Slow Cooker Taco Soup [RECIPE]

Try something new for taco night this winter. (Photo by Jathan Fink, Jadeworks Entertainment)

One of our favorite kitchen gadgets is our slow cooker, especially when the weather is cool. This recipe uses lots of pantry staples to make a delicious, spicy soup that will warm your belly and thrill your taste buds. Best of all, you don’t have to slave over a hot stove to make it!

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Simon Fairfax’s Pasta Schizophrenica [RECIPE]

(Photo courtesy Simon Fairfax)

Simon Fairfax, author of the new Medieval saga that begins with A Knight and a Spy 1410, is not only a very capable writer, he also knows his way around a kitchen. He received this recipe from “Alice’s” (the Contessa’s) mother (see our recent interview for details), who calls it Pasta Schizophrenica, as it turns out differently each time! The good thing is, like so many typical Italian dishes, there’s really no right or wrong when preparing this dish, hence the name. In essence, this is very simple and quick to prepare, and can be made in about 10 minutes. “But you must use good quality, fresh ingredients,” Simon says. “This recipe includes what works on a regular basis. However, you could use no basil or more pepper; passata rather than chopped tomatoes; pasta instead of gnocchi; sliced pancetta rather than cubed; etc., etc. Well, you get the picture! Pork, especially wild boar—Cinghiale—is very popular around Tarquinia/North Lazio and features in many dishes.” We hope you enjoy this recipe, as written and photographed by Simon himself. —J&H

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Gillian Harvey’s After School Sugar Cookies [RECIPE]

Gillian Harvey's After School Sugar Cookies
After School Sugar Cookies are a busy parent’s best friend. (Photo courtesy Gillian Harvey)

Writer Gillian Harvey is a busy woman. Not only is she the author of the upcoming Everything is Fine (which you can pre-order now before it hits US bookstores in January), but she is also mom to five adorable, energetic kiddos. So when we asked her to share one of her favorite recipes, it came as no surprise when she offered up this one for her after school sugar cookies. After all, what parent doesn’t need a quick cookie recipe in their culinary arsenal? We hope you love baking up this batch of sweet goodness with your little ones! —J&H

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Remembering Seven of Our Favorite Watering Holes on Bartender Appreciation Day

Heather sips her first hurricane at Pat O’Brien’s Bar in New Orleans. (Photo by Jathan Fink, Jadeworks Entertainment)

Happy Bartender Appreciation Day! Although we’re stuck at home in the midst of a pandemic, it’s a great day to meander down memory lane and remember all those great watering holes we’ve discovered over the years as we travelled from one coast to the other. Each one of them holds wonderful memories for us, always punctuated by yummy drinks and a bartender with a liberal pour. Read on to find out if your favorites made the list.

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Slow-Cooked Marinara Sauce [RECIPE]

Marinara sauce
Marinara sauce is easy to make, but oh so yummy! (Photo by Jathan Fink, Jadeworks Entertainment)

Now that temperatures have dropped, we start thinking about comfort food. And what’s more robustly flavored and delicious than scrumptious Italian food on a cool autumn night? This marinara sauce is a little different than others we’ve made because it utilizes pancetta (an Italian bacon) to lend a hint of smoke to the flavor profile, which we love. It’s also great to make ahead, stores well, and is super easy to prepare. Best of all it is really versatile and goes wonderfully with everything from spaghetti and meatballs or chicken parmesan to a big dish of homemade lasagna. Yum!

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