Crockpot Mexican Beans/Bean Soup
Serious yum. I always add several cloves of garlic, at least one teaspoon of cumin, and, after the beans are tender, a little salt. Also, the recipe doesn't mention that you should drain off the soaking water and rinse the beans before putting them in the crockpot... but be sure to do it. This little step will make your beans more sociable. Mema was convinced that a 1/2 teaspoon of ginger made them more agreeable as well, and after much experimentation I've come to suspect she was right. So toss in some ginger. I've used all sorts of salsas, but my favorite is Herdez Salsa Casera Medium. Tastes like fresh salsa, great texture. I keep several jars at all times.
Martha Stewart's Always Perfect Macaroni and Cheese
Okay, for real, that's not what Martha calls it. But it is. Always Perfect, I mean. I will never make mac & cheese by another recipe for the rest of my life. It's a bit of work, but oh baby, it's dinner all by itself. And breakfast the next day. The Beehive kids always want this on Christmas Eve. And does The Mamadah make it for them? Why, yes. Of course she does. Because she loves her children through food, like all good mamas do. NOTE: If you love yourself you will NOT omit the nutmeg or the cayenne. Do you hear me? I mean it. We always have it with Martinelli's Sparkling Apple Cider, which we buy at Costco (Sam's carries it also but I support Walmart as little as humanly possible). Or, if we don't have that on hand, baked apples. Oh wow. Oh. Oh. Wow. Okay, I'll stop.
Martha Stewart's Fruit & Nut Refrigerator Cookies
You have to make these. That's all I'm sayin'. Well, no it's not. I'm also going to say that having a log or two of this dough handy in the freezer when company drops in will completely take care of that ruse you're trying to pull off that your house is always homey and you're just the kind of gal who always has fresh baked cookies coming out of the oven right when people want them. Which is all the time. Terrific cookies. We don't bother to ice them. Beware of slicing them too thin -- they'll burn or get too crunchy. Closer to 1/4 inch than 1/8, I say.