Food and Recipe

Authentic Philly Cheesesteak

The Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich is the best comfort food. Thinly sliced ribeye steak, cheese, onions, and a delicious hoagie roll. This is one of those recipes that everyone loves!

a Philly cheesesteak open to expose the meat and cheese and onions

We are making a Philadelphia classic today with our Philly Cheesesteak. This sandwich is more than just bread, meat and cheese; it is a 70 year old cultural icon born in South Philadelphia at Pat’s Steaks. If you’ve never had a Philly Cheesesteak, today’s your lucky day. This sandwich is so easy to put together, and is sure to become a favorite!

There are a lot of strong opinions out there on what should and should not be included on a Philly Cheesesteak. Onions? Provolone cheese? Cheese Whiz? American cheese? Veggies? If you’re from Philadelphia, I’m sure you’ve had a few heated debates yourself about Pat’s vs. Geno’s Steaks. We’re not here to ruffle any feathers. We just want to help you enjoy an authentic Philly Cheesesteak from the comfort of your own home. 

  • Cheese Options on a Philly Cheesesteak:  The original Philly Cheesesteak didn’t even have any cheese! Later they added Provolone, and now you typically get a choice of Cheese Whiz, American, and sliced Provolone cheese.
  • Onions or No Onions: We love the added flavor of onions to a Philly Cheesesteak. However, authentic Cheesesteaks are served ‘wit onions’ or wit-out onions’, so the choice is up to you!
  • Beef Options: The best cut to use in a Philly Cheesesteak is ribeye or top round. Definitely avoid chuck steak or any other tough cuts. Always shave the meat very thinly.  Pro Tip: If you’re struggling to shave the meat thin enough, partially freeze it first!
  • What type of roll should I use?  We love a good hoagie roll on a Philly Cheesesteak, however, Amoroso Rolls are considered the Authentic Philly option.
overhead view of a Philly cheesesteak sandwich

If you like this recipe, you may be interested in these other delicious sandwich recipes:

Watch the video below where Rachel will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes on YouTube, Facebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.

Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows

Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows is to die for! Mashed sweet potatoes are mixed with brown sugar, butter, topped with mini marshmallows and baked until perfectly brown and gooey on top.

sweet potato casserole slice on a stack of plates.

We have been in Thanksgiving planning mode a lot around here lately. Juicy turkey, mashed potatoes, rolls, pie, and the infamous sweet potato casserole. Not gonna lie, this is so good it should be considered dessert, but somehow we still get away with calling this a ‘vegetable side dish’ year after year. 

Sweet potato casserole has a lot of variations out there, and this one is always a favorite. Is there really a wrong way to eat sweet potatoes, brown sugar, butter, and marshmallows though? We think not. Can we all agree not to tell the kids that sweet potatoes are healthy? We’d like to get away with this for a few more years before they realize there is actual nutrition in this dish. If you’re looking for another delicious option, you can always make the variety of Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Topping.

  • What’s the difference between yams and sweet potatoes?  In the United States, the terms “Sweet Potato” and “Yam” are used interchangeably and refer to that potato looking thing with the red skin and orange flesh. Yet, you have probably seen something else in the grocery store labeled sweet potato with light yellow skin, while your orange flesh variety is labeled yams. Guess what? Both of them are sweet potatoes! The kind of sweet potatoes you think of as yams are simply dark-skinned sweet potatoes. You won’t commonly come across true yams in an American grocery store. True yams have brown or black skin and the flesh is either red, purple, or off white.  We prefer garnet sweet potatoes in our casserole, both for the flavor and the color! However, you can use either an orange or white flesh sweet potato.
  • Mini or Large Marshmallows in Sweet Potato Casserole: Large marshmallows are just a bit too big for a sweet potato casserole and are difficult to eat and can also burn. We love the ratio of gooey center to crispy outside on the mini marshmallows, and recommend you stick to the mini variety. If you’ve only got large marshmallows and you are in a pinch, use clean kitchen scissors to snip them into smaller pieces for topping. Spraying the scissors with nonstick cooking spray will help with any sticking issues. 
  • Can I use canned sweet potatoes/yams? This recipe is written for raw sweet potatoes and we do highly recommend using them for the best flavor. If all you’ve got is canned, we can work with that! Simply skip the second step of the recipe where you boil your sweet potatoes. Instead, drain your canned yams thoroughly and proceed with mixing them in with the other ingredients and placing them into your casserole dish. You’ll need 1 1/2 to 2 pounds total, but you can always scale the recipe smaller if you need to. 
  • Storage and Reheating Instructions: Store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 4 days, and simply reheat in the microwave in 30-second increments until warmed through. If you want to reheat a large portion at one time, you can slip the entire casserole dish back into a preheated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until warmed through.
a baking dish filled with sweet potato casserole.

If you like this recipe, you may be interested in these other delicious Thanksgiving and Holiday recipes:

Watch the video below where Rachel will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes on YouTube, Facebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.

Smoked Turkey Legs

The next day, pour the brine down the drain and then rinse the turkey legs and pat them dry. Prepare your grill for indirect smoking,
If using a smoker, prepare it for cooking at 245°F to 260°F (118°C to 127°C) using apple wood. Place the turkey legs in the smoker and let it do what it’s designed for. Smoke the turkey legs, keeping the temperature between 245°F to 260°F (118°C to 127°C), until the internal temperature of the turkey registers 165°F (74°C), 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours.
If using a gas grill, wrap a handful of unsoaked apple wood chips in foil, poke a few holes in the foil, and toss it on one side of the grill grate. Turn on all the burners and leave the lid of the grill open until you see smoke coming from the foil packet. Turn off all the burners but the one beneath the foil packet. Place the turkey directly on the grate over indirect heat (that is to say, opposite the lit burner and the foil packet), close the lid, and turn the heat to medium. Smoke the turkey legs, keeping the temperature between 245°F to 260°F (118°C to 127°C), until the internal temperature of the turkey registers 165°F (74°C), 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours. You may need to occasionally check the foil packet to ensure it’s still smoking; if it’s not, fashion a new one and toss it on the burner you’re using for heat.
If using a charcoal grill, place a metal drip pan in the center of the grill under the grate. Pour about 1/2 inch (12 mm) water into the drip pan. Pile hot charcoal on either side of the drip pan and close the lid. Manipulate the coals to maintain a temperature of 245°F to 260°F (118°C to 127°C). Toss a handful of unsoaked apple wood chips directly on the charcoal. Place the turkey legs directly on the grate over the drip pan. Smoke the turkey legs, keeping the temperature between 245°F to 260°F (118°C to 127°C), until the internal temperature of the turkey registers 165°F (74°C), 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours. You may need to occasionally check the wood chips to ensure they’re still smoking; if they’re not, toss another handful onto the charcoal.

Toblerone Rice Krispies Treats

These Toblerone Rice Krispies treats are a gussied-up version of the childhood classic that incorporates two types of chocolate into the rice cereal and marshmallow snack bars.

A kid classic that’s been gussied up with Toblerone, another classic. The chocolate is infused with almond and nougat, which makes for a slightly crunchier, slightly more caramel-inflected treat, which in turn makes them even more irresistible. As if that was even possible. (Yes, trust us, it is.)–Renee Schettler

What is Toblerone?

Toblerone is a Swiss confection made of chocolate infused with almond, honey, and nougat. It was patented in 1909 and has remained popular throughout most of the world since then.

Where can I find Toblerone?

Toblerone can be found in the candy aisle of some but not all grocery stores, drug stores, and specialty food stores, including some European bakeries and delis that stock lovelies from abroad. Our recipe testers also found Toblerone at duty-free boutiques at airports, Costco, and Wegmans. It’s available at Amazon though at a rather steep markup.

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 20 M
  • Serves 20



Line a 9-inch (23-cm) square baking dish with parchment paper.

In a large saucepan over low heat, melt the marshmallows, butter, and Toblerone dark chocolate, stirring frequently, until melted and completely combined.

Got kids? Bring ‘em in the kitchen. They love breaking off the triangles and counting the marshmallows.

Working quickly, stir in the rice cereal and then spoon the mixture into the parchment-lined dish. Flatten with the back of a spoon to form a compact and even layer. Slide the dish in the fridge for 1 hour.

In a heatproof bowl set over (but not touching) a pan of barely simmering water, melt the Toblerone milk chocolate, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Pour evenly over the chilled cereal mixture and smooth with the back of a spoon.

If you like a little salty with your sweet, sprinkle some sea salt flakes over the chocolate before refrigerating.

Cover the pan with plastic wrap and return to the fridge until completely set, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Thinly slice into bars and devour. Note that these are a little more crumbly than a traditional rice krispies treat, so keep a napkin or plate nearby while noshing. (You can cover and keep these at room temperature for up to a week…although good luck getting them to last that long.)

Homemade Guanciale

This homemade guanciale, made with pork jowl, seasoning, and white wine, is easier than you may think. Here’s how to make it.

Guancia is Italian for “cheek,” and guanciale, a specialty of central Italy, is cured pork jowl that has been rubbed with an aromatic blend of black pepper, hot chile, and dried rosemary. Although it can be used in many of the same ways that pancetta is used, guanciale definitely has a personality all its own. When slowly crisped in a pan, it gives off an intriguing, spicy, sharp fragrance that awakens the hunger. Sauté thin shards of guanciale with peas, asparagus, and spring onions, or toss crispy bits of sautéed guanciale with shredded Lacinato kale, pecorino cheese, plumped currants, and toasted pine nuts for a satisfying salad. Or, use it as the Romans do, for a robust bowl of bucatini all’amatriciana or spaghetti alla carbonara.–Domenica Marchetti

What’s the difference between guanciale and pancetta?

Both guanciale and pancetta are cured pork. Although they tend to be used interchangeably stateside, there are distinct differences. Guanciale comes from the jowl, or cheek, whereas pancetta tends to be made with the belly. And guanciale tends to have a more complex and slightly more robust mingling of spices whereas pancetta takes a quieter approach.

A slab of homemade gunaciale on a wooden board.
  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 4 H
  • Serves 10

Special Equipment: Kitchen scale; kitchen twine or meat hook



Wear clean gloves while handling the pork.* Pat the trimmed jowl completely dry and place it on a cutting board.

You’ll want to measure the amount of salt you use. It will be approximately 1 tablespoon of both sea and pink salt but the precise amounts for curing depend on the exact weight of the jowl. You want the weight of the sea salt to be 3 percent the weight of the trimmed meat. And you want the weight of the pink salt to be 0.25 percent the weight of the trimmed meat.

In a bowl, combine the sea salt, pink salt, garlic, pepper, rosemary, and sage and mix well. Sprinkle the cure all over the meat and rub it in well to coat all sides.

Place the pork in a resealable plastic freezer bag. Scoop up any stray rub and add it to the bag. Squeeze out the air and seal. Place the bag in a baking dish and refrigerate for 1 week. Turn the bag once a day and give the pork a little massage through the plastic each time you turn it.

After 1 week, remove the sealed bag from the baking dish. Pour the wine into the baking dish. Wearing gloves, remove the pork jowl from the bag and use your (gloved) fingers to brush off as much brine as you can. Immerse the pork in the wine to dislodge more brine; then transfer it to a clean cutting board.

Use a sharp paring knife to cut a hole in one corner of the jowl about 1 inch from the edge. Thread a length of kitchen twine through the hole and knot it where it meets the pork. Tie the ends together tightly to create a long loop for hanging. Alternatively, if you have a sterilized meat hook, this can be used in place of the twine.

Weigh the meat and note the weight. If using a meat hook, note the weight of it as well.

If you have a curing space, hang the guanciale in in it. This is ideally a dark space that’s 41 to 43°F (5 to 6°C). Weigh the guanciale every 7 to 10 days until it’s lost 20 to 30 percent of its weight, which could take anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks. If you don’t have a separate curing space, place the guanciale on a rack set inside a shallow pan in the refrigerator and let it cure, uncovered, until it’s lost 20 to 30 percent of its weight, which could take anywhere from 1 to 2 weeks. Turn the guanciale over every few days to ensure that all sides are exposed to air.

You can slow the drying process and allow even more flavor to develop by placing a container of a simple saltwater brine beneath the meat.

To store the guanciale, cut it into 4- or 8-ounce (113- or 227-g) pieces and vacuum-seal it or wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and seal in a resealable plastic bag. Store in the freezer for up to several months. Once opened, store the guanciale in plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

*How to ensure your homemade guanciale is safe to eat

  • We can’t emphasize enough the need to precisely adhere to the instructions in this recipe. This applies to everything—the weights of the salt in proportion to the pork, the wearing of gloves, and the temperature of the environment in which you keep the pork. Preserving food is an age-old technique yet it also relies on a healthy respect for precision and science in order to do so safely.

Pecan Pie Rugelach

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If making the dough by hand, combine the flour and salt in a medium bowl. Cut the cold butter and cream cheese into the flour with the back of a fork or pastry blender until the flour is crumbly. In a small bowl, combine the bourbon, vanilla, and water and then add it to the flour mixture, a couple tablespoons at a time, tossing and compressing the mixture gently with your hands until it forms a ball, being careful not to overwork the dough. If making the dough in a food processor, combine the flour, salt, butter, and cream cheese in the processor and pulse until chickpea-sized balls are formed. Pour in the bourbon, vanilla, and water and pulse just until a dough forms and starts to pull away from the edge of the processor bowl.

Grilled Cheese with Onion Jam

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These grilled cheese with onion jam, made with sharp Cheddar and a sweet and tangy red onion jam, still have all of the nostalgic comfort of traditional grilled cheese but feel a lot more special.

Cheddar and chutney is a winning combination, but for best results, be sure to use a really gutsy mature or sharp Cheddar in this grilled cheese with onion jam. The jam, or chutney, needs to have a good balance of sweet and tart to make this work perfectly, so be sure to taste and adjust it before assembling the sandwiches.–Laura Washburn

What exactly does it mean to caramelize onions and is that the same as onion jam?

Let’s be clear about what caramelized onions are and are not, shall we? Properly caramelized onions have been slowly and gently coaxed to soft, sweet submissiveness, a state achieved by patient attentiveness over low heat, which tends to take the better part of an hour. What you do not have in this grilled cheese with onion jam recipe is caramelized onions, nor is that a failing of the recipe. It’s actually an act of brilliance on the part of the recipe creator, who cooks the onions for an eminently weeknight-friendly 20 minutes or so—just enough to soften them—and then she tosses the onions with vinegar and sugar. This creates a sweetly tart compote or chutney or jam or godsend or whatever you care to call this cheater’s version of caramelized onions, which ably cuts the richness of cheese, roast pork, seared duck, and so forth. To be clear, while these onions are really damn good, they’re just not caramelized. And that’s okay.

  • Quick Glance
  • (1)
  • 15 M
  • Serves 2



In a skillet or large saucepan over medium heat, combine the onions and oil and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden brown, about 20 minutes. You’re probably going to want to turn down the heat at some point and start to stir the onions almost constantly so as to not let them burn.

Add the salt, brown sugar, wine vinegar, and balsamic vinegar to the onions and simmer until the mixture is sticky but still somewhat liquidy, 3 to 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more sugar for sweetness or vinegar for tartness as desired.

Butter 1 side of each slice of bread.

Place 2 slices of bread, butter side down, in a large skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat. Generously spread some onion jam on each slice bread and then arrange the cheese on the jam in an even layer. Cover each open-faced sandwich with another slice of bread, butter side up.

Turn the heat down to medium and cook for 2 to 4 minutes, pressing gently with a spatula every once in a while, until the bread turns a deep golden color. 

Carefully flip the sandwiches with the spatula and cook on the second side for 2 to 3 minutes, or until deep golden brown. (If you’re using a grill pan and you’re keen to create a criss-cross pattern as shown in the photo above, rotate the sandwich 90° and cook for another minute or so, then flip the sandwiches over again, making sure they’re rotated 90°, and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.)

Transfer the sandwiches to a plate and cut in half. Let cool for a few minutes before serving. (Any leftover onion jam can be kept in a resealable container in the refrigerator for up to several days.) Originally published March 5, 2015.

Crispy Oven Baked Chicken Wings (any flavor!)

Make perfectly crispy Oven Baked Chicken Wings with this easy method, including seven different flavor options for wings everyone will love.

A serving board full of crispy oven baked chicken wings

Mmmmm, chicken wings! They don’t call them finger lickin’ good for nothing. Every time we make them for dinner we wonder why we don’t make them more often! Chicken wings do not have to be consumed at a sports bar surrounded by big screens and local sports, promise. 

If you don’t think you love chicken wings, you probably just never found the right sauce. There are so many amazing flavor options, that you are sure to find one to love! Buffalo sauce or barbecue sauce is standard, but we are huge fans of honey garlic and salt and vinegar! No matter how you dress them, you’re going to love them! 

  • What does baking powder do for chicken wings? You definitely don’t want to skimp on this one. Baking powder is an essential ingredient in crispy baked chicken wings. Baking powder raises the pH of the chicken, breaks down the peptide bonds in the skin, and with that, makes the skin more crispy. Science, y’all!
  • Fresh vs. Frozen Wings We prefer to always use fresh wings, however, we know how convenient it is to keep a bag of frozen wings on hand at all times. If you’re going to use frozen wings, let them thaw in the fridge overnight before baking, and make sure to pat them dry really well. You don’t want that extra water content
  • What to serve with chicken wings: Traditionally, you would want carrot sticks and celery on the side, and we are not ones to mess with tradition. There is also a hot debate on ranch vs bleu cheese as a dipping sauce. Whichever you prefer, we won’t judge.
  • Short on time? Try our “cheater” method: If you are short on time making refrigeration for 12-24 hours impossible, we’ve got you covered. You can bake that at a super low temperature to dry them out before then blasting them with heat to finish cooking through. So, rather than refrigerating your wings at all, preheat your oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for approximately 45 minutes – 1 hour. At that point, remove your wings from the oven, and increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees. Once it is at temperature, add your wings back in and bake for an additional 30-45 minutes, following the standard baking time suggested in the recipe, or until your wings are to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you like this recipe, you may be interested in these other delicious chicken recipes:

A hand dipping a chicken wing into ranch dressing

Buffalo Sauce

  • 1/4 cup buffalo hot sauce
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together hot sauce, melted butter, and honey.
  2. Add prepared and cooked chicken wings to a large mixing bowl. Pour in sauce and toss to coat.

Simple BBQ Sauce

  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cajun seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  1. In a medium sauce pan, whisk together brown sugar, cornstarch, salt, cajun seasoning, and paprika.
  2. Whisk in tomato sauce, molasses, worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and garlic.
  3. Bring to a simmer over medium high heat, stirring occasionally. Let simmer 15 minutes.
  4. Add prepared and cooked chicken wings to a large mixing bowl. Pour in sauce and toss to coat.

Honey Garlic Sauce

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 5 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  1. Heat olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add in garlic and saute 90 seconds.
  2. Add in honey, water, vinegar, and soy sauce. Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat.
  3. Add prepared and cooked chicken wings to a large mixing bowl. Pour in sauce and toss to coat.

Garlic Parmesan Sauce

  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  1. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together melted butter, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt, and pepper until well combined.
  2. Add prepared and cooked chicken wings to a large mixing bowl. Pour in sauce and toss to coat.

Teriyaki Sauce

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  1. In a medium sauce pan, whisk together brown sugar, cornstarch, and ginger.
  2. Stir in water, soy sauce, honey, and garlic. Bring to a simmer over medium high heat.
  3. Let simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Add prepared and cooked chicken wings to a large mixing bowl. Pour in sauce and toss to coat.

Salt and Vinegar Wings

  • 2 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together vinegar, water, salt, and pepper until dissolved. Add in raw chicken wings and make sure they are completely submerged.
  2. Let soak in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
  3. Pat completely dry, then proceed with basic crispy baked chicken wing recipe.

Lemon Pepper Wings

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon pepper
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil and lemon pepper.
  2. Add prepared and cooked chicken wings to a large mixing bowl. Pour in sauce and toss to coat.

Watch the video below where Rachel will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes on YouTube, Facebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.

Trisha Yearwood’s Chocolate Torte

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Trisha Yearwood’s chocolate torte is essentially a 12-layer vanilla cake that’s smothered with chocolate glaze. A sophisticated dessert that’s surprisingly simple to make.

As author Trisha Yearwood says of this cake, you may take a look at the layers and think, “There is no way I’m making this at home!” “But,” she continues to explain, “the recipe is both simple and savvy, baking several skinny cakes in 9-inch cake pans. It sure beats making a plain ole double layer chocolate cake and slicing both of those suckers into six with that inevitable and maddening mess of crumbs that comes from hacking away at the cake with a bread knife.” Impressive in stature as well as taste.–Trisha Yearwood

How To Make This Torte A Simple Two-Layer Cake

Yes, we understand, you don’t always have the time or patience for tradition–or lots and lots of layers. So sure, why not, go ahead, bake the batter in two standard 9-inch round cake pans and then stack and frost the two layers as is, as you would any layer cake. Then call it a day–a darn good day.

  • Quick Glance
  • (1)
  • 1 H, 15 M
  • Serves 15


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[Editor’s Note: Be sure to make the glaze before you bake the cakes.] In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the chocolate and stir until melted. 

Add the sugar and stir until it dissolves. Then stir in the evaporated milk, vanilla, and the instant coffee, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring it to a boil. 

Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens to a glaze, about 20 minutes.

Remove the glaze from the heat.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C). Butter and flour at least four 9-inch cake pans.

In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. 

In a small bowl, mix the vanilla with the milk. Add the flour to the egg mixture alternately with the milk mixture, beginning and ending with the flour.

Pour a very thin layer of batter—about 7 tablespoons—into each pan, shaking the pans to distribute the batter to the edges. Bake the layers for 11 to 13 minutes. 

While the first cake layers bake, return the glaze to low heat as the glaze must be warm to spread on the cake layers.

When the cake layers are done, immediately remove the layers from the pans and, working one at a time, place the layers on a cake stand and immediately slather with some of the warm glaze.

Bake all of the remaining batter in this manner and continue to stack and glaze in this fashion. You should be able to get 12 layers from this recipe. Reserve the last of the glaze to dribble over the top of the cake. Originally published October 29, 2010.

Spiced Sweet Potato Bundt Cake

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This spiced sweet potato bundt cake is laced with fragrant autumn spices and drizzled with a coffee and chocolate glaze. And since there’s plenty of pureed sweet potato in there, we’re going to go ahead and call it healthy.

Sweet potatoes and chocolate chips seem like an unlikely combination, but they work really well together. I like to tell myself that the sweet potatoes help make the cake a nutritious snack as well as a sweet one. If you like baking cakes, it’s worth investing in a nice Bundt pan. They’re a simple way to make pretty cakes.–Tanya Holland

Why is there a hole in a Bundt cake?

The central column, or hole, in a Bundt cake pan allows more of the cake batter to be in contact with the hot pan, promoting more even heat distribution and faster baking. And, just to state the obvious, the resulting shape also looks quite lovely.

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 40 M
  • Serves 18

Special Equipment: 12-cup Bundt pan


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In a medium pot, toss in the sweet potatoes and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and let cool for at least 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter and flour a 12-cup (2.8-liter) Bundt pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger, and salt.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed, beat the cooled sweet potatoes and eggs until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the melted butter and beat until combined. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour mixture, and mix just until combined. The batter will be thicker and heavier than most cake batters.

Remove the work bowl from the mixer and, using a spoon, stir in the chocolate.

If you want to help ensure the chocolate chips keep their distance from one another and don’t glom together, toss them with a couple tablespoons of flour before sitting them into the batter.

Spoon the batter into the prepared Bundt pan.

Don’t overfill your Bundt pan. You want at least an inch or so of clearance between the batter and the top of the pan. If your pan is on the smaller side and you find that you have extra batter, spoon it into individual ramekins, mugs, canelé molds, or a muffin pan and bake them alongside the Bundt for about 40 minutes.

Bake until a toothpick or skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack to let the cake cool completely, about 1 hour. Loosen the cake from the pan using the tip of a dinner knife, place a wire rack over the pan, and flip it all upside down to turn the cake out onto the rack.

Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the cream, coffee, and cinnamon stick and bring to a simmer.

Pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate. Let stand, undisturbed, for about 2 minutes. Discard the cinnamon stick and then whisk until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is blended and smooth.

Serve the cake at room temperature, with a drizzle of chocolate sauce, if desired. (The cake can be covered with plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days. Or you can wrap the unglazed cake in plastic and freeze for up to 1 month.)

Classic Béchamel Sauce

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Béchamel Sauce is a staple in classic French cuisine. It is a dairy-based white sauce thickened with a butter and flour roux. It can be used on its own over pasta, or as the base in many other dishes.

a plate of ravioli coated in béchamel sauce.

Today we are tackling a French cuisine staple. Béchamel Sauce is known as a “mother sauce.” It is one of just a few sauces from which all other sauces derive. That might sound intimidating, but béchamel is super simple to make, and is definitely a sauce you want in your repertoire. 

Béchamel may seem similar to an Alfredo sauce, but they are actually quite different. Alfredo sauce calls for heavy cream and parmesan cheese, and is thickened by reduction. Béchamel calls for milk instead, and is thickened with a roux. It traditionally does not include any cheese, though some people do enjoy a cheesy béchamel sauce over pasta.

  • How to use béchamel: Béchamel is a multi-purpose sauce. You can use it as the base of a gourmet mac n cheese, layered in lasagna, in a vegetable gratin, or even just on top of freshly cooked pasta. If you want to take the next step into French cooking, you could go on to use it in a Soubisse, Nantua, or Mornay Sauce.
  • Adjusting Thickness: The recipe as written makes a medium-thick sauce that is perfect for general use like coating pasta. For a thin white sauce, reduce the butter and flour both to 2 tablespoons. For a super thick white sauce use up to 1/2 cup each of flour and butter.
  • Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, and other Substitutes: Béchamel Sauce has been considered a “mother sauce” since the 17th century. It uses only whole, natural ingredients, and as such there really are no adequate substitutes. This is one of those recipes that needs to be made as written to fully appreciate such a simple, timeless sauce. The one exception is replacing the flour that is used as a thickening agent. You can replace the flour with cornstarch. Simply use cornstarch in half the amount of the flour listed for a gluten-free bechamel sauce.  
a saucepan filled with béchamel sauce.

If you like this recipe, you may be interested in these other delicious pasta recipes:

Watch the video below where Rachel will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes on YouTube, Facebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.

Pumpkin Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

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This pumpkin cake with maple cream cheese frosting is spiced with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. All the essential pumpkin spice flavors tempered with the creamy coolness of cream cheese frosting. One of our most popular cakes.

This pumpkin cake, along with its incredible maple cream cheese frosting, is a recipe I developed a long time ago for an article I wrote for the Los Angles Times about Thanksgiving. I was killing two birds with one stone (forgive the holiday pun) by making my editor as well as The One happy. (The One loves anything pumpkin. This cake has actually beat out his former favorite autumn dessert, pumpkin pie.) Since then, this  recipe has become one of those baked-around-the-Internet desserts, like my ultimate chocolate chip cookies. I’ve seen my cake turned into some really clever loaves, mini-Bundt cakes, and, my favorite, cupcakes. It seems to take well to any form you can think to make it in.–David Leite

What to do if your frosting isn’t quite as fluffy as you’d like

Folks rave about this maple-cream cheese frosting. Rightly so. But it can tend to be a bit on the soft side—as in, perhaps a little too soft if the cake needs to sit out for a few hours in a warm kitchen. (And by “a warm kitchen,” we mean a kitchen in which the Thanksgiving turkey is roasting and all four burners are blasting come Thanksgiving morning.) This is easily remedied by plopping an extra stick of butter in the recipe. (Isn’t it lovely how butter can fix all manner of problems?!) The result is a sturdier frosting, with no sacrifice in flavor, that’s able to withstand sitting out for several hours in any climate. If you’re one of those people who are averse to more calories, get your hands on the darker, more robust maple syrup formerly known as Grade B and recently redesignated as “Grade A Dark Color, Robust Taste,” the frosting magically holds up like a champ and requires no extra butter.

Pumpkin Cake With Maple–Cream Cheese Frosting
  • Quick Glance
  • (20)
  • 30 M
  • Serves 8 to 10


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Crank the heat to 350° (175°C). Position a rack in the middle of the oven and butter two 8-by-2-inch cake pans and line them with parchment circles cut to fit the pans. Butter the parchment and coat the pan with flour, tapping out any excess. (You can instead spritz the pans with cooking spray for baking, if that’s easier for you than buttering and flouring.)

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and pepper until well combined. Take a whiff. Heaven.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or in a large bowl using a good old-fashioned hand mixer on medium speed, beat the butter, dark brown sugar, and granulated sugar until fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Plop the eggs, 1 at a time, into the bowl, beating and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Alternate adding the flour and buttermilk mixtures to the bowl, starting and ending with the flour.

Dump in the pumpkin and beat just until the pumpkin is incorporated and the cake batter is smooth.

Spoon the batter into the prepared cake pans, dividing it evenly. Give each filled pan a good smack flat against the counter to release any air bubbles. (Simply hold the pan a couple inches above your countertop and drop it. Trust us. It works.)

Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Let the cakes cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully turn out the cakes from the pans onto the wire rack, peel off the parchment paper, turn them right side up, and let them cool completely.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a bowl using a good old-fashioned hand mixer on medium speed, beat the cream cheese, butter, confectioners’ sugar, and maple syrup until fluffy.

To assemble the whole shebang, place a cake layer on a plate or cake stand and generously frost the top of it. Place the other cake on top and frost the sides and top, swirling the frosting like the pro that you are. If the frosting seems a touch on the soft side, slip the cake in the fridge for at least 30 minutes until the frosting is set or, if you notice it before you frost the cake, see our note above the recipe. Originally published May 10, 2009.

Brown Butter Rice Krispies Treats

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These brown butter rice krispies treats are a glammed-up version of the kid classic made with brown butter, whole as well as melted marshmallows and a sprinkle of sea salt.

These are the big, fat, chunky rice cereal treats that you see for sale at bakeries and coffee shops, only these are so much better because they’re fresh, buttery and full of both swirls of melted marshmallow and pockets of marshmallow pieces. Take your time with the brown butter to make sure you get the deepest flavor, but don’t take a phone call or multitask because browned butter goes from perfect to burnt in a matter of seconds. I also like a little hit of maple extract here to complement the browned butter, but it’s optional!

Don’t skip the bit of sea salt on top for an elegant finish. Also, this might seem a little fussy, but I do think the best treats come from an unopened box of cereal and very fresh marshmallows that aren’t sticking together in the package. I know, I know, it’s fussy, but I think you’ll be pleased if you make them just right.–Erin Mylroie

  • Quick Glance
  • (1)
  • 20 M
  • Makes 24


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Slick your pan with butter. If you prefer thinner rice krispies treats, use a jelly roll pan. If you prefer thicker rice krispies treats, use a 9-by 13–inch (23-by 33–cm) pan, preferably one that has straight sides and not rounded corners.

Place 1 bag of your miniature marshmallows in the freezer. It’ll be in there for less than 10 minutes.

This isn’t the time to use up that old bag of marshmallows lurking at the back of the pantry that are all stuck together. Fresh marshmallows will be easier to distribute throughout the treats.

In a large pot over low heat, melt the butter. Increase the heat to medium-low so the butter melts, then foams, then turns a medium golden brown with brown specks. This should take somewhere in the vicinity of 4 minutes. Watch the butter carefully because you don’t want any burned black specks.

Turn off the heat and add the room-temperature bag of marshmallows. Stir until the marshmallows are smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. If the marshmallows don’t fully melt, return the pot to very low heat and stir until fully melted.

Stir in the vanilla extract and, if using, the maple extract. Then stir in the salt. Quickly add the rice cereal and stir until well blended. Remove the marshmallows from the freezer and quickly stir them into the mixture. You want the frozen marshmallows to melt just a little but remain mostly intact.

Using slightly damp hands, gently press the treats into the prepared pan.

If you happen to have a second pan that’s the same size as the one you used for the treats, slick the bottom with butter and use it to evenly press the treats into the pan.

Sprinkle the top with a little sea salt. Let the treats rest for at least 90 minutes at room temperature so they have a chance to firm. Spray your knife with cooking spray or slick it with butter before cutting the treats into squares. Leftover treats (if there is such a thing) can be individually wrapped and frozen.

Nutella Stuffed Churro Cookies

Nutella Stuffed Churro Cookies combine your favorite cinnamon and sugar churro flavor with Nutella! Buttery, soft cookies are stuffed with gooey, melty Nutella and they are so good! 

Churros bring up all of the best memories: county fairs, amusement parks, theme parks, and Friday nights wandering around Costco. Fried pastry dough coated in cinnamon sugar just can’t be beat! We want you to be able to enjoy churros anytime! The thing is, not everyone loves frying as much as we do. Enter: churro cookies.  

Churro Cookies are soft, buttery, and covered in that cinnamon sugar coating we’ve all grown to know and love, no frying required. We know, we could have stopped there, churro cookies are delicious in and of themselves, but why would we? We kicked it up a notch and stuffed our churro cookies with Nutella. You’re going to love it!

  • Stuffing Variations: If you would like to use chocolate instead of Nutella, we found that individually wrapped Dove chocolates are the perfect size to stuff inside a cookie! Simply unwrap the chocolate, place in the center of your dough disc, and wrap your dough around the chocolate just as we did with the Nutella. We are sorry to report that caramel really doesn’t work to stuff in these churro cookies. You can’t really taste the caramel, other than the added sugariness. 
  • Timing: If you are making chocolate stuffed churro cookies for a special occasion, you will want to plan your timing well. This recipe requires freezing drops of Nutella for 30 minutes, as well as refrigerating your prepared dough wrapped around the Nutella for another 30 minutes. To save time, you can always freeze your Nutella the night before you need it. After the 30 minutes of freezing, just take all of your frozen Nutella drops and place them in an airtight bag and back into the freezer until you’re ready to use them. 
  • Can I make these without a mixer? You will definitely want to use either a hand mixer or a stand mixer to cream together the butter, sugar and cream cheese. 
a batch of churro cookies stuffed with chocolate

If you like this recipe, you may be interested in these other delicious churro inspired recipes:

Watch the video below where Rachel will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes on YouTube, Facebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.

Pulled Pork Tacos

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These pulled pork tacos with apple-serrano slaw are made with shredded pork cooked with a blend of Indian spices. Taco Tuesday just got a whole heck of a lot more interesting.

A few years ago, when Michael and I drove cross-country on our big move from Washington, D.C., to San Francisco, we ate some of the best tacos we’ve ever had. Made by street vendors in Southern California, these tacos were packed with flavor. They are the inspiration behind these pulled pork tacos, a perfect combination of hot and sour blended with the earthy sweetness of jaggery.–Nik Sharma

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 45 M
  • Serves 4


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Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

Pat the pork dry and place it in a Dutch oven. Combine the remaining ingredients in a blender and blend at high speed until smooth. Pour over the pork.

Cover the lid of the Dutch oven with 2 to 3 sheets of aluminum foil, pressing and folding the edges tightly to create a seal. Place the lid on the Dutch oven.

Cook the pork in the oven until tender and falling apart, about 3 hours. Remove from the oven and let it cool, with the lid on, for 1 to 2 hours. Uncover and let cool completely.

If your pork roast is a larger than 3 pounds, you may need to increase your cooking time. You’ll also want to occasionally check on it and, if the Dutch oven starts to look dry, add a little water partway through cooking.

Skim the fat from the surface of the cooled liquid. Discard the fat (but not by pouring it down the kitchen drain!).

Use 2 forks to gently shred the pork and return it to the Dutch oven. Toss to coat with the cooking liquid, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use, preferably overnight.

Core, peel, and grate the apples. Squeeze the grated apples to remove any excess liquid, and transfer the grated apples to a medium bowl.

Add the remaining ingredients, stir well, and taste to adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Place the Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-low heat until warmed through, 10 to 15 minutes.

Warm the tortillas in a hot skillet or by using tongs to hold them directly over a gas flame.

To serve, place 2 generous tablespoons of pulled pork on each warm tortilla and add 1 tablespoon of the slaw. Serve with the limes for squeezing over the tacos.

Carnitas ~ Mexican Braised Pork

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This old-school carnitas–pork shoulder simmered with onion, garlic, bay leaf, and orange until falling-apart tender and crispy–is excellent in burritos, tacos, or on its own. And it can be made in an Instant Pot or slow cooker.

I have to confess something. Pork carnitas—Mexican braised and fried pork chunks with their addictively crisp edges—were unfamiliar to me until I tried this recipe. Which is weird, because I love pork and I love Mexican food, but never the twain had met in the gloriousness that is carnitas. But that’s all ancient history seeing as I’ve been making this dish for years now. This recipe is the classic—with one exception. Instead of being cooked entirely on the stovetop, the pot is slid into the oven so you don’t have to tirelessly attend to the burner to make sure the pork is cooking at just the right temperature. The One and I devour these tucked in soft, warm tortillas as tacos as well as heaped atop rice and beans. We add an entire orange to the pot, as we like that hint of citrus in the background. And, yes, we do use lard. Quelle surprise. [Editor’s Note: That’s French, David. Wrong language. Sigh.]–David Leite

How to Cut this Recipe in Half Properly

This authentic carnitas recipe makes what some would consider A LOT of pork. Hardly a problem in our minds, seeing as we can’t imagine not being able to pack away a batch of this subtly infused Mexican-style braised crispy pork in a single sitting. That said, should you wish to make just half a batch, the author advises that you cut the amount of pork, salt, and oregano in the recipe below in half, but that you rely on the same amount of water, onion, orange, garlic, bay, sweetened condensed milk, and lard (mmmm, lard). You’ll also want to rely on a slightly smaller pot than what the recipe suggests. Consider your baby batch the diminutive–though not at all diminished–form of this classic. Carnitas-ito, anyone?

  • Quick Glance
  • (33)
  • 20 M
  • Serves 8

Special Equipment: Slow cooker (if following the slow cooker method)


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  • 4 pounds fatty pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 cups cold water
  • 1 medium white onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 orange, preferably seedless, cut into 2 wedges (or 1 to 2 oranges if using the Instant Pot Variation)
  • 1/4 cup lard, (or, for the lard averse, vegetable oil)
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano, preferably Mexican, crumbled
  • 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons fine salt, or 3 to 4 teaspoons kosher salt


Place all of the ingredients in a wide 6- to 7-quart heavy pot. (Don’t worry if everything isn’t completely submerged.) Bring to a boil, skimming any scum that collects on the surface as necessary.

Reduce the heat to medium-lowish and simmer vigorously, stirring occasionally, until the pork is fork-tender and the liquid has completely evaporated, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Discard the orange pieces and bay leaves.

If the liquid hasn’t completely evaporated, transfer the pork to a bowl and continue to simmer the liquid, stirring often, until it disappears.

Preheat the oven to 450°F (232°C)

If your pot isn’t ovenproof, transfer the pork and fat to a dish of some sort that’s ovenproof. Slide the pork into the oven, uncovered, and let it fry in its own fat until it’s browned, 20 to 30 minutes. There’s no need to stir. Serve it straight from the pot. (Leftovers—as if!—keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.) Originally published December 14, 2015.


  • SLOW COOKER CARNITAS Just toss everything in the slow cooker, reducing the amount of water by at least 1 cup, and cook on low, covered the entire time, for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 6 to 8 hours, or until the pork is tender and falls apart. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, place the chunks of pork to a large skillet, leaving the cooking liquid in the cooker. If desired, shred the pork using 2 forks (or your fingertips if you like things messy). Heat the pork in the skillet over medium to medium-high heat until crisp at the edges but still knee-weakeningly tender within. If desired, dribble a little of the strained cooking liquid over the pork before serving to moisten and flavor it. (If the cooking liquid is quite watery, pour it into a saucepan and simmer until it reduces to the desired consistency.) Curious to hear more about working magic with your slow cooker? Check out what our testers had to say in the TC comments below and then peruse our entire selection of slow cooker recipes.
  • INSTANT POT CARNITAS Season the pork with the salt and, working in batches, sear the pork in a large skillet in the lard or olive oil until very, very brown. (The Instant Pot’s insert is too narrow and high-sided to sear effectively. It takes too long and the meat ends up steamed rather than seared. Trust us, the skillet is infinitely better and faster.) Meanwhile, juice 1 or 2 oranges to yield 1/2 cup orange juice. Layer the onions, garlic, juiced orange halves, and bay leaf on the bottom of the Instant Pot insert. Dump in the pork and sprinkle with oregano as you go. Drizzle over the condensed milk and orange juice. Secure the lid and push the pressure release valve to “sealing.” Select “manual” and set the cooking time to 30 minutes at high pressure. When finished, carefully quick release the pot by moving the pressure release to “venting.” Once the steam is fully released, open the pot and scoop the pork with a slotted spoon onto a foil-lined baking sheet. Discard the orange halves and bay leaf. Cook the pork in the oven at 450°F (232°C) until crisped, 10 to 15 minutes.

Hot and Sour Soup

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Hot and sour soup may be something you’re used to ordering from your closest Chinese restaurant. But this easy and authentic version, filled with ground pork, tofu, and mushrooms, is done in less time than it takes to order takeout. And, quite honestly, it’s the best we’ve ever had.

This is, quite frankly, the loveliest hot and sour soup we’ve ever experienced. The author, Joanne Chang, isn’t kidding when she says this easy soup, which she learned how to make from her mother, Mama Chang, has “none of the glop,” referring, of course, to that characteristic gloppy texture prevalent in the Americanized hot and sour soup renditions found in many Chinese carryout restaurants. With its pronounced sour tang, this is a hot and sour soup recipe we’ll be turning to again and again and again. Many thanks to Joanne and to Mama Chang for sharing the recipe.–Renee Schettler

How to make hot and sour soup with everyday ingredients

A few words from the author, Joanne Chang, on how this easy incarnation of hot and sour soup came into existence and how you can still make it even if you don’t have all the traditional ingredients.

“My mom used to whip this up as a fast lunch for my brother and me. Ground pork isn’t traditional, but it makes the preparation of this soup ultra quick. Wood ear mushrooms, sometimes labeled “tree fungus” (appetizing, yes?) are a traditional ingredient but they can be hard to find unless you live near an Asian grocery store. I substitute easy-to-find button mushrooms, which don’t have the same crunch but add a nice earthy flavor. Egg, not flavorless cornstarch, acts as the thickener, allowing the flavors of pork, sesame, vinegar, and pepper to come shining through.”

  • Quick Glance
  • (14)
  • 20 M
  • Serves 4


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  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed and minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 4 scallions, white and green parts, minced, plus more for garnish
  • 8 ounces ground pork
  • 4 cups homemade chicken stock or canned chicken broth
  • 1 pound soft or firm tofu (not silken and not extra firm), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 4 or 5 medium button mushrooms, wiped clean and thinly sliced (or substitute dried, rehydrated wood ear mushrooms)
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/3 to 2/3 cup rice vinegar, or to taste
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce, or to taste (or substitute tamari for gluten-free)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon store-bought or homemade Sriracha sauce, or to taste
  • 2 large eggs
  • White or black pepper for garnish


In a saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the vegetable oil. Add the garlic, ginger, scallions, and pork and cook, stirring occasionally to break up the pork, for about 1 minute. Don’t worry about cooking the pork through.

Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Add the tofu, mushrooms, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, black pepper, sesame oil, and Sriracha sauce and bring the soup back to a simmer over medium-high heat. Taste the soup. If you want it hotter, add more Sriracha sauce; if you want it more sour, add more vinegar.

In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until blended. 

With the soup at a steady simmer, slowly whisk in the eggs so they form strands. Bring the soup back to a simmer. Divide the soup among 4 bowls and garnish each with a little sesame oil, scallion, and white or black pepper. Serve immediately. (Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. The reheated hot and sour soup may take on a slightly different appearance but will taste just the same.) Originally published June 19, 2013.

Slow Cooker Apple Cider From Scratch

Cuddle up and stay warm with a mug of spiced apple cider. This Slow Cooker Apple Cider is made from scratch and can be frozen to enjoy all winter long!

a crockpot full of apples, oranges, and spices for apple cider

Apple season is already upon us. Can you believe it? Fall and Winter and Apple season are upon us! Fall and Winter are our favorite when it comes to food and drinks. Apple sales are starting up which means you can get killer deals, so now is the time to stock up on your freezer supply of homemade apple cider. Throw it in the crockpot now, and enjoy it all the way through Christmas.

It is super easy to make a base apple cider and we love how you can alter it slightly for different occasions. Throw in a splash of orange and cuddle up for your first fireplace start up of the winter. Add some caramel and whipped cream for a dessert drink. Whatever you decide to do, you’ve got to start with your base apple cider and this stuff is amazing. It is super easy and way better than that expensive jug you buy at the store. Go buy your apples by the bushel while the season is in full swing!

  • Apple Choices: We love a sweeter cider, so we use a mix of Gala and Red Delicious apples in this recipe. However, it is all up to your personal taste preferences. If you prefer a more tart cider, Pink Lady or Braeburn would be fantastic. You can also experiment with a blend of a few different varieties such as:
    • Pink Lady
    • Braeburn
    • Fuji
    • Jonagold
    • Golden Delicious
    • Jonathon
    • McIntosh
    • Cortland
  • How should I strain out the spices? Once your cider is finished, you can simply pour through a fine mesh strainer or even cheesecloth. For an easier experience, we recommend placing the cloves and allspice into a small piece of cheesecloth, folded up and tied together with kitchen twine. When your cider is ready, simply remove the cinnamon sticks and cheesecloth bag with a spoon and you are ready to drink!
  • Can I add alcohol to homemade apple cider? Yes, you can add alcohol to apple cider for a spiked adult beverage. Popular choices for spiked apple cider are rum, bourbon, and whiskey. Feel free to spike with your preferred liquor. As always, drink responsibly.
  • Freezer Instructions: We love to make a large batch and freeze the leftovers to drink all fall and winter long. Simply let your apple cider cool completely and then pour into a freezer safe gallon size zippered bag. Lay flat in your freezer for easy storing and stacking. Be sure to use within 8-12 months. 
A glass mug full of apple cider with a cinnamon stick

If you like this recipe, you may be interested in these other delicious Fall beverage recipes:

Watch the video below where Rachel will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes on YouTube, Facebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.

Perfect Homemade French Bread

Perfect Homemade French Bread only requires a handful of simple ingredients for perfect, bakery style bread at home! 

A sliced loaf of French bread

There’s nothing quite like homemade bread. This homemade French bread is perfectly soft, with a nice chewy crust. It’s also incredibly simple and easy to make at home using just a handful of ingredients that most bakers will already have on hand.

It really doesn’t take much time either. Yes, it’s nearly 3 hours from start to finish, but your actual hands on time is quite minimal. A few minutes here, a few minutes there, and you have deliciously perfect homemade french bread at home.

  • Pan Options: If you don’t have a French bread pan, you can always use a regular baking sheet. Just be sure to give your loaves enough space in between them so that they don’t end up connected. If you come to love homemade french bread, I highly recommend investing in a french bread pan. It is perforated (has a lot of holes) which allows for even heat circulation. This ensures the best, highest quality of loaf at home. I highly recommend purchasing one. They are cheap and make a world of difference in the end result.
  • All-Purpose vs. Bread Flour Both all-purpose and bread flour can be used in this recipe interchangeably. Bread flour has a higher protein content which will produce more gluten, giving you a slightly chewier crumb and crust.
  • Why is my dough the wrong consistency? We know how frustrating it can be to follow a recipe and still have it not look like it is supposed to. With bread, you want to look at any recipe simply as a guide. Altitude, humidity, and temperature, among other things, can all impact homemade bread. Because of this, you always want to go off of the feel of the dough rather than following the recipe exactly. If your dough is at the perfect consistency and you haven’t used all of the flour, don’t worry about it. If you’ve added all of the flour required and your dough is too sticky, go ahead and add more until it is the right consistency. You will get a good idea of what your bread needs the more you make it!
  • Scoring the Bread This bread loaf requires you to cut slits into the top of the bread before baking. This process is called “scoring the bread.” As bread bakes, it expands and scoring helps release some of that pressure so that the bread can expand without awkward bulges.
    • Use a sharp knife or even a clean razer blade for scoring.
    • Rely on the blade itself rather than applying pressure to the bread.
    • Don’t go too deep or too shallow. 1/4 inch should be perfect.
  • How long will homemade French bread last? Due to the fact that there are not any chemicals or preservatives in homemade bread, it does not last more than a few days before going stale. The secret to keeping bread fresh is to have a little bit of airflow in whatever container you choose. Old school bread boxes are great for this, as well a linen or cotton bread bags or towels to wrap in.
3 whole loaves of homemade French bread

If you like this recipe, you may be interested in these other delicious bread recipes:

Watch the video below where Rachel will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes on YouTube, Facebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.

Creamy Chicken Tetrazzini

Creamy Chicken Tetrazzini starts with sautéed mushrooms, onions, freshly cooked chicken breasts, and al dente linguine; and ends up a delicious baked pasta dish with a crunchy cheesy bread crumb topping. You are going to love it!

Creamy chicken tetrazzini on a white dinner plate

There is nothing better on a fall evening than a creamy, delicious baked pasta dish. Why go through the effort to cook on both the stovetop and the oven? It is all about the crispy, crunchy topping. We love pasta, any pasta! But there’s something extra special about a crispy breadcrumb, cheesy topping that only a baked pasta can deliver.  

We love how traditional this dish feels, using mostly pantry staple items. The sauce is made from scratch, and the onion and mushrooms really add amazing flavor to this seemingly simple dish. Cheesy Chicken Tetrazzini is a family favorite, and we’re sure your family will love it just as much as ours!  

  • Mushrooms: optional? We highly recommend keeping the mushrooms in this dish. The flavor is just divine and we couldn’t imagine chicken tetrazzini without them! However, we know that everyone’s tastes vary and if you are not a mushroom lover, you can leave them out. 
  • Pasta Options for Chicken Tetrazzini: We love linguine, but feel free to experiment with different types of pasta. Spaghetti is always a great option, but you could also experiment with penne or other tube-shaped pasta. Just remember to cook the pasta for 2 minutes less than the recommended cooking time on the package as it will continue to cook in the oven and you don’t want to end up with mushy pasta. 
  • Chicken Shortcut: If you are short on time, you can always cook the chicken ahead of time or even use shredded rotisserie chicken. It doesn’t get any easier than that! Simply substitute with 2 cups of pre-cooked or shredded rotisserie chicken. 
Serving a spoonful of chicken tetrazzini out of the baking dish

If you like this recipe, you may be interested in these other delicious pasta recipes:

Watch the video below where Rachel will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes on YouTube, Facebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.

Best Baked Chicken and Rice Casserole

The Best Baked Chicken and Rice Casserole is made completely from scratch in this easy one pan recipe that’s sure to please the whole family!

5 chicken thighs on top of rice in a white and red 9x13 pan

Chicken and Rice Casserole is a classic family favorite here in the United States. It is total comfort food. In this recipe we’ve stuck with a completely “from scratch” concept. In addition, this recipe is made in just ONE pan.

A lot of times nowadays, chicken and rice casserole comes from a box or is made from a bunch of canned ingredients. Not here! We are bringing you completely from scratch deliciousness for your family to enjoy. You still get to dump everything in a pan, but this time it’s all whole, real ingredients. There is ABSOLUTELY NO cream of chicken in this dish.

  • Rice Options: We recommend using only regular white rice in this recipe. Instant rice is not a good option and will overcook in this casserole. Brown rice requires a much longer cooking time than white rice and is also not recommended for this recipe.

  • Is Best Baked Chicken and Rice Casserole really made in only one pan?
 This recipe is made directly in a 9×13 baking dish. There’s no need to dirty any bowls or pots or pans. Simply stir everything together directly in the 9×13 pan, add in your chicken, season, and bake. It’s that simple!

  • Chicken Options? Chicken thighs are used in this recipe because they will stay moist during the long baking process. If you prefer, chicken breasts can be used instead, but you’ll want to check the chicken and rice to see if both are done after baking for 1 hour. The additional 30 minutes of cooking may be unnecessary for chicken breasts. Use thick chicken breasts for best results.

5 chicken thighs on top of rice in a white and red 9 by 13 inch pan

If you like this recipe, you may be interested in these other delicious chicken thigh recipes:

Watch the video below where Rachel will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes on YouTube, Facebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.

Homemade Glazed Donuts

Homemade Glazed Donuts are melt in your mouth soft and fluffy with a perfectly sweet glaze. They come together so easily, these donuts will become a weekend staple!

Glazed donuts on a cooling rack

There is a serious love affair with donuts going on in this house. Jelly filled, sprinkles, fritters, holes, or glazed. It doesn’t matter what you call them or what they look like. We love them all equally. Well, that might be an overreach. Have you ever had a dry donut? Not enough jelly filling? Subpar glaze? Ugh. It’s a sad day when you go in with high expectations only to be let down by a mediocre donut. Don’t fret though, because we are coming at you with an amazing glazed donut recipe today that aims to please. 

These donuts are everything you ever wanted out of a traditional glazed donut. They are oh so soft and practically melt in your mouth when you bite into them. The glaze has just the right amount of sweetness to keep you coming back for more. Trust us, these are about to become your new favorite donuts. No driving to the store required! 

  • Yeast Options for Homemade Glazed Donuts: This recipe calls for instant dry yeast. It allows you to add it in with all of the other ingredients at once, no proofing required. If you want the quick and easy method, we recommend sticking with instant dry yeast.  Only have active dry yeast on hand? No worries, it will still work! Active dry yeast simply requires proofing time. Add your yeast to the 1/2 cup warm water and let it dissolve and get bubbly. Once it has proofed about 10 minutes it is ready to pour in and add to all of the other ingredients. 
  • Frying Oil Options: Instead of frying in vegetable oil, you can also use vegetable shortening instead. You’ll need approximately 2 cups of shortening. 
  • Can I substitute with bread flour? We call for all purpose flour in this recipe to make the most soft dough and fluffy donuts. Bread flour produces a very tough donut, so it is not recommended in this recipe. 

If you like this recipe, you may be interested in these other delicious donut and sweet bread recipes:

A stack of glazed donut with a bite taken out of one

Watch the video below where Rachel will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes on YouTube, Facebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.

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