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191 posts categorized "17) Just Penn State Tailgate! "

09/29/2015

~Cheesy Baja-Spiced Grill-Pan Chicken Quesadillas~

My mother made me grilled cheese -- I would eat one anytime she made me one. I made my kids quesadillas -- they would eat them anytime I made them. There was a span of time, 6-7 years, when my refrigerator was never without flour tortillas, Monterey Jack and salsa. Comparatively speaking, there's little difference between a classic grilled cheese sandwich and a cheese quesadilla -- except you use butter to grill the bread and oil to grill the tortilla. In terms of a quick-to-make & satisfying lunch or snack... ... my quesadillas are kid tested & mother approved! Quesadilla...... View full recipe for "~Cheesy Baja-Spiced Grill-Pan Chicken Quesadillas~"

09/26/2015

~ Southwestern-Style Honey, Lime & Jalapeno Slaw~

Coleslaw, one word, or, cole slaw, two words. It's a humble side-dish. It doesn't pretend to be flashy. It just sits in its bowl, patiently waiting for someone to take a scoop. What's sad is the quotes and jokes that get made about coleslaw, which, in my opinion are 100% unwarranted. When it's properly prepared, and correctly paired with the right entree, it is the master of crunchy cabbage goodness. It amps up the volume, of many meals, from ordinary to extraordinary. A bit about coleslaw: The words "cole" "slaw" come from the Dutch word "koolsla", meaning: "cold" "salad". Coleslaw...... View full recipe for "~ Southwestern-Style Honey, Lime & Jalapeno Slaw~"

09/24/2015

~ Beer-Batter-Dipped, Deep-Fried, Cod-Fish Tacos ~

Excuse me, I'm just going to go ahead and eat this fish taco while you all argue over what constitutes a perfect fish taco and its toppings -- deep-fried vs. pan-fried (sometimes grilled), corn tortilla vs. flour tortilla, green slaw vs. red slaw, pico de gallo vs. salsa, and, crema vs. sour cream. My favorite fish taco, as long as it is well-balanced in both flavor and texture, is the one that is in front of me, and, the first one I ever ate was so good I've declined to debate this issue with anyone -- if you bring it...... View full recipe for "~ Beer-Batter-Dipped, Deep-Fried, Cod-Fish Tacos ~"

09/22/2015

~ Mexican Pico de Gallo (Salsa Fresca/Fresh Salsa)~

For those who home cook more than their fair share of Tex/Mex fare, you likely have your pico de gallo recipe committed to memory -- I do. You also know that pico de gallo is much more than a condiment to dip tortilla chips into or plop on your tacos. In my kitchen it's a tasty topper for grilled or broiled chicken and fish, it's great on thinly-sliced flank, skirt or flat-iron steaks, and, a spoonful on fried, poached or scrambled eggs in the AM will change your outlook of the day ahead. Here in Central PA, my garden is...... View full recipe for "~ Mexican Pico de Gallo (Salsa Fresca/Fresh Salsa)~"

09/20/2015

~ Breakfast Bacon, Potato, Onion & Pepper Hash ~

Topped with two fried sunny-side-up eggs and any type of toasted bread to the side, this is a tasty way to start the day -- heck you can even make a sandwich out it. At early morning at-the-stadium tailgates, we used to call it "cowboy breakfast", but, I think that had more to do with the fact that we were cooking it in cast-iron skillets on camp stoves in the great outdoors than it being some sort of official name. With one gal manning her own station, one of us would make hash, one would fry bacon and eggs, one...... View full recipe for "~ Breakfast Bacon, Potato, Onion & Pepper Hash ~"

09/17/2015

~ Hot Diggity Dog: New Jersey's Italian Hot Dogs +: Mel's Version of the NJ 'Pizza Bread' Hot Dog Roll ~

I think I was a hot dog in a past life -- that's how much I love hot dogs. If that is true, I was a Jerzey Girl in a past life, because, New Jersey is hot dog heaven. If a hot dog can make it there, it can make it anywhere. There are more hot dog stands, carts and trucks there than anywhere on this planet -- and I mean anywhere. I've heard NJ referred to as "the cradle of hot dog civilization", which pretty much sums up the hot dog universe as I know it. That said, I...... View full recipe for "~ Hot Diggity Dog: New Jersey's Italian Hot Dogs +: Mel's Version of the NJ 'Pizza Bread' Hot Dog Roll ~"

09/15/2015

~ Mel's Rotolo di Pizza (Stuffed Pizza Rolls/Bread) ~

This rolled sandwich, containing a savory combination of antipasto staples, is in the top five of my family's any-time-of-day snacks -- it's a perfect lunch too. My kids always called it pizza bread, because before it's sliced it looks like a loaf of bread. Once sliced, it reveals a cross between everything they love about a pizza and everything they love about a baked sub (hoagie) -- sans the shredded lettuce and sliced tomato. I'd been making it for years before I heard Mary Ann Esposito refer to it as "Rotolo di Pizza" on her Ciao Italia TV show. From...... View full recipe for "~ Mel's Rotolo di Pizza (Stuffed Pizza Rolls/Bread) ~"

09/11/2015

~ Roast Beef Eatin' Horseradish-Mayo Potato Salad ~

Horseradish. It's powerful stuff and most folks aren't on the fence about this ingredient. They either love it or they hate it. If you are a lover of the stuff, you know you've got to carefully pick and choose what you pair it with and how you do it too. For my taste, freshly-grated horseradish, prepared horseradish and horseradish cream, mustard or mayonnaise go best with beef and ham. Some folks like it with lamb, but, for me, that's pushing the envelope a tad to far. My favorite way to enjoy horseradish is served with or on a good roast...... View full recipe for "~ Roast Beef Eatin' Horseradish-Mayo Potato Salad ~"

09/10/2015

~ Buffalo-Style Beef-on-a-Weck (Kummelweck Roll) ~

What the heck is "beef on a weck"? It's Buffalo's "other" famous food. When it comes to this German-rooted sandwich, the slow-roasted, melt-in-your-mouth, thin-sliced top sirloin, combined with the coarse-salt and caraway-seed crusted roll is a match made in heaven. Served with a bowl of jus for dipping, grated horseradish for topping, usually a side of German-style potato salad and always a pickle, the weck is one heck of a fine roast beef sandwich. Thanks to two founding members of our PSU tailgate group who hail from Buffalo, NY, I heard tales of "beef on a weck" for over thirty...... View full recipe for "~ Buffalo-Style Beef-on-a-Weck (Kummelweck Roll) ~"

09/08/2015

~ Caraway-Seeded Salt-Crusted Kummelweck Rolls~

Nothing is more important to a well-constructed sandwich than the bread or roll it gets served on -- the shape, texture and taste all play a role in the production, and, all affect the end result. While it's not against the law to make substitutions, name one kid that wants their PB&J served in a pita pocket. The thought alone brings tears to my eyes. When it comes to run-of-the-mill family-friendly sandwiches like the patty melt, club, sub or sloppy Joe, we all know exactly what bread product to buy, and, we have zero trouble finding it at our local...... View full recipe for "~ Caraway-Seeded Salt-Crusted Kummelweck Rolls~"

09/02/2015

~ Mel's Philly-Style Slider-Sized Soft-Pretzel Knots ~

I love biting into a steaming-hot, crispy and salty on the the outside, chewy and tender on the inside, soft pretzel. More than eating it as is, I adore pulling bite-sized pieces from it and dipping each one into some Gulden's brown mustard. I save the knot for last -- it's the brass ring of the soft-pretzel world. Yes indeed-y, for me, the soft pretzel is on my short list, with a hot dog or a slice of pizza, in terms of "walk around the county fair or carnival" and eat yourself happy foods. You can find soft pretzels nationwide...... View full recipe for "~ Mel's Philly-Style Slider-Sized Soft-Pretzel Knots ~"

08/31/2015

~Philadelphia-Style Cheesesteak Pizza a la Melanie~

I haven't decided if this post is going to be a rant or not. I'll just keep writing and see where I end up. As a well-seasoned woman who spent quite a bit of her young-adult life in Philadelphia, from my perspective, the iconic Philly cheesesteak neither needs nor deserves a "new twist" on it. That said, conceptually, I clearly see how it could be morphed into a pizza IF one plays by some long-standing, well-defined Philly cheesesteak rules (which apparently, many misguided pizza lovers are too lazy to research). Ok, I suppose I'm headed in the direction of a...... View full recipe for "~Philadelphia-Style Cheesesteak Pizza a la Melanie~"

08/25/2015

~ My Traditional Gazpacho: Fresh from Our Garden ~

"I could have had a V-8." If you've ever leisurely sipped on a chilled glass of traditional gazpacho you wouldn't say that, even in jest. It is the ultimate vegetable smoothie. Here in my Happy Valley kitchen, me making gazpacho is a sure sign that Fall is around the corner. Our vegetable garden is producing almost more stuff than I can use efficiently. Gazpacho is a bright, refreshing, cool way for me to put a bounty of produce to a delicious use. Gazpacho is quite easy to make, but if you're under the impression it's as simple as throwing some...... View full recipe for "~ My Traditional Gazpacho: Fresh from Our Garden ~"

07/27/2015

~This Spuds for You: Loaded Twice-Baked Potatoes~

Everything tastes better with bacon, and, cheddar makes everything better too -- even broccoli. Everyone loves a steamy, creamy, buttered baked potato, and, twice baked potatoes are, well -- they're the Rolls Royce of the baked-potato world. Men love them, kids adore them, and, from a mom's perspective, they'll get you as many accolades as a hot fudge sundae. Every once in a while, I get so hungry for a twice-baked spud that I just gotta make 'em. Today is such a day. Making twice-baked potatoes is a method, not an exact recipe. A twice baked potato is exactly what...... View full recipe for "~This Spuds for You: Loaded Twice-Baked Potatoes~"

07/24/2015

~ Succulent Crockpot Apple 'n Onion Pulled-Pork ~

As much as I adore all the fruits and veggies Joe grows, from mid-July until end of September, the quantities of produce I have to process can get overwhelming. This is a "that's the facts Jack" statement of truth, not a complaint. At present, my culinary focus is on eating what we can of the daily harvest and preserving as much of the rest as humanly possible for our cold-weather enjoyment. It's no secret, I've never been a crockpot kinda gal, but, over the past few years I've mellowed. I've made peace with mine. I've learned: a crockpot can be...... View full recipe for "~ Succulent Crockpot Apple 'n Onion Pulled-Pork ~"

07/19/2015

~ Sweet and Savory K.C.-Style Cherry BBQ Sauce ~

I'm a huge fan of real-deal barbecue, and, I'm well-acquainted with most of the conventional, regional styles too: North and South Carolina, Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee (Memphis), Missouri (St. Louis and Kansas City). That said, I neither pretend to be nor want to be 'a player' in this particular sport. I'm merely in awe of the people I know who have mastered and excel at its preparation. My participation is happily limited to being a free-thinking, cocktail drinking, fair-weather fan. I'm content to stand on the sidelines, watch intently and learn -- independent of the ever-present, my-way-or-the-highway, holier-than-thou: barbecue police. I...... View full recipe for "~ Sweet and Savory K.C.-Style Cherry BBQ Sauce ~"

06/09/2015

~ My Moist, Juicy, Grilled Thai-Style Turkey Burgers ~

I raised three boys. When I was making cheeseburgers, chili, tacos or spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, no one had to be called to the table twice. On those nights, our dinner conversation was downright pleasant too. It was smooth sailing for lasagna, stuffed peppers, meatloaf and sloppy Joe's too. You could say, ground beef brings out the table manners in boys growing up in America. From my perspective, ground beef made me happy for a lot of years too -- it was budget friendly, and, meals made from it were relatively quick and easy to prepare as well. About...... View full recipe for "~ My Moist, Juicy, Grilled Thai-Style Turkey Burgers ~"

05/05/2015

~ Deep-Fried & Crispy Corn Tortilla Chips (Totopos) ~

Oddly, I learned to cook Tex-Mex food in authentic fashion right here in Central, Pennsylvania. The year was 1974 and I was a new bride. The day after our wedding, my husband and I moved into a brand new, garden-apartment complex in State College. It was so new that we were the first residents, except for the manager and his wife, who lived directly above us: Tom and Toni. We four became immediate friends -- not because were the only inhabitants, because we four really enjoyed each other. Tom was an all-around, hat-and-boot-wearing Texas cowboy. Toni was a beautiful Mexican-American...... View full recipe for "~ Deep-Fried & Crispy Corn Tortilla Chips (Totopos) ~"

05/01/2015

~ A Versatile Tex-Mex Condiment: Chile-Lime Mayo ~

Today is the unofficial start to barbecue and grill season here in Central Pennsylvania. Whether your preference is the low-and-slow barbecue pit (Eastern or Western North Carolina-, Texas-, Kansas City-, or Memphis-style), or, the fast-and-furious charcoal or gas grill, from Cinco de Mayo to Labor Day, there will be plenty opportunities for all of us to show off and share our smoke and fire skills. We Americans love to cook, eat and drink in the great outdoors. Joe and I don't pretend to be pit-masters or grill-masters, but, we do turn out some very tasty stuff, and, amongst our favorite...... View full recipe for "~ A Versatile Tex-Mex Condiment: Chile-Lime Mayo ~"

04/27/2015

~ Russet & Sweet Potato Salad w/Chile-Lime Mayo ~

One potato, two potatoes, three potatoes, four -- make enough potato salad, they're coming back for more. While we're playing the counting game, I don't think one can have too many recipes for potato salad -- people love the stuff. Baked, boiled or roasted, gold, red, russet or sweet, potatoes, when paired with the right dressing, can complement a meal from a multitude of cuisines -- in fact, every culture that eats potatoes makes a version of potato salad. Here in America, potato salad recipes vary from region-to-region and our American Southwest is no exception. Today's recipe is the one...... View full recipe for "~ Russet & Sweet Potato Salad w/Chile-Lime Mayo ~"

04/24/2015

~ Chili Cheddar Cheeseburgers w/Chile-Lime Mayo ~

For me, the only thing that tastes better than a thick, juicy hamburger hot-off-the-gill is: a thick, juicy cheeseburger, hot-off-the grill. I don't grill enough to profess to being an expert, but the stuff I do grill is mighty tasty. I'm cooking these to please me today -- they're my favorite twist on traditional cheeseburgers. I'm mixing the cheese into the burgers instead of placing it on top of them, and, I'm packing the mixture full of bold, spicy, American-Southwest Tex-Mex flavors. Admittedly, it's unorthodox, but, I've been told, often by the critics themselves, "this is one of the best...... View full recipe for "~ Chili Cheddar Cheeseburgers w/Chile-Lime Mayo ~"

04/03/2015

~ My Brown-Sugar-Crusted Crockpot Corned Beef ~

It's no secret: my crockpot is my least used kitchen appliance. I don't use it at all unless the end justifies the means without any compromise in the food. Corned beef is one example. My stovetop ~ Braised and Brown Sugar Glazed Corned Beef ~ recipe has been very popular ever since I posted it on the blog-o-sphere (in conjunction with a Kitchen Encounters TV cooking segment) back in 2011. You can get the recipe and watch me cook it too by clicking on the Related Article link below. I assure you, my recipe cooks up the same on the...... View full recipe for "~ My Brown-Sugar-Crusted Crockpot Corned Beef ~"

02/02/2015

~ Bacon & Jalapeno-Cheddar French Bread Snacks ~

This ends 'super-easy week' on Kitchen Encounters -- a week of super-easy recipes for your Superbowl party. Surely you've noticed everyone serves easy snacks for the Superbowl -- I am no exception. What I like least about the Superbowl is that it is played on a Sunday. The NFL gives no consideration to people like me who are obligated to entertain, then, get up and face the workweek the next morning. I've often wondered what the absentee rates at workplaces are the Monday after Superbowl Sunday. If anyone "knows someone that knows someone" would you please make arrangements to declare...... View full recipe for "~ Bacon & Jalapeno-Cheddar French Bread Snacks ~ "

01/27/2015

~ Super Sunday Spud Skins of the Taco Tater Type ~

Potato skins -- a blast from my pub grub past. Back in the '80's and 90's, one couldn't go out for a Happy Hour brew or two without encountering this snack on the menu -- right next to the Buffalo wings w/blue cheese dip, chicken fingers w/honey-mustard, nachos w/salsa and deep-fried mushrooms or zucchini w/marinara sauce. If you traveled in a pack, pitchers of beer were ordered, everyone at the table selected one appetizer and you all shared. Those were such good times -- shooting pool, throwing darts, swilling beer and eating crispy potato skins! Suds 'n Spuds = perfect...... View full recipe for "~ Super Sunday Spud Skins of the Taco Tater Type ~"

01/25/2015

~ Philadelphia's Famous Cheesesteaks a la Melanie~

If you have never eaten a cheesesteak sandwich in Philadelphia proper, you've never eaten a cheesesteak. Like the soft pretzel, the iconic Philly cheesesteak just tastes better in The City of Brotherly Love. Whether you're standing outside on a sticky-hot sidewalk next to a street vendor in Summer, or, standing inside against a counter in a sweaty-windowed sandwich shop in Winter, the experience, on several levels, cannot be duplicated elsewhere. Many have tried, many have come remarkably close, but everyone agrees: Philadelphia owns this sandwich. A bit about the Philadelphia Cheesesteak: Back in the 1930's, Philadelphians Pat and Harry Olivieri,...... View full recipe for "~ Philadelphia's Famous Cheesesteaks a la Melanie~"

01/22/2015

~ Creamy & Cheesy Hash Brown Potato Casserole ~

Real-deal, properly-prepared hash brown potatoes are a favorite of mine. Golden brown and crispy on the outside, creamy-textured (but never mushy) on the inside, they are the Holy Grail of breakfast potatoes. I make really good ones, but, I must admit to being too lazy to make them unless it is a really special occasion. I'd rather be on the treadmill than hand-grating and drying a boat load of Russet potatoes early in the morning (and I hate being on the treadmill). My ~ Baked Eggs in Birds Nests (Hash Brown Potatoes) ~ are living proof that I know what...... View full recipe for "~ Creamy & Cheesy Hash Brown Potato Casserole ~"

01/12/2015

~ The Secret is in the Sauce: Meet the Bone-Suckin' BBQ'd Roast Beef, Bacon & Blue Cheese Sammie ~

It's Monday. It's the middle of January. It's also bone-suckin' cold outside. Not a problem. In my kitchen, we're having a meatwave. I've got a big beefy eye-of-round roast in the oven, and, a few bottles of Bone Suckin' Sauce in my pantry -- it's a mandatory staple. Plus, there's one last college football game on TV tonight, so, I've got entertainment too. They don't call where I live "Happy Valley" for nothing -- we always find a path to some type of happiness. While our home team may not be playing for The National Championship of Collegiate Football tonight,...... View full recipe for "~ The Secret is in the Sauce: Meet the Bone-Suckin' BBQ'd Roast Beef, Bacon & Blue Cheese Sammie ~"

01/09/2015

~ January "White Out" White Chicken 'n Corn Chili ~

Oh baby it's cold outside -- several degrees below zero cold here in Happy Valley. Even if the sun does comes out, the temperatures aren't going to tempt me into venturing outside into the swirling tornado of white snow whirling around on my back porch, thanks in part to the snow machines running full throttle up on the Tussy Mountain Ski Slope (almost in my backyard). Staying indoors is on my agenda, and, I am not alone. The better portion of the entire Northeast is in this deep-freeze with me. I can't be the only one dreaming of a bowl...... View full recipe for "~ January "White Out" White Chicken 'n Corn Chili ~"

12/28/2014

~ GrandMel's Creamy Potato and Egg Salad Recipe~

I have a confession to make. I am a potato salad snob. I want the old-fashioned, down-home, classic, creamy and chunky "grandma's-type" with no hype -- nothing trendy or flashy with a grandiose name or gourmet ingredients. My favorite potatoes for potato salad are: creamy Yukon golds or small "new" reds. I always peel the golds and cut them into bite-sized chunks. I never peel the reds, leaving their soft skins intact, and, cut them into bite-sized halves or quarters. I always boil my potatoes until fork tender on the outside, yet still firm and slightly undercooked in their centers....... View full recipe for "~ GrandMel's Creamy Potato and Egg Salad Recipe~"

12/24/2014

~ My Pan-Seared Flat-Iron Steak Slider-Sandwiches~

Ok -- I admit it. When my food world is moving so fast I can barely catch a breath, that's when I'm most tempted to order take-out or head for the drive-through (humming the "you deserve a break today" tune all the way). I don't I rarely do. Why? I've got a few fast and furious home remedies that cure a fast-food, "where's the beef" craving or snack attack the moment it starts stealing its way into my brain. I call them "flash-in-the-pan" meals because they go from stovetop to dinner table in almost less time that it takes to...... View full recipe for "~ My Pan-Seared Flat-Iron Steak Slider-Sandwiches~"

10/24/2014

~ Mel's Spicy Horseradish-Cheddar Cheese Sticks ~

If I were a mouse, my nose would always be snapped in the trap containing a fresh piece of fine cheese. What is it about me and cheese? You can find me snacking on it in some form almost every day. My refrigerator always has a few really good, fresh-from-the-cheesemonger cheeses stored in the "deli-drawer". I'm not talking about reduced calorie, low-moisture, part-skim, half-the-fat, gluten-free, soy, and/or vegan cheese -- although if one is medically challenged, they are all fine alternatives. For me, I'd rather eat less of anything real-deal and delicious than more of something that wierd-science has compromised....... View full recipe for "~ Mel's Spicy Horseradish-Cheddar Cheese Sticks ~"

09/23/2014

~ My Second-City Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza ~

Aside from several layovers at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport during the 1980's, my experiences with Illinois are limited: #1) Piccalilli, a highly-seasoned absolutely-delicious green sweet-pickle relish that my friend from Champaign makes and gave me her recipe for. #2) Chicago-style hot dogs in full regalia, which I devoured during every airport layover. #3) One Chicago-Style pizza that I ate at Uno's Pizzeria on Rush Street in Chicagoland proper -- OMG! "Step into my pizza parlor", said the spider to the fly! All three made a big impression on me, because every once in a while I make a batch of...... View full recipe for "~ My Second-City Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza ~"

09/02/2014

~ My Bacon-y Bacon-Lovers Baked Beans & Bacon ~

The food world is swarming with bacon lovers. Despite all attempts by the food police to curb our enthusiam for bacon, it is here to stay in a big way. For example. I have three recipes for baked beans: Boston, Hilda's and Bacon-y. All are wonderful recipes, but, Bacon-y are the ones everyone always asks me to make for picnics and tailgates. They are savory and sweet, loaded with smoky bacon goodness, and there is never a morsel left in the casserole. This is great for me, because of the three recipes they're the easiest to make (no bean soaking)....... View full recipe for "~ My Bacon-y Bacon-Lovers Baked Beans & Bacon ~"

08/31/2014

~ My Rich & Creamy Baked Sweet Corn Casserole ~

It's Labor Day weekend -- the unofficial end of Summer! Here in Pennsylvania, it is also the unofficial end of our local sweet corn and tomato season. We've had a banner year for both this year, and, this past week, I've posted a few of my favorite ways to use fresh corn kernels after they have been removed from the cob: corn off the cob! To learn ~ How to Shave Corn Off the Cob ~, make ~ Creamed Corn ~, & ~ Cheesy Creamed-Corn Dip ~, click on the Related Article links below! Today, I'm making my corn casserole...... View full recipe for "~ My Rich & Creamy Baked Sweet Corn Casserole ~"

08/28/2014

~ Ooey, Gooey, Cheesy, Chile, Creamed-Corn Dip ~

Newsflash. Depending on the search words you use, as of this morning there are over one million recipes for corn dip, cheesy corn dip and Mexican-syle corn dip for you to choose from on the internet. Some are published by bloggers like myself, others by celebrity chefs, and even more by scads of manufacturers like Kraft, Green Giant, Old El Paso and Tostitos (to name a few). Most are really easy and all are guaranteed to make your game-day tailgate a success. One more thing -- they're all pretty darn good -- just not as good or as special as...... View full recipe for "~ Ooey, Gooey, Cheesy, Chile, Creamed-Corn Dip ~"

07/23/2014

~ "Yes Virginia, there is a thing called a Taco Ring!" (One of my "I can't believe I'm posting this posts".) ~

"Count me in, I'll give it a try." That's what I said on Facebook last week. It's what I agreed to do, and I'm doing it. I'm making a taco ring today. Here's how it came down: One of my hungry guy foodie friends, Jaqmes, posted a photo with a link to a recipe for a taco ring. Cocktail-connoisseur friend, Jill, said she'd made it and it was quite good, especially when washed down with a six-pack of Corona. For a moment, I thought Jill's cheese slid off her cracker and landed in the deep-end of her pilsner. The thread...... View full recipe for "~ "Yes Virginia, there is a thing called a Taco Ring!" (One of my "I can't believe I'm posting this posts".) ~"

07/21/2014

~ Tequila-Lime Skirt-Steak Fajitas (Tacos al Carbon)~

To a carnivore like me, tacos al carbon (skirt steak fajitas) are as close to food perfection as Tex-Mex fare gets. They are the very first fajita I ever sunk my teeth into and the very first fajita I learned to make (even before fajita fever hit our nation during the 1980's). The years were 1974 thru 1979 and our neighbors in our very first Happy Valley apartment were a Texas cowboy and his beautiful Mexican-American wife (who hailed from San Antonio): Tom and Toni (Antoinette). I was only in my twenties and had absolutely no previous experience with any...... View full recipe for "~ Tequila-Lime Skirt-Steak Fajitas (Tacos al Carbon)~"

07/18/2014

~ Tex-Mex Campstove or Stovetop Chicken Fajitas ~

Fajitas (fa-hee-tas) -- oh so delicious and oh so easy to make too -- I never had to call my three boys or Joe to the dinner table twice on fajita night. That was back in the mid-to-latter 1980's when close-to-authentic versions of fajitas surfaced nationwide on good Tex-Mex restaurant menus. The poor and unpretentious fajita had 'gone Hollywood' -- flamboyant skillets of sizzling steak or chicken served tableside with warm flour tortillas, sauted vegetables and mounds of condiments were a delicious and fun dining experience for the entire family. Like a wild fire in a dry forest, this meal...... View full recipe for "~ Tex-Mex Campstove or Stovetop Chicken Fajitas ~"

07/05/2014

~My Carolina-Style Pulled-Pork BBQ (Oven Method)~

About the only thing Americans love more than a parade is a barbecue, and, no barbecue comes close to being as familiar, beloved or nationally recognized as Southern pork barbecue. Apologies to you barbecuer's of beef -- I love your stuff, but, pork fat rules. Period. That being said, I'm marching to the beat of a different drummer with this post. Why? Experts have published so much material on the art of outdoor smoking on pits and grills, I couldn't begin to add anything of substance that hasn't already been said in a million different opinionated ways. This post is...... View full recipe for "~My Carolina-Style Pulled-Pork BBQ (Oven Method)~"

07/03/2014

~ Mel's Creamy-Crunchy Seriously-Good Coleslaw ~

It is amazing to me how many people say they don't like coleslaw, then admit they've never tried it because they don't like cabbage or anything made with cabbage. Seriously? I am at a loss for any understanding of this mindset. I grew up loving my grandmother's pepper-slaw, my mother's stuffed cabbage rolls, my dad's ham and cabbage, and, sauerkraut. Whenever someone says "no thank you" to coleslaw, for some reason, I find it hard to resist the urge to change their mind. In the instances when I can successfully coerce someone into trying my slaw, the reaction to my...... View full recipe for "~ Mel's Creamy-Crunchy Seriously-Good Coleslaw ~"

05/23/2014

~ Creamy Baked Five-Cheese Macaroni & Cheese ~

Macaroni and cheese is near the very top of the American favorite food list. This ooey-gooey irresistable mixture of unpretentious pasta and cheese has earned a beloved place on tables ranging from your grandmother's kitchen to college dorms to gourmet restaurants. We love it and we serve it year round, indoors or out, at all sorts of gatherings, holidays and celebrations. My guy wants my Mac & Cheese served with our son Jesse's Bone-Suckin, Charcoal-Smoked Spareribs for Memorial Day! I'm sure there is a percentage of you who think Mac & Cheese was invented by Kraft foods (their first version...... View full recipe for "~ Creamy Baked Five-Cheese Macaroni & Cheese ~"

05/06/2014

~ Jesse's Bacon-Wrapped Dijon-Shrimp Appetizers ~

My son Jesse adores bacon and he loves shrimp. Jesse, if left to his own devices, could probably live on bacon, and, our family has many stories to tell about his early years and "all you can eat" bacon escapades. Jesse is also an extremely picky eater. Jesse does not eat any fruit except for orange juice and ketchup, or, any vegetables except for peas and potatoes. Now, don't go blaming me, his mother. As an toddler he ate everything, including pureed applesauce, peaches, carrots and green beans. As Jesse grew up, he created his own food pyramid. His diet...... View full recipe for "~ Jesse's Bacon-Wrapped Dijon-Shrimp Appetizers ~"

04/06/2014

~ Cinnamon-Raisin Bread French-Toast Casserole ~

Bread. After a day or two or three, if you don't use it, you're going to lose it. Some stale-ish breads make great croutons, others make great French toast. The French have a name for it: "pain perdu". That translates to "lost bread". The basics of any French toast recipe are very simple: Thickly-sliced 2-3 day old bread is dipped into a flavored egg/cream mixture where it sits until saturated. It's then fried in a skillet containing a coating of oil. When executed correctly, it emerges from the skillet crisp and golden brown on both sides with a creamy, almost...... View full recipe for "~ Cinnamon-Raisin Bread French-Toast Casserole ~"

04/03/2014

~Cinnamon-Raisin Bread-Stuffing Muffins ('Stuffins')~

'Stuffins' -- just saying it brings a smile to my face. These are just plain fun to make, kid-friendly, and, practical too -- pretty little portions of complete happiness. If you brown bag your lunch, just wrap one up and toss it in. If you're cooking for just you or for two, make a dozen to have on hand for the entire week. They're a surefire crowd pleaser as well. A few years ago, I made a huge batch and took them to a Fall tailgate party where the men couldn't get enough of them! Stuffins can be made from...... View full recipe for "~Cinnamon-Raisin Bread-Stuffing Muffins ('Stuffins')~"

03/04/2014

~Oscar Bites: BBQ'D Porkrib Tartlets for the Starlets~

Oscar night in our house is subdued. Monday morning comes early for Joe and I, so we accept no invitations to parties and never throw one. We enjoy a few cocktails, I make a snack or two, and we give watching the show our best effort. Joe usually walks away from the TV as soon as the food runs out, and, I don't blame him. In all honesty, as much as I love to watch movies, I find the Oscar ceremonies atrocious. I've lost count as to how many times I've vowed not to watch it. Alas, I'm not good...... View full recipe for "~Oscar Bites: BBQ'D Porkrib Tartlets for the Starlets~ "

03/02/2014

~ Melanie's McRib. "Would you like fries with that?" ~

Joe has a round about way of asking me to cook something he's really hungry for. Perhaps he's just cautious. He knows I always have some sort of plan in place or in progress. After a couple of trips to the refrigerator this morning, he found the courage to ask, "Are you planning to make anything with the leftover ribs?" For me, reading between those lines was not rocket science. Joe was craving the ribs and I was almost certain he wanted me to make what I almost always make with these particular leftover BBQ'd spareribs: My McRib sandwiches! I...... View full recipe for "~ Melanie's McRib. "Would you like fries with that?" ~"

02/02/2014

~ Superbowl Sunday: Chicken and Waffle Sliders, or Roasted Chicken & Waffle BLT's w/Honey-Mustard ~

Joe and I have never thrown a Superbowl party and we don't accept invitations to Superbowl parties either. Monday morning comes early, so, us two party poopers, home alone, sitting around in our PJ's enjoying the game (with some cocktails and a special snack or two) is party enough for us. Last year the weather was so mild here in Happy Valley, I made a small pot of chili and Joe grilled two racks of babyback spareribs. This year's weather? No way! These mini sandwiches are a party in your mouth! About a week ago, my Facebook friend, Teresa Gottier,...... View full recipe for "~ Superbowl Sunday: Chicken and Waffle Sliders, or Roasted Chicken & Waffle BLT's w/Honey-Mustard ~"

12/04/2013

~My Poached Egg & BLT Cheddar Biscuit Sandwich~

My love affair with poached eggs transcends breakast. Two of my favorite lunch or dinner time ways to serve a poached egg is atop a classic spinach salad, or, a BLT. As any child will tell you, tomato soup is the perfect complement to either one of these meals, and, I've just taken a 1-quart container of my cream of roasted tomato soup out of the freezer to thaw. So, on this frigid cold, windy, rainy, 33 degree Pennsylvania day, I'm baking some biscuits this morning and making my poached egg & BLT cheddar biscuit sandwiches for dinner this evening!...... View full recipe for "~My Poached Egg & BLT Cheddar Biscuit Sandwich~"

11/05/2013

~ Mel's Oven-Roasted Version of PA-Style Blockpit BBQ'd Butter 'n Vinegar Chicken a la Deb Pearson ~

I hoped to post this recipe for BBQ'd chicken back in June or July, but, 'the powers that be' took longer than I anticipated to locate this unique-to-PA BBQ'd chicken dish, and, more importantly the proper venue to execute it: Chicken halves or pieces are grilled over a wood fire in a structure made of cinderblocks, called a "blockpit". During the process, the chicken is misted, not brushed, with a mixture of melted butter, vinegar, salt, pepper, and sometimes lemon juice! About six months ago my girlfriend from Ohio, who works with noneother than The Grillmaster himself, Steven Raichlen, called...... View full recipe for "~ Mel's Oven-Roasted Version of PA-Style Blockpit BBQ'd Butter 'n Vinegar Chicken a la Deb Pearson ~"

11/02/2013

~ Around Town (in search of a blockpit & a recipe for PA-Style Blockpit BBQ'd Butter 'n Vinegar Chicken) ~

My search for a blockpit began about six months ago. A girlfriend from Ohio, who works with noneother than The Grillmaster himself, Steven Raichlen, contacted me. Nancy explained that Steven's website had received an e-mail request for a specific recipe for barbecued chicken, cooked over a wood fire in a structure made of cinderblocks. During the cooking process, the half chickens or chicken parts are misted, not brushed, with a mixture of melted butter, vinegar, salt, pepper, and sometimes lemon juice. Nancy added that, in the e-mail, the man said "he had grown up eating this unique chicken in Pennsylvania"....... View full recipe for "~ Around Town (in search of a blockpit & a recipe for PA-Style Blockpit BBQ'd Butter 'n Vinegar Chicken) ~"