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

05/25/2018

~ Spring Chicken w/Garlic-Butter Pasta & Asparagus ~

This winner of a weeknight chicken dinner is taken straight from pages of my working parents' playbook. Before heading out the door in the morning, my mom would put four chicken breasts, doused with store-bought Italian dressing, in a bowl, and, at the end of the work day, dad would dredge the breasts in bread crumbs and sauté them in a skillet, while mom cooked a box of kid-friendly pasta and readied some fresh green beans. It was simple and straightforward, nothing fancy, but, it was a dinner we all liked, right down to the vegetable. If we four could...... View full recipe for "~ Spring Chicken w/Garlic-Butter Pasta & Asparagus ~"

05/15/2018

~ Everybody in the Skillet: Perfect Sweet Potato Fries ~

Sweet potatoes -- of the kind that don't come out of a can and end up with marshmallows on top. I've had a love affair with this root vegetable since my first trist with a sweet potato that didn't come out of a can and have marshmallows on top. While I have a high-enough I.Q. to discern why once-upon-a-time in-the-history-of-canned-vegetetables, cooked sweet potatoes were put in those cans, in my lifetime, I will never be smart enough to figure out why those marshmallows got purposefully or experimentally plopped on top. Some answers are best left to the imagination. A sweet...... View full recipe for "~ Everybody in the Skillet: Perfect Sweet Potato Fries ~"

05/12/2018

~ The Perfectly-Broiled 22-Minute Pork Blade Steak ~

The pork blade steak is my new-to-me muse -- in my own words, it's a bone-fide kick-butt man-sized pork chop. Known as pork steak, pork butt steak or pork blade steak, these bone-in steaks are cut from the shoulder of the pig -- the same part of the porcine used to make pulled pork. Similar in taste and texture to close-kin country-style spareribs*, they were invented in St. Louis, MO, and are a Midwest staple. As a country-style spare-rib lover living in central Pennsylvania, I ask the Sam's Club butcher to custom-cut these inexpensive, lesser-to-unknown-to-our-locale steaks for me. Perhaps this...... View full recipe for "~ The Perfectly-Broiled 22-Minute Pork Blade Steak ~"

05/06/2018

~ Mexican-Style Adobo Rice (Meatless Spanish Rice) ~

Mexican rice became a staple on our family's table back in the 1980's. Whenever we ate in a Mexican restaurant, remarkably, our three kids would eat the side-dishes: the muli-colored veggie-bejeweled rice, the murky-earthy slightly-soupy refried beans, and, the bright-green garlic-laced guacamole. Without complaint or prodding, they'd slather and scoop 'em onto and into tacos, fajitas, carnitas (or whatever else they were eating), along with red or green salsa and the bottled hot-sauce du jour. Go figure, and, "shut my mouth wide open." I started stocking my pantry with whatever Texican-type ingredients I could find in our Central, PA grocery...... View full recipe for "~ Mexican-Style Adobo Rice (Meatless Spanish Rice) ~"

04/21/2018

~ Easy Does It: Mexican Chicken & Spicy Rice Soup ~

For the most part, I find recipes made from a melange of leftover "this and that" to be a compromise. With every forkful, they remind me I'm eating a week's worth of leftovers, repurposed to make me feel less guilty about their inevitable demise. After a few bites, I find myself wishing I'd left well enough alone: made a sandwich out of the chicken, cooked a steak to go with last night's rice, or, eaten the blanched broccoli and carrots hand-to-mouth as a snack. "Waste not, want not." It's admirable -- rah-rah-zis-boom-bah and count me in. That said, it's my...... View full recipe for "~ Easy Does It: Mexican Chicken & Spicy Rice Soup ~"

04/15/2018

~Tangy-Sweet Strawberry White-Balsamic Vinaigrette~

Strawberries are no stranger to salads -- spinach and strawberry salads with poppyseed dressing were trendy on restaurant menus in the 1970's. Those salads caused me to experiment with strawberries, when appropriate, in place of tomatoes, in salad recipes using a variety of other greens and proteins too. It was only natural that I would experiment with sweet and savory salad dressings containing strawberries too. This vinaigrette recipe is the one that captured my strawberry loving heart. My Strawberry, Steak, Blue-Cheese and Arugula Salad (pictured in the background), is not only perfect for Spring, it's dazzling dressed with this vinaigrette:...... View full recipe for "~Tangy-Sweet Strawberry White-Balsamic Vinaigrette~"

04/13/2018

~ Strawberry, Steak, Blue-Cheese and Arugula Salad ~

Strawberries aren't just for dessert, and, if the Northeast ever gets a break in the weather, the local strawberry season will be just around the corner. That said, the California-grown Driscoll's strawberries I found in the grocery store yesterday are plump and sweet, and, one of the man-sized flank steaks my husband picked up at Sam's Club today are going to team up for a hearty, sweet-and-savory, main-dish salad for a delightfully-carnivorous Sunday dinner this evening. Strawberries are no stranger to salads -- spinach and strawberry salads with poppyseed dressing were trendy on restaurant menus back in the 1970's. Because...... View full recipe for "~ Strawberry, Steak, Blue-Cheese and Arugula Salad ~"

04/10/2018

~My 18-Minute Philly-Dilly Flank-Steak Cheesesteaks~

Knowledge is power. As the 2018 "Dilly-dilly" Bud Light, Super Bowl commercial spiked in popularity, then filtered into the mantra for the Eagle's super-bowl victory parade in the form of "Philly-dilly", my curiosity caused me to research it -- and I'm glad I did. I'm here to report "dilly" is a real word, and, as per Merriam-Webster, it's a noun that comes from an obsolete adjective that refers to something "delightful", "remarkable" or "outstanding", which describes with perfection: My latest take on the cheesesteak -- The Philly-Dilly. If you have never eaten a cheesesteak sandwich in Philadelphia proper, you've never...... View full recipe for "~My 18-Minute Philly-Dilly Flank-Steak Cheesesteaks~"

04/07/2018

~ Melanie's Perfectly-Cooked 18-Minute Flank Steak ~

When I want a perfectly-cooked, rare- to medium-rare steak, one that gets cooked indoors, next to the elegant filet mignon, the rustic flank steak is my choice. That said, in terms of taste, texture, versatility and price, without compromise, hands-down the flank steak wins on all points -- which is why I purchase one or two almost every week. In my food world, there's plenty of room for premium Delmonicos, NY strips, porterhouse and T-bones too, but, in terms of cooking steak indoors vs. grilling steak outdoors, those cuts typically "just don't do it" for me like filet or flank....... View full recipe for "~ Melanie's Perfectly-Cooked 18-Minute Flank Steak ~"

04/05/2018

~ Pasta with Butter and Cheese and Sweet Sausage ~

The Italians came up with the cure for the late-night movie-watching snack-attack centuries ago: Pasta al burro con formaggino (pasta with butter and cheese). It's a no-nonsense, feed-me-now-snack, a quick-to-make side dish, and, it's a delicious foil for flavorful pasta sauces too. Choose any shape of pasta (short, fork-friendly shapes work best), and, if you have a link or a patty of breakfast sausage on-hand, not only do the flavors melt into the mixture like they were born to be there, without almost any extra effort, it transforms the dish into a hearty meal for one or two. A simple,...... View full recipe for "~ Pasta with Butter and Cheese and Sweet Sausage ~"

04/02/2018

~ The Japanese Take on Salisbury Steak: Hambagu ~

Japanese hamburger steak. If it doesn't sound very Japanese, it's because its origin is not. It's an...... View full recipe for "~ The Japanese Take on Salisbury Steak: Hambagu ~"

03/27/2018

~Gone Bananas: Double Banana Pudding Poke Cake~

Retro recipes with a history to report or a story to share, are fun for me to write. While plenty of versions for this particular cake are available on the internet, my reason for adding "mine" is two fold: plenty of present day cooks have no idea what a poke cake is, and, this particular one is, one of three poke cake recipes my mom made when I was growing up in the 1960's and '70's. Because banana pudding is classic and traditional Southern fare (a layered dessert of vanilla cookies, sliced bananas, vanilla pudding and meringue), that would indeed...... View full recipe for "~Gone Bananas: Double Banana Pudding Poke Cake~"

03/21/2018

~The McDonald's-Style Big Mac Cheeseburger Salad~

When my foodie friends (people who like to cook, can cook and cook often), start talking about a yummy salad made in the style of McDonald's iconic Big Mac, I listen. I listen because these are friends I listen to, and, because I have been known to indulge in an occasional Big Mac. Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun is, in my opinion, the yummiest cheeseburger creation in the takeout-lane of the drive-thru fast-food circuit. September 1968 -- The Bic Mac was invented in Pittsburgh by a McDonald's Franchise Owner named...... View full recipe for "~The McDonald's-Style Big Mac Cheeseburger Salad~"

03/19/2018

~ Teriyaki-Style Slow-Cooker Baby-Back Spare-Ribs ~

How you cook spare-ribs is your business. Here in Happy Valley, sometimes we smoke 'em, sometimes we grill 'em, occasionally I make them in the oven, and, recently, I've started experimenting with slow-cooking them. Past that, even if you aren't a fan of crocket science, it might interest you to know that Japanese-seven-spice blend and teriyaki sauce, when substituted for traditional Tex-Mex rubs-and-mops is a delicious alternative to typical ribs -- give 'em a try. Do not confuse spicy "Japanese-seven-spice" powder with aromatic Chinese five-spice powder. They are completely different. "Shichimi togarashi", originated in Japanese apothecaries in the 17th century...... View full recipe for "~ Teriyaki-Style Slow-Cooker Baby-Back Spare-Ribs ~"

03/15/2018

~ Thai Chicken and Pineapple-Fried-Rice Casserole ~

Thai-Malaysian pineapple-fried-rice is a classic Thai dish that's easy to get addicted to. It's divine. Grains of fragrant jasmine rice bejeweled throughout with bits of golden pineapple, cashews and raisins -- it's a taste unlike the fried rices of China and Hawaii. It's a staple item on the menu of most Thai-American eateries, the choices being pineapple-fried-rice, or, pineapple-fried-rice with chicken or prawn. It can be served in a pretty bowl as a side-dish or a main-dish, or, as they do in the tradition of Thailand, baked and served in a carved-out fresh pineapple. A hearty 4-season casserole w/all the...... View full recipe for "~ Thai Chicken and Pineapple-Fried-Rice Casserole ~"

03/12/2018

~Greek Hummus, Steak & Arugula-Salad Pita-Pizzas~

Everyone knows anything one can sandwich between two slices of bread can be tucked into a pita pocket to eat on the run. Almost everyone knows that the flat round pita (or any flatbread) is a great foil for all sorts open-face knife-and-fork sandwich meals too. What all busy moms know is: if the ingredients on the pita are amicable to being baked in the oven, and you refer to it as pizza, it's a sure-fire way to get children to venture into trying just about anything. It's called "bending the rules for the common good", and, when my kids...... View full recipe for "~Greek Hummus, Steak & Arugula-Salad Pita-Pizzas~"

03/09/2018

~ T.G.I. No-Fuss-Friday Greek Pizza for Mel Tonight ~

I'm Mel -- I cook all week -- on weekends too. I cook for my family, friends, and, friends-of-friends. I even cook on TV, and it's all fun, but, every once in a while, I have occasion to cook for myself. Tonight is such a night, and, I am going Greek and easy and super-good. Why cook for myself when I don't have to? Because, with little effort, calorie for calorie, my food tastes much better than over-priced, lack-luster take out or delivery -- in the case of tonight's pizza, it's faster too. When it comes to pizza just for...... View full recipe for "~ T.G.I. No-Fuss-Friday Greek Pizza for Mel Tonight ~"

02/28/2018

~ Greek-Style Flank Steak Salad or Pocket Sammies ~

I'm going Greek today. It happens a few times a year -- my lust for lemon and garlic and oregano combined with crumbly feta cheese and/or creamy Greek yogurt takes over. Thank goodness I have a few excellent recipes go to. Sometimes I'm inclined to quash my craving by incorporating shrimp, other times I choose lamb, chicken is not off limits, but, one of my all-time favorites is flank stank. When duly-marinated and rare-cooked via broiling or grilling, it is a carnivorous Greek goddess's dream come true. I adore this hearty, main-dish salad topped plenty of crunchy herb-bread croutons, and,...... View full recipe for "~ Greek-Style Flank Steak Salad or Pocket Sammies ~"

02/22/2018

~ Japanese Teriyaki Meets American Chicken Wings ~

Chicken wings are all-American and teriyaki is an all-Japanese method of cooking. Trust me when I tell you, if you walk into a restaurant in Japan, you aren't likely to find teriyaki chicken wings on their menu. That said, Japanese teriyaki sure does turn out a really good version of American chicken wings, however, unlike our traditionally-prepared wings, which are typically plunged into the hot oil of a deep fryer, teriyaki wings, in order to render their signature fall-off-the-bone tender interior with a slightly-crispy, sticky exterior, they require a kinder, gentler treatment. As a lover of Asian fare, teriyaki-in-general is...... View full recipe for "~ Japanese Teriyaki Meets American Chicken Wings ~"

02/20/2018

~Japanese-Style Oven-Broiled Teriyaki-Style Cod Fish~

Eat more fish. I've heard it too many times to count, and, I've preached it too many times to count. Joe and I love fish, especially white fish, so, for me, keeping it in our weekly meal rotation is easy. That said, serving it to people who've determined they dislike fish, or worse, trying to entice children to try fish, can be a tricky, fishy business. On such occasions, teriyaki fish fillets or fish skewers, served with a veggie stir-fry and some rice, is my go-to "just try it" fish dinner. As a lover of Asian fare, teriyaki-in-general is one...... View full recipe for "~Japanese-Style Oven-Broiled Teriyaki-Style Cod Fish~"

02/18/2018

~Moist & Juicy Breaded & Deep-Fried Chicken Cutlets~

Breaded chicken cutlets are a big time-saver for a working parent. By keeping a bag on-hand in the freezer, after a quick thaw in the microwave, any number of kid-friendly meals can be put on the family dinner table in less than an hour. That said, the chicken cutlets found in the frozen-food section of the grocery store, are, for the most part: terrible. From way-too-much-cardboard-esque-breading to skinny, dried-out and rubberlike, I find them reprehensibly unpalatable. When I was raising three boys, after trying two (maybe three) brands of frozen, breaded chicken cutlets, and proceeding to throw all the remains...... View full recipe for "~Moist & Juicy Breaded & Deep-Fried Chicken Cutlets~"

02/14/2018

~ Creamy-Coconut & Spicy-Hot Jamaican Pork Curry ~

Throughout the Caribbean, porcine reigns supreme, and, when it comes to perfectly-balanced, bright, slightly-sweet and spicy-hot curry blends, the Jamaicans have cornered the market. That said, the world is full of curries, they are all different, and, for the home cook, 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...... View full recipe for "~ Creamy-Coconut & Spicy-Hot Jamaican Pork Curry ~"

02/11/2018

~Pork Butt Blade Steaks w/Peachy Keen BBQ Sauce~

Known as pork steaks, pork butt steaks or pork blade steaks, these bone-in steaks are cut from the shoulder of the pig -- the same part of the porcine used to make pulled pork. Similar in taste and texture to close-kin country-style spareribs*, they were invented in St. Louis, MO, and are a Midwest staple. As a country-style spare rib lover living in central Pennsylvania, I ask my butcher to custom-cut these inexpensive, lesser-to-unknown-here steaks for me. Perhaps this post will help them to catch on "here in the counties", and start showing up in our local markets. *Country-style ribs...... View full recipe for "~Pork Butt Blade Steaks w/Peachy Keen BBQ Sauce~"

02/08/2018

~ Super Sausage-Pizza Sliders on Pizza Dough Rolls ~

While these paled in comparison to what historically just might be the best Super Bowl game ever, my game-winning pizza sliders were the hit of our indoor at-home tailgate feast on Sunday. Sausage, mushrooms and onion has long been my favorite carnivorous topping for a pizza, and, when it comes to my signature sliders, the topping combo comes in the form of a patty -- served up on a pizza-dough roll, sloppy with melted mozzarella, marinara, and roasted red pepper too. The inspiration for pizza-dough-rolls came several years ago. My mother remarked that my Sicilian-style pizza dough just might make...... View full recipe for "~ Super Sausage-Pizza Sliders on Pizza Dough Rolls ~"

02/06/2018

~Baked-in-Muffin-Tins Slider-Size Pizza-Dough Rolls~

Every sandwich deserves to be served on great bread, so, when I decided to serve these cold submarine sliders alongside my hot and cheesy sausage, mushroom and onion pizza sliders at yesterday's indoor Super Bowl tailgate, I started by making my slider-size pizza-dough rolls. I've been making these unique rolls, in both slider- and dinner-roll size for several years now. They're chewy and light on the inside with plenty of crusty exterior, and, once folks get a taste of one, "why didn't I think of that", and, "this is amazing", are statements I hear a lot. Pizza-dough dinner- or slider-size...... View full recipe for "~Baked-in-Muffin-Tins Slider-Size Pizza-Dough Rolls~"

02/04/2018

~ Herbed, Muffin-Tin-Baked Yeast-Bread Dinner Rolls ~

Be prepared to expand your waistband. If you're a person who sits down to dinner and likes to dip your rustic bread in a side of tangy tomato-based pasta sauce or savory American-style gravy, these muffin-tin-baked personal-sized dinner rolls are better than any slice of rustic bread any day of the week. This (my) bread-machine-mixed dough bakes up chewy and light on the inside with plenty of crusty exterior. Put a basket of these on your dinner table and let the dipping begin. When a slightly-adjusted Sicilian-style pizza-dough recipe... ... turns into a dozen Italian-bread-style dinner rolls. The inspiration for...... View full recipe for "~ Herbed, Muffin-Tin-Baked Yeast-Bread Dinner Rolls ~"

01/31/2018

~ Low & Slow-Cooked Crockpot-Casserole Meatloaf ~

Meatloaf cooked in the crockpot -- it's not crock-our-world crocket science. Busy home cooks have been using Betty Crocker's method for slow-cooking meatloaf for decades. Having been a stay-at-home-mom all my life, I've always cooked my mom's all-beef meatloaf in the traditional manner, by popping it into a 350° oven for about an hour, but, having tasted the crockpot-cooked versions of relatives and friends, I can report: they're quite good. For the most part, there's no discernible difference between a crockpot-cooked meatloaf vs. an oven-baked meatloaf. That said, when it comes to catering to a crowd for a casual get-together,...... View full recipe for "~ Low & Slow-Cooked Crockpot-Casserole Meatloaf ~"

01/29/2018

~ Open Sesame: Japanese Teriyaki Steak Skewers ~

Place a platter of these appetizers on the cocktail table and I'll bet they disappear before bets can be taken on how long it will take them to disappear. Put a platter of them on the dinner table alongside a fresh vegetable stir-fry and some steamed white rice, and, when served as a family-friendly dinner, they won't last any longer. A bottle of teriyaki sauce has been a staple condiment in my pantry for as long as I've had a pantry, standing right next to the elites: Heinz ketchup, French's mustard, Hellman's mayonnaise and Lee & Perrin's worcestershire sauce. That...... View full recipe for "~ Open Sesame: Japanese Teriyaki Steak Skewers ~"

01/21/2018

~ Happy Valley PA's Pop's Mexi-Hots Hot Dog Sauce ~

Yesterday was a big day. During a stop at Meyer's Dairy, I got my first taste of a Pop's Mexi-Hot hot dog, complete with Pop's ground-beef-based and chili-powder-laced sauce, ballpark mustard and diced onion. Considering what I always tell my friends, "I was a hot dog in a past life", I can't believe I've lived in Happy Valley forty-two years and never tried one. What I knew about State College's iconic Pop's Mexi-Hots yesterday was zero. Today, after the fact, it's a different story. Mexi-Hots is a Pennsylvania, registered, fictitiously-named business, originally filed on February 4, 1948 (the company will...... View full recipe for "~ Happy Valley PA's Pop's Mexi-Hots Hot Dog Sauce ~"

01/18/2018

~ Bone-Suckin' Slow-Cooker Baby-Back Spare-Ribs ~

The machinations of making ribs in a slow cooker never seemed right to me -- kind of like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. I've seen people bend entire racks, slice and stack sections, even cut them into individual riblets That type of rib abuse is why I never attempted it, but, as a person who likes my ribs fall-of-the-bone tender, there was never a doubt the slow cooker could achieve that. After all, just like a Dutch oven placed on the stovetop or in the oven, it's what slow cookers do, tenderize meat -- especially...... View full recipe for "~ Bone-Suckin' Slow-Cooker Baby-Back Spare-Ribs ~"

01/07/2018

~ Sausage, Apple & Herbed-Brie Breakfast Burgers ~

This morning I decided to go eggless -- it's a woman's perogative. I skipped the skillet and got out the grill pan. On this frigid January morning, I made what I affectionately refer to as: breakfast 'burgers. Six-ounce sausage patties topped with lightly-grilled apple slices and melty herbed Brie, served on toasted English muffins. I conjured up these ladylike, burger-esque breakfast sandwiches years ago. They're culinary proof that necessity is the mother of invention. Read on: We were enjoying an AM tailgate at Beaver Stadium. When I reached into the Igloo cooler to retrieve the eggs, I realized they hadn't...... View full recipe for "~ Sausage, Apple & Herbed-Brie Breakfast Burgers ~"

12/25/2017

~ Four Kid-Friendly Candy-Bar Cookies of My Youth ~

I happily chose cookies-made-with-candy-bars as this year's 2017 theme for Christmas cookies on Kitchen Encounters, and, I gleefully baked all four. Reese's, Snickers, Kit Kat and Whoppers. Everyone is well-familiar with this cast of candy-bar characters. These particular four weren't just chosen at random. They were my favorite candy bars when I was a kid -- they're close to my heart, and, they're an all-star lineup too. I know, Whoppers aren't a bar -- whatever, move along. A bite out of any one of them would bring a smile to my face, and, if asked to make a choice, to...... View full recipe for "~ Four Kid-Friendly Candy-Bar Cookies of My Youth ~"

12/23/2017

~ Whoppers Milk-Chocolate Malted-Milk-Ball Cookies ~

Back in the 1970's, a shopping trip with mom to Hazleton, Pennsylvania's indoor Laurel Mall, was not complete without picking up a carton of Whoppers -- conveniently located close to the checkouts in the K-Mart. I was almost a teenager. My brother, three years younger, required a stop at K-Mart to appease him -- and it was always our last stop at the mall. Whoppers were our treat for the thirty-minute car ride home, and, as mightily as we all tried, it was next to impossible for mom, David, and I, not to polish off the contents of that entire...... View full recipe for "~ Whoppers Milk-Chocolate Malted-Milk-Ball Cookies ~"

12/21/2017

~ The Difference Between Chow Mein and Lo Mein ~

Chinese-American fare. It's a favorite in our house. About once a week, we either order take-out or delivery from our two favorite places, or, I take the time to make some. Each of us has our favorite menu item -- the one that we crave and can't wait to plunge our chopsticks into. For me, it's chow mein or lo mein -- two of China's most iconic dishes. "What exactly is the difference between the two?" When I got asked that very question last night, I decided to transcribe the discussion into a blog post today -- while it's still...... View full recipe for "~ The Difference Between Chow Mein and Lo Mein ~"

12/18/2017

~ My Chewy Coconut & Crispy White-Kit-Kat Cookies ~

The first time my mom came home from the grocery store with a bag of white chocolate chips, I was fascinated by them. "What are you going to do with these?" It turns out she was going to bake white-chocolate macadamia-nut cookies that Nestlé had printed on their package. "Daddy loves macadamia nuts." I knew he was going to love mom's new all-white cookie invention -- I could barely wait for the butter to soften. Tick tock. As we two gathered together and measured the list of ingredients, it was mom who schooled me on the fact that white chocolate...... View full recipe for "~ My Chewy Coconut & Crispy White-Kit-Kat Cookies ~"

12/12/2017

~Chocolate & Peanut-Butter-Snickers Cookie Squares~

Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in. Just when I thought Snickers couldn't be improved upon, I find out they make peanut-butter-Snickers bars. Yes, my love of milk chocolate and peanut butter struck again for the second time in two weeks -- this time in the form of bar cookies. By the time you read this post, I will have sliced these into small, three-four bite squares, individually wrapped them in plastic and stacked/stashed them in a corner of my freezer. Amongst the foodie cravings I get, believe it or not, chocolate isn't in my...... View full recipe for "~Chocolate & Peanut-Butter-Snickers Cookie Squares~"

12/07/2017

~ Over-the-Top Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cookies ~

Amongst the foodie cravings I get, chocolate isn't in my top ten. That said, I confess to a weakness for Reese's peanut butter cups and Snickers bars. There's just something about the combination of mellow milk chocolate and salty peanuts or peanut butter that I find hard to resist. I love it enough to keep a bag of mini-Reese's cups and a bag of snack-sized peanut-butter Snickers bars in my freezer. A bite-sized nibble of either one and I am a happy woman. Two things transpired this week: I replenished my supply of mini-Reese's cups via Amazon. My candy delivery...... View full recipe for "~ Over-the-Top Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cookies ~"

12/02/2017

~ Easy Kentucky Hot Brown-Style Naan Snack Pizza ~

I made open-faced Kentucky hot brown sandwiches with some of my leftover Thanksgiving turkey this year. One thing led to the next: Kentucky hot brown macaroni and cheese. Now, today: Kentucky hot brown naan pizza. Admittedly, I get carried away sometimes. Hey! What's a gal with some high-quality, super-yummy leftovers supposed to do? I learned something too: My family will eat hot browns any way I can think of to prepare them. It was a very tasty week. The Kentucky hot brown, invented in 1926 by Fred K. Schmidt at The Brown Hotel in Louisville, unlike many other famous sandwiches,...... View full recipe for "~ Easy Kentucky Hot Brown-Style Naan Snack Pizza ~"

11/25/2017

~ A Classic Mornay (Gruyère and Parmesan) Sauce ~

The modern-day Mornay sauce we enjoy is a béchamel sauce (a classic, French roux-based cream sauce, not to mention the last of the original, five French mother sauces to be invented). Shredded Gruyère and grated Parmesan cheeses get melted into the béchamel at the end. I like to refer to this easy-to-prepare "secondary sauce" ("a spin-off" of one of the originals) as: "the mother of all cheese sauces." That said, named after the Duke of Mornay (who lived during the late 16th and early 17th Centuries), the sauce was originally prepared using a velouté sauce (a slightly-thinner, stock-based sauce thickened...... View full recipe for "~ A Classic Mornay (Gruyère and Parmesan) Sauce ~"

11/11/2017

~ My Mom's Old-Fashioned Home-Canned Peach Pie~

The Summer peach season is long over, but, in my kitchen, that is not a reason to not bake a peach pie. Yes, you can use canned peaches to make a peach pie, and, if the peaches are home-canned with love, the pie is just as good, if not better, than a pie made with fresh peaches. I'm not joking. Women have been doing it for generations. They water-bath-canned large quantities of fruits and vegetables so the family could enjoy them during the cold weather months. My mother's pantry was never without home-canned peaches. My grandmother had a green thumb,...... View full recipe for "~ My Mom's Old-Fashioned Home-Canned Peach Pie~"

11/09/2017

~ Caribbean-Style Sweet Potato & Black Bean Stew ~

A steaming hot and hearty stew on a cold day. Almost nothing is more comforting than it, except perhaps, enjoying it in front of a roaring fire listening to the wind howl and watching the snow flakes fall. As a lover of sweet potatoes, I am always on the lookout for a scrumptious new way to prepare them, so, quite a few years ago, when I came across this recipe in January (amongst the pages of a in-flight-magazine on my way to a land of sunshine, palm trees and sandy beaches), I was intent on having it -- I'm the...... View full recipe for "~ Caribbean-Style Sweet Potato & Black Bean Stew ~"

10/31/2017

~ Egg Noodles w/Sautéed Mushroom & Onion Sauce ~

A quick-to-make sautéed mushroom and onion sauce, tossed into some buttered egg noodles was a childhood favorite of mine. Oddly, I was a child who liked mushrooms -- a lot. "Noodles & 'shrooms", that's what we called it. If there's an official name for it, I don't know it. Sometimes it showed up on our dinner table tossed together in a bowl, as a simple side-dish to a roasted chicken. Other times it was layered on a platter, as an elegant bed for "skinny" pan-fried pork chops. Sometimes my mom sautéed the sauce in bacon fat, other times she used...... View full recipe for "~ Egg Noodles w/Sautéed Mushroom & Onion Sauce ~"

10/17/2017

~ Side-Dish: Cuban-Style Mojo Black Beans & Rice ~

Roast requires a side-dish. Beef, goat, lamb, poultry or pork -- it's kind of mandatory that a side or sides be served with it. Think about it, even if you're just making sandwiches out of the roasted meat, you still want some sort of side-dish (a soup, a salad, a starch and/or a vegetable, or, something as simple as a some potato chips and a pickle). If the roast is a dish you've been making for years, the accompaniments require little thought -- you know the options, your family's preferences, and, you choose from recipes you know. That said, if...... View full recipe for "~ Side-Dish: Cuban-Style Mojo Black Beans & Rice ~"

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 (MOH-hoh)" 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. I also must say that without more than a few well-written recipes in the seven Cuban cookbooks, that I purchased during my visits to Florida, I'd stand little chance of bringing the unique taste of Cuban spice into my home kitchen -- they've all contributed to my recipes: Pulled...... 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 ~"