Although chicken tikka masala is more British than Indian, you'd be hard-pressed to find an Indian restaurant that doesn't have this creamy, bright orange dish featured prominently on its menu. But if you do, you're welcome to come to my house, where chicken tikka masala is on our regular monthly meal rotation. It's surprisingly easy to pull together, and I promise it's just as good as anything ordered off the take-out menu.
With so many beautiful and unusual squashes showing up in markets right now, I can't seem to come home without at least one knobby, colorful, speckled new squash in my bag. Happily, stuffed squash is a dish that will work for just about any winter squash I happen to pick up. You don't really need a recipe — just a few basic steps and dinner practically makes itself.
Do you cook? Do you have children? Then you've probably been in nap jail. You're in the middle of making dinner, enjoying the peace and quiet as you cook, and you realize you need one ingredient. You can't have it, because you're in nap jail. No one should wake a sleeping baby to go to the grocery store. Nap jail leads to plenty of creativity.
I've got a thing for hot, melty cheese. (I've got a thing for hot, melty anything.) This queso fundido is one of my all-time favorite indulgences. It's ooey, gooey, and perfect for sharing, although you probably won't want to.
Mastering crêpes is a helpful skill to have in your cooking repertoire. They are an incredibly versatile base for many classic dishes — they can go from breakfast to dinner to dessert, and can be savory or sweet, large or small. They can be made ahead and eaten later. And they're really not hard to make, as long as you know a few tricks.
When I picked 10 pounds of damson plums at the end of summer, I had plans to make plum butter with them. But after a few hours of pitting those gorgeous little devils, slaving over the stovetop watching them simmer all day no longer seemed a labor of love. I was over it and ready for a shortcut:
If I'm not feeling like making something elaborate and just want an easy, warm dessert to top off the evening, this is where I turn: baked apples. Scoop out the core and stuff the insides with a mix of oatmeal, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. The baked apples soften into a spoonable treat while the brown sugar melts down into a caramel syrup.
The only thing that could make this simple autumn dessert even better? A scoop of ice cream on the side, naturally.
Need an ice cream topping that is both easy and mind-blowingly good? Have some spare candy on hand? This creamy ganache, made using an assorted bag of fun-sized chocolate bars, is guaranteed to be your new favorite junk food splurge. But watch out, it's addictive!
Moist and naturally sweet with gingery bite, these cookies contain just five ingredients (four if you don't count salt) and couldn't be easier to make. Though you can also bake them in the oven, I love eating them raw, just firmed up in the freezer. Sometimes simple really is best.
What would the world be without chocolate pudding? Chocolate and cream, licked off a spoon, is one of the greatest desserts I know, ranked with fresh strawberry shortcake and warm chocolate chip cookies. But pudding has become a lost art, as baking books proliferate yet pudding only shows up in Snack Packs or on restaurant dessert plates. This is a secret opportunity for you as a cook, because when it comes to dessert, pudding is special, it's unusual, and yet it's a snap to make. Knowing how to make pudding from scratch is like having the golden key to winning dessert.
I am biased, I confess — I wrote a whole book about pudding, custard, and no-bake desserts so I've spent some time with these sweets. And yet I love them more and more. Come on into my kitchen and let me show you how to make rich and creamy chocolate pudding. It's a forgotten classic that every sweet-lover should know by heart.