BHG Delish Dish

Stirring Up Ideas In The Kitchen

December 2012

Mac and Cheese Pot Pies

I’m Laurie Buckle, and I love mac and cheese. People sometimes snicker when
I confess this, maybe because it’s my job to know what’s new in food, which
chef is up and coming, and when the cupcake trend will wane (I’m the
editorial director of food for Better Homes and Gardens; lucky me). Let them
laugh, because I also love patty melts, guacamole on anything, and the
occasional bag of M & Ms.

So when my daughter mentioned a restaurant she’d been to that served pies of
all kinds (and only pies;), and that her favorite was a mac and cheese pot pie, I perked up.

Now that was a take on mac and cheese I’d never tried!

I’d been looking for an excuse to make the Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
from the October issue, and here was a good one. All I had to do was whip up
the mac and cheese, transfer it to bowls, top it with rounds of puff pastry
and bake until golden. Oh, I also had to make the mac meatless, since my
daughter’s a vegetarian.

I started with the cheese. Because where else do you start when it comes to mac and cheese? I measured a mix of Gruyere, jack and cheddar, then got grating.


It wasn’t long before I was joined by two of my favorite kitchen companions, Georgia (left, my daughter’s dog) and Coco (my dog). Both are always hoping against hope that something will hit the floor.

I cooked the pasta (scooping out a little of the pasta water before I drained it) and simmered chunks of butternut squash in milk until tender. At this point, the recipe takes an easy turn and has you mix the remaining milk and flour together in a small bowl,  and stirring that mixture into the pan with the squash and milk. Once that comes to a boil, you cook until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes, then add the cheese. Stirring to melt it, I realized how much simpler this is than a classic cheese sauce.

Next up, a couple of onions and a hunk of butter. Since I was making a meatless version of the dish, I used butter instead of bacon fat to saute the onions. Is there anything that smells better than onions cooking in butter?

Because they smelled so good, and because I wanted the flavor that comes from nicely browned onions, I kept at this part for about 15 minutes, covering them at first and then turning up the heat during the final few minutes.

After that, it’s fast. I added the onions and the pasta to the squash-cheese mixture, tossed to combine (adding a little of that saved pasta water to moisten) and turned the mixture into some old French onion soup bowls, topping with the last of the cheese.

Then I cheated, mixing panko breadcrumbs (which I try to always keep on hand) with melted butter, and sprinkled that over the cheese. I rolled out a couple of sheets of puff pastry (which I’d let thaw for 30 minutes or so), cut out rounds and set them atop the bowls. Once they were in the oven, I used the 20 minutes or so they cooked to quick-clean the kitchen and make my favorite fall-back salad: arugula tossed with lemon juice and hunks of avocado, and a heavy hit of good salt. Dinner, done.

In Season Eats: Quick Pomegranate Cheesecake

Ever since I brought home a Costco-sized pack of pomegranates, I’ve become a little obsessed and started throwing these little cuties into everything: tossed into salads, stirred into oatmeal, blended into smoothies, mixed into desserts and shoved straight up into my mouth for a quick snack. Pomegranate seeds {or arils} are itty-bitty, crunchy, juicy and sweet little bites of healthy goodness that come into season right around this time of the year! They taste delicious and happen to be chock full of antioxidants, Vitamin C and several of the B Vitamins.

While browsing the BHG website, I came across this Quick Strawberry Cheesecake recipe. It’s a sophisticated take on a no-bake free form cheesecake that takes about 20 minutes to pull together start to finish. Totally do-able for anyone…even through this busy holiday season!

For this recipe, you simply mix a combination of cream cheese and brie cheese together with a little sugar and lemon juice. Then you layer that ‘cheesecake’ into cute little cups with strawberries {or in this case pomegranates} and some butter toffee glazed almonds. I didn’t feel like buying or making these special almonds so I added a little more sugar to my cheesecake layer and used toasted plain almonds instead. Still tasted sweet, creamy and refreshing! Not bad for 20 minutes of work!

The recipe also mentions that you can add a drizzle of honey as well. I thought it was sweet enough without, but it’s totally up to you!

You can find the printable version of this recipe here.

Happy Holidays!

Categories: In-Season Eats | Tags:

A Family Christmas


For me, Christmas has been, and always will be about family. After college, I moved from my small town to a big city. What I missed the most were holidays at home. Five years later, I’m so thankful to be back in my hometown and able to once again spend the holidays with my family. And, if there are two things my family knows how to do, it’s cook and eat! While my family has lots of traditions, the one I probably look forward to the most is our Christmas Eve celebration at my mom’s house. Presents are piled under the tree in order by recipients’ ages, Christmas lights and decorations sparkle throughout the house, and the kitchen is overflowing with desserts, cookies, and my personal favorite, appetizers!

Have you ever heard people say they could make a meal of appetizers? Well, I am one of those people. If you can dip it or pick it up with a toothpick, count me in! So, in celebration of Christmas, our families, and my love of appetizers, I dug through the BHG recipe archive and found recipes for twelve mouthwateringly delicious appetizers. I know these recipes will keep your family coming back for more.

1. Pimiento Cheese Poppers // 2. Bourbon-Glazed Cocktail Sausages // 3. Olive-Cherry Bruschetta // 4. Tomato Quiche Tartlets // 5. Asiago Cheese Dip // 6. Jalapeno, Crab, and Corn Dip // 7. Meatball Sliders // 8. Cranberry-Barbecue Meatballs // 9. Double-Quick Shrimp Cocktail

Scrumptious, right? No wonder most of us pack on a few pounds over the holidays. It’s hard to resist all that goodness.

Speaking of family, I wanted to share a quick and easy project that I created at my house to remind me of how much my family means to me. I’m calling it my Instamas Tree.  Instagram + Christmas. Get it? Anyway, I printed out my most meaningful Instagram photos from this past year and simply clipped them on a silver tinsel tree.

My little tree is now a memory book with lots of special moments, from hanging out with my nieces and nephews to a few personal memories. And it has easily become one of my favorite Christmas projects.

For all the details and more photographs, swing by my blog, Inspired by Charm, and say hi!

Now, I’m off to fill my plate with appetizers and clip some more pictures to my tree!

Cheers and Happy Holidays!

Michael Wurm, Jr. – Inspired by Charm

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Categories: Delish Dish | Tags:
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Cookie Exchange: Melty Snowmen Cookies

Raise your hand if you like to be the star of your cookie-exchange party! Katie here, piping in on a topic near-and-dear to my heart: Christmas parties. This time every year I go to an all-girls super-bakers show-off-your-stuff evening (Translation: A cookie-exchange party). We always ooh and aah over the variety: Creamy ganache-dipped cookies, lip-smacking salty nut bars, minty peppermint-topped goodies…and we always secretly want the pat on the back fora job well done.

This year, I came prepared. I’ve been eyeing this Chocolaty Melting Snowman recipe since I first grabbed it from our Christmas Cookies 2012 magazine; and it’s proven to be one of the top recipes of all time on our site.

Chocolaty Melting Snowmen

It’s also ridiculously easy! You can follow the recipe or start with your favorite cookie, as I did (I’m a sucker for peanut butter cookies and wanted to make a favorite). I went with this Peanut Butter Cookie recipe. Bake and let cool completely:

For the snow, I microwaved almond bark with a little vegetable oil per the package directions. Drizzling is so much fun! I tucked a towel under my cooling rack and spooned on the good stuff:

Almond Bark Melting

While still melty, I added the top hat:

Adding Top Hat

And an orange-sprinkle nose:

Add Nose

Then I let the “snow” set before adding black dots with a small tube of frosting:

Snowman Face

And voila! You’ve mastered the cookie-exchange with your oh-so-cute Frosty. This recipe is a keeper—I’d love to make it with my kids someday!

Melty Snowmen Cookies

Another View of Melty Snowman Cookies


Rum-Vanilla Bean Bundt Cake

With the holidays in full swing I thought I would share an easy-to-make cake that can pull double duty as a delicious food gift.

Food gifts are the best gifts, right? Okay, well–at least to a foodie. If you know one or you are one, then bookmark this Vanilla Rum Cake or for another version try a Spiced Rum Cake.

I’m almost embarrassed to admit that it was only a few years ago that I was introduced to rum cake by a co-worker. I seriously love(d) this cake. And since I never could get the recipe from her, I have been on the hunt for one similar every since. So after four years and a dozen or more recipes, I’ve finally found my rum cake recipe. Get the recipe here.

A few notes:

  • I flipped the recipe from a 10 cup bundt pan to mini bundt cakes (yields 6-8 minis). If you do the same, start checking for doness at 2o minutes.
  • I kicked up the rum from 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup to boost the booziness.
  • If you don’t have vanilla beans on hand, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste will work just as well.
  • I also added a glaze from this recipe to these mini bundt cakes.


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