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230 posts categorized "19) Just Kid-Friendly & Family-Style Food"

10/15/2017

~ Mojo-Marinated Cuban-Style Pulled-Pork Shoulder ~

My experiences with Cuban food, all good ones, are limited to a few trips to Miami. I know that "mojo" means "sauce" in Spanish, and, in Cuban cooking, it specifically applies to a sauce made with olive oil, garlic, fresh cilantro, mint and oregano leaves, cumin and bitter orange juice. Without the well-written recipes in a couple of Cuban cookbooks, which I purchased in Florida, I'd stand little chance of learning how to bring a taste of Miami's Cuban spice into my kitchen. Pulled pork is popular in many parts of the Caribbean, and, when cooked in the traditional manner,...... View full recipe for "~ Mojo-Marinated Cuban-Style Pulled-Pork Shoulder ~"

10/07/2017

~ Nothing Fancy: Old-Fashioned Autumn Apple Pie ~

The best apple pie recipes aren't fancy -- they're special. Just put one in the oven and see what happens. Word travels fast. Everyone wants a slice of old-fashioned appleiscious goodness. "It's as easy as apple pie." Truth told, that's a kind of misleading statement. Baking a really good apple pie is not as easy as "A, B, C", "one, two three" or even "snap, crackle, pop". Too many people think that just because they've baked an apple pie it automatically qualifies for awesome apple pie status. It does not. I have encountered more than a few nasty renditions: from...... View full recipe for "~ Nothing Fancy: Old-Fashioned Autumn Apple Pie ~"

10/03/2017

~The Incredible Edible Caprese Chicken Meatball Sub~

You do not have to be Italian or Italian-American to fall in love with an ooey-gooey, cheesy-saucy meatball submarine sandwich. That said, while meatballs can be made with any type of ground meat or poultry, when most folks dream about the perfect meatball sub, they associate it with traditional Italian-style ground beef meatballs. That is not the case with today's recipe -- we're using ground chicken infused with lots of onion, garlic, basil, egg and fresh bread crumbs. What does that do? It adds moisture and full-throttle flavor to an otherwise dry, lackluster protein. There is no right or wrong...... View full recipe for "~The Incredible Edible Caprese Chicken Meatball Sub~"

08/20/2017

~Oatmeal Peanut-Butter Milk-Chocolate-Chip Cookies~

At 6:30AM I took my poodles outside and turned the sprinklers in our vegetable gardens on. As the water droplets hit the leaves, I watched as the red tomatoes, green basil, purple eggplant and other prime produce started to glisten in the early morning sun. While walking my pooches back to the house, I decided to bake cookies today. A girl cannot live on tomato sandwiches and caprese salad forever. The eggplant will live to see another day too. It's cookies I crave. This is the paragraph where I am supposed to divulge where I got this recipe, share a...... View full recipe for "~Oatmeal Peanut-Butter Milk-Chocolate-Chip Cookies~"

07/29/2017

~ Beefy, Cheesy, Fully-Loaded Mexican Tortilla Pizza ~

I haven't eaten at a Taco Bell in years, but, it's worth mentioning the first time I ate a Mexican pizza was the first time I ate at a Taco Bell -- and I liked it a lot. My personal-sized snack pizza came as a pleasant surprise. It contained refried beans, nicely-seasoned ground beef, cheddar cheese, a few small-diced tomatoes and red enchilada sauce -- all sandwiched between two slightly-crispy flour tortillas. It wasn't my choice to stop at their drive-thru window on that day, but, I must admit, it indeed inspired me to make many a Mexican snack pizza...... View full recipe for "~ Beefy, Cheesy, Fully-Loaded Mexican Tortilla Pizza ~"

07/27/2017

~ New Mexico-Style Cheese, Corn & Bean Enchiladas~

Whenever we've been out of town for a few days, the moment we cross the Centre County line and are within 20-30 minutes of home, we discuss what we are most hungry for (what food we've missed the most on our trip), and, we order it, for pick up or eat in, at one of our favorite eateries. Typically, that revolves around stopping at a pizza shop, a Chinese takeout place, or, a Mexican joint. When it comes to the latter, I'm usually ordering up a plate of seriously cheesy enchiladas. Enchiladas are one of those Tex-Mex specialties that taste...... View full recipe for "~ New Mexico-Style Cheese, Corn & Bean Enchiladas~"

07/24/2017

~ Spicy New Mexico-Style Ground Beef Enchiladas ~

Enchiladas are one of those Tex-Mex specialties that taste a bit different everywhere you eat them. In a Mexican-American restaurant or in the home kitchen, they are lightly-fried corn tortillas that have been dipped in a deep reddish-brown chili-powder-based sauce before being filled, rolled up and baked. The filling can consist of a seemingly endless variety of meats (beef, chicken or pork), fish or seafood, cheese and/or beans and/or various other vegetables (for a vegetarian option). In my Happy Valley kitchen, the two kid- and tailgate-tested favorites for my New Mexico-style Red Chile Enchilada Sauced enchiladas are ground beef, lots...... View full recipe for "~ Spicy New Mexico-Style Ground Beef Enchiladas ~"

06/28/2017

~ Sausage, Pepper and Onion Pasta or Pizza Sauce ~

Spaghetti with ground meat sauce. It's an all-American Italian-American classic that makes short work of pleasing all the people all the time (while feeding all of them at the same time) -- especially kids. Ground beef, diced onion, crushed tomatoes, herbs and seasonings. It might be basic and simple, but it's a meal everyone wants to come home to. I raised three boys, and, in terms of spaghetti with meat sauce, there was one variation they enjoyed with equal enthusiasm: my bolder, fuller-flavored "sausage sandwich sauce" -- that is what they affectionately named it. "Sausage sandwich sauce." That's what my...... View full recipe for "~ Sausage, Pepper and Onion Pasta or Pizza Sauce ~"

05/26/2017

~ Creamy Coconut & Spicy Jamaican Curry Chicken ~

My favorite curry is the one I am eating at any given time. That said, the world is full of curries, they are all different, and, it's almost impossible to prepare an authentic curry outside of the region it's prepared in, within its country of origin. Why? Because outside of the United States, curry is not a store-bought dried spice blend or wet paste that produces a predictable end result. They're hand-made, mortar-and-pestle pulverized, dry or pasty concoctions of spices or herbs, the amounts of which vary to suit the palate of each family or cook -- on a daily...... View full recipe for "~ Creamy Coconut & Spicy Jamaican Curry Chicken ~"

05/05/2017

~ Luxurious: Cod Bathed in EVOO w/Fresh Tomatoes ~

As a kid, I adored frozen fish sticks and canned stewed tomatoes -- I still do. That said, as a grownup, I much prefer the taste of a sweet, fresh, white fish fillet paired with a few acidic, fresh tomatoes. Sometimes I bake them together in parchment with thyme and some white wine, and sometimes I broil them drizzled with melted butter and a bit of lemon and pepper. Tonight I'm using a method similar to shallow poaching, except: extra-virgin olive oil is used in place of the traditional liquid. Today's recipe is simple enough to serve for a weeknight...... View full recipe for "~ Luxurious: Cod Bathed in EVOO w/Fresh Tomatoes ~"

05/02/2017

~ The Iwatani Twelve-Minute Tornado Cheeseburger ~

A not-so-funny thing happened last Monday. Happy Valley, Centre County, PA got hit by a violent storm that rendered a great percentage of us without electricity, and in some cases water as well, for three days. I've lived here for forty-three years -- this was longest we've ever been without power. I'm no expert. I can't prove it was a tornado that hit our street, but, I can't name one other "thing" that moves in a straight line snapping telephone poles and felling trees at their roots, doing virtually no other damage, except a tornado -- my deck and patio...... View full recipe for "~ The Iwatani Twelve-Minute Tornado Cheeseburger ~"

04/28/2017

~ Charmingly Southern: Hummingbird (Bundt) Cake ~

Best described by me as "an extremely moist, banana and pineapple, cinnamon 'n spice cake containing toasted pecans and topped with cream cheese frosting", this absolutely scrumptious cake concoction is impossible for me to resist. It's simply irresistible. If you're like me, when you hear "bananas and pineapple", you likely say to yourself "that sounds tropical, akin to Caribbean, more than it does Southern." That's because it is. Hummingbird cake was created on the island of Jamaica during the 1960's and is named after their national bird, where the cake is also known as Doctor Bird Cake ("doctor bird" being...... View full recipe for "~ Charmingly Southern: Hummingbird (Bundt) Cake ~"

04/26/2017

~ Open Sesame: Asian Sweet Chili Crockpot Chicken ~

Calling all faithful users of crockpots and couch potatoes with crockpots who crave Asian food. Whether you're exhausted and trying feed a family of four after a busy day at the office or just lazily lounging on the sofa watching the NFL draft for two days, I've got a recipe for you. I won't lie. I don't use my crockpot on a regular basis, but I do know that really good recipes for slow-cooked Asian fare are few and far between. There is a reason for that. Aside from soup, when most of us think Asian, we think fast-and-furious stir-fries...... View full recipe for "~ Open Sesame: Asian Sweet Chili Crockpot Chicken ~"

04/23/2017

~ Poaching Bone-In Skin-On Real Chicken Breasts ~

Leftover shredded or chopped chicken. It's an ingredient we all come across on a regular basis in a wide variety of recipes for appetizers, salads, sandwiches and casseroles -- I've even seen it called for in some throw-together soup and stew meals. That said, I rarely use true "leftover" chicken to prepare any of them. Here's why: Most times, when I have leftover chicken, it's been seasoned and cooked to suit a specific recipe. Nine out of ten times, the flavor profile doesn't align with the recipe du jour. Example: The grilled chicken breast rubbed with fajita seasoning leftover from...... View full recipe for "~ Poaching Bone-In Skin-On Real Chicken Breasts ~ "

04/18/2017

~ A Must Have Recipe: Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake ~

If I knew you were coming I'd have baked you a mayonnaise cake. While that might not sound appetizing, I always say, "what happens in my kitchen, stays in my kitchen" and in my food world, there is no reason to reveal to anyone they are eating a mayonnaise cake unless they ask for the recipe. In the event anyone rolls their eyes or turns up their nose, the joke's on them, as, they obviously don't know mayonnaise is a concoction of oil (which makes cakes tender), eggs and a bit of flavor-boosting acid (like vinegar or lemon juice) --...... View full recipe for "~ A Must Have Recipe: Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake ~"

04/08/2017

~ I Love My Mom's Old-Fashioned All-Beef Meatloaf ~

The fabulous '50's may be gone forever, but they are certainly not forgotten. Remember the stainless steel diner in your hometown that served up a thick slice of mouthwatering meatloaf smothered in a smooth, rich pan gravy alongside a big scoop of fluffy mashed potatoes? Remember meatloaf day in your school cafeteria with stewed tomatoes and macaroni and cheese? Remember the Swanson frozen meatloaf dinner slathered with a thick brown gravy and French fries? I remember them all, but, mostly, I remember my mom's "special" meatloaf. "Meatloaf." Say the word aloud in the company of family or friends, even in...... View full recipe for "~ I Love My Mom's Old-Fashioned All-Beef Meatloaf ~"

03/31/2017

~ Detroit-Style Brick Cheese & Pepperoni Pan Pizza ~

Pizza. It's one of my favorite foodie subjects. Next to a cheese shop, a pizza shop is one of my favorite places to hang out. Give me a slice and some suds and my day is made. I like thick pizza, thin pizza, round pizza and square pizza. I like pizza with just sauce and cheese, or, piled high with a melange of toppings. I like white pizza and stuffed pizza too. "No matter how you slice it, I've never met a pizza I didn't like", is one of my favorite sayings. There's more. I get downright giddy when I...... View full recipe for "~ Detroit-Style Brick Cheese & Pepperoni Pan Pizza ~"

03/15/2017

~ Kids' Stuff: Mel's Copycat Wendy's Chili Con Carne ~

Quality time. Sitting at Wendy's with one, two or all three of our kids for lunch. When school was out for the Summer, I did that about twice a week. We'd all get in my car to run errands, drive a short mile to the traffic light that exited our neighborhood and intersected with our town's busiest four-lane main thoroughfare, and there, to the left of that light sat: Wendy's. I've always contended its placement was purposeful. Our Park Forest neighborhood was a well-planned maze of tract houses on tree-lined streets with sidewalks, and, almost every house contained: children. On...... View full recipe for "~ Kids' Stuff: Mel's Copycat Wendy's Chili Con Carne ~"

03/13/2017

~ Walking Dead: It's Chili & Mac 'n Cheese. Together. ~

On Sunday’s episode of The Walking Dead, while scouting around in search of food and guns, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne (Danai Gurira), fall through a rooftop into a room filled with just that, guns and miscellaneous canned foods and military RTE (ready-to-eat) meals. Rick goes full-blown romantic on Michonne. After the obligatory sex, they eat a candlelit feeding-frenzy dinner and Rick presents her with a surprise, and it's not jewelry -- it's one last type of RTE meal. "I've been waiting to show you this one," Rick says, "It's chili. And mac 'n cheese. Together." The scene wasn't over...... View full recipe for "~ Walking Dead: It's Chili & Mac 'n Cheese. Together. ~"

03/05/2017

~ For those times when you just gotta have: Frittata ~

Breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner or late night snack, a frittata is a relatively-easy quick-to-make, hunger-satisfying meal. It tastes great served hot, warm, at room temperature or cold, and, leftovers reheat beautifully in the microwave, which make it perfect for those who brown bag lunch. A bit of slicing, dicing or chopping is typically required, but it's minimal, and, since frittata can be a tasty way to use up yummy leftovers, there are times when no knife is necessary. As per my Italian girlfriend Eileen, her mom and grandmother made frittata to stretch leftovers -- to turn them into a family-friendly...... View full recipe for "~ For those times when you just gotta have: Frittata ~"

02/26/2017

~ Spaghetti alla Puttanesca (Prostitute's Spaghetti) ~

Say what? Yep. "Alla puttanesca" literally means "in the style of a prostitute". The day I heard that, I hit the streets -- in search of more history behind this delicious dish's sordid-sounding name. Not growing up in an Italian household or in the company of a lot of Italian-Americans, I was in my early 30's in the early '80's watching Mario Batali make it and translate the name on TV. I did a double take. Before that, I thought puttanesca was just a quick-to-make pasta dish with a vibrant sauce that one could throw together using a few pantry...... View full recipe for "~ Spaghetti alla Puttanesca (Prostitute's Spaghetti) ~"

02/20/2017

~ All-American Presidents' Day Gingerbread Cake ~

Say "snack cake" and folks my age think "Twinkie" or "TandyCake". Interestingly, snack cakes have been in America since Colonial times. Recipes for gingerbread, both the hard cookie and the soft cake or loaf, came to the us with the English and German settlers. Gingeroot was delivered by boat to the pilgims -- they used it fresh, dried it, and, made syrup from it. Ginger beer, made by pouring boiling water over brown sugar and pounded ginger combined with yeast proofed in warm milk was bottled and served as a refreshing beverage on hot days. The first recipe for gingerbread...... View full recipe for "~ All-American Presidents' Day Gingerbread Cake ~"

02/10/2017

~ My Guys Italian-American Sicilian-Style Pizza Pie~

Americans eat over three billion pizzas a year and that doesn't include store-bought frozen pies or those made at home. That is quite a statistic, and, a testament to the love affair we Americans have with pizza. From sea-to-shining-sea, every region of our country has developed their own "style of pie", and, pizza shops and home cooks all proudly prepare their own version of it. I make several types of pizza. That said, my guys (my husband and three sons) hands-down favorite is my Sicilian-style pizza, made and baked in the manner my husband grew up eating it -- in...... View full recipe for "~ My Guys Italian-American Sicilian-Style Pizza Pie~"

12/25/2016

~ Holiday Fun 101: Deck the table w/a Pizza Wreath~

Fact: I want pizza once a week. Fiction: Pizza isn't festive enough to serve on Christmas Day. The fact is, when you crave pizza once a week, you'll figure out a way to serve it for any holiday. The truth: This post is simply my foodie way of wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year -- or any holiday you celebrate. I chose pizza because it's universal. A slice of ooey-gooey cheesy pizza piled high with some great toppings of choice brings a smile to everyones face, and, for as long as I have been...... View full recipe for "~ Holiday Fun 101: Deck the table w/a Pizza Wreath~"

12/10/2016

~ Pantry Cooking: No-Pain Stay-Sane E-Z Lo Mein ~

Lo mein. In Chinese it literally means "tossed noodles", and, it implies a method in which cooked wheat noodles get tossed into almost any type of stir-fry at the end of the cooking process. As a result, the noodles absorb some sauce and stay soft while the other previously-cooked ingredients (meat, poultry, seafood and/or vegetables) get distributed evenly throughout. An example of the opposite would be chow mein, which means "fried noodles", and implies a method in which the noodles are fried to a crispy state at the beginning of the cooking process. Lo-Mein. Like spaghetti, I want it when...... View full recipe for "~ Pantry Cooking: No-Pain Stay-Sane E-Z Lo Mein ~"

12/08/2016

~ A Classic & Comforting Chicken Divan Casserole ~

Chicken divan is a baked casserole containing poached white-meat chicken and blanched broccoli florets enrobed in béchamel sauce (it's called Morney sauce if cheese is added). It was invented in the 1940's and was a popular, medium-budget chicken entrée on the menus of fine-dining restaurants and country club catering menus during the 1960's and 70's, which is how I encountered it. When I got married in 1974, it was one of the first meals I cooked out of Betty Crocker's Cookbook (p. 306), which was my 1st cookbook and a bridal shower gift, and afterward, from the 1975 edition of...... View full recipe for "~ A Classic & Comforting Chicken Divan Casserole ~"

12/05/2016

~ Mel's Deconstructed To-Die-For Pirogi Casserole ~

Pirogi -- a subject I know a thing or three about. I grew up eating these pillowy handmade-with-love potato-stuffed-dumplings in the kitchens of my Baba and Tettie (my Eastern European grandmother and her sister). I was about age seven when they added me as a semi-skilled laborer to the assembly line of their twice-yearly day-long pirogi-making marathon. Once filled and formed, they were frozen flat on trays, packaged into bags and divided amongst their two families -- to be cooked and served as a meatless main course or a side-dish to my mom's holiday baked ham or a roasted pork...... View full recipe for "~ Mel's Deconstructed To-Die-For Pirogi Casserole ~"

12/02/2016

~ My Creamy & Comforting Tuna Noodle Casserole ~

I was a foodie sprout back in the latter 1950's, developed a few taste buds during the '60's, and, by the time I left the nest in 1974, had blossomed into a gal with a limited, but, sophisticated palate. Limited because I wasn't exposed to a wide-variety of multi-cultural fare. Sophisticated because my mom, aside from an occasional can of cream of tomato soup and a rare TV dinner (which my brother and I had to beg for), never, ever, purchased stuff like cans of "cream of" anything, boxes of mac 'n cheese, 'burger helpers, or, any chef-r-dee products whatsoever....... View full recipe for "~ My Creamy & Comforting Tuna Noodle Casserole ~"

11/18/2016

~ Simon and Garfunkle's Roasted Butternut Squash ~

"Eat your squash". Three words I never heard as a child. At the tables I sat down at to eat, no one made squash -- not my mother, not my grandmother and no one in their immediate or distant families. Meat, potatoes, gravy, a green or yellow vegetable and "drink your milk". That was that. No squash. I never had to worry about squash. The first time I cooked and ate squash I was twenty. It was butternut squash at the apartment of a co-worker and close friend: Eileen. Eileen was born and raised in Brooklyn, and, like my husband...... View full recipe for "~ Simon and Garfunkle's Roasted Butternut Squash ~"

10/05/2016

~ Crispy & Light Deep-Fried Mashed Potato Puffs ~

These aren't croquettes (they're not coated in breadcrumbs) and they're not fritters either (there's no batter involved). You gotta admit, they do look a lot like a Southern hushpuppy (no cornmeal in them though), and, although similar, they sure as hell aren't my rendition of Tater Tots (a manufactured shredded hash-brown-type product mixed with flour). These are, in fact, deep-fried mashed potatoes. My grandmother, an Eastern European heritaged woman, who knew a thing or two about potato cooking, used to make them. While I'm on the subject of 'Tater Tots: I've never understood the fascination with these store-bought, frozen thingies....... View full recipe for "~ Crispy & Light Deep-Fried Mashed Potato Puffs ~"

09/25/2016

~ Asian Hot-Pot-Style Steak Sliders w/Broccoli Slaw~

There's more than one way to cook a very-thinly-sliced steak to perfection and "a la" ("in the style of") Chinese "hot pot" or Japanese "shabu shabu" ("Asian fondue") is a method that doesn't occur to most American cooks. It wouldn't have occurred to me either if I hadn't eaten hot pot in China and shabu shabu in Japan. Joe and I enjoyed both of these encounters so much, he arranged to have a copper hot pot shipped from China to my American Happy Valley kitchen. Hot pot & shabu shabu inspired my American-Asian beef sliders. From my American foodie's vantage...... View full recipe for "~ Asian Hot-Pot-Style Steak Sliders w/Broccoli Slaw~"

09/05/2016

~Pasta a la Margherita: Dinner's in about 30 Minutes~

Labor day might be the unofficial end of Summer, but, for the record, I don't declare it official until my garden is void of tomatoes and basil. Having just finished making big vats of marinara and small batches of pesto for the freezer, while waning a bit, my tomatoes and basil are still very much alive and well and standing tall in my garden. So, Summer, you are just going to have to hang out with me a few more days -- and pasta a la Margherita will be a perfect dinner tonight. Hot Pasta + Fresh Tomatoes, Mozzarella &...... View full recipe for "~Pasta a la Margherita: Dinner's in about 30 Minutes~"

08/02/2016

~ My Mother-in-Law's Philly Hamburger Pepper Pot ~

Rethink your position if you think this frugal recipe isn't delicious. My mother-in-law, Phyllis, didn't cook a lot. She didn't have to. She hailed from Ardmore, Philadelphia (Mainline Philly) and became a doctor's wife. That said, what she did cook, butter-drenched oven-fried chicken, hamburger pepper pot, and, lemon sponge cake (which she learned to make from the woman her family hired to cook), were her childhood favorites, and, she excelled at them. This recipe is an odd twist on Philly's classic Pepper Pot Soup. Phyllis explained that this soup is an obtuse version of classic Philadelphia Pepper Pot -- a...... View full recipe for "~ My Mother-in-Law's Philly Hamburger Pepper Pot ~"

07/20/2016

~ Plantation Cake: A Very Southern Vintage Cake ~

I first came across this recipe in a stack of recipe cards held together with a rubber band. They were in a plastic bag full of newspaper- and magazine-clipped recipes that my late grandmother collected. I don't recall her making the cake, but, at some point in her life she must have, as she took the time to write it down in her own hand. It's an unpretentious, yellow cake made of butter or margarine, sugar, flour, eggs, vanilla, home-canned peaches or pears, pecans or walnuts and buttermilk or sour cream. It sure sounded good to me, and, its name...... View full recipe for "~ Plantation Cake: A Very Southern Vintage Cake ~"

07/12/2016

~ Skillet-Roasted Baby Carrots & Potato Medallions ~

Twelve minutes. Yes, in a skillet, in twelve short minutes, you can roast elegant-looking sweet-tasting fork-tender baby carrots and potato medallions. I roast all sorts of vegetables in the oven when I'm cooking for a crowd (if one is serving roasted meat, poultry and gravy, one can never roast too many vegetables), but, when I'm only cooking for Joe and myself, I turn to my skillet on my stovetop instead of my oven. It's a super-speedy method with a super-delicious outcome. While you can successfully roast all sorts of vegetables in a skillet on the stovetop, you can only combine...... View full recipe for "~ Skillet-Roasted Baby Carrots & Potato Medallions ~"

06/30/2016

~ Coconut and Rum Pineapple Upside Down Cake ~

Remember the first time you watched your mom make a pineapple upside down cake? I was mesmerized. I stood stoic, across the counter, watching as she carefully arranged and layered the ingredients in the pan. I stood vigil, peering through the glass, at the oven while it baked. I stood breathless, fingers crossed behind my back, when she inverted it out of the pan. In the end, I didn't know whether to joyfully jump up and down or hug her with pride -- I think I did both. I was five or six at the time, and, that Norman Rockwell...... View full recipe for "~ Coconut and Rum Pineapple Upside Down Cake ~"

06/27/2016

~State of the Union: Famous US Senate Bean Soup~

Bean soup has always been a part of my life. While you may think of it as snowstorm fare, I associate it with all sorts of outdoor fun-in-the-sun activities. When I was growing up, bean soup was served all Summer wherever people gravitated to eat, drink and be merry: church- and hose-company fund-raising street festivals in ours and neighboring towns, both-of-my-parents and half-of-my-friends-parents annual corporate clambakes, and, when it came to planning the Summer family reunion, the biggest question was "Who's making the bean soup this year?" When I was twelve, I even ate bean soup in the United States...... View full recipe for "~State of the Union: Famous US Senate Bean Soup~"

05/07/2016

~ Nana's Oatmeal-Applesauce-Raisin-Walnut Cake ~

I've always loved oatmeal and anything edible containing oatmeal, and, let me tell you: this recipe "takes the cake" in terms of oatmeal recipes. When I was 19 and still living in Tamaqua, PA, my fiancé's grandmother, Nana, made this for dessert the first time I was invited to their house for dinner. For me, it was genuine "love at first bite". After that, she made it almost every time I visited, just because she knew I liked it so much. Fond memories of a lovely, gentle lady. For my bridal shower, Nana gave me the identical stainless steel baking...... View full recipe for "~ Nana's Oatmeal-Applesauce-Raisin-Walnut Cake ~"

04/28/2016

~ Chinese Sweet & Sour Pork Meatballs w/Lo Mein ~

Chinese spaghetti and meatballs. That's what my boys named this meal, they loved it, and, just saying it brings a reminiscent smile to my face. In reality, it was just me serving some easy-to-make sweet-and-sour-sauced pork meatballs atop a package of store-bought fresh Chinese egg noodles for a change-of-pace dinner. On occasion, I served the meatballs with cooked and drained, spaghetti-esque lo-mein noodles too, but, my kids preferred the yellow-colored fresh ones better, so, whenever my Asian market had them in stock, that's what I bought. Doesn't this trio look yummy? Having just spent the week writing a series of...... View full recipe for "~ Chinese Sweet & Sour Pork Meatballs w/Lo Mein ~"

04/14/2016

~ Carol's Herbaceous Simon & Garfunkel Potatoes ~

Carol is my neighbor -- across the street and a few doors down. Door-to-door -- about a 10-minute dog walk. I've known her for nineteen years now. She and her cocker spaniel Jack were the first to welcome me and my poodles to the neighborhood -- we were playing in the middle of a field, the future site of our new home, when she and Jack came by to say "hi". That chat started on a fine Spring afternoon in 1996, and, just ask our husbands, it has never stopped. Like a lot of you, I love potatoes and I...... View full recipe for "~ Carol's Herbaceous Simon & Garfunkel Potatoes ~"

04/10/2016

~ My Ultimate Chicken-Fried Steak-Fillet Sandwich ~

The French have a pretty-sounding phrase, "comme-ci comma-ça" (kohm-see kohm-sah), which I use a lot. It's a to-the-point way of saying something is "so-so", "neither good or bad" -- it's tolerable. That pretty much sums up my general feelings about chicken fried steak: its taste and texture are passable. To use another one of my favorite expressions, "it is what it is": a thin, tough, budget-friendly, pounded or cubed or forked, beefsteak. I don't sit down at the table with high expectations for CFS nor do I leave the table disappointed. Comme-ci comma-ça. A bit about chicken-fried steak: The tenderized...... View full recipe for "~ My Ultimate Chicken-Fried Steak-Fillet Sandwich ~"

04/02/2016

~The Only Way You Will Get Me to Eat a Tuna Melt~

I adore tuna salad -- ice cold, creamy, crunchy and chunky classic tuna salad. I love tuna salad subs too -- ice cold tuna salad on an Italian hoagie roll with shredded lettuce, tomato, onion and Swiss cheese. I made tuna salad and tuna subs for the hubs and I for dinner last night. After thirty-five years of marriage, he, out-of-nowhere, asks me why I've never made him a tuna melt. "The only way you will get me to make you a tuna melt... ... is if you agree upfront to eat it the way I make it. Over the...... View full recipe for "~The Only Way You Will Get Me to Eat a Tuna Melt~"

03/30/2016

~ Another Crockpot Corned Beef & Cabbage Recipe~

There's always room for one more, and today, the food world can make room for mine. Why? When asked, I always answer. While I've shared my recipes for ~ Braised & Brown Sugar Glazed Corned Beef ~, and, ~ My Brown-Sugar Crusted Crockpot Corned Beef ~, the two are essentially the same recipe, cooked via two different methods, and, they are both geared toward making corned beef sandwiches -- a year round favorite of my husband and I. Corned beef and cabbage, served as a knife and fork dinner or a main-course soup, isn't something either of us grew up...... View full recipe for "~ Another Crockpot Corned Beef & Cabbage Recipe~"

03/21/2016

~It's Not Easy Being Green: Me & Creamed Spinach~

"Why can't you be more like your friend Melanie?", said the mothers of many of my childhood friends. A long, long time ago, middle-class mothers all cooked, and, when you were invited to a friend's house after school, it was common practice to be asked to stay for the evening meal. Those were hospitable times, and, that was my life during the 1960's (age 5 thru 14). If you are old enough to remember June Cleaver, Margaret Anderson and Donna Stone (Leave it to Beaver, Father Knows Best and Donna Reed), the image of each of those TV moms serving...... View full recipe for "~It's Not Easy Being Green: Me & Creamed Spinach~ "

03/09/2016

~ An Awesome Angry Sauce: Arrabbiata (w/Shrimp)~

If you are a person that likes your food "extra spicy", asks the chef to "add extra heat" to your meal, and, has an epic variety of bottled hot sauces stored on the door of your refrigerator, the Italian word "arrabbiata" is one you probably have in your vocabulary. Loosely translated, it means "angry" or "angry mood", and, when you order a dish "a la arrabbiata", or, "in the style of anger", you've given the chef carte blanche to throw a healthy dose of "peperonchino" ("crushed red pepper flakes") into your dinner. Arrabbiata is also a popular, easy-to-make, meatless, spicy...... View full recipe for "~ An Awesome Angry Sauce: Arrabbiata (w/Shrimp)~"

03/03/2016

~ Upscale TV-Dinner-Style Salisbury Steak & Gravy~

Salisbury steak. I was first introduced to it as a child, in our home, via the Swanson TV Dinner -- my generation's fast food. Once a week, when mom or dad went grocery shopping, my brother and I were allowed to pick one TV Dinner, which we would eat on Thursday. To this day, I associate Thursdays with TV Dinners. TV Dinner Thursday: sitting on the carpeted floor, in front of our TV, legs crossed, in my PJ's, in front of a short-legged folding table, watching The Flintstones and Bewitched with my brother -- me eating Salisbury Steak, he Fried...... View full recipe for "~ Upscale TV-Dinner-Style Salisbury Steak & Gravy~"

02/19/2016

~ Sea Scallops & Spaghetti w/Tomato-Cream Sauce~

Every once in a while, my ability to cook is overshadowed by my desire to cook something remarkably easy yet good enough to serve to guests -- no special skills, tools or knowledge required. Today is such a day. This simple, straightforward and scrumptious recipe, taken from the pages of absolutely nowhere, goes from stovetop to table in the time it takes to cook spaghetti, and, when beautifully plated, will bamboozle everyone into thinking I cooked all day. "I dream of stirring cream into marinara sauce." ~ Melanie The only thing more rewarding than having a freezer shelf full of...... View full recipe for "~ Sea Scallops & Spaghetti w/Tomato-Cream Sauce~"

01/29/2016

~ Sauerkraut Yesterday -- Sauerkraut Cakes Today ~

I'm feeling brave today. I'm going to share an intriguing recipe for sauerkraut that even some of you fermented-cabbage lovers might not know about: 'kraut cakes. These are the cabbage world's version of the potato pancake, and its cousin, the mashed potato cake -- recipes that hail from our Eastern European ancestors (necessity-driven, inventive cooks who knew how to stretch and transform leftover 'this or that' into a delicious new meal). Pair these up with some pan-fried kielbasa coins, a bit of brown mustard and/or a bowl of warm applesauce to the side and you've got a 30-minute-or-less, winner-winner, 'kraut-cake...... View full recipe for "~ Sauerkraut Yesterday -- Sauerkraut Cakes Today ~"

01/09/2016

~ Chicken, Cheddar and Chimichurri Veggie Patties ~

This time of year, a lot of people are looking to cut back on carbs, increase lo-fat protein and add a lot of vegetables to their diet. I know because a lot of recipe requests are coming across my desk. The first time I ate a chicken patty that I liked (I tend to refer to burger-type thingies as patties when they are cooked in a skillet and burgers when they are cooked on the grill), it was at my friend Kathy's house. Hers were Asian (as is she) and she served them with egg-drop soup. I asked her what...... View full recipe for "~ Chicken, Cheddar and Chimichurri Veggie Patties ~"

12/18/2015

~ My Kinda Cowboy Breakfast: A Denver Omelette ~

My phone conversation yesterday. "I'd like to order a Denver omelette with home fries and an order of French toast with a side of bacon." "Sorry m'am, we don't make Denver omelettes." Short pause. "Ok, do you make an omelette full of ham, bell peppers, onions and cheddar?" "Yes m'am, that's our Western omelette." Longer pause (where I'm calling from, as the crow flies, my gateway to the West is through Ohio to Chicago, which has zero to do with a Denver omelette). I wanted to say, "I think you mean Southwestern omelette", and further prove my point by explaining...... View full recipe for "~ My Kinda Cowboy Breakfast: A Denver Omelette ~"