When our son went to UC Santa Barbara, he discovered just how bad dorm food can be. Faced with pedestrian choices day after day, he and his friends used to talk about their parents’ cooking, and share what they missed the most on the culinary front. His food memory was my meatloaf, and his friends couldn’t believe that was what he was missing.

Fast forward to his sophomore year, when he and his friends moved into a house in Isla Vista. One night he made this meatloaf. By the time it came out of the oven, all 7 of his housemates were in the kitchen, noses quivering. Our son ate his meal, and put the rest in the refrigerator with stern warnings about pilfering.

The next morning, all his leftovers were gone. Yes, it’s that good.

Winter is best known for it’s delicious comfort food, and I look forward to this time every year. Grilling and light summer fare is fun, and enjoyable, but there is something so satisfying in crafting a warm-in-your-tummy meal in a warm kitchen when it’s blustery outside. Even better when you can toss it together in under 20 minutes of active prep time. This is one of my favorite “Tuesday Night” dinners.

With the holidays coming up, special dinners are looming over us all. Coming up with fun variations to the tired dishes served year after year can be challenging. Few things can be as boring as mashed potatoes. I’ve tried many recipes over the years, and have come up with this recipe as a cure for “Potato Boredom”. If you like truffles, you’ll love this. It’s easy to make, and your family and guests will love it.

One of the things I love best about the Holidays is the excuse to spoil my family and friends with freshly baked goodies. This recipe is one I created when our son was little, wanting to incorporate his two favorite sweet things – marzipan and strawberry jam – into one cookie. He’s 27 now, and these are still his favorite – hands down. I do half the batch with strawberry jam, and half with raspberry, but pretty much any jam that goes with almond flavoring would work well. These cookies are small bites of rich, buttery goodness that have become a main staple of my holiday baking. Friends and family start asking me in November if I’m planning on making those ‘awesome jam cookies’ in the next few weeks. They all love them, and I hope you enjoy as well.

A freak accident last week left me with the ring finger of my right hand in a splint, and strict instructions from the doctor to not use it for 4 weeks. Yeah. That’s fun. No showers, no washing my hair, no picking up sauté or grabbing onto anything with my right hand, no writing, typing, painting, no doing dishes, no cooking. Basically, no stress on that finger at all.

NO PAINTING OR COOKING? Cue the scream. Time to get creative.

We all have dishes that evoke strong memories of our childhood. For me, it’s the ubiquitous casserole that had its heyday in the 1960s. In a very Mad Men fashion, every mom had their signature dish, and would swap recipes whilst playing bridge, at a volunteer meeting, or waiting for baseball practice/dance lessons/piano lessons to end. There was one constant in all of those one-dish meals.

Looking for something easy and healthy to make for dinner tonight? This is my own recipe, and was developed from the fact I messed up and didn’t get the right ingredients for another recipe from the store. It was late, and I just needed to cobble together something from what I did have in the refrigerator. The result was absolutely delicious.