Raisin Jam Rugelach
Rugelach can often taste too dry, undermining the point of eating a treat. Not so with crescent rolls, which bake up pillowy and flaky no matter what. Inside is a brandy- and pepper-spiked raisin jam. Spread inside a crescent roll, you’ve got something both sophisticated. Serving to all ages? The alcohol in the brandy cooks off when you reduce the jam on the stove. Once you’ve got the hang of this jam, try it as a layer between yellow cakes or served alongside scones.
Chickpea, Arugula, and Pickled Carrot Salad
It’s sadly common to eat a salad for dinner and walk away hungry. Not so here. Quinoa, pistachios and chickpeas pack protein, and roasted carrots add a satisfying heft to each bite. Unfamiliar with za’atar? It’s a Middle Eastern spice blend that contains dried sumac (a berry that has a flavor akin to citrus), sesame, cumin, thyme, oregano, and marjoram. If you can’t find it at your store, mixing together any of these listed spices will get you a similar taste. Use any extra za’atar to season meat and fish, or stir it into your favorite plain hummus.
Goat Cheese and Mushroom–Stuffed Acorn Squash
One of the main challenges with vegetarian food is making sure a dinner feels hearty enough. Here, you've got an entire half of an acorn squash per serving, stuffed with mushrooms, spinach, bread cubes, and goat cheese. In other words, it’s not shy on flavor, and the portion feels, well, like dinner. Pro tip: If the squash halves seem unsteady on the baking sheet, you can slice off a little of the outside skin to make a flat base. Serve with a crisp white wine like dry Riesling or Vinho Verde.
Soy-Honey Glazed Fish and Rice Bowl
This flavorful fish and rice bowl recipe takes cues from many world cuisines, making something entirely original. Soy and honey are a salty-sweet match made in heaven—think: a sophisticated hoisin sauce. If you’re gluten-free, make sure to buy gluten-free tamari, a wheat-free soy sauce. Affordable, sustainably sourced swordfish is often in the freezer aisle of the grocery store. Just defrost the filets completely before proceeding with the recipe.
Sheet Pan Beef Tenderloin With Brussels Sprouts and Shallots
A one-pan dinner that’s done in 30 minutes and takes only 10 minutes to prepare? That’s just what a great weeknight meal should be. Though, this dinner is definitely elegant to serve at a dinner party. First, start the beef and vegetables in a preheated oven and then finish with the broiler to get a nice golden brown crust. If you have leftovers, toss the dressing with greens and top with the vegetables and tenderloin.
Pan-Roasted Chicken With Braised Apple and Cabbage
It might seem strange to cook chicken in a skillet without any oil, but fear not, the fat from the skin renders out and coats the pan. Once the cabbage and apple are in the skillet, the chicken thighs cook on top, making sure everything has a generous dose of chicken fat. At the end, you’ll stir in apple cider, ensuring this doesn’t taste too rich. If you don’t have a cast-iron skillet, use an equivalent-sized ovenproof skillet. Serve with a dry, hard cider (look for one from France or New England), or a crisp white wine.
Cocoa Pumpkin Crumble
Chocolate and pumpkin might not seem like an obvious combo at first. That is, at least, until you try it. The key is not to let the pumpkin overwhelm the chocolate or vice versa. In this pie, there’s a sprinkling of milk chocolate chips along the bottom of the crust, and on top, there’s a gently cocoa-spiked crumble topping. Serve with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, and perhaps espresso to cut through the richness.
Cranberry-Strawberry Crumb Pie
Tart cranberries mellow sweet strawberries in this summer-meets-fall pie. And since frozen fruit is usually picked at peak freshness, you can get good quality strawberries and cranberries at the same time, despite their different growing seasons. Add a classic crumb topping spiced with cinnamon and ginger and you’ve got a pie that’s vaguely muffin-y, in all the best ways. Make sure to cool the pie at least the four hours, which allows the cornstarch-thickened juices to set. Cleaning tip: With so much fruit it’s possible the juices will bubble over the crust. For easy cleanup, line a sheet tray with aluminum foil and set the pie plate on top before baking.
Brown Butter & Vanilla Pear Pie
Brown butter is a cook’s best friend—it adds richness and depth of flavor to any food it touches. And, thankfully, it’s easy to make. Simply melt butter over medium heat until it smells nutty, and well, delicious. What you’re actually doing is toasting the milk solids that are inside butter, and those are what give brown butter its name. Here, tossed with pears, apples, and vanilla, you get something wonderfully sophisticated and not overly sweet—perfect for impressing guests. If you want to go the extra mile, serve with creme fraiche or lightly-sweetened mascarpone.
This pie may be white on brown on beige, but what it lacks in color it makes up for in complex, rich flavors. Think of it as a classic pecan pie with a little Hawaiin twist. Laid along the bottom of the crust is a generous lining of cashews, topped with a brown-sugar filling and coconut chips on top. For easy transit from countertop to oven and back, set the pie shell on a rimmed baking sheet—it’s easier to grab than a hot, bubbling pie. Shopping tip: If you can’t find wide, flat coconut chips, unsweetened flaked coconut will work as well.