. It might even be closer to 40, 45, depending on what you’re making. Take your time. Clean out the fridge in between stirs. You’ll be greatly rewarded.

Grilled Cheese


The ideal degree of melted cheese doesn’t happen quickly. Even with American cheese, you won’t get a perfect cheese pull after two minutes on high heat you’ll have a block of cheese and super burnt bread. Lower your heat and let the butter or garlic butter work its magic. I do mine in a Panini pan and it always turns out perfectly.

Scrambled Eggs


Scrambled eggs always cook quickly, but there’s a twofold approach to making sure they are not rubbery: keep it over medium-low heat and pull them off the heat before they look completely done. You should think: “Nah, they’re not done.” That’s the moment to take them off ASAP! Sounds crazy but we’re serious. The result is custardy, soft, creamy eggs. You may not get it right the first time, but keep practicing and tasting and you’ll be a scrambled-egg master soon enough.

Toasted Nuts


Whether you’re making basil pesto or cookies with nuts, toasted nuts are the garnish and crunch that make it taste heavenly.. If you toast them in a hot skillet, they can burn quickly so you need to use a medium to medium-low heat and stir constantly so you don’t get uneven browning. A more foolproof option is to toast in a 350° oven for 5 to 8 minutes. Larger pieces like pecans, hazelnuts, and cashews may take a little longer about 10 minutes and add time if you store your nuts in the freezer.

Steak and Pork Chops


When searing off a thicker steak (1 to 1 ½”-thick) or pork chop, you don’t want to blast it with high heat, or it may blacken and burn before the inside warms through. Even in the case of medium-rare steak, cook it over a medium flame so it can render some fat, crisp on both sides, and cook through evenly. If you use a sweet marinade it’ll caramelize even faster, so be extra cautious. The same goes for grilling, but you’ll likely see flare-ups and control your heat better than you would in a cast-iron skillet.

Crispy-Skinned Chicken or Duck


To achieve super-crispy chicken skin, especially pan-roasted thighs or duck, you need to let the fat underneath render out slowly. If you try to crank the heat and crisp them faster, you’ll get rubbery fat and burnt skin that seizes up. Tragic! It will take about 15 minutes to properly render the fat in chicken thighs or duck breasts. They don’t require too much cooking time after the skin is crispy.



Fun fact: the more sausage links you cook at once, the less likely they are to burn. If they’re closer together, they’ll steam and brown at the same time and  will cook all the way through instead of being caramelized on the outside and raw pork on the inside. Use a medium heat, turn often, and be patient. It’s going to take close to 10 minutes. You can cook sausage in the oven if you want to go more hands-off.



 Like with chicken skin, you want to render it slowly so it can get crispy without burning, and it perfumes your entire house after Sunday pancake brunch. You won’t need to buy a candle again.

Are you burning too much?

18 Food Hacks You Will Love

This is straight from an online article from Bon Appetit and I thought it was fabulous information.  Please enjoy!

Perfect poached eggs, softened butter in a flash, and more hacks from the internet.

The chefs at Bon Appetit learned lots of interesting food hacks  over time with many of them come from the depths of the internet. Here are eighteen tricks you should have in your arsenal for easy peeled eggs, shredded chicken, softened butter, and much more. Number six might just change your life forever.

1. Peel a Whole Head of Garlic in Seconds

Shake, shake, shake. Shake, shake, shake. Shake your garlic. (Singing optional.)

2. Shred Chicken in Your KitchenAid

Make pulled pork or shredded chicken in less than a minute by giving it a whirl in the KitchenAid. You could also use a hand mixer in a bowl.

3. Cook Pasta in a Skillet

A watched pot never boils, so… don’t boil a whole pot of water. Just cook your pasta in a skillet instead.

4. Peel Tons of Potatoes at Once

Score the potato across the middle and then the skins just peel off post-boiling. Whoa.

5. Peel Eggs, While You’re At It

Making potato salad? You can also peel lots of hard-boiled eggs in a tupperware bowl with a lid. Swirl ’em around until the shells fall off.

6. Chop Those Eggs Without a Knife

Use a cooling rack to press whole boiled eggs through—they’ll chop into little squares.

7. Peel a Mango With a Glass

Then make a batch of this easy coconut sticky rice with mango.

8. Poach Perfect Eggs With a Sieve

For making eggs Benedict without fear!

9. Get Perfectly Ripe Avocados Every Time

Because your avocado toast only deserves the best.

10. Soften Butter in a Flash

If you always forget to bring your butter to room temperature before you bake, this trick is for you.

11. Turn Bananas Into “Nice Cream”

This is the easiest “nice cream” you will ever make.

12. Turn a Baking Sheet Into a Tart Pan

You don’t need a special pan to make this tart—all you need are a rimmed baking sheet and a piece of aluminum foil.

13. Use Unscented Dental Floss to Cut Through Soft Foods

Your cookie dough will never be the same again.

14. Keep Your Brown Sugar From Drying Out

This method works with a piece of bread, too. Brown sugar already rock-hard? Here’s the best way to soften it back up.

15. Make Perfect Ice Cream Sandwiches on the Fly

We’re partial to these pistachio sandwich cookies ourselves.

16. Make Magic Vegan Meringues with Bean Water

An egg-free meringue? Yep, it’s possible.

17. Shuck Corn in Seconds

We’ve got a few ideas for what you can do with all that perfectly-shucked corn.

18. Hull Strawberries with a Plastic Straw

Then use those berries in this strawberry-graham galette!

18 Food Hacks You Will Love